Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Update 20th March

‘Guns and Rosaries’…. Father Peyton of Mayo and the U.S.  RTE 1 Thursday 10.15.
 Senior people will remember the year 1954 as Marian Year. (Marian’s of Boyle) Many ladies carry that name as a result of a special  Catholic emphasis on Our lady during that year. Most of the shrines you see in Boyle, Fuerty and so on resulted from then along with other symbols. One of the great advocates of veneration to Our lady was the priest Father Patrick John Peyton through the praying of the Rosary. He was born in 1909 in Attymass, East Mayo and died in California in ’92 aged 83.

On Thursday night on RTE there is a programme on Father Peyton titled ‘Guns and Rosaries’. The Irish Priest who became an unlikely Hollywood celebrity recruiting other celebrities to a global prayer campaign-crusade- that reached millions. It is currently being advertised on television with images of Grace Kelly , Vice-President (then) Richard Nixon and so on. In the background are Fidel Castro, Nikita Khrushchev of Russia and images from the Russian invasion of Hungary in 1956. Peyton was a precursor of Billy Graham. Older people will remember the very strong tradition of families gathering each night before bedtime and saying the rosary. I would not know if that still survives today.
Father Peyton became known as ‘The Rosary Priest’ and  traversed the world with his Rosary Crusade and coined the phrase of ‘The family that prays together stays together’.  I have some recollection of him having a connection to Croghan. Tom Mullaney may advise on that. He is apparently near the end of the process of being canonised a saint. He was a really influential figure in the 1950s of a very dogmatic Catholic ethos more based on a fear of hell than anything else. I remember shards of it.

Brexit Keeps on Giving
 I should have gone, with my three vote forecast regarding Brexit of last week, to the Bookies as it was also Cheltenham. The 3 were; 1. Theresa May’s proposal being shot down again; 2. Taking a No Deal off the table and 3. Looking for an extension. The No Deal had an interesting amendment in that they added a ‘Never’ to No Deal which when it gets cemented in with legal cement (like you use in fire stoves etc.) It is pretty strong stuff.

There were a number of other division 2 votes. One concerned another Referendum. Now that had a nuanced twist to it in that The House of Commons first had to vote if they would allow such a vote. The vote was allowed by a decent majority but when the vote was taken it was shot down by a ‘decenter’ (sic) majority. Play with that for a while. ‘Would you get a decent pub quiz team from the front benches of both Conservatives and labour?’  After that Jeremy mentioned something about backing a Referendum. There is a sense of Boda Berg about it …..but…..I’m….hooked. Box set for next Christmas please.

I took leave of Brexit for some days then and joined the high jinks at Cheltenham. While I am aware of gambling addiction and cruelty to horses (four died during the meeting) it was a theatre of a very different hue.

Forgetting that Monday was not a Bank Holiday it was only late in the day that I heard rumblings of something else going awry at the Commons and poor Theresa being blindsided again. The Chair of the House i.e. The Speaker whose name is John Bercow threw a ‘spaniard’ in the works as I once heard a Dub. expounding on a building site. Bercow resurrected a law or directive from 1604 resisting a motion being brought before the House too many times without significant amendments. It would probably have been defeated anyway. While Bercow seems to be enjoying himself too much in this whole circus, considering how dammed serious it all is, he was probably right in this.
Now the question arises as to the length of the postponement. There are European Election which take place between the 23rd and 26th of May. The U.K. Prime Minister would like a short postponement but that now seems unlikely considering the amount of new thinking required. The danger with a long postponement is that BREXIT may just unravel and offers solace to REMAINERS such as former Tony Blair Secretary Alastair Campbell who we often see on RTE. There is a ‘spaniard’ which could emerge with the May Elections in the U.K. in that the reputational damage being shipped by the Conservatives and Labour is such that it will give Pro-Brexiteers big advantages in the first past the post elections.


The Rossies House Draw

There are a number of groups who deserve praise for their work in recent times. Before Christmas I waxed as lyrical as I could on the achievement of the Roscommon GAA Group who ran a hugely successful draw for a Sean Mulryan House and netted something near 1 million euro profit.

I’m a Celebrity Get me Out of Here…Organisers and Participants
Last Saturday night St. Joseph's, the Town Hall was packed and enjoyed a fun fund-raising event organised by a Boyle GAA ‘Young Turks’ Committee. They comprised of Brian Furey, Roch Hanmore, David Kelly, Karl Kennedy, Marc O’Connor, Mark O’Donohoe, Sean Purcell and Cian Smith. It took a great amount of organising and tying all the strings together and they were just great in doing all that. It is said that Barack Obama won his first U.S. Presidential election in the States on the foot of modern technology and communications platforms. I am not tuned into much of those but they are obviously the future and I’m sure they played a big role for Saturday night’s event as it had done for Roscommon last winter.
The competitors also deserve great credit. It was for a few a really nervy/tricky time dealing with the spider touch and snake familiarisation process. This was really evidenced with Michael Cawley during those two Trials. The panel here included; Barry Simon, Damien Butler, David McKenna, Derek Brady, Donal Connaughton, Enda Smith, Ian Cooney, Jacinta Callaghan, Joe Ryan, Karl Keenan, Laura Horan,  Mairead McKeon, Mark O’Connor, Mary Flynn, Niamh Beirne, Ray Hannon, Seamus Keane, Saoirse O’Flaherty, Seanie McDermott [Who grew up (a little) in Brooklyn N.Y. until he was 9], Sham Hanifa-‘I use fake tan a lot’; Shauna Moran, Sinead O’Donohoe and Vickie Lavin.  These represented a formidable cast with Donal Connaughton and Seamus Keane coming out tops.
The more senior members of the club were delighted to see the energy and innovation of these young guns and it is fair to say that the future of the club is in rude good health with this imaginative and linked in community. Fair play to you all.

St Patrick’s Day Organising  Committee
I may have only imagined hearing, some time ago of the possibility of there being no St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Boyle this year. Anyway a committee emerged comprising of Joe Ryan, Derek Dooley, Martin Downes, Lorcan Egan, Brian Kelly, A Kohler, D. Shannon, B. Simon and Keith Suffin. A successful parade emerged. The day was dry, the crowds were out and the atmosphere was fine and business was done. So hats off to the Committee and all who helped them; Gardai, sponsors, participants, helpers, M.C., platform  and the photographers who recorded and posted to their various media platforms.
I have pondered on mentioning this but since I did last week I had broken the ice. It emerged again at the parade. Standing for a while with a cup of tea outside Mattimoe’s I could not hear the introductions of the M.C. Jnr. Smith. I moved up to the bridge and it resulted in only minimal improvement. Not to be able to hear Jnr. at say 20 feet is something. At Boyle GAA grounds we use an old inadequate East European sound system. So maybe someone who would be qualified in the arts of sound systems for outdoor events might come on board with a system that would straddle the main line of Bridge St. to The Crescent next year.
Fair play to Danny Tiernan with his themed messaged entry. I was happy to see Richard Connolly Snr. back from Crufts. Who actually won? There is a very decent prize pot for the winners, plus the honour …not to be sneezed at!

Schools For Climate Change
Climate change is an accepted fact by most (excepting Donald Trump and similar geniuses). I open with the obvious by saying that I am no expert in any way in all this. Still in accepting the veracity of climate change it behoves us all to make our contribution to help turn the tide on this. It may not impact on senior people like myself but it certainly will on people I care greatly about. Last Friday thousands of school children throughout many different countries took to the streets to highlight the issue and bring pressure to bear on those in positions of power and influence to address the issue more aggressively. The EU has allotted certain fossil fuel emission quotas to its member countries to be reached by a certain year. Ireland apparently are falling way behind in their required targets. Its approach is lazy and deferential. Of course it needs courses of action that will not be popular especially with the farming community. Bord na Mona too with its power stations and the harvesting of peat on an industrial scale are in the cross hairs.
Anyway the young school people are a very important pressure group as they have most to lose. They also have time and many of them will become influencers and decision makers in the near future. Oddly some school managements adopted a negative attitude to their pupils involvement in last Friday’s protests. One would have thought it would have been a great and memorable ‘field trip’ for them and a chance to make a real difference to show leadership in a zone where it is obviously lacking with the political classes and vested interests. The Australian minister for education saying that the Friday strikes were illegal for example!
The original school protestor was a 16 year old Swedish girl called Greta Thunberg and she has spoken to the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Poland; to the super rich at Davos and the E.U. Friday was chosen as the day last week because it is the day Great was allowed/allocated for her protests in her home school. She will probably be nominated for a Nobel Prize.
She is following in the footsteps of Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan who won a Nobel Prize in 2014 in pursuit of education for female students in her country prohibited by extremist elements.
There is a young Cork lady with disability who I am a great admirer of Joanne O’Riordan who also addressed the U.N.  in 2012. Donald Walshe from Tralee I think who died of cancer in May 2013. A young lady with disability who I see at Roscommon GAA games regularly and is Wheelchair hurling All-Star i.e. Sarah Cregg. These are some of the young people who set major examples to us all. Let us work with them for as I applaud them and wish them well. There are many hurdles to negotiate.

Boyle Athletic Club Up and Running
Tonight Tuesday I came across a group of Boyle Athletes out for their run. On enquiry I was told that this a fairly recent club i.e. Boyle Athletic club and now they were up and running with a membership of 170 or so. That is a magnificent number for a young club. I believe they had a huge number participate in a Drumshambo Run recently and that they can travel to venues far and wide to participate. Again the leaders are as follows that I know of; Dean and Melissa Beirne, Noel Scally. Neil Conlon, John Brennan, Helen Beirne. A number of these people are involved in the very popular Lough key run on Saturday mornings  and have extended to this Athletic Club chrysalis.



Roscommon went down to Galway last Saturday in Salthill. I missed this one for a variety of reasons. Roscommon host Kerry on Sunday next and it would take a great performance to see Roscommon get a result that would retain them in the premier division. The points in this division are as follows; Kerry-10/ Galway-8/ Mayo-8/ Tyrone-7/ Dublin-6/ Monaghan-4/ Roscommon-3/ Cavan-2. Sunday’s games are as follows; Cavan v Dublin/ Mayo v Monaghan/ Roscommon v Kerry/ Tyrone v Galway.  The pity is that Kerry could still need a point I imagine since Mayo beat them last week and I am not sure could Galway overtake them? Tyrone have come a good way since we gifted them a point. They were impressive on Saturday v Dublin.
One thing I was not impressed with though was the ‘tackle’ of the Tyrone goalie on Paddy Andrews. It deserved a red card. Paddy Andrews got badly injured in this ‘tackle’. Another bad ‘shoulder- to- the- chest charge that got away lightly was that of the Rd. Croke's defender early in the first half v Corofin. Referees have a duty of care to players and there seems to be a season of aggression emerging.
A man who paid a big price, reputationally, for an incident he was involved in with Galway in the All-Ireland of ’83 was Kieran Duff of Dublin. I watched a poignant documentary on his life on Friday 15th on TG4 as part of the Laochra Gael series. Perhaps it will be repeated and I recommend it. I t follows a very good similar documentary on Jason Sherlock around Christmas. One I missed was ‘Players of the Faithful’ on the Offaly team which stopped Kerry’s drive for five in ’82.

In two weeks the County Senior League-O’Rourke Cup- begins with a game in Boyle v St. Brigid’s and then there are a series of games on a regular basis. This new process should be interesting as it segues into the championship nicely in the later summer. Boyle should be contenders this year so bring it on.
Boyle Celtic after some blips are still in with a chance of the Roscommon League but have a last away game against title champions and leaders St. Peter’s Athlone. They had a very good win in Connemara to qualify for the Connacht junior Cup Quarter finals when they meet Manuella of Mayo.

Sin e from this bridging blog.

‘And so to bed’.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Update 12th March


Crazy Fixture Alteration for Saturday.

Roscommon Senior football team had been fixed to play Galway in their vital league game on Saturday March 16th at 2 pm in Salthill. Galway City on any Saturday as I and many more of you may know has the potential for  grid-lock. This will be exacerbated considerably by the fact that this coming week-end is St. Patrick’s Day week-end. Roscommon people question going to Salthill for games at any time or day for these reasons.

NOW INTO THE EQUATION THE POWERS THAT BE HAVE ALTERED THIS AND FIXED THE GALWAY V WEXFORD HURLING QUARTER FINAL FOR 1.30 AND PUSHED THE ROSCOMMON V GALWAY GAME BACK TO 3.30. That is a double header. Have they any sense of the traffic and parking issues involved in all this? There are legendry tales of people being ‘stuck’ in traffic in Galway going to and coming home from games in Salthill and of arriving long into games even after allowing time for the venue location and traffic history. Saturday has the potential to produce a catalogue of those frustrations. Throw a few hailstone showers into the mix and you have a journey to remember for all the wrong reasons.  It is hard to credit  that this double header could have been countenanced for that venue on that day.
Supporters for the second game will be edging towards Salthill in crawling traffic. When they get within that area, if they do, there will be no parking as what might be there will be occupied by the traffic from the first game. Is Tuam not a viable option for the football game?

Football supporters will want to support their teams BUT it is being made almost impossible by this arrangement. (While it is not a fixtures committee consideration Boyle Club have their major fund-raiser on Saturday night with say Enda Smith involved in the game and the fund-raiser as is Roscommon Herald Sports Editor Ian Cooney).   

I think that this decision could accelerate meaningful resistance from Roscommon and other counties to having fixtures in Salthill long term. There is a pretty obvious way for supporters to kick-start that.

Roscommon v Dublin
Roscommon raised their game –from the Breffni performance-and for forty five minutes or so gave a very good account of themselves. The spirit and tenacity of the Monaghan and Tyrone games was back and there was plenty of good football played. Roscommon’s status is now in the melting pot and Saturday’s game v Galway is vital.
Regrettably it was a raw day playing and watching two earnest teams playing. The Dubs supporters had come in their numbers as evidenced by the line of cars out the Athlone Road by which route our car-load made tracks home for Boyle. I have become a fan of Dublin and in many games one might nominate a different player from their team as ‘Man of the Match’. My consistent favourite is Brian Fenton who could grace any era as a supreme, elegant midfielder.

I have nearly exhausted my griping with the Salthill issue above but I have one also from Hyde Park. I had taken up a position on the Athlone Road side near the graveyard end. I was with a friend of mine Tony Regan originally from Clover hill/ Oran but long domiciled in Galway. There was a minute’s silence in respect of the death on the Saturday of the great Roscommon midfielder of the forties, Liam Gilmartin. Frustratingly I could not make out a word from the totally inadequate speaker system. It isn’t the first time I have come across reference to this issue. On Sunday last the system –not the individual manning it- was a total non- performer. I remember doing a Credit Union quiz in the town hall once and using the resident speaker system. It seemed adequate for the performers on the lower deck. But afterwards a senior lady made a point of telling me “I could not hear ‘nare’ (phonetic spelling) a word ya said”. It was pretty late to inform me of same.
Fair play to Jim Gavin for his generous and knowledgeable tribute to Liam Gilmartin when addressing the media after the game.

Congratulations to Leitrim on their successful promotion from Division 4 to 3 with a series of wins. They still have two games to play as well. So Leitrim followers can look forward to a trip for the Div. 4 final in Croke Park. What’s rare can indeed be wonderful. Leitrim born Meath star Colm O’Rourke penned a fine tribute to Leitrim in the Sunday independent.  Similarly the performance of Carlow hurlers is also worthy of note with their defeat of Offaly. One has to feel sorry for Offaly whose status has plummeted in both hurling and football in recent times.  

Brexit Update
I said, a good while ago, that I felt a postponement was a real possibility and it gets realer (sic) by the day. This week there is a series of votes in the British Parliament. On Tuesday there will be another vote on the formula/agreement which the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, presented on January 15th . It was defeated by 432 to 202 votes then. I don’t think I’m stretching myself in thinking that defeat on Tuesday is another strong possibility. On Wednesday there will probably be another vote which is ‘against a NO DEAL exit’. That will get a favourable vote. Then on Thursday there may be a vote to seek and extension on the time for a British Exit. This could be for 3 months or 6 months. The longer it is, the greater the possibility is that the whole EXIT strategy will continue to unravel. At the end of last week I heard Theresa utter the unthinkable when she referred to “not leaving the EU at all” (paraphrase). So a little like a cricket match we will have at least three innings of this played out in the British House of Commons. More theatre, more drama, more uncertainty….’The wheels on the bus go round and round…’
**P.S. (late Monday night…there seems to be some movement which gives the British P.M. some kind of puzzling concessions which may help her in Tuesday’s vote. So watching the vote count in the British House of Commons on Tuesday night is a date not to be missed).

Last week we had the British Attorney General, Jeffrey Cox in giving some legal stuff regarding the ‘Backstop’ referring to it as Cox’s ‘codpiece’. This was ‘gallows humour’ which was indulged by the Speaker (Ceann Comhairle) of the House of Commons, John Bercow.  This was absurd Eton schoolboy humour. It just demonstrates the capacity of the House of Commons and its residents to think that it is all a game. This Brexit which is a decision on the level of Chamberlain’s Declaration of War  with Germany in 1939. I will not lower the tone here to explain what that ‘codpiece’ nonsense is about.

Smith Family Do Boyle Proud with the GAA Presidents Awards
I was part of a proud Boyle representation who attended the above awards ceremony in Croke Park on Friday night last. There were around 400 people in attendance at what was a very enjoyable event. The awards ceremony was televised ‘live’ by TG4 and the Master of Ceremonies was the very pleasant sports commentator Mícheál Ó Domhnaill who is originally from the Ring Gaeltacht in Waterford but now lives in Sligo. TG4 had done some preliminary filming in Boyle early last week when they visited the Smith family home and the Abbey Park. All members of the family spoke to camera with Mary being particularly generous in her recognition of the GAA’s merit when a family member went through a serious illness. Some years ago.  Jnr. and Enda spoke on receiving the President’s Award titled after the Dermot and Mary Earley family. The Smith family represented themselves, their Boyle club and Roscommon county most impressively and received a standing ovation on reception of the award from GAA President, John Horan.
Another Roscommon person Noreen Corcoran, representing Kilglass Gaels club, was also very, very, impressive as she extolled the ethos and contribution of the GAA to her life and to the local community. She emphasised the scope of the GAA and its inclusiveness for all volunteers. Indeed the whole event was a recognition of ‘lifers’ in their involvement with the GAA clubs and communities countrywide. It was a real and impressive recognition by the top brass of the ‘grass roots’ of the organisation.
As an aside and as a lifelong activist I am always proud on visiting the magnificent stadium that is Croke Park which has been put in situ by an amateur organisation.
It was a great night, a night in which Boyle in its totality could take pride in its representation.   

WALES…. It’s Quiet in the Valleys.

Next week is another big week of sports. What with Cheltenham for a greater part of the week and, on Saturday, the revived Ireland playing Wales at 2.45 at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff. A thing that puzzles me a tiny bit is that there has not been a bleat from the Principality (of Wales) on the whole Brexit deal. We’ve heard the leader of Scottish National Party in the House of Commons, Ian Blackford, defend the Good Friday position. Of course Sinn Fein don’t go there and the DUP are in such an unlikely position as power brokers. But we have heard no discernible squeak from Welsh M.Ps’. Wales was long a bastion of Labour politics but then Labour politics with Bevan and Co. is not what it used to be. You can sing that.  

C.I.E. Map of Ireland Where Northern Ireland Does Not Exist
While waiting to exit the train from Dublin last week I was drawn to a curious map of Ireland’s rail network. All the usual lines were there, Dublin to x, y, z.  However when it came to Northern Ireland the train track crossed the border into a nothing land. It managed to call at Newry and Portadown almost as if it was a journey by hovercraft train. There was no indicator showing the coastlines of Down, Antrim and Derry….a desert north of the border. I know the geography etc. I thought we were past the time when Northern Ireland T.V. didn’t show weather forecasts for the south or northern Ireland people did not watch southern television programmes. This map with the Northern Ireland counties amputated must give Northern Nationalists a pretty negative message. It is, to my mind, petty in the extreme. Even An Post saw fit to put a new sign on Gurteen Post Office in the week before they closed the office for good!       

Friday, February 22, 2019

Update 22nd February

I imagine there are people who are shivering with fear at the prospect of ... dare I mention it again ... BREXIT. It is many people’s worst nightmare. In terms of personnel it seems that the U.K. was never as badly represented with its political leadership classes. The speed dating Theresa May and the pathetic Corbin. While May exhibits a demented visage as she tries to avoid a trauma in the Conservative party Corbin still acts as if this is a game of dare, if such exists. I have engaged myself  with a lot of radio, television and print coverage of that whole juggernaut. A few days ago I listened to Eoghan Corry a travel and communications writer as he rolled out the impending issues with air, sea and road travel and transportation in Ireland cross border, in reception ports in the U.K with ferries and at airports over Europe and so on. It Is incredible that an advanced society could plunge their people in such a backward manner. A huge jolt backwards of earthquake proportions.
Those in denial still imagine, I think, that it is like the captain of the Titanic directing the iceberg to shift its position a British liner is coming through here.

I have a caveat to all my misgivings. I had some happy times in England, around London, decades ago. I have been back there occasionally and talked to a good few Irish people who are still there as recently as last week. It is true to say that the wealthy (for a large part) south east, London and the ‘Home Counties’ is a different place to the large swathes of urban England with their ghettos and look of abandonment. For many people living in those areas of little hope the differentials of Brexit are abstract debates when just surviving is the daily chore.
I still believe that there will be a postponement of say three months at least ... though there are European elections in …May!!
With the jumble of it all it is a course that may haunt many for decades. 

Dermot Bannon ...’Just Amazing’
From time to time our national airwaves seem to be taken over by one person as they ride the crest of the wave of visibility if not popularity. (One time it was the Allen family of Ballymaloe). Dermot’s first television series ‘Room to Improve’ was apparently very popular and recently he has bought a new house for himself and his family for the tidy sum of €800,000 - in Dublin I presume! This, it looks like, will be a kind of laboratory for his own ideas, plans etc. I seem to remember Dermot at a kind of ‘Ideal Homes Expo’ in Boyle’s Complex some years ago. He is a very personable individual. Recently he fronted an advertising campaign for Vodaphone. This, to my mind, was presented in a way where the message was hammered into the viewer with repetition. (I remember an attempt at a joke analogy as follows; ‘What is the similarity shared by the Christin Brothers style of teaching students and  the original computer cards of long ago? Answer; ‘The information is punched into them).             

Anyway Dermot has returned with a variation on the theme with a new show called ‘Incredible Homes’ in which he is touring Australia to resurrect same. The first one I saw was in Sydney where a single lady with two special dogs resided. The presenter exhausted the full range of superlatives starting with the number one for all such occasions ... AMAZING ... there followed stunning, incredible, perfect (a very muted word) and a recent classic OMG (Oh My God ... never overestimate the x, y, z!). Dermot;  ‘OMG I’ve never been in a room like that’. After that he took off into the semi-bush and actually rented a house for a full day. This one was a number of the above superlatives with the addition of SPECTACULAR, unbelievable, takes your breath away (a song line there). ‘I could see myself living happily ...’ I lost the last few words as I had to go out for some turf for the tired fire. I imagine that the WOW factor got an airing.

Like Paul Newman’s character in the western film ‘Hombre’ I had a question here and it was; How on earth did someone get PLANNING PERMISSION for such a house overlooking a ravine from an eagle’s nest location on a cliff? They certainly were not dealing with Roscommon County Council. When writing, one is advised not to repeat the same word so I reflected on what the process is when Dermot is issuing forth amazing, incredible, unbelievable, stunning etc. Perhaps there is someone close by with a clip board noting the number of times each word is used and whose turn is next. At the eagle’s nest though Dermot declared he ‘had the house to himself for the day and there was nobody else present’. I speculated -just for amusement- how it was filmed. Perhaps the ubiquitous drone was at play. Amazing !!!         

In last week’s Roscommon Herald  Sport’s section there was a multitude of photographs recording the Herald/SuperValu Annual Sports Awards. The Guest of Honour was the genial Ray Houghton. In an empty moment I took to counting the number of photographs Chris participated in and it was ... 64. Amazing!

The Movies/films/pictures
I went to the movies over a week ago while in Galway. The film’s title was ‘Vice’ a pretty ambivalent title. It was actually about the once Vice-President of the United States, Dick Cheney.  Governor George W Bush of Texas picked Dick Cheney, the CEO of Halliburton Co, to be his Republican running mate in the 2000 presidential election. No stranger to politics, Cheney's impressive resumé included stints as White House chief of staff and defence secretary. When Bush wins by a narrow margin, Cheney begins to use his newfound power to help reshape the country and (if the film’s premise is valid) the world. The young Bush was somewhat immature and Cheney used the opportunity to push his unorthodox approach. He recruited an individual who I took a considerable aversion to back then, that is Donald Rumsfeld. The actor Christian Bale had to put on major weight and is brilliant as the calculating and medieval Cheney. Cheney’s great driver/mentor was his wife Lynne played by Amy Adams. (I feel that Adams and Bale featured in the very good film ‘The Fighter’ some  time ago). An odd incident where Cheney shoots a colleague on a shooting trip is not explored as if it is par for the course! It is an unusual film and I advise ‘do not exit too early’. When asked later, ‘Did you enjoy the film?’ I responded ‘No not at all. It frightened me a bit though’. “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power tends to..”.  I imagine it needs the appropriate host to do that and Cheney certainly was that .

My next film will be ‘On the Basis of Sex’. Do not jump to conclusions. It is about  significant moments in the career of the first lady to become a U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She attended Harvard being amongst a very few women in her class and worked her way up to being the first woman on the U.S, Supreme Court. One of her landmark decisions was that nobody could be discriminated against on the basis of their sexuality. The irony of the case was that the protagonist was a male. The Supreme Court is the third arm of U.S. Government and is hugely influential and the recent contested hearings to nominate Brett Kavanaugh demonstrate this.

I have also recently seen Mary Queen of Scots with Saoirse Ronan in the lead. While not a classic I was surprised that Miss Ronan’s performance did not elicit more positivity. If I get a chance I would like to see Green Book from what I see of its reviews.


Port Authority
I fully agree with Sean’s (Home Page) thoughts on this play featuring Boyle’s Jarlath Tivnan in The Dock Theatre on Wednesday night. When I heard at the opening that it would be one hour forty minutes long, without an interval, I had doubts. But the time went very quickly indeed as three very different lives were relayed. It was a kind of the ‘three ages of man’ which, towards the end, had some threads of convergence. The highlight of the play for me was Jarlath’s character Kevin’s manic description of a volatile party in their chaotic bachelor rented a Donnycarney (Dublin) house. A few of those in attendance may have memories of a party akin to that (but hardly reaching its pitch) in the distant past and in distant locations. Well done to the large number of people from Boyle who made the trip to Carrick with the mixture of being entertained and also of supporting one of their own. I know from talking to Jarlath afterwards that he saw that and really appreciated it.

Gradam Ceoil Awards ‘The Waterfront Auditorium’ Belfast
The TG4 Gradam Ceoil Awards last year featured a Roscommon musician and friend of Boyle’s traditional scene down the years as musician of the year i.e. Patsy Hanly from Cloontuskert not far from Strokestown or Ballyleague. This year, again, the Musician of the Year had strong parental roots in Roscommon she being Catherine McEvoy. Catherine was born in Birmingham to Roscommon parents from the Kilmore area. There are a number of McEvoys around Kilmore many involved in GAA. I first saw and heard Catherine in the late seventies when a traditional group from Boyle went to Dublin to be recorded for RTE’s Ceili House Radio programme and since Patsy was unavailable on the day Catherine filled in. Prominent in film clips illustrating her Birmingham roots were members of the Laurie family who were to the fore in Birmingham Comhaltas. They are related to Martin Purcell. Catherine though now domiciled in Meath continues to play in what is referred to as The North Connacht Style.   

Roscommon v Cavan in Hallowed Breffni Park 
Roscommon return to Cavan on Sunday next for the fourth game in the Allianz National League. A pretty restructured team has shown a great fighting spirit in their local FBD league and the 3 Allianz League games to date. They had a fine win against Monaghan and went very close to adding the Tyrone scalp. An unfortunate impulsive mistake by a Roscommon player in the dying seconds against Tyrone meant the probable loss of a fourth point from six. How costly that turns out to be is to be seen. League results can be fluid as counties are generally not at championship pitch and have some wriggle room in terms of results. I am not a statistician with regard to how we have done v Cavan in Cavan. From memory in recent years we have done pretty well but there have been disappointments. There are a considerable number of positives from Roscommon games to date. These include commitment, an improved defensive record, some impressive scoring from long range, new players making their mark and an overall feeling of wellness surrounding possibilities. Staying in Division One is the target. Roscommon and Cavan were the two teams who were predicted as the fall guys for this spring campaign. While Cavan are at the bottom of the table Roscommon with 3 points are in the melting pot. I expect that they will do their very best on Sunday and I feel that it will be good enough to see them add a further two points to their total. Whether even that is good enough to see them remain in Division One is to be seen but without them it is much tougher project.
There was a time in the 40s’ when Cavan and Roscommon were powerhouses in the game and Breffni Park has seen a lot of GAA history with great Cavan teams and icons of the game. In the 30 or so years from the middle 20s’ to the mid-50s’ Cavan would have won approximately 25 Ulster titles. Roscommon beat them in the replayed All-Ireland Final of ’43 and in the semi-final of ’44 but lost in the Semi-final of ’47 when they went on to their most notable success in the Polo Grounds final in New York over Kerry. They have  great support which continue to yearn for the return of the glory days of the past.   

I have sourced the small booklet as named above. It is a lovely little booklet of 20 essays by women from the Boyle area and I’m sure it will be treasured especially by the family members of the contributors long into the future. It is also a contribution to the social history of our area and the people who live here. There is a  very nice variation in the earlier lives of the writers and I was particularly taken by the experiences of those who went to England, worked there for a time and returned to Boyle. One of those was Rose McTiernan (page 36) who worked for a time in Whipps Cross Hospital in the Leytonstone area of London. My cousins ‘hung out’ in that area and I had occasion to visit one of them a number of times in that huge hospital with its very individual buildings. Near it also was an Irish dance hall called, I think, ‘The Innisfáil’. Rose may correct me if I’m wrong in that! Anyway Rose it was a grand piece full of feeling and love.
Annie Egan’s essay (on page 24) reminded me of the challenge and dour attitude that obtained in the officials, when passing through Holyhead Customs. They were very overboard with Annie as she was treated badly. The influence of the war I guess was a factor though that superior attitude continued until both countries joined the E.U. A sentiment that obtains in Annie’s piece and prevails in all the contributions was the loyalty and love of partners (husbands) which enabled them to endure tough times. While the times may have been tough there were happy times also as Rose references regarding her happy London years. I will return to this lovely and significant collection of biographical essays when I have read it properly. 
The booklet is for sale in Una Bhán shop in the King House complex, price €7.  (They stock most books of local interest so you can investigate those also). 

‘Good Night and may your Gods go with you’.  Tony.

Update 7th February

Congrats to Hal
I wish to congratulate Boyle’s Hal Cawley who was presented with the Roscommon Herald/SuperValu Hall of Fame award at a presentation in The Abbey Hotel Roscommon on Friday night of last week. Hal received the award for his lifelong service to and support of Boyle Celtic Soccer Club. As a GAA person, while I do not want to interrupt the soccer theme, I note that Hal was a regular GAA player with Boyle in the latter fifties and on the winning Junior team in ’64. Now that said Hal got glowing commendations from many corners especially Boyle Celtic officials past and present who accompanied and supported him on the night. All these and Hal’s own thought s and reflections on his soccer journey are encapsulated in a lovely tribute by Kevin Egan of the Sport’s section of The Roscommon Herald page 8. It is titled ‘Guardian Angel Fulfilled by Football. The Guardian Angel caption is culled from Boyle Celtic Chairman Sean Kerins's reference to Hal as  ‘Guardian Angel’ (an overseer) of Boyle Celtic.
 "THE PORT AUTHORITY" & Jarlath Tivnan
There is a residue of support and good will for Boyle actor Jarlath Tivnan. Jarlath will be in The Dock in Carrick-on-Shannon on Wednesday February the 20th in a Decadent Theatre production of a play titled ‘The Port Authority’. The play revolves around three stories.  A young boy leaves home for the first time, a man begins a job for which he is not qualified, a pensioner receives a mysterious package. As each man confronts the significance of these events, they are forced to take stock of themselves, their feelings, and of the decisions they have made. The writer of the pay is the award-winning playwright Conor McPherson of Seafarer, The Weir & Shining City.
• Further afield John O’Dowd from Abbeytown takes part in Martin McDonagh’s ‘Skull in Connemara’ which is touring in the north of England.
Cartoon Saloon Another Oscar Nomination
'Late Afternoon' is the latest success story for Kilkenny-based Cartoon Saloon of which Boyle’s Paul Young is one of the founding fathers. The short was written and directed by Louise Bagnall for Cartoon Saloon. They have had previous Oscar nominations for ‘The Secret of Kells’, ‘Song of the Sea’ and ‘The Breadwinner’ so this is the fourth time at the Oscars for Cartoon Saloon which is an outstanding record.
Evan McGrath ‘Man of the Match’
So to using the word ‘outstanding’ again, this time in relation to the performance of Boyle’s Evan McGrath in last Sunday’s fine victory over Monaghan. Evan becomes the second Boyle to win the award this year as Donie Smith got it for his performance v Galway in the FBD final. This was a-top Roscommon performance of true grit, determination and skill with a number of excellent performances. Fair play to team captain Enda Smith for converting with a fine penalty at a crucial stage in the game. Had Evan’s goal- bound shot not been saved it would have been an early top goal award contender after his powerful run in the lead up to it.
So from periods of despair as the search for a manager stumbled along late last year the Roscommon supporters have a bounce in their step once again. Fair play to all involved and it looks very much as if Roscommon’s stumbling in the management quest has come up trumps in Anthony Cunningham and his team
 Launch of Boyle GAA’s ‘I’m a Celebrity… get me out of here’
This Boyle GAA fund-raising venture will be officially launched with bells and whistles on Friday night in The Moylurg Inn’. The Event proper will take place on Saturday March 16th. I imagine that we will hear the panel of ‘Celebrities' on this Friday night and hear plenty about the event from thereon in to the big night. A young energetic committee has taken this project in hand so we can look forward to that youthful energy and imagination resulting in an energetic and entertaining show on what could be a hectic St. Patrick’s weekend.
Brady Rules at Atlanta
It was a long late night on Sunday night /Monday morning watching the finale of the American Football season with what U.S sports fans regard as the greatest annual sporting show of all. This year’s game was a pretty muted and record low-scoring game where the New England Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams by the score of 13–3. This meant they had the same number of wins as the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most Super Bowl championships won with six. Tom Brady and the team manager Bill Belichick have been there for all six and three (I think) lost finals. In any assessment  of sports achievements it  is a remarkable record and one that is unlikely to be ever equalled in that sport. If we have issues here with defensive Tyrone style football then this too was an exhibition of similar play with the veteran Belichick and his on-field general Brady finally outwitting the novice Rams manager Sean McVay and the novice quarter back Jared Goff. The BBC coverage with Mark Chapman and his pundits Osi Umenyiors, Jason Bell and Mike Carlson made it an entertaining 11.30 to 3.30 four hour experience where Osi sang the praises of the defensive game. As an aside the cost of a 30 second advertisement during the game (which were not the BBC of course) was €5,250,000 !
An Balla … Great (!) Walls
This is an interesting series TG4 dealing with great modern walls established to keep people in or out but basically in their allotted place. The affable presenter Síle Nic Chonaonaigh visited the ‘great’ wall which already exists for a considerable length of the U.S. Mexico border; the wall and Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) dividing North and South Korea; the residue of The Berlin Wall and the grotesque wall which divides the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. There was one touch of levity here as a Palestinian business man showed her the hotel he had opened under the wall’s shadow which he called ‘The Walled Off Hotel’.
We live in historic times.
I doubt but that it was always so. Listening to the RTE News at 6 this Wednesday evening it had the full range of news ‘stories’ international and national.  BREXIT, for a change, had to compete with the two big national stories for top billing. They were the outrageous spiralling cost of the National Children’s Hospital and the nurses strike. The lack of control and transparency with the costing of the hospital is to use a word I use regularly …. unbelievable. if we were not in the middle of another huge issue i.e. Brexit, there would have been a case for it to bring down not just a few bureaucrats and a couple of ministers but the Government with them.
Nurses Strike
The nurses strike and its immediate impact on people who have had x, y, z cancelled/postponed is also incredible. But having thousands of procedures cancelled/postponed creates the ripple effect which will last for months on end. It is like a crash on a motorway. The saying that ‘all wars end’ could be transferred to strikes. So this strike too will end. Is there no way to reach the end before the beginning? It looks stark at the moment as both sides ‘dig in’ and try to win the hearts and minds battle. I have used the analogy  before that we are a small country which has its benefits. We have a population about the size of Birmingham. With all the resources and money being spent in the Health services here how can it be that such a tangle of what seems just now as intractable issues are allowed to fester until they just break and cause such hurt to a particularly vulnerable constituency.
And then Brexit! Do not get tired of it for it will shape, for ill, our (foreseeable) future. For a real insight/education into the phenomena I highly recommend two brilliant documentaries. The Brexit campaign features in a documentary shown on Channel 4 on Jan. 7th titled ‘Brexit: The Uncivil War’. The programme focuses on the P.R. battle between the top strategists on the ‘Leave’ and ‘Remain’ sides. Benedict Cumberbatch as Dominic Cummings wins all as top –behind the scenes- man for the ‘Leave’ side over Craig Oliver of the ‘Remain’ side. One significant scene is the development of a telling slogan e.g. ‘Make America Great Again’ and ‘Fake News’ etc. It is the slogan on the red ‘Leave’ bus. Initially it is ‘Take Control’ but a brainwave comes on Cummings to insert ‘Back’ so it became the transforming ‘Take Back Control’.
The second documentary is titled ‘Inside Europe: Ten years of Turmoil’ . Two episodes have already been transmitted. The first a really engrossing one on the dilemmas of David Cameron and how Party politics trumped national interest. This shows Cameron hurrying to and fro from Brussels as Theresa May is doing at the moment with the same mantra seeking a different result. Gliding or flying around but still stuck in the mire of it all. The second episode describes the Greek crisis and how it nearly brought down the euro. Of course we have ‘form’, as the cockneys say, in that ourselves.
These programmes show what the top bureaucrats Jean Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk are like and they are as they say in Munster ‘Senior Hurlers’. If that needs verification just listen to what Mister Tusk said today; ‘European Council President Donald Tusk has spoken of a "special place in hell" for "those who promoted Brexit without even a sketch of a plan of how to carry it out safely".
Still there was a little sliver of light tonight as I watched/listened to Tommy Gorman of RTE News report from Belfast. The Sligoman would be my ‘go to‘ man on who?, what? and where? in N.I. As he commented on the softer tone of the DUP he expressed a feeling that change may be in the air. To quote Churchill - hardly a ‘Remainer’ I’d venture- after the WW2 victory at El Alamein; "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning”.

For me it is the end for tonight. ‘Good night and may your God go with you’.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Update 17th January


As I write I am aware that we are going through a historic period. Through a series of miscalculations the U.K. has found itself -as the poet Stevie Smith wrote in her famous poem-‘drowning not waving’ . This is the way World War 1 began with a domino effect of disastrous decisions leading to that horror.

While a lot of people have commented positively on the doggedness/tenacity of Theresa May in trying to force her ‘best’, perhaps only, ‘option’ through, it seems as if she will not succeed today (Tuesday) in the Westminster vote. She then has a petty three day window to come up with a plan B. It is hard to imagine that she has a magician’s wand for that challenge.

So what are the options for Theresa May? There seems to be little wriggle room to allow her to dance her way out of this cul de sac to which she has contributed considerably. Will she step aside as leader of the Conservative party as would be normal if this was a normal time? No one wants a ‘no agreement’ Brexit or at least I hope so. Though there is a constituency who want out and to hell with the consequences. There is an echo of Tennyson’s poem ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ in all of that. ‘Half a league, half a league into the valley of death rode the five hundred’. 

I had to adjourn my piece above as I turned to watch the drama in The House of Commons and the result has come in. The Ayes 202 the Noes 432. This was a historic loss in the British Parliament. The normal response of a sitting Prime Minister to that would be to resign but no and it fell to Jeremy Corbyn to issue the challenge of a ‘Vote of NO confidence’ tomorrow Wednesday at around 1. This turns logic on its head as the commentating voices suggest that Theresa will SURVIVE that vote. This is endorsed by Sammy Wilson that Northern Ireland academic who extolls that the DUP will certainly support Theresa Maye. The defeat by 230 votes is just  a speed bump not a crash barrier! Dr. Spock would have been scratching his head. The HOUSE (I’m getting familiar having worked in that area in the 60s’ with Murphy & Co) is like a wasps nest being hit by a hurley . 

Then when I thought it could not get any worse the next interviewee turns up i.e. Boris Johnson!! If Theresa May is removed as Prime Minister the probable replacement is Boris Johnson. That elicits the exclamation OMG. When Neville Chamberlain stepped aside in 1940 his successor was Winston Churchill!  First the Donald and now Boris. If Screaming Lord Sutch was still there his time could have come. It is like one of those reality programmes I run away from. Almost incredible are the suggestions that the majority of 230 strengthens her hand in further negotiations with Jean-Claude Junker. ‘My Parliament will not have any of this agreement so let us start again”. Junker to his advisor “Where is that wine bottle? Theresa I thought you felt that it was a GOOD deal? Were you not saying that regularly or am I dreaming?”

What will happen? Who knows. I guess the following.   

1. I think that the end of March deadline will have to be postponed to allow further exploration and some untangling of the Gordian knot .
2. A slight possibility of a second Referendum and then a third to make it ‘the best of three’.
3. A no agreement EXIT. Absolutely chaotic, disastrous. As my friend Victor Meldrew used to cry ‘Unbelievable’
4. An election if the time permits. Who used to say ‘Another fine mess you’ve got me into’


Our country is like a little boat bobbing beside a sinking liner. Yet I hear in the background, on the BBC news, that Sterling has risen on the markets!

The Centenary of the First Dail and the start of the War of Independence’.

We have gone successfully through the Centenary Remembrances of the 1916 Rising, the 1918 General Election which gave a section of women the vote and swept the Home Rule Party aside and established the dominance of the Sinn Fein party for a short period. We now face into a trickier period from 1919 to 1922. It begins with the opening shots of the War of Independence at Soloheadbeg in North Tipperary on January 19th , 1919. There a number of IRA mem ambushed a cart with two workers bringing gelignite to a quarry. It was being escorted by two Irish R.I.C. constables, James McDonnell aged 56 from Bellmullet in Mayo a father of five and Patrick O’Connell aged 30 from Cork. They were both shot dead in the encounter. So they became the first victims of the new phase of the War of Independence. That tragedy has evoked a range of responses. For the ‘Volunteers’ it was an act of war in which the policemen were, to some of the group, tragic victims but to Dan Breen and Sean Treacy just casualties. Breen and Treacy wanted to kick-start hostilities with the British army and its supporting agencies of which the R.I.C. was referred to as the Dublin Castle British administration’s ‘eyes and ears’ on the ground.  The raid and deaths were condemned especially by Catholic Church men. The volunteer leader was Sean Robinson who had participated in the Easter Rising.  The I.R.A. (I.R.B.) group did not seek direction or consent from the top strands of the I.R.A. probably going on the basis of ‘it was easier to ask for forgiveness than permission’.  Seamus Robinson referenced it as ‘the accidental starting point of what later became known as The Tan War.
( To add a local context to this; eleven months earlier in February 1918 a group of Boyle I.R.A. had participated in ‘The Rockingham Raid’ in which they successfully took a quantity of rifles and shot guns from the big house. Now if someone had resisted and a person had been shot there, could that have sparked the beginning of such hostilities?) 
Coincidentally on the very same day as the action above, as a result of the December General election, the Sinn Fein M.P.s’ instead of going to Westminster met at the Mansion House in Dublin. There are 24 members, now T.D.s’, in the historic picture of that group January 21st  including Count Plunkett of North Roscommon of the 73 Sinn Fein T.D.s’ elected in the famous 1918 December election. Cathal Brugha was elected President of Dáil Eireann while Eamon de Valera (in prison in England like many more T.D.s’) was elected as President of the Irish Republic. A later classic picture of Dail Eireann from April includes de Valera and Michael Collins and many more. 

President Michael D Higgins has ‘declined’ an invitation to attend the Soloheadbeg Centenary Commemoration but will address a joint meeting of the Dáil and Senate on January 21st. This probably strikes the note of recognising the legitimacy of the 1919 Dáil Assembly as opposed to the divisiveness of  the Soloheadbeg event where Irish men were killed.
It is well that we have a President in whom we can have confidence that he will parse the legitimacy of the actions of that time and it will be interesting to observe how he deals with the conflicting demands of its legacy. It was a time when there was a nobility of effort by many but also a time when horrific things happened. This demonstrated a capacity for ruthlessness which is disquieting. Of course we do not need to go back 100 years to see that as the roll-call of such events in Northern Ireland from the late sixties to the mid-nineties illustrate.
R.T.E. is currently running a series called Resistance on Sunday nights at 9.30 which gives a flavour of those times and ‘the Struggle’  in urban Dublin. While it is a while since I have seen it, Ken Loach’s film ‘The Wind that Shakes the Barley’ is worthy of seeing to see how that period divided families with the emotional and actual consequences of  it all. Indeed in referring to the President his father and uncle were on ‘different’ sides in the Civil war as were the ancestors of Michael mcDowell barrister and former politician and descendant of Eoin McNeill.
(Subjects like the above would need a lengthy period of study. I do not propose to attempt anything other than outline a frame for the headline  events in paragraphs here. Also I intend to be careful that I am not provocative believing as I do that;  “The past is a foreign country they do things differently there”.) 

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Update 1st December 2018

Oblique View
It is a grey Saturday December 1st and like someone who has not swam for some time I am tentatively beginning to place my toe back into the writing pool. What distance, if any, it swims we’ll see but if you are reading this then I’ve stayed in, splashing at the keyboard with all thumbs for fingers.  ‘Tread softly for you tread on my dreams’.  

Books, Books and more Books

I love books and I especially like those which touch on sport and local history. There are always subjects to be written about and luckily there are people who will do that.

We Are the Survivors’ Barry Feely.
On Friday November 16th  I attended the launch by Dr. Jason King of the Irish heritage Trust of Barry Feely’s important book ‘We Are The Survivors’ Boyle Workhouse and Emigration in Famine Times’. The book while focussing on the regional experience of the greatest trauma in Irish History gives a focussed view of a national disaster. While there was a population decline of nearly two million people in a very short time from 1845 to 1852 through emigration and death by starvation, up to six million people actually survived employing  a considerable range of initiatives which Barry explores.  ‘We are the Survivors’ of the survivors who were our grandparents and great-grandparents. Boyle Workhouse the remains of which existed from 1842 to the late sixties played a central role in all that. A rare unanswerable question that I have is; while the Workhouses are stigmatised as locations of horror and death what would have happened if they had not been there as an infrastructure of assistance during the high Famine years?
Probably the most poignant story in Barry’s book is the journey of two groups of young girls to Australia under The Early Grey Scheme and their subsequent lives in that then very distant country. Barry used all possible sources to unearth relevant material for his work from Workhouse Minute Books, local newspapers, Australian records to his brother Joe in tracing long deserted homesteads. Dr. King a native of Canada was a very appropriate individual in launching the book as Canada was one of the great recipient countries of those fleeing from the horror and his launch address captured to essence of the book and its significance clearly.
So congratulations to Barry on a huge achievement and it has been enthusiastically received by general and academic readers alike.

‘The Landed Estates of County Roscommon’ by Paul Connolly from Mount Talbot near Ballygar.
This was launched in Gleeson’s in Roscommon on November 3rd and I recommend it also. Its central focus lies with the four Big Houses that have survived in the county, Strokestown Park House, Clanalis House of the O’Connors in Castlerea; King House and Castlecoote House with which I am familiar. It is a beautifully illustrated book with a myriad of photographs old and new. These include a large number on what may be referred to as the lesser houses such as the Conmee House in Kingsland. While the big houses are secure a number of the 'lesser houses' are an endangered species. In photographing these for the record Paul has done a historians duty. I believe Paul will be in Boyle soon and again next summer so there will an opportunity to share his enthusiasm and be prompted to look again at the ‘lesser houses’ with a necessary curiosity.

Ballintober Old Graveyard & The Grave Memorials of County Roscommon by Mary B. Timoney
Mary and her husband archaeologist Martin live in Keash and are pretty visible around Boyle. Martin was a classmate of mine in UCG and we involved in the founding there of an Archaeology Club. This book has a confusing title but the reason for it being that Mary began with a project on Ballintober and it expanded over the years to include all Roscommon. It is a major work (for the ages as it were) on headstone decoration and meaning going back to the 1600s. Graveyards/Churchyards are a source of multiple artistic displays. When we go to a graveyard we invariably look at the names but there too are represented the skills of generations of craftsmen and this continues. We should be well aware of this in Boyle. Headstones are statements and memorials now. In famine times simple rough stones were the humble markers. Perhaps my own might have the caption ‘could have done better’. Anyway one has to commend Mary Timoney on this majestic niche book.

‘Through the eyes of Margaret Cousins…Irish & Indian Suffragette by Dr. Keith Munroe (a relation of hers). (Tuesday Dec. 4th at 7 in King House)
This book is well flagged here on the homepage of realboyle (scroll down). We have become more aware of this remarkable woman from our town through the plaque on The Crescent and Marie Paul Egan’s championing of her with various talks at the Arts Festival et al. It is well for us to be aware of her particularly this December the Centenary of the eventual access of women to ‘THE VOTE’ in 1918 which elected the first lady to Westminster Countess Markievicz in December 1918. Margaret Cousins was there in the early days being at the forefront in Suffragette campaigns to achieve such rights.  

Roscommon History and Society…  Launch Wed. Dec. 12th @ Roscommon County Council Office @ 6.30
This book will be launched on Wednesday December 12th at 6.30 in the County Council H.Q Roscommon town. It is a very substantial volume covering as it does from Archaeological times to the present - a once off - an important book of reference for Roscommon with Keadue resident and academic Kieran O’Connor as one of the Editors.  There is a bevy -75% I'd guess, of top academic writers with essays on their specialist subjects and some peasants like myself. My contribution is a twenty page summary of Roscommon GAA’s great years of the forties including photographs.  
I was going to let a few people know about the launch but after I enquired as to the price I shied away from that. It comes in at the challenging price of circa €60!
So I assume that it will be a library or college book and is part of a national series of county histories. I am looking forward to seeing how it turns out - 1000 words.

A very good place to get local history books including all of the above is in the Una Bhan shop at the entrance to King House.

(I thought I might refer to the An Post Book Awards which was transmitted in RTE on Thursday night but you have enough to be considering in above for now. Suffice to say that women writers shone through and that there is a multitude of books to choose from. There is an ongoing vote there for ‘The Irish book of the Year. I was very pleased to see that there was a Mayo winner for the Sports Book of the Year and it was that legend of a footballer Cora Staunton with her book ‘Game Changer’. I may get back to those awards anon.)



I was thinking of what I might write about and jotted down a few ideas on the wall beside the phone. I suppose every year has so much happening that one needs to keep on top of it all. The newspapers and television will ‘reel’ all that in the end of December editions.

Brexit of course is top of the charts with ‘Don’t keep breaking my heart’.  

Sports Highlights
The commemorations of the end of World War 1. The vandalism of the ‘Haunting Soldier’ sculpture in St. Stephen’s Green.
Sports, the World Cup/ The Ryder Cup/ Limerick winning the hurling/ Dublin’s football brilliance/ Ireland’s rugby team reaching for the stars/ Boyle girls minors and under 16s big wins/Boys minor and under 14s/ the march of FUERTY to the county intermediate title and contesting the Connacht final.

So many deaths including great musicians;
Alec Finn the Yorkshire man who became a unique part of a great Irish band De Dannan. Alec lived in Oranmore in Galway and was ‘knocking around Galway city when I was there studying!
Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin founder of Irish World Academy of Music and one of Ireland’s best-known composers. A pioneering musician and composer and brought traditional music in from the cold to be a part of the university music curriculum at The University of Limerick
Liam O Flynn brilliant uilleann piper and member of many groups including Plantxy which was managed back in the day, if I remember correctly, by  Boyle resident Kevin Flynn. Liam also collaborated with the poet Seamus Heaney. 

Sonny Knowles beloved of Dubliners.

Tommy Peoples great Donegal traditional musician domiciled in Clare.

**As I conclude for now, I send my congratulations to Kevin Tiernan who married Anne Lynch in Galway yesterday. I wish you both well. Not many people remember that Kevin played in Croke Park once. I forget if it was All-Ireland Final or Semi-final day. 

Boyle GAA AGM at 7 o’clock on Sunday Dec. 2nd.


P.S. This return is motivated by a recent communication from P.J. in Washington State plus some others especially some other friends in the U.S.  Feichimid le fheicmid !! 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Update 14th June

*Request; If anyone has a programme of the Roscommon v Cavan Div. 2 League Final in Croke Park on Easter Sunday I would like to get it for a Roscommon supporter who has requested same who is living in London.  

Summertime for three weeks and now Hector
On, Wednesday, it was gloomy as the grey clouds gather and the Met. Office warned us of a storm called Hector heading our way. What a turnaround from nearly three weeks of Costa weather. My costa was the bog where I advanced - hopefully- the turf drying process with some t.l.c. and tall ‘footings’ to help in that I hope Hector does not turn those mini skyscraper footings on their head. It is great in those sunny days to be able to start a remedial job and just abandon it in the late evening leaving everything in place for the early next day continuance. So much can be achieved and there is an energy about that sees things get done and the ‘to do list’ is whittled down. That is consoling. It has been a pretty busy time.  Still this gloomy weather might enable one to watch some early evening World Cup soccer without too much of a conscience.

I am loathe to dismiss the positives of living in this country but why do we have so many people and organisations who just cannot get it right. It is just  un-bel-ievable.

Category One:
 The Cervical Smear Screening and notification scandal….un-bel-ievable. But for the smarts of Vicky Phelan it would not have surfaced. Then the head of the H.S.E. Tony O’Brien seems to see a  big difference between ‘accountability’ and  ‘responsibility’.

Then there is the naming and adoption process which obtained back in the day and all that entails. The role of ‘Religious Orders’, priests, doctors, the State and his grey eminence, Archbishop McQuaid, casting his shadow on all that. Un-bel-ievable.

The Symphysiotomy Scandal.        The Hepatitis C scandal……the x, y, z scandal.

Category 2:
The ongoing Sgt. McCabe and Charleton Enquiry … a Garda Commissioner contradicting not just one but is it four or five people?  ‘I didn’t say that’ ‘I didn’t do that’ etc. Mobile phones gone  a.w.o.l. and the whole thing rumbles on as it gets into such a tangle that even as a casual observer one is inclined to say…’leave it so’ as a friend is wont to say. I just ‘Googled’ it to see that I had Mister Charleton’s name right and I felt I was in a domain from Orwell’s 1984 which is not for me. The last post there was;

12/06/2018 Take Notice - Copy Transcript DAY 90 held in Dublin Castle on Tuesday 12th June 2018     

Day 90 (possibly ‘working days’ as they say in the passport office)…….un-bel…..

2Then Mister David Kenneth Drumm is found guilty of spinning €7.2 Billion around from Anglo Irish Bank to x, y, z to show that their books were in rude good health…….Un….. (By the way don’t forget two of the stars of the CRASH of ’08 i.e. The Financial REGULATOR…Patrick Neary ….. who basically said at an enquiry   ‘It was the same system that was used in other European countries and it got a “ringing endorsement” from “objective” agencies like the IMF and the OECD. Patrick’s company had ‘Regulator’ or some such imprinted on his golf balls. I was tempted, just tempted, to leave out the word ‘golf’ there. What’s Patrick’s handicap now I wonder? (I don’t really) Un-bel…..
Then the name that goes with him is the Governor of the Central Bank of the time John Hurley who admits ‘mistakes were made’. Very sharp John……Un-bel-ievable.
Of course there is a slightly undercard of Michael Fingleton, Seanie Fitzpatrick (found not guilty), McAteer and  Whelan et al. 
I could go on and on….unbel….

I’ll move on or else I’ll have to delete the opening sentence.

Local History

Ranelagh Site One Km. from Roscommon on Boyle Road.
I’ve always had a keen interest in history in general and especially local history. On Tuesday night I attended a talk in Strokestown hosted by the Roscommon Historical & Archaeological Society. The speaker was Muireann Ní Cheallachain a supervising archaeologist on the road –alignment- project about a kilometre out of Roscommon on the Boyle Road.  Many of you will have come on it on that journey. The townland is called Ranelagh and there was no history of anything of historical significance being there. A requirement of any road works disturbing new ground is a geological and archaeological survey and the supervision by these personnel ongoing. For such an anonymous site it really gave up an amazing wealth of varied significance. There was a long term grave site there from the 5th to 12th centuries and it was something to see slides of the unearthed hundreds of human remains.
   After a year-long excavation that ended last October, including work by archaeologists through some of the worst storms in decades, a picture is emerging of the settlement that was probably occupied between the sixth and 11th centuries.
The remains of 793 people were found, about three quarters of them were intact and the others were not, for which the word ‘disarticulated’ is used. A huge amount of analysis has now to be done in the coming months which will give a much clearer picture. However, it is believed several of the 470 juveniles and infants whose remains were unearthed may have been placed there during the later use of the site as a children’s burial ground.
If you are interested you can find out more online by seeking ‘Ranelagh Archaeological Site Roscommon’ online.
The Roscommon Society publishes a Journal bi-annually which relates its many activities. I know that there are many such organisations through the country with Carrick-on-Shannon and Sligo also being very active.  

**In terms of Local History I am looking forward very much to doing 2 Walking Tours of  Boyle Town as part of Boyle Arts Festival which takes place from Friday July 20th to Saturday July 28th. The tours will take place on Wednesday the 25th from the King House at 3 and Saturday the 28th at 11am. The tours will take an hour and a half or so.      

Kim Jong Un trumps Trump
On a forensic analysis of the Singapore meeting of Kim and Donald I think that Donald came second which I suppose is good sometimes. It all has the potential of a future musical or circus with two characters Kim like the bad guy (?) out of a Bond film and Donald as some one of those characters from a Dell comic…..Spiderman/Batman/Superman or a new character altogether. One of my favourite episodes of ‘Only Fools and Horses was the mix up of the funeral and the fancy dress party where Del Boy and Rodney dress up as Batman and Robin. ‘I cannot believe it’ or some such, exclaimed the councillor being mugged by a thief as they approached.
I wonder what will President Trump make of the U.S./Mexico and his Canadian ‘friends’ getting the 2026 World Cup Finals…..ironic timing.
I’ll try and come back to earth now i.e. Hyde Park.

Connacht Finals
Wouldn’t it be nice had the sun shone until next Monday at least, as Roscommon contest two finals on Sunday. They have been surprise packets to many in reaching the U 20 final having beaten a highly regarded Galway (at a cost in terms of injuries etc.). They now meet Mayo on Sunday at 1. So it going to be a long day in Dr. Hyde Park  with the senior Final starting at 4.  
    It is great to see Boyle so ably represented by Cian McKeon at U 20 and the possibilities on Sunday are hugely interesting. Galway are favourites in the senior contest  but Roscommon have improved this year and are probably just not ‘there yet’ but it could be a cracker. So the very best of luck to all involved and particularly Boyle reps. Enda and Donie Smith.
It is very big day for Roscommon, Roscommon town and the GAA community in the county. But it was a close run thing as Wellington said of Waterloo. Still I found the terms and conditions as outlined on the back outside page of the Roscommon People pretty humiliating. If you have not read them I suggest you might, if you get an opportunity. Perhaps we have contributed to that with the lack of investment in Hyde Park and the state of the infrastructure there.
I hope it is a ‘good’ game of football as I cannot say I’ve seen one decent football game so far in this year’s championship. Indeed I have seen many awful games. Compare that with the drama and thrills of the hurling championships especially the Munster Championships though the sequence of games has to be amended to give teams and amateur players a time for recovery.
The Dublin V Longford game was surreal. As everyone sees Dublin are a Barcelona/Real Madrid of the game presently. What was David McGivney at when he charged into Cluxton in such a manner? Does anyone have a decent idea as to what is going on with Diarmuid Connolly who is now reported as going to Boston for the summer to play with Donegal there. Connolly would be mindful to take on board the thoughts of Kevin Cassidy who was dumped from the Donegal squad by Jim McGuinness after talking to a reporter called Bogue about the inside workings of Donegal. The Connolly rift must entail Jim Gavin and Diarmuid feeling hard done by in the past by Gavin.   

Boyle Juniors Continue to Progress
While I have not seen a decent intercounty football game this summer I have seen a number of very enjoyable games involving Boyle Junior team. A few weeks ago our car load headed to Padraig Parse’s on a balmy evening for a Junior Championship game. Perhaps it is Division 4/5/6/X. It doesn’t matter.  Pearse's got an early start with a couple of goals but Boyle left it until the last minutes of the game with a couple themselves to register a pretty dramatic win. One of the goals was a sizzler too from Shane Battles. The emerging star of these games is Reese Conroy. ‘Ye stole it ‘ a Pearse’s supporter suggested as we Boyle supporters left like Cheshire cats.
Last Sunday after doing my bog Purgatory for a couple of hours I headed for Kilmore for a Junior League encounter. There are a few players eligible for this who are not eligible for championship. So the first challenge for the Management team of Stephen Tonra/ Kevin Mullen and Ml. Bermingham is to have a team and back up which they have been readily doing. It was an earnest game in Kilmore and it swayed from time to time as close games do. But, in the end Boyle just got their side in front at the telling moment. The final score was Boyle 1.11 Kilmore 0.13. They were to play St. Brigid’s side in Boyle on Saturday next but St. Brigid’s have conceded. Read into that what you like.

Our (GAA)  Man in Madrid
(Left to Right back)
J.Vicente (Madrid), C..St.John (Galway), Conor Tivnan (Boyle, Roscommon), K.Farrell (Kilteevan, Roscommon), J.Mallon (Derry), K.Cawley (Riverstown, Sligo), S.Flynn (Dublin) N.Murphy (Antrim), D.Murphy (Antrim), A.Brandón (Madrid), J.San Blas (Madrid), J.Meighan (Antrim).
 Front Row (Left to Right)
R.Sloan (Antrim), E.Quinlan (Limerick), E.Kincaid (Westmeath – C
aptain), A.Hodnett (Cork), P. Sherry (Armagh), B.Cullen (Dublin), M.Kirwan (Carlow), S.Slattery (Laois), D.Langan (Mayo)

On Saturday the 26th of May Madrid Harps  contested the 2018 Iberian Championship Finals in La Coruña, Galacia in the North of Spain an area where there are 16 clubs and a real interest in GAA.

In the midst of the Madrid team was Boyle’s Conor Tivnan. Another local J.J. Keaney from Corrigeenroe is also active with the club.

Conor told me about the team being made up primarily of Irish players who are working in Madrid, mainly as English Teachers.

“They come from all corners of Ireland and we have a few from here in Spain and even Argentina.

We have had a very good campaign this year, remaining unbeaten and winning the regional championship tournaments in Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia.

The club was founded in 2003 and as the club grew, their first championship arrived in 2014 and this year we will be looking for a fifth in a row.

The club will also be represented by the Madrid Harps Ladies team who have made the finals for a second consecutive time and will be looking for their first title”.

Epilogue; Both Madrid teams won their finals and we congratulate them and Madrid will now contest the European finals on October 20th in Maastricht. Last year they lost that against Warsaw!
One of the fine things about the GAA is the wide dispersal of clubs internationally in England, North America, Australia, Europe and the Middle and Far East. They provide a network for the far-flung diaspora, a camaraderie and support which has to be reassuring. I know that Tadgh Egan has been involved in Western Canada and Ciaran Conlon in Brisbane.
Conor Tivnan is now back in Boyle and I expect that he will link up quickly with Stephen Tonra’s squad and be a big asset there.

The World Cup in Russia & Remembering Italia 90
Back: Enda Commins/ Jonathan Murray/ Paula Brady/ Sinead O’Donohoe/ Fabian Madden/ Lochlainn Conboy/ Cianan Conboy/ Felim O’Donnell/ Lorcan Murray/ covered with scarf ? ?
Middle: Rory O’Donohoe/ Mark O’Donohoe/…. ? …./ Sinead O’Donnell/ Ruth O’Connor/… ?... James Moran says it is not him…..David Byrne perhaps?/ girl with cardigan Aoifa Commins perhaps?
Front:  Ml. McHale/ Gary Tiernan/ Cillian Conboy/ Mark O’Connor/ Derek Madden/ Aaron O’Connor/ Damien Murray/ Chris O’Dowd.
Pic taken by Christy Regan.  

The World (Soccer!) Cup vies with The Olympics as the biggest sporting event in every four cycle. This year it is being held in Russia. In 2022 it is going to the desert of Qatar! Ireland just failed to qualify after being well beaten by Denmark in the play-off games. The fact that Ireland are not there has led to a subdued approach to the tournament in this country but it revives memories of some great past tournaments. Chris O’Dowd tweeted a picture from the most memorable tournament for this country it being Italia 90  
It is a great pic. probably my favourite one of all. Nearly the full Forest View crew are all there. Including Chris O’Dowd at the lower end of the scarf. A great few weeks. We had a great time that World Cup here in Forest View as followers did country wide. Nearly all the kids there were from the estate-with a few guests- and would watch different matches in different houses and when Ireland won they would pour out onto the Green and play like Ireland did then being McGrath/Bonner/ whoever….
I am nearly certain the picture was taken by Christy Regan and published in The Roscommon Herald. Christy was really on the ball. How he happened on our estate and group I don’t know but he got a classic snap of the time with the scarf obscuring just two people whose names we just cannot tie down. I had/have car speakers and I think the day of the famous penalty shoot-out against Romania I put the speakers on the car and led a parade out of the estate with Tina Turner’s ‘Simply the Best’ at full throttle. It was such a great and memorable few weeks in blazing weather. As one person was quoted on national media as saying; ‘I missed the World Cup I was in Italy’. Thanks to Christy Regan and that pic its enjoyment is still visible in that picture
(Thanks Chris for giving it a universal exposure).

St. Michael’s GAA Club Organ Donor Event on Sat. night in the Bush Hotel with Joe Brolly
I see St. Michael’s GAA club are hosting a Connacht Final Preview in The Bush Hotel Carrick-on- Shannon on Saturday night at 8.30 in aid of the Organ Donor Awareness Campaign with Joe Brolly as the main guest. Also there will be Eamon O’Hara of Sligo; Emlyn Mulligan of Leitrim and Donie Shine of Roscommon with others.  I’m a Joe Brolly fan and he was great when Boyle GAA had him here last year. So it promises to be a fun event and very worthy of supporting especially if you are a GAA anorak.