Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Update 22nd May

Searching for a Maria McKay married to Michael O’Grady with a daughter named Eileen: 

I have recently had an enquiry trying to find the descendants of a Boyle connection. The background is that members of  a family called McKay apparently came to Boyle in the latter half of the 1800s’. There were two brothers Henry and Hugh and they were shoemakers. The line of interest is that of Henry. Henry died in 1910 and a son Corporal William McKay, Connacht Ranges, born in Grange, died of his wounds in Flanders, France on October 11th 1918. He nearly made it through that hell. His is buried in Aisne, France and his headstone is marked as aged 36, son of Henry and Mary McKay (nee Ryan) Drum, Boyle, Co. Roscommon.   
Another son of Henry and Mary i.e. Patrick McKay (died 1957) married a Kate Feeney a Catholic. They had 3 daughters, Maria, Elizabeth and Sarah.
Maria McKay married a Michael O’Grady and they had a daughter Eileen. It is probably there that there could still be a Boyle connection.   

There was another branch of the family called Roberts through marriage who lived in Dublin

The person researching this family was in Boyle and Grange some time ago and it was suggested that they contact me. It is not really my field but by putting it ‘out there’ we could come up with a connection.

The latter part of the query does not go too far back. Maybe someone will have heard of the Cpl. William McKay being killed so late in the War or some such information. (Thanks to Danny Tiernan for that nugget of information). 

Chernobyl Sky Atlantic Television Series

I mentioned this recently. I have watched the first two episodes of the drama. While what happened was a huge and long-living disaster the documentary/drama indicates that Europe escaped what might have become a an unimaginable disaster. The first instinct of the regime of the then USSR was to cover up but it was on such a scale that it could not be covered up. It was first detected outside the USSR in Sweden by scientists in a Swedish power plant monitoring the fall-out from Chernobyl over 1,000 KMs away. The U.S. then confirmed the location through spy satellites.
There are a small number of Irish actors they being Jessie Buckley as the wife of a fireman first on the scene, Barry Keoghan and Caoilfhionn Dunne. One of the main characters a nuclear scientist is played by Jared Harris son of Richard. While Emily Watson also plays a key role as another scientist who has an influence for good in the horror story. A Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgád plays a high ranking Soviet politician impressively.
The series illustrates the horror to great effect. Isn’t it is something that mankind can put together such a facility that they then cannot control when things go wrong. It is said that Einstein regretted his contribution to the  nuclear option which his famous equation E=mc to the power of 2 facilitated.     

It reminds me of September and the reopening of school after the summer break. Well the holidays from BEXIT are nearly over with elections of this week (Thursday in the U.K.) being the extra can of (I do not like using the term) worms into the boiling pot. The opening scene of Macbeth with the witches seems to be a possible analogy here;

A cave, a caldron boiling. Thunder.

Enter the three witches.

“Double, double, toil and trouble;

Fire burn, and cauldron bubble”.       

The EU election in the U.K. is, predictably, a vote on Brexit v Remain though not couched as such. Nigel Farage is in great form and his party is predicted to win the majority of U.K. seats. The opposition is fragmented and the Brexit electorate is wound up like a shed of Millwall supporters and going for the straight message ‘Out’ . Hapless and helpless Theresa May can do little about it. Her days are numbered. The U.K  is like the fishing cork that gets sucked into one of those river whirlpool. Let the games begin again.

Two Weeks of ‘Unbelievable’ (Soccer) Football 
It almost seems as if it is a long time ago now when Liverpool welcomed Barcelona to Anfield and performed one of the greatest comebacks in high level football by  turning a 3 goal deficit into a 4 to 3 win. It was unbelievable.
Then on the following night Spurs went to Amsterdam a goal behind to Ajax. Ajax added two goals as they looked to be cruising and then Spurs made the great comeback with a hat-trick from Lucas Mouras enabling their 3 away goals to tip the balance in Spurs favour. So two English premier league clubs contest the Champions League final in  a couple of weeks.

While it might seem as if I am glued to soccer on T.V. that is not the case but I did indulge in the lesser menu of the Championship which can turn up drama of its own. Aston Villa (managed by John Terry) v West Brom. in the effort to get into a Championship play-off final with the prize being promotion to the premiership. The game goes to extra time and then penalties which Aston Villa win. The Villa star is Jack Grealish.  A real indulgence was to see who they would play and this meant watching Leeds v Derby County (managed by Frank Lampard). Leeds bring a 1 nil lead back to their home ground i.e. Elland Road- and are odds on to win but don’t and are beaten 4 to 3 in the dying minutes. Irish international Richard Keogh plays a big part in the win and Shay Given is to be seen as part of the management

So Aston Villa now play Derby County in Wembley England’s Bank Holiday Monday May 27th  (Ireland’s Bank Holiday is June 3rd)  at 3 to see who will be promoted with Sheffield Utd. and Norwich.

On the local soccer scene I attended Boyle Celtic v Moore at Lecarrow on a Saturday evening in the Roscommon County Cup semi-final. As Ronan Flanagan headlined it in his ‘Roscommon Herald’ report ‘Moore drama as United reach final’. In keeping with the above this game too went to penalties and extra penalties with Moore going through 7 to 6.

Changing back to my regular code I attended Roscommon v Leitrim in the Hyde in their first round of the Connacht C ’Ship. Roscommon 3.17 Leitrim 0.12. When I relayed the opinion to my son that; ‘This was the worst performance I have seen from Leitrim in the Connacht C ‘Ship’ he replied “You said the same thing last year”. I will not dwell on the Leinster v Saracens tank battle in the Heineken Cup final. It was cruel.

By the time I am back here again, the two intriguing European Soccer finals will be resolved, Liverpool v Spurs and Arsenal v Chelsea and Villa v West Brom.

The Caves of Keash
On May Bank holiday Monday I participated in a walk up to ‘The Caves of Keash’. It was something I have been meaning to do from time to time. A good group gathered at the Eastern Harps complex a kilometre or so from the Caves. On a fine sunny day we walked towards the base of the caves and proceeded up a nominated path. As a senior person now, I realised about half way up that my flat terrain walking was not appropriate training. However pride pushed me through the incline barrier. Maybe that wasn’t clever but I’m here relating it! There is not much to see within the caves but outward Sligo looked well. So down again and a chat with a lady gardening, from Boyle actually, formerly Egan. Back in the Eastern Harps a chat with Edward East and having a social cup of tea with cake and some music from members of the Dwyer clan. It was a really nice couple of hours and I am indebted to the organisers Carmel and Thomas Taheny, Padraig Henry and a great Eastern Harps man Sean Scott.  On the pitch training a young Harps group was Francis Candon who was unusually subdued. That is what time can do. Thanks also to the farmers who accommodate this access through their lands. Things have got so restrictive to a ridiculous degree that this is not always the case. I commend also Eastern Harps on their magnificent new Club facility which shows where the club has come to and is a hugely positive statement of intent into the future. It is up to the present and future generation to appreciate it and keep it well. 

*I have just got a text note re. the 2nd Eastern Harps Walk Series 2019. “This month’s walk is scheduled for this coming Sunday May 26th in Strandhill. Meet at 9.30am at Mama Johnson’s Ice Cream Parlour. Walk starts at 10. Free of charge. Route 7 km. approx.. various terrains. Unsuitable for buggies. Please spread the word. 

Eugene McGee R.I.P.
It is a rare ‘gift ‘I suppose to able to criticise an organisation and still be regarded very highly by it. Such was the personality of Eugene McGee. He rose to GAA coaching prominence with UCD in the early seventies and guided them to three Sigersons in a row and six of the eight he contested as manager. This will never be equalled. They won two Dublin county championships and an All-Ireland Club Championship.  Their great rivals were St. Vincent’s with Kevin Heffernan and they had to give up on a final when it was fixed for during exam time. County boards disliked College teams as I know with UCG also. I’ll refer to that again maybe.  
 John Kelly of Boyle and Tony McManus a bit later were members of those teams as was a player who seemed to be an eternal student of the time Benny Gaughran of Louth. I met Eugene or perhaps I should refer to him as Mister McGee a small number of times since I was for a period Secretary of UCG GAA in the early seventies. He was not a person to be trifled with. He was Editor perhaps owner of the Longford Leader and later a columnist for the Independent papers and regular commentator on GAA for R.T.E. radio. Beside me is the Sunday Indo of May 12th. Sport pages 8/9 and Colm O’Rourke gives him a great tribute amongst others.  I seem to remember him giving a talk once in Boyle maybe at the Arts or some such forum. My longest interaction with him was on a train journey to Dublin when he sat down in the seat opposite me at Longford. He was going through a file of old clippings and photographs for a U.C.D. former players re-union and we talked of the Sigersons that we had in common. For people who have never experienced that inter-varsity competition it is for GAA players (with its hurling equivalent The Fitzgibbon Cup) a livelong memory.
In GAA terms he will always be remembered as the manager of the Offaly team that defeated Kerry in ’82 when Seamus Darby scored the goal that ended Kerry’s drive for five in a row. The account of that year’s Offaly campaign and the huge part played in it by team- manager Eugene McGee is told in the award winning book ‘Kings of September’ by Michael Foley published in 2008. ( A similar title ‘When we were Kings’ by John Keenan of the Galway 3 in row team of the sixties is a favourite essay of mine if you wish to Google same).    
P.J. Cunningham headlined his tribute in that Sunday Indo paper regarding Eugene McGee “A great manager and a great man”.  

A busy week end in prospect.
Friday evening usually kicks off the weekend. This Friday will see the flurry of activity with the election. I have noted this  a couple of weeks ago. The only revision I would have is that in the EU elections after the certain Mairead McGuinness, the near certain Ming and Matt Carthy the fun starts from there. I see Brendan Smith posters seeping into the Boyle area. Perhaps the opposite is happening in his area with Anne Rabbitte posters. The danger for Fianna Fail is that a surging Maria Walshe would take a second seat for Fine Gael. That would be a repeat of the previous F.F. debacle and invites the spake ‘Fool me once shame on you fool me twice shame on me’. Peter Casey’s bubble has probably evaporated but his transfers will be of major significance.
In England they have the first past the post electoral system which is a disaster for small parties and probably independents. The Irish system of transferable votes is much more nuanced and can lead to candidates being elected after any number of counts. If one was very clever one could start at what one would suggest was the weakest candidate and work the way up giving the vote a value all along the way….a kind of ‘Yankee’ bet. So you could actually give the Green candidate Saoirse McHugh a number one vote to suggest that you are coming around to environmentalism and go on to x, y z from there!    

Saturday Evening another contest of a different hue

On Saturday at McHale Park Roscommon play Mayo in the ‘real’ championship. Roscommon last won at McHale Park in 1986 with Gary Wynne on the team. It was the year after Dermot Earley and Pat Lindsay retired. Roscommon are underdogs but they seem to be very fit and strong and the if the hard running and back-up play, so much in evidence against a weak Leitrim, can be replicated to a degree they could really challenge. Also the game now is about panels and the use of twenty players. It surprises me in watching rugby that star players are regularly substituted a decent time from the end of the game. But for the manager in Rugby Union  it is a regular occurrence albeit with the possibility of 7 substitutes. Anyway it will again tell us where Roscommon senior team is at and how long the summer for county football will be.

*A friend of mine who is a Dublin resident and is a dedicated Roscommon supporter bemoaned the fact to me that he and his ilk could not travel to C’Bar on Saturday by train as the last train passing back to the capital would be well gone before the game was ended. Railways played a very important place in the fixing of fixture venues for decades in the early days of the GAA. Then there were ‘specials’ for games but now there is no co-ordination from both the GAA and CIE on this matter. It is worthy of consideration is it not?) 

Actually since I sent this blog first time I see a note on twitter regarding; Full details of the match special on Sat. are on the website…….too complicated for me to transfer to here but maybe someone can translate to realboyle…please. 

(A result from a first year colleges game this week Enniscorthy C.B.S. v Tullamore. At half time it was Tullamore 5.11 Enniscorthy  CBS 0.0. final result Enniscorthy CBS 11. 01 (34 points) Tullamore 6.12. (30 pts). It was a breezy day!)  

‘Good night and may your gods go with you’     Dave Allen.

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