Saturday, June 13, 2020

Update 13th June

** I wonder if anyone ever came across a book called ‘The Brookham Mysteries’ by Edward McMorrow who was a Solicitor in Boyle many decades ago. His son Art and daughter Angela lived in The Warren later and some senior people will remember them. I remember asking about the book, as a question in a quiz decades ago, but people were not familiar with it. The name, I seem to remember, was an amalgam of the names of Frybrook and Rockingham i.e. …brook and …ham. I believe Mister MacMurrough wrote under a pen name or non de plume. Why I use the two spellings for Mr. MacMurrough is that in a 1910 Business Directory I have access to the name is given as Mc Morrow.   (Please give me ring on 086 8163399 if you have any information on this or any other book by Mister McMorrow.)


New Government???

The sentiments do not change and I know very well that I’m repeating myself, and repeating myself an re…. with it, but it is still valid if boring and unbelievable;

I referenced this in my post of three weeks ago, five weeks ago, seven weeks ago and nine weeks ago.  Keep in mind that the election took place on Saturday, February 8th …now Saturday June 13th 126 days ago. I wrote then and I repeat;

“I can only call the efforts to form a Government in this country as PATHETIC. There have been talks about talks, preliminary talks, kind of meaningful talks, meaningful talks, documents being drawn up, talk of a ‘government formation document’ but yet no real progress. It is a disgrace especially for the parties who are not part of the ‘Interim -Government’ as of now”. 

This week it was talk about plenary sessions. Then the Green Party decide to have a leadership contest and then Eamon Ryan (a decent man) goes and makes a significant faux pau in the Dáil which gives ammunition to his opponents in the party. Those of us who had leanings towards the Greens are just shaking our heads. Brendan Behan once famously proposed, at a meeting to form some union, “Let’s start with the split”.

All this for what? I repeat myself again in suggesting that I cannot see a Government constructed on such sand, lasting more than eighteen months?

Not long ago we were looking with puzzlement and a dismissiveness on Northern Ireland as they trundled along without a Government which collapsed because of something to do with fuel burning grants and ‘The Gaeilge’ question. Now we have a reflection of that here.

Note; Even if the parties agree this week-end, as is suggested, then they have to go to ‘their party constituencies’ to have it ratified which is not a given at all. This has to be completed by June 29th. It seems as if vital legislation is due to be ratified into law then and can only be done by a full legitimate Government.

Another thing that will happen is the probable replacement of Leo Varadkar as Taoiseach by Micheál Martin. Mister seems a nice reasonable man with ability but is this the time to change the captain of the team? I think not. Then what genius can Fianna Fáil bring to the Cabinet? The only stand out person there, that I can see, is Michael McGrath. Just Google the Fianna Fáil panel. Not many all-stars there!     


Declan Mullaney R.I.P.

Every season brings its tragedies and sadness and no district is immune to them. We hear of them nationally nearly every day. The death of young person is especially sad. Boyle has had more than its share in recent times. This week we laid Declan- Mullaney- to rest in Assylinn cemetery. He was approaching his 40th birthday. I have known Declan since he was a boy and his dad Tom before that. Declan was part of a very good under-age football team in Boyle GAA club in the nineties. I remember those times clearly when the sun seemed to shine immeasurably. I was the coach with assistance from a brains-trust of advisors which included Owen Garvin, Martin Henry, Nicholas Feighan, Michael Brennan and Tom Mullaney himself. On balance we won more times than we lost and captured a few county titles. We lost some big games too but that is part of it. The Abbey Park was our cathedral and Declan was an ever present. He was a good strong player and his position generally was wing back. After our wins and before entering Boyle we assembled at Egans opposite the Golf club and began our victory parade through the streets of the town with the theme tune/song of ‘Simply the Best’. Those were the days.

  Declan was also a good student of mine in St. Mary’s College and I remember him as Prefect of the Student Council which was endorsement of the respect he was held in by his colleagues, the school principal and staff. 

Declan will leave a legacy of many happy memories. Those memories will not grow old now. Declan too showed courage in his struggle with illness and a confidence in his faith as represented in his regard for Knock.

As he passed the Abbey Park for the last three flags hung at half- mast limply as if representing our sorrow. They were those of Roscommon, Boyle and Shannon Gaels showing the diversity of places which are so dear to Declan and the Mullaney family.

On a personal note I was so sorry that I could not be a closer support to my good friends because of the issues of these times.  

Declan you have certainly fought the good fight and you can rest in peace now.


The Death of Canon Kevin Earley

I have just heard of the death of Canon (Father in my knowing) of Kevin Earley. All people have the nuances of difference and Kevin was different. He was a big man with a big heart who drove a small car. He came to St. Mary’s College as Principal a period after Canon Lavin became parish priest in Boyle. Like many smart intelligent men, he might have seemed causal and earthy but the reality was that he was very aware of what was happening in his domain. This of course is a necessary quality in a School Principal! He seemed to ‘amble’ in gait, was affable, generous and good company. I remember a Jubilee celebration of his ordination with mass in Ballymoe after which we all retired to the lovely Forest Park Hotel in Boyle for ‘refreshments’. The refreshments were the full menu and it turned into the real celebration that he wished for and enjoyed. He wasn’t long in Boyle, coming from a long stint in Summerhill. Then he was posted to various parishes and we lost contact for the most part. I did come upon him on a long walk in Lough Key Forest Park afterwards and he made in-depth enquiries about Boyle, its people, students and staff. It was like I was ‘briefing’ a field commander. In remembering Father Earley in St. Mary’s I smile at the memory of slight misunderstanding between him and my friend James Woods. I remember Canon Kevin as perhaps a link between the ‘old school’ parish priest and the new and I’m sure he will have many friends who will echo his many positive qualities and be grateful for his guidance and generosity. He was a sound man by me.  


Global Rossie Day Sunday June 21st

I know very little about this but I saw it referred to in Canon Liam Devine’s column last week. I presume that this idea was put in motion a good while before the Covid tragedy and will be a muted affair now.

I remember the very successful ‘Back to Boyle’ event in the town on August 2nd 2008. There was a great social in St. Joseph’s Hall with many families having their re-unions as part of the greater re-union.  I remember the McDermott family in particular and Austin Biesty and his daughter being there from New York. As it transpired James Drury aka ‘The Virginian’ was in Boyle’s Royal Hotel that Saturday evening also which added to the whole razz mates.

Ireland took on board a national re-union called ‘The Gathering’ in 2013 which was very, very successful. Forest View had its own very pleasant and enjoyable re-union on September 14th of that year with some visitors from New York synchronising their holidays to be part of it. 

On one of the few fine days in the summer of 1988 in August we had a memorable event with the return of the actress Maureen O’Sullivan to Boyle. This turned out to be a major success and was liberally documented on national media, papers, magazines, radio and television. It added an extra string to the bow as it were of people and places associated with Boyle. The recent June 9th edition of ‘Irelands Own’ magazine published a decent article on that visit indicating that the interest is still there.       


The Pandemic Covid19.

I will not say much about this as I have not the competence to do so.

There are a couple of things that confuse me though.

1.       There was an early mantra regarding its containment and in the primary list was ‘test and trace’. I remember a picture, in the first days, of army cadets around a big table ready and waiting to ‘track and trace’ those who might have been in contact with someone who was tested as positive. This programme seems (I could be wrong of course) to have stumbled on with varying pronouncements on its evaluation.

2.       Regarding face masks the advising authorities need to come down more clearly on what they think the practise should be here. Mandatory v best voluntary practise. It seems as if it is kinda mandatory (Ireland you know) on public transport and in shopping and enclosed business premises. Do you wear them generally out and about as it were? Maybe!

The recent marches (legitimate as they have been) will test the Covid picture and its possible spread. The idea of ‘social distancing’ was certainly strained and regularly ignored there.

You know that exclamatory puzzled phrase; ‘What was that all that about? “. Well I have a nagging in my head regarding a scene from over a month ago. In Minneapolis there was a rally putting pressure on the authorities to ‘open up’ the state, forget this lockdown, that is unnecessary. O.K. On the steps of a civic building a couple a men were out front and centre with ‘flak’ jackets and what appeared to me as sub machine guns or some such genre. Now I ask you; ‘What was that all that about?’ 

I rarely mention President Donald Trump much here but it is hard to resist and he gives scribblers so much here so I decided to give him a break this time. He’ll be happy with that. I haven’t the energy.


The Bog Essays

There was nice response to my two essays on my adventures on the plains of Tonroe, in the bog. A very compelling one came from my friend John Austin Biesty formerly of Carrick Road now New York.  It has a lovely nostalgic paragraph including a phrase that I will store. I trust that he does not mind me quoting it here

Tony.   “You raised my melancholic level as I read about your turf-saving endeavors.  You rekindled many happy memories of my bog days.  In my boyhood days, I would spend four or five weeks with my aunts and uncles in Ballyhaunis during the summer.  There, I spent many carefree, happy days working alongside my cousins and their neighbors, all of whom have passed on.  Precious memories, how they linger, how they touch and flood my soul.  The late John Healy, of Western People fame wrote a book, I believe it was titled "Seventeen Acres.'  In it, he has some great and funny stories about his turf cutting days in Mayo. The book itself is a great read”. (Thanks for that Austin. 

I have, as you can gather, highlighted the powerful sentence.

John Healy was also a contributor to The Irish Times. There is an iconic scene in the coverage of Italia 90 after David O’Leary scores the deciding penalty v Romania. It is of John Healy sobbing with joy in a crowded tent (I think). This was replicated by John (the) Bull Hayes before the historic Ireland v England rugby match in Croke Park in February 2007. 

John Healy wrote two telling books one as Austin writes and the second ‘Nobody shouted Stop’. The death of an Irish town. The town in question was Charlestown. I had both of these books a long time ago but I gave the loan of them and I don’t have them anymore!   


The Business Emperors make inroads in the Second and Fourth Estates.

A writer before the French Revolution framed society in The Ancién Regime of France as divided into three sections or estates, they being; 1. Clergy. 2. Nobility and 3. Commoners. These have been updated as four estates currently, as 1. Executive. 2. Legislature. 3. Judiciary. 4. Media.   

Pat McDonagh regularly injects himself into the 4th estate. Recently I heard him wax lyrical about ending some Government supports so that his employees ‘can’ return to work. To work especially in his low wage economy to bolster his gung ho business. (Pat forgot that there was a way of doing this by himself paying his employees a tad or more than the Government supports.) But maybe we should just pass on that. If you read this Pat take a break as these are shaky times and your statue could easily come into the sights of the emerging anarchists which are such a force in the U.S.

Add in the facts that people are now getting on their bicycles and weighing scales and going through a period called ‘Operation Transformation’ and questioning a phenomena called DIET. And Pat if Diet becomes populist and the anarchists look around for targets then Supermac’s may need to rebrand to ‘Superman’s’ to fend off the jokers. Take a few months in isolation from the 4th estate in your own estate. It is also called cocooning and maybe you could emerge as a butterfly.

While I’m at It

Another Estate i.e. number 2 -the Legislature- also had an incision from the ‘Emperors of Business’ or their Bismarck. Lazily looking at some discussion in the Dáil who do I see, comfortable and very much at home, in the Taoiseach’s seat only Daniel McCoy? Who? I hear you ask. Maybe you’ve mistaken him and it is Micheál Martin. No I reassure you it was the real McCoy. Well Daniel felt as much at home as he might be in the Horseshoe Bar in the Shelbourne. I was there once for educational purposes. I walked in pre rugby match as smartly as the throng allowed, hung a left took a kind of forced twirl and out again.

Well I did not linger with McCoy who now has a story to tell of his day in the Dáil. I expected to see Tom Parlon but he was probably out enforcing social distancing on building sites. Anyway being in the Dáil wouldn’t be news to Tom, just another brick in the wall. 


The View’s Poem Selection for this time.

The birds seem to be having a decent time as they have pretty audible these past months. While on the bog the call of the cuckoo resonated. It reminded me of another of the great nature poems of Wordsworth and I add it here. It is a bit long (I get paid by the word) but you do not have to read it all!

  To the Cuckoo

O blithe New-comer! I have heard,

I hear thee and rejoice.

O Cuckoo! shall I call thee Bird,

Or but a wandering Voice?


While I am lying on the grass

Thy twofold shout I hear;

From hill to hill it seems to pass,

At once far off, and near.


Though babbling only to the Vale

Of sunshine and of flowers,

Thou bringest unto me a tale

Of visionary hours.


Thrice welcome, darling of the Spring!

Even yet thou art to me

No bird, but an invisible thing,

A voice, a mystery;


The same whom in my school-boy days

I listened to; that Cry

Which made me look a thousand ways

In bush, and tree, and sky.


To seek thee did I often rove

Through woods and on the green;

And thou wert still a hope, a love;

Still longed for, never seen.


And I can listen to thee yet;

Can lie upon the plain

And listen, till I do beget

That golden time again.


O blessèd Bird! the earth we pace

Again appears to be

An unsubstantial, faery place;

That is fit home for Thee!


Take care and may your gods go with you.





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