By Jimmy Rhatigan
A LOCKDOWN at a makeshift maternity ward means that next of kin only are admitted.
The facility is at the rear of a home in St John’s Court, off Maudlin Street, in the shadow of St John’s O’Loughlin Memorial Church where local parents are expecting the births of triplets.
Conditions are described as exceptionally good at a venue that has not been used as a maternity unit in the past.
The expectant parents are regular visitors. But rules are so strict that mother and father are confined to flying visits only.
Security is tight with a particularly close watch being kept on the local Tom Cat even who is continuously monitored on his perch on a nearby hot tin roof.
Neighbours are unaware that what could be described as a local baby boom may shortly catapult a normally quiet area into the limelight.
At the minute the lockdown could be aptly described as being strictly for the birds.
Home owner Tommy Roche, an avid lover of nature, has confirmed that his garden shed is being used as a maternity ward of sorts.
“It is certainly an exciting time for a local family,” he told The Kilkenny Observer.
“It was at the weekend only that I became aware of a well-kept secret so I have no notion when the births will be. All I know is that triplets are on the way.”
The outhouse has been described as an ideal home or nest, colloquially, for an expanding family.
Food is in plentiful supply and there are provisions for short-stay or long stay-patients.
As we chatted to Tommy the parents arrived on an unexpected visit.
Two beautiful little robins, husband and wife, partners or maybe a courting couple were oblivious to our presence and fluttered to a colourful nest that contains three small, white eggs, tinier even than bantams’ eggs.
The hen parked her tiny bottom as she covered the eggs she had laid and the cock hovered.
Daddy bird and doll
Whether it was by accident or design, daddy bird and his doll had picked a shed that was well stocked with bird seed and fat balls that Tommy feeds to visiting birds all year round.
The nest is cleverly structured from fallen leaves and grasses. The diameter of the nest is roughly the size of your average bucket.
The robins may have had winter in mind when they picked a neatly covered area that had a good supply of coal and, wait for it, a well-stocked deep freeze that perhaps suggests that they may already be preparing for a winter stay.
We failed to get a picture of mammy and daddy but that we hope to rectify shortly.
And we plan also to get a picture of the extended feathered family of the future.
Considering the location of the outhouse it would be fair to say that the countdown to the births will be on a wing and a prayer.