Friday, February 26, 2016

Update 26th February

Kieran Emmett 10th Anniversary Concert and Sessions

Kieran Emmett, a member of the very wellknown and regarded Emmett family of Ballyfarnon, died in early March 2006. He was known in many parts of the country as a musician, wit, entertainer and character call it what you will. He would be at his best a bit late into the night in a public house regaling a close circle of friends with anecdotes of his adventures as he traversed the country selling tyres for Emmett Remoulds or attending fleadhs or music sessions the length and breadth of the land. Drumshambo and Boyle were two towns in which he spent much of his time. He became linked to a particular music house such as Conway’s in Drumshambo or The Ceili House Bar (now Kelly's Londis) in Boyle. It was in the Ceili House that I got to know him. From the sixties on the Ceili House became a mecca for traditional music since its proprietor Kathleen Dwyer Morris was a noted fiddle player nationally. Kieran’s associate in Boyle was the flute player Bernie Flaherty and they played in the region as a duo and travelled widely to sessions. During that time the Ceili House ran a variety of entertainments apart from music. One memorable event in which Kieran starred and won was the Boyle Bachelor competition!

In Drumshambo during the fine Mooney Summer School Festival he was a regular greeter in Conway’s bar and I spent a number of very entertaining hours with him there where he seemed to be known by everyone present. We also met up at the All-Ireland Fleadhs in Listowel, Clonmel or wherever it happened to be. We met early on the Monday morning of the All-Ireland Fleadh in Clonmel and while we were discussing the merits of the event a local lady greeted us as she was passing and Kieran offered the query “Mrs. would you know anywhere a man might get a bed for the day?”

Once as he thinking of changing the old car he had he wondered from me if an ad. in the Herald suggesting ‘Car for sale. Ten careful owners’ would have the desired impact!  Another example from Bernie Flaherty was after Kieran had in fact changed his car and Bernie observed a good rope in the boot and queried it. To which Kieran responded ‘Bernie do you think I would ever buy a car good enough not to have to have a rope in it?’ or words to that effect. Indeed many of Kieran’s lightening quips were uttered in the context of a particular conversation moment, topic, or personality under review. He loved his ‘native shore’ – Ballyfarnon and James Shivnan’s Bar where he was served ‘the best pint in Ireland’.

Kieran’s musical prowess is not to be underestimated and shortly before his death he unveiled his own lovely composition called ‘Down in the Hollow’ which was played by his many friends at his funeral mass. 

He was a gregarious individual and had friends in his various boltholes through the country like the Farleys, Brendan and Ollie, from Oldcastle County Meath, who will be performing at the Concert in Kieran’s memory which will take place in King House on Friday March 4th commencing at 8 pm.  Amongst the other performers are Charlie MGettigan, Bernard Flaherty and Joe Kennedy, Rosie Stewart, Mary and Tommy Finn, Frankie Simon and his brothers Paul and Brendan Emmett. It is expected that the ‘session’ will continue in Dodd’s afterwards.

On Saturday it is hoped to have traditional sessions in local bars also from 4 pm.
In summation Kieran was a character who brightened our lives on many occasions in those years. I am sure that on next week-end  there will be much reminiscing of Kieran and the remembering of his stories and adventures with much laughter. It is often said ‘there are few if any characters like him nowadays’. His larger than life spirit lives on though. 

The Election in the Snow 1917. 

Tomorrow we go to the polls and do our three card shuffle as best we can. One hundred years ago out forbears in North Roscommon performed the same duty in a historic way. This was in the bye-election of Saturday February 3rd 1917. The election was caused by the death of long-time Irish Party, Westminster M.P. James J. O’Kelly. A  number of people floated their names as possible candidates. It was rumoured that Sinn Fein would offer a candidate, possibly Professor Eoin Mac Neill  then in prison. Mr. Thomas J. Devine was generally accepted as the Irish Party or United Irish League candidate. (He was a resident of St. Patrick’s St. where the Patrick’s Well bar is now). Seamus Doherty a Sinn Fein organiser visited Boyle which he knew through business and held a meeting with a number of Sinn Fein confidants requesting support for the nomination of George Noble Count Plunkett, father of the executed Easter Rising leader and poet Joseph Mary Plunkett. A subsequent meeting took place in the Central Hotel later the Northern Bank. The meeting was presided over by a man who was to become hugely important in the election i.e. Father Michael O’ Flanagan curate at Crossna. They had just three weeks to organise their campaign. Prominent Sinn Fein members came to Boyle to support Plunkett and are recorded in an important autograph book of Mrs. Eva Feely of the Feely/Feighan family who ran the news agency McDonagh's across from the Central Hotel.  Some names here were; Arthur Griffith, Rory O’Connor, Joseph McGrath and if I remember correctly Michael Collins. 
The third candidate was Jasper Tully former M.P. and proprietor of The Roscommon Herald. The issues of the election included the threat of conscription, land division of the ‘ranches’ and for Sinn Fein of course the question of national sovereignty as a legacy of Easter 1916. The campaign was carried out in very severe weather conditions and the blanket of snow offered an ideal canvass for the posting of election slogans such as Vote for Count Plunkett father of the Patriot Joseph Mary Plunkett. Due to the huge energy injected by the visiting campaigners and the ‘whirlwind’ that was the activity of Father O’ Flanagan supported by a large number of clerical curates their candidate swept the boards. 
Plunkett headed the poll with 3, 022 votes to Devine 1,708 and Tully 687. It was a tremendous performance in the North Roscommon constituency covering from Tarmonbarry to Loughglynn. The winners retired from the count centre of Boyle Courthouse in triumph to their base in The Central Hotel.
The policy of abstention from the Westminster Parliament had not emerged prior to this but after the result was announced Plunkett declared that he would not try to represent his constituents in London and would not go any further that the old Dublin Parliament of College Green. 
The result was applauded by nationalists through the country and the Roscommon result was followed by similar results by McGuinness in Longford and Eamon de Valera in Clare. At the first post –war general election in December 1918 the Home Rule Party led by John Redmond was swept away and a new and traumatic era was set in train. In it all Roscommon North with the 1917 election of Count Plunkett had set the nation on a new course.  
(There is an extended essay on this election in Micheal O’Callaghan’s important book ‘For Ireland and Freedom’ published first in 1964 and republished twice subsequently. Barry Feely will also deal with this event in his upcoming publication  ‘They Dared to Challenge in the Garrison Town of Boyle’  which will be launched at Easter).               

Brexit Referendum June 23rd

If our election is important, as all elections are, I suppose the election in the U.K. on June 23rd is more important. A British exit from the E.U would cause all kinds of issues for this country. I am aware of the irony of writing this immediately after writing a note on the 1917 election. Boris Johnson’s emergence as being pro exit increases the threat of a British withdrawal from the EU. While there are pro exit arguments and perhaps Johnson feels legitimately that they outweigh the arguments for staying in the EU, there is a considerable possibility that Boris is looking after the future of Boris in the matter. Cameron and Johnson go back a long way to secondary school at Eton College even. Apparently Boris was the bright star while David was the middle ground student. Johnson naturally wants the top job and Cameron is the man in possession so the traditional political stance is ‘my opponent’s difficulty is my opportunity’ obtains. The support of Boris for a British exit from the EU smacks of opportunism. Does the future for the Anglo-American Alliance mean it will be led by Boris Johnson and Donald Trump? What a prospect. Indeed the possibility of a British exit could cause a domino effect with the migration pressure having the potential to overwhelm western Europe and as of now leading to the reinstatement of border security and checks along the borders of many countries.           

A big Week-End for Sport 

Roscommon v Cork
Top of the sport’s agenda for us in Roscommon is our trip to Cork on Sunday in the league. After the win over Kerry we now travel with hope that we can get a win here if Cork give one of their inconsistent performances.
On Friday night Dublin v Monaghan. The other games are Mayo v Donegal in Donegal Sunday; Kerry v Down in Down. TG4 give good coverage to the Division 1 games so check this out for viewing.
This week-end is GAA Congress week-end in Carlow. I imagine the change in U 21 and minor will be debated as there has been a lot of sentiments expressed about the abusive over-playing of young talented players in that age-range. The other item is the neglect of club players with fixtures being tossed around like snuff at a wake. Eugene McGee does not hold out much hope for positivity from the Congress as expressed in the headline to his column on Monday ‘Congress—the minefield that defies change in GAA’.


Ireland play England on Saturday around 4.20 I think. Ireland are already out of contention for Championship and Triple Crown so this is a dead rubber really….a kind of a challenge game. But they will take it seriously enough because ‘pride is at stake’. Ireland is decimated with injuries at the moment so the team is a pretty changing landscape right now. Talking od injuries I eventually got to see the film ‘Concussion’ about just that in American football. It did not have the edge of say ‘All the Presidents Men’ or Russell Crowe in the film ‘Insider’ dealing with the inner machinations of the tobacco industry and its link to cancer. Still it was educational and worthy and for people involved in contact sports especially rugby and boxing it makes uncomfortable viewing. So any time I see Jonathan Sexton take a heavy hit this week-end I’ll wince.
France ‘play’ Wales on Friday night. France are moving towards being the real bad boys of international rugby with their overt physical approach. By a process of elimination Scotland must be playing Italy.


A hugely important game is taking place from Friday and it is the election of the President of FIFA to replace Sepp Blatter. Blatter and Platini had their suspension appeal heard lately by The Court of Arbitration for Sport’. While their suspensions were not overturned they were reduced. Blatter must have gone to the open university as Gerry Adams in terms of denial of wrongdoing.         

Boyle Celtic Top Fine Win
Boyle Celtic 1 City United Sligo 0
This was a great performance and result by Boyle Celtic away in Sligo on Sunday last. Boyle put the pressure on City through the first half and went into an early lead on fifteen minutes with a goal from Michael Corrigan. Boyle missed some chances to extend their lead in that first half. City increased the pressure in the second half and Boyle had to defend valiantly which they did. The Sligo Champion ended its report with “Boyle in the end emerged worthy winners in a brilliant game’. Best fro for Boyle were Carlos, McDermotroe, Corrigan and ‘Man of the Match’ Luka Roddy. The team on Sunday was Suffin/Carlos/McDermotroe/Conboy/Brennan/ McCormack/Battles/McKilleen/ Corrigan/ Roddy/Calpin with Conor Deery.                 
They now sit on top of the Great Southern Hotel sponsored Super League with 37 points from 13 games played, 12 wins and 1 draw. That draw was against City in Boyle early in the campaign. City have 28 points from 11 games so if they converted their two games in hand, as they would be expected to do, it would leave just 3 points between the sides. Yeats are also in the mix and Boyle are away to them. Boyle’s biggest threat is to take some game lightly and get turned over losing a very good opportunity to get a second league success in a short time.

Boyle lose to Kilmore

Kilmore 0.9 Boyle 0.4.

After the fine win over Padraig Pearse’s it was down to earth on Sunday last with defeat to Kilmore in Kilmore. The Boyle team is much under strength at the moment and this was reflected in this performance. Boyle had just one point to show at half time as Kilmore led by 0.5 to Boyle 0.1. Things did not improve dramatically in the second half and Kilmore finished deserving winners. Boyle’s best players on Sunday were Pat Goldrick in goals, Cillian Cox and Sean Purcell in backs and Ciaran Cox at midfield. The forwards did not get anything like the space they did in the Pearse’s game and found it difficult. The team on Sunday was Goldrick/Ciaran Beirne/ Cillian Cox/ Gilmartin/ Hanmore/ Purcell/ Cian Beirne/ Ciaran Cox/ Halligan/ Suffin/ Colin Goldrick/ Kerins/ Flanagan/ East/ McKeon with Horan and Kelly. Their next game is against Elphin.