Ring of Kerry Irish Dancers

preserving the cultural tradition of Irish ceili and set dancing since 1991

News about the RKIDs

April 23, 2020

In Numerous Ways During the Pandemic

Our members are staving off boredom and the coronavirus.

Birding ... Reading ... Picking up trash ... Playing bridge ... Sawing wood ... Growing a beard ... Doing crossword puzzles ... and more

What's Going on Here?

answer below


Mask Seamstress

Seamstress extraordinaire, Judy, is using her skills to create masks for the entire family. They are soft and fitted to each person. It's a great way to keep busy and feel useful. She could start a business! In addition to sewing, she continues to read and write. She recently had another article published in the OSHER Journal. This one entitled "Action" describes a recent lecture by Judith E. Heumann about usable tips for assisting people with disabilities. Here are just a few of the many suggestions:

For more information, check out "Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist" by the lecturer mentioned above.

Liz and Kevin

Airport Coverup

Welcome Home to Kevin and Liz! Our favorite snow birds are back. Liz said, "Here is a picture of Kevin and I at the West Palm Beach Airport. We took a direct flight from WPB. There were only 22 people on the plane. It's so good to be home. Our daughter Deirdre met us and had done our food shopping."

Jim C.

Bata Mor or Less

Jim C is back at it! In the last Blarney, we saw him using his pull knife to shave bark off oak branches to create an Irish fighting stick, a Bata Mor. Now he has been out in the woods behind his house cutting up fallen timber using a reciprocating (machine-powered) saw or an old fashioned hand saw . From time to time he catches sight of some non-human bypassers, like deer, fox, and a pileated woodpecker. "Very cool," remarks Jim. Guess what? From all this wood he will be making more fighting sticks! But that is not all. He says, " My son-in-law does woodworking on a lathe. He makes bowls and photograph boxes so he is always looking for good chunks of red oak. I'm also using some of the wood to replace landscape timbers around the property. … I love being outside, so I'm also planting lots of things. The gladioli, lilies, red potatoes, strawberries, and broccoli are popping up. I love life bursting out of the ground. Kathy is getting ready to put tomatoes, squash, and peppers in her box garden. Pumpkins and sunflowers should be sprouting soon."

All this "keeps me busy and it's good exercise," says Jim with a twinkle in his eye.

Mary Ann

Mary Ann's Project
from Start to End
Mary Ann has been in New Hampshire throughout the coronavirus uproar. Her daughter Amy, a former Irish dancer and participant in some of the RKID trips to Ireland, and the grandchildren are keeping Mary Ann busy. She reports, "I'm learning how to do things online, taking zoom Osher classes, watching Amy's dog, and working jigsaw puzzles."


Playing Zoom Quiz

families are known for being large and Maura's is no exception. The many, many Quinns have scattered around the world, but it doesn't mean they don't stay in touch. Recently, Maura and Larry have been playing Zoom Quiz with family members from Dubai, Dublin, Spain, County Meath, Galway, and Austin, Texas. With a big smile, Maura says, "We are all ages from 9 – 90. The time difference means nothing when we're all together! We love being real time with my big crazy family."


Crossword from
Start to Almost End
Gerry and Bill are keeping busy during our "home stay." According to Gerry, "We have been out to get groceries a few times wearing our gloves and masks. I do the daily crossword puzzle and am pretty much caught up reading the Metro section and Sunday Arts and Style sections [in the Washington Post]. I have been updating paperwork, sorting, filing, etc. and actually getting rid of some stuff. I guess my dresser will be next! Bill has been out doing yard work and is also busy making masks for me and has made a few bandanas for himself." Gerry was very disappointed to hear about all the RKID cancellations. "It just makes me sad. Oh well. On to next year!"

John and Mo

Murphy Biking
Murphy Canoeing

John and Mo are taking full advantage of this down time to tackle home improvement tasks. "We still have projects to do, but have managed to lay a new vinyl plank floor, filled a 15 yard dumpster, cleaned cabinets and the basement, and painted a corner cabinet. Now we are itching to go camping, " says Mo. Murphy, their beloved dog and previous Blarney headliner, has been right there as they work. "Basically, he goes everywhere we go!"

Murphy at the Beach

Robin, Emmett, and Megan

Bearded Emmett with
RKIDs Shirt

Robin sent in a report from Greensboro, Maryland, where Emmett owns a large, old home on the Choptank River. "Emmett has been working on various home projects, including building a fire pit and growing his beard. I have been teleworking with two feline associates. I also just read "The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane" which I found engaging and I recommend. There are plenty of birds visiting the back yard from wild turkeys to red-breasted woodpeckers. My daughter Megan, who is a member of the RKIDs, is an essential finance business employee in North Carolina. In addition to work, she participates in her fitness classes, virtually, while on the deck. Her dog is nearby helping out."


There is no lack of ideas about what you can do during the coronavirus situation. Lisa came up with a great activity — picking up trash. She has been strolling around the ponds in King Farm where lots of wildlife can be seen and for some reason, trash has accumulated. A side benefit was spotting a red-tailed hawk. Speaking of birds, she has also been walking along the Potomac River where she has seen Greater Scaup ducks, an American Bittern, a Merganser, and a Yellow-Crested Night Heron. Somehow, Lisa has also had time to do some knitting, sewing, and working from home. She's making the best of a difficult time.


Lap Blanket, Rascal
Fox with Squirrel Meal
One of the great advantages to living in the woods is being able to enjoy the wildlife. Gina has taken full advantage of this slow time to watch the animals passing by. She reports that, "Our neighborhood red fox ran through the front yard with a squirrelly breakfast last weekend. Hoping I might see some pups soon." A disadvantage of living amongst the trees strikes, too. Gina has had to spend some of this time pulling an invasive species from the woods. When indoors, she has been reading while comforted by her cat, Rascal.

Kathy and David

Activity is high on Kathy O's list of how to get through the pandemic. Three days a week she joins her son, Ryan, who does various live activities on Facebook. You can check it out by going to this link: https://www.facebook.com/pg/RuedaConRitmo/videos. She and David M are playing bridge on the Bridge Base Online website. If you are interested in learning to play bridge, she suggests going to this link: https://www.acbl.org/learn_page/learn-to-play-bridge. She also notes the April 2020 issue of the AARP bulletin has a feature on page 42 entitled "Women and Dementia." Through April 30, the website, stayingsharp.aarp.org, is offering at no charge, an assessment regarding lifestyle choices and current brain function. There may be a $7 fee to take the assessment, which can be taken every 3 months. In May they will be doing the Be Brain Powerful 30-Day Challenge. The next issue of the bulletin will give more details. In addition to lots of information, the website has many games. Kathy is especially enjoying Think Balance.  Lots to check out. Thanks, Kathy!

Yo, RKIDs! Now that you've read about how some of us are dealing with it, what have you been up to in this time of historic pandemic? Drop a line and captioned photo to Marilyn O. and maybe we'll use it in a future edition of Blarney. In any case, we hope this edition inspires you to stay active and connected.

And everyone, please be safe. You know the drill – distancing and frequent hand washing.