Reminder: The Month’s Mind Mass for Sean Young takes place on Sunday next May 5th at 9.30.
Highlight: On Wednesday evening in Sligo Showgrounds Sligo Rovers LOI (League of Ireland) U 15 team defeated Derry City on the score of 3 goals to 2. The scorer of the Sligo Rovers 3 goals was Boyle player David Flanagan!
Chernobyl A Historic Disaster … T.V. Series not to be missed.
Last Friday was the 33rd Anniversary of the greatest accidental tragedy which man was instrumental in. On that date the reactor of a Russian nuclear power plant in the Ukraine exploded and led to the spread of nuclear, cancer causing, radiation over a large part of North western Europe even to a degree in Ireland. From next Tuesday, May 6th , Sky Atlantic T.V. channel will screen a series based on those events and the heroic attempts by thousands of conscripted men to try and reduce the impact with many losing their own lives. The series will relate the disaster and the huge efforts to cover up the event by the Soviet government and the legacy of a despoiled land that exists now and will continue thus for possibly centuries.
Regrettably it is being shown on Sky Atlantic which many people do not have but hopefully it will transfer to more accessible channels in time.
The production (HBO in the U.S) was shown in New York at the U.N. on the disaster’s 33rd Anniversary last week. Ambassadors present were reported as crying as they watched the disaster unfold.
Adi Roche has been organising for years the holidaying of children in Ireland, with birth disabilities as a result of the tragedy, from that zone. She is also lobbying for the ‘first responders’, or ‘liquidators’ as they are referred to there, to be awarded the Nobel Prize for their efforts and sacrifices. (People might better remember the images of New York firemen unknowingly walking to their deaths in tackling the Twin Towers outrage).
I remember the time afterwards as the scale of the Chernobyl disaster began to emerge. The weather was particularly bad in the following days with wind and rain. The news and weather forecasters tracked the course of the dust emissions with the prevailing winds tracking up from the Ukraine across Russia. Lithuania, Scandinavia, Scotland and touching on Ireland. It was referred to closer to the explosion site as a black rain. It seemed a bit black here too. The fears for those regions were for the risk of cancer inducing radiation on people of course and also on animals and food products.
The Chernobyl disaster demonstrated the tragic destructive power of nuclear plants and the huge and possibly insurmountable challenges in controlling it after accident, use in a war, or in the decommissioning process which emerges with the ‘standing down’ of power stations.
As a postscript: There was also a serious incident at ‘Three Mile Island in the U.S. in 1979. A 1979 film called ‘The China Syndrome’ (where a reactor could explode and burrow its way to China i.e. uncontrollable) with Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon and Michael Douglas was a pretty good if ‘clean’ representation of the early stages of such an event.
People of my vintage grew up with a real awareness of nuclear danger. It came to the fore with the Atom bombing by the U.S. of two Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki which ended the Pacific War of WW2. Then there was the race to get the atom bomb by others including Russia which did so with the help of spies et al. Then there emerged and even greater bomb called the Hydrogen Bomb. The real fear of a nuclear war emerged with the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 with President Kennedy and the Russian leader of the time Khrushchev playing a poker game for a time until the Russians climbed down.
The United States, Russia, the UK, France, China, North Korea, India, Pakistan, and Israel all control some nuclear capacity. There is always the fear of spread called ‘proliferation’. The current example of this is Iran.
War usage is a great danger but accidental meltdowns are a real threat. There was talk of building a nuclear power plant in Ireland once at Carnsore Point County Wexford. The nearest power plant to us is Sellafield formerly Windscale located in Cumbria, North Western England. There were fires there in ’57 and as recently as 2007 plus the danger of toxic material leaking into the Irish Sea. I haven’t heard much of that in recent years.
Anyway as a documentary addict I will try and access the start of next Tuesday’s Chernobyl series. It is said that it is not for the faint hearted!
Bio-Diversity/ Global Warming/ Endangered Species.
There is plenty of coverage of Global warming and the threat to a wealth of species of animals, insects and the diverse nature that obtains. It is frightening that we will pass on to our children and certainly our grandchildren a natural world that has been depleted of so much in recent decades. Some people might see this as abstract opinion and some people even deny the idea of ‘global warming’. In a background radio programme I heard the first reference to there being a marked decline in the number of salmon returning to their classic spawning grounds in Ireland from North America. Crossing the Salmon Weir bridge in Galway always induced a look into the waters below to observe the plentiful (when in season) salmon forcing their way upstream. I remember a story from then of an American tourist asking a local –possibly a poacher with his line a gaff hook-‘How come salmon can travel such a distance across the Atlantic to spawn and then return to Newfoundland back again?’ The poacher had heard that question many times and probably had polished the following answer; “Until salmon can talk we won’t know that”.
Some time ago I referenced the decline of the Corncrake almost to extinction. The distinctive sound of the Corncrake was part of my boyhood in the hayfields and grasslands of my home farm. Now it is unheard of.…almost . A favourite place of mine is the island of Innis boffin (white Cow) off the Connemara coast out from Cleggan. The corncrake is ‘alive and well’ there and may even be a tourist attraction now.
Of course the decline of the bee with all its huge importance has been well proclaimed. I thought the rabbit too was on a downward spiral until I went to ‘Boffin’. Many young children were introduced to reading by a book series called ‘Ladybird’. It is a while since I have seen a real Ladybird or am I just imagining it?
The Declared Decline of the Curlew.
Another species that are declining rapidly are the Curlews. I thought that these were so common that they were safe from serious decline. However the bird with the distinctive hooked bill and call are under threat as Siobhán Devoy in a recent article I came across proclaimed. So I’ll post that simple article here rather than try to summarise it:
“People have been urged to watch out for sightings of the curlew bird as the National Parks & Wildlife Service endeavours to protect the endangered species.
The call comes as Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan launches World Curlew Day in Ireland.
While species of curlew are under threat worldwide, there has been a 97% decline in the population of the wader in Ireland since the 1980s, according to a recent study.
A conservation programme is working with farmers, land-owners and communities across the country to prevent the extinction of the curlew.
Noted for its distinctive long legs, long neck and down-curved bill, the curlew is a winter visitor to wetlands across Ireland, according to Birdwatch Ireland.
However, it tends to live predominantly in the north-west of the country and along the Shannon River.
The bird also has a distinctive call that people may be familiar with during the summer months.
Dr O’Donoghue said: "The beautiful bubbling call of the curlew has always been a soundtrack to the Irish summer, but has sadly fallen silent across much of the countryside.
"To lose the Curlew would be like losing a big part of Ireland - like our music, our landscape or identity."
"We have a dedicated and hardworking team engaged in parts of Kerry, Galway, Mayo, Roscommon, Leitrim, Longford, Monaghan and Donegal and we are supporting local community projects elsewhere," added Dr O’Donoghue.
Easter Sunday marks World Curlew Day and to raise awareness of the shorebird’s vulnerability, a special Curlew Day flag will be flown at County Council and school buildings in the most important areas for curlew.
Members of the public are asked to be alert to the sound and sightings of the Curlew and reporting any observations to the National Parks & Wildlife Service”. Ends.
Hopefully we can do better and reverse this decline. I have a back, back garden, which could in previous terms get some intensive treatment. Lately my conscience is suggesting the gesture of restraint and donating it as my legacy to nature and ‘biodiversity’.
Some GAA fixtures; Boyle v Michael Glavey’s in the O’Rourke Cup, in the Abbey Park at 7 on Sat. May 4th.
The U 12s’ play Western Gaels in Fenchpark at 11am on Sunday.
The senior ladies had a very good win over St. Faithleach’s in Ballyleague last week. Boyle 9.8 St. Failes 4.7. They now play in their final on Saturday the 11th.
Best wishes to Boyle representatives on the Roscommon LGFA and management; Maeve Brogan/ Kate Harrington/ Megan McKeon/Saoirse Wynne and with management Kieran McKeon. They will play their
Connacht ‘A’ minor final on Monday May 6th against Galway in Ballintubber. I may be wrong but I feel that this is a first ‘A’ final in this age group for Roscommon.
The Connacht Senior Championship
The Connacht Senior Championships gets under way this week-end. It is said that there are thousands of Mayo people heading to New York for the preliminary round in Gaelic Park (Capacity say 3000). It should be a walk in the park for Mayo who seem to have retained the resilience of the past decade.
Galway visit London’s McGovern Park for their preliminary round and unless there has been seismic changes there, Galway should emulate Mayo in terms of result.
Roscommon take on Leitrim on Sunday the 10th in Hyde Park. I am told the ticket for the stand is priced at €25 which is at least €5 above reasonable which may be reflected in the attendance. While Leitrim will be buoyed by a good league campaign and promotion from Division four, history is with Roscommon. Regarding Roscommon, despite a competitive league of 7 games there is still a considerable question as to what the team will be. Back in the day (whenever that was) teams could, as the term went, ‘pick themselves’ at least down to 12/13. It would be a good challenge, a week out from the first championship game, to get 12 definite starters for Roscommon. It must be corrosive to the confidence of players to be started, dropped, come on as a sub and go through the whole range of uncertainty. A decent display against Leitrim is required as the fences get tougher from there.
Champions League Plus
The knock out stages of the Champions League has been great television viewing for a number of years now. This week saw Tottenham Hotspurs defeated by Ajax of Amsterdam by 1 goal to nil in a very poor game. Spurs were really missing two star players Kane and Son. Son will be back for the second leg but Spurs will ‘have it all to do’ away next week to get through to the final. The second semi-final was a cracking game and Liverpool were pretty unlucky to end up 3 to 0 losers to Barcelona. They need a performance of historic dimensions to overturn this situation. Barca scored three very different goals. Number one a great Suarez finish as PFA 'Player of the Year' Virgil Van Dijk was dozing, a fortunate rebound off the crossbar with Messi chesting it home was next; with the third being a sublime free kick from the genius player Messi taking him to 600 Barcelona goals. Anfield will be a cauldron of hope as opposed to expectation next week and the first goal will be key. Still this week Liverpool did contribute in a large measure to a great game.
I remember seeing Spurs for the first time in the mid -sixties with part of the great team of the earlier sixties. Jimmy Greaves scored a goal that night that I still seem to remember. I have not heard of Greavsie for a good while now but he was a classic striker whose omission from the 1966 World Cup winning England playing team crushed him.
In the Europa Cup Arsenal defeated Valencia by 3 to 1 while Chelsea drew with Eintracht Frankfurt 1 all. Eintracht Frankfurt were involved in the first soccer game I saw on television in 1960. It was the European Cup Final against Real Madrid in Hampden Park, Glasgow before a crowd of 127, 000 people. It is regarded as one of the greatest football games ever played. Real Madrid with three masters, Di Stéfano, Puskas and Gento playing, ended up winning on the score of 7 to Eintracht Frankfurt’s 3. It was Real’s 5th final win in a row.
Those two London teams, Arsenal and Chelsea have real chances of progressing to the final. So two London clubs could meet in the final in the Olympic stadium of Baku, Azerbaijan 2, 400 miles from London. Why this distant location from the possible final qualifiers was decided upon is not very logical as my friend Spock would endorse. Of course with Qatar hosting the World Cup in November/December 2022 anything is possible.
I mentioned before that if anyone was interested in forwarding a few paragraphs for publication consideration here we would like to see that happen. When I mentioned this to someone they suggested that perhaps encouraging members of communities such as Polish and Indian or other could be a good idea. There are quite a number of both communities in the region now. Whether they tune into realboyle I would not know but they’d be welcome here.
‘And so to bed’ Samuel Pepys.