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You have to admit it: we’re a nation that can’t help ourselves. We grasp on to any sign of hope and amplify it.

February: The Grand Auld Stretch

Artwork by Emily Robyn Archer / nativecirclesart.ie

Artwork by Emily Robyn Archer / nativecirclesart.ie

How many times have you heard ‘there’s a grand auld stretch in the evenings’ since Christmas? Noticing the grand auld stretch is different for everyone. Some start remarking the moment the winter solstice has passed but, for others, it can take until mid-February, when they finish work and notice it’s still bright outside.

Once you start noticing, it becomes addictive. There is even an official keeper of the stretch, where you can back up your case should the need arise

Sure lookit - it’s the little things that keep us going, isn’t it? It doesn’t take much to raise our spirits. We are a resilient bunch. The lengthening days, the first sign of daffodils poking their green shoots through the hard ground and buds appearing on the trees all signal a new year with renewed hope.

In Ireland, St. Brigid’s day is linked with the Celtic festival, Imbolc. It falls on February 1st, midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox and marks the start of spring, time for new life and new beginnings. The sense of a collective sigh and lifting of spirits is usually palpable around now - even though weather conditions may still be harsh, we have a sense of looking forward to better days ahead.

We have the longlist of nominees for the 2021 Dublin Literary Award to look forward to on February 4th - alway a good place to find excellent reading material. The new spring titles from publishers are hitting the shelves in your local library and bookshops. Roll on the good times when we are able to browse among them again!. Don’t forget that your local bookshop will post books to you and that Dublin City Libraries can deliver books directly to your door if you are in one of the designated groups. Insert link to library delivery service

One author eager to see her first book get into the hands of readers is Catherine Talbot - read her story of getting published during a pandemic here.

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