Thursday, February 16, 2017

Update 16th February

The Deserted Home
As you travel through the countryside you often come across the remains of houses, former homes, and places which were once so alive. I am reminded of those and of personal experience in that respect every time I listen to Donie O’Connor sing his lovely song ‘The House in the Hollow’ dedicated to his sister Barbara. I heard Donie sing it again recently in a concert in the Dock in Carrick.  It is like a number of his songs one of love and tenderness involving in this case the legacy of a long deserted ruin of an old house. Through the fallen stones of that house has grown roses now wild but which at one time were lovingly cultivated, most likely by the mother of the house. The scene represented the strength of Love as it was in this instance ‘stronger’ or perhaps more resilient even than ‘stone’. 

The scene of the deserted house now falling down is a very familiar one. And if, when someone sees that ruined house, and thought for a while, perhaps they would bring to mind the fact that the same house was once a place where people lived, laughed and cried. Perhaps some of them they might reflect on personal experience.    

During the Christmas of 2015 an American visitor related to us-a recent discovery- came to see where her grandmother had originated. It was down in Ballyrush. The remains of the actual house which her grandmother had left on her long journey over one hundred years ago was still outlined but was smothered with forest. Its outline could be seen from the poor road that exists there now. The lady stood, peered into the shadows and in doing so perhaps placed her grandmother as a young girl in that setting one hundred years ago. It was an affecting moment. We had rescued some stones from it as a gift some days earlier and presented those links to our cousin as she gazed on the ancestral home. So I trust that they now rest on some appropriate New Jersey ground.

Like many senior people I know of the famous poem by Oliver Goldsmith titled ‘The Deserted Village’ and am slightly aware of an actual deserted village on Achill Island. Through various decades there were many remains of former family homes in the Irish landscape. Some of them are overshadowed by modern houses, some have been relegated to use as a farm outhouse and many have been ‘cleared’ . Still there are many relics of former houses/homes from the past though the countryside.

I am struggling somewhat to get to the true and deep nostalgia that can be evoked by these former places which fostered, love, labour, loss and finality for the lives of many.    

The House in the Hollow
(for Barbara) 

There’s a house in the hollow
And it’s all tumbled down
And the chimney has fallen
And the timbers are gone
And the gable has crumbled
Where the ivy has grown
And the roses grow up through the stone 

And the roses tell stories
If you stand for awhile
Of a time that knew tenderness
And of lives that knew toil
And a house that knew kindness
And fields that knew joy
And they planted some roses 
To tell passers by

That love is stronger than stone
Love lives longer than flesh and bone
Its song is gentle 
But once that seed is sewn
Love grows stronger than stone

(Donie performs in Ceolaras Coleman in Gurteen on Saturday February 25th next. There may be some tickets left. I just don’t know.) 

What do people think that the Ireland of 2040 should look like?

‘Ireland 2040-National Planning Framework’.

When I read the current papers certain slightly different pieces catch my attention. The above timeline will hardly involve me but the theory of laying out a basic framework plan for the future is very valid.  
On February 2nd the Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Housing Minister Simon Coveney launched the National Planning Framework at Maynooth.
What will Ireland look like in 2040? The government wants your thoughts

What’s this approach?
Basically, it is the government’s long-term plan for what Ireland should be like in about twenty years’ time and how we can provide for that in the interm.
It will ask questions like: Where will we live? Where will we work? And how will we get around?
Between now and 2040, the government wants to pull together all their action plans to ensure that it has national and regional strategies in place as Ireland’s population grows and as challenges such as Brexit land on our doorstep

Indeed it would be very interesting to see what a cross-section of opinion on that subject would be. With all that is going on news wise at the moment I doubt if this worthy exercise will get the attention it deserves. It’s a pity, because as I’ve said above if the idea was promoted in schools, colleges and universities of all hues, plus with the general public, it could unearth a kaleidoscope of interesting and useful ideas.  A schools/colleges national essay competition would be a start. Or maybe a minute start might be some submissions to us here at realboyle! What do you think?   

So, if interested, check out ‘Ireland 2040-National Planning Framework’ on line for information.   


Roscommon V Donegal 
Roscommon slipped up in this ‘four pointer’ against Donegal at Roscommon on Sunday. Obviously young Stack hadn’t the advantage of seeing my Boyle old dressing room sign espousing the fact that ‘fisted points count’ as spoken by Mickey Linden Down star of the time and a practitioner of the fisted point. One place that ‘fisted ball’ should be restricted is in outfield play. Could it not be tuned down to 2 or 3 fist/hand passes as a limit?  It is just tedious to watch.
One can applaud the efforts of both teams but Roscommon at the moment is not much more than a patchwork quilt of a team. Of course a manager has to work with the players he has and cannot improve them by much. Players too are as good as they are and can only improve by so much. It isn’t their fault also that they are not as good as Tony McManus or Harry Keegan. This is the hand we have at the moment and it has been so for much of the 50 years and more that I have followed Roscommon teams. Perhaps the many painful moments have heightened the much lesser number of happy ones!  As supporters our expectations have to be realistic. Often they are not. 

Boyle v Eire Og
Boyle begin their O’Gara Cup league campaign on Sunday next in Boyle at 2 o’clock. Boyle are basically playing Intermediate league and Senior Championship this year. They will of course target promotion to Senior League so we will see what how the story begins on Sunday so we wish all involved a good season and I hope the players can get a good degree of enjoyment from it. Today there is so much emphasis on training and winning that playing Gaelic football has become a drudgery for many. 
It is good to see that Aidan Lavin, Bernard Shannon and Paul Beirne have returned to managing the Junior team. They will make a huge effort in having teams turn out for their schedule of games. The second team is a very important component of club adult teams collective and resources. In saying that well done to Shane Spellman who stepped into the breach last year. 
I hope that one of fine emerging players of recent times Evan McGrath can return to the ranks soon and that his injury is at an advanced stage of recovery.  

No mention of President Trump this week……and we cannot have that, so there it is.


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