Thursday, December 31, 2015

Update 31st December

First I want to correct a reference I made last week where I said that Eugene Murphy had lost out in the last County Council election. I was told by a friend of mine that such was not true and that he had topped the pole then. I had Eugene mixed up with another high profile councillor.
While one makes mistakes from time to time it annoys me that I do so and I am only too happy to correct same. Don’t hesitate, if you see a mistake, especially of fact, in what I have written to let me know. Spell check can only do so much and while mistakes can hide in the submitted draft they jump out in the published article.
So Mea Culpa to Eugene and best wishes in the testing campaign ahead.
Eddie Wynne R.I.P. 
I attended the burial of Eddie Wynne in Boyle on a cold wet afternoon on Thursday. I had met him down the years here and there. I was surprised when it was suggested that he was around ninety years of age. He was a great supporter of Roscommon and Boyle football in his day. I met him in recent times in Drumderrig Nursing Home where he was in care in recent times and we would have a few words about football, the weather and the minutae of life. He was predeceased by most of his family connections. I remember being at a funeral in Assylinn a good few years ago now and Micheal O Callaghan and I were walking away and how ever I put it to him I seem to have asked if he had any connection to the deceased. He replied that he had no family connection but that he knew it was going to be a small funeral and that the deceased was an old time Boyle person and he felt he should be there. It is alright to be at the funerals of the mighty but to pay respects to the lesser known decent souls as they pass to their reward is a good thing to do.
Garda Clampdown on Defective Car Lights
I see from the Home Page of realboyle that the Gardai are to clamp down on defective lighting on cars. As some of you might remember this is an issue with me. I focus particularly on that front right light which if blown gives the impression that an oncoming vehicle has but a single light near the opposite ditch and so could be a motorcycle.  While the annual number of people killed on the roads is down this year 2015 there were a lot of fatalities over the Christmas period for whatever reasons.  

The Celtic Tiger Re-Appears
I am told by a Boyle friend living in Dublin that a taxi driver, in an anecdote, measured the  return of the arrogance of the early 2000s’. The example relayed was of a customer ‘throwing’ a €20 note at him for around half the fare. The taxi driver did not like the process and told the customer that the fare was what it was and throwing money at him was not the way to go. The customer enquired ‘What’s your problem?’ or words to that effect as such customers would.

The National Issues Facing into a New Year; As I see them.
Being the time of year when one reflects on such things I nominate my list of the huge issues facing the country currently with little optimism for solution or even alleviation;

A.  Homelessness…. with its attendant strands (1) Families on the streets; in hotels and so on. (2) The cost of houses for first time buyers especially in Dublin/Cork/Galway and (3) Those with mortgage arrears and negative equity.
B.  The Health Service….patients waiting to be called for appointments , patients on trolleys, cost of Health Insurance, hospitals like UCH Galway being like war zones, understaffing and over-demanding work-loads leading to staff emigrating to better working environments  
C.  Child Care costs for working parents and the lack of state provision of creches and such
D.  Taxation; direct and indirect (disguised).
E. Traffic management in the cities like Dublin and Galway which are decades behind other European equivalents. 
F.  The number of young Irish who are abroad and would like to return but cannot trust the negative side of Irish culture on numerous levels.
G.  The continued development of the East centred on Dublin and the decline of rural and small- even medium- sized towns in Ireland. The Pale still dictates.
H. Crime and concern for crime possibility. A swathe of border country which seems to be a law unto itself, due to legacy issues. A legal system which is cost- prohibitive to the majority of people. The structure and power of the vested interests in the legal system.
I.  Social inequality…..the wealth of the country still owned by a small percentage of the population. This is of course an international template. 
J.  Gombeenism as represented by the recent RTE Investigates involving some county councillors and processes exemplified in the question; ‘What’s in it for me?’
The Banking system’s contempt for its customers, especially senior customers. as the system marches towards automation.

Maybe some other time I will reflect on the positives for this little idyl.

Have a Happy New Year. It promises to be an interesting year on many levels,
locally county wide and nationally. as they all are 


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Update 24th December

A Happy Christmas to all, especially to those abroad in Oz/Canada/ the United States/ England/ Middle East and other parts.

A representation of those is as follows: Damien Keenehan/ Seamus Gallagher and Lukie Brennan in Oz/ Tadgh Egan in Canada /  In New York; Austin Beisty, Frankie Flaherty, Damien Dooley and the Beirne boys Kenneth & Hillary/ Paddy Conlon/ Megan Morris in the mid-east/ Darren Dockery mid.-east and the London group, John Harrington, a former Christmas quiz winner and that most durable player a.n.other. (Apologies for not being able to mention a representative number of ladies due to lack of knowledge regarding same.)

Items I might have referred to on a different week

• It was nice to see John Joe Nerney featured in the section reflecting on Irish sports people who passed away in 2015, in the RTE Sports Review of the Year. Otherwise it was much too long as was the BBC equivalent.

• ‘Mrs. Browne is taking over Christmas’ says the RTE Promo. Not with me Mrs. Browne. I can’t get it and in the season that is in it, I will not say what I think of it.

• I suggest that we take an interest in the proposal that a large swathe of townlands adjacent to Athlone will be incorporated in Athlone and Westmeath and thus be lost to Roscommon. Father Liam Devine in the Roscommon Herald is really engaged with that dilemma. The resistance is being led by Ger Ahern of St. Brigid’s Club. It would not be the first campaign that this high-powered ex -army man has been involved in.

• I see that Fianna Fail have nominated Eugene Murphy to contest the upcoming election. Eugene lost, if I remember correctly, in the County Council elections last time out. Eugene is an affable, popular individual but ... I must admit that I do not seem to know who the other candidate Sean Og Higgins is. Perhaps I should get out more! But then again I am reasonably in touch with things relating to Roscommon. It must be pretty demoralising for the Soldiers of Destiny to see that they have made so little impact in their own rehabilitation since their deserved demolition in the last election. I doubt if Eugene is going to engender a lot of confidence locally, in that regard.

• I read an interesting contra piece on Mother Theresa on last Sunday’s Independent back page - 40, by Carol Hunt. Apparently Pope Francis has ‘signed off’ on the miracle required to elevate Mother Theresa to sainthood. Carol Hunt wasn’t asked for her reference obviously.

• Talking of saints, Bertie Ahern continued with some of his old guff on BBC recently referring to Mister and Missus Joe Soap losing the run of themselves and causing the boom which of course later resulted in the bust. They did this, according to Bertie, by buying one house, then ‘LEVERAGING’ the buying of the second on the first and so on to three maybe even four et al. There used to a scheme which embraced this called a ‘pyramid scheme’. Anyway Bertie we did not ALL do this even if a few Joe Soaps allegedly did. So go back in cupboard Bertie with that guff. Losing the run of themselves seems to be a thing with Taoisigh as when Enda talked about troops having to be stand guard around ATMs’. I wondered that they wouldn’t have thought of just not providing the money for the ATMs’ to avoid the necessity of such dramatic manpower.

• I hope to see some of you at the Boyle GAA Quiz and Social Night on Sunday night starting early at 7.45 ending 10.16. 16 is going to be the buzz number soon. Along with the quiz there is the various club presentations for 2015… Players of the Year-, Male and Female/ Club Person of the Year/ Hall of Fame. A quiz anagram or whatever might be, ‘Translate, BYO?
Safe, considered and considerate driving

Enjoy the Christmas

Slan t.c.   

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Update 17th December

Click on photo to view a larger version

Picture Names
The 1975 Boyle U16 County finalists with Seamus Sweeney current Chairman of Roscommon County Board GAA.

Back Row: A. Morris/T. Regan/ SEAMUS SWEENEY/ P. Connaughton/ C. McMurrough/ D. Harrington/ J. Cox/R. McLoughlin/ J. Gallagher/ P. Butler/ M. Candon/ A. O’Dowd/ K. Lavin/ F. Harrington/ M. Quinn/ T. Conboy Coach with James Dodd, missing from pic.
Front: G. Murray/ G. Hannon/ J. McDermott/ D. O’Connor/ D. Dodd/ P. Daly/ S. Brennan/ B. Shannon/ B. Gaffney/ M.Martin/ G.Wynne/ S. Daly/ Players missing from this pic. Joe Warde/ Ml. Jordan/ R. Mullarkey.     

Pleasure Ground The Play
A fine crowd attended the Fregoli production of Jarlath Tivnan’s play ‘Pleasure Grounds’ directed by Jarlath’s cousin Maria Tivnan on Saturday night last in St. Joseph’s Hall. The play dealt with the hugely serious issue of suicide. The reaction has been very positive. Understandably Jarlath and Maria were a little wary of how the play would be received in their home town. But the people came and saw an excellent production and performances and left with a good deal to reflect on. It is a huge achievement for Jarlath to write such an accomplished work at first asking. The nuanced script, swaying as it does from light humour to deep despair has been much commented on and the play’s quality is attracting broad attention in a variety of areas.
‘Pleasure Ground’ will tour again in May next year to Letterkenny, Tralee, Longford and return for further performances in Galway Town Hall where it was first staged some months ago. From the reaction it has been getting in Dublin and elsewhere the possibilities for the play should not end there. This cast has been together for a number of years now graduating from NUIG Drama Soc. so there is a great bond between them and this is evident in their empathy on stage. So many congratulations to Jarlath, Maria and to the other cast members and we will watch with interest to see the future course of this fine work.

Brooklyn the Movie
A number of people will have seen the film Brooklyn by now and have been mesmerised by the performance of Saoirse Ronan in the lead role. However there is a strong Boyle/Ballinameen  (being fair!) connection to the film which some Boyle viewers might miss. That connection is musician John Carty who provides much of the traditional musical background to the film. John has a huge national and international reputation as one the top Irish traditional musicians of today. He was delighted to get the call to be part of the film of Colm Tóibín’s novel. Saoirse Ronan has been nominated in the best actress category at the London Film Awards and the possibility is that she will be nominated for an Oscar as ‘Leading Actress’. That would elevate the film and all associated with it, including John, to another level.

So Boyle can add another person to the growing list of people who have been involved in movies from Maureen O’Sullivan, Chris O’Dowd, Paul Young. There are others too such as Paraic Callaghan who, if I remember correctly, featured in a film called Vikings starring Kirk Douglas in the late sixties. ‘Vikings’ was shot in South Galway and along the Shannon river. Many UCG students of the time took part and were bused out from the city to the filming locations. It was a pretty hectic and memorable summer in the City of the Tribes. I may be clutching at straws here but there was at least one local person who participated in the excellent film ‘Saving Private Ryan’ with Tom Hanks in the lead. I seem to remember Ian Cooney arriving in the Abbey Park a little late for a St. Michael’s game. He was part of the FCA units who took part in the film. If I am missing out on anyone please let me know. Of course a lot of Boyle people can put their participation in the Moone Boy series on their cvs’ now.       

Mentioning films one has to feel to feel for the owners and all associated with the Cineplex in Carrick –on-Shannon which has had to close for nearly two weeks now at the height of their busy season due to the floodwaters. It is said that the resultant costs will be in the region of €50,000 to the company. The cinema in Carrick is a state of the art one and within twenty minutes of us in Boyle. It provides a fine choice of the best of the current movies on show as well as beaming high class musical events from live shows in New York to the cinema screen. An example of this was when Chris O‘Dowd and James Franco stared in the play adaption of John Steinbeck’s  ‘Of Mice and Men’ on New York’s Broadway and it was beamed to Carrick Cinema which a lot of Boyle people attended.
The most recent film I saw there was ‘Black Mass’ about the notorious Boston Irish-American criminal Whitey Bolger. And this week they were to screen a real blockbuster in ‘Star Wars’. I really hope that the Cineplex gets back to business again and that it gets the support it deserves.

Congratulations to Seamus Sweeney
I wish to heartily congratulate Seamus Sweeney from Brislagh now resident in Croghan on his elevation to the position of Chairman of Roscommon County Board of the GAA. Seamus was student in St. Mary’s College in the seventies and was on a fine Boyle U 16 team which lost in the County Final of 1976 to Western Gaels. The star player then for Western Gaels then was Michael Finneran from Balinagare. Michael was probably the most gifted natural footballer, as a teenager, that I have seen. He played minor and senior Connacht Championship games on the same day.
Anyway Seamus has done great work with the county development squads and the fruits of this work is evident in the number of fine young players in the county at this time. Seamus has been Vice-Chairman of the County Board for the last five years with Micheal Fahey as Chairman. Seamus showed that he reflected the majority view of the supporters when he, as incoming Chairman, suggested to the then county senior coach, John Evans, that it was time for a change.
The last Chairman from the Boyle Club was Micheal O’Callaghan. Previous Chairmen have been: Micheal Fahey/ Michael McGuire/ Tommy Kenoy/ Stephen Banahan/ Phonsie Tully/ Michael O’Callaghan/ Dr. Donal Keenan/ Dan O’Rourke/ Dr. Hugh Gibbons/ Dan O’Rourke. Taken all in all Seamus joins a pretty formidable and distinguished grouping which includes two GAA Presidents in O’Rourke and  Keenan and a possible third in Micheal O’Callaghan but for his early demise.
So congratulations to Seamus and we wish him the very best in his endeavours. I know he will give it his best shot.  

The Writer William Trevor
I mentioned recently the deaths of a number of Ireland’s great writers McGahern, Heaney and Friel suggesting that while their loss would be incalculable there were still many highly regarded living and active Irish writers. Amongst them is William Trevor and the reason I refer to him here is to mention his connections to this region. William Trevor’s father, grandfather and great-grandfathers were all natives of Croghan. William Trevor is the ‘nom de plume’ for William Trevor Cox, who was born in Mitchelstown, Co. Cork in 1928. His great grandfather was Mark Cox and he lived at Knockroe later moving to the adjacent townland of Killappoge and a house called ‘Millbrook’.  The landlord family in the area then were the Lloyds. The fortunes of this family in the C19 and C20th century are recalled in many of Trevor’s ‘big house’ stories such as ‘The News from Ireland’. In early days many of the Cox family went to school in Bishop Hodson Grammar School in Elphin. Bill, Trevor’s father went to a business school in Dublin and started work with The Bank of Ireland in 1913. The job meant numerous relocations and William Trevor Cox was born in Mitchelstown in 1928. He attended boarding school in Dublin and graduat4ed from Trinity College in 1950. He emigrated to England in 1954 and settled in Devon. He made a reputation as a novelist, playwright and particularly as a short story writer. One of the elder statesmen of the Irish literary world, he is widely regarded as one of the greatest contemporary writers of short stories in the English language.
He has won the Whitbread Prize three times and has been nominated five times for the Booker Prize, most recently for his novel ‘Love and Summer’ (2009), which was also shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2011. His name has also been mentioned in relation to the Nobel Prize in Literature.
One of his early stories was ‘The Ballroom of Romance’ which became a well- known Irish film starring Brenda Fricker, Mick Lally and John Kavanagh. I became aware of William Trevor Cox’s link to the area around six years ago and wrote to him and sent him a collections of items publicising the area and he kindly responded with thanks. He was a friend of Kenneth Stewart of Carrick Road, Boyle from his early days and maintained contact with Kenneth and his wife Ingrid down the years.


Wren Boys Day Came Early
I felt it was a bit a time warp when I heard some singing at the door a few nights ago. When I opened the door, there were three boys singing ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’. They were certainly getting off the mark early. Maybe they are set to extend the St. Stephen’s Day franchise or perhaps it was just a rehearsal!

‘Documentary on One’ at 2 on Saturdays
I meant to mention this last week. I tuned into the ‘Documentary on One’  on Saturday December 5th and listened to an intriguing story with the title ‘The Case That never Was’. It involved the story of a Polish labourer Bogdan who was supposedly the litigant in a European Court case against the Cypriot Government by an international recruitment company headed by an Irishman. It was dealing with levels of social insurance payment or some such. It was pretty complicated but intriguing stuff. Referred to the European Court of Justice, the outcome could change EU labour law for millions of people. The only problem? The worker 'taking' the case knew nothing about it.

Connacht Rugby Woes
The game of rugby continues in the spotlight regarding its physicality and rate of attrition. Last week-end 18 Connacht players were reported as being unavailable because of injury. Also I saw a reference to the number of Kerry GAA players who were injured requiring serious medical intervention. It is a long way from John Joe Nerney’s time. He said to me once ”All we ever got was a sore knee. We didn’t know anything about all those hamstrings and things.”

Sport’s Withdrawal Symptoms
It is rarely ever mentioned but it many sports people, especially those who have played at a high level, have issues when the time comes for them to quit. I have been told of a Leitrim legend, in his senior years, having tears in his eyes as he left the field of play after his last club game. As I said I do not hear much if any discussion about this. Recently I was in the company of the famous Galway hurling captain from their All-Ireland win in 1980 when the topic did actually come up. He said that they have formed an Association in Galway for former county players from all grades and codes to act as a resource of camaraderie for such players. I thought it an interesting topic and an interesting initiative.                   


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Update 11th December

Blog 9th December 

‘Pleasure Ground’ Saturday Night.
Just to remind viewers that Jarlath Tivnan’s play ‘Pleasure Ground’ will take place on Saturday night next in St. Joseph’s Hall at 8. The title may be somewhat confusing as it is just the ‘venue/location’ where the play is set. Over sixteens only.

The Flooding Crisis
Last week I was writing a note on a lovely television programme ‘Lesser spotted Journeys’ and how it dealt with Athleague and the tranquil River Suck that runs through it.
This week Athleague is again making the TV news but this time the tranquillity has been transformed into a battle ground as the forces of nature bare their teeth and residents struggle to contain the tempest.
This is a repeat of a similar scenario in 2009 when the village was engulfed by floodwater. When that passed the feeling was that such an event would not happen again for decades into the future which acted as a consolation and an expectation. Why people might drift into that idea is, perhaps, strange. The respite has proved to be very short term.
Anyway I was in touch with my cousin who lives in Athleague and he relayed the detail of the battle that was on their hands as the whole community rallied. The result of their efforts is still very problematic with the rainfall continuing.
In nearby Carrick-on-Shannon we see a variation on the theme as the water rises and threatens homes and businesses. It is now a crisis of national proportions and certainly a large number of peoples’ lives will be in upheaval as a consequence.
Another debate will surely emerge regarding a host of causative issues such as planning, global warming and lack of protective measures. That is for the future.
What an agony it must be to watch the waters rising and having to just anticipate the inevitable consequences for homes and livelihoods.   

Boyle ‘Men’s Shed’- A Haven of Possibility
One of the winners of the Rehab/RTE ‘People of the Year Awards’ , which was televised  last week-end, was John Evoy who introduced the ‘Men’s Shed’ concept to Ireland a number of years ago. John had first experienced this in Australia where it was founded in the ‘90s’. The Boyle ‘Shed’ began in 2012 with initial encouragement from Louise Carty of the Family Life Centre.
There are ‘Sheds’ in Ballyleague, Castlerea, Roscommon Town and Strokestown. The Irish Men’s Sheds Association was set up in January 2011 with the purpose of supporting the development and sustainability of Men’s Sheds on the Island of Ireland.
It is suggested that, “Men don’t talk face to face; they talk shoulder to shoulder”
The three principles of the organisation are as follows:
1)      Honesty and Openness. Everything we do is transparent and accountable to the Shedders and to the public.

2) Equality and Inclusion: Our work creates places of belonging, participatory democracy, mutual respect, companionship and community for all Shedders.
3) Leadership: We demonstrate and promote leadership in everything we do.
The concept is not an age thing and so is fully inclusive. All men are welcome and encouraged to call into the Boyle Shed, which is located behind Visionary Photography formerly Emmett Electric on The Crescent, Boyle. Neither is it for Boyle town as its current members come from the local region.
The first project with which the ‘Shed’ was involved in Boyle was the Model Railway which was constructed on the Trojan premises and it is hoped will become a centre-piece display when the Courthouse is renovated. The Model Railway featured on a Joe Duffy television show some time ago.
There are 45 members in Boyle with a core of active participants. The participants ‘must want to come themselves’. The problem is awareness of its existence and understanding of its role. I talked at length to Martin Connolly regarding the role of the Shed in Boyle and he was comfortable with its progress. Martin is in Boyle eight years and sees the Shed as a social and recreational environment while at the same time developing and accommodating interests with, and learning from, the many talents of the other members. He also sees it as contributing to the local community as the fine achievement of the Railway hopefully will do. Recently they have been involved with the lighting of the Town Clock and by associating with Boyle Tidy Towns they will be able to help with town enhancement schemes. They have developed a visible and attractive Boyle GAA Lotto presentation which the club is currently distributing to business premises.
A lot of work has been done on their current premises and it has a very well equipped woodwork room and a music centre with a small recording studio, which people are welcome to use. Indeed the ‘welcome’ motif is core to the activity or just social atmosphere that obtains. It is a therapeutic tool in men’s wellbeing and positivity in being active and contributing to the community in a relaxed and inviting environment. 
“To you it may only be a shed
But to me it is a sanctuary”  
The members are in the process of developing a computer room which would be a fine facility to help members with modern technology and communication skills.
Personally I also see the ‘Men’s Shed’ as a much better recreational and economic option than others to which some men, with time on their hands, are drawn.
Anyway I was very impressed by a number of elements with Boyle Men’s Shed’ such as the welcome and, dare I say it, ‘laid back’ non-judgemental atmosphere that obtained. It has great potential and I hope it prospers. It deserves our support. I encourage anyone who reads this to think about or refer it to someone they think might benefit from it or be a benefit to it.

Rehab/RTE People of the Year Awards
I’ll just add the list of the remaining winners of ‘People of the Year’ as follows:
Padraic Mangan and Aoibhean Godwin, Young People of the Year for founding FarmSafety4Kids
Philip Grant, Irish Consul, California, and Fr. Brendan McBride, International People of the Year, for their efforts following the Berkeley balcony collapse
Fadhili Haji, of Sports Against Racism Ireland and Football Against Racism in Europe for her work in encouraging Muslim girls to play football
Ade Stack and Marty Curley, for assisting parents and families of sick children, through the founding of Hugh's House, which provides accommodation near the Rotunda and Temple Street Children's Hospitals
Yes Equality (Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, Irish Council for Civil Liberties, Marriage Equality Ireland) for their campaign to amend the Constitution
Paul O'Connell, former Munster and Irish rugby captain, Sports person of the Year
 Emergency nurse practitioner Ken Maleady received the Everyday Hero award for saving the life of fellow marathon runner Mary Leech, when she collapsed during the Dublin City Marathon
Irish Defence Forces- Navy- for their work in rescuing refugees in the Mediterranean.
Boyle GAA Club Happenings From Here!
Two finals this coming week-end
(Weather permitting of course).

Garda Cup. Boyle v Tulsk Sat. 11am Abbey Park
One would have thought that the club’s GAA activities would have tapered off by this stage but success extends seasons. The weather has been a factor also in postponing games so hopefully all will be concluded successfully this coming week-end.
On Saturday morning Boyle takes on Tulsk in the Garda Cup Final, at Boyle, at 11 am. Boyle has already won the Keenan Cup so it would indicate a good pool of under-age players if they could add the Garda Cup which they also won last year.
I imagine most of the players from the successful Feile team will be playing here.  Tulsk is another club working hard at under-age development. They won the initial competition in ’84 and again in ’87 and possibly in ’03.
Boyle won their first Garda Cup in ’91 with Donal Kelly as captain and in ’92 and ’94.  In ’98 Roch Hanmore was a winning captain. Boyle were of course winners a good number of times subsequently.
The Keenan and Garda Cups have been very popular with many clubs and are seen as building blocks for the full county championships. 
The Garda Cup has always been well thought of by the Gardaí and I can think of stalwarts such as Tom Commins, Sgt. John Kelly, and Fergal O’Donnell giving it their support.  So if you can, make your way to the Abbey Park on Saturday morning. 
[Referencing Tulsk.  In a picture of a dressing room opening at Tulsk grounds recently the Roscommon Herald has a picture of the event on page 66. In the picture of 9 people there is 1 Tulsk GAA officer, 1 County Board GAA officer and 7 politicians!]  

U 21 County ‘A’ Final Boyle v Clann na nGael Sunday, Enfield (St. Croan’s grounds, Ballintubber)
This is huge game for Boyle against top opposition in Clann na Gael. Clann would be favourites outside Boyle but this Boyle side has a very good balanced team and have had two excellent wins against Padraig Pearse’s and St. Brigid’s to get to this stage. The second half performance against St. Brigid’s was very encouraging. Their management of Aidan Lavin assisted by Ml. Hanmore, Shane Spellman, Mark Goldrick and Donal Kelly have also played their part in organising the side.
There are many fine players on this team. The half-back line of team Capt. Tadgh McKenna, Evan McGrath and Conor Tivnan played a key role in the win against St. Brigid’s while another line –the full forward line- with young guns Cian McKeon and Conor Deery and the very impressive Dylan East- caused major problems for the opposition up front.
Boyle’s star player Enda Smith will be the focus of a lot of opposition attention but that will be nothing new to him.
 Clann have up to a dozen players who participated in their county senior championship win with a large number of players who have represented the county at minor, U 21 and senior. Their star player is Ultan Harney.
I know that there is a fine spirit and resolve in the Boyle team and management and they are determined to give it their best shot. A victory here would be a major one, next to a senior win, so we wish them all well. It would be a nice Christmas present for the club.
Your support would certainly be appreciated.
Boyle Club Lotto now stands at €10,000 plus for Saturday night’s draw.

Boyle GAA Club AGM
There was a very positive atmosphere at this year’s AGM. There were excellent reports of the club’s activities for 2015 and a real sense of optimism for 2016. Personally I feel that the club is in a very good place and was never as strong as it is at the moment. Nothing of course is perfect so if everybody contributes those gaps can be reduced. As Gerry Cregg commented there is great work being done at many clubs, especially at the top clubs who have the population numbers.  I have occasionally referred to St. Brigid’s, for example, in US terms; it is not just a club it is an Organisation. So smaller clubs now have to maximise their resources and work hard to stay in the game at a decent level. Boyle club has an excellent corps of officials and each year seems to bring in someone special. One of the deficits at the AGM was the fact that the age profile was pretty senior and that few if any of the adult footballers were present. As is often written and said the local GAA club is at the heart of the community. I don’t know if that can be said about Boyle just now but it certainly plays a significant role in the community as it does nationally.
Details of the AGM officers can be gleaned by logging into Boyle GAA on the realboyle home page. The only ones I will refer to here are the incoming dual Presidents, Barry Feely and Sean Young.
They are a yardstick for commitment, loyalty and longevity to the Boyle cause.
They succeed our esteemed former President John Joe Nerney who passed to his eternal reward last summer. Might I also remember Paddy McDermott who passed away just a year ago.
While it was at the funeral of their brother P.J. it was nice to meet two very good Boyle footballers from back the years, Freddie Daly now resident in Donegal and Frankie residing in Enniskillen.
I’ll leave it at that for this week!         


Friday, December 4, 2015

Update 4th December

The 1960s -The Decade of the Beatles .Top Ten

A UTV Television programme of a couple of weeks ago encapsulated the results of a survey on how their British audience voted regarding the most popular songs of the Beatles. Last week I listed their choices from 27 down to and including number 11.Naturally this is not in any chronological time order. This week I am nominating the final ten and for one musical group what a top ten it is.
The first of the listeners’ top ten returns to the earliest years of the Beatles with the driving anthem ‘She Loves You’ followed by the other film title ‘A Hard Day’s Night’. Number 8 ‘A Long and Winding Road’ gave the group its 20th U.S. number one.
The performance of ‘I Want to hold your Hand’ gave the Ed. Sullivan Show its largest audience in February ’63 and propelled the Beatles in the U.S.  6/5 is regarded as one of the greatest Double ‘A’ side records ever with ‘Penny Lane’ and ‘All You Need is Love’ in ’67.
Of course for anyone who is a Beatle disciple the order could be much different and I myself would not say have ‘Nothing You Can do’ at number five.
The Revolver Album provides number 4, the poetic lyric ‘Eleanor Rigby’.                
"Eleanor Rigby"
Ah, look at all the lonely people
Ah, look at all the lonely people
Eleanor Rigby picks up the rice in the church where a wedding has been
Lives in a dream
Waits at the window, wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door
Who is it for?   
Number 3 is supposedly based on a Paul dream of his mother saying whatever issue of the time would work itself out. ‘Let it Be’ is just a brilliantly constructed therapeutic song and it is understandable why a person continues to ‘sing’ it after being reminded of it.
‘When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me’ 
Number 2, ‘Yesterday’ is said to be the most recorded song in popular music history. It is a song of reflection, loss and despair.
And so to the UTV poll of the most popular Beatles song with the British public, ‘Hey Jude’. It was written by Paul in ’68 for John’s son Julian in the context of John’s break-up with Julian’s mother as Yoko Ono became the woman in his life. Of course like all writing the real meaning may be hidden so interpretation is subjective.

Perhaps my own favourite, which is Beatle song but post Beatles, is not even in the above list. Imagine. 

‘The Suck Valley Walk’ a ‘Lesser Spotted Journey’

Earlier this week on UTV there was a lovely programme, for me especially, dealing with the village of Athleague and its hinterland five miles south-west of Roscommon town. It is neighbouring and familiar territory for me from my youth and I have plenty of good memories of that nice village and its friendly people. ‘Lesser Spotted Journeys’ presented by Joe Mahon dealt in an unhurried way with a core area around the village. While many programmes film a lot of material much of this does not emerge in the final showing.  This programme, being an hour in length, had the luxury of dealing with a range of topics at a pace that gave it a tone and tenure which truly reflected its core spirit. The contributors too adopted a voice representative of the subject matter of a small rural community, leading unhurried lives in their home place, for which, naturally, they had a loving regard.
The ‘Suck’ river is the fluid spine of the area and some twenty or so years ago the communities along its banks came together and established the ‘The Suck Valley Walk’ which stretches from Castlerea to Ballinasloe. The river, like so many rivers, played a pivotal role in the development of villages along its course, Athleague being one. The rivers name has its origins, like the Boyle River, in a mythical princess. The area is often low-lying and the river has on a few memorable occasions not been the benign creature it looked in this record.  I knew most of the contributors or their lineage. The river area near Athleague Bridge has been a swimming pool for generations of locals including myself.  Walter Young had a neat phrase to introduce their Kayaking as ‘Splash and Dash’. Rebecca Dobson who once worked in Ballinafad Wildlife Centre  introduced us to the ‘vole’ a river bank mouse- like creature which it is said to arrived in this country in the 1920s’ from Germany at the time the Germans were involved in the first hydro- electric scheme at Ardnacrusha near Limerick.
Helga Mullens had an intriguing story to tell of coming to Athleague, as a refugee aged four from Germany in 1946. Her story was worthy of a programme for itself.
When James Moran talked of the ‘Turlough’ or disappearing lake it reminded me of the story of the Dublin person who bought some twenty acres of land beside the river in the summer time only to discover it reduced to half that come the rainy season!
Maybe it is my lack of technical ability that denied me recording the programme from UTV but it seems to be case with just that particular channel.

Roscommon Farmers Speak Out Clearly
On Tuesday night the IFA turmoil continued to be aired on ‘Ear to the Ground’ on RTE TV a lively and varied farming programme. John Hanley from Glinsk, Chairman of Roscommon IFA along with Kitty Dwyer, Donamon -wife of former Roscommon GAA activist the late Paddy Francis-and Jim O’Connor from Grange, Boyle, were clear and excellent speakers on the issues and challenges facing the national organisation that is the IFA. I was most impressed, but not surprised, by the contribution of Brian Costello of Lough Gara Farms, grandson of Major General M.J. Costello who was involved in the original NFA at its founding in 1955 and also in the establishment of the Irish Sugar Company. 
He referred to his grandfather as ‘a great champion of the small farmer’ and suggested ‘he would be spinning in his grave at the present revelations’ Interestingly he suggested that this upheaval ‘is now an opportunity for a reformed IFA to truly represent the farmers of all of rural Ireland’ and that it was a ‘watershed moment’ for the organisation to return to its roots and original mission.
Often when people are confronted by the high powered technology of National TV or Radio, they have not done themselves justice or seized the day. But on the evidence as stated above this has changed and it is great to see and hear.
Ministerial Portfolios

Recently I came across a Junior Minister, Dara Murphy, on a television programme and I truthfully could not remember having seen him before. In a past life, in quizzes, being asked the name of the Minister for this and that was a regular thing. If the quiz was a bit sterner it was over to the Junior Ministers. Often in those times, say the early eighties, there were elections with great frequency so the Ministers had little time to acquaint themselves in the minds of the serious quiz participant and the poor Junior Ministers were nearly a question of Mensa proportions.
The personnel of this government have the advantage of being in situ for nearly five years so the top brass of the front bench residents should not be too difficult. So I will nominate say the top 7 names and ask you to test yourself as to what ministerial post they occupy.
They are Tánaiste, Joan Burton; Michael Noonan, Brendan Howlin, Richard Burton, Simon Coveney, Frances Fitzgerald and James Reilly.
Now to the higher maths course. What is the area of responsibility for the following four Junior Ministers; Paul Kehoe, Gerald Nash, Jimmy Deenihan and Michael Ring?  
I’ll continue this exercise next week
Dara Murphy after some research turned out to have some responsibility for European Affairs and Data Protection!
Referencing politics it is really amazing that Fianna Fail has not been able to nominate a candidate in the Roscommon East Galway constituency. How times have changed. They are really gift-wrapping the third T.D. ship to Miss Hopkins.

The ‘Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards for 2015’.

As I love books and bookshops I am always drawn to these awards. This country has such a reputation for literary output of the highest quality that it is probably our foremost achievement as a society. While some of the giants of Irish literature have died in recent times such as Seamus Heaney, Brian Friel and John McGahern there are still a good number of current Irish writers with an international reputation. There is an ongoing -online- public vote for the ‘Irish Book of the Year’ if you wish to engage in that.

Eason Book Club Novel of the Year

The Green Road by Anne Enright (Jonathan Cape). Miss Enright is a consistently fine writer. Best Irish Published Book of the Year
The Long Gaze Back: An Anthology of Irish Women Writers edited by Sinéad Gleeson (New Island Books). While it is said that you cannot judge the book by the cover, the cover of this book is also as beautiful as the content.

Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year (Junior)
Imaginary Fred by Eoin Colfer and Oliver Jeffers (HarperCollins Children’s Books).  Eoin Colfer is another regular contributor of the highest standard aided here by Oliver Jeffers with his illustrations.

Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year (Senior)
Asking For It by Louise O’ Neill (Quercus Books)

Avonmore Cookbook of the Year
The Virtuous Tart by Susan Jane White (Gill & Macmillan).

Ireland AM Crime Book of the Year
After the Fire by Jane Casey (Ebury Press)

Irish Independent Popular Fiction Book of the Year
The Way We Were by Sinead Moriarty (Penguin Ireland)

National Book Tokens Non-Fiction Book of the Year
Children of the Rising by Joe Duffy (Hachette Books Ireland). This is a fine achievement by a busy man.

Bord Gáis Energy Sports Book of the Year
Until Victory Always: A Memoir by Jim McGuinness (Gill & Macmillan). While I have had some reservations about Jim McGuinness this is a book I will study in the coming weeks.
Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year
Spill Simmer Falter Wither by Sara Baume (Tramp Press)

Books Are My Bag Popular Non-Fiction Book of the Year
Me and My Mate Jeffrey by Niall Breslin (Hachette Books Ireland).
While one is inclined to dismiss many of the butterfly celebrities Niall Breslin or Bressie as he is known has emerged as a person of real substance from that genre. The Jeffrey in the title here is I believe the name he gives to his shadow of depression.

RTÉ Radio 1’s The Ryan Tubridy Show Listeners’ Choice Award
Irelandopedia  by Fatti and John Burke (Gill & Macmillan). This is a curious colourful book compiled by a father and daughter combination. I have not seen it but perhaps it is a possibility for a school or home library. Short Story of the Year

A Slanting of the Sun by Donal Ryan.
Renowned Irish American novelist J.P. Donleavy was presented with the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award. Adding his congratulations to his friend “Mike” Donleavy by video-link, was Hollywood megastar Johnny Depp, who is producing and reportedly starring in, a film version of Donleavy’s 1955 novel, The Ginger Man. I read this book many years ago, loaned it and lost it a number of times but will have to return to it. It tells of the adventures of a Trinity College student in the 50s’ which Donleavy was. It is a timeless classic.

The advice I have given very occasionally to a person struggling to read a book is to just leave it and move on to another. There are so many marvellous books out there that there is no need to struggle. The good book should transport you with comfort.  I am sure there are a number in the above list.

GAA-Garda Cup Final & AGM

Boyle plays Tulsk in the Garda Cup final at Boyle on Saturday at 1.Perhaps they can add to the Keenan and Feile Cups won by Boyle teams recently. 
Boyle GAA AGM takes place on Sunday at 5. With 2016 looking like it is going to be a busy and eventful year for the Club and County the structures and personnel need to be broad and earnest. One particular challenge will be the participation of the club in the Feile competition in Kerry with all the expense and logistics that entails. 

Pleasure Ground

Jarlath Tivnan’s play ‘Pleasure Ground' will be in Smock Alley Theatre Dublin from Monday the 7th to Thursday the 10th incl. So the Boyle constituency in Dublin might spread the word there.  

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Update 27th November

The 1960s’ -The Decade of the Beatles
The 1960s’ was a great decade to grow up or grow older as in my case. The grey gloom of the fifties receded and the brightness of possibility of the sixties shone through. The Liverpool music group the Beatles epitomised it all and they left an indelible impression on our teenage lives then and for ever. They produced a cascade of brilliant music and songs which are as fresh today as they were then. A couple of weeks ago I had the Beatles era and influence brought back to me in a UTV Television programme of how their British audience voted in a survey of the most popular songs of the Beatles. Naturally this is not in any chronological time order.
 Oddly it seemed to start at number 27 with a song from the spring of ’69 ‘The Ballad of John and Yoko’ i.e. Yoko Ono.
Number 26 ‘Day Tripper’ from the Autumn of ’65 with its opening signature sound led to a three- in -row Christmas number ones with 25 being from a year earlier titled ‘I Feel fine’ again with a distinct intro apparently copying or using speaker feedback or reverb.
A further year back, ’63, was when Beatlemania as a word emerged to describe the reaction to the group with the song ‘From Me to You’ opening,
‘If there is anything that you want…’
The simple clear lyrics quickly became much more sophisticated and ‘Paperback Writer’ and ‘Get Back’ which make up 23 and 22 are from the later sixties with ‘Get Back’ being recorded from a roof session, the tactic later copied by U 2 in New York.
At number 21 is the beautifully written ‘Lady Madonna’ with the introduction of saxophone. Jools Holland in commentary felt particularly influenced by this innovation. Of course all of the commentators had their own favourites with many struggling to nominate just one from the magical list available.
We now enter the realm of ‘Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band’ from ’67 with a number of great songs, Strawberry Fields Forever; I am a Walrus, Hello Goodbye.
Apparently there was a tradition of giving Ringo a one song option on the albums and number 19 was his with the jolly sing along ‘Yellow Submarine’.
Song 18 was performed to great effect in New York on the Ed Sullivan T.V. Show in ’64 ‘Eight Days a Week’. The Beatles get some credit for lifting spirits in the U.S. amongst young people disillusioned by the assassination of President Kennedy. This was endorsed by their famous appearance at Shea Stadium, N.Y. in ’65, on their second tour of the U.S.
Number 17, ‘We Can Work it out’ in ’65 may have been a suggestion that the pressure was telling and ironically John Lennon sings the line
‘Life is very short…’
Their styles of presentation as in, hair, colours, beards and clothes change with their music. ‘65 also provides the survey’s number 16 with ‘Ticket to Ride’ followed by ’Help’ also a film title.
Number 14 returns to the earliest songs with ‘Love Me Do’ from ’62 which was not a number one in the U.K but was in the U.S. later. The group had the top five in the U.S charts in April ’65.
The ’64 song ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ is followed by George Harrison’s ‘perfect song’ ‘Something in the Way she Moves’. Harrison had to work hard at his songs while Lennon and McCartney were referred to as ‘typewriters’ since the songs seemed to come so easily to them.  ‘Something’ was double ‘A’ side with ‘Come Together’ and so are 12/11.
So as not to tire you out I’ll leave the final ten until next week and what a top ten it is.

Pleasure Ground
Jarlath Tivnan’s play Pleasure Ground will be performed in the Smock Alley theatre Dublin from Monday December 7th to Thursday the 10th. (It will be in Boyle on Saturday the 12th)
A group of friends who’ve gone their separate ways meet back at their teenage haunt, the town, park and playground, known as the Pleasure Ground. The town is dying, the Pleasure Ground’s glory has faded, and life hasn’t quite matched up to youthful expectations. Over their night together, buried secrets become unearthed, past grievances boil over, and scores are settled.
For Boyle people the play’s title may be a bit misleading as it is just the location where the above emotions are played out with a slight health warning language wise!

Power and Influence
While a large number of the traditional power groupings in Irish society have taken big hits in the last two decades such as the Catholic Church, Fianna Fail, similarly the status groups of the professions, priests, teachers, doctors and so on; one group though has held firm, immovable. That is the elite branches of the legal profession.  
The new Legal Services Bill demonstrate that the higher levels of the Legal Services in this country are the most powerful lobby group in the country and successfully protect their outdated structures, rituals and language, to their own advantage of course. Like a caste system they are untouchable. This self-regulating and hugely expensive ‘service’ is really only accessible to the very poor through what used to be FLAC- Free Legal Aid scheme- now apparently The Legal Aid Board (at tax payers expense) This is available to the criminal brotherhood in another scheme. Also the very wealthy such as Dennis O’Brien can afford to access the courts regularly or threaten to do so.  For a whole tranche of people the prospect of risking, perhaps everything, within the Irish court system is untenable irrespective of their need or certainty in their own case.
Even former Minister Alan Shatter, himself a legal professional, is quoted as ‘really disappointed’ with the remit of the new Bill which is understandable since there are around 200 amendments to the original Bill which he in fairness vigorously promoted.
From time to time the earnings of the top legal eagles are disclosed from various tribunals etc. while this may not ‘trickle down’ to the local practitioners I have not heard of any revolt at those levels against the strata who dominate and bully the system. I imagine I am misquoting the label given to the Four Courts as ‘The Four Goldmines’ or as Gerry Dodd used to say in the Boyle Pantomimes of yore when he uttered  an approximation of the script with  ‘or words to that effect’.

Speaking of Goldmines
The general secretary of the IFA, Pat Smith, was doing pretty well in his post with his circa half a million per annum for the past few years. It is just incredible that this came about and those who oversaw it are to blame. Farmers are entitled to be very angry with all this, which they are.
Not long ago a General Secretary of one of the Medical Associations nearly made that organisation bankrupt with the outrageous extent of his remuneration.
One would have thought that the furore over the salary of former Rehab chief Angela Kerins some time back would have flagged the dangers for broad based organisations, with big voluntary input, paying exorbitant salaries to its top executives.
I wonder what salary Páraic Duffy gets as Director General of the GAA?

Galway v Dublin hurlers, in the cathedral of baseball, Fenway Park, Boston
I got a truncated viewing of the hurling exhibition game between Galway and Dublin in Boston last week-end. It was an eleven a-side with no point posts. There was a pretty large crowd present so the game must have been promoted pretty well. It was unfortunate that a big melee took place early in the game and it seemed to me as if the Galway goalie ran some fifty yards to get involved in the scrum like French forward. In Australian Rules I believe that ‘the third man in’ to a melee or blue gets a more severe sanction than the instigators. It was exhibition stuff of the wrong kind. The only Galway officer I could recognise there was Noel Treacy the County Board Chairman. Galway has three County Boards; hurling, football and an amalgam.  Indeed the event had a curious tenor to it in the midst of the serious management issues that obtain in Galway at the moment.

Robert Fisk-An Alternative Voice
There are two journalists that I tune into whenever I can for the alternative view on serious international issues.  I imagine the hierarchies of many governments wish they would go away. In last Saturday’s Irish Independent Robert Fisk had a fine and very interesting article on the origins of many the Arab states now in the middle of a maelstrom. A lot of it goes back to arrangements and accommodations arrived at between Britain and France after World War 1 and the collapse of the Turkish Empire. This involved the establishment of states like Syria, Iraq, Jordan, and Palestine and so on. Those areas could hardly ever be accommodated by linear borders as their societies owed more to tribal affiliation than regional allegiance. Those borders of nearly a century ago have been discarded by emerging power- brokers such as Isil. Not only are the Middle Eastern borders being discarded but in the mass movement of people from there to Western Europe the European borders are being discarded by them also. While western Civilisation has a lot to be proud of, how it has dealt with these regions historically is not to their credit. They may now have to face the whirlwind
Mister Fisk noted the following; “British aircraft have bombed Libya, Iraq and Syria….The Saudis are bombing Iraq, Syria and Yemen…The Jordanians are bombing Syria…..The French are bombing the Syrian city of Raqqa” .The Russians are bombing Syrian rebels fighting Assad and the Turks! Don’t trespass.  He does not mention the Americans.
Almost by coincidence as I struggle to write these notes  Ronan Collins on Radio 1 plays a powerful song from fifty years ago sung by Barry McGuire titled ‘Eve of Destruction’.
“You tell me over and over again my friend you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction’.
That fact that that pessimistic note was struck fifty years ago may be a reason for hope!  

The Great Ronnie Delaney
The Beatles may be the sound of the sixties but athlete Ronnie Delaney was one our real sports heroes from earlier.
I hear that modest Irish hero of the 1956 Melbourne Olympics occasionally on radio promoting the sentiment, ‘Remember the elderly this Christmas’. This is a sentiment which I heartily endorse. Not just because I am moving in that direction mind.

Be Safe Be Seen
Earlier this week I was driving into town towards the Abbeytown Bridge from the church side. There was a car coming from Shilling Hill. As I came near the bridge I saw a person in dark clothes on the bridge path. For a time the person had been obscured between the lights of the two cars. No issue ensued, but it could have.
Boyle is lucky in having such a network of fine, safe footpath walks. Even on these at least 80% of people that I see are now wearing high visibility vests which is great and the right thing to do. There are a number of dark spots still and Abbeytown Bridge is one. Years ago Mickie Morris, the barber, was agitating for lights on that bridge.
Since I am mentioning road safety my other bugbear, mentioned previously, is poor car lights especially the front light on the outside or driver’s side. Sometimes, as such a car approaches; you may think that it could be a motorbike. As Christmas approaches we might check such things.

Miriam O’Callaghan and Stephan Nolan TV Show
United Ireland …Dream On
Some time ago there was a very interesting link-up show between RTE and BBC Northern Ireland. It certainly did not hold out much hope for those whose main platform is a United Ireland. I have not heard much comment on the various survey findings illustrating the commentary and views pronounced on the show so maybe I can get back to that.
Please email comments and suggestions to:

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Update 20th November

Maud and Alice ‘The Dazzler’
Short pieces on what I might reference as ‘old Boyle’ have snowballed somewhat with an enquiry regarding Maud (I don’t know if there should be an ‘e’ there) and Alice Callaghan who had a bar on Elphin Street until 1978 when it was bought by Matt and Kay Smith and became the Hideaway. The Smiths gave it that name as Matt had worked in the Hideaway Bar in Rathmines, Dublin for a number of years before coming to Boyle. They expanded the premises considerably and carried on a very successful business there for a considerable number of years.
A lot has changed in that short part of Elphin Street in very recent times.
Anyway Maud and Alice Callaghan ran a popular rendezvous there for decades. They were of old Boyle stock. Maud was married to a man called Tuite and they had a son Jack and a daughter known as BA, perhaps an abbreviation of Barbara, who married a gentleman called Carlos who went to live in Dublin. The son Jack was involved in the racing business and there is a legend that Lester Piggott once visited the family home in Elphin Street though my ‘go-to-man’ on 'Old Boyle', Frank Tarpey, has not heard of that which puts it very much into question. Maybe I could print the legend.
The sisters ran the pub their way of course, as all publicans do, and it had a social division akin to Public Bar and Lounge Bar. The Lounge was a backroom snug where a particular ‘elite’ group would come together as in a club. In that back room was a fine table and a beautiful twin-oven range which was a memorable centre piece and is always referred to by those who called there. [As an aside I remember the ‘pot-bellied stove’ in the early seventies that was in Aggie Devine Conlon’s which is now ‘The Patrick’s Well’. Of course Kate Lavin’s has its lovely range and indeed is such a unique old-style bar that it is of particular significance generally].  
Alice, the figure-head of the establishment- was referred to by those who remember her as ‘the dazzler’ perhaps because she herself would describe some special people as ‘mickey dazzlers’. Also a bit like Cockney rhyming slang she would refer to a person as a Basil Jarvis, Jarvis being a famous horse trainer in her time.
Alice is described as ‘humorous, thrifty and smart’. The area from what is now the entrance from Supervalu down to Londis was a market area and from time to time the people from the country would bring carts of turf for to sell there. Alice would query a seller about the quality of the turf suggesting that she had bought turf previously that turned out to be of very poor quality and so asked for a sample bag of the product. This she repeated apparently and thus reduced her fuel bill! She is remembered as wearing a black bib and as a smoker of Woodbine cigarettes, "without the sock" as she called it when removing the filter tip of the small cigarette.
Maud died in February 1978 and Alice then went to live with her niece Bab in Dublin.
 *If anyone has a picture including these memorable Boyle ladies I would be interested in that.

Sir Patrick Hannon Boyle Connections
After my paragraphs on Sir Patrick Hannon I had the following piece from Christy (Wynne) to relay his Boyle connections as follows:
    “Having just read your piece on Sir Patrick Hannon and his background I may have a little snippet of information about the man that might be of further interest to you though it goes back goes back to my younger days. Assuming they are correct, the following are some of his connections with Boyle.
     A sister of Sir Patrick married a man by the name of Walsh who lived in a small thatched cottage close to the top of The Curlews, probably the town land of Upper Deer park. Mrs Walsh used call to our shop when I was a child and on one occasion after completing her transaction my mother told me the woman’s brother was a member of the House of Commons and was a very important man. Even then I was of the inquisitive type! Mrs Walsh had two sons Tom and Joe who lived with her on The Curlews. Both of them spent time in Britain during the war years and Joe was a member of the British Army and fought in the 2nd World War alongside another local man and a friend the late Tom Dooley. I can’t say if Tom Walsh joined the army or not. Joe came back after the war and ended up in the old homestead doing a spot of farming on The Curlews, and years later Tom returned to his roots. In time they built a new bungalow cottage on the opposite side of the road which still stands today but is in bad need of repair. Picture goers of the 70s, 80s and    90s would remember Joe Walsh the ticket checker going about with his flash lamp maintaining law and order. He remained on in the cinema ‘til its demise in the 90s. Brian Kelly the proprietor of Abbey Cinema might have a few other nuggets of information on the life of Sir Patrick handed on to him by Joe. Joe’s brother Tom drove a lorry for Roscommon Co. Council until he retired. Both of them have since passed away but are remembered very well by the people of Boyle. They could rightly be called “old stock” and as a family were very well respected. I had many conversations with them over the years, but neither of them ever bothered to bring up the name of their illustrious uncle Sir Patrick or elaborate on his achievements. They didn’t seem interested in having any in-depth discussion about him or about his time as a member of the mother of parliaments”.

Sports Review
Boyle GAA’s under 21s’ had a fine win on Sunday last in trying conditions at the Abbey Park in the ‘A’ semi-final. Well done to all involved. It looks as if the final versus the winners of Strokestown v Clan and nGael will be around the 5/6th of December.
Ireland Qualify for France
It was huge achievement for the Ireland soccer team to qualify for the European Soccer Championships which take place in France next year.  It has to be admitted that they are a limited football side but they certainly showed great heart, courage and spirit, call it what you like, in the games against Germany and Bosnia Herzegovina with each game providing new heroes. On Monday night it was Robbie Brady, Jonathan Walters and the tigerish Richard Keogh. They now join Northern Ireland, England and Wales in those finals. That is something to look forward to for next June.  The group draw takes place on December the 12th which will be watched with particular interest considering the above qualifiers and the possibilities. The organisers will certainly be pleased as all of the Republic’s matches are certain sell-outs, as was evidenced at the Rugby World Cup.

Sebastian (Seb.) Coe
Seb. Coe was part of a golden age of British middle-distance running with Steve Ovett and Steve Cram. After his athletic career he became an M.P. and later Lord Coe. Most memorably he was Chairman of the committee which brought and oversaw the London Olympics. Recently I saw that he was involved in a plethora of organisations at the highest levels. Also he is reputed to earn a six figure sum as an ‘ambassador’ for Nike which would have a high profile vested interest in sport. Last summer he became President of the IAAF i.e. International Association of Athletics Federation after eight years as Vice-President to a dubious Senegalese President Lamine Diack aged 82. Some time ago a couple of whistle-blowers blew the lid on state organised doping in Russian athletics and Coe saw the response as ‘an attack on their Athletics organisation’. In his eight years as Vice-President he 'saw no evil heard no evil'. In a recent newspaper article I read, he sailed close to the wind in his sentiments regarding how one deals with these things.
The shining knight has had the sheen sullied. I used to think that Coe was the example of how a talented sportsman could rise through the ranks and bring that experience of being a participant with him but my admiration for him has taken a big rain-check in recent months.
Of course Coe is not the only example of such with Michel Platini also embroiled in dodgy dealings in soccer administration in the shadow of another wheeler dealer Sepp Blatter. Both are currently serving a ninety day suspension.
Murphy’s Law of ‘if something can go wrong it will’ seems to following sports administrations.

U.K Referendum and the E.U.
The possibility of the U.K voting to leave the E.U. would be a huge blow to the E.U. and to this country. It would create a huge tangle of border, customs and trade implications. The E.U. is going through a major crisis just now and it will be a real test to see if it survives in a really meaningful way. If Britain opts to leave, could there be a domino effect? Could the refugee crisis, compounded by the present security challenges, as evidenced in France, contribute to that as countries try to return to the security of their traditional borders away from the open and impossible- to- secure open continent of today?  Europe is certainly in the eye of a storm and the challenges are huge. The next decade looks like being a traumatic one. Hopefully there is truth in the line ‘The darkest hour is that before the dawn’.
There is understandable outrage at the atrocity in Paris but we might remember that some people were capable of perpetuating similar acts in this country with the Omagh bombing of August 15th 1998; the Enniskillen bomb of November 8th 1987, the Dublin bombings of May ’74 and earlier, the London, Birmingham and Manchester bombings and the various other IRA /UVF atrocities.
One can also go back to an infamous atrocity at Ballyseedy in County Kerry during the Civil War in 1923. What I am saying is that a section of Irish people too are capable of such horrific acts.

The Sad Case of Fine Gael T.D. Tom Barry
There was an echo of P. Flynn and ‘coping with having three houses…you try it sometime’ on an RTE Current Affairs programme last week. It was dealing with the new rental regulations coming on stream.
As the Sat. Indo of the 14th commented; “Fine Gael T.D. Tom Barry really tugged at the heartstrings this week when he outlined the difficulties in dealing with his 10 rental properties in the current climate of rent controls. Surely some kind of whip-around could be arranged”.
Obviously Mister Barry has more strings to his bow than being a T.D. Another one of those brilliant multi-taskers, no doubt.
The Documentary on One, Saturdays at 2.
I happened on this stream of radio programmes in the last week or so. The programme I listened to was titled ‘My Uncle Jack’ (Dowling) by his niece. It dealt with a traumatic childhood, escape, of a kind, to Sheffield in England and his redemption through marriage. It dealt especially with his amazing career as a competitive walker and being ignored by the Irish Athletic Association. It was a fascinating tale told in a straightforward way and I enjoyed it a lot. If you source this series there are a number of other programmes dealing with sport and other topics. I probably do not listen to enough radio as it has much to recommend it. I will not go into the many details here but I heartily recommend The Documentary on One ‘My Uncle Jack’ episode.

The Wizard of Oz
Boyle Musical’s ‘The Wizard Oz’, which I attended on Wednesday night, was a resounding success.
I am not going to critique the show in any great detail just to say that the leads are all excellent with the Wicked Witch of Gráinne Caldbeck being the stand out performance. Dorothy, the Tin Man, and the Straw Man are very impressive and grow in confidence as the show progresses, especially Stephen Tighe as the cowardly Lion. The variety of costumes is superb and the jitterbugging bumble bees are finely presented. The show relies on big numbers of ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’, Yellow Brick Road' and ‘We’re off to see the Wizard’ which form the thematic musical base. Anne Kielty, as orchestral director, contributes her customary hugely energetic talent to the musical canvas. The show, once again, is great credit to Director /Choreographer Vivienne Caldbeck Moran.
There are 70 children divided into two groups involved. This is a huge experience for them and one they will not forget. I imagine a number will be smitten by the stage bug and that some will form the basis of musicals into the future. I can see the fun of the show transfer particularly to the matinee audience on Sunday for it is, in essence, a children’s delight as a story and a show. So congratulations to all involved, and there are many, in another big success for Boyle Musical Society.  
*P.S. If anyone has photographs from the earlier shows, especially ’84 to ’95, Benny Morgan would be very interested in having them to copy and add to his online catalogue of pictures from the shows which can be viewed online at
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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Update 12th November

Feile Success

I was fortunate to be in Oran on Sunday last to witness a fine game full of skill, endeavour and courage when Boyle finally overcame a St. Brigid’s team who fought valiantly to the end in the Feile qualifying final.
Being 2.2 down after seven minutes looked bleak for Boyle but by half time they had retrieved the situation to a large degree as the score stood at St. Brigid’s 2.4 Boyle 1.3. The goal shortly before the break was a real bonus for Boyle. It is well to point out that Boyle were playing against a near gale. Boyle dominated the second half to a degree though St. Brigid’s kept trying to the end. Boyle might have paid a price by going for goals rather than the easier option of points. Still they scored three goals in the half to win on the score of Boyle 4.5 St. Brigid’s 2.5. 
Barry Molloy was hugely impressed by the quality of the football and the effort of both 13-a-side teams in the full pitch under the conditions that prevailed. Barry was the captain of the Roscommon minor team of 1951 which won the All-Ireland minor title by defeating Armagh on December 16th in Croke Park. So Barry, a senior person, deserves credit for being present to hand over the shield. 
Michael O’Brien gives an excellent account of the game on the back page of the Roscommon Herald Sports Section including two pictures one of the team and a second of team captain Josh Cronin accepting the shield from Mister Molloy. 
A picture was taken, on the prompting of Boyle Manager, Gerry Cregg, of both teams together which was the subject of much favourable comment subsequently as being a rare occurrence and representing the true spirit of sport. So, well done to the team and all involved with them.

U 21's v St. Brigid’s

Boyle U 21s’ play St. Brigid’s again on Sunday next, this time in the U 21 ‘A’ Co. Semi-Final at Boyle at 2 pm. This should prove to be an interesting encounter. Actually the spirit of sport as referred to above was demonstrated here also with the two managers drawing for home advantage which was a very logical thing to do.

Sir Patrick Hannon, Taverne, Cloonloo.

As the title used by actor Michael Caine for part one of his autobiography went ‘Not a Lot of People Know That’ I doubt that too many people will know of the person, named above, that I am going to write a few lines about now. This biographical note is abstracted from the story of the Irish in Birmingham in a book titled ‘Birmingham Irish ... Making Our Mark’ by Carl Chinn re-published perhaps circa 2000.
Patrick Hannon was born at Taverne, Cloonloo, County Sligo and educated at university in Ireland. Deeply concerned for improving the conditions of Irish workers, he became involved in schemes for the agricultural and economic regeneration of Ireland. After a time in South Africa he came to England in 1910 where he gained influence in the British Commonwealth Union and the Comrades of the Great War. In 1921 he became the Unionist Member of Parliament for Moseley. He held his seat until he retired in 1950, even doing so in 1945 when Labour swept the board in Birmingham bar for Moseley. A deputy chairman of the BSA, Sir Patrick Hannon was involved with HP Sauce and a wide range of business and social activities in Birmingham. A devout Catholic he was president of Aston Villa soccer club and was knighted in 1936.
[I wonder are there any connections of this Irishman-made-good still in Cloonloo?
 Regarding Michael Caine’s biography, part two was titled; ‘Not a Lot of People Know this either’!] 

Frank Keenan

I had a brief note, by text, after my lines on Frank Keenan last week. “In my early days in Boyle circa 1970 Frank lived with his brother Ambrose in Greatmeadow. Frank was said to have come back from Covent Gardens, English National Opera (Theatre, London) maybe for a break but did not return.” My texter seems to remember Frank performing in St. Joseph’s Hall. He refers to Ambrose also as a very good singer. I remember Ambrose being recruited by me once for a quiz team going to the Golf Club as he had a reputation as a quiz person. When the questions were asked his regular response was ‘That’s a good question’. The fact that he went no farther left John MacNama unimpressed.   

Boyle Courthouse

Sean has a selection of telling photographs on regarding the courthouse one of the iconic and historic buildings of Boyle. It tells the story of neglect and decay. When the court service was still active there I happened to access the upper floor. There in a room was a very large collection of records, documents and so on relating to the business of the building going back to the mid-1800's at least. I brought this to the attention of the County Library certainly if not other agencies. I doubt if anything was done. (I am open to correction on that… as in all things.) It would have been a big undertaking to assess value, remove and store appropriately the material involved. The task of preserving the Courthouse for some functionality is a huge one but its further degradation would be a sad tale also.
Bank of Ireland Back-Track

I do not know the full details of this but when the Bank of Ireland announced that it would only allow deposits from €3,000 and withdrawals from €700 to be carried out without recourse to the ATM's on the premises there was a big backlash and rightly so. These came particularly from what are called the ‘grey vote’ and the Joe Duffy Lifeline Show was the medium. It apparently caused a reaction which led to some roll-back on the plans. The plans seem to be driving society towards a cashless society where all business is done electronically. I forget now if that is referenced in George Orwell’s futuristic – at the time - novel 1984 which introduced us to Big Brother. While the Lifeline programme has its critics and I am NOT one of them it can certainly flash-mobilise public opinion on matters of public concern and has the power to influence change or reversal of change for the good of sections of community.

The Winding Road to Roscommon Town

As someone who is from mid-Roscommon and lives in Boyle I have travelled on the N 61 road that links those two towns many, many, times for many reasons. The news that three of those curvilinear bends were to be straightened out was welcome news. However, perhaps John Mulligan’s observations in the Roscommon Herald regarding the loss of the Greenway cycle route from Athlone to Galway, because of objections from vested interests, should have stopped one from believing before seeing its initiation. The closure of the road for a year was to have begun on Monday last November 9th but at the 11th hour, it seems, environmental concerns seem to have surfaced. Why this was not flagged much earlier in the process and a resolution found is puzzling.  

Drug-taking and Sport

The disclosures regarding the purported Russian drug-taking programme prior to the London Olympics poses a big challenge for The Rio Olympics, the incoming President of the International Athletic Federation and for sport in general. The credibility or lack of it with many sports continues to grow. People’s faith that the winners are legitimate, drug-free winners is declining. Sporting Carnivals like The Olympics will be eroded by incredulity and the original inspiring mottos will be dismissed as pie in the sky. 
Interestingly it is said that the London Olympics has failed to generate an upward curve in participation. Perhaps this is because possible participants see no way or have no desire to compete against drug cheats. 
In rugby while a huge number of people watched the Rugby World Cup the numbers participating in rugby is declining. Clubs having team five, team six and so on are no more. 
Is the distribution of funding towards ‘elite’ sports people now questionable?
Should funding be spread towards providing facilities for broad popular participation?
Are some of the great sports of generations self-destructing?     
Return to Sender

In this morning’s post my 9g letter, which I had posted on September the 22nd, returned festooned with labels and date stamps. It apparently stood no chance of making its destination, which was London. It was date-stamped like a pilot’s passport i.e. if that is required of them. The AMC (Athlone Mailing Centre) had first go with the 23/9/15. The next stamp, the 29 Oct 2015 was on a pink label with English and French possible reasons for non-delivery. Where it had been in the previous month one could hardly imagine, perhaps some envelope carousel in an automated sorting office or before a tribunal of enquiry.  In national school all those years ago a group essay topic used to be ‘My story as told by…’ An old schoolbag’,’ A lost penny’, perhaps even ‘A lost letter’; a bit like Toy Story.  The third date stamp was 11 Nov. 2015 with the direction ‘Return to Sender’ as Elvis sang, with a solid arrow indicating ‘Address on Reverse Side’ which I had luckily enough added. The next appendage a yellow label told the story, bilingually, of the letter’s dilemma, ‘Posta’s Gearriochta’. So the Red Fox of my stamp wasn’t cute enough to fool the keen eye of An Post’s scanner.
Seasonal Poem

Since I gave autumn its poem a few weeks ago the current weather forecast has prompted me to give winter its due this week. The poem is in the play 'Love's Labour's Lost'
"Winter" by William Shakespeare
When icicles hang by the wall 
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail 
And Tom bears logs into the hall, 
And milk comes frozen home in pail, 
When Blood is nipped and ways be foul, 
Then nightly sings the staring owl, 
Tu-whit, tu-who: a merry note, 
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot. 

When all aloud the wind doth blow, 
And coughing drowns the parson's saw, 
And birds sit brooding in the snow, 
And Marian's nose looks red and raw 
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl, 
Then nightly sings the staring owl, 

Tu-whit, tu-who: a merry note, 
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot. 


I quote here a nice observation which is what we try to achieve here on, as received during the week;  
“Continuing to enjoy the Oblique View. I find it interesting that in an age of instantaneous global news and opinion which bombards us at every turn, the appeal of local affairs still manages to compete!!! Something I feel helps to keep the individuality of a small local community”. R. O’D.

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Thanking you in advance. Terms and conditions apply of course!