Thursday, August 20, 2020

Update 20th August

‘A Nation Holds Its Breath’

A few weeks ago I felt that I had heard this sentence much too many times as the television gurus rehashed for the umpteenth time the Italia 90 soccer story. 

These last few days we can issue the phrase in a very different context. That is in relation to the upsurge of the Covid 19 virus again. Another phrase comes to mind that of… 'I haven’t gone away you know'. We were getting kinda smug with ourselves when looking at the numbers as some people do and Roscommon was doing pretty well after the debacle at the Kepak meat plant was apparently controlled. Now though we see major outbreaks again at meat plants in Kildare et al but also the disconcerting sprinkling of cases throughout the country.

I really feel that an air of complacency had set in. I believe too that the loss of Dr. Holohan has been significant. He had the tone and presence of a headmaster about him and he was highly regarded and influential. His successor Dr. Glynn seems much too polite when assertiveness is needed. 

Another key element was the political changes. Varadkar and Harris were a very effective duo. Varadkar always seemed to ensure that a clear -all in block capitals- messages were expounded. Michéal Martin has dithered and not been decisive. While a coalition of three parties is certainly a very difficult team to manage, the Taoiseach has contributed to his own lack of authority with a number of mistakes from the off.  

Also, the messages on certain elements have been muddled. These include a policy regarding holidaying abroad. The infamous ‘Green List’ did not help in this. One day when listening to a radio discussion on this topic (in the background) I got really cheesed off with people wondering could they go abroad or not. In all this, the Government/HSE policy was enunciated as advising people pretty strongly not to go abroad but to staycation at home. Callers found this simple yet profound message hard to take on board and a certain number travelled etc.

Now if I advised someone clearly not to do something and they asked me to clarify it again and again I might get annoyed!  

THEN I read of a Glasgow Celtic player taking a night trip (it seemed like) to Spain in contravention of all the guidelines set out by his club and HSE Scotland and Prime Minister Sturgeon. I put this down to a good overpaid footballer who just lacked a good deal of brain matter for delicate off-field decisions. And then, lo and behold, as they say, this weekend, I read of the Chairman of Fáilte Ireland no less, Michael Cawley had returned from a trip to Italy. I sent a tweet apology to the Celtic player. Then in the last day or so Mister Cawley gets a vocal ally saying;  

“The reputation of former Fáilte Ireland chair Michael Cawley has been “traversed” and Ireland is entering a “period of hysteria”, the chair of the Oireachtas Covid-19 committee has said. Independent TD Michael McNamara said it appeared to him that Mr. Cawley did not breach travel advice. (?)

Mr. Cawley resigned his position on Saturday after he admitted to holidaying in Italy at a time when Fáilte Ireland is strongly encouraging Irish people to stay in Ireland for their holidays.

“I read the travel advice three times yesterday and it’s very unclear to me whether he breached the travel advice or whether he didn’t,” Mr. McNamara said.

***However, the Department of Foreign Affairs continues to advise against non-essential travel overseas.

Regarding the word “traversed” the deputy seems to have found a new role for it. My Google dictionary has the usual suggestion of; moving in a particular direction 

My attention has also been distracted by the goings-on at a Bar called Berlin D2 where a video has gone viral, as they say. Apparently, it is not licensed as a bar perhaps a restaurant. All the relevant organisations have responded, as they say again, ‘appropriately’. Their vintner business took a hit there. It was pretty crazy and how a venue, even if for self-preservation, did not see the dangers of it is mind-boggling. 

Simple lesson; alcohol and social-distancing are not compatible. 

There is now a suggestion that stiffer restrictions will be introduced maybe more so on the elderly. As far as I can see the elderly seem to be playing by the rules as the stats are beginning to show. It is now down to a much younger age cohort. They will be much more difficult to keep housebound unless they are going to a ‘house party’. 

It seems as if the senior people are now made pay for the sins of others.    I’ll leave it at that. I could go on, and on and… 


Boyle through to Quarter Finals with Sparkling Display 

Boyle has had three games to date in the Senior championship. In the first game, they were both lucky and unlucky in their game against Padraig Pearse’s. There they let a 12 (?) point lead be eroded and the game ended in a draw. There were many fine performances in that game and getting a draw there was still a good result. 

The less said the better of a ragged performance versus Tulsk in their second game. It prompted Ian Cooney Sports Editor of the Roscommon Herald to ask, prior to the third game; ‘Will the real Boyle stand up?’. And boy did they do that on Saturday last with a scintillating display against Michael Glavey’s. It was a beautiful evening and conditions were perfect and Boyle played champagne football for most of the game. It was the most relaxing I have been watching Boyle for some time. The last time I was that comfortable was when Boyle defeated Clann na nGael in St. Faile’s ground  by a big margin last year.

On Saturday the team played with great pace, great variety in their passing. The passes were crisp and fast. The All Blacks backline couldn’t have passed better. They looked really fit and Glavey’s were mesmerised by the speed and supporting play of the Boyle team. 

In terms of suggesting who played well that is difficult as no one played in any way poorly. Man of the Match for me was Donie Smith with a magical display of all the skills which was a joy to watch. The opposition could not cope with him. The backs as a unit were excellent and drove forward with determination, ball control, cohesion, and speed. Roch Hanmore turned back the clock somewhat with a fine display of top-class fielding. Sean Purcell was his usual self, hoovering up so much ball. It was great to see the spread of scorers with nice points, two from Mark O’Donohoe, -including a fisted point which I always like to see- and Tadgh Lowe. There was the starting introduction of a young player who will, I believe, be a real asset to Boyle for many years to come. Cathal Feely looked like a veteran with a fine mobile and assured contribution. 

I am not certain who Boyle will now play in the quarter-finals but it looks like a team from one of; Clann na nGael, St. Croan’s, or Elphin if they defeat Ml. Glavey’s. That game I hear is listed for Boyle this weekend and it is also to be streamed. Streaming is a real positive innovation and the quality is top-notch so if you have not tuned into this you are really missing out. Set it up also for senior family members who might not be masters of modern technology. Tune into Roscommon GAA on the laptop and take it from there. I presume former Boyle players abroad like Seamie Gallagher and Ciaran Conlon in Oz, Tadgh Egan in Canada and Darren Dockery in The Gulf area are tuning in. Let me know what you think lads!  

 Boyle will now be touted as one of a very narrow number of favourites. While Pearse’s might improve to something like last year’s form the side that is making the real waves is Western Gaels. 

Anyway for now the Boyle performance of last Saturday is one to dwell on and savour in the memory bank.

P.S. The current Covid trajectory might have a say yet though if the GAA does not play by the rules. I am told that the ‘crowds’ at some games look well in excess of the mandatory quotas. This kind of creep could be the undoing of the process. Also at games, the social-distancing rule is not getting the respect it deserves. Face masks at games….hello!  

World Championship Snooker

It must be more than twenty years ago since I last really watched snooker on television. Late last week I began to watch snippets and I was hooked. There were two really edge of the seat semi-finals.

The first one was between Kyren Wilson and the Scot, Anthony McGill. Both were on level terms with 16 frames each going into a deciding frame. I’ve copied and pasted a sports account of that final frame here;     

      “The frame lasted 62 minutes and set a new record for the most combined points in a single frame at the Crucible, 103–83. After fluking the match-winning ball, Wilson became emotional, and apologised to McGill. He later commented, "I didn't want it to end that way, I have dreamed of this situation and I didn't want to win the match on a fluke." McGill commented, "I feel as if the match was stolen from me – not by Kyren [Wilson] but by the snooker gods". The 1991 champion John Parrott commented on the deciding frame, saying "I have never, in 44 years of playing this wonderful game, seen a frame of snooker like that. It was unbelievable”.

The second semi-final between Ronnie O’Sullivan v Mark Selby was not quite so dramatic but had a brilliant ending. Selby led by 16 frames to 14 with O’Sullivan cracking the ball around the table with his last shot of that session as if to say that he just had enough of it all. He came back and ran off the 3 great frames necessary to win with magical snooker.

So the 5 times world champion O’Sullivan (the ‘pocket rocket’) faced Wilson in the final. It started with O’Sullivan looking like he was going to win easily but Wilson came back to leave the half time just 10 to 7 for O’Sullivan. Wilson came back on Sunday afternoon taking the first frame so 10 to 8. But a re-energised O’Sullivan then ran off the following 8 frames to win convincingly by 18 to 8. He thus joined Steve Davis and Ray Reardon on 6 World Final wins with only Stephen Hendry on 7 on his own. The commentators could not enthuse more about the quality of O’ Sullivan’s win and put him out as the greatest snooker player ever.

Interestingly two Irish men were doing the commentary of the final, Dennis Taylor and Ken Doherty. Tyrone’s Taylor won his title in a memorable black ball finale, 18 v 17 match over Steve Davis in 1985. I still remember watching that in the Ceili House Bar a good deal after closing time! Ken Doherty defeated the great Stephen Hendry 18 v 12 in ’97. Hendry was going for his 7th final win and six on the trot but Ken scored a convincing victory. Hendry did get his record 7th win a few years later.   

Television Documentaries

Shoulder to Shoulder with Brian O Driscoll

I watched this last night - Monday. It was a repeat showing and while I imagined that it might be a bit saccharine it dealt with a complex interesting topic which was an All-Ireland team and its survival. The team in question is the Irish rugby team. The team down the decades has been inclusive of players from the whole island of Ireland. It has included all religions and none. It has encapsulated all political persuasions from nationalists to died-in-the-wool unionists. Through the programme Brian interviewed quite a number of former internationals and household names from down the years. He particularly honed in on the dual, almost triple, nationality of many Ulster players and examined how they felt playing for Ireland. This entailed standing regularly for the Irish National Anthem in Lansdowne Road now the Aviva stadium. A number of the Ulster players were members of the R.U.C. and one an officer in the British army. The general sentiment with them was that their love for rugby trumped all else on the days of international games. Politics was hardly ever touched on. The great rugby captain Willie John McBride gave considerable time to Brian and brought him into the centre of Belfast and showed him his banking place of work. He spoke of the many bombings and of having to escape his work building as the bombs went off in the immediate vicinity.

O’Driscoll then visited the north around the 12th of July and went to the village of Loughgall. There he met many rugby supporters all dressed up in their Unionist marching attire and quizzed them on their allegiances and the seemingly contradictory support of a 32 county All-Ireland team. They were very hospitable and seemed to have no problem with putting the square peg in the round hole. They had no problem supporting trenchantly the Irish rugby even if they were playing England. They saw themselves as British/Northern Irish and also Irish on occasion. Then a test for Brian when he was invited to don a Lambeg Drum and give it a few lashes. He knew he was walking on ice with this.  

Another testing incident was when a number of Ulster players on their way to Dublin for training got caught up in a bomb ‘incident’ on the way down. The bomb killed a judge (the real target) and his wife but the three rugby players were injured and just lucky to be alive.  

Amongst the very positive elements to this documentary was the access to the Ulster players. 

It was also helped by the understandable confusion of O’Driscoll himself to the Ulster Protestant Unionist contradictory affiliation to an All-Ireland team of any sort.  

I presume you can stream it as it may not be aired again soon. It was top class, provocative and thought stimulating. One little glitch; how is it that the great Mike Gibson is never seen being interviewed. He was the gold standard for me in the sixties and early seventies when I played some rugby myself and was amongst those who founded East Connacht later the Carrick –on-Shannon rugby club. 

See O’Driscoll’s documentary if you can at all.  

P.S. On Tuesday night there was another good documentary on the soccer football life of John Giles who played for Manchester United and Leeds from the late sixties to the mid-seventies. The physicality of the time was something else especially with Leeds v Chelsea.   

The Great John Hume.

‘Some men are born great and others have greatness thrust upon them’. I feel that John Hume incorporates both sides of this equation. After his death, there was a considerable and understandable amount of material written about Mister Hume. I don’t feel competent to add anything of value to the discourse other than to say that he was one of my heroes. It is something that if I was to note down six of my ‘heroes’ that the majority of them would come from Northern Ireland. John Hume would probably be number one with the under-rated Seamus Mallon and  Seamus Heaney also present. It is something that two of those won the Nobel Prize, one for peace and one for literature with both going to the same secondary school St. Columb’s. I regret that I did not take or make the opportunity to meet John Hume. I could have gone out to Keadue in 2001 when he opened the O’Carolan festival there, but didn’t. There is a phrase that one should not meet their heroes. I disagree with that very much. When in Derry once around 2007 I called to his house but he was away in Donegal at that time. 

He went to Maynooth for a time. On his return to Derry, he got involved in bringing the Credit Union to Derry which began his community involvement. 

Derry was dominated politically by the minority Unionist political machine enabled by political gerrymandering of the most insidious kind. They regarded the Catholic nationalist community as not just a second class citizenry but much lower than that. Its parallels were South Africa and the southern states of the United States. If one wants to get a sense of the post-war Derry there is a Seamus Deane book called ‘Reading in the Dark’ which describes the appalling conditions large families had to live in through in those decades. This book was on the English leaving Cert. syllabus circa 2000 and I have my well-worn copy beside me as I write. I wonder does anyone remember that book? The reality is that people here in the south, whilst many were poor and there was institutional dominance, the people had no idea whatsoever as to what the nationalist people of the North of Ireland had to cope with under the apartheid regime there. The farther south from the border the fewer people knew of it.  

The old nationalist party of Eddie McAteer and such had to grovel for every concession doled out. Education transformed this. 

I’ve strayed from my subject John Hume but he emerged to the forefront of political activity and was a powerhouse.     

Was a founding member of the SDLP in 1970.  

He had written a far-seeing article for The Irish Times in 1964 about resolving the huge injustices between the two contending societies. This involved putting in place equality, justice, and all the necessary elements that are the bedrock of a just society. He never really deviated from that guiding treatise. And when the Good Friday Agreement emerged in 1998 they were still there also. Through the terrible decades of mayhem and violence, he was the towering pillar of hope that there might be another way. His way was of peace and reconciliation. In this, he was totally supported by his wife Pat. It was never easy and took a huge toll on his health. He was the man that the influential American politicians from Presidents down listened to. A tribute after his death suggested that there many people alive today that would have perished in ongoing violence. 

In 1998 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with David Trimble       

He was voted the Greatest Irishman in an RTE poll search in 2010. 

John Hume sits comfortably with O’Connell and Parnell as the great Irish political figures. As you can see they were all constitutional advocates as opposed to the advocates of violence. 


1. In the last blog, I wrote of an orphan, Shane Healy, with Tulsk, Roscommon connections, who was pursuing his dream to participate as an athlete in the Olympics and also seeking his mother and his sister who abandoned him as a child. Well, he did qualify for the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 with the last qualifying race in Madrid but at the time of the airing of Shane Healy’s podcast early this year, he had not made contact with his mother or sister.

2. I am currently trying to get to grips with a large and varied collection of books, magazines, and ephemera (odds and ends). I must have some of the strains of a hoarder! The following is an experiment. From time to time I will mention items here that I wish to dispose of and if anyone wishes to take them (free gratis of course) just give me a call. (A) A substantial box of QUIZ books. Some are relics and some are not.

(B) On a different level, I have about 10 volumes of a history publication called ‘Irish Historical Studies’, from some time ago. These are bi-annual publications with essays from the premier historians of the day on a wide range of topics.  Tony 086 8163399.   

Slán. Take care. It is a testing time. 





Monday, August 3, 2020

Oblique View Sunday August 2nd 2020.

Innovative Streaming of Championship Games

One of the real local innovations in GAA sport is the ‘streaming’ of the senior championship games that are taking place these week-ends. Last weekend it was St. Brigid’s v Clann na nGael and Boyle v Padraig Pearses. There was plenty of drama in both games to enthuse the viewers with both games ending in draws.

 Last Friday night the game streamed was Strokestown v St. Brigid’s again.

Tomorrow-Sunday- the games being streamed are Fuerty v Western Gaels and Ml. Glavey’s v Pearses I think. The quality of the feeds is good and Seamus Duke is knowledgeable if a little rusty as yet commentator. All this is great for those still reticent regarding being out and about in terms of going to the games or those who cannot get tickets and it most certainly is good for those away from home especially abroad. So hats off to those who have enabled this to happen.

One has to recognise also the club streaming of games. Colin Kearney is the videographer for Boyle games. The quality here is good also but the lack of commentary and detail in terms of who scores etc. reduces its overall appeal. There is an opportunity there for an upcoming club commentator to assist Colin and thereby enhance the presentation.

A kind of correction

In my essay on haymaking, after a conversation with a family connection, I seem to have mixed up the ‘buckrake’ name with another device. Maybe the device for bringing in the rows to the cock base was called a ‘tumbler’ which does not really resonate with me. So if anyone can clear that up I’d have a listening ear. Oddly in watching a Netflix film called ‘Searching’ which had a lot of online ‘stuff’ on it, last night, a ‘Tumbler’ also emerged. So we were well ahead with our hayfield ‘Tumbler’.

 Actor Brendan Gleeson as Trump

I see that Brendan Gleeson has taken on another beefy role portraying Donald Trump in a series dealing with the former FBI Director James Comey. It is based on Comey’s memoir ‘A Higher Loyalty’. So Brendan has ranged from his great run as Michael Collins maybe 25 years ago, via Winston Churchill in ‘Into the Storm’ for which he won an Emmy award and now the Donald himself. The series will begin airing in the U.S. in late September. So it is guaranteed a top audience in the run-up to the presidential election in November. Just to keep in mind while the character of Trump is writ large the film is more focussed on Comey and his interaction with Trump which got him ‘fired’.

A truly amazing athletic story with a Roscommon connection 

I was just ‘in vacant or pensive mood’ in the kitchen at one o clock plus on Saturday when I heard a reference to a Roscommon athlete that I had never really heard of (I should have of course). His name was/is Shane Healy. I tuned into it as it was a programme in ‘The Doc on One’ Podcast. Shane Healy’s father apparently came from around Tulsk and while in England met Shanes’s mother. They returned to Ireland circa the early seventies. The marriage dissolved with his mother and a sister returning to England. Shane went through a difficult number of years going from care home to care home. Jumping forward with the story he eventually went to the U.S. After adventures there he got into athletics which came naturally to him. Coincidentally at a top Athletic College, he met another Roscommon man, Daniel Caulfield, brother of soccer player and manager John from Knockcroghery. Daniel was on an athletic scholarship there at the time. It was only two weeks ago when Daniel was referenced on the ‘Off the Ball’ series where John featured on their ‘Mount Rushmore’ segment and mentioned his brother Daniel.  I cannot relay the complete twists and turns of his life but his two dreams were of finding and meeting up with his mother again and going to the Olympics. This series has some marvellous o.t.t. stories and can be tuned into through the various devices. I’ll give you a chance to find out about how his dreams turned out. I will reveal same here in the next View. So that gives you plenty of time to search for yourself.

Another tale from ‘The Doc at One’ Podcast

Last Saturday-July 25th- I listened to another incredible story which was an account of the attempts by an unauthorised Irish cycling body to have their cyclists inserted into the Olympics in Munich. This was NOT the first time as it had been attempted also at Melbourne in 1956. For decades after Irish Independence, there were three bodies governing Irish cycling.

(A)    These were National Cycling Union representing Northern Ireland and linked to U.K.

(B)     The National Cycling Association (NCA) which was an all-island organisation and was by far the largest, but whose members were barred from UCI (international) events because of their adherence to the 32-county (Republican) ideology.

(C)     Cumann Rothaíochta na hÉireann (CRE) which was a 26-county organisation, strongest in the Leinster area, which was recognized by the UCI as the governing body for the Republic of Ireland and whose members could compete internationally in UCI events and in NCU-NI events in Northern Ireland.

This was very much in line with Brendan Behan’s call at the establishment of some organisation with ‘Let’s start with the split!’ 

It was group 2 which tried to get into the Olympics by inserting their team at the starting lines and have other members join some way from the starting line! A tragic event at Munich, the killing of the Israeli athletes nearly but not fully scuppered their attempt. Strange but true. It too, like the Shane Healy story, was a fascinating documentary from the same series. 

Sunday Miscellany Programme dedicated to Arigna mining

I may be wrong but the Sunday Miscellany programme of Sunday July 25th was totally engaged with the mining tradition of Arigna. It was a very interesting programme for those of us in this region. I did not take notes as I listened to it but I heard some lady from ‘The Plains of Boyle’ describing her father’s work in the mines. Brian Leyden had another very appealing contribution there. Brian certainly has a voice for radio and is a significant recorder in his writings of North Roscommon and Leitrim where I believe he lives.  I remember especially a radio programme of his called ‘No Meadows in Manhattan’.

If you have not visited the Arigna Mining Experience, then I recommend it highly. I have brought a number of visitors there over the years. On one occasion I took my London nephew who worked in some aspect of engineering. After the tour which outlined the really terrible, unhealthy and dangerous working conditions in those narrow seams he emerged exclaiming that “I will never complain about my job after seeing what went on there”.

Carrowkeel Needs Respect and Understanding.    

I was saddened by Marese McDonagh’s piece in ‘The Times’ recently on the damage to monuments in the Carrowkeel cemetery of passage graves. These go back millennia and are huge national treasures. To walk all over them and damage them is so thoughtless. The statistic regarding Sligo having such a majority of these Megalithic (huge stone) tombs is telling. Actually one of the finest ‘PORTAL DOLMENS’ in the country is just a few kilometers out of Boyle off the Gurteen road. I am nearly reticent to mention it; in case it gets the same treatment as Carrowkeel. On a fine day, a trip up to Carrowkeel is magic. I have been there a number of times, once with Philip James as part of Boyle Arts Week. If Sligo has the majority of Megaliths, then the area around Tulsk/Rathcroghan has a huge number of very important Raths. I’ve said this before also that in many advanced countries this area would be deemed so important as to be preserved as a national park. The era of the surge of slatted sheds etc. was a poor one for this area. If you are a passenger in a car sometime travelling from Ballinagare to Tulsk check out the number of invasive farm buildings in the area of the Rathcroghan monuments.       

Laying the Grounds for an Election Result Contest.

President Trump appears to be laying the foundations for contesting the legitimacy of the November Presidential election if it goes against him. He bases this on the suggestion that extensive voting by postal vote would be distorted or manipulated. He also suggests that the election should have be postponed because of the Covid 19 pandemic. Both have some merit but…It would seem that, accepting that the election takes place, there will be a long hiatus with count challenges etc. This happened after the election of 2000 Bush v Gore. Some may remember the checking of perforations and such on the ballot papers.

“Year 2000 United States presidential election recount in Florida. ... The Florida vote was ultimately settled in Bush's favor by a margin of 537 votes when the U.S. Supreme Court, in Bush v. Gore, stopped a recount that had been initiated upon a ruling by the Florida Supreme Court”.   

I have an idea for the U.S. election! Since so many of the states are cast iron red (Republican) or blue (Democratic) and there are about six states which can go either way why not just agree to have the election in those ‘SWING’ states as they call them.

The fact that a winning president can do so with the minority of votes is questionable by me. Even in England the single non- transferable vote can mean that a candidate can win an election on any % of votes. I firmly believe the Irish system of Proportional Representation even if a little drawn out at times, is a really sophisticated system.

While Joe Biden is the current favourite and seems like a nice reasonable man ‘he is no Jack Kennedy’. I have asked before and no one has answered me, how come such a great country like the U.S. can have such a dearth of really good candidates?

In Memoriam

When I was young the work of the grim reaper hardly impinged on my life. But as one grows older it becomes a regular visitor. Within the last month or so I have witnessed the passing of a number of people who I knew to varying degrees. Joey Mahon was a man I met shortly after coming to Boyle all those years ago. I met him regularly in their shop on the Crescent as I bought sporting gear for club and college teams. He was a gentleman to deal with and always a pleasure to meet. Sometimes, in those early days, the tab in ‘the book’ for goods got a bit tangled because Joe was not a man to send regular reminders or anything like that. I had to do the reminding and of course all would be resolved with good nature. We would also meet up in the back bar of Dodd’s which had a regular clientele of foresters, farmers’ teachers, and emerging businessmen. Mrs. Dodd kept us all in line. Joey and I were part of that group. He was great company. He was always interesting and interested in the best way. He had ‘the word’ for everyone. We were both involved with Community Games for a time and I have a fragmented memory of us in a crowded O’Rourke Park with a tent for our group of competitors when enjoyable chaos reigned. We both had some input into the placing of the Margaret Cousins Plaque on the Crescent. My brother, after a long sojourn in East London, adopted a phrase to describe a person of good standing there as ‘a diamond’.  He was such. He was highly regarded in the business of being an undertaker a task he carried out for me when my sister passed away in Boyle in the early nineties. I have never heard of other than understanding undertakers but Joe took it to a different level with compassion, understanding and as a real friend. He was just a friendly, kind and decent man. 

Mrs. Hynes ‘Lourdes Villa’, Rahoon Road, Galway City.        

I attended, from a social distance regrettably as it had to be, at a funeral at Rahoon in Galway last Saturday the 25th. The funeral was of my former landlady Mrs. Hynes. I spent about two years as a student-lodger in her home at the top of Rahoon Road, then on the edge of Galway city. That was in the late sixties. I kept in contact and called on her from time to time down the decades. We were firm friends. She was originally from Geesala in west Mayo and never forgot her home place. In phoning her from time to time I had to be aware that I could not ring when the top news of the day or some of the top political programmes were being aired. During her late years she would laughingly ask the question “Tony do you think that I will make the hundred?” I always reassured her that she would and that we would make every effort, when that came to pass, that we would get the President, Ml. D. Higgins - who she supported as a Galway T.D.- to come down and present her with her Centenary cheque himself. Despite efforts, that did not happen but in February of 2019 we gathered to celebrate her achieving her goal and receiving her cheque. She took it all in her stride. In recent times she spent a good deal of time in her sunny porch saluting the world going by. That stream of humanity, many who did not know her at all, including children, returned her salute and it became a very local ritual. She passed away in her home of seventy-six years. I will remember her, always.

(Some former Convent of Mercy students may remember a Mairéad Hynes who was her daughter. She spent some time teaching in the convent in the early 80s’.) 

I would also like to mention Paddy Beirne from Ardmore, Boyle Parish on the Killaraght road. I used to meet Paddy first in the Ceili House Bar a little back the years, later in the Craobhin and then when visiting Sean Young in the Plunkett Home. Everyone who knew Paddy gave him the same reference that of being an absolute gentleman. He was a quiet man but loved to talk of times gone by of which he had great recall. He was very well looked after in The Plunkett Home where he was so highly regarded.

It was nice to see the salute to a great Boyle GAA supporter Tony McGovern with a minute’s silence before the Boyle v Padraig Pearses senior championship match at Woodmount on Sunday last July 26th. Tony has been a regular consistent supporter of the club for decades in every way than one could and he would have enjoyed the cut and thrust of that game no doubt.    


Television Documentaries of Note

Since I have watched some television (!) during this Covid time I have been meaning to ‘treat of’ the best of them here for some time. But I’ll divert to a bould businessman receiving an employee thus.

“Today is not your day and tomorrow doesn't look good either”   

Anyway, I’ll just mention two of them today and ‘treat of’ anon. Back in the early days of Covid, in March, I gorged on a series called ‘The Last Dance’. It told the story of the great basketball sportsperson Michael Jordan.  He was a super sportsman near the pedestal of Muhamad Ali.

If you can still get the chance to check in on ‘The Rise of Rupert Murdoch Dynasty’ do so and stay with it. It is the story of a driven man (Australian) who created a newspaper and t.v. owned empire. This gave him great power which he uses in political circles in Australia, the U.K. and now in the U.S. with his ownership of Fox News. The series is about the Rise and Rise near nosedive and Rise again of Murdoch. No British P.M could win an election in the last 30 years who did not have his backing. He was the man, through his newspapers especially The Sun who enabled Nigel Farage to win the Brexit Vote and he then hitched his wagon to Donald Trump. He is a loud advocate of denial of human influence in global warming. A destructive power. It would need a masters course of analysis to see why he has such a destructive nature. He is married to his fourth wife jerry hall who was once married to Mick Jagger. It suggests the question to her; “Apart from the fact that Rupert is a billionaire what other characteristics attracted you to him, Miss hall?”  (jerry hall all lower case it seems.) 


No Jane Clarke poem tonight. Sorry.      


May your Gods go with you. t.c.