Lise Hand: Bitterest of nights when Arctic ice entered our country's soul
In the bleak midwinter Frosty wind made moan, Earth stood hard as iron, Water like a stone; Snow had fallen, snow on snow, Snow on snow.
(In the Bleak Midwinter by Christina Rossetti)
The Arctic air was frozen as a blanket of snow settled over the towns and cities, the meadows and mountains from the Atlantic Ocean to the Irish Sea.
But this was nothing, nothing compared to the ice that entered the soul of the country's men and women last night. The glacial, biting chill that descended at the sight of our Taoiseach, our Head of Government, announcing that the economic sovereignty of Ireland had been exchanged for the modern equivalent of 30 pieces of silver, or €85bn.
And the bitterest, coldest fact of all was that €17.5bn of that bailout is to come from the National Pensions Reserve Fund. This was our money under the mattress, the comforting National Nest-Egg that was salted away for a rainy day.