This issue marks a year on from the start of something “novel” in this country. We suspected it would never land here. And then it did.
It did something to us. It drew us in. Attached masks to our faces. It burned to a crisp the skeleton structure of a future we had all shared in planning. And from the precipice of the wreckage, the litter, and the expanding silence before us all, we could expect nothing but time. The Creative Ireland we knew suffered immensely. A whole community had their platforms stripped away. For many who relied on connection, it was the loneliness of isolation that hurt the most.
However, we have learnt from our contributors that loneliness is not necessarily a function of solitude, and that such a thing as community-in-solitude does exist. The seeds of community were being sown, though we didn’t know it, when this pandemic began, and those seeds are beginning to flower.
Our pre-pandemic selves may have discounted the sum of our activities this past year as a waste of sofa-engorged time, a year of nothingness. Certainly, it has felt like that. But from the wastes have grown a wealth of diverse life, nourished by our fortitude, our compassion, and our creativity. All of this has taken time. Time we would not have been granted in a “normal” situation. It also takes courage and strength to battle against restrictions through art, which our contributors have shown they are replete with.
Looking at the work we’ve been fortunate to receive, this is the kind of Creative Ireland we want to showcase – one of diversity, inclusivity, environmentalism, and empowerment.
It is a solace to know that in the moment of a great crisis, such as the one we find ourselves in, it is the Creative who can lift the soul from its darkest point. It is the Creative who can change us from hearing the silence to listening to the song. It is the Creative who transforms the world wrestling with its own future to one which has found meaning in its present. Because of all these qualities, we thank you. This magazine simply would not exist without you at its centre.
Welcome to Bealtaine. Bright fires, and new beginnings.
Seán Flynn and Molly O’Connor