Friday, November 25, 2016

Update 26th November

The Writer William Trevor Dies
I wrote a paragraph in this blog just a year ago about the writer William Trevor and his connections to North Roscommon. 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 and associated most with Youghal. His great grandfather was Mark Cox and he lived at Knockroe later moving to the adjacent townland of Killapogue and a house called ‘Millbrook’.  The landlord family in the area then were the Lloyds. The fortunes of this family in the 19th and 20th 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 Hudson 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 referred to himself being ‘carted around the country’. He attended boarding school in St. Columba’s College Dublin and graduated 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, more 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’  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 ten years ago. I  wrote to him and sent him a collections of items publicising the place of his ancestors, probably trying to sow the seed in him of re-visiting the area. He kindly responded thanking me for my contact and the material I sent. That letter of reply is ‘submerged’ at the moment. Hopefully it will re-surface as; ‘nothing gets lost but is only submerged’ in this house.

He was a friend of Kenneth and Ingrid Stewart of Carrick Road. He and Kenneth  were student colleagues being educated at St. Columba's College. Trevor went on to Trinity College from which he received a degree in history. He worked as a sculptor under the name Trevor Cox after his graduation from Trinity College, supplementing his income by teaching. He married Jane Ryan in 1952 and emigrated to Great Britain two years later and settled in Devon where he spent the rest of his life as a writer. Amongst his most regarded books are; ‘Mrs Eckdorf in O'Neill's Hotel’,  ‘The Story of Lucy Gault’ and  ‘Cheating at Canasta’

From his early days he maintained regular contact with Kenneth Stewart and his wife Ingrid through the years. I talked to Ingrid a number of years ago about Mister Trevor and also to a loyal employee of Trevor’s friend Kenneth Stewart, Rosemary O’Gara Carty on Wednesday. She talked of meeting Mister Trevor in The Royal Hotel when he was on a visit to Boyle. Perhaps it was the influence of his friend that encouraged Kenneth as Rosemary said he too loved to write. She also said that William Trevor had relations buried in Croghan.

So passes another great Irish writer and joins recent deaths of Friel, McGahern and Heaney with whom he is entitled to be talked of.  

“The Election of the Snows” –1917- Book Launch – next Sunday in Carrick-on-Shannon
While remembering 1916 has led to a light  industry of re-enactment, remembrance, commemoration and publication this particular book possibility interests me.  It deals with a very important event in that period which eventually led to the Independence of 26 counties from British rule. This was the by-election of spring 1917 which took place in North Roscommon. This followed the death of the Irish (Home Rule) Party M.P. James J. Kelly. Three candidates contested the vacated seat. They were George Noble Count Plunkett, father of the executed 1916 leader Joseph Mary Plunkett; Jasper Tully a former M.P. and Proprietor of the Roscommon Herald and Thomas J. Devine, Co. Cllr. of St. Patrick’s Street, Boyle. Thomas J. Devine is basically the forgotten man in the race. I have a thing about ‘forgotten’ men who should be more respected, regarded and better known.

The election is referred to as ‘The Election in the Snows’ due to the prevailing weather of the election period. A major figure in the election was a priest named Father Michael O’Flangan who supported Plunkett. There were many notable Sinn Fein members who came to Boyle also to work for Plunkett who won comfortably. The count, which took place in Boyle courthouse, was; Plunkett 3,022; Thomas J. Devine, 1, 708; Jasper Tully, 687. Plunkett afterwards declared that he would NOT go to a foreign parliament i.e. Westminster but just to Dublin and so became the foundation stone of the new Dail which emerged when Sinn Fein swept the Home Rule Party aside in the general election of 1918.

As you can see I am writing about Count Plunkett while I wanted to talk about Thomas J. Devine but I know little of him. I expect that will be rectified with the book on Mister Devine from Sunday. Thomas J. Devine was a County Councillor and obviously a member of the Home Rule Party, then led by John Redmond, in the early years of the 1900s’. He was in business in St. Patrick’s Street in what is now The Patrick’s Well. Prior to that it was the ‘Three Counties’ with Michael and Anne Gilmartin.

Before Michael Gilmartin acquired the premises it was owned by an iconic Boyle lady Agnes Josephine Devine Conlon. I actually ‘roomed’ there for a period in the early seventies. Aggie Devine was a daughter of Thomas J. Devine and spent some time in the U.S. in the 20s’ where she met with John McCormack. Aggie was a fine singer and was ever present in Boyle musical presentations and choirs. Her premises was both a grocery and bar. It was the classic, old style now-business format. Aggie loved to hum and sing and did so as she worked in her premises. I remember an incident where she told me that she had sent a Boyle publication to a relative in the U.S. as it featured her father but they returned it as it did not do him justice!

Aggie married a Mister Conlon who I am told was from the Ballyfarnon area and so the business became known as Devine-Conlon's.  Aggie was a great lady and I really admired her.  A brother of Aggie’s was Father Michael Devine who I remember as a highly regarded curate in Cloverhill. A brother Bertie Devine lived in Elphin Street and later on the Crescent. So his  family of Dermot, Michael, Willie and Sister Mary are the grandchildren of Thomas J.

After Sunday I hope to become more acquainted with Thomas J. Devine the forgotten man of the ‘Election in the snows’ 1917. 
(The Book will be launched by Sen. Michael McDowell on Sun., 27th Nov., 4pm, in St. George’s Heritage Centre and all are invited)

Connacht GAA Club Final;
What promises to be an enthralling encounter takes place on Sunday at 2 o’clock in Carrick-on-Shannon in the Connacht Final when St. Brigid’s, Roscommon’s kingpins, face the top Galway club Corofin. There is history between these two clubs as St. Brigid’s defeated Corofin in 2006 and 2011 in drama filled, tense and thrilling affairs.
Corofin feel that they have not done themselves justice in recent times and I am told they are really ‘up for’ this game. St. Brigid’s too have no lack of experience. It could be said that they are in a period of transition so we will see how that goes. These games are supposed to be held in the county ground of the entitled club.  Hyde Park is unavailable and St. Brigid’s own ground disqualified on the basis of it being a ‘home’ ground for the Roscommon club so Brigid’s nominated Carrick where they had an easy win over the Leitrim champions.
I am looking forward to this game at 2 and then it is on to history book launch talked of above!

Roscommon Farmer and ‘cyanide’
A Roscommon farmer made the news this week as he brought to a ‘Farm Hazardous Waste Collection Point’, a couple of weeks ago, a quantity of ‘cyanide’-4kg- that an expert suggested was enough to ‘kill most of the population of the county’. Apparently he had the stock for over forty years when he got it to ‘kill rabbits’.  Another chemical that was said to have been brought for safe disposal was one that contained components of ‘agent orange’ infamous for its use during the Vietnam War for defoliating the jungle areas of conflict. It is really staggering the things that will turn up in old barns and to a lesser extent old attics.

The Sligo Train Rumbles in the Ether
I saw on the front page of the Sligo Champion an article suggesting that the Dublin to Sligo train service could come under some sort of threat again in terms of cost management by Iarnrod Eireann. There was an even greater threat around twenty years ago when it was suggested that the service terminate in Longford. The combined Chambers of Commerce of Sligo, Boyle and Carrick on-Shannon and all the politicians in the area mounted a vigorous campaign and the line was retained and upgraded. I remember Frankie Feighan and Seamus Cooney of Boyle Chamber being to the fore in that. The train service to Dublin is a really great and necessary asset to this region and its continuation is sacrosanct. I cannot imagine that its downgrading would be even contemplated.  

St. Mary’s College Staff Re-Union
All staff who were, for any duration, engaged in service at St. Mary’s College and Boyle Vocational School  through the decades are welcome to attend a re-union function at King House on Thursday next December 1st. It is amazing the number of people who have passed through those schools as staff in those years. Most people have been contacted but if anyone wants to hear details you can contact me at    

Boyle GAA AGM Sunday Dec. 4th.     

Linda Shevlin’s  ‘ Radical Actions Seminar’

I got an email from Linda Shevlin regarding an event she is organising (curating) in King House on Friday December 2nd involving a number of differing facets. The title is that of ‘ Radical Actions Seminar’ plus. I imagine that if there was anyone interested and they googled that title they will get an outline of the seminar content.
I met Linda first, a few years ago, when she was involved in some artistic expo in the tower in Lough Key. Now there was a challenge. We met later as she and her partner were composing a project to take ‘All the way to……India’.

Writing that sentence reminds me of some lines by the Major in Fawlty Towers regarding a lady he was enamoured with long before ;

Major: ‘I must have been keen on her Fawlty I took her to see India’. 
Fawlty: ‘To see India Major?
Major: ‘Yes Fawlty, at the Oval.
I gave her my wallet to buy a programme and I haven’t seen her since’.
Fawlty: ‘I doubt she is still looking for you at the Oval Major’
Major: ‘Perhaps not.  Truman was bowling you see’

Sorry about that indulgent diversion...!!

King House, Boyle
Adm: €10 including lunch
BOOKINGS: 090 662 5824

‘This seminar will look at the legacy of revolution & activism in Ireland and the artists' role in shaping future states with speakers including Professor Luke Gibbons, artists Sarah Browne, Jesse Jones, Gareth Kennedy & Seamus Nolan, film maker Treasa O’Brien and photojournalist/videographer Paula Geraghty’.
There is also a screening of ‘Eat Your Children’ !!   

Abroad Roster
My abroad roster grows a little with greeting to the Mattimoe clan in England; Paddy Spellman and family in New York and other places in the U.S. Kate Gilmartin in Japan. I presume I mentioned Darren Dockery earlier.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Update 19th November

The Death of Leonard Cohen
Similar to answering the question as to one’s favourite writer is the question of favourite singer. It changes by times and mood swings. I suppose if I was to give a quick answer as to my favourite singers the short list would include Bob Dylan, the early Bob; The Beatles, Niall Young, Joan Baez, Bruce Springsteen, Hank Williams, Dolores Keane and Leonard Cohen. I was disappointed after being at concerts of Dylan and Niall Young. I was disappointed with myself for not making a better effort to see Bruce Springsteen  in Croke Park last summer. However there was one big positive in that I did go to hear Leonard Cohen with encouragement from a friend. The concert was in the grounds of Lissadell House north of Sligo town.
The suave, polished Cohen had been forced to return to touring as a result of being robbed by his manager of much of his wealth. He had performed at Dublin venues but Lissadell was just down the road. He had come as near as possible to me.
The setting of course was pretty unique not just in its landscape environment but the ghost of Yeats permeated that environment also. It was the last day of July 2010. If I remember correctly we made our way to the performance amphitheatre via the beach. When Leonard Cohen came on stage he quickly imbued the audience with his spirit. He announced that he hoped we would enjoy the concert and assured us that ‘we are going to give it our all’. He had wonderful musicians and backing singers which layered his performance. Once he was regarded as the ‘poet laureate of pessimism’ but now he seemed more optimistic and engaging. He is quoted as saying ‘The older I get, the surer I am that I am not running the show’. Indeed with the death of a muse of his and the inspiration for one of his great songs, Norwegian Marianne Mollestad, he suggested that she “Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine.”  So it transpired.
At Lissadell he coursed through the catalogue of iconic songs from Suzanne, Sisters of Mercy, Everybody Knows, Chelsea Hotel and

Bird on the Wire

Like a bird on the wire,
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.
If I, if I have been unkind,
I hope that you can just let it go by.
If I, if I have been untrue
I hope you know it was never to you.

His encore song was the great hymn Hallelujah. He suggested that many of his songs were ‘muffled prayers’ but ‘So Long, Marianne’ is just a great if forlorn love song.

‘So long, Marianne, it's time that we began
to laugh and cry and cry and laugh about it all again’.

At Lissadell Leonard Cohen certainly reached out and touched his audience with his mind. It’s a fond and meaningful  memory.

Congratulations to Phil Emmett on being nominated ‘Lady Golfer of the Year’ in Carrick-on-Shannon Golf Club. It is suggested that her husband is thinking of taking up the position of  full time caddy for his achieving partner.

On a totally different theme the said Mister Emmett suggested that he has read more poetry in this blog than he did at secondary school. Many people remember fragments of poetry that they touched on in school, for much of their lives. Those fragments are awakened and expanded by references to them or tripping across them in adulthood. Poetry can of course be challenging but there is much of it accessible also. For some people their favourite book is a book of poetry such as a Seamus Heaney collection. One of Heaney’s poetry collection published in 1996 is called ‘The Spirit Level’. I think the title is really clever. For someone who wishes to return, as it were, to poetry I suggest that you search out an anthology such as ‘The Oxford Book of English Verse’ where a selection of the classic recognisable poems are to be found. There are anthologies dedicated to the work of Irish poets in English. Maybe a collection like ‘Favourite poems we learned at school’.  Actually, now that I think of it, the classic poetry book used by many in secondary schools, ‘Soundings’, is a great collection of poems of varying degrees of difficulty. The bonus with ‘Soundings’ is that you might be familiar with a selection of the poems already. Also you might have a copy in a box in the attic! If not it was re-published a short number of years ago and I am sure it can be sourced easily enough. The first stage for many people is overcoming their prejudice towards the medium of poetry as being too difficult, an echo of grey school days, forced feeding and so on. Yet the purest writing is poetry, the finest ideas and images with the most economical use of words. Leonard Cohen was a poet first and then a singer of his poems/songs.

Speaker of (Irish) House
I was kinda watching the news, on Thursday evening, over my shoulder as I do when an image came up from some Leinster House political coverage. It didn’t seem fully right. Still with modern television technology I was able to rewind, then forward in slow-mo, freeze, and there he was as large as life in the Ceann Comhairle’s seat our own Eugene Murphy T.D. I only bumped him in Boyle on Monday with Micheal Martin leader of Fianna Fail. Now he has been elevated to being Chairman of the Dail. Since the regular Ceann Comhairle is Sean Ó Fearghaíl I presume Eugene’s elevation is as a substitute. Still it is a pretty meteoric rise for him in such a short time. But if Trump and Farage can do it then why cannot a more benign likeable politician like Eugene make his own waves.     

The U.S. Election…… Epilogue
I imagine that my views on the U.S. election are pretty clear to regular readers of these paragraphs. I received an interesting email from a friend of mine who has been in the  U.S. going on thirty years. It shows a confusion with it all. (I have encouraged readers before to submit short pieces/letters for consideration to publish here. The aspiration has been that this is a community site/forum. So please do.)   

“Hi there Tony, just a few quick comments on the election.
First would be the great sense of relief that it is finally over. Everyone I know and talk to here are just fed up listening to it day in and night out.
As to the result it was a shock in some ways but I believe the comment of Bernie Sanders today that he was disappointed with the Democratic Party as a whole because they were not in touch with the common people. That goes a long way to describe what happened.
The campaign itself was the most negative childish and disgraceful show of everything that is wrong with politics here.
We watched three debates where not one positive policy item was even touched upon. Instead they both were delving into the past mistakes of the other side which just came across as dirty laundry and would make anyone ashamed that these two could be considered the best candidates that should be chosen out of the over 400 million people here.

As to the pollsters one would do well to remember how wrong the mainstream media were until you consider the money involved. The Donald has claimed he spent $120 million on the campaign of his own money there are rumours that the Democratic war chest was closer to $1 Billion. When you take into account that most of which was spent on media advertising you can see how the different stations were forced to become a part of the process
One of the facts that has emerged from this whole debacle is how the news media was manipulated by the both sides and as such have lost all credibility as independent agencies. Even on election night we had the mainstream stations calling it fairly even until about one thirty in the morning when Fox News were already claiming victory about an hour ahead of that and both sides were getting the news from each state at the same time .
And now the aftermath we have our president elect and the lunacy continues. They are riots/protests in the streets, you have Harvard professors telling their students that the mid-term exams are optional for students that may be upset with the outcome. And most of the big Ivy League schools were providing grief counselling for anyone effected by it . Mind you we would expect that these great institutions would be producing our future leaders so it does not bode well for us

As for Trump himself it is emerging that he is already starting to soften his tone a little regarding the main issues like getting rid of ‘Obama Care’. Now he is saying that certain parts of it make sense to keep and he will not dismiss it until he has a replacement system in place etc.
See, not to worry, he is becoming a politician already.
Good night Irene I’ll see you in my dreams”.

Hello To
In my list of Boyle people abroad, two weeks ago, I missed out on a number of people as I knew I would. So hi to Nicky in London, Niall Mc Cr. in the U.S. James Candon in Brussels, Joseph Moran in Sydney, Catriona Moran and family in Singapore, the boys in Vietnam, Kate Gilmartin Japan, Neil Nangle in Bahrain not Dubai, as I said last time. I’m sure there are many more and we would like to have a more complete list in the run up to Christmas!

Gaeilge Bheo
I see that the Roscommon Herald is making an effort to introduce some Irish in their paper this week (page 91). I’d like to try and improve my Irish or recover the capacity I once had with the language. The page is being written by Fergal Jennings who now lives near Frenchpark. I liked the idea of a short piece written in Irish and then translated into English which facilitates the meaning of some unfamiliar words. So I would disagree with not continuing that element of the page. Anyway it is an effort in what has always been a difficult task.

Congratulations to the Boyle U 12 Keenan Cup winning team and commiserations to the under 20 team on a close run thing.
I meant to congratulate the Abbey Community College’s traditional group on their recent success in Kerry which I do now. I presume it will get a local hearing sometime. Such exercises add a sparkle to school-going days.

I haven’t been there yet as I take up my annual stewarding duties tonight Friday night. I look forward to it as I always do. It is a great community effort and an antidote to the bleak winter weather which has just arrived after a considerable great reprieve.
I see Abbey Community College is also ‘putting on’ a musical next spring so that too will add to calendar of events. Perhaps it will act as starting block for another Chris O’Dowd.         

The Influence of Fox.
Barack Obama comment on U.S. T.V. show Bill Maher “If I watched Fox News regularly I wouldn’t vote for me either”.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Update 11th November

Another Astonishing Shock

‘It’s a Crazy World’

I watched with intense interest as the results of the United States election came through on Tuesday night Wednesday morning. It was a pretty extraordinary and historic night.  I am deeply, deeply disappointed with the result. If I, a humble peasant in a little town in the West of Ireland, am hurting because of the result, this must be multiplied by whatever factors for those who were opposed to Donald Trump in the United States. For many of them a Trump presidency engenders fear of the unknown, fear for their country and the possible irrationality of its pending leadership. For them it is a disaster.

It was, it has to be said, an extraordinary performance by the Trump franchise. He obviously tapped into an artery of discontent that nearly all other politicians had not done or ignored. Perhaps Bernie Sanders is the exception and there is an element of ‘what if ‘ about a Bernie Sanders candidacy now.  It has all come as a seismic shock to the political establishment in the United States and the lessons will be watched in many national political establishments throughout the western democracies. It is possibly Brexit by a multiple of x.

Trump latched on to the huge disaffection of a swathe of the population in the U.S. with the political elite. He won because he was NOT a politician, was not one of them, the Washington set or those who have been the faces of the political classes for decades. The fact that he has no political experience is seen as a positive, a badge of honour rather than an impediment. The reality is that he will have to get a crash course in realpolitik in the next couple of months. It is said that politicians ‘campaign in poetry and govern in prose’. There was little poetry in this campaign and the reality of decision-making within a major nation will be a huge challenge for the apprentice.   

A thing that puzzles me is that millions not just disliked Hillary Clinton but actually HATED her. I never like the use of that word ‘hate’. Personally I was neutral regarding Hillary the personality. She made mistakes and should have admitted the error of the email controversy especially. The flipping of the FBI director in the last couple of weeks was uneasy. Hillary lacked a measure of empathy. Looked cold and careful. She allowed herself to get into a bear-baiting battle with Trump and seeing that he had no limits on his armoury he was able to paint a dismal picture of Clinton  for his audience and they lapped it up...’I HATE Clinton’, ‘Lock her up’ were  regular echoes.

Ironically The United States have had President Obama who was regarded very highly abroad but disliked at home. They have now given a majority of (electoral college) votes to a president who is looked at with astonishment abroad. 
Ironically Clinton’s best speech was a valedictory one on Wednesday evening as she urged her followers not to despair and continue to follow their dreams in a great country. She had not broken through the ‘glass ceiling’ as a first woman achieving the presidency. Indeed the significance of this possible breakthrough got little traction throughout the campaign. I was really puzzled also by the large number of women who supported her opponent. It did not seem logical after Trump’s conduct towards them.  In a sense though it was, for Clinton, the wrong time as a huge number of voters, many of whom were on their uppers, were disaffected with big government and found a maverick to lead the charge or act as the lightning rod for their fears and anger. Many of these are offensive to a variety of groups and many groups are now fearful including the undocumented Irish.

One person who was not targeted by Trump was Michelle Obama. She shone like a beacon as a capable lady with passion and conviction. I wonder will she allow herself to drawn into the bear-pit of a presidential run in 2020?

While it is not very significant, one professional group who had an absolutely pathetic run up to this election were the pollsters. This went right to the end. Even early in the count night they had  Clinton 80% to win. It was as bad as the ‘soft landing’ brigade that dominated in this country circa 2007, or the no Brexit soothsayers. The discredited polling industry should now fold their tents and skulk away into the shadows. Ironically a ‘Red C’ pollster/survey person called to my door on Wednesday! I wasn’t rude of course but the person should have marked time.

So now we are into four years of the ultimate ‘Reality Show’. Move over the Kardashians.

The Irish satirical comedian Dave Allen used to end his shows ‘May the Gods go with you’……the United States.   

As the song goes ‘it’s a crazy world’      

(I just cannot write about anything else this week.)               

Friday, November 4, 2016

Update 4th November

Chicago Tribune Front Page Headline


The Chicago Cubs finally broke the 108 year old hoodoo by taking the 2016 World (Baseball) Series in the final moments -almost- of the 7 game series in the opposition city of Cleveland on Thursday morning Irish time. It was one of the most dramatic finales ever to a World Series tiebreaker. It is as if the whole series has been following a script from early games when Chicago struggled and were led after four games by Cleveland 3 Chicago 1. So Chicago were left with a mountain to climb and had to win the last three games to take the title with the finishing games away. (It is well to note that it has been a real long time since Cleveland also won a World Series or since that city won any other sporting national title so it is hard for them.) Still it was mostly about Chicago and ‘the curse of the Billy goat’ which I will give a few lines to as an epilogue.

I have been tuned into this epic since the start through various sources and it really took off for Chicago in game six where they got one of those magic scores the ‘home run’ in the first inning and led 7 to 0 in the 6th and ran out comfortable winners with an impressive score of 9 to 3. Records fell there in home runs and R.B.I.s i.e. Runs Batted In where the scoring runs are on bases ahead of the batter. People who have played the GAA game of rounders’ will understand all that. So it was all down to the wire and the final game seven. With Chicago again getting off with a homer to lead 1to 0 and after that it 1-0/1-1/2-1/ 4-1 in the 5th/ a Cleveland fight back brought it to 5-3/ but a home run in the 6th 6-3 then 6-4 to the Cubs/ then in dramatic fashion a two run homer tied the game at 6-6 at the bottom of the 9th. And so it was into extra inning but…..just then the rain came and the covers went on. Can you imagine how the fanatic fans of both sides felt. Into the tie-breaking 10th and Chicago scored 7-6 then 8-6 and then it was Cleveland’s turn at bat at the bottom of the 10th and a need to save the game. They brought in a run to make it 8-7 but despite a dramatic effort failed to tie it and Chicago were the champions and the minority Chicago support the stadium erupted as did the crowd back in Chicago watching around Wrigley field and throughout Chicago City itself. The scenes were reminiscent of the Boston Red Sox win in 2004 which ended ‘the curse of the Bambino’ or the best All-Ireland winning supporter celebratory outburst that I have witnessed, that of Clare in ’95. So the Cubs ended the longest drought for a major sporting club in the U.S. After a slow start the series took off  ended in the most dramatic and emotional way and the city of Chicago will benefit enormously from it at least in the short term.   

This has been the year of the underdog with Leicester incredibly winning the Premiership in England, the Sons of Iceland creating chaos in France, Brexit, Trump, the U.S. winning the Ryder Cup, Oran defeating Four Roads in a replay and so on. Sadly Mayo did not get on the train and are left at the station for another year.

The ‘curse of the Billy goat’ stems from the late forties when the proprietor of a Tavern close to Wrigley Field whose mascot was a goat which he brought to a Cubs game but was ejected and issued a curse (much later withdrawn to little effect) that the Cubs would never win a Series. Many efforts have been made to exorcise the curse but last night put a stake in it. In 2004 the Boston Red Sox did a similar thing with a longer curse which was ‘the curse of the Bambino’ . That followed from the sale by the Sox of the greatest baseball slugger in the game’s history, Babe Ruth. Not only did they sell the Bambino but they sold him to their greatest rivals the New York Yankees who dominated the game with Babe Ruth on their team.
The Mayo GAA curse stems from the notion that the celebrating Mayo winning team of ’51 disrespected a funeral and that the officiating priest said that Mayo would never win a senior All-Ireland until all members of the team were deceased. Like nearly everybody I put no credence in this yarn. There are just two members of that winning team alive.  
Another curse was Biddy Earley - a witch in Clare-on the Clare hurling team not winning All-Irelands. It was nonsense since Biddy had been around decades before the GAA was founded.
Mention of a Billy Goat I remember Dr. Hugh Gibbons telling me that the U.C.G. Sigerson team brought a Billy Goat as a mascot to the Sigerson finals in Belfast in the 30s’.
The Irish Rugby team are in Chicago as they are playing New Zealand in Soldier Field (another iconic ground and home to the Chicago Bears football team…remember the ‘refrigerator’) on Saturday at 9 pm Irish time.  
(Have we any Chicago-Irish- readers?)  

Hold the Back Page Sunday Independent

I often mention Gurteen man Eamonn Sweeney’s Sunday Independent ‘Back Page’. Last Sunday’s included an excellent piece on the issues of club players and the way they are treated in terms of lack of games for long periods and then a surge of games in a short space of time and so on. This was exemplified by the experience of Kilmore in the Connacht Intermediate C’Ship first round. I hope the Club Players Assoc. gets traction though it will be difficult to establish momentum and maintain it.
Eamonn’s piece should be helpful to it.
Eamon had a lovely sardonic piece on the FAI president resigning from the IOC committee ending with that great Wilde quote  ‘you’d need the heart of a stone no to laugh’.
It was also something reading Dermot Crowe’s column and the sentiments he quoted from Aogan O Fearghail as he wails basically, ‘ I feel your pain!’. Being the top man you could say to him ‘can you do more about it then and do a bit pain management for yourself’.

The Cathal McCarron piece by Paul Kimmage painted some dark pictures. I had heard a little about it but not nearly as much as that contained in the piece which used some material from McCarron’s book with Clare’s Christy O’Connor titled  ‘Out of Control’ . Mc Carron certainly went to some dark places. I hope he comes through. It is something that he has stuck with the football in a kind of redemptive way.

Garda Numbers on the Beat
On Friday 4th the Gardaí go on strike. They do not call it that of course. I happened to overhear a contributor to the Joe Duffy show during the week on issues related to the dispute. His name was Michael Noonan, no not THE Michael Noonan. He was talking of Garda boots/shoes on the ground and referenced being present in a Dublin court and seeing the number of Gardaí there giving evidence, partaking and basically being tied down for days on end in that process. Then he went along the route of the numbers off as per rotas/rosters, the numbers out through illness, leave, holidays, the numbers tied up with administrative work in police stations and so on. So in fact while we may have a Garda force of approximately 12,000 the numbers actually ‘out there’ as it were at any one time is but a fraction of the actual total number. I have never heard any reference to such a breakdown. I imagine it would be interesting and telling.

Japanese Knotweed Information Evenings
On page 10 of the Roscommon Herald there is information on a subject I mentioned here some time ago to with information seminars on Japanese Knotweed. Roscommon County Council is running two free workshops on the issue one on Tuesday Nov. 8th and the second the following day Wed. 9th at the Council Offices in Roscommon town from 7 pm to 9.30 pm.   

Church of Ireland Supper Social
The annual social takes place on Friday the 4th in the Saddlers Inn with music by Sean Brennan.  

The U.S. Election
It has been one of the most bruising, damaging, wearing and at this point wearying elections in U.S. electoral history. I do not want to say too much about it at this stage. Most everything has been said. Millions of people throughout the world, not just the U.S., are watching and waiting for the result and are very nervous about it.  

The Dublin Marathon
One can only commend all those thousands who participated in last Sunday’s Dublin City Marathon which was a magnificent spectacle. It is a real test of character as well as being a huge physical test. I liked the quote of Dorothy Shannon (King House Tearooms) who completed the Marathon. It was posted here on realboyle a few days ago. It went  “There will be days when I don’t know if I can run a Marathon … There will be a lifetime knowing that I have !”
I know a few Boyle people who completed the run on Sunday and I say ‘fair play to you all’. It was a real achievement. I was excited and delighted to be there to witness it on a beautiful day with a marvellous atmosphere. And there is incredible video material to remember it with along with the medal of course. In watching marathons I remember John Joe Nerney who participated in six -I think- when he was a senior runner. I may get back to the run next week.
P.S. This Thursday  night there was a great line up of sports people and ‘dignitaries’ out to honour Rob Heffernan getting his London Olympic Bronze medal for the 50 K. walk in Cork City Hall. His upgrade from 4th resulted after the Russian gold medal athlete was disqualified for doping offences. It is a unique event that an Olympic medal is being presented in Ireland. It a fine and just reward for a great Cork athlete, for his supportive wife, family and friends.  

Greetings To
Christmas is coming and……This is not the first of that season's greeting but in conversation with a friend I decided to mention a few people who are in distant places this week. First of all Niamh Brennan has been mentioned by an Innisbofin colleague who told me Niamh was ‘coming home for Christmas’ accompanied by her Kiwi partner Phil so Niamh I might do a Bord Failte thing by including a few New Zealand questions in the Christmas Quiz. Now if the All Blacks hammer us in the two upcoming tests I’ll have to review the situation!
In Dubai there are Megan Morris, Aoife Brady and long-term resident Niall Nangle.
New Zealand; Niamh,
Australia; Ciaran Conlon/ Paraic Sweeney/ Conor Nangle/ Enda and Emer O’Callaghan/ Seamie Gallagher/ Damien Keenehan/ Ciaran Keenehan/ Joan O’Gara her mam and all the O’Gara family and honorary Boyle man Sean Casey. Miss Egan from Green St.
The U.S.;  Damien Dooley/ Frankie Flaherty/ Marcus Kennedy/ Joseph Mahon/ Brendan O’Callaghan/ Chris O’Dowd/ Austin and Paraic Beisty/ The Spellman family x Forest View/ Pat and Margaret Lavin also x Forest View now.
Canada; Tadgh Egan/ Sean Mullaney/ Brian and Jake McCrann/ Miss Compton/ Dearbhaile Mac Namara.
England; Caoimhin Young/ Killian Egan/ John Harrington, quiz winner 201x/ Paddy Conlon/ Gary Tiernan
Germany and Belgrade; The Gannon family.
Scotland; Liam Young/ Rory Nangle.
Spain; Conor Tivnan/ Sean Young and family. John & Joan Gallagher and family
South Africa; Carmel Finneran.

The above is only my stab at it. I am certain that there are many not listed, perhaps in other exotic places. Maybe we can get a kind of inventory as to ‘where in the world’ there are Boyle people residing at this time.    

Congratulations To

Cian Smith and his wife Michelle on their wedding last weekend. It was a great occasion and reports from Kilronan Castle suggest that it was an event thoroughly enjoyed by all present. So very best wishes to you both.

Diarmuid Sutton son of Boyle GAA activist Leonard and wife Dara-on Diarmuid’s swimming wins in recent weeks. It is very rare for Boyle to feature in swimming acknowledgements.

Cian McKeon, Boyle, accepts his award for Gaelic Sport 2015-16 from the authorities of Cavan Institute recently 

To Sean Purcell and especially Cian McKeon on being selected on a Roscommon People ‘GAA Team of the Year’. While Seanie has been a consistent fine performer for Boyle for a number of years the emergence and progress of Cian this year has been very, very, impressive. He was also awarded the Cavan College Sports Achiever of the year for 2015-16.  

To Dessie Carlos on reaching the Dublin Senior Football C’Ship Final with Castleknock taking on St. Vincent’s which will be played on Saturday the 5th in Parnell Park at 3 o clock. So if you are a Roscommon person living in Dublin there are at least four strong links to the Castleknock team.

The best of luck to Boyle Musical Society who present the musical ‘Hairspray’ starting Wednesday 16th until Sunday the 20th in Boyle. It is always a show worth seeing/hearing and I am sure we are in for another treat this year.