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Lena Houghton

Interviewed by  Aisling Gillen

Aisling: How long have you lived in the area?
Lena: 84 years.

Aisling: What’s a fond memory you have of living here?
Lena: My fondest memory is playing outside around an Easter fire with my siblings. I have 13 siblings, 5 brothers and 8 sisters. Every Easter my father would light a big bonfire outside and my mother would cook eggs on the fire for us all.

Aisling: Have you seen this community come back from hard times before?
Lena: Yes, during the 1970s the market for potatoes collapsed which meant that a lot of farmers around here had money problems. It took a few years to recover from this but the community helped each other out.

Aisling: What are some things that have helped you through lockdown and what brings you joy?
Lena: I have a small garden where I grow vegetables and flowers. This, along with my daily walks, get me through the day.

Aisling: What does community mean to you? What sort of things are you doing now to stay connected to your community and family?
Lena: Although I live in a rural area, I feel we have a great community. The neighbours around me are my community. I stay connected with neighbours, friends and relatives through phone calls and house visits.

Aisling: What message do you want to share for yourself and this community in 10 years time?
Lena: I hope that my community looks out for each other. To continue visits and phone calls to the elderly, especially people who live on their own.

Aisling: “I enjoyed getting to learn about what the past was like and I enjoyed getting to hear their opinion on the pandemic.”