It’s still 2023 as I write this, so I don’t know what weather will usher in 2024 here on the west coast of Ireland, but something tells me I won’t see blazing sunshine when I pull apart the curtains in the morning! It’s been pretty bleak to put it mildly for the last week or so – pretty much wall to wall grey skies and showers, not to mention frequent gusts – my kitchen floor is destroyed with three sets of mucky pawprints; no sooner have I one set mopped away than the next appears! But in truth, the weather is the least of my concerns as we head into a new number on the calendar. 2023 had its high points – not least for me the success of A Winter to Remember, and the conclusion finally of the sale of my house in Limerick, after months of uncertainty. On a global level we had Joe Biden’s visit to Ireland, our first participation in the Women’s World Cup football, and some pretty spectacular drug seizures – hats off to our gárdaí – but overall 2023 didn’t cover itself in glory from what I can see. Ukraine is still bleeding, Palestine and Israel is a nightmare, and many conflicts still rage in other parts of the world. Street violence sadly has become a feature of our cities, and immigration is igniting new levels of hatred, stirred up by those whose mission, it seems, is to spread discord and fear among our communities, and to make the already disenfranchised even more vulnerable. I’m so ashamed when I hear or read about crimes against people who come here looking for refuge. The perpetrators may be Irish, but they certainly don’t act in my name.
My big wish for 2024 is for peace everywhere, in all its forms. It’s a big ask, I know that. It involves compromise and empathy and sensible, clear-headed thinking, and that will involve a quantum leap for some, but I’m still wishing and hoping that the new year will bring at least some level of respite from the bad stuff, some chink of light, and the first steps towards resolutions on every front. I’d happily take 365 days of rain if that was the trade-off: over to you, 2024.
No writing news – still growing the next, one day after another. It was slow in starting, they all are, but I think I’m into the swing now so hopefully it’ll be full steam ahead till April and the deadline. Fingers crossed.
Wishing you all a bright and healthy new year with plenty of highlights along the way.