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The Kildare Arts Service Covid Diary Project

min read

The Kildare Arts Service Covid Diary Project

min read


The Kildare Arts Service Covid Diary Project

This extraordinary project was aimed at older people and those cocooning in Kildare. In 2020 over 140 moleskin notebooks were delivered to homes throughout the county by the Kildare Arts Service who encouraged participants to share their reflections, artwork, and stories throughout the lockdown with the intention that the diaries would eventually become part of a permanent archive for Kildare County Council.
The notebooks have now been returned to Kildare Arts Service for digital scanning and reveal a treasure trove of lockdown memories. Lucina Russell is the Arts Officer with Kildare County Council says that the age range of those involved with the project is “impressive with the youngest being six-years-old and the oldest being 91-years-old“.

“They’ve started arriving in, in the last week. Lots of people referenced hoping that the lockdown would end at Easter. A lot of people talked about loneliness, isolation, despair, but there was a sense of optimism and knowing that this was going to pass. There’s quite a number of references to support agencies and some of the people who availed of the notebooks would have been involved with Naas Care of the Aged and also with services supporting mental health difficulties. They talk very much, in their notebooks, about the services, like the delivery of meals. As you can imagine food was a big part of the notebooks. Lots of people are enjoying the time with lots of references to birds and gardens. Dogs and cats feature quite strongly,” she added. “These humble little projects can be part of a bigger picture”.
One of the diarists featured in the documentary is also the oldest contributor to the notebook project. For her diary, 91-year-old Elizabeth Kenny chose to reflect on her life. “I really did not know. Maybe I am letting myself in for something that I don’t understand. I think it was the next day. I got the pen down and I said, ‘Here it goes, Lizzy. Start writing. I can’t write that well but I started writing and kept going. And do you know why I wanted to do it, because I’ll be 92-years-old next April, in case I lose the little bit that’s there,” she laughed.
Elizabeth has eight children, 21 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren. She found the hardest part of lockdown has been missing her friends at the day care centre in Naas. “I love my life and my family. Even though you love your own but you love a friend to talk to, don’t you? You can tell them things, you know”.

The film, supported by the Creative Ireland Programme and directed by Kildare native David C Lynch, features some of the older Covid diarists and premiered online as part of Culture Night 2020


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