Thursday, May 25, 2017

Update 25th May

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.

Manchester Bomb
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,
I assumed
the hard shyness of Atlantic light
and the superstitious aura of hawthorn.

All I wanted then was to fill my arms with
sharp flowers,
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

the luck
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–

for anglers,
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,

aas always.Slán.     



Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Update 18th May

Boyle in Times Past a Bi-Weekly Feature.
In my last post here I began a survey of old Boyle from early to mid-decades of the 1900s’. This is for the most part with the help of Frank Tarpey and the initial work of Paraic Beisty now domiciled in the United States. I am, of course, very open to additional material or corrections. If it runs its course it will take quite a while to cover all the streets and residential areas! Then it is out into the adjacent townlands as used in station areas perhaps! Next time The Crescent.

Elphin Street East Side.
•• Pub. James Lindsay called Joss also grocer. James Keaney from Ballyfarnon. Paddy Hever a connection of Mr. Keaney. A venue for traditional music. Now the Craoibhin Bar and Restaurant owned by Gerry and Phil Emmett.
 •  Miss Neary then Leyland’s. John Cahill family grocer, wine, spirit, and provision merchant. John Cahill’s pub and grocery. Tarpey’s, Teresa Tarpey and then Frank until recent years where he also operated a Travel Agency. Now Toni’s Fast Food.
3• Mrs. Mac Namara and sister Martha Moran. Also a resident a man referred to as ‘flyer’ Convey. There was a Convey in Ballymore.
4• Edward C. McGee and family for a time before moving onto upper Bridge St. on The Crescent where Little Chick with Mary Cretaro is. Edward was father of Richard and  grandfather of Brendan McGee of Taylors jewellery. There was also a son Jim McGee who became well known as the Director of Music in the Army School of Music and with the No. 4 Army band based at Athlone. Edward and his wife were both music teachers and had small paper and confectionary shop. They were both church organists and got Papal honours for their contribution there.    
•• Jim Sheerin brother of Old I.R.A. man Pakie Sheerin. Jim had been in the U.S. and his wife was from the U.S. and they had two children Jack and Maureen.

Miss Conroy a room for book-keeping, typewriting and short-hand school. Winnie Gallagher married to Tommy Dodd. Also Cormac Gallagher a member of the fire brigade. Premises still connected to the Gallagher family.
Next Mrs. Nangle a widow later John William and Mrs. Sheeran and two daughters Margaret and Maura. A guest house.  

•• Miss McCormack a teacher, had been in France. A member of a well-known family. Charlie McCormack worked in the Roscommon Herald and two brothers worked in John Lowes. Charlie Jnr. Also worked in the Herald. Then Ryans. Afterwards the premises was with Gillespie’s, a lorry driver then John Leonard Accountancy.
•• Charlie Killalea from Corringeenoe married to Elizabeth Smith. Theresa Killalea married Owen Boylan. Owen, from Monaghan, came to Boyle as a lorry driver during the ‘Lime Campaign’ of the early fifties. Later Owen became a fuel merchant.
•• Miss Connaughton kept lodgers. Then Sgt. Lynagh on retirement father of Declan who was very involved with the tennis club.
•• John McKenna from Monaghan wife from Leitrim. John Joe McKenna a school and general passenger transport company and taxi service with Adrian currently.
10.                       Tim Brennan carpenter son Gerry.
11.                       John Callaghan and then Callaghan’s two sisters. Alice known as ‘the dazzler’ and Maud Tuite. In an Oblique View of November 2015 I wrote of them as follows:
Maud Tuite and Alice Callaghan had a bar on Elphin Street until 1978 when it was bought by Matt and Kay Smith and became the Hideaway. The Smiths gave it that name as Matt had worked in the Hideaway Bar in Rathmines, Dublin for a number of years before coming to Boyle.
Anyway Maud and Alice Callaghan ran a popular rendezvous there for decades. They were of old Boyle stock. Maud was married to a man called Tuite and they had a son Jack and a daughter known as Babs, perhaps an abbreviation of Barbara, who married a gentleman called Bill Carlos a vocational teacher who went to live in Dublin. The son Jack was involved in the racing business and there is a legend that Lester Piggott once visited the family home in Elphin Street though my ‘go-to-man’ on 'Old Boyle', Frank Tarpey, has not heard of that which puts it very much into question. Maybe I could print the legend.
The sisters ran the pub their way of course, as all publicans do, and it had a social division akin to Public Bar and Lounge Bar. The Lounge was the backroom kitchen where a particular ‘elite’ group would come together as in a club. In that back room was a fine table and a beautiful twin-oven range which was a memorable centre piece and is always referred to by those who called there. [As an aside I remember the ‘pot-bellied stove’ in the early seventies that was in Aggie Devine Conlon’s which is now ‘The Patrick’s Well’. Of course Kate Lavin’s has its lovely range and indeed is such a unique old-style bar that it is of particular significance generally]. 
Alice, the figure-head of the establishment- was referred to by those who remember her as ‘the dazzler’ perhaps because she herself would describe some special people as ‘mickey dazzlers’. Also a bit like Cockney rhyming slang she would refer to a person as a Basil Jarvis, Jarvis being a famous horse trainer in her time.
Alice is described as ‘humorous, thrifty and smart’. The area from what is now the entrance from Supervalu down to Londis was a market area and from time to time the people from the country would bring carts of turf for to sell there. Alice would query a seller about the quality of the turf suggesting that she had bought turf previously that turned out to be of very poor quality and so asked for a sample bag of the product. This she repeated apparently and thus reduced her fuel bill! She is remembered as wearing a black bib and as a smoker of Woodbine cigarettes, "without the sock" as she called it when removing the filter tip of the small cigarette.
Maud died in February 1978 and Alice then went to live with her niece Bab in Dublin.
*If anyone has a picture including these memorable Boyle ladies I would be interested in that.
12. The Railway Bar. Joe O’ Dowd ‘grocer, spirit dealer, and commercial traveller with a pony and trap as his mode of transport.  Frank and Beatrice Dowd, a nurse (?). Inherited by Tommy O’Dowd who worked in Lowes. Son Gerry a county goalkeeper in the seventies. Daughter Liz ran the business in the 90s’ where it was a fine traditional music venue.
13. ‘Beechlawn’ a house set back from main street. Owned by the Johnstones of The Irish House on Main St. They were in religion ‘Plymouth Brethern’ practitioners. Army officers there during ‘The Emergency’ of the 40s’. Then the Travers family. Mary was a prominent reporter with The Roscommon Herald and a community activist in politics and camogie.
14. Roes’ Garage. Purpose built as a garage and later extended. Willie Roe came from Mullingar prior to the 20s’ and started  with a bicycle shop in ‘The Shambles’ market yard. Moved to where Wynne’s Bar is now and had a repair facility opposite The Royal Hotel for a time and then to where Country Meats is now on Main Street and had petrol pumps and bicycle shop there. This premises was sold on to Fred Perry and became one of the earliest self-service supermarkets in the country. Later became the Main Ford dealers in the region signing up with Ford’s in 1919 based in Elphin St. Three sons, Alfie (father of Billy), Bobby (father of Clive) and Edsel (Henry Ford had a son called Edsel) and three daughters Muriel, Vivien and Doris. Edsel-Eddie as he was generally known-was a bank manager in Lismore, Co. Waterford. 

Amongst those who worked at Roes were Michael Sheerin, St. Patrick’s Street; Paddy Flannery, Brendan Coleman, John and Paddy Dwyer, Con Tansey, Liam McDermott with Jim Sheerin, Sales and Miss Campbell and Miss Lavin office.  In more recent times, October 31st 1999, the premises was acquired by Dessie McLoughlin and is now home to Trojan Computer  Company and other educational initiatives. 

End of Boyle Celtic’s Roller Coaster Season
But… Looking Forward to the next One
Boyle Celtic went down to Carbury in a Sligo Leitrim League decider at Celtic Park on Sunday and though they drew the game 2 all it was not enough as they needed to win to continue into the last three games, which they also needed to win, to retain the title. So it was so close to a huge year for the side as they were defeated by Evergreen Utd. Kilkenny in the FAI Jnr. Cup semi-final in The Showgrounds on penalties after extra time. They then lost I to nil in Killarney in the Snr. Cup preliminary round. On Sunday May the 8th the lost to West Utd. in the Connacht Cup semi-final by 3 to 2 in extra time after leading in normal time by 2 to 0 with less than ten minutes to go. While all this has been very, very, disappointing it was still a great season for a fine footballing side. Ironically, perhaps they played too much ‘good’ football. They were constant contenders in all the competitions and while a trip to Aviva would have been memorable the lead up to the semi-final in the Showgrounds and the atmosphere at that game was certainly memorable with the biggest Boyle sporting following ever.
Their year has been laced with great performances and especially great goals.
Perhaps they were caught out in the end by the number of games that they were required to play and the limitations of the panel’s strength in depth. Interestingly the captain of the winning Carbury team in his League Cup acceptance speech last Sunday was very generous in his assessment of the quality of the young Boyle team and their potential for the forthcoming years. Three members of the team Niall Brennan, Danny Browne and Michael Corrigan are trialling for a national team at this time. While there were a number of others such as Purcell, Connolly and Carlos right up there not forgetting the dead ball artistry of McDermotroe.
The challenge for the club now is to do a SWOT analysis with the team and management and seek to build on what was achieved this year to ensure them being contenders again next year. Sherriff of Dublin recently won their fourth title in six years so quality counts, it’s not always luck. And Boyle have a substantial quality base right now.  
When the disappointments of the last few weeks dissolve the onset of the new season, with all its possibilities, must inject a steely determination to do even better. This will require a discipline, dedication and determination from the pre-season even greater than in the season past. I imagine many of the loyal core supporters and the new supporters who came on board this season will be looking forward to next year. The hope is that the team panel shares that vision.
I conclude by saying that, while there were huge disappointments, there were several great moments and results in a sense all beginning in Ballina on January 15th and onto Carrick-on-Suir and Sligo. We will remember those and look forward to similar ones being repeated through next season. Who dares wins.

The Cuckoo
I know that a number of people ‘tune into’ the odd seasonal poem that I include here so on hearing the cuckoo over the last few days it brought back to mind the great long ago schoolboy poem by Wordsworth.

To the Cuckoo by William Wordsworth

O blithe newcomer! I have heard,
I hear thee and rejoice:
O Cuckoo! shall I call thee bird,
Or but a wandering Voice?

While I am lying on the grass
Thy twofold shout I hear;
From hill to hill it seems to pass,
At once far off and near.

Though babbling only to the vale
Of sunshine and of flowers,
Thou bringest unto me a tale
Of visionary hours.

Thrice welcome, darling of the Spring!
Even yet thou art to me
No bird, but an invisible thing,
A voice, a mystery;

The same whom in my schoolboy days
I listened to; that Cry
Which made me look a thousand ways
In bush, and tree, and sky.

To seek thee did I often rove
Through woods and on the green;
And thou wert still a hope, a love;
Still longed for, never seen!

And I can listen to thee yet;
Can lie upon the plain
And listen, till I do beget
That golden time again.

O blessed birth! the earth we pace
Again appears to be
An unsubstantial, fairy place,
That is fit home for Thee!

"The cuckoo comes in April. She sings her song in May. In the middle of June she changes her tune and in July she flies away,"!!  

The cuckoo or a breed of cuckoo barges into the nests of other birds and takes over
mimicking the eggs of the displaced bird or dumping the existing eggs. A naughty lazy bird! 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Update 5th May

Boyle GAA Picture Gallery. (Repeat)   
Since the opening of the new GAA complex at the Abbey Park in 2010 it has been anticipated that Boyle GAA Club would display its past long history with a permanent exhibition of pictures spanning the decades. Thankfully there is a good selection of pictures to choose from and it is proposed that groups of these will be framed covering various themes.
The complex is ideal for this display project with generous and accessible wall space, which I know was in the mind of architect Chris O’Dowd from his initial design planning.
We would appreciate expressions of interest in terms of people sponsoring an individual frame where the sponsor would be credited. It is expected that at least ten frames will form the initial exhibition with an incremental growth from there.
*Of course if the interest is not there and the fairly small finance is not forthcoming the project will not happen. You can contact me at 086 816 3399 for further information.  

GAA Senior Championship
Boyle begin their senior championship quest on Sunday next with a game against Western Gaels at Strokestown at 2. Boyle have been playing in the O’Gara Cup and apart from a hot up and down game against Michael Glavey’s in Ballinlough they have been pretty comfortable for the most part in the other games. Sunday next is a big step up however and Western Gaels have a number of established name players. They have been spoken of as possible contenders for the championship for a number of years now but time is running out with this present good squad. While Boyle have a number of top players their strength in depth may be more limited. Boyle will be relying on the usual suspects on Sunday and will need things to go well for them to emerge winners. They got to the semi-final last year, which was the best effort on record, so hope springs eternal.

Boyle Celtic
Boyle Celtic had a disappointing result in Killarney. Any time a team loses by 1 goal to nil usually means that the nil team could have at least drawn or perhaps won. Boyle did not play well in the first half and Killarney with a wind advantage pressed hard and got the goal which ultimately decided the fixture. Boyle upped their game in the second half and had a number of more than half chances but the Killarney keeper had to make just one top save. The very unlucky dismissal of the Boyle striker with 20 minutes remaining eliminated a main threat in that period with the wind and the possibility of the game being played more in the Killarney half and box.
So it was disappointing and now the side feature on Sunday in a competition they would really like to win, the Connacht Junior Cup away in Galway against West Utd. 

Champions League on the box. The majesty of Ronaldo.
The two semi-finals of the European Champions League did not present the hoped for fireworks. On Tuesday night Real Madrid disposed of city rivals Atletico by 3 to 0. It was more a case of Ronaldo v Atletico as the great Portuguese player once again demonstrated his genius with a sublime hat-trick just as he had done in the quarter final against Bayern Munich. As was commented by the analysts it is something to follow, if one does, the performances of Ronaldo and Messi week in week out. While there have been many great soccer players down the decades from Puskas and di Stephano through Best, Pele, Eusebio and Johann Cruff but it seems as if the present duo are in a league of their own and the pendulum swings from performance to performance as to who is the greater. It is just opinion of course but their consistency as a duo suggests that they are the greatest players who ever played the game.

Tattoos a life sentence!
Perhaps we all have our taboos, some of little consequence but a tad irritating and others which really get under our skins. Amongst my list are tattoos. It seems as if it is a plague with soccer players to a greater extent than most other groups of people. Once it was just Popeye the Sailor Man perhaps influencing sailors as a group. Then it was hardy Brits abroad in Spanish resorts. Then it took off in soccer endorsed by David Beckham perhaps but now it is almost the norm with soccer players. I would not know if these are reversible but if they are not I wonder how many of those players will feel decades hence. It is very rare to see tattoos in rugby, golf, racing or hurling. Beards are actually banned for jockeys which was traditionally a decent quiz question. The body art has made its way to the Gaelic football scene with Paul Galvin being the player I first saw indulging. In MMA (Mixed Martial Arts which I find objectionable) the poster boy is Conor McGregor.
While I imagine some ‘ladies’ also like tattoos the high profile lady who I am aware of with tattoos is Sinead O’Connor. A ‘fad’ can excite short term obsessive behaviour but tattoos could be an embarrassment for life.  

Sunny Bog Days
The sun comes out in early May and for a certain coterie of us it is off to the front that is ‘the bog’ or the costa del bog. If on hearing that the turf has been cut for a week or more one’s demeanour changes and bogitis (if you forgive the invention) infects the consciousness. One has to visit the scene to ascertain the status and precise location of the said turf. The bog road becomes a freeway with dust rising as in a desert convoy. Some footings begun by a nearby tenant raises questions as to one’s own status in the project.
I have been involved in this process for decades with significant intervals as the bog in London was an entirely different element.
Anyway it is just the beginning of the current bog campaign. In my native place, Fuerty, I was just on the edge of the ‘beet campaign’ catchment area. The beet was being grown for one of the four sugar beet factories then in Ireland i.e. Tuam. It used to be a school rhyme; “Master Conboy, name the four sugar beet towns of Ireland”. “Carlow, Mallow, Thurles and Tuam, sir”.
Later this process would expand and emigrate to the cotton towns of Lancashire; ‘Manchester, Oldham, Bolton, Bury, Burnley, Rochdale and ?’  or the woollen towns of Yorkshire ‘Leeds, Bradford, Halifax…’
In our area we cut the turf in our own bogs, barrow the sods out from the bank to the drying ground and after a certain time and with the weather being favourable we would turn or scatter the sods to enable further drying. This might extend to a second scatter. Then if the turf had reached a certain texture, I’ll call it, it would be collected into rough footings. In this part of the country scattering is often discarded and the savers go straight to the footings and very geometrical ones are favoured. After the footings process it was regularly clamped. This was a time-consuming procedure especially required if the turf was to be left for some time on the bog.
Then it was the drawing home time with crated carts if the run into the bog tolerated the weight or a half load out to the ditch by the roadside for topping up the next half load. The bog road was a busy place during this process but as the saying in Tipperary went the turf home the hay saved and Cork bet cleared the way for a satisfying Autumn.
So if the current heatwave continues for say another week that road into Tonroe will be a busy one indeed.

The deaths of two great GAA supporters, Donie Shine and Pat Dennehy
Two very different GAA people passed away over the weekend, Donie Shine of Clann na nGael and Pat Dennehy of St. Brigid’s. Both have been lifelong pillars of their respective clubs. Donie was a significant club player with Clann na Gael where he won 7 county senior championships and then managed his club to 5 All-Ireland Club finals which they lost. The club won 8 county titles in a row and 6 Connacht titles also in a row. This record is unlikely to be repeated. Donie went on to manage the county team from ’94 to ’97 and was replaced with the usual     
lack of tact. He later became an analyst on Shannonside Radio games with Willie Hegarty and is remembered for his regular referencing of referees. I knew Donie for decades through GAA activity but those who were close to him and joined him at social outings have been speaking of the great companion that he was with a huge knowledge of people, places and sport.
Pat Dennehy was more the old style club man. He was on the St. Brigid’s executive for over 50 years and was particularly associated with Scor. A brother of the former Secretary of the County Board Frank he was a highly respected quiet-spoken man. May they rest in peace.         

Realboyle T.V. Guide Tadgh
I tune into my friend Tadgh’s T.V. review last week and the following caught my eye;  

“Fair City
Paul asked Niamh to get Information about Marcus and work undercover
She obviously misheard him and worked under the covers”

Boyle Men on TV.
Two Boyle men were prominent on TV earlier this week.
Monday’s ‘Reeling in the Years’ dealt with 2006 which included the 90th Anniversary of the 1916 Rising and the Irish Army parade and salute at The General Post office (GPO). Reading the Proclamation  loud and clear was army officer Tom Ryan from Main Street.
A half hour later on Channel 4 programme called Travel Man: 48 Hours in Vienna IT star Richard Ayoade was joined by his colleague from the IT Crowd Chris O’Dowd.
There were probably others but I just happened on Tom and Chris.

Joan Burton in the Dock
It is often the case that a person enters court as the litigant to quickly find out that they are being treated as the defendant. Such seems to be the situation in the current case of former minister Joan Burton and the Tallaght 7.
The detention of Joan Burton in her car at Tallaght for 3 hours and the current trial of 7 defendants, seeking their place in history as The Tallaght 7, is a peculiar show. Joan has now been in the witness box for 3 to 4 days to go with the original 3 hours. It was reported that she was cross-examined by 7 senior barristers one for each of the defendants. So Miss Burton was abused by a crowd including the 7 in this case but she did not run a tape -during the traumatic episode- as to how it would all play out in court. Not good forward planning there! There were plenty of police present in Tallaght but they did not want, I presume, to make real heroes/victims of the 7 by being overly aggressive. I wonder who is paying for all the lawyers and how it will all pan out.  

Saudi Arabia and Women
It would raise a few eyebrows or eye lashes to see that Saudi Arabia has become a member of a U.N. Committee to do with The Status of Women. Ireland are hiding behind a tradition that it does not disclose how it votes on those issues though Belgium admitted, with embarrassment, that it had voted for Saudi Arabia. The tone of the present debate suggests that Ireland did likewise. The Minister, Charlie Flanagan, an able person generally, is in a pickle here as to admit that Ireland too voted for Saudi (possibly in a trade, trade off) would  raise a wasps next nest of recrimination which might upset the Saudis’ whose ambassador issued a statement this evening of which I copy some of the opening line to here;
 “In a response issued this evening, the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia here in Dublin said that their candidacy came from the Kingdom’s “leading role” in strengthening the role of women worldwide”.   

So what’s all the fuss about!



Friday, April 28, 2017

Update April 28th

Who lived Where in Boyle in the 30's - 40's
 ‘Someone should write it down’’ is the earnest phrase which often attends a conversation with knowledgeable people on the subject of Old Boyle from decades back. There are a number of people who are in the premier division in terms of traversing the streets of Boyle in their memories and nominating who ‘lived there’ and what they did. My ‘go to ‘ people in that respect are Frankie Tarpey and Christy Wynne. I know there are a number more also like Frank Tivnan, Mick Harrington, Paddy Daly, Hal Cawley, Barry Feely, John Mcloughlin, Paddy Toolan and more. There have to be a number of ladies also. And one can be surprised by some people who have a deep knowledge of the town.
It is difficult for me, ‘a blow in’, to grasp the generational sequence and context of those times. The native who has grown up with all that is king in that respect.  Anyway I’ll make a shot at trying committing to paper the information that I have received. The template which I will use is a map of Boyle from circa the late forties carefully drawn by Paraic Beisty formerly of Ledfordspark Carrick Road who has been in the United States for a considerable time. Paraic’s house-numbered map goes from street to street nominating those living there and what they did circa 1950. As I would not know any of this I act as the scribe. There will be mistakes I’m sure and omissions and hopefully this will be just the beginning and that people will add, subtract and forward corrections to enhance  Boyle Town Project to give it a working title. It may not work at all of course but we’ll try it and see.

So….for no particular reason I start with
ELPHIN St. West Side from the current Health Centre. Paraic Beisty had each street numbered so

1.    The Gate House to the Workhouse Grounds occupied by a ‘Spud’ Murphy’ of then. (The present Plunkett Home was the site of the Old- historic- Workhouse an insightful article on which can be accessed in the invaluable Moylurg Writers Vol. 1 1988 page 78 written by Sr. Patricia Kelly.
2.    Workhouse, later a hospital, now The Plunkett Home. (There is a whole history there of its own).
3.    Pump House For water pressure booster. Doctor Collins built a house there whose son Peter is a Solicitor in Carrick-on-Shannon. Doctor Fallon and family were there until recently and it is now a food outlet.
4.    Richard Murray –carpenter later moved to Marian Rd. His brother Johnny a painter and family lived there then. Josie lived in Felton. Phil Murray was caretaker of King House for the period of the 30s’ when the Free State army vacated and then returned to King House during The Emergency.  Members of the Murray family were prominent in the town in the Republican movement of the time. 
5.    Randal Rice & Mary Anne (Coen) & family. Carpenter & Masonry. Also a sweet shop and provided food on fair days. Randal had a brother Robert who had a forge behind Paddy Daly’s; involved with horses and lived near ‘the Quarry’.
6.    Paddy Kennedy N.T. & School Principal and All-Ireland handballer & family, after some time living on the Crescent,.
7.    Tom McCabe a former member of the R.I.C. police. There were a number of former R.I.C. men living on this street such as Gillen/McCabe/Griffin. Tom is referenced as associated with a glove factory behind where Wynnes' Solrs. are now.  One of my sources say he had a son a judge in Dublin. (Mrs. Nicholson former Roscommon Herald employee and Comhaltas & Fleadh Committee member). 
8.    Pat Spellman, originally from Keash, builder and fire brigade officer. Prior to him Mr. Turbett from Ballinamore.
9.    Kilfeather’s one of whom joined the Christian Brothers. A number of houses here, it is suggested, were known collectively as ‘Drury Terrace’. Paraic  Beisty has Guard Vaughan nominated here also.
10.                       John and Mrs. Dwyer. A busy and popular lodging house. Some of the people who stayed there settled in Boyle subsequently such as Paddy Purcell and Martin Mc Loughlin who were initially employed as lorry drivers during The Lime Campaign’ of the early 50s’. Later John McGowan a stalwart of Boyle GAA in the 60s’ and 70s’.
11.                         Miko Finneran from Ballinagare a builder who had returned from New York acquired Griffins and then Moran’s sweet shop. (Reference to Roger Gray here) 
12.                         Mrs. Griffin married to a member of the R.I.C. kept boarders also. Dr. Gibbons who was working in the hospital stayed there for a time. A member of the Griffin family was an officer in the army and a second son Christy, after a time as a barman in Dublin, established a bar in Woodquay in Galway City.  
13.                       Mister Christy Callan had a house here.
14.                       James Turbett a noted Old IRA person. A sister Cassie a dedicated gaelgoir and Irish dance teacher. Another sister married to a publican and Co. Clr. in Fuerty outside Roscommon. 

15.                       Danny Cunnion (sold to Murphy’s later. Mister Murphy came from B’Shannon) from Leitrim a baker inherited from his uncle Mr. Sharkey. Provided lovely confectionary and such.  Martin Mc Loughlin later acquired a residence-St. Anne’s- there. Mrs. Mahon wife of Garda Mahon. ( A Mister Young ).

16.                       Bertie Devine worked in insurance. A brother of Agnes/Aggie Devine-Conlon of Devine Conlon’s St. Patrick’s Street. Father of Michael, Dermott, Willie, Sister Mary and Father Tom in New Jersey. They later moved to The Crescent. Bertie was the son of Tom J. Devine who was one of the three candidates in the famous 1917 bye-election won by Count Plunkett. So the Devine family are part of a very significant event in Irish History.
17.                       Ignatius Sullivan in the National Bank and the Bank of Ireland on amalgamation. Also referenced, a Mister Devane a civil servant

18.                       Detective Bill Doyle and wife Sophie. Very active in Boyle organisations. 
19.                       Coleman’s (Postmaster) where dentist Boland is now.
20.                       Mr. Mc Clean from Northern Ireland worked with F.X. Burke Sol. in Main St. (Mr. Burke was for a time owner of the Royal Hotel). There is also mention of the following in this area: 1. Barry Owens from Fermanagh and son Vincent Owens who was later domiciled in Birmingham and was a contact person for a lot of Boyle people going to that city. Their house was accessed to the rear of others. 2. Mr. Flanagan, Mr. Redmond and Andy Fee who was a manager in Sloan’s and later had a shop in a premises of Paddy Daly where Jackie Tighe was later.   
Corrections and submissions welcome. In 2 weeks’ time-hopefully- we will cross to the East Side of Elphin St. ! 

Gerry O’Malley
I have had some reaction to my Gerry O’Malley piece from last week. Christy Dolan remembers the day well having particular reason to do so. Christy was on the Mayo minor team that defeated Galway that day and so had a close view of proceedings and remembers it clearly. 

Christy later played for Roscommon and was a top player with Boyle, nearly always at centre back, in the early seventies. I intend to talk to Christy about all this in due course.
**As  I mentioned last week there are tickets available from the club proceeds going towards the Gerry O’Malley Commemoration Fund in his native place of Brideswell in the St. Brigid’s Club area.

Sports Discipline

Boyle Seniors v Creggs
I attended as Boyle defeated Creggs in the O’Gara Cup in the Abbey Park last Saturday evening. There was the usual mix of good and not so good football. Boyle have a good number of special players at the moment but perhaps the panel is not deep enough. I did come away very impressed by an aspect of the game however. That was the demeanour and calmness of the team managers involved. We in Boyle are well aware of those qualities in the Creggs manager, Boyle stalwart, Jonathan Conroy, always a gentleman. This was also very much in evidence in the Boyle manager Tom Morley. I watched as he passed on instructions to his players in a quiet, polite and unfussy manner while still confirming that he was in charge. And he did not react to mistakes by throwing the bottle out of or into the dug- out. The attitude of team managers is in the news at the moment with the o.t.t. actions of Davy Fitzgerald. Most quality managers recognise that self- discipline is a necessary quality if they are to have a similar response from their players. One sees this exemplified in current county managers of Dublin, Kerry, Tyrone and I cannot think of one sinner in this respect apart from Fitzgerald who is probably deliberately theatrical.
While it nice to see at adult level the pity is that down the years a small number of  managers of under-age teams have not shown the necessary self-discipline that should obtain when dealing with young people during close games. There is a short monologue which I tried to source there now about praising the child and he/she will prosper or words to that effect. I hope that my own record when I was involved was in line with the note I write now. We can hardly teach our kids to be respectful by treating them with disrespect. Kids rarely do not try hard. They make mistakes but hardly do so deliberately. They are as good as they are. Encouragement is key in improving ‘weaker’ players.
I know of a parent of a young county player who found going to inter-county games very stressful due to the criticism hurled at his son. A parent hearing his/her boy/girl being overly criticised, feels it just as much as the young person or perhaps more. So wouldn’t it be nice if the example of Messrs Conroy and Morley became the norm as of best practise. 

The Boyle Celtic Journey
It does not shorten, this Boyle Celtic journey. Next Saturday, yes Saturday not Sunday, the team play in Killarney in the preliminary round of the FAI Senior Cup. The game was understood by all on this side of the equation (and earlier on the other side) as being down for decision on Sunday but apparently it was ‘inconvenient’ for the Killarney Club for whatever reasons. To change, arrange and advertise the game for late on a Saturday without appropriate consultation with the club having to travel such a long journey, shows how little consideration that the host club, Killarney, has shown for Boyle. To expect a team to travel the 4/5 hour trip to Kerry and then play an important/historic match demonstrates an arrogance and lack of consideration of some magnitude. With the game at 7 it would be over in normal time at near 9, with extra time this would extend to 9.30 or later. Then whatever supporters travel have to face the 4/5 hour journey back to Boyle. Allowing for a burger stop it would be 3am before one would arrive in Boyle. I haven’t been this late coming home from a match for a very long time.

Obviously sportsmanship is a spare commodity with this Killarney club. One would have expected that a town which prospers on the philosophy of friendliness and welcome would not be the practitioners of such low standards as in this case.         

Friday, April 21, 2017

Update 21st April

Some Sports Fixtures for this coming weekend and beyond.

Boyle GAA Senior team will hope to continue their good run of wins in the O’Gara Cup on Saturday with a game v Creggs in the Abbey Park at 6.30.(Not Sunday as advertised).

Soccer. Sunday April 23rd Southern Hotel Super League 11am Ballisodare United v Boyle Celtic Ballisodare.

Celtic, after another extra time win on Sunday over Carbury in a very competitive game, have a number of big games coming up. Apart from trying to get up-to-date on the regular Sligo/Leitrim league fixtures they play  v Killarney in the F.A.I. Cup proper, preliminary round, on Sunday Apr. 30th in Killarney. Their biggest game is the Connacht Cup Semi-Final v West Utd. of Galway in Galway on Sunday May 7th. This is a competition they would really love to win.      

Roscommon GAA hero Gerry O’Malley being Remembered
While many of the younger generation will not remember Gerry O’Malley or may not even have heard of him, to me and my generation he was our hero.  Today there are the options of playing a diversity of sports but for us growing up in the late fifties and sixties Gaelic games were predominant. For me coming from Fuerty/Athleague it was hurling and Gaelic football. Roscommon had been a power in the forties and early fifties until it was eclipsed by Mayo or more so Galway as the fifties progressed. O’Malley from Brideswell, Curraghaboy in the St. Brigid’s area emerged as the dominant player in Roscommon from 1950 until he retired in the mid- sixties. He was a Cuchalainn like figure who was known and admired the length and breadth of the GAA country. This was reinforced by his participation of the inter-provincial competition The Railway Cup which had huge support in the fifties and early sixties in both hurling and football. This was the regular showground for great players from lesser counties to show their skills to the wider audience. O’Malley was lucky also in the sense that it was a time when Connacht teams had arguably their greatest ever players. In Galway there was Sean Purcell and Frank Stockwell (referred to as ‘the terrible twins’ for the destruction they could dispense as supreme forwards). Leitrim had Packie Mc Garty and Cathal Flynn. Mc Garty had the heart of a lion and the skill of a Messi and is rightly revered in Leitrim. He played on a very good Leitrim team which lost 5 Connacht finals to Galway. Sligo’s regular representative initially was the great Nace O’Dowd at full back and in the early sixties the coming Mickie Kearins. Mayo had marvellous players like Tom Langan, Willie Casey, Paddy Prendergast and Paraic Carney and Ned Moriarty from Boyle. With Roscommon it was always O’Malley in the forefront.

The Broken–Crossbar Connacht Final of ’62 A Highpoint in the Folklore of the Game.
Amongst the performances that will live in the folklore of the game is the 1962 Connacht Final against Galway at Castlebar.
One report of the game began as follows;
“Roscommon have down the years, won and lost many memorable games but this victory over Galway in the Connacht Senior Football Final will never be forgotten by the thousands of joyous supporters of the blue and gold, if only for the concluding fantastic eight minute of an epic and pulsating finish”.

The inspiration for those fantastic eight minutes was Gerry O’Malley. The sports reporters did their best but realised that even their superlatives fell short.      

Donal O’Carroll (Irish Independent)  “The unsurpassable Gerry O’Malley has done it again. His was a masterly exhibition ….” “The lion-hearted O’Malley” Jack Mahon.
Michael O’Callaghan in The Roscommon Herald, “Then incomparable Gerry O’Malley”.

It was his finest hour.

The pivotal incident in the game and one that is part of the folklore of O’Malley happened with Galway comfortably coasting towards victory leading by 2.6 to 1.4 when Aidan Brady, the Roscommon goalkeeper, swung off and broke the crossbar. After it was repaired and O’Malley now at midfield was involved in a quick Roscommon goal. Eventually with time almost up the scores were level Galway 2.9 Roscommon 3.6. Then O’Malley gets the ball and powers his way up-field past bewildered rivals and team-mates alike, the crowd now in a frenzy. An amazed Roscommon support willing him on, an amazed Galway support fearing the worst. A painters picture. Finally the release from O’Malley as he passes to Don Feely who calmly makes an angle and  drops the ball neatly between the uprights. The kick out and the game is over. Roscommon have won, a pandemonium of celebration by Roscommon supporters, stunned disbelief by Galway. No mad rush to the exits as people try to absorb it all. I was lucky. I was there.  

It was always the hope that Gerry would win an All-Ireland senior football medal but the closest he came to that was when he captained Roscommon in the 1962 All-Ireland final against Kerry which Kerry won comfortably with O’Malley having to retire injured. He did win an All-Ireland junior hurling medal with Roscommon in 1965 at St. Coman’s Park with a victory over Warwickshire.

I got to know Gerry well in recent decades and Boyle GAA people will remember him coming to GAA occasions in Boyle in 1995 where he attended a dinner after a hugely successful year for the club in ’94. He also participated in the opening of the new dressing rooms with John Joe Nerney in 2010 as remembered by the plaque there. He was a regular Roscommon supporter and a great St. Brigid’s one. This was the club he helped establish and was very proud the day they won the All-Ireland club title in 2013. He loved hurling which he played with great success with Four Roads Club, Roscommon and Connacht.
  He was a dedicated agricultural advisor and lived his last decades in Swords in North Dublin. He passed away in early January 2016 and is buried in Drum cemetery close to his Roscommon family home and the fields where he played as a boy.

*For Anyone Wishing to be Associated with the Gerry O’Malley Memorial
The community of Brideswell have initiated the process of remembering Gerry O’Malley appropriately in his native village and this is supported by extended community encompassed by the  St. Brigid’s club. They have extended their support appeal for their funding draw to the general Roscommon GAA community via the clubs. Boyle GAA Club Secretary Mary Clifford has received a number of books of those tickets costing €10 for a book of three. So anyone wishing to support the Gerry O’Malley Commemoration project can do so by contacting Mary or myself for that matter at 086 816 3399.  

Social Inequality
In a recent Vincent Browne T.V. programme there was a discussion on ‘social inequality’. There were varied responses on the subject.
Some time ago I was in University College Hospital Galway and witnessed the pretty chaotic and over-crowded casualty reception area there. It was disconcerting to say the least. I am in no way reflecting on the staff in this but on the environment in which they try and get best outcomes.
More recently I was in the Galway Clinic with its spacious reception arena. There was a grand piano centred in this with a lady playing her music from her music sheets.
Now if you wanted a pretty stark vista of social inequality the contrast between these two medical facilities would do the trick!
(Perhaps I am being a spoil-sport here but the pending wedding in Ashford Castle in Cong is gearing up for the Rory Mc Ilroy wedding to Erica Stoll tomorrow as I write. I remember weddings in The Royal Hotel in Boyle……social inequality is a fact of history but there are scales of it).  

Scannal T.V. programme on The Irish Hospitals Sweepstake
I was initially half-looking at this programme but got drawn into it. I got into it by seeing the scale of the irregularity of it and the degree of compliance and ‘nod and wink’  participation of the highest levels of Government and many sections of Irish society and its institutions. It was fronted by a particular family steeped in politics and was promoted and pushed in a number of countries though illegal in them. The presentation of the draws used/abused highly respected institutional groups such as the police and nurses. One very distasteful  draw involved two blind boys with their names labelled and pinned to their clothing. This was trying to reinforce the integrity to the draw while the reality was that it was rotten to the core. The reporter, Joe Mac Anthony, who broke the story initially had to leave the country to get gainful employment subsequently.  The hospitals which were to get the huge funding raised got minimal return. The Draw(!) ran from 1930 until 1987 when it went into liquation where the hundreds of employees –mostly women- got a raw deal in terms of redundancy. If it –the programme- is repeated I’ll study it better.
   Following in Joe Mac Anthony’s footsteps, Damian Corless has published a book called ‘The Greatest Bleeding Heart Racket in the World’.
Of course this could hardly happen her now!! Though the evidence of the recent ‘Console’ debacle or issues with Rehab might not be reassuring.
What about the current Irish National Lottery or the ridiculous T.V. questions at €2 a pop eg. Which of these is the capital of the U.K.? Tokyo, Ottawa or London?

We’ll leave it at that for this week.        
P.S. Best wishes to Boyle GAA girl club members playing on Roscommon teams next weekend. U-14: Aisling Feely. U-16: Kate Harrington, Megan McKeon and Saoirse Wynne. Minor: Sinead Glennon, Aine Mullins and Roisin Wynne.