OPINION: The day the sun didn't dance across the sky in Donegal - and the brighter future that followed

A view of Donegal through the coronavirus crisis and beyond

Sun broken glass

There is hope for a better future

When I was at primary school - back in the old Ballydevitt NS - a new priest came to the parish. He came into the school before the Easter Holidays and told us we should get up at dawn on Easter Sunday morning to watch the sun dance across the sky.

I could barely contain my excitement. How come I hadn’t known about this before? 

I hardly slept that Saturday night, and was indeed up at the crack of dawn on Easter Sunday morning. Not being able to see much other than trees from my own bedroom window, I ran into my parents room. The sun was in the sky, in it’s usual spot. It wasn’t dancing, not even a wiggle.

Needless to say, the rest of the household was highly amused. I was too young to have seen the metaphor by myself, but old enough to feel silly once it was explained. And sure as eggs is eggs, every Easter someone would say ‘Do you remember the time Siobhan thought the sun was going to dance across the sky?’

It took a while, but I see the funny side now.

I’m not sure if it was that same morning, or if two memories have become blurred into one, but from our vantage point in the hills it looked as if Donegal Town was on fire. Despite being a few miles away we could see huge flames and a blanket of smoke that grew thicker and wider as we watched. 

This was long before social media or even local radio so it wasn’t until we got to Mass that we found out what had happened. The Four Masters Bookshop had burned down. Being a total bookworm, I was devastated.

When the shop was rebuilt, the adjoining Foodland Cash & Carry was moved elsewhere. This meant that the new bookshop was bigger and better than ever, and over the years it has been added to even more.

So no matter how broken or impossible things may seem, we must not lose hope of a brighter future. 

Of course, people can never be replaced, so the price we pay for that future will be high. But all the more reason in their honour and their memory to keep to the fore the kind and compassionate side of human nature that has triumphed throughout this Covid-19 crisis.

Read next: A strange and sombre Easter but we must not lose sight of the light

If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Donegal Live editorial team any time. To contact Donegal Democrat and Donegal People's Press, email editorial@donegaldemocrat.ie To contact Donegal Post, email editor@donegalpost.com To contact Inish Times, email editor@inishtimes.com.

More News

Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.

Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.