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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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Update 6th November

Boyle Musical Society

Next week Boyle Musical Society will perform its 31st show, 'The Wizard of Oz'. What a consistent joy they have been for audiences down the years. They are markers too in the lives of so many people who have performed or contributed to them in so many ways. The production of a show requires such enormous input from the performers, the directors, the committee, the background support on stage, in wardrobe and front of house. The town too plays its part in the financial support - funding and also by being present at the shows. The atmosphere in the fine venue that is St. Joseph's Hall is invariably palpable. And the atmosphere at the post-show club venues isn't bad either. 

 The story of this year's show is of a young Kansas girl, Dorothy (Gale), who is swept away to a magical land in a tornado and embarks on a quest to see the Wizard who can help her return home. She is joined by a Scarecrow who seeks a brain, a Tin Man who needs a heart and the Cowardly Lion who requires courage. Dorothy is accompanied by her faithful dog Toto.

Their nemesis is the Wicked Witch. Towards the end of their journey to The Emerald City they are joined by the colourful Munchkins along The Yellow Brick Road.

‘The Wonderful  Wizard of Oz' was written in 1900 by L. Frank Baum and was produced as a Broadway musical in 1902. In 1939 the story came to the big screen in a blaze of colour and innovation with Judy Garland giving one of the screen's majestic  performances  in the lead role. It was hailed as a classic movie and has enthralled audiences ever since with its magical song 'Somewhere over the Rainbow'.

So we look forward to seeing the adventures of Dorothy on the stage in Boyle from Wednesday November the 11th to the following Sunday on which there are two shows one being a matinee performance where youngsters especially can experience all those famous character creations.

As I said this is the 31st show and just as a reminder I'll list the previous shows and their years here. It all started with Liam O'Callaghan's production in 1984 of, The White Horse Inn *, '85 Showboat,
'86 The Gypsy Baron, '87 Viva Mexico, '88 Oklahoma, '89 Finnian's Rainbow,
'90 After All These Years, '91 Sing As We Go*, '92 Musicals Are Made Of This *, '93 Unchained Minstrels *, ''94 Annie Get Your Gun, '95 Eubie, '96 Anything Goes *, '97 Oklahoma *, '98 Fiddler On The Roof, '99 Showboat, 2000 My Fair Lady *, '01 Joseph & His Amazing Dream coat *, '02 The Pirates of Penzance *, '03 Oliver, '04 Hot Mikado, '05 Thank You For The Music, ''06 Me & My Girl *, '07 West Side Story, '08 Anything Goes, '09 Jesus Christ Superstar *, '10 Sweet Charity *, '11 Beauty and The Beast *, '12 The Producers *, ' 13 Little Shop Of Horrors, '14 Grease, '15 The Wizard of Oz.

I recognise that the archivist and recorder for the Society is Brendan Mc Gee who I believe he has all the programmes. It is important that all organisations have someone who collates the significant events of their respective organisations as Brendan does for The Boyle Musical Society.

*I have some of the musical programmes myself but I am missing a good few and take this opportunity to ask if anyone has odd ones which I have * above and if they wish to pass any of them on to me I'd be pleased to accept same.

I had a query early in the week regarding the former Boyle resident Frank Keenan. The lady talked of her dad knowing him well and being helpful to him. She talked of what a fine trained singer Frank was and wondered if he was ever recorded. I actually met him shortly after my coming to Boyle in '72. It was in Dominick Cosgrove's bar in St. Patrick's Street and I remember him singing there and talking of the technicalities -if that is an appropriate term- of the singing voice. Dominick assured the audience that Mister Keenan knew what he was talking about being a trained singer. Frankie seemed to fall on hard times and was a very visible 'character' as he walked the streets of Boyle for many years, later 'staying' in the neighbourhood of the railway station. I believe he spent his last years in the Plunkett Home where he was well looked after.

Returning to his singing and the lady's query I actually had a recording of Frankie singing and how that happened is as follows. (The long answer !) In August 1983 Radio Eireann had what might be called an outreach programme where they went to various towns around the country for a week and transmitted a 'Local Community Radio'. A Boyle Committee was formed. An outline of possible programme-content drawn up and a proposal for the Radio Eireann initiative to come to Boyle was submitted and accepted. The members I remember from that committee were; Connie Fallon, Des Curley, Siobhan Moran, Shelley Hogan, Mary Travers, Bernie Flaherty, Mary Clifford, Michael Fitzpatrick, Mrs. Graham, Eileen Martin, Enda O'Callaghan and Harry Keaney.

There were many excellent contributions from Father Peadar Lavin, Richard McGee, Mary Ryan, Micheal O'Callaghan and so on. Each area adjoining Boyle also had a 'Focus' on that area programme such as Ballyfarnon, Croghan, Ballinameen, Kingsland, Keadue, Cootehall, Knockvicar, Ballinafad and Corrigeenroe. The three themes of Farming, Tourism and Industry/employment were dealt with in a local context. All local organisations got their time to highlight activities.

The Radio Eireann overseer was P. O' Neill or Paddy O'Brien as he was better known in radio commentary terms then. Transmission ran from 11.30 am until 2 pm and 4.30 until 7. It was a great success.

I happened to 'tape' some of those programme and one presented by Bernard Flaherty dealt with local singers and songwriters. Performing here were John Costello with David Knight; Brendan O'Dowd with Paul Emmett; Michael Harrington and Josephine Carroll; Donie O'Connor; Helen Grehan; Frank Montgomery and Bernie Flaherty and finally Frankie Keenan accompanied by Helen Grehan. The song Frank sang was 'Ghost-Riders in the Sky'.

I imagine there are people who know a lot more than I do about Frank and perhaps  of where he got his training to sing and concert performances he was involved in and so on. Anyway I was pleased to be able to tell my enquirer that I did in fact have a humble recording of another fine Boyle singer.

P.S. Some years later I gave the tapes to a friend Michael Lavin from Ballymore to listen to as his dad Miko was a contributor. Being the gentleman he was Michael returned not just the tapes but he had them transferred to Disc for me and also included a summary of the contents.    


Topics that are engaging me at the moment;
1.       The spiralling cost of Health Insurance (you could add car
insurance to that). The logic of pricing thousands of people out of the market for health insurance with the law of diminishing returns obtaining, escapes me.
2.       The drink driving case early this week where a young boy was killed
by a driver who apparently admitted to drinking nine pints of cider before he went driving.
3.       Knife crime in Dublin over the recent week-end.
4.       Hotel/food price extortion at the Web Summit.
5.       The documentary 'Rugby's Wheelchair Challenge'.
6.       The death of Maureen O' Hara.
7.       The return of the farming programme 'Ear to the Ground'.
Sports Review
Boyle U 21s' had a very good win over Padraig Pearse's in the championship quarter-final on Sunday November the first last in Woodmount. The final score was Boyle 3.11 Pearse's 2.12. A late, late goal for Boyle was the deciding score so a bit of balancing of the account from the senior game some time ago when Pearse's got a late goal there. I was not at this game but all accounts it was very good one. Boyle now play St. Brigid's in the semi-final possibly on the week-end of 14th/15th. The Boyle team was as follows;
P. Goldrick/G.Gilmartin/ D. Mattimoe/ L. Brennan/ C. Tivnan/ E. McGrath/ T.
McKenna (Capt.)/ E. Smith/ T. Hallligan/ C. Flanagan/ C. Goldrick/ B.
Kerins/ C. Deery/ C. Mc Keon/ D. East. With R. Finneran, E. Beirne, L.

It is good to see Luke Brennan back in action again. Conor Tivnan, Enda Smith, Colin Goldrick - with 3 points - Conor Deery and Ben Kerins were amongst those who stood out on the day but it was a fine team performance overall and an excellent start to a short campaign. Management, A. Lavin, Ml. Hanmore, M. Goldrick, Sh. Spellman. 

Enda Smith is currently in training with the Ireland team and though the panel has still to be cut to the required number it is hoped that he will make the game which takes place on Saturday November the 21st at 7 pm., under lights obviously. There are I am told great admission packages for club groups on offer.
I missed another fine win of the Boyle Feile U 13 team over Clann na Gael in the Abbey Park last Saturday. Boyle 3.10 Clann na nGael 4.8. I missed this game as, for whatever reason, I was not unaware that it was on. The final takes place in Rockfield, Oran on Sunday at 12.30. I seem to remember a fine under 12 win there last year against Clann in the U 12 final. Boyle has not won this Feile competition that I am aware of, so a win on Sunday would be a unique achievement.

Boyle has a number of players currently on the extended, preliminary, panel for Roscommon and they are in training currently. These include Enda Smith, Tadgh Lowe, Seanie Purcell and I presume Donie Smith when his injury has cleared up.

World Series Baseball
I was unable to see the recent finals of the World Series of Baseball between the Kansas City Royals and the New York Mets because of my restricted television channels. The Kansas City Royals won on Sunday night to clinch the series with 4 game wins to just 1 for the Mets in the best of seven. As a student in New York, in '69 I think, the Mets came from the bottom of the league to win the World Series thus getting the title of 'The Amazing Mets'. Shortly after that I read an account of that Mets season in a book called 'The Year the Mets Lost Last Place'.  It is one of a number of fine sports books I have read dealing with the game baseball, a game I really got to like then. The Mets were based at Shea Stadium remembered by non-baseball people as the location for a famous Beatles concert.  Of course the aristocrats of American baseball are the New York Yankees based in Yankee Stadium. Next season I'll have to do better with my viewing arrangements.

World Cup rugby Final
The favourites came good in the final as New Zealand lived up to their promise and reputation in defeating Australia. The 'All Blacks' looked like winners from the off though Australia came back to within four points at 17 to New Zealand 21 at one stage. The 'All Blacks' just had too many great players and no weaknesses. The prince of rugby players Dan Carter capped a marvellous career with a majestic display. It was a nice cameo to see Sonny Bill Williams give his winner's medal to a young supporter who had encroached onto the field, in his excitement, at the end.

A few of us watched the game in Dodd's where the interest was sharpened by the company of Fergal O'Gara from Darwin Australia watching the game with us and his partner Martine from New Zealand. Martine celebrated the win by performing a short authentic HAKA with former East Connacht prop and bar proprietor Dennis. Martine was puzzled by the unanimous support for Australia from our company.

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