Boyle’s Mercy Nuns
The locked small gate at Abbeytown Bridge which has now closed the ‘short cut’ access across the convent grounds to the Carrick Road and also the block wall closing access from the church car park is a loud statement as to the end of the era of the Mercy Nuns in the town. It seems unfair that the remaining four nuns, who were in Boyle at the time of the closure, and long associated with the community have been transferred to other towns. While it is understandable that they would vacate the large complex as it was in terms of upkeep and so on, one would have thought it would have been possible and fair to have accommodated them in a smaller residence and let them remain in Boyle, if they so wished. But then what do I know about the workings of such organisations. I doubt that I would be alone in that way of thinking.
English Soccer Season Ends…..What will we do for two months?
Last week-end was the end of the English Premier League and the last ‘Match of the Day’ for a couple of months. English soccer has many vices such as the obscene wages and money in general swilling around due to television revenue, swollen egos, playing practises, players agents, feigned allegiance et al.
Still it is a roller coaster of a television series from August to May i.e. ten months for a lot of people. I know very well that it is to a certain group of people what EastEnders is to another group of people! The cast of characters is immense and as varied as you can get. There are three sets, players, managers and ‘supporters’. Of the three the managers are probably the most interesting. Think of the range of personalities here. Chelsea, Conte, Italian; Spurs, Roberto Pochettino, Argentine; Manchester City, Pep Guardiola, Spain; Liverpool, Jürgen Klopp, German; Mourinho, Manchester Utd. Portuguese; Arsene Wenger of Arsenal, French; Kooman, Everton, Dutch; Slaven Bilic, Croatia; Shakespeare, Leicester City at the top and Sam Allardyce who has been in charge of Crystal Palace (just resigned), Sunderland, West Ham United, Blackburn Rovers, Newcastle United and Bolton Wanderers in the Premier League, briefly England and if my memory is right Limerick!
You may be aware of this type of question, which three of those would have to a social lunch in The Craoibhin? You would be spoiled for choice.
Now that it is over for this season the addicts will have to improvise with scraps from Gaelic hurling, rugby, tennis, golf and so on for two full months since this year there is no European or World Cup. There is one feast left though and that is the European Champions League Final between Real Madrid and Juventus on Saturday, 3 June, 19:45 at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Last night’s boring Europa Cup Final between Manchester Utd. and the youth team of Ajax which Utd. won hardly deserves mention though the over-celebrating of a few, in the circumstances of the tragedy in Manchester, like Podga was thoughtless. I was surprised that the celebrations were not more subdued.
The horror of the bombing of innocent civilians going about their ordinary lives now seems as if it is to be part of our world. One could list quite a few cities in which this cruel and indiscriminate act has been perpetrated. Maybe the word ‘indiscriminate’ is used incorrectly as to the perpetrators it is not so. New York, Oklahoma, London, Paris, Brussels, Dublin in the early 70s’ many places in Northern Ireland, Birmingham, Puckett and now Manchester. While we rightly are shocked by these atrocities we Irish have been responsible for more than our share of similar atrocities through the last 150 years. The Fenians in the 1860s’ had a bombing campaign in the U. K. then and replicated this with another during the Second world War. During the Northern Ireland Troubles this was brought to new levels with bombs in London, Birmingham, Brighton, Warrington in ‘93 and Manchester in ’96. So while those bombings were certainly not done in our names, as a nationality we have them on our record. The supposed logic with these is that they are an answer or riposte for the actions of these powerful nations in the countries of origins of the bombers. A whole swathe of the Middle East lies mired in war and destruction such as Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and the legacy of all that seems as if it will be a universal multi-pronged problem for a long time to come.
The Sun Returns
The variations in weather recently has led to a burst in growth in nature. One of the very visible species of which there is a profusion of growth just now is the whitethorn tree/bush. This is referred to in the fine poetry of Eavan Boland
White Hawthorn in the West of Ireland by Eavan Boland
I drove West
in the season between seasons.
I left behind suburban gardens.
Lawnmowers. Small talk.
Under low skies, past splashes of coltsfoot,
the hard shyness of Atlantic light
and the superstitious aura of hawthorn.
All I wanted then was to fill my arms with
to seem from a distance, to be part of
that ivory, downhill rush. But I knew,
I had always known,
the custom was
not to touch hawthorn.
Not to bring it indoors for the sake of
such constraint would forfeit–
a child might die, perhaps, or an unexplained
fever speckle heifers. So I left it
stirring on those hills
with a fluency
only water has. And, like water, able
to redefine land. And free to seem to be–
and for travellers astray in
the unmarked lights of a May dusk–
the only language spoken in those parts
Eavan Boland is a primary Irish poet and a regular on Leaving Certificate courses. There is a good deal of old superstition associated with the Whitethorn and as I am not a propagator of superstition I will not go into it much here. Senior people will have heard a deal of that lore as youngsters when the lone, lonesome whitethorn bush in the middle of a field or ring fort was treated with caution.
Speaking of the burst in growth in nature in the last few weeks and the whitethorn just reminds me of my own limitations in being able to name basic elements of nature apart from the obvious. This extends across the range of flowers, tree identification and wild birds though I am trying a little harder. Our green here in Forest View has now what is like a crop of ‘buttercups’ I hazard to guess. While along the roadsides there are those tall white flower plants akin to the whitethorn which may be called ‘cows parsley’. I’ll use an old phrase I used use regularly in another life ‘could do better’! P.S. No corncrake this season. Sorry Sean, Vancouver. I’ll have to go to Boffin.
A Small Coincidence
We all have encountered coincidences in our lives some significant others not so much. How often have you heard ‘now that’s a coincidence’? I looked up the definition which is hardly necessary but it went; ‘an occasion when two or more similar things happen at the same time, especially in a way that is unlikely and surprising’.
Currently I am engaged in a Boyle GAA History project which entails the collection of collecting pictures of Boyle teams and having them framed for display in the Abbey Park GAA Complex. This is being done by Tony Murphy in Visionary on The Crescent Boyle. I had the first completed one at home last week.
A friend visited and started talking of a John B. Tivnan who had died last March in Birmingham and of the fact that a work colleague had his funeral mass booklet since it had a reference to the song ‘Boyle in the County Roscommon’ and that he was Gaelic footballer. This was sent home by a Birmingham neighbour of the Tivnan family. The friend wondered if I had ever heard of John B. I responded by picking up the frame of pictures and pointing to two of the ten team pictures in the frame from the late forties with John B. Tivnan very present.
(I am sure that many people have their coincidence stories. If some wish to forward them for publication consideration to here I’d be pleased to see them).
The Rebels Rising, Cork v Tipperary
What a cracking game of hurling was the Cork v Tipperary game last Sunday. Hurling is just a great game and it is possibly the game which will be the mainstay of the GAA decades hence as the game of Gaelic football declines. I mentioned here before that it is regret of mine, since I come from the suburbs of Athleague, that I did not try and promote hurling in Boyle/North Roscommon back in the day.
I tried to watch Monaghan v Fermanagh and Donegal v Antrim in football but they were non-events. I also attended a Boyle v Castlerea Intermediate League game on Sunday but didn’t do a lot for me either.
Anyway that was not the case of Cork v Tipperary. Plenty of great scores, top sportsmanship, a win for the big underdog, the awakening perhaps of an old giant of the game, the opening up of the possibilities for the hurling championship where there are now a number of real contenders and so on. It will be a hurling summer looks like.
This week-end Leitrim take on London in Ruislip and Boyle Juniors play Fuerty. I see that game as down for Oran for some reason.
Best Wishes To
Brendan McQuaid and Triona Mullaney Dignam who got married last week-end.
Brendan played on many under-age teams I was involved with and I know Triona from a work association.
So every good wish to you both.
Donald Trump Abroad
It is interesting, if one had the time on these sunny evenings- the bog and all that- to follow the itinerary of the President of the United States, Donald Trump in these days. In Saudi Arabia a country that raises mixed reactions he was on hand to sign a multi-billion arms deal. There are parts of the world, usually those regions riven with conflict, which are awash with arms as the capitalist west ‘trade’ with whoever irrespective of consequences. I presume it will ever be so.
I remember learning some history for the leaving certificate and dealing with Peter the Great and the rise of Prussia and its militaristic outlook being a bedrock of its society. The military ethos has been similarly a major part of the ethos of say the United States and the U.K.
In innocent days we listened to the songs of Dylan and one by his acolyte Donovan.
"Universal Soldier" by Donovan.
He's five foot-two, and he's six feet-four,
He fights with missiles and with spears.
He's all of thirty-one, and he's only seventeen,
Been a soldier for a thousand years.
He'a a Catholic, a Hindu, an Atheist, a Jain,
A Buddhist and a Baptist and a Jew.
And he knows he shouldn't kill,
And he knows he always will,
Kill you for me my friend and me for you.
And he's fighting for Canada,
He's fighting for France,
He's fighting for the USA,
And he's fighting for the Russians,
And he's fighting for Japan,
And he thinks we'll put an end to war this way.
And he's fighting for Democracy,
He's fighting for the Reds,
He says it's for the peace of all.
He's the one who must decide,
Who's to live and who's to die,
And he never sees the writing on the wall.
But without him,
How would Hitler have condemned them at Dachau?
Without him Caesar would have stood alone,
He's the one who gives his body
As a weapon of the war,
And without him all this killing can't go on.
He's the Universal Soldier and he really is to blame,
His orders come from far away no more,
They come from here and there and you and me,
And brothers can't you see,
This is not the way we put the end to war.
Things I might have mentioned but did not get around to or have not the competence to review.
1. The acquittal of Sean Fitzpatrick former Bank Tsar and his investigators (!)in The Office of the Director Corporate Enforcement (ODCE). 2. The remerging news about the collapse of Setanta Insurance in 2014. 3. The Coveney v Varadkar contest which will change all our lives! 3. Clare Daly’s emotive overview of the Manchester bombing in the Dail. 4. Homelessness,