Thursday, July 28, 2016

Update 29th July

Hillary Clinton Democratic Nominee for President.
And now there are two. So after a hard road to the nomination Hillary Clinton has finally been nominated as the Democratic candidate in the U.S. Presidential election of next November. This has been in the making for quite a while. The campaign from here until November looks like developing into a very nasty one. It is suggested that both candidates, as the Irish direction joke goes, ‘should not start from here’ due to their generally low popularity ratings. While Hillary Clinton has the advantages of experience, being in the public sector domain for decades and has her core support she is still disliked and distrusted by a large section of the electorate who doubt and question her credibility on issues. One that is swirling around is her use of a private email address for public business while Secretary of State thus exposing that public business to the danger of being exposed and thus being a threat to ‘national security’. While taking at face value that issue, why a person in her position would make such a mistake is puzzling and disconcerting? Her husband Bill Clinton, a very able politician and a charismatic one to many, was not averse to making errors with self-indulgence which embroiled him in controversy and credibility for long periods. In the campaign for nomination Hillary had to fight off a testing challenge from Bernie Sanders. While Sanders should not have appeared as a major threat to Clinton he was able to imbue a large number of Democratic supporters with a respect and spirit to the end. Sanders generously supported Clinton at the Philadelphia Convention which is the way of ‘pragmatic’ politics whether right or wrong. If Sanders was such a difficult contender for Clinton to shake off then how will she fare against the more aggressive Trump? Apparently the Democratic machine has huge financial backing as opposed to Trump being more self-financed. The money spent in U.S. elections seems just crazy. It is a thing though that following the election of a black President there is the possibility of a woman President. In Europe there are a number of examples of women in the role of Prime or First Minister, Germany, the U.K., Scotland, Northern Ireland and so on. It remains to happen in our own country yet and it does not look likely for a while. We have had two exceptional lady Presidents of course. There have been numerous recent references to ‘the glass ceiling’ being broken in the U.S. with Hillary Clinton’s nomination, the ‘glass ceiling’ being that women were excluded from reaching the top positions in the U.S. as elsewhere. Michelle Obama endorsed this view in a pretty impressive contribution in endorsing Clinton. Personally Hillary Clinton as President would not brighten my perspective. Perhaps it would be a one term Presidency. Anyway the next three months will be interesting as to who becomes President of the United States. It is universally important as it impinges on the lives of so many. 

Boyle Arts Festival
This seems to be one of the most successful festivals ever for Boyle. Apparently most of the events are full and people are very happy with the quality of those events. I’ve gone to a number, perhaps not as many as I should have but that’s life. I write these notes on Thursday afternoon after coming in from The Church of Ireland where three local ladies- Lynda Moyse, Lizi Hannon and Ceara Conlon-regaled us for over an hour with a lunchtime performance of their favourite songs. It was re-assuring for me when they began with Neil Young’s ‘After the Goldrush’ , later with the Dixie Chick’s ballad  "Travelin’ Soldier" and a lovely interpretation of Donie O’Connor’s song ‘Silver River’.  Donie was in audience and must have been chuffed. He performed last year in Tawnytaskin Community Centre and would be worthy of a regular slot being a very talented singer and composer of fine songs. 
Last night, Wednesday, I attended another local and talented artist Frankie Simon in Tawnytaskin and it was a treat. Frankie and guests performed for over two hours with a broad range of musical genres from jazz and blues to traditional interpretations including many of his own compositions. It is regularly reflected that Boyle has a great musical and entertainment tradition and that is true today also. It was nice to visit Tawnytskin centre run by a local committee dedicated to their own neighbourhood.   
Last week Paul Williams in conversation with Carole Coleman emphasised the importance of ‘community’ in the face of crime and social tensions. It is one of the strongest or core values in the small towns and rural communities and is a buffer against outside pressures and assaults. It is fair to say that the sense of community which exists through rural Ireland, including the smaller towns, is an essential part of the fabric of those areas. 
It was interesting that Paul Williams answered a late audience question with a note of strong pessimism on the possibility of crime reduction or control as it is systemic to the point of being genetic in socially deprived areas.
Tomorrow night Friday I am booked to attend Kieran Goss with Frances Black. I have heard Frances Black before but while I am well aware of Kieran Goss I have not been to a concert of his. 
Amongst the items I missed, being away from Boyle, was Thomas J. Finan’s talk on ‘The Archaeology of Lough Key’. I believe that there was a full house with people being unable to attend because of that. Lough Key and its surrounds has a rich archaeological heritage and I wonder if this talk might be repeated at some future time.
Well done to all involved in the Festival. It certainly raises the profile of the town as is evident from the unfamiliar faces on the streetscape.      

Some Pieces I Enjoyed This week.

Christy Wynne and Boyle Fair
There were a number of items on various sources that caught my eye in recent days. First there was the Christy Wynne piece on Boyle fairs here on realboyle. I arrived in Boyle in 1972 as the fairs in Boyle were being phased out but I do remember them on the Crescent. The Boyle Fair had the unusual practise of starting on the Fair Green on the top of Green Street and moving in the late morning to the Crescent. Christy captured the atmosphere and slight tensions in the whole process very well as he is wont to do on those times. I had plenty of experience of going to fairs in Roscommon in my youth, until, in the early sixties, the mart was established there. This became a huge success and Roscommon is one of the primary marts in the country. There was an effort to establish a mart also in Boyle in the seventies but for whatever reasons it did not happen and it was a severe economic loss to the town. 

Roscommon Herald Vignettes
Buying The Roscommon Herald has been a habit of mine for decades. In the last two weeks an interesting and innovative series has begun with pen pictures of senior people from the area. This is a significant record of people who have lived  long and varied lives with many experiences and achieved a good deal. The piece two weeks ago treated of Pearse Carty and of his travels and adventures as a young man. It is a reminder that there are people who we might take a little for granted but have led a very full and different life in their younger days. I remember when I was a little involved with the Boyle Scouts parents committee Pearse acting as a guide to a scouts troop on an early night hike. One would have thought that the guide would be at a big disadvantage at that time but Pearse just looked to clear sky and gave an enlightening explanation of the starry plough, the big dipper and many more elements from that awe inspiring canvass.
Last week it touched on the long life of Jamesie Cox from Knockroe and this week to a lady I know quite well, Frances McGee of The Crescent, Boyle the founder of the well-known fashion house ‘Marian’s’  which got its name as it was established in 1954, Marian Year. As Michael Caine’s biography title went ‘Not a Lot of People Know That’. The pieces are accompanied by portrait pictures by Brian Farrell.   

John Mulligan Roscommon Herald Profile 
There was a different format used in giving an insight into the influences on Boyle writer and commentator John Mulligan. In a question and answer format with series editor Gerry Boland he told of the influence of teachers Eamon Perry in Grange and Father Noel Mattimoe in St. Mary’s College. He had an interesting memory of Fr. Noel’s sourcing of books and also of the traditions of some members of the Gardai in terms of their sourcing of provisions. Obviously John was a regular at Boyle Library then supervised by E.C. McGee (Brendan’s grandfather). John referred to the library and of John Steinbeck being one of his favourite writers as he is with myself. He nominated three books amongst his favourites as being Orwell’s  Animal Farm, Steinbeck’s ‘Grapes of Wrath’ and a lesser known important book Patrick McGill’s ‘Children of the Dead End’. (The significant McGill Summer School in Donegal is held in honour of Patrick McGill). John is much travelled man and is the author of three books ‘Dancing on the Waves’ , ‘Following in the Footsteps of the Four Flannerys’, and ‘No Place in the Sun’. While complimenting the talent within the county John ends on a pessimistic note reckoning ‘we could do so much better’, a phrase I am pretty familiar with! Anyway John is a very capable man and this was well illustrated in this interesting profile as edited by Gerry Boland, in this week’s Roscommon Herald.          

Roscommon’s Senior Season Ends in Salthill
The Roscommon senior team failed to rise to the occasion again in Salthill on Saturday. So a year which began with such promise with wins over Kerry, Cork, Down and Donegal, when we became the talk of the GAA football fraternity nationwide, ended most disappointedly. As die-hard Roscommon supporters left Pearse Stadium on Saturday there was a sense of resignation as they too felt fatigued as much as seemed to be case with the team. Some suggested that the prospect of meeting Kerry in a Quarter Final in Croke Park on Sunday was a poisoned chalice but teams play to win the game in hand and an opportunity to play in Croke Park is always a desire. There will be a good deal of soul searching now but the people who will be most disappointed will be the team and management. (Michael O’Brien has a very incisive review of Roscommon’s fortunes and misfortunes on page 12 of The Roscommon Herald Sport’s section).

GAA…This weekend’s big games

On Saturday Donegal v Cork at 4. Mayo v Westmeath at 6 at Croke Park.

On Sunday, Clare v Kerry at 2 and Galway v Tipperary at 4. 

While there have been a number of upsets this summer we are getting to the ‘business end of the season’ when these become very scarce indeed.

Donegal to defeat Cork though Cork are inconsistent and can come up trumps from time to time. Mayo to defeat Westmeath as they progress after their Galway defeat.

On Sunday  Kerry to overcome Clare comfortably, by how much will be a matter of interest to us in Roscommon and a developing Galway to defeat Tipperary.  

It is not too easy to follow what stage some teams are at but Saturday’s games are qualifiers while Sunday’s are quarter finals. The winners on Sunday go to the semi-finals and Saturday’s winners play Dublin and Tyrone to make up the remaining  two semi-finalists.  A side issue for the week-end games will be the attendance figures. It is said that, to date,  they are holding in Connacht and Ulster but down in Leinster and Munster. A good wedge of supporters of Roscommon and Clare did not travel to Galway and it is likely that with few decent games this summer the trend will continue until the semi-finals at least. 

Golf on TV.
The BBC gave up on screening the British Open Championship which has been a blue chip sports programme with them for years. It is reported that the viewing figures on SKY were way down 75% on previous BBC figures. I don’t know how that enhances the promotion of golf as SKY hover up the star attractions for a selective audience.

Russians and the Olympics 

The International Olympic Committee has passed the buck as it fails to endorse other agencies regarding banning the Russian team from the Olympics because of a state sponsored drug-enhancing programme. It will be interesting to see if this once great feast of sports excellence can retain its credibility in a number of its disciplines.  

Reserve Defence Forces 
It may interest some readers that the R.D.F. are currently recruiting as per advertisement in the Roscommon Herald July 19th page 39. For information visit 

Sin e or now.


In the Roscommon Herald there were a couple of new items of interest.
Some people will vote ‘against’ a candidate by voting for the opposing candidate which they are not enamoured with also. Not many people take the trouble to do that.    

     . My opinions emerge from a combination of what I read in the media, watch on television, hear on radio. I am not      
     I have been interested in the United Sates for a very long time and spent three memorable summers there in the late sixties, including the summer the Mets won their first baseball World Series   

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