“I have a fine and snug home no matter what happens – I’m extremely lucky”

Séan Murphy is originally from Curracloe, Co. Wexford. He turned 80 this year during the Covid-19 restrictions, with neighbours and family coming together at a distance to ring in the end of his 80th year.

He moved to Castlebridge almost seven years ago, a small town a few miles outside of Wexford. He spent five years living in an apartment there before moving into his new home two years ago, a bungalow of Co-operative Housing Ireland’s in the same town.

“The apartment wasn’t practical because it was on the first floor and I had to walk 17 steps of stairs to it, which I found tough. I have COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), so you can imagine my breathing by the time I got to the top of the stairs,” Seán says.

Moving into his new home has had a positive impact on Seán. A lover of gardening, living in a bungalow with a garden has given him access to his passion for nature and growing once more.

“It’s  great because I have some outdoor space to garden in. I wasn’t able to garden in my apartment. I also have a polytunnel at my homestead in Curracloe where I can grow tomatoes and other vegetables, but during lockdown I wasn’t able to do that much with restrictions as I had to self-isolate”.

During lockdown he kept busy by building flower boxes and continuing on with his usual gardening. In his flower boxes he grew rhodendrums, lilies and begonias – lots of colourful flowers to brighhten up his home. He also continued on with his exercise for COPD despite being confined to his home.

“I mapped out a course at home and calculated that 20 laps was equivalent to 1km. Everyday I walk 6km, staggering the exercise throughout the day with other activities such as crosswords and gardening to keep busy. I’m not a lover of TV, but I do enjoy a good documentary when something interesting comes on. I would love to walk more out and about, but I notice people aren’t always great at social distancing, so I said I’d do my own thing at home.”

One of the things he missed most during lockdown was meeting people.

“You’d miss running into people you know for a chat in the supermarket, but overall I’m doing well. Keeping a good routine and making sure my mind is occupied helps greatly during the restrictions. I’m fortunate to have both my son and daughter living close. They were able to help me with tasks during lockdown. Overall I’m very positive about life, I have a fine and snug home no matter what happens –  I’m extremely lucky.”