Covid 19 versus the Spanish flu and top wedding venues

“What a strange and weird time we are in”. it’s the most commonly spoken phrase I’ve heard the last couple of months. We’re all getting used to being hermits. Facetime, zoom and skype are the common form of socialising, and our gardens have replaced the pub.
I have to feel for my kids, being scolded for cycling or running up alongside someone, feeling the scowls of the strangers who behave like I should have left them at home. I’m not mad about the idea of them growing up in such an antisocial, suspicious world, but I suppose it’s better than getting a virus!
This isn’t the first time the world has been through this, and no surprise, the same measures and processes were used during previous pandemics of the world. The most recent being ‘the Spanish flu’. With between 25 and 100 million people dying all over the world, (i couldn’t get a definite number) 23’000 in Ireland, it was a pretty mean and vicious force.
I’m trying to imagine the people of 1918 as they went through lockdown without the luxuries we have now. They indeed practiced social distancing and wore facemasks. As you can imagine, methods of enforcing regulations were somewhat different – a health officer in San Francisco shot 3 people dead for not wearing masks, and $10 fines were given out if your protection was not up to scratch.
When I think of the wedding venues around Ireland that would usually be brimming with excitement, I feel for the ‘would have been’ brides and grooms. At this point they would be ready to wow and amaze their guests, instead, they’re baking bread, taking up knitting, doing 6th grade homework and discovering that when they’re locked in with their betrothed, they seem to have ‘run out of something’ very frequently!
Think of Adare Manor – an incredible venue to say your ‘I do’s’. Flash back to 1918, I wonder if the residents of Adare Manor were craving a pint in their local pub? Did they make assault courses on their land or learn dog agility to pass the time?
Dromoland Castle – a magical setting for a fairy-tale wedding. Back in the time of Spanish flu, there were no couples looking for a refund for their wedding, it was occupied by the O`Brien family. Without social media, did they entertain themselves by making up funny dances and performing them in the road, with hope they would catch on with the carriage passing by? Probably not. I imagine there was a definite increase in book reading and creative sewing and other arts.
Ashford Castle – very impressive, great for a good old knees up for your nuptials..not back in the Spanish flu. It had just passed hands from Arthur Guinness to his brother Edward who was the founder of the Iveagh Trust. Was the castle full of folk who were hard up and needed affordable Accomodation? That I don’t know. Not a bad place to be during quarantine, very easy to achieve social distancing. There would be no restrictions there on how long you were aloud to exercise for, although I’m not sure jogging or yoga was really a `thing` in Ireland back then.
People who lived in these very amazing venues had a great chance of not catching the virus, but had a tough job at keeping sane. There were no `street sing songs` for them, or doing the “who`s going to go into the cycle lane?” dance when out walking. They were truly alone.
Everyone weather rich or poor would have had to cancel big group weddings, that`s for sure. Foreign holidays weren’t really a thing then either, so being on hold to Ryanair to get your voucher, or taking the wedding venue in Spain to the small claims court for not refunding you, wouldn’t have been an issue, but trips to Ballybunion would have been off.
My heart really does go out to all the less wealthy folk of that time. Lockdown must have been an absolute nightmare. Confined to your tiny dwelling with your 11 children, no Joe wicks, TV or trampolines to keep them occupied. I’m sure the homeschooling wasn’t fun if it happened, and I`d take a guess that the family population increased in a lot of households!

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