buddy and the christmas chicken

Buddy, our dog, and the special Christmas Chicken

I had a brain wave to roast a big chicken for my mother, Mary, for Christmas day. Designed to impress the female side.  I did not know that my wise sister, Nora, was bringing turkey to Mam and that Nuala, my sister in law, would also give us a load to take home Christmas night after having dinner with her. It was my first time roasting a chicken, a big thrill for me and I even enthusiastically stuffed it with lemons as Maura, my wife advised. 20 minutes a pound then let it stand.

I rushed out to Mam on Christmas eve but left my all-important cooked half chicken behind in a container on the counter. A big mistake.

When I got to Mam in Howth, I realized I must have left my prized chicken behind. I looked in the boot of the car but to no avail.

I got home to Maura about 6pm on Christmas eve. Expecting to find my Christmas chicken where I left it. But Buddy, our opportunist dog, had got it, on the sly.

The whole half a big chicken had totally disappeared. Vanished like a ship in the Bermuda Triangle. Maura had kindly and indulgently halved it for me and for Mam. She had also stripped the other half for sandwiches.

Then, three days after Christmas, there was still some of Nuala’s turkey left over so I decided to use up my special chicken.

Again, I left it momentarily out on the counter. I went out to the shed to put my white nurse’s uniform in the wash. To get ready for work tomorrow.

When I came back into the kitchen, Buddy, quick as a flash, had gobbled the second part of my special festive roast chicken meant by Maura for sandwiches.

It would have been a nice change at lunch from all the turkey. With a bit of salt. And a cool glass of Heineken delicious non alcoholic beer.

“The sound of bitter mourning is heard in Ramah”

Buddy, the chancer, looked very guilty and cowered and I felt like giving him a toe in the behind but then it dawned on me. It’s Christmas for dogs too.

Healing for Dementia

Healing for dementia


Love can help heal dementia

and it’s often painful side effects.

it is primarily a spiritual battle,

it seems to me.

prayer can greatly help heal dementia

with kindness and care,

good humour and common sense. 

dementia prevention

the good news is that some dementia can be prevented

The Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland (ASI) have a lot of free useful information

and they have a very helpful free helpline 1800341341


If you want to talk to me, my first consultation is free too (about half an hour)

Phone or text 0872999241 to make an appointment, e mail paultwickham@gmail.com

or Whats App 0852548244, you will be welcome

Remembering Diarmuid

Remembering Diarmuid O Casaide, Howth (from Louth)

                                                       (RIP 14/11/2020)

Diarmuid was a noble gentleman.

A duine uasal

Good at the Irish and the singing.

Full of wisdom about our ancient culture

and full of stories and sayings.

full of soul and prayer

and with a kind heart and a cheerful manner.

A great family man.

I enjoyed playing music with him for Charlie Mc Dermott  

He blew a mean harmonica.

Ceart go leor

Tribute to Eamon Doogue

Eamon Doogue Remembered


I really did not know Eamon very well

but he was always at the RDS Divine Mercy Conferences

and Sr Briege’s big Masses in Phibsboro.

I really only bumped into him.

But he was always cheerful. A gentleman.

With a soft and crinkly face and smiling eyes.

And i remember his beautiful playing of the violin.

I always felt i had a friend in Eamon.

In prayer and in faith-filled music.

God, he stuck it well.

A great ad for the healing power of spiritual songs.

He never missed a Conference until he was well into his 90’s.

The stuff of legends. Dublin legends.

Carlow legends.

(You can see Eamon with Br Aloysius in the photo of one of the first Conferences. I am only 30 years old in this photo)

Tribute to the legendary Br Aloysius

Brother Mary Aloysius C.S.S.P.

           (Andrew Montgomery- September 23rd 1926- May 31st 2005)

From 1992, the very first conference, to 2003, Br. Aloysius helped greatly in the work of the Annual Divine Mercy conference in the RDS, Dublin, in the careful preparation of the adoration chapel and in liturgical services.

He was based for many years at Blackrock college where he was sacristan as well as heroically helping the older, more feeble members of the Spiritan community. He previously had served as bursar and was in charge of staff.

He loved Our Lady deeply and loved to pray very, very much.

Like his young patron saint, St Aloysius, he cared especially for humility, charity, chastity and penance. He was concerned very much about young people today and was well aware of their real difficulties and temptations these days.

He did not care what anyone thought of him. He pursued his own rigorous program of lots of prayer, sacrifices, fasting and hard work regardless of those who saw this as excessive. He suffered much misunderstanding from people because he refused to compromise his own highly dedicated way of life and devotion. This constant rejection never deterred him, however.

He stood up to be counted on pro-life issues. He promoted devotion to the Two Hearts and True Life in God and the Rosary, Fatima and Medugorje.

He struck one as always cheerful and joyful with a boyish sense of humour.

Everyone loved him but his high expectations of personal holiness made it a little uncomfortable to be with him. It was like being in a sauna to be near him. Cleansing and very refreshing but a little too hot to bear!

It broke his heart when people did not live up to Gospel standards as he so wanted to please Our Lady and felt keenly her sorrow at sin and ungratefulness.

He had the ability to laugh at little human weaknesses and enjoyed poking fun at the pretentious. His spiritual individuality made him popular with many because he was like a breath of fresh air. He was a character. He had good friends and was a good friend to many. The death of his friend Fr. Michael O’Carroll, a member of the Blackrock community and brilliant Marian theologian, really knocked the stuffing out of him in 2004.

It would be easy to give examples of his exceptional acts of virtue but the main thing about him was his beautiful love of Mary and of Jesus in the Eucharist. He spent hours and hours in Adoration. His last call to me was to console us about Chris O’Dowd, our beloved head steward from Balgaddy, who died just before him

His devotion to the Divine Mercy left him with little fear of judgement. As he said himself, he looked forward to running up to his Mother Mary and embracing her forever.

“Unless you change and become like a little child…” (Matthew 18:3)

Br Aloysius is dressed in white in the photo

Encouragement from Nancy, age 107, from Meath

Ireland’s oldest citizen, Nancy Stewart, aged 107, has written an amazing letter to encourage everyone in these difficult and anxious times 

Dear Sir – My name is Nancy Stewart and I was born on the 16th of October 1913. This weekend I turn 107 years of age.

Imagine turning 107 in a world pandemic. This definitely is something very unusual even for me and all I have been through. I live in Clonard in County Meath and have lived in my home for over 83 years.

I lost my husband in a car crash in 1989, and lost my twin daughters Margaret in 2007 to motor neurone and Anne in 2010 to utter heartbreak of losing her sister. I’ve lost all my friends throughout the years which comes with living so long on this earth.

I’m very lucky to still have three daughters Kathleen, Mary and Olive and one son Finian and I have 84 grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren. 

I have faced many heart-breaking moments and also have seen many hard times in our country witnessing world wars, division in our people and numerous sad times for our nation.

I write to you today to send you my love and to offer you my prayers. We are in a very difficult time at the moment in our country, in our lives and in our world. But I reach out to you in this letter to offer you hope, faith and belief that everything will be ok in the end.

We are in another stage of this battle against the virus but we will get through this. Like everything I’ve been through since the day I was born in 1913, no matter how bad things have got, I’m the living proof that we can survive and in years to come, this will just be a distant memory.

I have a great faith and it has helped me keep positive throughout the struggles I’ve met. I thank you for keeping your faith and for keeping your resilience strong, through this hard time. Sadly for the moment, we can no longer stretch out to a friend and embrace them nor can we call to each other’s houses.

But I’m here to share my story. I have been in lockdown in my house since March, alongside my granddaughter Louise and even though it has been a tough time, we have got through it together. 

We drink tea. We say prayers. We bake. We laugh. We make phone calls. I can even video call lots of my family and friends and am making new friends every day that God gives me on this earth.

And that’s a very important thing to say. If you are feeling low, make sure to try call someone or even go for a walk. I also ask God to help me if I’m feeling low. This is a hard time for everyone but please make sure you keep yourself well and wear your mask. If you keep healthy, your mind will stay healthy too.

Keep talking to one another. All my life I have always believed in chatting and drinking tea and saying a prayer or a decade of the Rosary and it has got me through. This is our moment to keep our faith and to keep believing that everything will turn out ok.

We must try to make sure we leave nobody behind and also that we don’t lose sight of each other. This is a moment for humanity to step forward to take care of the other. We must mind ourselves but we must also mind all those around us. Look up and smile even if you have your mask on.

Your eyes will smile and that might be all someone needs to keep going. No good deed ever goes unnoticed so try your best to keep being good. We are not here to live for ourselves but to live for each other.

I can’t believe I’ve made it to this age, I only feel like I’m 50 but now that I’m here, all I can say is please God I’ll be here for my next birthday. We must always look forward. I can’t believe I’m the oldest person in Ireland living in my own home, I don’t feel that old.

When God wants me, he will come take me but for now I will keep enjoying my life, I’ll keep loving my family and I’ll keep saying my prayers day by day…..oh and not to forget eating lots of good wholesome food is my tip. Good food and lots of tea is my secret to a long life as well as keeping positive as best we can. We must always look forward and hope for the best.

Thank you for thinking of me in your prayers and your thoughts and I promise I will think of you in my many rosaries I say everyday.

Thank you so much for reading my letter also and I hope I have, in even a little way, helped you feel less alone in this moment. There is always hope and once we keep talking to one another, no day will seem empty and we can get through this together. It only takes a small candle to take away the dark and in each of us, we can be that light in the world.

This hard time will indeed pass like all the rest and all that matters is that we helped each other through.

Many blessings and much love,

Granny Nancy x


Co Meath.

Remembering Pat Hooper

Thinking about the late, great Pat Hooper, God rest him (16-10-2020)

Pat’s sudden death, age only 68, last Friday was a big shock.

Funny thing, it seems his work was done. His time was up.

The Raheny 5 is cancelled this year. It was his BIG thing every January.

He started it over 30 years ago.

4000 runners. A great day. The start of Spring every year.

Pat was a great mentor to young people.

My step son, Pauric, age 17, was close to Pat.

I really liked him too. Like a big brother. The reliable type.

He could be gruff but he was very good natured.

He had a GREAT sense of humour. A great friend to very many.

He did a lot of good for a lot of people. Giving his time and  energy.

A VERY kind man. He had a hard life. Deeply compassionate.

Pat was really a legend. A great community man. A giver of himself.

Highly disciplined. Pushed himself hard. Great for going to funerals too.

His children, Dave and Bronagh, loved him very much. We all did

The remaining Hoopers, Maura (my wife), Nuala, Dick and Sr Eileen are all close. Joe Hooper, the eldest brother, died a few years ago in America, God rest him too.

The great, longstanding family joke is that Pat was ALWAYS late for our Christmas gathering. Predictably.

That was Pat. His own man.