"New Year’s Eve in Germany normally is a noisy affair; people like fireworks and having parties. That was not the case in Ireland, neither on the farm nor in our village. Fireworks were and still are illegal in Ireland unless you have a license- e.g. for a public, official display. Living in the countryside, the most light we would see on a clear night were the stars—unless cloud coverage left us in the dark. City lights never offer such a spectacular view above your head.
After a long day of work around the yard and tending to the animals, a farmer wants an early night. Every day of the year has the tendency to be of a similar structure and work schedule because of the critters you take care of. Being early birds and having two small children, our night life suffered. The only sound on New Year’s Eve that I heard while lying awake and thinking of what life in Germany would be like was the ringing of the bells of the Killaloe Cathedral. Our trusted housekeeper, Pauline, had earned the privilege of ringing in the New Year at the old Protestant Church. For her it was the highlight of the season. Mac, my Ex, usually away with the fairies already would be disturbed by the sound of the bells and mumble in his sleep. ”Can’t they keep it down a bit? I want to sleep.”
Excerpt from my upcoming book I Once had a Farm in Ireland