Thursday, December 18, 2014

Update Thursday 18th December 2014

Christmas Memories

The first Christmas card arrived at the house on Wednesday the 10th of December. I was almost sure who the sender was before I opened it  as it is always the same person’s card which is the first to arrive each year. It was from an old Fuerty football colleague of decades ago. The two of us still follow the fortunes of our home club, he from London and I more discreetly from Boyle.
The arrival of Christmas cards has been part of the build-up and tradition which heralds the closeness of the season. In my youth there were family members living abroad, most of them in various parts of England. The cards and letters would arrive on cue some with welcome enclosures especially the ones from the U.S. Occasionally some family member would be home for Christmas and that added greatly to the pleasure of it all. It was counterbalanced of course by their departure a week or ten days later as it always is. Then the arrivals were met at the busy train station of Roscommon town. The crowds of young people home from England brightened the social scene and gave an extra vibrancy and economy. The men mainly from the building sites of London or Manchester with their shiny suits and brylcreem hair and the girls, many of them nurses, with their flared frocks and lacquered hair. There would be the odd time when the young men would crowd at the end of the church at midnight mass and being inebriated one of them might talk too loud or lose his footing and become a minor talking point over  Christmas Day. 

Preparations for Christmas Day began once December arrived and the tempo was raised after December the 8th. The mothers began making those lovely heavy Christmas cakes which were such a treat. Christmas trees were sourced in the local woods then being encouraged and the concertina decoration was again drawn across the kitchen with its welcoming open fire. Berried holly was spread on the window sashes and on top of presses and other vantage points. School holidays arrived and were greeted with a particular seasonal enthusiasm. Being farmers the tasks of the time continued. Cows had to be fed, cleaned out from and milked by hand. Cattle fed and sheep especially watched as lambing season then was a broad canvas of time. The storm lantern was used for the night-time inspection.
There were four boys in our house so there was a rough rota which was often the subject of debate! I did it yesterday and you are always asking me were regular exclamations of defence. Christmas is coming and the geese are getting fat. It was before the era of the turkey dinner and the goose was the bird of choice. Indeed sometimes a Christmas dinner bird would be posted to a family member in England. I wondered a little about it being edible after its journey and the time lapse. Inevitably the letter of thanks came recognising its arrival. Perhaps  they were just being  diplomatic. The geese were also the subject of prey to their mortal enemy the fox and very occasionally the results of his seasonal visit was a source of considerable upset especially to my mother.          

The arrival of the Christmas shopping in the house was a significant event as it included items that were then annual treats. As young children we studied this cache with enthusiasm as it was spread on the big ‘parlour’ table.    
While we only became aware incrementally of the reality, the Santa provision was also in train.  Dolls for the girls, comics, cap guns, a cowboy hat or pouch, a small train or some such items for the boys. (It was the era of the cowboy for us) These would be bulked up with more useful items like a school copy or pencils. It was a time also of the ‘lucky bag’ surprise. Once I felt that my older brother had done a bit better than I had and since I was up earlier I balanced the Santa offering more in my favour. This resulted in a subsequent interrogation which puzzled me. On Christmas Eve we listened closely to the radio regarding Santa’s final preparations and departure from the North Pole and ensured that he had some refreshments to tide him over from our house. I doubt if anyone of my generation would remember but for a couple of years Santa had a dilemma as one of his helpers wished to travel with him. This would require a bag of toys to be left behind so it was decided to bring the toys and see if the helper could be accommodated the following year, which we hoped he would. 
Christmas morning was one of frenzied joy as the toys were compared. The family then prepared for Mass in best attire where the atmosphere on exiting the church was of a happy, laughing, welcoming crowd. The dinner was of course special and the challenge with the desert of jelly and custard was in trying to have some left when my brothers had all  theirs eaten.  A while after it was time to have a bottle of lemonade and feel the fizz of it in your nose on first opening. The radio was the backdrop to the kitchen and if our cousins visited us later in the evening, from near Athleague, the ‘parlour’ also was in play on one of its rare occasions. A new deck of  cards were introduced the Joker dismissed and a serious game of twenty five ensued. The lit candles were checked from time to time to ensure basic safety. Those Christmas days of our youth are still vivid in the memory.
It is good to be able to say that much of what I have related above is still very much with us. The joy of Christmas day with its visitors, family solidarity and especially remembering our friends and relations abroad is still hugely strong. So I wish you all a great Christmas especially Damien and Ciaran Keenehan (congrats) in Oz, Killian with a K Egan and Johnny Lyons in Oz, Tadgh Egan, and Sean Mullaney in Kanada (!) Damien Dooley in the U.S.; Paddy Conlon in the Home Counties; John Harrington and Caoimhin Young in London;  Austin Beisty in N.Y., Darren Dockery in the Gulf, Sean Young and family Spain and A.N.Other everywhere. Also not forgetting the ladies.    
  (P.S. The best essays I have read on Christmas in Boyle have been from the pen of Christy Wynne and are well worth a reprint so maybe the R.H. might consider same).                      

Paddy McDermott R.I.P.

One of the great stalwarts of Boyle GAA, Paddy McDermott, passed away in the last week. Paddy gave a lifetime of service to the Club as a player and official. He was a member of the Junior Championship winning Boyle team of 1964. There was only Junior and Senior then. He also made a number of competitive appearances with Roscommon teams in the fifties. After finishing his playing career, Paddy performed the role of administrator, holding all of the key roles in Boyle Club over many decades. No task was too mundane for him. He was also a familiar face in the role of gate collector at many fixtures throughout the County. No one could be more conscientious in that role. The Club provided a guard of honour at Paddy’s removal on Sunday evening.
John Austin Beisty emailed me from New York on hearing of Paddy’s death, as follows; “I was saddened when Shane O'Dowd called to tell me that Paddy McDermott had passed away R.I.P.  All that remains from that GAA era would be Nerney, Bill Corcoran, Hal Cawley and I think Gerry Mullaney.  I always maintained that Paddy was the best clubman and player that Boyle had during that era.  Whenever fellows from other clubs would be talking about the Boyle team, invariably, the McDermott brothers- Paddy and Seamus would always be mentioned first. Paddy was in his prime in the fifties and deserved to be a regular on the Roscommon team but politics trumped ability in those days.  He was the last of the Marian Road McDermotts. They were all fine, decent and hard-working people- may they all rest in peace”.
The point he makes regarding Paddy’s ability was endorsed by a number of playing contemporaries I talked to over the week-end, Barry Feely, Bill McQuillan and Micheal Shivnan who referred to him as “A gentleman on the field and off the field”. Along with his football he was a huge community activist in ‘The Catholic Club’, ‘The Choir’ and ‘The Credit Union’ to mention but three.    

Brendan McQuillan R.I.P.

Sympathy also to the McQuillan family, Marian Road, on the death of Brendan. Brendan was an accomplished underage player with Boyle GAA Club  and was a valued member of the 1978 U 14 County Division ‘B’ winning team. Mary Martin Donagher of St. Mary’s College remembered him as a fine badminton player and recalled the fun and enjoyment with Brendan on board when badminton was a vibrant game in the College.  Ar dheis Dé go raibh a n-anamacha dilis.

GAA Annual Quiz

Arrangements are currently well under way for the Club’s annual social event of the year--the quiz which will be held in St Joseph’s Hall on Saturday night 27th December. This is always a most enjoyable social event where we can meet up with our former players and supporters who are home on holidays for the festive season. As an added bonus, it is intended to announce and present the various end of year awards. The quiz this year will start as early as possible after 8 and will conclude at say 10.45 enabling people to socialise at their leisure through the town.  

Gaelic Games in Roscommon 1990-2014

A  number of Boyle GAA people attended an understated (euphemism) launch of the above contribution of the Roscommon County GAA record on Saturday night the 13th last. The publication is an update on the History launched in 1990 which covered the period from 1889 to 1990. It was launched by the President of the GAA Liam O’Neill. In his short address Mister O’Neill emphasised one true and hugely important point regarding a practise which is too common especially at under-age games and that is the shouting at and criticism of young (often very young) players. He said that it is acknowledged that such criticism can greatly damage the confidence and self -esteem of a young person and it will take innumerable affirmative comments to redress the balance.  
There are many articles, photographs and references that are of particular interest to Boyle GAA supporters. The book is available from Boyle GAA Secretary Mary Clifford for €15 @ 086 8164541

Bright Mind

A star hurler visited a local national school to speak to the pupils. He explained that in achieving the skill levels that he had  he brought his hurley with him everywhere. “When I went down the field to bring in the cows I had the hurley clipping the thistles, when I went visiting my cousins, when I went to school, everywhere”.  At the end of his talk he asked if any boy had a question. Then a hand shot up. “Yes, what is your question?” asked the star. 
“Where is your hurley now?” came the response.   


I am sure that everybody will join me in expressing heartiest congratulations to Cian Smith and Michelle Garvin who announced their engagement in the last day or so.  

On that happy note ... Slán.

Forest View,
Co. Roscommon
Mob: 086/8163399

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Spirit of Boyle / Thousandaire Success / Christmas Lights / Book Launches and Shop Anniversaries / Grease / Cian Smith Day / Boyle GAA AGM Saturday the 13th

The Spirit of Boyle 

Thousandaire Success

I was just reflecting on the positive happenings in Boyle over the last few months and the list grew as I recalled them. It is a reflection on the efforts of so many people in the area and demonstrates the varied abilities, talents and commitment in the community. Some people might refer to the fact that very little happens in Boyle but that is just  not valid in various respects. 
Last Saturday night Boyle GAA had a tremendously successful event with their fundraiser ‘Who Wants to be a Thousandaire’. It was produced to a professional standard and really enjoyed by all who were present. The reward for the club was a great return of around €20,000. Few events can raise this in one fell swoop. I know that many levels of funding went into this in a scale from Major sponsors down to those who just bought a ticket. In fairness from what I have observed every effort has been made to advertise those who contributed to the event. The effort from many people and especially those who headed up and pushed the venture was magnificent. They deserve great credit. Running a Sports recreational club is a very expensive business. It can take in the region of €60,000 or more to run the club each year. Next Saturday at 5 pm we have the A.G.M. of Boyle GAA Club when those running costs will be on public view. The facilities at the Abbey Park are much admired and commented on by visiting clubs. There is still a substantial debt due on those developments that need annual repayments on top of the annual running costs of the three branches of the club that now exist, Ladies, Senior and Minor. So fundraising is an ongoing and challenging process 

Christmas Lights

On Friday night there was the official switching on of the revamped Christmas Lights of Boyle. The fundraising for this began, if I am not mistaken, with a very successful quiz last spring and was supplemented by business contributions.  The presentation of Friday was colourful  with a large crowd and great atmosphere. The word atmosphere could and might be used a number of times in the following paragraphs. The arrival of Santa, Matt Dowd’s Tullyboy train, the hot chocolate refreshments and novelties provided by the scouts and the subsequent market in King House made it a memorable night for all and especially the young people. And I suggest that the most pointed memories we have of Christmas are those of our childhood.

Scouts Celebrate 35th Anniversary

On Sunday December the 2nd I was in The Complex where Boyle Scouts celebrated 35 years of their present existence in Boyle. Again the effort was immense. I was a committee member of the Scouts a good while ago. I have great respect for the work being done by the leaders of this stand- out organisation in the town. It was the occasion of the Official Re-Opening and Blessing of Boyle Scout Den. There were a number of addresses from Trevor Conroy, Group Leader; Garrett Doyle, Chairperson; Wendy Power; and County commissioner, Charlie Gibbons. There were a number of presentations to and by the organisation. The Beirne family presented an original Scout shirt worn by Kevin Beirne from the 1933 Investiture when the Scouts were also a feature in Boyle. There was also the recognition of former Scout stalwart Tony Sweeney who passed away a year ago. Long serving leaders were also recognised. There was huge display of photographs on display. The event demonstrated another great effort from this fine movement and I wish it continued success.   

Book Launches and Shop Anniversaries

The variety in the mix of items I am referring to comes with the launch of two very different local records in November that of Barry Feely ‘Life in Stone’ and the Regan family’s ‘Through Christy’s Lens’.
A number of Boyle’s shops too celebrated notable Anniversaries.  Tawnytaskin too needs to be noted for its community activities. Also there was the opening of the fine F.C.A./L.D.F. exhibition in the army barracks. 


Boyle Musical in November was another huge success. It is interesting how the crowds emerge when the vibes go out that this a show ‘not to be missed’. The annual show continues the long tradition of Boyle as a town of musical talent  going back the decades. 

Chris O’Dowds  Honoured

Late October was dominated by a memorable few days as Chris O’Dowd returned to be  celebrated and honoured as a Freeman of Roscommon. Chris’s speech was another impressive and emotive one. I presume I have alerted people to an acceptance speech he made in New York around St. Patrick’s Day when he was awarded The Spirit of Ireland Award by the Irish community there. His presence and commitment to his native place displays an honesty and generosity that is striking. A few weeks ago his and co-writer Nick Murphy’s book  ‘Moone Boy the Blunder Years’ went on to win a national book award  in its category.  His status as an actor was endorsed for those who saw him in a cinematic presentation of his performance in the Broadway play, Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’. 

Cian Smith Day

Another great community response was on Saturday November the 8th in the Abbey Park when Cian Smith was honoured and supported with the goodwill of so many when he retired from playing football. While it was a day tinged with sadness and nostalgia it could also be said to have been a day the community could take pride in. The generosity on the day towards to the two causes benefitting; The Mayo/Roscommon Hospice and the Kyle Casey Fund; was fantastic. 

Those are  a selection of standout moments in the last couple of months. Sometimes people may say ‘sure there is not much happening in Boyle’ but the above contradicts that though it is hard to see them replicated.  
 All that and keeping the home fires burning, worrying about Ireland, and the multitude of items that go to form the totality of man’s and woman’s existence. 

Boyle GAA AGM Saturday the 13th

The most important meeting of Boyle GAA Club’s year takes place on Saturday evening next in the Club Centre at 5pm. Boyle GAA have been lucky in the quality and number of its officers in recent times especially. It is fair to say that it has been well served down the years also but the workload necessary to run a good club has increased incrementally with the years. The core officers today are: President, John Joe Nerney;  Vice President, Barry Feely; Chairman, Martin Dolan; Vice Chairperson, Kathleen Hanmore; Secretary, Mary Clifford; Ass. Secretary, Barry Lowe;  Treasurer,  Mary Smith; Insurance Officer, Ml. Furey;  Children’s Officer, Jan Flanagan; Registrar,  Cian Smith; Pitch Co-ordinator, Martin Purcell;  Lotto Co-ordinator, Aidan Lavin;  P.R.O. Mark O’Donohoe; Ass. P.R.O. Bernie Mullens. Then there are the officers of the ladies Club and the Minor Club plus those who have no specified role but are invariably there when called on. Sponsors of course are another  key element and Boyle have had great support, especially in recent years, in this area with loyal significant sponsorship. 
It has always been a challenge to fill officer positions and various vacancies. A most important vacancy now is that of Senior Team Manager. It seems as if there will not be a manager from within the club which is very regrettable. The expenses to an ‘outside’ manager can be substantial and at times questionably worthwhile.   


To Boyle Celtic who had a very impressive win in Dundalk on Sunday. They now play a Tipperary team, who are the actual 2013 winners of the F.A.I. Junior Cup, in the new year at home. 

Good Luck

To Sean Purcell and Brian Whelan on their business venture in Carrick-on-Shannon, the bar named ‘Percy Whelan’. Since Boyle people visit Carrick from time to time they might find their way to this venue especially over the coming festive season. In the seventies and eighties the roles were reversed with Carrick socialisers coming to Boyle!   

County GAA History Update

The update of the County GAA History is being launched in Hannon’s Hotel in Roscommon on Saturday at 8 pm. This volume covers the time span of from 1990 to the present and will be a valuable reference and record for the future. This is part of the Roscommon GAA’s 125th Commemoration of the founding of the Association in Boyle- for Roscommon- in 1889. The original book, printed in the Roscommon Herald Works under the supervision of Patsy Brennan, covering the period from 1889 to 1990, with which I was associated, has proved popular down the years and is now a collector’s item!    
Mick Rocke from Elphin club has also produced an update of their club history  printed by Purcell Print. It covers the years 1980-2014. It follows the ground-breaking first volume from Micheal Mulleady in 1980. 
If anyone was interested in having a go at doing a Boyle GAA History I have material which would be a fair help to them!

Organ Donation

I wish to endorse my old comrade and friend John McPhearson’s call for people to consider organ donation. John has been the beneficiary of  a noble gift in that regard. I have suggested in the past that while Donor Cards are ok they get mislaid, not carried and so on. Would there  be any merit in a ring or necklace attachment indicating that the bearer is a Donor? While I do not really know the full picture I am aware that Joe Brolly has been to the fore in the promotion of organ donation and set a great example himself in that respect.  

P.S. There was no response to my search for Roscommon GAA songs! 


Forest View,
Co. Roscommon
Mob: 086 816 3399

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Homeless in ... Dublin / ‘Ear to the Ground’ / Secondary Teachers Strike / Roscommon GAA Songs / Stephanie Roche Goal / Congratulations / Turtle Home for Christmas

Homeless in ... Dublin

As the water conflict takes a short break before next week’s protest in Dublin another issue has spiralled to the top of the agenda nationally but especially in the capital. Being homeless with all that entails is thankfully not something most of us have to contend with. A French socialist, Charles Peguy, once wrote that “Short of genius a rich man cannot imagine poverty”. 
• The death in a Dublin doorway of Jonathan Corrie has brought the issue to the fore. He was found at 8 am on Monday and removed, with little ceremony, at 10 am as recorded by Kate Holmquist in The Irish Times today.  Ironically this happened in Molesworth St. within view of the country’s Parliament. Of course he is not the first or will not be the last person to die in this way.
• The number of homeless continues to increase now into a strata of society that was possibly not endangered heretofore. The rising rents especially in Dublin, the lack of housing, the lack of the classic ‘bedsit’ due to recent constrictions and many other causes has led to this. Even in the famous Celtic Tiger years there were ‘homeless’ people on the streets of Dublin. At the turn of the 1900s’ Dublin was one of the worst cities in Europe in respect of tenements and overcrowding. Efforts to alleviate this needed the disasters of tenement collapse and deaths to prompt action by central authorities. Much of the resources of those central authorities now go towards the provision of ‘rental’ allowances and supplements. We have the crazy situation of families being accommodated in hotels! There are a number of voluntary agencies such as Focus Ireland who are trying to alleviate the trauma in this area. The figures suggest that there are 160 homeless individuals and 800 homeless families in Dublin. The problem is on such a scale that only Government intervention can alleviate it.
• Vincent Browne argued last night for the provision of basic shelter accommodation for people consigned to sleeping overnight on the streets. But the counter argument is always, apparently, it is not as simple as that, it is a complex issue, though it is a question of life –of a sort-and death.  One of the pictures of the past decade was one in which the famous Troika representatives first appeared in Dublin pictured as they walked past a person begging on the pavement. There has always been such people and apparently there always will. Is it as inevitable as that in this supposed Christian country? I am conscious that I am not very well qualified to write well or in a knowledgeable way on this subject but I felt that it is another indictment on Irish society  and deserved my two pence worth as the Christmas bells begin to jingle. 

‘Ear to the Ground’ Show

There are always little snippets that seem in such different relief to the paragraph above. From time to time I trip across the fine farming programme ‘Ear To The Ground’. The one on Thursday November 30th featured the preparation of animals for shows. The tender loving care that these animals got was something to behold. I suppose I should not have been surprised when I think of people who love their dogs and treat them so well. The programme dealt with the detail of the preparation pre show and of the grooming niceties of washing and blow-drying with the use of lacquer and spray paint.  Apparently there are people who make a good living preparing animals for these shows as one gentleman related. The final straw was the use of hair extensions to the tails of some animals!

Tuesday's Secondary Teachers Strike

The teachers unions went on strike for a day on Tuesday last and threaten to do so again in the new year. The issue is not pay this time but it is about changes to the Junior Certificate Examination and to how it is to be corrected with the allocation of 40% of a subject portfolio to teachers to assess their own students. Teachers cite their difficulties in doing this with attendant pressures in terms of knowing the children and their families too well, not letting themselves and their teaching qualities and their classes down by being severe and so on. While this may be done at third level there is a degree of anonymity there that does not occur locally. This of course is changing somewhat as many teachers avoid living in the town in which they work, a practise that also obtains with Gardai. Once the local teachers and Gardaí were very active members of the community in which they worked.
• Reading Colm O’Rourke’s assessment of the teacher union strategy in The Sunday Independent he wondered why they did not suggest that they  would just not go down the assessment road without the need for ‘strike’. He suggested that there many important educational issue to fight over in recent years especially pupil-teacher ratio, the withdrawal of career guidance hours, the severe cut to the wages of young teachers beginning their employment, the drastic reduction in promotional prospects for young teachers and the reduction to teachers’ pay and so. In terms of young teachers the unions, dominated by senior voices in my time, do not have a great track record of care of their interests. Then it was a system of posts for various school responsibilities which were carried out with a range of diligence from hero to zero. Teaching is a changing landscape so it is important that teachers choose the appropriate battleground and ally their interests with that of their students and the parents of those students.  

Roscommon GAA Songs

A lady from Frenchpark contacted me looking for a Roscommon GAA football song. She called it ‘A Roscommon Man’s Dream’. I had a few football songs some time ago but I think I gave them to someone who was collecting such songs. They were mostly referring to the exploits of the Roscommon teams of the forties. It was a tradition in counties and indeed also with clubs of yore to celebrate a great victory in song. If anyone is aware of or knows anything of the song above or any such songs they might contact me at 086 816 33 99.

Stephanie Roche Goal

The remarkable goal from Dublin soccer ladies player Stephanie Roche of Peamount Utd. is in the remaining three for FIFA’s soccer goal of the year. The other two goals are from current Manchester Utd. player Robin Van Persie of Netherlands in the World Cup and James Rodriguez of Real Madrid and Colombia. I imagine most people who follow such things have seen Stephanie’s  goal by now on U tube or wherever. Apparently the result rests on a public online vote.   


To the late Christy Regan's family on the publication of their book in memory of Boyle photographer Christy Regan. The turn-out on the night was testament to the regard Christy and the Regan family are held in by the Boyle community.
• Best Wishes to Boyle GAA on their major project on Saturday night next ‘Who Wants to be a Thousandaire’. The work they have done on the project deserves it being a huge success.
• Keep in mind the Boyle U 21 team play Clann na Gael in the county Semi-Final on Sunday in Knockcroghery. The delay in the running off of this competition has diluted the patience of some people who would usually be very supportive.    

A Soap Story

I saw somewhere that a number of North Korean people received a very strict sanction for watching the television programme EastEnders followed by the comment; ‘One would have thought that watching EastEnders was punishment enough ’ 

Turtle Home for Christmas

At the end of the news a couple of evenings ago there was this nice little story of the rescue and rehabilitation of a turtle and of its airline return to his more natural warm waters. While I have nothing against turtles and am pretty decent to and with animals in general it seemed incongruous in terms of what is happening in this country right now. Perhaps it had a platinum V.H.I. plan.


Forest View,
Co. Roscommon

Mob: 086/8163399

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Tribute to Christy Regan / ‘There is a dance in Billy Brennan’s barn tonight’ / Boyle Library

Tribute to Christy Regan

 ‘Through Christy’s Lens’ Book Launch

The Regan family will proudly launch their tribute to Christy on Friday night next at 8 in King House and all are welcome.  There are very few Boyle people who have not encountered Christy and his camera down through the decades. His pictures became the illustrating accompaniment of news stories for decades in local newspapers, especially in the Roscommon Herald, be they first communions, confirmations, weddings, musicals, political and sporting events and the myriad of activities that are part of the fabric of community life in this region. This book will give a flavour of those past events. They are just a cross-section of the major archive which Christy accumulated in his career. In doing this he has left a huge legacy of social and historical material for future generations. So I commend the Regan family on this prompt window into Christy’s archive and perhaps it can be developed in some way now that the digitising age is here. The book also includes tributes and reflections from family and friends on their memories of Christy who was first and foremost a great family man. Proceeds from the publication will go to the oncology department of Sligo General Hospital.

‘There is a dance in Billy Brennan’s barn tonight’

A minor news snippet brought me back a few years when I came across it recently. It related to the sale of a barn in County Monaghan which featured in Patrick Kavanagh’s poem Inniskeen Road.

Inniskeen Road:  July Evening
The bicycles go by in twos and threes -
There's a dance in Billy Brennan's barn tonight,
And there's the half-talk code of mysteries
And the wink-and-elbow language of delight.
Half-past eight and there is not a spot
Upon a mile of road, no shadow thrown
That might turn out a man or woman, not
A footfall tapping secrecies of stone.

A number of Kavanagh’s poems featured in secondary school syllabi down the years and represented a time in Ireland which may be gone now but remerge vividly for older generations when they happen to read Kavanagh’s poems. Kavanagh wrote two tribute poems commemorating his parents.

‘Memory of My Father’,
Every old man I see
Reminds me of my father’

Ending with the powerful last verse

‘Every old man I see
In October-coloured weather
Seems to say to me
"I was once your father."

This was for me a veiled view of his father whereas the images of his mother are very clear. A little oddly I suppose we can view our parents differently in that way.

‘In Memory of My Mother’.
‘I do not think of you lying in the wet clay
Of a Monaghan graveyard’

Kavanagh’s most famous strident denouement is Stony Grey Soil of Monaghan

O stony grey soil of Monaghan
The laugh from my love you thieved;
You took the gay child of my passion
And gave me your clod-conceived.

I am looking through a pretty battered book of school poetry ‘Soundings’ as I write. It was re-published a year or two ago and contains many classics. It is true to say that many people are able to recite lines from the poems they learned in their youth, ‘As in wild earth a Grecian vase’, which is the last line of Padraic Colum’s poem  ‘A Poor Scholar Of The 'Forties’.

Boyle Library

Since I have started with two paragraphs on a book and then the poetry of Kavanagh I might continue the theme. When was the last time you visited a library?  When I was in Boyle Abbey local people would occasionally come with visitors from abroad and whisper guiltily  ‘I haven’t been in here since…………..’ (Maybe some people are saying that now about the local church!). Anyway we are so lucky in Boyle to have a beautiful library. Indeed other Libraries in the county such as Castlerea, Ballaghaderreen and the Roscommon are also fine libraries. Elphin and Strokestown are more constrained. It is one of the great  free (almost) services. Libraries today offer a broad range of services and activities and have kept up well with modern technology. The access to digitised collections especially the local county newspapers is of particular interest. I referred to a recent very successful event there a few weeks ago when Chris O’Dowd and Nick V. Murphy read from their recent publication, Moone Boy: The Blunder Years to a number of national school classes. The library is also involved in a county-wide national schools quiz.
One of the great advantages the  Irish have is their knowledge of the English language which they are wont to use with flair and abandon. This reputation is internationally accepted and endorsed. Four Irish writers have received the Nobel Prize for literature, George Bernard Shaw, W.B. Yeats, Samuel Beckett and Seamus Heaney. James Joyce was certainly in that league but did not get the accolade for reasons I forget now. When I attended secondary school in Roscommon C.B.S. I was a pretty regular visitor to the library just across the road. My specialist subject then was World War Two! In talking to Father Tony Conry, who was home from Brazil last summer where he works particularly in the education sector, he referenced the odd fact that Brazilians do not read in any way near the degree that we do and that this is a significant deficit for them. One little piece of advice I would give a reader is; do not struggle too much with a book there are multitudes of books which will just sweep you along without that struggle.  

I know there are dedicated members in each library. For children especially it is an oasis of wonderment. So I would encourage you to visit and explore this huge resource in its imposing setting  on our doorsteps.  Patricia Flaherty and her staff will be only too happy to see and guide you.  


Thousandaire. Next week, Saturday the 6th sees Boyle GAA’s ambitious fund-raising extravaganza Who Wants to be a Thousandaire. I expect it to be a great success and worthy of the huge efforts which the club members have put into the organisation of the event.
The annual Christmas GAA Quiz is scheduled for Saturday December 27th and we hope to see many faces which have been abroad and away on that occasion.
Boyle Senior GAA Club A.G.M. takes place on Saturday December the 13th in the Abbey Park Centre at 6.
Very best wishes to Cian Smith, a sentiment which I am sure is endorsed by so many in Boyle and all in the GAA club.
Corofin looked pretty awesome in their comprehensive win over Ballintubber in the Connacht Senior Club Final. It would have been some battle had St. Brigid’s been there as Corofin have a score to settle with Brigid’s from a few years ago.
Best wishes to St.Ciaran’s (Fuerty/Athleague/Creggs) Junior Ladies football team who play Murroe Boher from Limerick, at Duggan Park, Ballinasloe, on Saturday the 30th, at 1.30 in their all-Ireland Final.
It is expected that Boyle will play the semi-final of the U 21 ‘A’ championship the week-end of the 5th/6th of December.    


Forest View,
Co. Roscommon
Mob: 086 816 3399

Friday, November 21, 2014

St. Martin’s Ale i.e. Water! / 'Grease', Boyle Musical Society / Congratulations / ‘The Man Who Shot the Great War’

St. Martin’s Ale i.e. Water!

I had intended, last week, to refer people to John Mulligan’s Column in The Roscommon Herald of Tuesday, November the 11th. ‘The Kettle’s Boyled’, regarding the Water Protest marches and attendant concerns. I forgot to do so. A certain number of his concerns surfaced in the ‘own goal’ of last week-end’s fracas in Tallaght involving Paul Murphy T.D. and Joan Burton. Paul Murphy’s subsequent claims regarding the peaceful nature of the protest rang very hollow and would not be acceptable to a number of those involved in the Water Protest movement. A lot has been achieved by the protest marches in redressing the current policies regarding water charges and the general framework involved. It is generally accepted that the Water Protest Movement is just a manifestation of the general disaffection with regard to taxation in so many different guises  and the injustices and inequalities therein. The Tallaght strategy though has the inherent danger of dividing the movement from being a large scale one supported by mobilised moderates to being a militant one dominated by what might be pigeon-holed as ‘the left’. Both the left and the peaceful march strategists might point to historical successes but rarely in unison. I am sure that the ruling classes are now becoming aware of the fact that the final straw has been reached and also if the Genii is let out of the bottle it will be difficult to redress the situation. If a general consensus is not reached, however tentative,  then the future is bleak and depressing. I have said before that this country has had such positive possibilities but managed to mess them up, mainly through greed it has to be said. The bleak vista was very evident with a lady caller to the Joe Duffy Show earlier this week. She was leaving Ireland with her kids to join her husband who had gone to England some time ago to get work. While overstated in parts her account illustrates the depressive weights on some people in this country that can push them to such difficult decisions. Then emigration has heretofore been a safety valve stemming radical reaction. The Donna Hartnett letter the Independent was another telling illustration of services deficit where she particularly focussed on child-care, costs, social, economic and psychological. Maybe current events are a wake-up call. Ireland in November is a challenging environment on many fronts.

'Grease', Boyle Musical Society

Considering the above it is uplifting to relate that the first night of Boyle’s musical, ‘Grease’ was a resounding success, played to a packed house and was warmly applauded. All the components are in place in this musical extravaganza with a generous number of recognisable songs. I was particularly impressed by the ‘T Birds’ group of Robert Reid, Conor Durkin, Marc Egan,  Daragh Beirne and Adrian King. Gavin Ward as Eugene was the stand-out character on the night with a very funny cameo performance. Even in the midst of trials and tribulations Boyle Musical is an uplifting occasion.


To St. Croan’s and their Boyle manager David Casey on their great Connacht Intermediate Championship victory last Sunday in Tuam. I can only imagine what the atmosphere is like in the Ballintubber area as a consequence. I had a taste of it last year following Fuerty Juniors all the way to the final in Croke Park. Fuerty morphed into St. Ciaran’s have gone to another final this year as the Fuerty ladies augmented from Creggs won their All-Ireland Semi-Final defeating Dromore of Tyrone in Fuerty also last Sunday. The introduction of All-Ireland series for lesser grades than senior has been one of the most successful recent innovations for the GAA.  

‘The Man Who Shot the Great War’

I tuned into this BBC 1 Documentary on Monday night dealing with a soldier and photographer George Hackney from Belfast who took many iconic images of the Western Front when the sons of Ulster and Ireland generally were involved. Huge numbers were killed in that appalling slaughter on such days as the Battle of the Somme (which was a series of battles) from July to November 1916 when I million men were either killed, wounded or listed as missing.   
The documentary supplemented by a story I was told on Sunday regarding the importance of old pictures has resulted in this reflection. I have a particular interest and regard for photographs as a record of the past. I am not in a minority in that I imagine. I am aware that the Regan family are currently preparing a tribute publication to Christy Regan which will include a variety of  photographs taken by Christy down the decades. This will of course be only a sample of Christy’s vast legacy to the region in that respect.  The story I was told on Sunday, by Barry Feely, related to a visitor to Boyle and King House some time ago. The visitor was viewing the Connaught Rangers exhibition and enquiring if there was any record there of his grandfather who was a member of the Regiment during the Great War. The most obliging of managers, Tommy Egan, contacted Mr. Paul Malpas whose area of expertise this is and Paul graciously came into King House to help the man, with his enquiries. He was from Malaga in Spain, where his father had settled after service in World War 2 and was accompanied by his wife and three children. When the gentleman named his grandfather with whatever details he had, Paul was quickly able to show him an actual picture of his grandfather amongst his peers. With this he was of course thrilled and immediately contacted his ninety two year old  dad-a Second World War veteran- in Spain to tell him the news and i Phoned a picture record to him of HIS dad who was a Capt. Tuite of the 6th Battalion of the Connaught Rangers, a Dubliner. Later a photograph was organised with Willie Beirne and Paul with the flags and uniform of the Connaught Rangers Association and the visitor with the said picture. So the gentleman’s quest was totally fulfilled and the regard and appreciation he had to have for all involved in King House and the Connaught Rangers Association could not have been higher. Paul and the Association deal with numerous similar requests on a regular basis and it projects another very positive image of Boyle and what it has to offer.  Paul also told me that this incident will feature in a booklet which is due for publication in January 2015 titled ‘The New Ranger’ dealing with the work of the Association.       

Regrettably, I am a poor photographer and there are a number of periods in my life of which few pictures exist. Organisations should have a regular photographic recorder especially sporting clubs. I have mentioned this here and there. In Boyle army barracks, apart from the Connaught Rangers exhibition, there is now a fine F.C.A./L.D.F. exhibition collected by Francie Geelan and colleagues.
There were never so many pictures being taken with the advances in technology today. This is good. I believe though that there is a reduction in the number of images being printed onto what I call ‘hard copy’. Many old pictures survive but I wonder how accessible those now stored on various hard  drives and discs will be. So I suggest that if you transfer to disc from your memory card you might print a cross section and remember to name and date them.
‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ the old saying goes. Soon I must put order on the pictures (Jimmy Murray used to call them ‘snaps’) I have of Roscommon football in the forties; Boyle G.A.A. down the years; Maureen O’Sullivan, St. Mary’s College and so on. I was going to end with ‘they will be a legacy of sorts’ I suppose.       

Forest View,
Co. Roscommon
Mob: 086/8163399

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Tony Conboy's Blog Update 13th November 2014

The Cian Smith Testimonial Game 

"A Testament to the Character of Local Community"
This central subject has been very well covered in local media since Saturday and there are excellent sets of photographs here on realboyle and elsewhere but I’d like to mention the spirit of the community as represented by it. It was a great celebratory yet poignant occasion. The best spirit of the community and the GAA community especially shone through on Saturday. Probably every club in the county was represented with the number of St. Brigid’s players present being especially remarkable. Boyle GAA came up trumps also as it always does for particular occasions. It represents a section of the great spirit of small communities and is part of the gel that binds those communities together. This is not just a Boyle thing but is  evident all over the county as can be seen with our neighbours  St. Michaels, Ballinameen, Shannon Gaels, Eastern Harps, St. Ronan’s and so on throughout the length and breadth of the country. These communities are under continuous pressure from emigration, lack of employment opportunities, the decline of the small and now medium farms, the closure of national schools, post offices, shops, bars, Garda stations and services generally. The spirit of those communities has often been tested but never broken. Chris O’Dowd in his acceptance address on receiving the Freedom of Roscommon recently spoke of the influence his home place had on him and his words are well worth remembering. Another huge example of this for me was on  an R.T.E. television programme of the seventies called ‘My Own Place’ which featured Micheal O’Callaghan then Editor of The Roscommon Herald. Micheal suggested that he had opportunities to go to the city as a natural career progression but stayed in his ‘native place’ because of its hold on him, I suppose, but also to contribute what he could to it. I think of Micheal from time to time and I regard him as one of the great Roscommon men and his contribution to his ‘Own Place’ was immense.  Anyway if you can take the time to source that programme on U tube or wherever it will reinforce what place and community can mean and it shone brightly on Saturday.
There are many examples of great community people and a good few were present on Saturday. Amongst them were John and Lily Murphy of Castlerea. John has been enormously generous to the GAA in Roscommon and is also a great advocate for the Mayo/Roscommon Hospice Foundation which was one of the two beneficiaries from Saturday. And what a contribution the visiting community to the game came up with, it being over €10,000 in just one fell swoop. The other beneficiary was the Kyle Casey Fund. I have known members of the Casey family for decades and Kyle’s dad Sean from St. Mary’s College days, a fine Ballinameen and Roscommon footballer and a gentleman to boot.
So well done to all involved and a special mention to Mark O’Donohoe and Liam Conroy who initiated the project. They could hardly have envisaged the success that it turned out to be. It was good to be a small part of it all and be present where such positive communal atmosphere and the will to make a social contribution  prevailed. We wish Cian and Kyle and their families well with the hurdles that lie ahead. The last word to Cian Smith who spoke eloquently at the close of proceedings and whose encouragement to Kyle Casey was heartfelt.

Plaque Unveiling

On Saturday also  last the County Board GAA Chairman Michael Fahey with the County History Committee Chairman, Tommy Kenoy,  unveiled a plaque in the Boyle GAA Centre commemorating the founding of the GAA in Roscommon on January the 23 rd., 1889 at a meeting in Boyle.
Eighteen clubs were represented at that meeting mostly from the north of the county including Crossna, Cootehall, Killaraght/Kingsland, Knockarush. Boyle was well represented with Lowparks J. Carroll, M.Henegan; Owen Roe's (Boyle) A MacManus and M. Connor; Democrats (Boyle) J. Tully and J. Keville; Tawnytaskin, T. Carmody and P. Sheerin. This shows that games were being played widely prior to that.
Jasper Tully, proprietor of The Roscommon Herald, was elected to the Chair (President of the Association in the county); James Lindsay of Boyle Treasurer; G.W.Tully (brother of Jasper) Secretary. Elphin are credited with winning the first County Championship thus winning The President’s (Jasper Tully)medals. They beat Kingsland in a replay. Boyle ‘Young Irelands’ are credited with winning the 1890 final beating Castlerea ‘Leos’. I have recently seen a nice and interesting 1890 medal. The Parnellite Split caused a decline in the GAA in the 1890s and the real revival began in 1902.

Boyle U 21's Fine Win

Boyle’s under 21 team qualified for the U 21 County Championship Semi-Final by virtue of a fine win over a good Padraig Pearse’s team in the Abbey Park on Sunday. It was a great all-round team performance with a high standard of play throughout. It was good, as it always is, to see the return of some players who I had not seen for a while. This win, one of the best performances of any Boyle team this year, will give momentum and encouragement to all involved. They now play Roscommon Gaels on Sunday but they are already assured, I’m told, of a place in the Semi-Finals.
St. Brigid’s went  down to Ballintubber of Mayo in the Connacht Senior Semi-Final. While they tried valiantly they were outgunned by the goal- scoring opponents who had top players in their full forward line in the O’Connors. While it will be a welcome break for many of their players it will be a test of their resolve for the next campaign.
We wish David Casey well with his very good St. Croan’s side who take on Killannin (from near Moycullen) of Galway on Sunday next in Tuam at 2 pm in the AIB Intermediate Final.
Congratulations to the St. Brendan’s Club in Dublin with which a number of Boyle people are involved such as John Healy,Tomas Conroy, Karl Feighan and their manager Justin McCormack. They continued their upward curve with their second promotion on the bounce last week end.
Well done to Boyle Celtic who had a very good 4:1 win over top Connacht team Castlebar in the All-Ireland Junior Soccer Cup at Castlebar on Sunday last.
Talking to a GAA Club stalwart regarding U 21 fixtures and the season going on so late he told me that their Junior team did not have a game for some seven weeks during the summer having had a number in close succession earlier. ‘Our mistake was that we played them as per the fixture list and not looking for an occasional postponement for this or that to spread them out’!


I was at the very well attended launch of Barry Feely’s book ‘A Life in Stone’ on Friday night last. It is a lovely production and mixes a biographical theme with that of the trials and tribulations of the stone business. The actual launch process with the interaction of the author Barry and North Roscommon writer Brian Leyden was very effective in which they complemented each other harmoniously. So well done to Barry for this further achievement.
The Regan family hope to present their tribute to Christy on November the 28th. This is a book of photographs from down the years taken by the most popular of photographers Christy Regan. There are certain to be some gems there.
The GAA County History Committee are scheduled to launch their updated History of the Association in the county on Saturday December the 13th.

So plenty there to occupy oneself with during the long nights.  


Forest View,
Co. Roscommon
Mob: 086/8163399

Saturday, November 8, 2014

An Oblique View update Friday 7th November

Hospital Visiting Experience

One imagines that when the Winter comes, to use a common phrase ‘things will settle down’ but that is not the case, at this point in time anyway. A few weeks ago I read a fine piece on the Sunday Independent by Rachael Lavin from Balymore in which she talks of the travails with the establishment of the National Children’s Hospital and her and her family’s experiences of attending medical clinics in Dublin. Last Tuesday I took a relative to a clinic in the Mater Public Hospital. We had been there a number of years ago when the clinic was a decrepit place. This hospital has been revamped now. I endorse Rachel’s description of the challenges for people travelling from the country to Dublin hospitals have in terms of traffic, parking especially and so on. We certainly could have no complaints with regard to the care, commitment and treatment that my relative received  One of the real hidden issues for those clinics is the ‘no shows’ for appointments.  In the clinic the administrator called out from the list people due to be present at one particular ‘clinic’ and the number of ‘no shows’ was extraordinary. On one of the walls a prominently displayed poster read; ‘We were here where were you?’  Of course the knock-on effects for those who would benefit and the costs involved are very considerable.
I had to go University College Hospital Galway a couple of days later for an check on a slight eye issue. One of the first challenges there was parking as it often is around hospitals. I was there around 12 noon. I was directed to go through casualty. I waited for a couple of hours and eventually was admitted into casualty. It was there that I observed the full panorama of the challenges in this environment. It was like a railway station at rush hour. The ubiquitous trolley dominated. The shoe box spaces were like Manhattan real estate in terms of demand. The term ‘excuse me’  dominated as the nurses and doctors hustled for their space. It was just incredible where people were required to administer and receive treatment. While those who work there and can make enough sense of the bedlam to enable them to carry out their onerous duties, for them and their patients it is so wrong. This will not come as a surprise to the many people for whom this environment is a regular experience.         

 Enda Smith

This is a very busy period for Boyle GAA. There has been a major response to the Cian Smith game on Saturday in the Abbey Park and a significant crowd is anticipated. As an event it is expected to both emotive and celebratory. Cian is hugely popular within the club and his cohort of contemporaries in various areas of his life. He has faced his huge challenges with great good grace. Ian Cooney captured his essence in an interview with Cian as published in the Roscommon Herald this week. So if you are in a position to attend at the Abbey Park on Saturday it would be a nice thing to do.

Representation on Top Team

Three Boyle players played with DCU in the Third Level Colleges Senior League against Jordanstown this week--Tadhg Lowe in goals with Donie and Enda Smith. Well done to all three. It's certainly a "first" for the Club to have three of our players on a such a star- studded team. It is nice to Tadhg return to a position where he was a contender for high levels just a couple of seasons ago and has been required to sacrifice this for club team benefits. I feel that players are best in the positions they prefer to play in.  
Congrats also to Enda who is attending an awards ceremony in Dublin tonight where he will be presented with a "Man of the Match" award which he won in this year's Senior Championship Qualifier win. It is hard to keep track of the awards in the Smith household.

Boyle GAA’s Fundraiser ‘Who Wants to Be a Thousandaire’

The club has put a major effort into this innovative fundraiser which will take place on December 6th. The home page of realboyle has link to a selection of photographs from a publicity launch which took place on Wednesday night in the club rooms. It is really great to see the involvement and initiative of new personnel in the various branches of the club. I am thinking especially, from Wednesday night and this project of Karen Brogan (McGee). Karen appears to me to have given this and other club GAA projects an injection of professionalism and impetus with the assistance of the other club officers and leaders. On Wednesday night  there was a test drive for the show proper with Noel Collins of Elphin in the hot seat. Had I been a more observant card player I might have been more help to him but it was not too costly. Still it demonstrated the shows capacity to generate the requisite balance of entertainment and desire to show one’s best side. Hopefully the numbers will turn out for the event proper. Tickets are on sale for €15 with groups of five for €50.                 

Of Mice and Men

It was a rare unique privilege to have seen the Steinbeck’s play ‘Of Mice and Men’ in Carrick cinema on Thursday night. For those who might like to share the experience it is on again on Monday night next. The performances of both Chris O’Dowd and James Franco were spellbinding. The interval explanation of the American social backdrop to the work was enlightening. The vulnerability of Chris’s character Lenny must have been challenging to watch especially for those close to him. For Chris it is acid test endorsement of his acting qualities and demonstrates that he can transfer from ‘lighter’ roles.
If I were to nominate a favourite writer overall as opposed to individual books it would be Steinbeck. His best known work ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ is monumental with its themes of despair, journey, courage and hope. I remember years ago reading a lesser book known of Stenibeck’s which became one of my favourites ‘Travels With Charlee’, Charly being his dog.

Political Landscape

I have tried to avoid mentioning water this week but I have failed. There is the slight possibility of a Government fall on the issue. There are a few idioms which might be considered in these circumstances such as ‘Be careful what you wish for’. The landscape of political possibility is very uncertain and fragmented in this country and an early election could have chaotic consequences. A certain number of Independent candidates are fine but there must be a plimsoll line in that respect.    


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halloween at The Warren Boyle / Chris O’Dowd in Boyle Library / Paul Young and ‘Song of the Sea’ Boyle GAA plus / Water Charges Protest Meeting/ Congratulations to: Frank Geelan, Seamus Flynn and Michael Brennan

Halloween at The Warren Boyle:
‘Trick or Treat’ is the finely crafted sign on the house of Suzanne Coles and her partner Brian Prince at The Warren Boyle (just beyond Drumderrig Nursing Home….you can’t miss it, truly). They are having a kids Halloween party on Friday next from 5 pm. There will be a raffle in aid of ‘Temple Street Children’s Hospital’ which they are supporting. So spread the word in the neighbourhood.
Chris O’Dowd in Boyle Library:
The visit of Chris O’Dowd and his good wife Dawn was a huge success and as I mentioned last week was akin to the visit of Maureen O’Sullivan in August 1998. It was like a Chris O’Dowd solo Festival and his energy and contribution to the many demands on him during the week is to be applauded. One of the events that will remain long in the memory of those present is of his and Nick Vincent Murphy’s readings and interaction with awe-struck young students in Boyle’s lovely Library. Librarian Patricia O’Flaherty dropped me a note, as requested, on that event,  as follows;
“On Thursday the 23rd of October 2014 at 10am, Patricia O’Flaherty from Boyle Library on behalf of Roscommon County Library Services was honoured to welcome Chris O’Dowd and Nick Vincent Murphy to launch their new book ‘Moone Boy – The Blunder Years’ in King House.
They read and acted out extracts from their book to the delight of the boys and girls and they took questions from the floor (120 pupils) some of which were very humorous and entertaining.
Chris and Nick sat for pictures with Mr. Richie Farrell, County Librarian and his staff and  all the classes from 4th, 5th and 6th from Scoil na nAingeal nAoife, St Joseph’s Boys School, The Parochial School, Boyle and St. Michael’s from Cootehall. Chris and Nick signed copies of their book for all the boys and girls and of course for the teachers. They  spoke to each boy or girl and signed whatever comment they wished put in ‘Moone Boy- The Blunder Years’. The patience and consideration of the authors was admirable and it is an event that Boyle Library and of course the young students will treasure for a long time.”  (The tail/tale in Chris’s present presence is the filmic presentation,  ‘Of Mice and Men’, in Carrick-on-Shannon Cineplex on Monday November  10th).

Paul Young and ‘Song of the Sea’:
I was talking to Paul Young a short time ago and he was extremely positive about Cartoon Saloon’s current creation. Paul’s work is very visible in Moone Boy and in the current Moone Boy publication mentioned above.  Cartoon Saloon is based in Kilkenny and was responsible for the classic animation, academy award nominated ‘The Secret of Kells’. Their present work is titled ‘Song of the Sea’. The storyline is as follows:
“Saoirse is a child who is the last of the selkies, women in Irish and Scottish legends who transform from seals into people. She escapes from her grandmother's home to journey to the sea and free fairy creatures trapped in the modern world.” There is a trailer to be seen on U tube.  It has already been premiered at film festivals in Toronto and London and the reviews are very positive. The voices are provided by
Brendan Gleeson, David Rawle, Fionnula Flanagan, Pat Shortt and Jon Kenny. It will be released in Ireland in the spring. So the celluloid tradition for Boyle continues its upward curve.      

Boyle GAA plus:
The Boyle U 21 team had a close run with Michael Glavey’s in their first round championship game at Castlerea on Saturday last. We are spoiled a bit,  for some time now, with expectation from this group of players. The half-time score was Michael Glaveys 0.7 Boyle 1.3 with the final score being Boyle 3.5 Michael Glavey’s 0.11. Donie Smith was the main man scoring 3.4 of Boyle’s total with Colin Goldrick getting the remaining point in the first half. I imagine the experienced and highly regarded Boyle management of Jonathan Conroy and Barry Greaney will have a deal to mull over from this game. Boyle looked disjointed at times and had to rely too much on Donie to see them home. Personally, being a traditionalist, I prefer the straightforward player positioning as opposed to sweepers and so on. It goes back to the trauma of the All Ireland Final. All managers are there to manage of course, but then I am advancing in years! The full back line was the stand out line last Saturday. Boyle won and beat a good Michael Glavey's side in the process.
The team was; J.McDermott, B. Furey, M.Goldrick, L. Brennan, R. Finneran, E. McGrath, J. Sweeney, E. Smith, T. Halligan, C. Flanagan, C. Goldrick, B. Conway, C. Tivnan, D. Smith, T. McKenna with D. Matttimoe, G.Gilmartin and S. Filan.
The side had been scheduled to play Roscommon Gaels on Sunday next but looking at the fixtures on the official Roscommon GAA web site the game, for whatever reason, is not listed. Roscommon Gaels did not play last week-end either. So this late competition is likely to run much later than planned which is hardly the way to run a railroad.

**The Cian Smith game (I’ll call it) takes place on Saturday November the 8th.  Considering the Boyle GAA Facebook reaction it is arousing a major response.  

  The Ireland team head off to Australia to play in the Compromise Rules game V Australia in Perth. The Manager is Paul Earley and the Roscommon player on the panel is Cathal Cregg from Western Gaels. The game will be played at Patterson’s Stadium on Saturday November the 22nd.

I see from Tuesday’s Independent bottom of page 56, in an article by Colm Keys, that the GAA is considering having the All-Ireland Finals a week earlier to facilitate the completion of club championships in the same calendar year. I imagine that means the All-Ireland club championships. This was the essence of a motion submitted by Boyle GAA and passed at  Roscommon GAA Convention about three years ago. It did not get traction then but perhaps it is doing so now.

 Water Charges Protest Meeting:
As the opposition grows to increased and varied charges and it coalesces around the proposed Water Charges there is a number of protest meetings around the country, including Boyle, on Saturday November the 1st. The Boyle rally meets at the Royal Hotel Car Park at 1.45. While I personally am willing to pay for water and think that paying for water is a general thing I can understand why it has aroused such anger and opposition. Water charges are an extra tax, one of a number which have been introduced in very recent times.  Their introduction as almost everyone now accepts has been a shambles, one that could turn out to be a disaster for the current Government. It is akin to the Poll Tax that was introduced in England around 1989, later dropped by John Major, which led to the fall of Margaret Thatcher.

Congratulations to:Frank Geelan, Seamus Flynn and Michael Brennan and all associated with the really impressive 19th Infantry Battalion FCA Visitor Centre at the Military Barracks, Boyle which was officially opened by Colonel Brendan McAndrew last Sunday. Anyone who was associated with Battalion in the decades from the sixties on would have to be interested. Perhaps the collection can now expand even further and go back to the earlier post war decades. If anyone has relevant material from then I imagine Frank and colleagues will be interested.
Next week Barry Feely launches his book ‘A Life of Stone’ which speaks for itself. I am also looking forward to the Regan family’s photographic tribute to Christy. In talking to someone who has read Shane ‘Cake’ Curran’s book his response was that;  ‘ It does what it says on the tin’.  
I was disappointed to have missed Darren Dockery who was home some time ago. Darren is currently in Dubai. Greetings to distant friends and associates.  

P.S. I see a new (to me anyway) sign indicating the direction to Boyle town at what we call the first Arch. By such increments was Rome built. Unfortunately just a hundred yards on I encountered a considerable cache of litter debris which, with the assistance of a local resident, was dealt with. ‘One Good one Bad’ as they say on a TV. sports programme.  

P.P.S. I am always conscious of making errors –facts, spellings etc.- in these pieces, so when that happens I apologise in anticipation and can be advised regarding same!


Forest View,
Co. Roscommon

Mob: 086/8163399

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Chris O’Dowd; ‘Free at Last, Free at Last…’

Chris O’Dowd gave his own unique interpretation of being granted ‘The Freedom of Roscommon’ at a truly atmospheric and celebratory occasion in King House last night. In a speech speckled with wit, humour,  insight and emotion he had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand. In fairness the same audience had come to cheer and celebrate him. Chris started his speech by questioning the notion that he needed to be freed as he never felt ‘imprisoned’ in his native Roscommon and wondered now what it all meant. His insightful view of Roscommon people’s life longevity was linked with clever references to Roscommon’s A.& E. and Water issues. Looking around the audience of familiar faces he took the opportunity of thanking, in words mixed with emotion, the many people who had been an influence in his early life especially his parents Denise and Sean with his extended family referring to them as ‘local heroes’. They must have been hugely proud of him last night. Chris went on to  reference his former teachers who were present such as Mister Paddy Nangle also Frank O’Mahoney who introduced him to the stage; those who gave him his ‘first pint’, ‘first kiss’ and coached him in sport.  He embraced the county by mentioning many locations where he had played football and lost, romanced with varying degrees of success and all the building blocks  of life that HIS county of Roscommon had provided him with. He was full of praise for his home county and town and referred to its artists and writers and the names of Douglas Hyde, John McGahern, Brian Leyden, Percy French were interspersed with John Carty, Johnny Reilly and Maureen O’Sullivan and tellingly of the Boyle- born Suffragette, Margaret Gillespie Cousins. Chris also made numerous references to his radiant wife Dawn O’Porter and the pending birth of their baby. 
‘When I lose the run of myself, Roscommon stays put. I love it. Not because it is privileged but because it’s real’ he evinced. 
The event was organised in great detail by Roscommon County Council with Fiona ni Chuinn at the helm and acting as a pleasant and efficient M.C.  It must have been one of Mr. John Cummins's most pleasing engagements as Chairman of Roscommon County Council to present his neighbour Chris O’Dowd with the honour of Freedom of the County following in the footsteps of Brendan Shine, Dermot Earley and of President Mary McAleese with her husband Martin. John spoke with humour and brevity about Chris and outlined  the path to the award and what privileges such an honour bestowed. He praised Chris’s contribution to ‘enhancing the image and profile of his native county and of helping to putting his native town of Boyle especially on the map’. 
Tommy Ryan Chief Executive Officer of Roscommon County Council endorsed the Chairman’s sentiments stating; ”We are proud of what you have done and that you have not forgotten your native place is so obvious in so many ways”. The C.E.O. went on to talk of what the county has to offer a sentiment that was pervasive on the night. He concluded by saying that; “ Chris is a product of the environment and community he grew up in” and he urged Roscommon people to ‘talk up their county’ as Chris has so regularly and effectively done. 
A number of appropriate presentations followed including a symbolic ‘Red Rhino’ scarf to Chris’s wife Dawn.
It was a great night of celebration with Chris and his speech the diamonds amongst his family and friends glowing with pride. The media, national and local were out in force. Ciaran Mullooly, regional correspondent for R.T.E. television, talked to Chris and a number of people who knew him and this all featured on the prime time 9 O’Clock News  on R.T.E. It was reminiscent of another great social occasion in Boyle in August of 1988 when another star, Maureen O’Sullivan, born in Boyle, returned to her native place to be honoured by and to honour  her native place.                                   
(The Broadway, New York play of Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’ starring Chris will be screened in Carrick-on-Shannon cinema on Thursday November the 6th at 7 pm. To book you can call 071 967 2000 and Lauren will look after you).    

[P.S. I had intended to break some more good news of another Boyle film activist, Paul Young and Cartoon Saloon’s current creation ‘Song of the Sea’ which promises to be ‘big’ when released next spring but I will get to that next week.] 

‘All the President’s Men’
Continuing the film theme one of my favourite films is ‘All The President’s Men’. It deals with the Watergate break-in and the eventual resignation of President Nixon mixing, fact, drama and tension with compelling performances from Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman. Jason Robards won a supporting actor Oscar for his portrayal of the editor of the Washington Post newspaper which was central to the film. Robards played the role of the editor named Ben Bradlee who died this week. If you haven’t seen this film I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Boyle Church Roof, Fundraising Concert:
While the above is finely noted on realboyle home page I thought I might encourage support for the James Kilbane concert on Friday evening.

The Season of the Book Launches: 
Barry Feely will launch his book “A Life in Stone” on Friday November the 7th in Feelystone New Kitchen Showrooms, Boyle, with Guest speaker Brian Leyden. (I will return to Barry’s book anon).
On Saturday evening next at 7.30, in Gleeson’s Restaurant,  Roscommon, Kathy Hegarty Thorne will launch two volumes of her history of the I.R.A titled ‘Echoes Of Their Footsteps’ dealing with the IRA nationwide from 1913 to 1922 and from 1922 to 1924. A third volume to be launched will go to press at a future date. Kathy-Hegarty-Thorne who has connections in the county produced the very important book, a number of years, on the Old IRA in Roscommon titled ‘They Put the Flag a Flyin, the Roscommon Volunteers 1913-1923’. 
Elsewhere in the South of the county Shane Curran will launch his book titled ‘Cake’ which will get considerable traction in Roscommon I imagine.
I read an interesting piece in the Sunday Indo regarding ‘Ghost’ writers for sports books. It brought to mind a story I heard regarding the Liverpool player Rob Jones who told Jason McAteer that he had an autobiography coming out. 
McAteer not noted as being the brightest pin in the set asked: 
‘What is that?’
To which Jones replied; ’The story of my life and football’   
McA. ‘Is it any good?’
Jones; ‘I don’t know, I haven’t read it yet’.   

Congratulations To..
The Boyle U 12 side who completed the grand slam with victory over Clann na Gael in the Division 1 League final on the score of Boyle 1.7 Clann 1.4. this is a very good side and I commend the work being done with them.
Boyle minor team on their 3.16 to 4.8 victory over Michael Glavey’s in the Division 3 Final at Knockcroghery on Saturday. Hopefully they will progress through the divisions henceforth. While a number of players were very impressive my informant –since I was unable to be there- was hugely impressed with the performance of Darren Deery.
Boyle have a big game on Saturday October 25th at 4 in Castlerea V Michael Glavey’s in the first of their U 21 Championship games.  
Coming in December is a Boyle GAA promotion ‘Who Wants to Be a Thousandaire’ which will be launched on Thursday November the 6th. More later regarding same.

Forest View,
Co. Roscommon
Mob: 086/8163399

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Tony Conboy's Oblique View - Thursday 16th October

The Election:

Roscommon continues its tradition.
In U.S. presidential elections it is said that; “Where Ohio (state) goes the country goes”. Roscommon as a voting constituency does not engender that conformity. The county has a reputation of de-electing many notable representatives over the decades. While I am not an expert on this and would not have the full run of evidential material to hand, from memory the casualties would include Gerry Boland, Dan O’Rourke, Brian Lenihan, Jack McQuillan, Sean Doherty I think once, Terry Leyden and so on. There have been a number of near certainties too who have come unstuck. Roscommon has also elected some pretty radical candidates including the aforementioned McQuillan, Tom Foxe, Ming Flanagan and now Michael Fitmaurice. It is a huge achievement for Fitmaurice to get elected from over the constituency mearing. Why did it happen? The reasons might include the following, in no particular order I suppose:
1.Disaffection with the established parties as a whole. More than a mid-term election for the Government. 
2.The quality of Fitmaurice himself as a bold straight-talking individual with a clever slogan ‘Standing With the People’. He was obviously well known in the areas of the pretty successful turf campaign. Perhaps the shadow of Ming was influential though I did not see him canvassing. It could be said that Fitmaurice came from nowhere. In the late sixties the New York Mets baseball team came from the basement of their league to win The World Series. They became known as, ‘The Amazing or Miracle Mets’. Fitmaurice was the stand-out performer on the Miriam O’Callaghan chaired R.T.E. Prime Time debate though not as impressive with Vincent Browne.  
3. The Tsunami of the Water issue was critical and seems like it will continue to be so.

Need To Do Better

The agenda of a number of the candidates was on highlighting certain issues, which they did, particularly O’Boyle, Guckian and John McDemott. Tom Crosby was on a more personal trip and was again let down by an ungrateful electorate as Emmett Corcoran emerged with a  very good performance. Martin Kenny, a solid performer, tried to stoke a Sinn Fein fire but was relying on Leitrim too much as the party’s fire did not catch on in Roscommon. I imagine this is a little puzzling to Sinn Fein since Roscommon was one of the earliest templates of its evolution. I imagine it will take quite a bit longer for people to forget Omagh and Enniskillen and the ‘disappeared’. Maybe the results in both Roscommon and Dublin will be a bit of a reality check for Sinn Fein in that its progress is not certain. 
Apparently Fine Gael are happy with the performance of Maura Hopkins but of course if that is so it throws up the conundrum of representation for the next election. Both John Kelly and Ivan Connaughton will be very disappointed with the result. Kelly was one of the better T.V. debate performers but the labour numbers just are not there. For Fianna Fail it has to be a big disappointment and the post mortem will include three elements which were key:
1. The candidate whose second general run this was, despite incorrect references to this being his first time out on R.T.E. twice in my hearing. Every effort was made but there is regularly the ‘nearly but not quite there man’. U.S. presidential elections are strewn with examples of these. 
2. Micheal Martin, while a reasonable party leader, does not cut the mustard as stand out Prime Ministerial material at present. Also there is an anonymity about the Fianna Fail reduced ranks as evidenced by an attempt to name say the Fianna Fail shadow cabinet. With prompting maybe McGuinness, O’Cuiv, McGrath (in fairness a pretty impressive contributor), Calleary then Charlie McConalogue F.F. spokesperson on Education and Skills! 
3. The Fianna Fail legacy of the Celtic Tiger/Bertie Ahern years (apart from his Northern Ireland peace contribution of course) is still very much on the file of many people.

Now to the Upcoming Real General Election!

This was just an interim By Election. What of the real thing locally? This will be pretty interesting. Dennis Naughten is seen as a certainty! Michael Fitzmaurice, with additional territory in the revised constituency boundaries, could continue to take the disaffected vote i.e. if the era of Independents is still in vogue. A year will hardly change that. Fianna Fail have a real challenge. Will they stay with their current candidate? Will he be interested? Who could Fianna Fail spring from the bench. Orla Leyden perhaps or the highly regarded John Cummins. Then there is ‘official’ Fine Gael who will have their own dilemmas. How they accommodate the sitting T.D. Frank Feighan and ascending star Maura Hopkins is the trick. Will John Kelly try valiantly again? I imagine Sinn Fein will want to be in the frame but it is hard to imagine a ‘new’ Sinn Fein candidate making an impression. The Hospital Action Committee say they will have a candidate and Tom Crosby promises he will go to the mountain again. Then, as on all provisional team lists, there is the versatile A.N.Other. While geography has always been a prime consideration Fitmaurice overcame that in coming from outside the constituency to win. He will be inside the tent the next time. Soon the question will concern the timing of the General Election proper and when that is revealed the race is on again.  

Boyle GAA Fixtures

Boyle Minors V Ml. Glavey’s in the County Final, division three, in Knockcroghery on Saturday the 18th at 1.30.  It is a bit of a wayward venue for this fixture.  

The U 21 competition fixtures for Boyle are as follows:
Saturday October the 25th V Michael Glavey’s in Castlerea at 4 pm.
Sunday November 2nd …….V Roscommon Gaels in Hyde Park at 1 pm.
Sunday Nov. 9th ……………….V Padraig Pearses at 1 pm.
There is an ongoing dilemma with the very late scheduling of this competition and this has been so for a long time now. I remember Boyle being involved in competition  end-games either side of Christmas not too long ago. I see the Boyle V Kilmore senior league game has still to be played! 

The Budget

Yeats said that; “Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy”. This is the most oblique view of the budget that I can muster. 
I’ll damage that line now by asking a question that about the water charges. What if 50% of people-including myself- pay the water charges leaving say 30% of eligible payers not paying? There is the prospect of an injustice there. The water company’s slogan is “We are on a journey together”. The ‘together’ element is getting somewhat frayed.  

Ebola threat:

This is a global threat. We were being reassured that there were no direct flights from the affected countries to Dublin. Fine. But then we hear that a ship comes in to Dublin Port from that area with little or no intervention. There is also the curious situation that it was the Minister for Agriculture who initially spoke on the matter. But then when one looks up Minister Coveney’s areas of responsibility  it can be seen that he is; The Minister for Agriculture/Food/The Marine and Defence. Some multi-tasking there. Echoes of Ray Burke and latterly Brian Cowan. For Ireland the best way of defence against this threat would be exclusion as the old adage shouts ‘if something can go wrong it will’.    


To Kevin Hickey who climbed Croagh last Sunday for charity. His mentor  en route was Danny Doherty. Perhaps he encouraged Kevin with a song from The Sound of Music.

Just a hello to Sean Mullaney, formerly of Rockingham and St. Mary’s College, and his good wife who now live in Canada. I met them recently in Boyle and they were continuing their holiday in Europe which I hope lived up to its possibilities.   

Next Week

Next week is shaping up to be a very busy one in Boyle town with Chris O’Dowd centre stage as he receives The Freedom of Roscommon and the launch of his and his co-writer’s Moone Boy book. 

John Spillane will be on T.V. on Tuesday and Thursday with his Boyle song programme and he will be in town in person launching his C.D. in Wynne’s on Thursday. On the GAA front there is a T.V. programme called Insiders on R.T.E. featuring Tommy Kenoy and his drive to amend the GAA rule to allow ‘foreign’ games in Croke Park also on Tuesday night.

Singer James Kilbane performs in the Church of Ireland on Friday at 8. This is in aid of the Church re-roofing project.

Sin é

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