January 2023

How time flies, its January 2023! Isn’t it wonderful to be here at the moment and move to experience another chapter of our lives. We were all tested and challenged during the past year but we will continue to press forward and be grateful for the blessing of being alive and healthy.

Christmas has always been colorful and joyful in the Centre. We had two beautiful Christmas trees and the residents had their Christmas party with their loved ones. We were all entertained by Wendell’s music talent and the catering team provided us with plenty food and wine for everyone. Our local pharmacy supplier Kelleher’s Pharmacy gifted all our residents with toiletries. It was indeed a wonderful time of the year!

We had our fair share of Covid last November. The Centre had its first major Covid outbreak with sixteen residents and four staff affected by the virus. We are glad the symptoms of Covid to our residents were mild. Some were given antibiotics but thank God none needed hospital interventions or emergency action. I know all of you are aware that the Centre is open for visitation. Please do not come to the Centre with any symptoms of Covid or you have been exposed to someone that is positive. You are putting the residents and staff safety at risk. I am sure no one wants to be sick because we are all tired of Covid at this time. Come to the Centre with a mask and use it properly. Do not remove your mask while you are inside the Centre or have your mask half covering your nose. Your nose and mouth should be covered. Alcohol hand gel is provided upon entering the Centre. Please use it.

Every year the Centre has the Annual Review Report as per HIQA regulation 23(d). We gather and collate information from surveys from residents, relatives, staff, accidents and incidents reports, risk register audits, complaints, falls, staffing levels, synopsis of Hiqa inspection, trainings, Activities, menus and diets and every department in the Centre has its report to ensure that we have provided person centred care to every resident. We use this tool to help us assess and review the Quality of Care that we deliver. We take this review seriously and as an opportunity to reflect on the service we provided with a particular focus on how it can be improved. I would like to invite you to have an input on the Annual review.


If you have any suggestion, comment, or recommendation to improve our service please feel free to email me at personincharge.powdermill@gmail.com. Your input is valuable and we will endeavor to continue to provide the best care to the residents in the Centre.

Let me wish one and all a Happy 2023! More blessings and good health be upon everyone. God bless you all.

Joy Berey

Director of Nursing


I would like to wish all our residents, their families and friends, and our staff a peaceful and prosperous new year. Again I would like to thank those who assist the residents in managing their finances and paying their bills.

You may have noticed that we are nearing completion of the new stairs. This was a big project and has worked out very well.

Last year we installed a new coffee machine beside the outside office. All visitors are welcome to have a coffee or hot chocolate. It is our small way of saying thanks.

We are glad to welcome back Rosemar to the activities team and wish her every success in her role. She is full of enthusiasm which is contagious. Expect the hair salon and nail bar to be taking bookings shortly.  She will be working with Carol and Rose who have held the fort so well. We have lots of weekly activities planned for our residents and if you have any suggestions we would gladly welcome them.

Thank you

Jennifer Kennedy


On the 9th January Terry Prone in an opinion piece compared being in a nursing home to benign incarceration in prison. She further suggested that the loss of freedom by a resident would be more than someone “who attacked a tourist with a box knife”.

We are including a link with this newsletter for the article. I have been given a right of reply which has not been published yet.


Joseph Peters





Christmas in the beautiful Glen of Aherlow

Christmas in the beautiful Glen of Aherlow was in many ways simple and beautiful. There was Jesus Christ, his mother and father and Santa Claus, the heavy hitters you might say Influencing this celebration. I was child number 4 of clutch of nine so I was perfectly placed to record the aftermath of the stable birth.

Our cooking arrangements consisted of two options, a range using. Solid fuel to heat water and cook and a four ring gas cooker. Every morning my mother would light the range as Gay Byrne informed and entertained the women of Ireland. The gas cooker was used sparingly as money was scarce with one wage and 32 statute acres to raise the offspring.

My father bought a real turkey which had to be converted from a live feathered bird to a roasting pan. It was at least a 24 lbs in weight. We never had it cooked in time for dinner in all my eighteen years at home. The turkey began the cooking journey in the gas oven where it was now a test of strength and dexterity to place it there. The plan was simple. As soon as the temperature rose to the desired level in the range the roasting pan would be transferred there to continue its journey. 30 mins per lb and 30 minutes over.

And this is how it panned out. The turkey would be transferred after one hour to save gas. Holding a hot roasting pan with 27 lbs of turkey was not easy. Then because the stove was wood burning (coal was a luxury) some damp wood would find its way into the fire box and the temperature in the range would drop requiring the turkey to be transferred back to the gas cooker to keep the process going. Then the gas would run low with only a flicker and a dying flame. There was no replacement to be got on Christmas day so the cylinder was turned on its side and put on a kitchen chair to extract the last of its heating properties. This was usually good for about two hours before the cooker was pronounced dead and the driest wood was carefully selected to keep the stove alight and achieving reasonable consistent temperatures. The range was the only game in town now.

By five o clock only a mathematical expert could calculate if the bird was cooked taking all the factors, transfers and loss of temperature into account. It looked cooked on the outside and we ate the outside. My father sharpened the big knife on the plaster wall outside the house. The ear piercing sound of steel on stone was always nerve racking and excruciating. My father sliced the cooked part on the outside until the juice started to run pink. The Brussels Sprouts were boiled with the ham for at least one and a half hours until they were as sour as you can imagine. I ate them as I believed eating manky sprouts was part of the magic of Christmas. The turkey was sent back to the range for an extended period and we all ate our fill. It was wonderful.

One Christmas when I must have been at least seven, Santa went practical and brought me a black leather school bag. My shock, hurt and disappointment was etched on face as my mother sought to sell the merits of a black leather school bag to me. It did not work there was a hand gun in the bag, which was for me. Alas it was only a cap gun which was unable to assuage my grief.

Christmas is not all about happiness you know. It is an often desperate attempt to have one day of peace and joy. And it is mostly successful. Swans swim in rivers and lakes, turkeys die and gas bottles love to run out of gas on Christmas day. That’s how it is.

On Christmas Eve, I invite my children and grandchildren over for a Christmas dinner. It has been going for a number of years and this year five out of my six sons arrived. My other son lives in Adelaide with his wife and four children in South Australia.

My wife prepared a wonderful meal and her menu wide and varied and traditional did not include Brussels Sprouts. One of my sons who wishes to preserve his anonymity breathed a sigh of relief and began to regale all with his dastardly images of my Brussels Sprouts served up every Christmas. How anyone can condemn Brussels Sprouts Creole (recipe available from the author) is beyond this writer’s comprehension. What I do know is that we become our parents in 95% of cases.

Postscript to Christmas Story by Joe Peters


The Winner of Our Christmas Story Competition Story

Congratulations Sister Peggy.

Memories of Christmas Past

I can still recall fondly, the preparation and the unique atmosphere in the run up to Christmas as a young child. It was delightful and a truly magical time of year.

My five beautiful sisters and two wonderful brothers would set about getting the home-place ready for the big day, inside and outside. We all had our individual roles to play in preparation for the arrival of Daddy Christmas and the casual visiting of neighbours and friends over the coming weeks.

We washed, painted, and wall papered inside the house, filling the home with fresh new fragrances. I loved helping my parents whitewash the walls out in the yard and the outhouse. Cleaning the yard was a big undertaking which we all shared and enjoyed.

The anticipation and excitement of Christmas grew throughout the townland of Mourineabbey with the chanting of the children; “Christmas comes but once a year, when it comes it brings good cheer. When it goes it leaves us here, what will we do for the rest of the year”. The chanting would fill the children and neighbours with joy as everyone worked tirelessly to make the farm as charming as it could be for this special time of year.

Handmade decorations filled the home, bringing festive colour and cheer. Our parents watched and encouraged us, while we playfully created decorations using coloured crepe paper. I helped my father hang the delicate, love infused creations carefully from the ceiling. My mother created a mix of vibrant green holly, red berries, and strong ivy to place around the pictures and ornaments in the living are.

Weeks before Daddy Christmas was due to arrive, we would search the Cork Examiner newspaper for pictures of Daddy Christmas and post them all around our bedrooms. We believed the more pictures we had, the more favourable we would be for gifts in terms of quality and quantity from the man in the big red suit.

Christmas began long before December for our family. We spent most of the year rearing and fattening up geese for ourselves but also for other families who would buy their special Christmas feast from my father. We grew our own turnips, parsnips, cabbage and potatoes alongside the rearing of the geese.

The fascination of the snow on the ground many years, accompanied with family outings, visiting the alluring crib in Mallow still stands out in my mind. The feeling of that cold December air and the excitement mixed with the hustle and bustle of families preparing for Christmas gatherings was almost contagious. Many Christmas cards were written, sent and received by loved ones at this time of year. Christmas week, it was tradition to give the postman who in those days was on his bicycle, an alcoholic drink. This drink symbolised our thanks for all his work throughout the year and wished him luck for the year ahead.

My mother always took the train to Cork City for provisions which included a large, tall red candle, a leg of lamb to be eaten over the Christmas days and a barm brack from Laurence McCarthy on Daunt Street. My mother dealt with Laurence year-round and the brack was a special Christmas treat for me and my siblings. If I was lucky enough, I would travel with my mother and visit the crib in the city.

As Christmas drew near, it was time to prepare the Goose. The children were allowed to pluck the goose in the outhouse while wearing hats to prevent the tiny feathers getting into our hair. It was a very delicate and important job, as the flesh of the goose was thin and could tear easily. I can still hear the loud, heartfelt chant of my family at this time “Christmas is coming, and the goose is getting fat, please put a penny in the old man’s hat, if you haven’t got a penny a ha’penny will do, if you haven’t got a ha’penny god bless you; Like all things of value in those days, there was no waste. The down of the goose was kept and filled into pillows and the fat from cooking the goose was kept in jars. The fat was the used to relieve pains on adult and children joints and aches.

The big day had finally arrived, it was Christmas morning. We crawled to the bottom of our beds where our stockings hung, guided only by the dim light that glowed in front of the sacred heart picture. We sat there laughing and feeling the texture of our stockings, giddy with excitement guessing what surprise we received.

I recall gifts of board games such as snakes n’ ladders and Ludo, colourful sweets and if we were very lucky maybe even a coin. When we returned from mass, we would compare our gifts and play with our cousins from next door.

Christmas day was extra special and warm for the family, it was the only day of the year the range would be lit. My mother loved to cook the bird and home-grown vegetables in the range for Christmas. The rest of the year we cooked and baked using a bastable and pots over the open fire. I still remember the aroma and flavour of my mammy’s special potato stuffing. After dinner each child was given a large slice of Christmas cake covered in white icing, created by my older sister and a glass of lemonade. I remember eating the cake sparingly and slowly to make it last longer. As it was a special occasion and we had visitors, the adults would allow themselves an alcoholic beverage to celebrate.

Christmas night Uncle Denny visited and would sing a few songs and tell stories in front of the tall red candle. The youngest child in the house was given the honour of lighting the candle. This precious Christmas candle burned bright, standing in the red paper-covered turnip. My father used an auger to create a hole wide and deep enough to hold this beautiful candle. When the songs had been sung and the stories were told, the family would kneel praying and giving thanks for the many wonderful gifts we had received, the food and warmth in our home and our simple yet abundant blessings.

We lay our heads down to bed with our bellies full, our grateful hearts and drifted off to sleep thankful for the miracle of Daddy Christmas and our beautiful gifts.


Sister Peggy



Christmas time at my house


I am the middle child in a large family of 10. My mother a busy housekeeper and my father was a bus driver.

In preparation for Christmas we always got new shoes from the shoe fair. Uncle Vincent worked in Easons and we were lucky enough to get a box of the broken toys from the shop. Daddy would always hide the toys, we pretended not to know this which added to the excitement.

I loved making paper decorations and looking at the sparkling lights on our Christmas tree. We hung the stockings over our beds and waited in anticipation for gifts to fill them.

Daddy would make two cakes and two puddings for Christmas. When he was preparing the turkey for roasting, he would run around the house trying to scare us playing with the turkey legs.

On Christmas day, we always wore our good clothes and new shoes. We received beautiful presents of chocolate sweets, money, an orange, colouring books and pencils.

One very special Christmas which stands out in my mind, I saw Santa land on the roof of a neighbours house across the street. That year I got a shop, made of cardboard and jars of hard items used as pretend food/sweets.

We went as a family to mass every Christmas day with our mother and father. After mass Uncle Peter brought us lemon sweets in a Christmas wrapped box.

After dinner, we always went to visit my aunt Nelly. Nelly lived alone and spoiled us with sweets, biscuits and raspberry drinks.

We always lay our heads to rest on Christmas night happy and very tired from playing with uncle Paddy and our cousins.

Christmas was always a special and magical time at my house.

Teresa Scally




Christmas with my family


My most precious Christmas days were spent with my only son Paul, his cousins Barry and Isabelle, my mother and my father. Barry is only one month older than Paul.

Santa always brought a bag of presents for myself and Paul.

I loved having my hair done for Christmas and we went to mass late on Christmas eve or early Christmas morning. Christmas evening after our delicious turkey and ham dinner, my sister in law Mary and brother Pat would enjoy the pudding I prepared two weeks previous. It was well known I was heavy handed with the whiskey and brandy in the pudding preparation, amplifying the flavour served with a generous pouring of custard.

It warms my heart to know Paul, Barry, Isabelle and her two sons now all grown, still make the time and effort to see each other on Christmas day and reminisce on years gone by.

Phyllis O’ Neill


The Christmas Bazar

Thinking of Christmas stories, I remember a little jack and the beanstalk type moment of my own. It was a Christmas in Cork 1976, which meant going to the wonderful and much awaited Christmas Bazar, with my mother, in the City Hall.

It was a space full of festive wonder with sparkling gifts and colourful lights, where people were doing their holiday shopping and of course, featuring the annual Christmas raffle which I was very excited about as a young boy.

So naturally I asked my mother if I could buy a ticket for the draw. I was so happy when she gave me a pound note (a considerable amount back in those days). So I wondered down with the intention of getting just one, however I came back after spending the entire pound on tickets. My mum was shocked and a little disappointed as we needed the money for the bus fare home, which made feel really bad.

Surprisingly though, shortly after they announced the raffle winners and called out the winning number as five, seven, zero, two, well my eyes lit up straight away with joy as I looked down at my ticket and realized I had the winning one!

So I went up to collect my prize and they give me the biggest Christmas pudding I had ever seen, and my mother was over the moon which made me feel so relieved as it turned out to be a lovely Christmas moment. I couldn’t wait to go home and surprise the family with it, once we figured out how we were going to get back home, of course. We walked home with no money left for the bus, but it was a cheerful walk home.

Michael Hegarty



A Message for Christmas


This is what we should ask Jesus for at Christmas: the grace of littleness. “Lord, teach us to love littleness. Help us to understand that littleness is the way to authentic greatness”. What does it mean, concretely, to accept littleness? In the first place, it is to believe that God desires to come into the little things of our life; he wants to inhibit our daily lives, the things we do each day at home, in our families, at school and in the workplace. Amid our ordinary lived experience, he wants to do extraordinary things. His is a message of immense hope. Jesus asks us to rediscover and value the little things in life.

Jesus does not want to come merely in the little things of our lives, but also in our own littleness; in our experience of feeling weak, frail, inadequate, perhaps even “messed up”. Dear sister or brother, if, as in Bethlehem, the darkness of night overwhelms you, if you feel surrounded by cold indifference, if the hurt you carry inside cries out, “You are of little account; you are worthless, you will never be loved the way you want”, tonight, if this is what you are feeling, God answers back. He tells you:” I love you just as you are. Your littleness does not frighten me; your failings do not trouble me. I became little for your sake. To be your God, I became your brother. Dear brother, dear sister, don’t be afraid of me. Find in me your measure of greatness. I am close to you, and one thing only do I ask: trust me and open your heart to me”.

To accept littleness means something else too. It means embracing Jesus in the little ones of today. Loving him, that is, in the least of our brothers and sisters. Serving him in the poor, those most like Jesus who was born in poverty. It is in them that he wants to be honoured. On this night of love, may we have only one fear: that of offending God’s love, hurting him by despising the poor with our indifference. Jesus loves them dearly, and one day they will welcome us to heaven.

So then, dear brothers and sisters, let us return to Bethlehem, let us return to the origins: to the essentials of faith, to our first love, to adoration and charity. May god enable us to be a worshipping, poor and fraternal Church. That is what is essential. Let us go back to Bethlehem. Let us rejoice together, for no one will ever extinguish this light, the light of Jesus, who tonight shines brightly in our world.

Pope Francis