Saturday, October 21, 2017

Update 21st October

• Best wishes to Eastern Harps Senior GAA team and their manager Shane King from Corrigeenroe. Harps are in the Sligo County Final on Sunday v Tourlestrane in Markievicz Park.  
• Two YouTube series of shorts courtesy of Allied Irish Banks. One involves the Roscommon Championship Campaign and the other a very entertaining one involving David Stelling and Chris Kamara of Sky Sports Soccer Saturday on their ‘Road to Croker.’
• The search is on for tickets for Ireland v Denmark away Sat. 11th and home Tuesday 14th. Why would there be no mention of using Croke Park for a possible 83,000 crowd for the 14th?
• I have mentioned that I was looking for a good coloured copy of the 1983 Intermediate winning team from the Frenchpark final v St. Ronan’s. I still am looking for it.
• No news yet on that big medieval table ‘borrowed’ from the Abbey Park during the late summer.
• Boyle Celtic soccer club are beginning to purr and we look forward to a clash with St. Peter’s Athlone when that is sorted.
• “The saddest thing that has ever happened to what was Great Britain” Richard Branson on Brexit.     
Ophelia Storms Through
Ophelia passed over/through our area without doing too much damage. Tragically three people died nationally and more seemed intent on reckless endangerment in Salthill and elsewhere.  Most of us hunkered down on Monday fearing the worst but we were spared. Though, even from my window I could see some cars and a few high sided trucks on the main road over the Curlews.  Cork, the south and the south-east took the brunt of the storm. The three most dramatic scenes of destruction were in Cork City. The flying roof of a school in Douglas, the damaged stand of Cork City F.C. at Turner’s Cross and the felled line of trees on a city street. In fairness the Meteorological services got it right for the most part and we had time to batten down the hatches as they say at sea.

The original Ophelia is one of the great tragic heroines of literature. She is the love possibility of Hamlet Prince of Denmark, the daughter of Polonius and sister of Laertes. She observes the disturbed Hamlet during the famous soliloquy ‘To be or not to be….’  where Hamlet considers (and keeps considering) his own journey. Hamlet dismisses Ophelia with ‘Get thee to a nunnery…’. This and subsequent misunderstandings leads to her tragic end. How the single mind, that of Shakespeare, could create such characters and characterization with a body of phrasing that is a benchmark of the English language, is a miracle of genius. From time to time when I was ‘treating of’ those plays I felt that Shakespeare would have to be a mad genius if a smidgen of the interpretations that are applied to his characters were designed. (It is suggested that it was another man, Marlowe, who was the true author!).

I was disappointed that those who name storms at the Irish and U.K. Met. Services did not continue with the Shakespeare names. Then we would have had Hamlet; Juliet; Lear; Lady Macbeth and so on which would take us through a winter or two.

Speaking of the English language, which gives the Irish as a people such a starting advantage in this crazy world of ours, I came across a documentary during the week on a religious writer and theologian called William Tyndale. He was from the time of The Reformation. Despite the opposition of Henry V111 and the Roman Church he insisted on the translation of the Latin/Greek Bible into the language of the people – the vernacular -. While Tyndale did not get much credit this translation became the basis of King James’s Bible of the early 1600s’ which is one of the great works of English literature and another of the major contributors to the English language. The Bible of course is to Christianity what the Koran is to the Muslim religion. It is the benchmark of Christianity. That is why Tyndale wished that it be translated into say English so that the people – who could read of course - could interpret it for themselves if they so wished. That seems pretty reasonable by modern standards. The Roman Church had protected the Bible from dispersed interpretation by keeping it in the language of the classics. The church would tell the people what it all meant and knowledge is power of course. The presenter of the programme on Tyndale was Melvyn Bragg of The South Bank Show.

BBC 4 is a source of many fine and educational documentaries. A two part film/documentary currently showing is on The Reformation and the life of Martin Luther in German and subtitled. The advantage of modern television, apart from recording, is the facility to backtrack and fast forward etc.  ‘Did he (President Trump) really say that?

In fairness RTE is showing a major documentary series on the Vietnam War at the moment. Amongst the many telling observations in this, is one which relates that Robert Mac Namara (U.S. Secretary of Defence from President Kennedy’s time), was aware that the War was a lost cause as early as ’67. Still the U.S. continued to send thousands of troops into the conflict until 1973 with the fall of Saigon coming in ’75. Over 50,000 Americans died in that war with thousands more wounded, injured and held prisoners. This is just that side of the equation with horrific numbers of Vietnamese being victims also.  

Of course if all that is too heavy for you on Wednesday on RTE 1 there was a ‘Rachael Allen; All Things Sweet’ dish with the promo as follows; “Rachael makes chocolate and hazelnut praline ice cream, roasted plums with white chocolate sauce and raspberry and white chocolate meringue roulade” (R). They should give the Allen family a channel of their own. There are a few words there that Melvyn would have bother with.                

The Abbey (Community) Park on Saturday the 14th.
Last Saturday October 14th was another very significant day for Boyle GAA and the Abbey Park. The Club unveiled a mural in the stand representing John Joe Nerney in determined pose. This was based on a forties action picture. The mural was painted by local artist Sian Costello. The stand too was named in honour of John Joe. The Nerney family was present in force with a large attendance from Boyle with other adjacent clubs generously represented.

After the Mural unveiling the first or initial segment of the ‘Boyle GAA Historical Record in Pictures’ was presented. This has 10 frames each including up to a dozen notable pictures from the early days of the club up to the present. Amongst these was one dedicated also to John Joe and a second to the great handballer of the thirties, from Boyle, Paddy Perry. Present to witness this inaugural recognition of Paddy was his daughter Marjorie and her husband Dermott McDonnell and nephews Peter and Eamon Perry. All frames are sponsored with the sponsors name nominated on the frame. The project could expand greatly, encompassing various themes such as Ladies Football, the role of national and second level schools, major figures like Sean Young and Michael O’Callaghan and so on. To it could also, if the finance was available, could be added a pictorial record of Roscommon GAA teams. So if you would like to be involved in sponsoring a frame you may contact me. Credit for the quality of the pictures goes to photographer Tony Murphy of Visionary Studios on The Crescent. The generous wall space courtesy of designing architect Chris O’Dowd provides an ideal gallery for such an exhibition.            

The third event of the day was the popular Garda Cup Final in which a Shannon Gaels/Kilmore combination were convincing winners over Castlerea. The presentation was overseen and Garda Michael Pilkington and Sgt. Frank Egan who represented the Garda Division of Castlerea/Boyle.
Through the day there was a fund raising event for ‘Niamh’s Journey There’ which was also very well supported.

The day ended well for Boyle with victory over St. Faithleach’s in the Intermediate League Final for the O’Gara Cup. This was proudly accepted by Boyle captain Roch Hanmore as he cradled Bobby, the family’s very young baby.

It was just one crowded day, a great Boyle Community Day in the Abbey Park, one of the most used recreational facilities in the town. There were many people who deserve great credit for seeing the day through successfully led by the Club Chairperson, Kathleen Hanmore.

The Catalonia/Spain Dilemma For Beginners
Since Catalonia is so much in the news I decided to make a very cursory study of it to be able to follow what is really going on and I share it with you!

The region of Catalonia is divided into four provinces of which Barcelona is the most significant. It is bordered in the north by France and the small Pyrenees country of Andorra. To the west it is bordered by the region of Aaragon and to the south by Valencia. It official languages are Catalan and Spanish. Like so many regions its geographic/historic existence has been shaped and re-shaped by centuries of time and conflict.

In the 1640s’ Catalonia revolted against the more centralised federal state of Spain ruled by a monarchy Charles/Philip and so on. Its latest royal family being the Bourbons from the late 1800s’ to the present with the gap for the Franco period. It became a Republic under the protection of France but France grew more protective and took it over altogether until they were pushed back by an army of Greater Spain.

It was also one of the regions which saw more conflict during the French wars in the era of Napoleon (early 1800s’), Wellington and the Peninsular wars.

With the Industrial Revolution the region became more prosperous than other regions of Spain. There is a certain echo of Northern Italy v Peninsular Italy there.

One needs to bear in mind that the desire for a separate nation-state remains more or less constant if fluctuating. We would know a bit about that.

In 1914 the four provinces formed a Commonwealth. From 1931 to ’39 what is referred to as The Second Spanish Republic (the first being in the 1870s) is declared and Catalonia establishes an autonomous government. This was a desperate period in Spanish history with a bitter Civil War. The legacy of that war obtains to this day especially in Catalonia which paid a heavy price at the hands of General Franco and the Fascist regime which it had bitterly opposed. The victorious General Franco abolished many of Catalonia’s institutions and attacked its cultural inheritance including its language.
From the decade of the 50s, through the 70s’ however the region prospered with the added industry of a tourism boom. This of course led to a surge of migrants from other regions of Spain ‘diluting’ the Catalan population.
The Bourbon monarchy with King Juan Carlos returned after Franco’s death in 1975. After ’75 there was a was a period of rapid ‘Transition to Democracy’. Catalonia was able to reinstate many of the features of autonomy from their short period of sovereignty in the 1930’s. It continued to prosper and this culminated in the hosting of the Olympic games in 1992. There are wider problems with a region like Catalonia getting varied independent rights. There are other areas in Spain like the Basque region who would wish for those rights also, so a possible domino effect obtains. This would have major effects not just in Spain but in other EU countries also, like Belgium for instance.

In 2010 ‘The Constitutional Court of Spain’ restricted many of these autonomous rights to Catalonia and this led to a call for Independence.

In a 2014 Referendum (like 2017) 80% voted in favour of Independence but the vote was in the mid- 30% . This agitation continued in 2015 with a possible secession date being set for 2017. We are in that process now. In 2017 only 43% voted but 91% of those voted to break with Spain. It is still probable, however, that the actual majority even within Catalonia still wish to remain part of Spain. As can be seen this is a hugely divisive and dangerous issue.

It is said that Catalonia provides over 19% of government tax but gets just 14% in return. The Government is known as The Generalitat and its current President is Charles Puigdemont. The state has its own police force while the national police- Civil Guardia- retains personnel within the state for a range of significant functions such as security and border supervision. We saw a clash of police roles recently.

We will leave it at that for now and maybe in my next report I’ll be better informed after a field trip.  

Slán for now.

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