2020 – The year of Murphy

If there’s one thing 2020 brought, it was uncertainty, and a lot of it. COVID-19 came through like a freight train as it brought chaos to every corner of the world. The US presidential election created huge anxiety throughout the whole world, and it doesn’t help that we still don’t know who got the presidency. Riots, lockdowns, anti-mask protests, and 2020 is not over yet!

With all the chaos that 2020 brought I fortunate enough to be able to spend some time at home with the family. It was my first summer at home on the island in 10 years. With all the hype about COVID, seeing the number of cases rise and fall globally, the Aran Islands seemed like one of the safest places to be. With a small population and only locals or essential workers allowed access to the islands during the lockdown, I felt it was as good a place as any.

Murphy’s Law

Murphy’s Law. Source: www.bealtainefire.com

As the American domestic and international rugby season got cancelled due to COVID, I could only think what else could go wrong? Ireland a country known for its rain and “40 shades of green” grass experienced little to no rain and yellow grass, domestic and international travel restrictions, and no sport.

Rugby

San Diego Legion V New England Freejacks. Photo: SD Legion

The rugby season got off to a great start. I was playing with San Diego Legion and we had won five out of the five games we had played. Next up was Austin, in Austin. The team was named and we had a meeting at headquarters about travel plans etc. for the weekend ahead. The owners of the different MLR clubs around the country were also having a meeting about COVID and how it might impact the season. Shortly after our meeting finished, we were informed that the MLR season would be suspended and later cancelled.

Similarly, the International test matches in June and November were also cancelled due to COVID. Nobody knew when we’ll play a rugby game next but we can only hope that the 2021 MLR season will go ahead.

Drought

Considering the amount it rains in the west of Ireland every year, you’d imagine it would be one of the last places on Earth to experience a drought. However, as Murphy’s law states, if it can go wrong, it will, and 2020 didn’t disappoint! The weather was fantastic, some might say that it was too good as the water supply on some of the Aran Islands had to be rationed. Inis Mor, an island with a population of only 800 people had the water was turned on from 11am-5pm daily. Inis Oirr, the smallest of the Aran Islands had to get water imported from the mainland due to the drought. Due to the water shortage on the islands, the water wasn’t considered safe for human consumption. As a result we had no other option but to buy bottled water.

Water tank for livestock on Inis Mor. The rain falls on the slab and fills up the tank for the animals to drink out of.

When the grass turned yellow, and the cows water tanks were dry it forced some farmers to sell their cattle. At the worst I think we had 15days of rationed water remaining in the water tanks. Its hard to believe that someplace like Ireland could experience such water shortages going into the summer.

A few days of rain got the tanks close enough to being full again, which resulted in the water rations being lifted. Fortunately, the water restrictions were lifted just before the lockdown lifted.

Travel Restrictions

Locally, only islanders and essential workers were allowed onto the islands during lockdown. This was an effort to prevent COVID from reaching the islands. However, the local lockdown was lifted in June and tourists began to visit the island again.

I had only planned on going home for two months but again as Murphy’s law would have it, I ended up being stuck at home for six months due to international travel restrictions. However, as it was 10 years since I last spent a summer at home it was nice to spend some time with and help out the parents. Two days after leaving home to return to the USA Ireland went back into lockdown, talk about a crazy year.

Every cloud has a silver lining

I’ve always wanted to record my dad singing a few songs. However, usually something gets in the way and I never get around to it. Fortunately, for me I had way too much time on my hands so I finally got around to recording him singing a few songs. One song that I found particularly relevant with the changing times was “The Keeper” by Frank Hennessy. Have a listen and tell me what you think.