Friday, November 21, 2014

St. Martin’s Ale i.e. Water! / 'Grease', Boyle Musical Society / Congratulations / ‘The Man Who Shot the Great War’

St. Martin’s Ale i.e. Water!

I had intended, last week, to refer people to John Mulligan’s Column in The Roscommon Herald of Tuesday, November the 11th. ‘The Kettle’s Boyled’, regarding the Water Protest marches and attendant concerns. I forgot to do so. A certain number of his concerns surfaced in the ‘own goal’ of last week-end’s fracas in Tallaght involving Paul Murphy T.D. and Joan Burton. Paul Murphy’s subsequent claims regarding the peaceful nature of the protest rang very hollow and would not be acceptable to a number of those involved in the Water Protest movement. A lot has been achieved by the protest marches in redressing the current policies regarding water charges and the general framework involved. It is generally accepted that the Water Protest Movement is just a manifestation of the general disaffection with regard to taxation in so many different guises  and the injustices and inequalities therein. The Tallaght strategy though has the inherent danger of dividing the movement from being a large scale one supported by mobilised moderates to being a militant one dominated by what might be pigeon-holed as ‘the left’. Both the left and the peaceful march strategists might point to historical successes but rarely in unison. I am sure that the ruling classes are now becoming aware of the fact that the final straw has been reached and also if the Genii is let out of the bottle it will be difficult to redress the situation. If a general consensus is not reached, however tentative,  then the future is bleak and depressing. I have said before that this country has had such positive possibilities but managed to mess them up, mainly through greed it has to be said. The bleak vista was very evident with a lady caller to the Joe Duffy Show earlier this week. She was leaving Ireland with her kids to join her husband who had gone to England some time ago to get work. While overstated in parts her account illustrates the depressive weights on some people in this country that can push them to such difficult decisions. Then emigration has heretofore been a safety valve stemming radical reaction. The Donna Hartnett letter the Independent was another telling illustration of services deficit where she particularly focussed on child-care, costs, social, economic and psychological. Maybe current events are a wake-up call. Ireland in November is a challenging environment on many fronts.

'Grease', Boyle Musical Society

Considering the above it is uplifting to relate that the first night of Boyle’s musical, ‘Grease’ was a resounding success, played to a packed house and was warmly applauded. All the components are in place in this musical extravaganza with a generous number of recognisable songs. I was particularly impressed by the ‘T Birds’ group of Robert Reid, Conor Durkin, Marc Egan,  Daragh Beirne and Adrian King. Gavin Ward as Eugene was the stand-out character on the night with a very funny cameo performance. Even in the midst of trials and tribulations Boyle Musical is an uplifting occasion.


To St. Croan’s and their Boyle manager David Casey on their great Connacht Intermediate Championship victory last Sunday in Tuam. I can only imagine what the atmosphere is like in the Ballintubber area as a consequence. I had a taste of it last year following Fuerty Juniors all the way to the final in Croke Park. Fuerty morphed into St. Ciaran’s have gone to another final this year as the Fuerty ladies augmented from Creggs won their All-Ireland Semi-Final defeating Dromore of Tyrone in Fuerty also last Sunday. The introduction of All-Ireland series for lesser grades than senior has been one of the most successful recent innovations for the GAA.  

‘The Man Who Shot the Great War’

I tuned into this BBC 1 Documentary on Monday night dealing with a soldier and photographer George Hackney from Belfast who took many iconic images of the Western Front when the sons of Ulster and Ireland generally were involved. Huge numbers were killed in that appalling slaughter on such days as the Battle of the Somme (which was a series of battles) from July to November 1916 when I million men were either killed, wounded or listed as missing.   
The documentary supplemented by a story I was told on Sunday regarding the importance of old pictures has resulted in this reflection. I have a particular interest and regard for photographs as a record of the past. I am not in a minority in that I imagine. I am aware that the Regan family are currently preparing a tribute publication to Christy Regan which will include a variety of  photographs taken by Christy down the decades. This will of course be only a sample of Christy’s vast legacy to the region in that respect.  The story I was told on Sunday, by Barry Feely, related to a visitor to Boyle and King House some time ago. The visitor was viewing the Connaught Rangers exhibition and enquiring if there was any record there of his grandfather who was a member of the Regiment during the Great War. The most obliging of managers, Tommy Egan, contacted Mr. Paul Malpas whose area of expertise this is and Paul graciously came into King House to help the man, with his enquiries. He was from Malaga in Spain, where his father had settled after service in World War 2 and was accompanied by his wife and three children. When the gentleman named his grandfather with whatever details he had, Paul was quickly able to show him an actual picture of his grandfather amongst his peers. With this he was of course thrilled and immediately contacted his ninety two year old  dad-a Second World War veteran- in Spain to tell him the news and i Phoned a picture record to him of HIS dad who was a Capt. Tuite of the 6th Battalion of the Connaught Rangers, a Dubliner. Later a photograph was organised with Willie Beirne and Paul with the flags and uniform of the Connaught Rangers Association and the visitor with the said picture. So the gentleman’s quest was totally fulfilled and the regard and appreciation he had to have for all involved in King House and the Connaught Rangers Association could not have been higher. Paul and the Association deal with numerous similar requests on a regular basis and it projects another very positive image of Boyle and what it has to offer.  Paul also told me that this incident will feature in a booklet which is due for publication in January 2015 titled ‘The New Ranger’ dealing with the work of the Association.       

Regrettably, I am a poor photographer and there are a number of periods in my life of which few pictures exist. Organisations should have a regular photographic recorder especially sporting clubs. I have mentioned this here and there. In Boyle army barracks, apart from the Connaught Rangers exhibition, there is now a fine F.C.A./L.D.F. exhibition collected by Francie Geelan and colleagues.
There were never so many pictures being taken with the advances in technology today. This is good. I believe though that there is a reduction in the number of images being printed onto what I call ‘hard copy’. Many old pictures survive but I wonder how accessible those now stored on various hard  drives and discs will be. So I suggest that if you transfer to disc from your memory card you might print a cross section and remember to name and date them.
‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ the old saying goes. Soon I must put order on the pictures (Jimmy Murray used to call them ‘snaps’) I have of Roscommon football in the forties; Boyle G.A.A. down the years; Maureen O’Sullivan, St. Mary’s College and so on. I was going to end with ‘they will be a legacy of sorts’ I suppose.       

Forest View,
Co. Roscommon
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