I took this photograph of the Rock of Cashel on a recent walk near my home.

The Round Tower on the Rock dates from the 12th Century and as I looked at on it on a beautiful winter’s day, I could not help but ponder on all the history it has seen play out in its time. In the midst of this COVID-19 Pandemic, naturally thoughts of the Black Death and the Spanish Flu came rather morbidly to mind. Yet looking at the Rock, it seemed to meet my gaze and say back to me “been there, done that, still standing”. Combined no doubt with the natural endorphins released by a vigorous walk, it gave me a moment of hope looking to the future.

Tipperary is a beautiful county and when the current crisis is over I hope you get the chance to visit it. In my opinion, its one drawback is that is has no coastline (yes, I know it has the beautiful Lough Derg but that’s a lake not the sea). My idea of heaven is a deserted beach on the Atlantic coastline – and yes it has to be the Atlantic – the Irish Sea is just not the same but will do as a substitute in times of need! Why is it that we always long most for what we cannot have – especially in the midst of a pandemic! There is something about the vast expanse of the ocean – the endless possibilities, the reflection of the sky in the water, the sound of crashing waves and gulls, the wonderful smell of seaweed and the feeling of sand in your toes and salt in your hair. In troubled times the reminder that it will still be there tomorrow – the tide will come in and go out and life will go on.

So in the midst of this third wave, please take a moment in your busy day to take a fresh look at that historic site or building you pass everyday on the way to work. Think of what it has witnessed and how this time too will pass. Those of you lucky enough like me to live in the country – take a moment to look at the nearest piece of nature that inspires you. Those of you lucky enough to live near lake river or sea take a moment to refresh yourself in its beauty. For those of you who get to look at the Atlantic everyday, I am truly jealous.

We are lucky to live in such a beautiful historic country – it is still there for us in the midst of these tough times.

So as you get up every morning and face into another day in the surgery with all the difficulties and stress it will present you with in the current climate find a moment to gaze on something that inspires you – keep calm and carry on.


  • Dr Margaret O’Riordan is the President of the ICGP and a GP in Tipperary