Friday, February 11, 2022

Update 12th February

 World in Jeopardy

“The whole world is in a terrible state o’ chassis” so says Sean O Casey in his play ‘Juno and the Paycock’ set in 1922.

We are today no different. The possible disaster of a ‘hot war’ involving a possible Russian invasion of the Ukraine is mind-boggling.

In a little forked diversion here it was maybe eight months or so that I tuned into a documentary on the Assad family dynasty of Syria.  The present President is Bashar Assad with his wife Asma. Bashir was a doctor in England and married Asma who was born in London with Syrian parents. When Bashar’s father died he succeeded his father. It was thought by many that ‘the doctor’ would be a much more benevolent ruler than his father in a troubled land. That was not how it turned out. An end camera shot of Bashar was of him driving through one of many destroyed cities of Syria. That Middle Eastern region is seen as the birthplace of civilization and goes back to biblical times.

The image of an educated man seeming relaxed and confident about the destruction all around him and the thousands of people who were killed or imprisoned to satisfy his interpretation of the appropriate rule, was to me incredible. There have been many modern examples of this.  Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and so on.   

I was reminded of a sketch I had seen decades ago during some crisis which I would like to have now. It was a drawing of the planet earth with all the evidence of it having been through a catastrophic war of destruction. Atop the graphic of a destroyed world globe a couple of military figures were hailing the fact that; ‘We won!”.

Could that be the case with a possible war beginning with an invasion of the Ukraine. Are Putin, Biden and their acolytes really willing to risk a war with all the incredible utensils of war available to them? The title used by soldiers of the First World War to artillery bombardments was, ‘hell’. The capacity of the great powers today has multiplied to ‘unleash hell’ by any factor of X. 

Senior people will remember the threats of a possible third world war in the early sixties during the Cuban Crisis. As the U.S. military strained at the bit to use their terrible resources luckily common sense prevailed. If a ‘limited’ war began where would it stop? Could it be stopped? In 1965 Barry McGuire pounded out one of the great chilling anti-war songs part of which I post to here. You really have to hear it of course. 


Eve of Destruction

Barry McGuire

“The Eastern world, it is explodin'

Violence flarin', bullets loadin'

You're old enough to kill but not for votin'

You don't believe in war, but what's that gun you're totin'?

And even the Jordan river has bodies floatin'

But you tell me over and over and over again my friend

Ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction

Don't you understand what I'm trying to say?

Can't you feel the fear that I'm feeling today?

If the button is pushed, there's no running away

There'll be no one to save with the world in a grave

Take a look around you boy, it's bound to scare you, boy

But you tell me over and over and over again, my friend

Ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction

I seem to remember reading that Douglas McArthur toyed with the idea of using a nuclear bomb against the Chinese at a point during the Korean War.


 Think of all the hate there is in Red China

Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama

Ah, you may leave here for four days in space

But when you return, it's the same old place

The poundin' of the drums, the pride and disgrace

You can bury your dead but don't leave a trace

Hate your next door neighbor but don't forget to say grace

And you tell me over and over and over and over again my friend

You don't believe we're on the eve of destruction

You don't believe we're on the eve of destruction”.


Tomorrow is Saturday a Sports Fest.

It is hard to come down from Barry McGuire but thankfully tomorrow is another day!         

As a sports nerd, which I imagine people who read this from time to time can see, tomorrow, Saturday 12th is a feast day.

Manchester Utd. V Southampton early on I’ll give a miss to as I’ll try and get a walk in then.

In rugby Wales v Scotland at 2.15 which I will probably get snitches of as I’m doing something else.

Then come the GAA club hurling and football finals. My pick there is the contest in hurling between pretty close neighbours Ballygunner of Waterford v Ballyhale Shamrocks from Kilkenny. I fancy the Kilkenny cats to do the business with T.G. Reid the man to watch.

I will have a problem with Kilmacud Crokes of Dublin v Kilcoo of Down. Though Kilcoo are favourites I go for Kilmacud. K.O. 5.

My problem with watching that game is that there is a bone crusher of a rugby game with Ireland v France in Paris. K.O. 4.45. The loss of Johnny Sexton is a big one for Ireland but they seem to have a very good side with a number of very seasoned players to come on from the bench. Impossible to call.

Then on cue comes a top league hurling game with Limerick, the current giants, v Galway with King Henry (Shevlin) in charge of Galway, at 7.

It would have been some day if the U.S. Super Bowl topped it off but that starts on Sunday night at 11.30 p.m. That can be a long night. It takes place in California with the Los Angeles Rams v Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals are nearly the epitome of the ‘zero to hero’ catchphrase as they have shocked American football followers with their rise to fame this season. Of course the quarter-back, 25year old Joe Burrow, has had a major role in that transition. 

[It is worth noting that the GOAT has retired at the end of the season just gone. The ‘Greatest of All Time’ has been Tom Brady].

A sporting first which we should all applaud was that of Cavan lady Leone Maguire who had a significant win in a U.S. golf tournament last weekend. She was the hero of the victorious European Solheim Cup team last Autumn. She looks like a lady who will be a regular ‘contender’ in ladies’ golf, in the states, for years to come. An honourable mention goes to another golfer, Seamus Power from Waterford. He blazed around Pebble Beach with the first two rounds of 64 each last week. This had him in a leading positon. He dropped back with two modest rounds on the Saturday and Sunday. However, for a while there it looked as if it could have been a mighty double for the Irish golfers. Still it was pretty impressive.

I’ll adjourn here and maybe get back to the keyboard sooner rather than later.

Take care.

We are not there yet even if our world seems to suggest that we are home and hosed!

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Update 1st February 2020

 Journey to a Funeral

We walked quickly winding our way through the alleys avoiding the sea-front which was being lashed by a gale. A knock at a downstairs window to be joined by a companion.

We continued down Lower Salthill, through Nile Lodge and along Newcastle Road all the time shielding our faces from the wind-driven rain. Past the hospital corner to where the transport waited at the college gate. This was spring morning- February but three days old- but spring had been denied.

The dark hulk of the bus blended with the dawn blackness. We waited at the bus door waiting to be inside.

“We move at seven”, said the organiser. “If there is room you can come”.

We were not really supposed to be there. We waited anxiously, nervously hoping. A trickle of people filled the few vacant seats that remained, the trickle of people against the trickle of time. Time won.

The bus moved off like a ship away from a quay. We relaxed a little. Rumour spread of floods and storms and impassable roads. The bus trundled on uncertainly as if echoing our own uncertainty. I felt uneasy, maybe I shouldn’t be going. Maybe I should not have given in to that abstract impulsive.

The dawn light had wrestled with the elements but now gave up its forlorn battle with wind, rain and cloud. The elements had won and a dark sullen sky overshadowed all.

We wound our way through counties Galway, Mayo and Sligo. The country did not look alive this morning. The end of the world, for some. In Donegal we stopped as a funeral passed. It was not the first funeral we had met on the way. There were many funerals throughout the country on that day. But then there are funerals all over the country every day but not as many as today. Today was different.


We wound our way now very slowly as if nervous of reaching our destination. We cut across through the Gap of Donegal. Not a sign of life. More dark houses but yet no sign of life. Soon there is a whisper, the border! Confusion, which way? As if wishing to turn away. We pass a burnt-out customs post. The driver has been urged to bring us into the city over three miles away. We might be late. He reluctantly agrees. We come to a signpost for Letterkenny but turn in another direction.

Through the mist we see something up ahead. Coming closer we see the green hulk of a half- track stretched across the road. The soldiers wave us down with their rifles. A soldier steps up into our bus.  A hush. He is unarmed. Outside his crew watch. A few drink from enamel mugs. They shift about restlessly. They are cold probably. We freeze inside as the guns eye us arrogantly. The lone soldier walks through the bus. He scans each anxious face. No other sound. He gives a cursory inspection, finds nothing. Relief. The bus creeps through the narrow path left by the driver of the army vehicle. We have difficulty. Not an inch. The bus loses patience and lurches into a hollow and out again. The driver regretting his decision.

I look back. A soldier makes a sign of the cross, in mockery. Yet we are through and soon the cars line up in front of us. We stop and leave the bus which immediately begins to turn and retreat. It will wait for us over the border that evening. We will have to make our own way back to the meeting point. Confusion again, which way now? A suggestion ‘Up the hill’. A suggestion becomes a fact. We try to hurry. We may not be in time. The rain lashes the hill. A big bleak hill dotted with equally bleak housing estates against a murderous and revengeful sky. The rain water rushes down the sloped roadway, it too in a hurry to hide. We scramble on through torn up pavements and burned-out barricades. We move through an estate following the former trickle which is now a crowd. We reach the gates and push through into the graveyard of the adjoining church. We follow the well-ordered plots. From the headstones it can be seen that it is not an old graveyard. Very young as headstone inscriptions relay ’68. ’69, ’71, ’71, ’72 tell that.

We move on slowly now.  There are a number of open graves ready, one here, a couple more over there. A number of others speckle the green hill with the brown-black earth. One area catches our attention. We walk towards it and stand and look into the group of open graves as they lie side-by-side. Twelve graves in all here today and another in Donegal.

The coffins of the dead are borne out along the pathway. We line the route. The rain still unrelenting on the Regan. The hearts of many are cold. The apparently endless cortege passes through the ranks of the shocked and silent witnesses. The coffins are laid into the earth. Five in one neat row. The ceremonies are performed and slowly we retreat. The reporters and photographers record. The curious still try to absorb it all. Parse might have said, ‘a great offering, a great sacrifice, a foul deed’. It was not meant to be so. The aggrieved too are silent, trying to comprehend the nightmare of their loss without understanding how or why?

Ten years later, today Wednesday, I remember another quotation “Where does remembrance weep when we forget”,                    



Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Update 13th January

Peter Flannery R.I.P.

Many people in the town of Boyle were saddened when they heard of the death of Peter Flannery at the age of 60. During the times that we are living in I have not seen or talked to Peter for a while. I believe he had been ill for some time in the latter part of 2021. I remember him down the years as he played and followed football. He loved to follow the Roscommon and Boyle teams. He also loved to talk football and did so with enthusiasm.

I remember him telling me of a meeting he had with Kevin Heffernan the great Dublin footballer and manager. Kevin was down in Green Isle and met Peter who may have been a workers Rep. at the time. Now some of the time they would have engaged with the reason for Kevin’s visit to Boyle but a lot of the meeting also included a good conversation on football. Peter was very impressed with Kevin and I’m sure Kevin was impressed with Peter’s knowledge and enthusiasm for the game, likewise.

No Roscommon game was too distant for Peter and friends and I feel he was at the Roscommon v New York game in the Big Apple in 2006.        

In his lifetime he covered a range of activities. He worked at Green Isle Fish Factory in Greatmeadow and then went to work in Wo Co in Carrick-on-Shannon. He was a taxi man for a period and also leased Wynne’s Bar for a time close to twenty years ago.

He had a great interest in politics being a follower and activist for Fianna Fáil. He was elected to Boyle Town Commission in 2004 and later became a proud Mayor of Boyle via the Commission.

His nephew paid him a fulsome tribute at his funeral mass and referenced his kind, honest and hard-working character.

He was a big man with a big heart and it can be said he did his very best for his native town, a town he loved. May his gentle soul now rest in peace.



In the Connacht GAA game ‘The Dome’ is the topic of conversation. This is the NUIG Connacht GAA Air Dome at Bekan near Ballyhaunis. This certainly has the WOW factor and it is great to see the poor ‘wehst of Ireland’ lead the way with this innovation. The stats for the edifice are very impressive being 150m X100m with 26 m high. It cost 3.1 million euro to put it in place. It has a normal game capacity of between around two and two and a half thousand. Using the full space for a concert it might take circa 15 thousand. It was begun in October 2019 and completed some 9 months later. It is heralded as the largest sports dome in the world. Apart from the full-size playing pitch it also has a running track, a gym and a flexible seating stand. One of the guiding lights in the project is the long-time Connacht GAA Secretary John Prenty. It is really a remarkable venture. It has already been storm tested. The only concern might be a major snow fall.

I asked Gerry Nerney, who was a spectator at the Roscommon v Sligo game last weekend. He was very positive about it. “We would have been frozen on a very cold night otherwise” he suggested. Donie Smith said it was a” very enjoyable experience”. He continued “When we were on our way to the game we had a blast of hailstones so we were thankful that we did not have to compete in those elements”. He referred to “its ideal role in early year games in pre-season competitions as we see now”.  The pace of the game was also a factor that may have positive fitness benefits. One of the stats from watching these games was the high scoring of points suggesting that the no wind dimension was a factor.

It has many other roles as suggested by John Prenty and former Roscommon player Cathal Cregg who is ‘stationed there’ as it were. There is a fee to use the facility of course to enable upkeep etc.

Years ago when I was involved in inter-school games and we looked to clubs for a pitch for games it was difficult to get one. There was a reluctance for clubs to give one as one game, at the wrong time, could do so much damage to a pitch. The all-weather pitch that has been there at Bekan has alleviated that and this dome will encourage teams greatly to try and avail of this major unique venue.

So bless all who sail in her and I look forward to visiting it myself to see this second wonder of the western world. (The first?…the airport up at Knock, close by. All that reminds me of a reporter from Dublin seeking out the residence of a big-time builder in the county. He stopped his car to enquire from a worker on the roadside. That person told the reporter to continue for another 3 miles and he would see the big house of the person he was looking to meet. “And can I see the house from the road? Enquired the reporter. “It can be seen from space” replied his informant. From now pilots have a clear marker for Knock. Another miracle.)     

I imagine that the Connacht model will attract a great deal of attention and will have surveyors queueing up to see this spectacle.

Pearses Crowned Kings of Connacht

I have mentioned before how down I was when leaving the Hyde after the Roscommon v Galway Championship game last summer. Now I have been healed a good deal with the performances of the Minors v Kerry for the 2020 championship; the Minors v Galway in the 2021 Connacht Championship and the U 20s’ performances v Down and then Offaly in the All-Ireland final. Added to this then was the county minor final between Boyle and Roscommon Gaels. Last Sunday Paraic Pearses gave an exhibition of point-taking v Knockmore in the Connacht senior Club Final in Ballina. It ended Pearses 1.13 Knockmore 1.11. They now go on to meet the strong Dublin side, Kimacud Crokes, in the All-Ireland Semi-final.

Pearses are a very good side with a finely balanced team throughout. Their work ethic is totally effective and they have a number of game-changers. Paul Carey gave an exhibition of point scoring on Sunday and got ‘Man of the match’ because of it. He was still run close by Hubert Darcy for his award. The Daly trio contribute hugely to the overall context while David Murray and Conor Payne were other stand-out players. The one possible flaw may be the goalkeeper Whelan. The All-Ireland Semi-final v Kimacud Crokes takes place at the end of January.  


It was their first Connacht title and now join Clann na nGael, St. Brigid’s, Roscommon Gaels becoming the fourth club to win the Connacht senior Championship.

Top winner in Roscommon’s Connacht wins with 6 in a row from 1984 to 89 is Clann na nGael.   

Patsy Hanley Traditional Musical Giant.

On Sunday night last I watched the repeat of a tribute to Roscommon traditional musician Patsy Hanly from Cloontuskert. Patsy is known far and wide for his music and also because he is gentleman and a funny man. He was earlier a regular visitor to north Roscommon. Maybe it was there on the borders of Sligo and Roscommon where there was a well of so many great flute players and Patsy came to source of the music. He absorbed it totally and now is an ambassador for the North Connacht style of music cultivated by giants like Coleman, Morrison, Horan and Finn, Josie McDermott. The McDonaghs and McNiffs of Ballinafad, Pakie Duignan, Tommy Guihan, John Carlos and John McKenna amongst

He referenced many more musicians from various parts and a number were on hand to express their positive opinion of Patsy such as John Carty and John Wynne. Patsy mentioned Cosgrove’s bar in St. Patrick’s Street Boyle as a place he played in in his early years. He played regularly later in the Ceili House Bar on the Crescent Boyle many a time. The two great All-Ireland Fleadhanna held in Boyle in 1960 and 1966 were historic watersheds in the popularity of traditional music.  

Patsy has appeared on television and everywhere he goes he is welcomed with open arms. We attended a TG4 awards occasion a few years ago in The Waterfront Theatre in Belfast as Patsy was honoured with a Gradam Cheoil for             
his service to the propagation of Irish music.

His music is interspersed with stories and anecdotes and wit that makes him a most entertaining individual.

He was employed as a draughtsman for Roscommon County Council for most of his working life. His life had a share of sadness. He lost his wife Pauline at her early age. In 2003 he lost his daughter Nora to cancer aged 15 in 2003. He reflected on her passing with “I think of her every day of my life”.

Patsy Hanly is a person of which Roscommon can be justly proud.

Television Magnetism

I watch a good deal of television these times. Maybe I am not alone in doing that! Last night, which was Tuesday night, I did not turn on the television at all. I was putting down a frame of paragraphs for this blog and it was easier to abstain because I felt there was nothing worthy of watching. That is a rare thing I confess. I know of a few people who pay little heed to watching television at all. I knew of one of my students back in the day who answered my query of what he had watched on television over the week –end with “Sir, we don’t have a television in the house”. That was the most interesting answer that I could have received.

Anyway I seem to remember some writer –maybe Shaw- expressing something along the lines of; “If I leave a theatre not having learned something I feel it has been a waste of time”!  Now I am diligent in my approach! I get the Sunday Independent for a few reasons such as I am used to it and its contributors, it can keep me going for half the week at least, its sports coverage is pretty decent and it has a Sunday to Saturday inclusive Television guide.

  I’ll outline one of the good days as a viewer and that was Saturday January the first.  It had a rich line-up of programmes and being New Year’s Day I would have no conscience about occupying the armchair for a lengthy period.

  It had the following programmes in no particular order;

1.     A very good profile of the BBC’s international sports star of 2021 Rachael Blackmore.

2.     On TG 4 Connacht had a tough struggle but overcame Munster.

3.     ‘Sports Story’ with Joe Brolly being interviewed by Tommy Martin. Brolly is always worthy of watching or listening to for a variety of reasons.

4.     There were 3 films (I have not arrived at using the word ‘movies’ yet having moved on from the ‘pictures’ of my adolescence.) Two of them were ‘Sicario’ a pretty violent drugs Mexico/U.S. border action film. Then there was David Lean’s ‘Great Expectations’. This is probably the film I have at the top of my favourites list with so many elements adorning it. It was adapted from the book by probably the second greatest story teller in literary history, Charles Dickens, the man who invented Christmas. (The Bard could hardly be pushed out of first place).

5.     Being New Year’s Day there were games to watch with the BBC 1 ‘Match of the Day’ night-time compilation being the micro-wave device for watching 8 or so of those games.


There were a number of names that failed then, but would not on other days, to get a hearing with, Bob Dylan, Freddie Mercury, Morcambe and Wise, Michael Caine and Tommy Tiernan as examples.

 It is not always that there would be days like this but Christmas provides a bonanza of programmes that decorate Christmas as readily as any of the other elements.           

From the Kingdom to the Capitol

We Irish are pretty good at claiming people from abroad who have Irish connections. The soccer people bought into that very successfully some decades ago. The county GAA authorities are moving in that direction as if it was a new thing for them. We had Conor Cox starring in the Dome last week and a good goalkeeper from Oranmore as well.  Sligo, I hear, have tagged into a Spillane who plays his football with a Dublin club. Also Kerry have brought three senior players from Limerick into their ranks. That is Kerry hurling!

Now back to the heading. I tune into CNN (Cable News Network) fairly often. Well over a year ago a contributor with a very Irish accent caught my attention and my hearing sensor was confirmed by the visual one as a teddy bear image appeared on screen. A map of the south west with Kerry highlighted confirmed all. That was my introduction to Donie O’Sullivan. He has in the past year become a real decoration on the CNN platform. Donie first came into play as he attended some Trump rallies during the 2020 Presidential elections. On those occasions he tried to get a handle on why people favoured Trump to such a depth. While the CNN tag was like the proverbial red rag to those supporters when Donie asked a question his accent confused the subject and mellowed the interface. “You from Ireland. I’d love to go to Ireland”. I suppose some people could not feel threatened by this teddy bear correspondent. Then it all exploded. It was January 6, 2021 in the Capitol area of Washington and the ‘insurrection’ and occupation of the Capitol building by a mob. The first CNN man was already in situ…the Kerryman. He stayed as close to the fire as he could despite the calls from the top anchor newsman Wolf Blitzer to ‘be careful’. Donie was an important contributor to the CNN account of that tumultuous day.  His reputation went from near zero to hero.

Donie’s parents returned to Ireland from the U.S. in 1977. His mother was born in Boston. The morning after the Capitol Riots Donie was the prime name on newshounds in Ireland and a TG 4 crew arrived at his parent’s house in Cahersiveen. His proud parents got the first blast of celebrity by association. Their boy had done very well. Later on a visit home, he was snapped up to do a stint on ‘The Late Late Show’ and then a full and very good documentary arrived on RTE 1 on January 4 with a repeat on the January 6th the first Anniversary of the Capitol riot.

The success happened because he was the right man in the right place at the right time. His instant stardom was the result of a maybe 15 years’ immersion in modern media and chasing his dream.

I imagine that documentary will surface again.


I had intended to refer to a few more items like the World Darts Championships at the Ally Pally (Alexander Palace) in London and a related piece on the EU ban on Tattoo ink but, I have to take the dog for a walk right now.


Stay safe. Get proper quality masks. We are not there yet.

Have a good (can one use ‘happy’ yet?) 2022.

As Dave Allen used to sign off with; “May your Gods go with you”.




Thursday, December 23, 2021

Christmas Blog Thursday, December 23. 2021.

 Christmas Blog Thursday, December 23. 2021. 


Some Memories of my early Castlecoote Christmases


Christmas Shopping in the 50s’

Christmas shopping is always special, encapsulating joy, excitement, anticipation, and expectation. It crystallised on the day that the ‘big true Christmas Shop’ was brought home and the sturdy Raleigh bicycle hadn’t the capacity to cope with that. It was then that the donkey and cart, pony and trap (a lovely mode of transport), horse and cart, the odd tractor and carrier box, and the rare car were to jostle for staging posts around the shop. What a picture they made. (The car owners were few, Dr. Coyne, Fathers Fleming and Father Keane, Mattie Hughes and the returned ‘yank’ Johnny Kelly were representative.)

My friend Jimmy Coyne who worked in Hughes’ shop in Castlecoote then, relayed to me recently, when talking of those times, that on those Christmas days as the shop boy;

 “The atmosphere was such that I cannot describe but I can remember it as if it was yesterday. It was just magic.”

When this array of normal groceries enhanced with delicacies arrived at the home most of it was stored in a special room labelled as the ‘good room’ or the ‘top room’ of the house, not to be touched until the big day or the day before, if required. As youngsters, we were always curious to see the real treats and what the shop owner added to our ‘shopping list’ as a reward for being a loyal customer through the year. 

People would have saved some extra money for this special outing helped by some early Christmas-card money from members of the family in England or the magical dollar bills from connections in New York or other great cities in that dreamland of the fifties that was the United States.

A memorable staple of those years was the home-baked Christmas Cake rich with treacle, currants, and novelty.

Christmas Dinner.

With a fairly big family group, parents and four boys and three girls, there were two tables used. The usual large kitchen table with, perhaps, a new colourful oilcloth with a smaller table appended for the younger family members.

It was not turkey in those times but a ‘goose’ with slivers of rasher and stuffing. One of the highlights was the annual appearance of the ‘dessert’ always jelly and custard in my memory but exotic nonetheless. While my father might have his bottle of stout and mam a rare sherry we had Monica Duff (Ballaghaderreen) lemonade. We teased ourselves with it when removing the cap and letting the fizz shoot up our nose! We teased each other by trying to be the last one to have a decent amount of the dessert still remaining while the rest had cleared their plates.

The remainder of the evening was spent playing board games. Snakes and Ladders was pivotal. Later I got to really enjoy playing draughts something I could resurrect. Then came the card games. The new deck of cards would be taken from the box and had a special aura and odour. Sometimes the upturned tea chest served as a table of convenience. The game of choice was ‘25’. This was played with a steely determination and a caustic eye. Despite being the season of goodwill the fragile tea chest was sometimes tested as people played badly, reneged or seemed biased for or against another individual.

Christmas Day had begun early with the Santa devotees up early. I remember one incident in that phase of my childhood. I was the first person up to inspect the stocking for Santa’s delivery. I was a bit unhappy and felt that Santa had left me a mite shorter than my older brother. So I decided to balance the booty. It led to some puzzling- to me- later delicate interrogation. How it turned out has not been recorded.  

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve has been perhaps marginally the most atmospheric day of the calendar year. There was a real hustle and bustle around the house. There was an effort to ensure that everyone played their part. That did not always work!

I tended to the fires as maybe the ‘top room’ was brought into service then as opposed to ‘The Station’ or visiting ‘yanks’.  

The work of the farm went on of course with milking of cows and tending to their enclosure with hay from the loft and bedding from the stray pike. The rota for cow-milking sometimes was a subject of debate. Occasionally there were early lambs and watching over the sheep was a regular vigil with the storm lamp deep into the night as we sought the flock in the mist of darkness.  

Some family members went to Mass on Christmas Eve at 12 midnight. This would be a crowded church. There you would see those who were home on holidays from London, Manchester, Birmingham and the occasional star visitor from New York or Chicago. My sister Carmel, then a nurse in London, would visit some Christmases but preferred the summer of good weather and the Ballygar carnival. The rear of the church was often a mixture of those of little faith or some who had already spent some celebratory hours in Hughes’; Ansboro’s or Ward’s bar in the area. These construction workers (mostly) seemed to be doing well abroad as they had the shiny mohair suits, Brylcreem hair with a slick or a lick and a harlequin tie. Sometimes their manner was somewhat disrespectful and tested the patience of the stern Father Fleming. He was, I imagine, restrained by the probability of a surge in the Christmas collection and no major intervention was employed. I, at the requisite age, liked to be on the fringe of this group as an observer of course.

The more conservative group of the congregation went to mass on Christmas Day and welcomed the visitors with genuine good will and all was well with the world. Most families had a particular seating arrangement with blue bloods locating to something akin to the box seats in the front pews. There they would have the full family with members home from Dublin where they worked in the civil service.  

St. Stephen’s Day also Wren Boy’s Day.

I participated a few short years on St. Stephen’s Day as a ‘wren boy’. One year my older brother and I headed off. Across the bridge to Fuerty and met a man we thought would be a reasonable mark. So we gave it our all with the song ‘The Wild Colonial Boy’.  He listened to us attentively but his review on our conclusion I will not repeat here. That knocked Brendan out of the frame but I soldiered on. I suppose I’m a kind of a nightmare for an audience if I ever sang. I couldn’t sing but I would know all the words of a long song!

On that occasion, I knew that the Heavey family connections were home from Chicago and in residing in Castlestrange. Though it was maybe two miles on I didn’t want to abandon my odyssey and trudged to that house through the snow. There I sang my song, made sure my mask was at half-mast, was easily recognised and welcomed as if I was Bing Crosby. It was made worth my while by that family which I have always regarded highly. I had decided to abandon my tour and was helped by being brought home in a car by a visiting cousin.

There I prised open the treacle tin, tipped its content onto the table and counted. Though I had not made many calls I still had a pretty penny by being selective after my opening rebuff.

In thinking how to end this reflection I can think of no better way than repeating Jimmy Coyne’s summation;

“The atmosphere was such that I cannot describe but I can remember it as if it was yesterday. It was just magic.”

Sin é.

Slán is Beannacht.

Take care, try and follow the safety guidelines…get your jabs.

I wish you all the very best that you can be this Christmas and that 2022 will be a year of hope realised and that the magic returns in full.  

I especially include those from abroad who read my ramblings here as I am told. T.C. 

Friday, December 10, 2021

Update 11th December

 Saturday DECEMBER 11, 2021


 Remembering Hal Cawley

Many tributes have been paid to one of football’s most amiable characters in the region, Hal Cawley, who has gone to his eternal reward.

Boyle Celtic confirmed on Thursday that the club’s “father” Hal Cawley had passed away and the tributes poured to Celtic’s Facebook page. The word ‘gentleman’ was appended to many of those tributes.

The club described him as “a gentleman to one and all”, and although he was “quietly spoken, when Hal spoke it was always something worth hearing.”

In a statement, Boyle Celtic added that the club wouldn’t exist without Hal’s contribution, highlighting how Hal and a group of local friends brought Boyle Celtic back to life in 1966.

“Through the 70s’, 80s’ and 90s’ when the club literally had nothing, great men like Hal Cawley, John Cryan, Seán Daly, Mick Gilmartin, and a few others kept us open, behind the scenes, and it will never be possible to thank them enough for what they did,” reflected the club.


Boyle Celtic went on to say that Hal took great pride in the success of the club’s youth teams in the knowledge that the future would be bright for his beloved club who are currently top of the Roscommon and District League Premier Division table.

Hal Cawley always had a touch of class about him,” the club continued.

In February 2019, the Roscommon Herald and SUPERVALU honoured Hal with a Hall of Fame award, an accolade he was very proud to receive from Republic of Ireland soccer international and special guest Ray Houghton.

“When he spoke that night, many from outside the club got a flavour for his vast knowledge of the game, the incredible history of it that he had and names of local area players who had played at the highest level in England, that most had never heard of. Those of us involved in the club have been lucky enough to hear some of the great stories he had, stockpiled in that sharp mind,” Boyle Celtic recalled.


Another proud moment for Hal was seeing the club reach the FAI Junior Cup semi-final against Evergreen FC in April 2017 at the Showgrounds, Sligo. He was very close friends with the club’s secretary Richard Kennedy, and indeed all Boyle Celtic members and players who had the height of respect for him.

“Hal had many, many friends around the town, in football and outside of football. I know we will all miss him. Rest in peace, old friend,” Boyle Celtic’s statement concluded.


Hal as a Gaelic footballer.

When Hal was presented with the Roscommon Herald/SUPERVALU ‘Hall of Fame’ award at a presentation in The Abbey Hotel Roscommon last year I congratulated him here in a blog. Then I went on to bring attention to his place in Boyle GAA as I wish to do now. Hal was a regular GAA player with Boyle in the latter fifties and on the winning Junior team in ’64 when there were only Junior and Senior grades. The team won six games before defeating Rahara in the final. The manager of the team was Bob Carr. Another member of that team panel who died recently was Seamus Scally who died in Dublin and was a close friend of Hal. Another great friend of Hal’s was paddy McDermott who passed away some years ago.

Hal worked for Stewarts when they were supplying electricity to the town as they did from the early 1900s’. When the ESB took over the provision of electricity Hal transferred to the ESB. 

Hal was a very visible individual as he cycled around Boyle going into Daly’s or Boyle Celtic Park. I accompanied him to Bellmullet, Mayo for a Celtic game once with Gerry Emmett and Johnny Greenan and it was a memorable outing. So many people have their own memories of Hal and a lot of these are ‘up online’ on the forums of now.  All good. These background icons in clubs give a sense of security and continuity within a club. Hal was a thinker and his opinions were sincere and thought out. He will be missed at Celtic Park.


 This Week-Ends Sport
F1 Grand Prix Sunday at 1 Sky and Channel 4.

Might I alert you to the sports event of the week-end which is the last Formula One (F1) Car Race of the season in Abu Dhabi. This is Ali V Frazier territory. The two protagonists are Lewis Hamilton of England going for a record eighth World Title versus the new kid on the block, Max Verstappen of Netherlands going for his first win. A few races back Verstappen was well ahead in the points table and the series looked almost over. But Hamilton has won the last three (?) and they are now level on points. While I have been aware of motor racing for years I never tuned into it like this since I happened on the Brazilian Grand Prix. It has traditionally been broadcast on Sky but Channel Four have wrangled this Sunday’s event for viewing with them also, with a preliminary position on the grid trials on Friday and Saturday. You won’t be on your own as the viewing audience worldwide will be huge and the drama could be electric and possibly dramatic.


GAA Season still in progress.

The Pearses v Mountbellew –Moylough in the Connacht Club Championship will take place on Saturday in Hyde Park. Knockmore of Mayo await the winners in the final and the tournament is pretty wide open in my eyes so it is a real opportunity to go all the way as St. Brigid’s did in 2013.


 Boyle GAA Club’s AGM is being held virtually on Sunday evening at 8 pm


The Sunday Independent Tabloid Sports Supplement;

(Which I am still reading)

The Legacy of Tiger Woods

Last Sunday’s edition of the above presented a number of articles that caught my eye. Eamon Sweeney is consistently interesting and last Sunday profiled the role of one of the greatest sportsmen across all games i.e. the golfer Tiger Woods. He is only overshadowed slightly in the golf statistics by the Golden Bear, Jack Nicklaus. Nicklaus has won 18 majors while Tiger Woods in an interrupted career has won 15. As a black man, he broke through so many barriers as many in the game were jealous of his achievements probably because he had one obvious difference which was the colour of his skin. It must have been difficult for a ‘revered’ (!!) golf course like the Masters’ at Augusta was a reservoir of prejudice and discrimination. For golfers especially this essay is very worthy of your reading time. Eamonn ends his stellar piece with “Golf didn’t deserve him”.     


Joe Brolly and Referees

Joe had a rambling article in defence of referees. Soccer referees at schoolboy level in Leinster went on strike because of the abusive treatment they were victims of in their league. A Mayo T.D. and former footballer Alan Dillon suggested that the treatment that referees got during GAA games was “no different than that in soccer”.

While referees have got a deal of criticism down the years their treatment especially in Roscommon has been pretty good. I cannot remember any serious incident with a referee in a Roscommon club game. Actually, I can …it was in the early seventies Roscommon v Galway. You see how something like that sticks. Anyway, Joe inserted an incident from a game –I presume in Derry- when a referee got abused and his report to the county committee went as follows;

“Given the notorious history of this fixture I brought the two teams to the centre before the throw-in and exhorted them to conduct themselves in the true spirit of eh Gael, whereupon I was struck a strong blow from behind which rendered me unconscious. In the circumstances I have nothing further to report” Signed P. Haughey (Referee) (page 12)


Nadine Doherty’s Tribute to a GAA Backbencher (page 11)

This was a lovely story of Nadine’s GAA connections as a star player for Donegal ladies team, watching Michael Murphy raise the Sam Maguire Cup in 2012 and the being connected to a man called David Mackay. His name would not be out front in the Croke Park civil service but he was obviously proud of Nadine and his Donegal roots. He ensured that on great days like those of 2012 that she and her mam were close to the action on the big day by giving them his own tickets. David was Nadine’s uncle and he passed away recently. 


Dermot Gilleece on Golf (Page 20).

Dermot Gilleece is an outstanding golf journalist. On Sunday he wrote a piece under the headline of; “K Club strives for return to the top”.

As a sidebar was a piece titled “The end of a long road towards equality”. It talks of the breakthrough of ladies into the last bastions of ‘men only’ golf clubs. Apparently Portmarnock and Royal Dublin have opened the gate to that great advance, it smacks me as being like the delegate from Saudi Arabia at the U.N. when women’s rights there were being discussed and the delegate declaring that moves were afoot for women there being allowed to… drive! He declared it with such self -satisfaction that he seemed a tad disappointed when he did not get a round of applause for this great advance in women’s civil rights.  

Now and I quote Dermot “As a club of ordinary members, all that was required to bring women into the fold was a PROPOSER and a TWO SECONDS from the existing membership…and nobody thought to do so since its foundation in 1885”!  

I remember suggesting this to a lady member of Boyle Golf club maybe 40 years ago when having a talk on this issue. I suggest that she replied, ‘Oh no, don’t do that’

Rugby with Brendan Fanning

Connacht which at one stage were going to be disbanded as a rugby entity has really emerged and for 15 minutes or so looked very good against a star-studded Leinster. In Sunday’s Indo Brendan had articles on two Connacht players; that is if Robbie Henshaw of Athlone is allowed. The other is Jack Carty and his exclusion from the Irish team is a debateable question. Mentioning the absence of Carty from an Irish panel another omission crashes into my mind from tonight –Friday. It comes from the All-Star GAA awards.

The Hurling All-Stars

This has a hurling team of 12 yes 12 Limerick players and one each from Waterford, Kilkenny and Clare. This must be a record for one county to dominate to such a degree and it illustrates how dominant Limerick are right now. Also, the beaten All-Ireland finalists and the man not chosen Patrick Horgan who has been a consistent and major hurler for Cork. Maybe the selectors thought that Horgan had enough in the four he has already but that could hardly be the guideline. 

In looking at this team it brings to mind the famous Dublin team of the late fifties. There were fourteen of the team from the one club it being St. Vincent’s. The odd one not from that club was the goalkeeper. I wonder how the Vincent’s keeper felt about that.

This was the 50th Anniversary of the All Stars. Roscommon’s first winner was Mickey Freyne in ’72 followed Dermot Earley in ’74 and ’79; Pat Lindsay in ’77; Harry Keegan ‘78/ ‘80/ ’86; Tom Heneghan  ’79; Gerry Connellan ’80; Danny Murray ’79/ ’80; Paul Earley ’85; Tony McManus ’89; Enon Gavin ’91; Francie Grehan ’02. One real deserving Roscommon All-Star by my reckoning who was passed over was Frankie Dolan for 2013. Enda Smith was a nominee a few years back.

As you can see I got a lot out of that tight Sunday Independent Sport’s Supplement.   


The An Post Books of the year were announced this week

I was going to list a few of the books but changed my mind! Every year there are fine and lovely books for all tastes. I’ve just highlighted three that interest me more than the rest.


Eason Novel of the Year

Beautiful World, Where Are You – Sally Rooney


Irish Independent Crime Fiction Book of the Year

56 Days – Catherine Ryan Howard



Sport book of the Year in Association with Ireland AM.


Fight or Flight: My Life, My Choices – Keith Earls, with Tommy Conlon


Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year

Snowflake – Louise Nealon

Odgers Berndtson Non-Fiction Book of the Year

·        We Don't Know Ourselves: A Personal History of Ireland Since 1958 – Fintan O’Toole.

This book was the overall winner.

Dubray Biography of the Year

Did Ye Hear Mammy Died? – Séamas O’Reilly

Bookselling Ireland Cookbook of the Year

Everyday Cook – Donal Skehan

National Book Tokens Popular Fiction Book of the Year

Aisling and the City – Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen

Bookstation Lifestyle Book of the Year

Décor Galore – Laura De Barra Best Irish Published Book of the Year

The Coastal Atlas of Ireland – Val Cummins, Robert Devoy Barry Brunt, Darius Bartlett, Sarah Kandrot

Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year (Junior)

·        A Hug for You – David King, illustrated by Rhiannon Archard

Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year (Senior)

The Summer I Robbed a Bank – David O’Doherty, illustrated by Chris Judge

Teen and Young Adult Book of the Year

The New Girl – Sinead Moriarty

RTÉ Audience Choice Award

Your One Wild And Precious Life - Maureen Gaffney

Library Association of Ireland Author of the Year

Marian Keyes Short Story of the Year

Little Lives – Deirdre Sullivan

Listowel Writers’ Week Irish Poem of the Year

Longboat at Portaferry – Siobhan Campbell

The Love Leabhar Gaeilge Irish Language Book of the Year

Madame Lazare – Tadgh Mac Dhonnagain

The An Post Bookshop of the Year

Kennys Bookshop and Art Gallery, Galway.  


I’ll adjourn with that for now.

Take care of yourselves and try and follow the golden rules. It’s difficult but despite life’s trials and tribulations it’s still popular.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Update 24th November

 Blog Thursday November 24

‘Cross Street’ by Jarlath Tivnan.

A lot of people will be familiar with the name Jarlath Tivnan by now. He has adapted and written a number of plays and this weekend he has his new play at ‘The Arts Centre’ in Roscommon town from Thursday night to Saturday night inclusive. The play has been developed with the theatre company Fregoli in which Jarlath’s first cousin, Maria Tivnan, is a founder member in 2007.

‘Cross Street’ is an actual street in the middle of Galway city that I know pretty well. There is a real ‘Bohemian’ atmosphere about that core of Galway with the Druid Theatre, many music pubs, great bookshops like Kenny’s and Byrnes and a great atmosphere especially on busy sunny summer days.

Jarlath is also an accomplished traditional musician with his brother Conor. 

Fregoli has been regular players at the Roscommon Arts Centre to the mutual benefit of both entities. Maria has also been involved in Boyle Arts.


Boyle People on the Box

A number of Boyle people have been visible on television in recent times. Earlier this week Rachael Lavin featured on the Claire Byrne programme in a discussion on the subject of the moment i.e. Covid. The other guest is now a very familiar face on television it being Luke O’ Neill. Luke had an article in the Sunday Independent last Sunday titled; ‘Don’t despair…Strength will Get Us Through’. I hope so ‘with a little help from friends’.

Anyway, Rachael was obviously well prepared as she shot out statistics on the status and twists and turns that are now the unending story of Covid infections, vaccinations, age profiles, the non-vaccinated and so on. Rachael is a rising star and the best of luck to her.

With regard to the ever-optimistic Luke O’Neill I hope he is right but it is a very tough journey and an awful number of people will be scarred by it all.   

The Oasis of Achill

I don’t know if oasis is an appropriate word but for many Achill is a special place. On Nationwide on RTE on Wednesday evening Donie O’ Connor appeared in a segment on his friend, the artist Paraic McCaul. Apparently, along with art Paraic is an accomplished musician also and of course Donie is a diamond in terms of his music which we all love here in Boyle. Achill is a significant part of ‘The Wild Atlantic Way’ and has been a tourist destination for many decades. An island I have visited a number of times, which I enjoy going to also, is ‘Inishbofin’ off the coast of Galway, not far from Clifden.


John Mulligan’s ‘The Kettle’s Boyled’ in the Roscommon Herald.

I am a regular reader of John’s short piece in ‘The Roscommon Herald’.  Last week the title of his piece was; ‘Would cutting the national herd affect farm incomes?’ In it John explores the various supports which farming benefits from. I am from a farming background but while I try a little to be informed I would have a long way to go in getting a grip on the various schemes and supports that obtain. John writes of farm incomes being made up of 74% of farm subsidies in 2018 and an astonishing 158% in the case of sheep and cattle.  It is somewhat difficult to get your head around that. I remember farmers getting a subsidy some years ago for ‘set aside’ land. Perhaps that was an environmental payment of sorts.

While farmers can lobby for greater subsidies on an ongoing basis people in the small business sector traditionally fell or progressed on a business model. Pre Covid these businesses could not seek supports if their business was not going well. All they could do was adapt or close down. They had no CAP.  

When I came to live in Forest View and looked out at the sweep of the Curlew Hills there was a certain amount of tillage and ploughed land for various crops, potatoes, turnips, oats, and so on. That was the case with what were titled mixed farms of my youth. There is hardly a sod turned on those hills now. Farming is now a different animal.

On the next page I read Gerry Boland’s letter on ‘Industrial Farming’. On this occasion Gerry was highlighting the fate of breeding pigs and the conditions in which they are incarcerated. It would nearly influence one to become a vegetarian.  

Apparently, a section of the farming community saw fit to bring their tractors to a protest rally in Dublin in the last week.

(A couple of days later some members of the haulage industry did like-wise with their trucks and were photographed going three abreast driving slowly down the M50. It certainly was not a way to ‘win friends and influence people’ with all the concerns that people have right now. That and the season that’s in it!) 

“Our Forestry industry is in crisis, but nobody cares”

This was John’s subject for this week’s column. I was a bit aware of this subject after a conversation some time ago with a retired forester. I will not treat too much of it here in any depth, John does that much better than I ever could. Licensing seems to be at the heart of the matter. A stark number stood out which was that over 24, 000 hectares were licensed for felling while around 5 and half thousand for planting. The Minister for Forestry is Senator Pippa Hackett. I never heard of her. Also, it is said that farmers are driven away from tree planting by bureaucracy and time delays. This is an industry that is seen as a significant element in absorbing carbon

I have walked in an area where timber has been harvested and thought about how much timber is actually wasted in terms of being left to rot after the cream has been taken away. Is there nobody licensed to make use of this renewable fuel?   


Book Season

This time of year seems to be the high point of the book season. I see that Sean O’Dowd highlights a book by his brother Michael on the ‘Home Page’ of realboyle.

Last week saw Barry Feely another of his books. Fair play to him as to have a book in print is a big task. This one is titled ‘Good Mercy…The Life & times of the Mercy Nuns, Building Boyle Community’.

It is a tribute, as the title says, to the role played by the Mercy nuns to a number of key elements in the life of Boyle and its people.

They arrived in Boyle in January 1875 and their involvement ended in April 2012.

While the educational work of the nuns is fully treated of the role of the nuns with their commercial laundry is also described.

While the official launch was cancelled due to Coved the book with his other publications is available in the Una Bhán Shop at King House. 


Dukie …The Game of Life

The above title was launched recently in Roscommon by Seamus Duke who has had a career in local Journalism and especially from his time as a political and sporting commentator with Shannonside Radio.

Seamus is one of the core group of those who go by the moniker true blue Rossies. I was not at the launch but as might he said, all the usual suspects were there in force. Seamus is a colourful character and has a very visible presence in Roscommon town and well beyond it. He has a zest for life and living it and that is displayed in this account of ‘The Game of Life’. The centrality of Roscommon town has been a help in all that and the book name-checks a myriad of sporting, political and social personalities. He developed a large circle of friends and colleagues with whom he associated and shared many memorable occasions. All these get the full and effective treatment in this enjoyable book.          

 His primary sporting reference is with Gaelic football. He begins with an account of the passage of the 2006 minor team to an All-Ireland final replay v Kerry in Ennis. While he describes several sporting highlights this was probably THE top of the list. As someone who was also there, I can say that he really does the victory that day justice.

He has always been a great supporter of Roscommon Gaels Club and devotes a number of chapters to their great days especially during the seventies when they had a fine team.

By association with Brian Keenan and Ollie Hannon, he shared great days and wins when their horses Montelado and Sir OJ were performing at top venues like Cheltenham. He also covers Leitrim’s memorable win in the Hyde when they won the Connacht title in ’94 for the second time the last being in 1927. He describes his interaction with many politicians and details the excitement of memorable election counts. Another highlight was his being, with friends, always with friends, when Padraig Harrington won the British Open golf title at Birkdale.

From page 104 he relays to story of a great young Roscommon golfer Ken Kearney. He was an outstanding amateur golfer. He then joined the professional circuit but reverted to the amateurs soon again. It was the era when Harrington, McGinley and Clarke and others were his contemporaries and went on to do great things. I had been aware of Ken at the time and wondered what he did then and this is the first time that I have read a brief account of his career.    

Another phase in life was Dukie’s support of Manchester Utd. and his visits to matches there, with friends. A highlight was interviewing George Best who was always an idol of his from boyhood days.

He obviously loved doing radio and could multi-task to a dizzying degree. After a long run with Shannonside the station was taken over by another group and the choice presented to Seamus was not palatable and he decided to leave. His account of this fracture is personal and emotive. He was leaving something he obviously loved doing. He was going to an uncertain future and he with a young family.

Seamus is the son of Seamus Duke senior from Elphin who died a young man leaving his mother with a young family. He pays tributes all around to his mother, wife and family. 

His very full life was a series of improvisations and he jumped many fences. It is all described in this very enjoyable book with great zest as he ticks off his bucket list of exciting sporting events, with friends and ‘banter’. The book is available in Boyle at Supervalu beside the wee entrance gate and costs €15. 


So in terms of Roscommon, there are books this year from Frankie Dolan a few months ago and also one by John Scally from Brideswell on ‘Great GAA Teams’ which includes the Roscommon team of the forties.

I would still and always recommend Mike Lennon’s monumental ‘A Dictionary of Roscommon Biography’ for aspiring young Roscommon local historians (and I hope they are out there). It has over 800 pages and lists thousands of Roscommon people of note and those connected with the county from outside. It will set you back 30/40 euro. 



Boyle Under 20 team takes on Strokestown in the Abbey Park on Saturday the 25th at 12 noon in the Division 2 Championship.


This weekend there are a number of interesting provincial games. A top one is Roscommon’s senior champions Padraig Pearses v Mountbelllew-Moylough of Galway, in Hyde Park. I presume it will be streamed some way.

‘Nothing compares to local’

This was the heading for ‘Hold the Back Page’ by Eamonn Sweeney (former St. Mary’s College student) in the Sunday Indo. of last Sunday. He went through a number of counties where some pretty extraordinary things were happening. In Tipp. for instance, the club players of Loughmore were out for the 17th weekend in a row playing competitive championship games. The reason for this lay in them being a dual club who were contenders for both football and hurling championship wins. A number of replays filled in any gaps there might have been!

In both Armagh and Galway the two great clubs lost out. The Armagh kingpins Crossmaglen-winners of 21 of the last 25 county- titles- being ousted by Clann Eireann of Lurgan. Corofin lost out to Mountbellew-Moylough. He them cited happenings in Clare and then came Antrim.

I got quite interested in the happenings in Antrim as a club called Creggan Kickhams won their first title in 67 years, the last one being in 1954. A phone call confirmed that Kickhams was the club of a really great Boyle Club activist, a while ago now, Kevin Young.  The winning injury-time goal was appropriately scored by Sam Maguire! Wasn’t it great and yes Kevin was there. Experiencing a moment like that is one of the great communal joys of life in this country. North, South, East or West there is nothing like winning a county final, only one that has not been won for a very long time such as this one. Cheers Kevin.


The Evergreen Beatles

BBC dedicate 3 to 4 hours of its Saturday night schedules to one group. It seems to have started with Abba but last Saturday it was the turn of Paul McCartney and The Beatles. I found it very interesting and it showed what great songwriters McCartney and John Lennon were. They began when I started to tune into pop music as such on Radio Luxembourg in the early sixties. Through the sixties, they were a phenomenon and it was a great period for good popular songs. Paul McCartney has always come across as a very humble, accessible and easy to talk with individual. This was very evident on Saturday night.  On Sunday morning listening to Miriam O’Callaghan one of her guests was the Belfast poet Paul Muldoon. He was there talking of his book on the Lyrics of the Beatles songs. While the early Beatles songs are fairly straightforward forward there are undercurrents to the many of the later ones that deserve scrutiny. So for the millions of people for whom the Beatles are still their music heroes Paul Muldoon’s treatise will be interesting.  

Next Saturday night it is Queen and Freddie Mercury who are in the Spotlight beginning at 8 and going on until 11.35.

‘The Lake District of England’

I saw this very interesting programme on Saturday last but in looking at the television programme now, for the times of the Queen series, it pops up again at 7 on BBC 2 on Saturday. The interpreter is the excellent Simon Reeve. The lake District has been made famous by its association with the poet William Wordsworth. The main river there is the Eden river and on one a number of occasions it caused Carlisle to be flooded to a major depth. Simon investigates efforts at rewilding and returning the Eden to its original windy way as mitigation during severe rainfalls. Another, of the number issues he looks at, is the impact of long-term tourism on The Lake District in terms of locals being unable to afford housing and employees having to be bused from long distances to service the tourist facilities there and so on. Could that happen in our superb lake District?

Anyway, it was interesting to me and Simon Reeve is a guide to follow on his many worldly travels.

It’s a Small World

We have all heard that said for decades now. But as I try to write here now on Thursday the 25th of November the following happening of 15 or so minutes ago may be a good example of that phenomenon. In another room I hear a set of Irish music. Nothing very strange in that you might say. However, when I investigate, it is a WhatsApp from Anne’s niece in…Abu Dhabi. 

She had just happened on an Irish music session in a hotel there, where there is a Board Fáilte promotion of Ireland in train. She recognises one of the musicians who was from… Boyle… and with whom she had played music when they were teenagers. It was… James Carty… and friends who were there courtesy of Bord Fáilte. So she gets on her phone and within seconds, James’s music is to be heard in our kitchen.

An early example of this, maybe 8 years ago now, went as follows (from my memory of it) made radio, maybe the Joe Duffy Show. A young man in Tulsk comes across sheep on a road in the area and puts it up on Facebook as ‘Gridlock in Tulsk traffic’. Looking into his Facebook in Perth Western Australia was another chap from Tulsk.  I’ll call him Tommy. The sheep area is very familiar to Tommy and he gets on his phone to his mam. ‘Hello mam’….’ Tommy is that you. OMG’. ‘Mam I just rang to tell you your sheep are out on the road’. Mam, another ‘OMG’. Tommy ‘Mam sort that out and I’ll ring you back’.  

In our next edition here we will be sending greetings to all (that we know of) Boyle people abroad, as we do. So if there is anyone you’d like to add to the list let me know.

My phone is down at the moment but should…’be back soon’.  

We will leave it at that. Go get your Booster. It is a gift for Christmas.

Take care wherever you are. Tony.