Thursday, April 12, 2018

Update April 13th

The Good Friday Agreement April 10th 1998.
They really got a top cast for the celebration, if it could be one, for the God Friday Agreement signing of 20 years ago.
Fifteen minutes before five o'clock on Good Friday 1998, Senator George Mitchell was informed that his long and difficult quest for an Irish peace effort had succeeded. The Protestants and Catholics of Northern Ireland, and the governments of the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom, would sign the agreement that evening. It was a great achievement by George Mitchell then. Of course there was a big supporting cast with Bertie Ahern, Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, Tony Blair, John Hume and Seamus Mallon, David Tremble. The ace in the jigsaw was the U.S. President Bill Clinton who exercised his considerable influence when required to do so. There were ten differing groups whose requirements had to be considered. While it did not guarantee peace, stability or reconciliation it made it possible. The reasons for the present impasse of no Northern Ireland Government for the past fifteen months, would seem to be minor issues by comparison with those of ’98. As George Mitchell has said;       
“Keep this in mind: the solution to every human problem contains within itself the seeds of a new problem”.
The last time I wrote here I was after returning from a trip to Belfast. I have reflected on that trip and Belfast quite a number of times since then. Isn’t it almost incredible that there are more ‘Peace Walls’ now than there were in ’98. (A ‘Peace Wall’ is a wall which divides the Unionist community from the nationalist community). On my trip to Belfast in February I visited those walls and the areas synonymous with the troubles The Shankhill and The Falls. There I saw a multitude of murals on the gable ends of houses extolling the attributes of men from both sides who are local heroes in their communities though they would be regarded as killers by the opposing community. The ‘peace’ process started with a decommissioning of arms. How long will it be before there is a decommissioning of MURALS? I would be very pessimistic about anything like that happening for say 25 years. 
While the centre of Belfast is a business zone the dark cloud of ‘The Troubles’ permeates the air of the city and despite the Titanic Expo and the growing tourist and economic surge there is a long journey yet to be travelled by the city. And as suggested by Tommy Gorman on RTE News the present crop of politicians Foster, O’Neill, Coveney and Bradley hardly constitute a  reasonable ‘B’ team by comparison with those of ’98. Sad also to see in all of this the stark decline of the SDLP whose twin giants Hume and Mallon were so pivotal at that time.


Roscommon Progress
It has been a successful spring campaign for Roscommon football with promotion back to Division One after just one year. Also the winning of the Division Two title v Cavan in Croke Park and the entertaining style of it gave supporters a lift. The Connacht Championship is not too far away and Roscommon face the winners of the Leitrim v New York on the 26th of May. Leitrim are not going well at the moment and they will be really tested by New York. I have heard that former Boyle goalkeeper Tadgh Lowe has been doing very well as an outfield player in New York and will probably feature against Leitrim. Roscommon should win over whoever comes out of that game and go on to the Connacht Final against the winners of the Galway v Mayo game which takes place on Sunday May 13th. The clash of the great rivals Galway and Mayo looks set to be a real gladiatorial contest and one that will attract a huge crowd including a good few Roscommon people. 
Where the Connacht Final will take place is being debated and it seems as if Hyde Park has too much to do to reach the standards now required. This is  through health & safety, crowd management in terms of ‘ingress & egress’   meaning the safe entry of large numbers of supporters and the capacity of safe dispersal of that crowd in the event of an emergency. The tragedy of the Hillsborough disaster of ’89 has cast its shadow over event management in Connacht 29 years on! While the pitch at Hyde Park has been brought up to standard the surrounding infrastructure is away behind as those who have been to, say O’Connor Park in Tullamore, can testify.

Club Football
Boyle Sparkle in Abbey Park & Boyle v Strokestown on Sunday next.
Boyle play the first game of the Senior championship on Sunday next v Strokestown in Strokestown at 3.45. (It is preceded by an interesting game St. Faithleach’s v Michael Glavey's at 2). Boyle have won their two opening O’Rourke Cup games. The first was a close encounter with St. Croan’s in Ballintubber and the second was against St. Faithleach’s on Saturday evening last in Boyle. For the first 15 minutes or more of last Saturday’s game Boyle were frozen and went behind by 2.8 to Boyle’s single point. However they awoke from this nightmare to reach half time just 3 points in arrears with the score Boyle 2.7 St. Faithleach’s 2.10. Boyle took control in the second half and the game ended Boyle 5.13 St. Faithleach’s 3.14. The score line was like that of Roscommon v Cavan. It was good to see the return of a player I had not  seen for a while and him playing very well i.e. Ryan Finneran. Done Smith gave on of the best performances I ever remember seeing in the Abbey Park scoring 3.6. So I look forward to Sunday next.  Boyle have a second senior championship game v Western Gaels on Sunday the 22nd at 3.45 in Boyle.  Boyle are managed this year by Basil Mannion from St. Brigid’s assisted by Gerry Emmett.   
          Boyle Team: R. Kearney, B. Furey, D. Callaghan, Killian Cox, D. East (1-00), T. McKenna, R. Finneran (0-01), Kieran Cox (0-01), E. Smith (1-01), C. Goldrick, D. Smith (3-06), M. Hanmore, S. Kane (0-02), C. McKeon (0-02), M. O’ Donohoe.
Subs used: C. Beirne for Goldrick.
There are also two games in the Abbey Park on Saturday in the Intermediate C’Ship with Eire Og v St. Barry’s at 5 followed by Kilmore v Tulsk at 6.45.

Classic Champions League
Probably the television series of the winter for me has been The Champions League soccer. There has been tremendous drama in many of the games. Last night, Wednesday, saw Juventus come from 3 down to go level with Real Madrid in Madrid but a controversial  injury time penalty was dispatched with venom by Ronaldo to leave them qualifying for the semi-finals of a competition they have dominate recently.  In the second game Roma proved unlikely winners over the Messi led Barcelona. On Tuesday night Liverpool got through convincingly against Manchester City after an early scare. Again there was controversy as a ‘good’ City goal was disallowed. Liverpool’s classic first round, first half  performance which resulted in a 3 goal lead was the foundation of their victory. So tomorrow morning Friday will see one team from England, Spain, Italy and Germany (Bayern Munich) contest the semi-finals and they promise to continue the drama.    

The Masters Golf Tournament
I tuned into a good deal of the highlights of The Masters especially in that period when Rory McIlroy looked a contender. However nothing really went well for him on Sunday and fair play to Patrick Reed who dug out his victory despite the threat from Spieth and Fowler. I’m a bit surprised that the BBC allows itself to be shunted into ‘highlights’ for most of the tournament. If they decided to show all or none showing some bottle then perhaps those who master the declining game of golf might show respect to a medium which helped it get to an exalted position once.
As a collector of ‘spakes’ Peter Allis again came up trumps when referring to senior player Freddie Couples putting up a good showing. Allis described Couples with; “There may be snow on the roof but there is a fire in the grate”.   

Bob Carr Former Boyle Resident and GAA Activist
I am looking for what information I can get on Bob Carr who lived in the Boyle area in the ‘60s’. He had a saw mill out near Ardcarne. He was very involved in Boyle and Roscommon GAA through the sixties but I do not seem to remember him being here when I came in 1972. He had more of a grá for hurling I believe. He was from Offaly and the last I heard of him was of him being in a ’home’ in Tullamore. A Boyle GAA player from that era said of Bob “No truer Gael lived than Bob Carr”. So if you know something or someone who has information on Bob please contact me at 086 816 3399. 

Joe Brolly on the Late Late Show
It was different Joe Brolly to the usual jester on last Friday night’s Late Late Show. It was a sadder more reflective Joe as he talked about being an advocate for cystic fibrosis patients and what it was like growing up in Northern Ireland during the height of the Troubles. He also talked about taking in a person into his own home who was on the streets. How he mangers to spread his energy over such a broad spectrum of activity, professional and caring I don’t know.  I wonder has he ever turned up on Rehab & RTE’s ‘People of the Year’ Awards?   

Organ Donor Awareness Week 
Donor Awareness Week has taken place while I was away a short time ago. Indeed awareness of organ Donation does not have time boundaries but the week is used to raise Awareness of the huge benefits and hopefully expand the number of donors.

My good friend John Mac Phearson, related to me, some time ago, his personal experience of receiving a life enhancing organ donation, the Gift of Life, in 2011 when he was diagnosed with liver cancer. He expressed his huge gratitude to those who participated in the scheme and urged people to become involved by having a donor card.  One of its great proponents is the former Derry footballer and TV analyst Joe Brolly referenced above.  Joe has himself donated a kidney to a friend.

It must be one of the most noble acts imaginable for someone to donate a life enriching bodily organ to another person. Organ Donor Cards can also be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association  LoCall 1890 543639 or Freetext the word DONOR to 50050. Visit website It is now possible to store an organ donor card, the ‘ecard’ on Smart mobile phones.   Simply search for ‘Donor ECard’ at the IPhone Store or Android Market Place.

An Oddity
Recently at a small house party the conversation of a couple of us drifted into the ‘health and safety’ topic. My conversation colleague talked about being at a job requirement ‘Health and Safety’ course. He did some work in cable installation etc. One of the things mentioned by the course lecturer was the risk of Weil’s disease which originates in one of its manifestations from rodent urine. Why he mentioned it to me was that the lecturer also mentioned the unhygienic practise of people drinking direct from a bottle which may have been stored in sheds and unhygienic locations. As we were speaking I was drinking from a bottle…by the neck…..for the last time!     

Trip to London 1988.
A decade before the Northern Agreement St. Mary’s College had a re-union in Highgate in London at Easter 1988. The latter half of the eighties was one of those regular periods of depression leading to an emigration surge which is part of Irish social history. A lot of people from this area had moved to London looking for work. There had been a major St. Mary’s College Re-Union at Easter 1986 and with a number of people being home for the Christmas of ’87 and the idea emerged of having a second get-together this time in London. Hopefully I will be able to get to this in the next instalment here.     

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Update 8th February

The Vastly Differing Faces of  Belfast.
We have just returned from a trip to Belfast. I have been in Belfast for fleeting trips a short number of times down the years. So this time I gave it more time. In summary it is a city which is emerging from a long bleak period of convulsion. However that is now dissolving at least on the surface. It will take quite a while yet  for the scars to heal but for a visitor it has a lot to offer. The reason for the visit at this time was to attend TG4’s Gradam Ceoil Awards. A friend of ours, a notable Roscommon musician and personality, Patsy Hanley  was receiving a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ and a hard core of Roscommon traditional music followers were in attendance to applaud Patsy and show their support.  It meant forsaking the ‘Trip to Thurles’ and the late match drama there!  

The Waterfront and T.G. 4 Gradam Awards       
We arrived in Belfast in the early afternoon. The city does not bustle on Sundays but it means that one can get ones bearings more readily in that environment. Accidentally we wandered into the City Hall Museum. Its exhibition showcased the city’s journey with different zones. It is hugely impressive with a catalogue of famous personalities who have been born in the city including writers, musicians, inventors and especially sports people. While I will not list that many here as I was not taking any notes the musicians included Van Morrison and  James Galway; the sports icons were George Best, Alex Hurricane Higgins, Mike Gibson and boxers Freddie Gilroy, Johnny Caldwell and Rinty Monaghan, the poet Longley and many more.  All other areas of endeavour were treated similarly and it needed much more time to absorb appropriately.
We met some friends and had a lovely meal in the ‘Coppie Restaurant’ in St. Anne’s Square. That night it was to Belfast Waterfront Theatre for the Gradams event. There we met John Wynne, John Carty, John Carlos and Tommy Guihan and Matt Molloy and the talk was not of music at this stage but of the drama in Thurles. The Waterfront is obviously a very new and modern centre and was crowded with a happy bustling crowd, there to celebrate the achievements of their friends and immerse in  the best of traditional fare. The award to Patsy was presented by Matt Molloy, actor Stephen Rae to Colin Dunne and President Michael D. Higgins to Frankie Gavin. The whole show was being recorded and transmitted live by TG 4.  The President received a great welcome and it was obvious the event itself, being in Belfast for the first time of four, was seen as a landmark event for the traditional community and the city. A little like the All-Ireland Fleadh when in Derry a few short years ago.
There was an after show party where people socialised and were happy until late hours.

The Shankhill and Falls Road Murals
Monday broke bright and dry and we set off on a ‘Black Taxi’ tour with guide Joe who had vivid experience of ‘The Troubles’. He laid his colours to the mast by saying that he was telling it as HE saw it and that became very obvious in a short time. We were taken to the Shankhill and stopped in front of a mural of King William on his white horse and raised sword as he advanced in the Battle of the Boyne. Joe shot down the idea of a white horse, the raised sword and the impressive figure. It was an extended history lesson and as a former history teacher I was aware of a good deal of it. We were encouraged to walk around the block to view a number of other gable murals such as Lt. Col. Bucky McCullough and the more sinister Stevie ‘Top Gun’ Mc Keag. The ‘Top Gun’ title was as a tribute to the fact that he was ‘credited’ as having killed more Catholic/nationalists than any other Loyalist gunman! The ‘Top Gun’ and name appendage seems to have been photo-shopped from some representations on the internet.
If one had the odd inclination to view these murals on the internet they are a chilling reminder of those terrible years when such appalling acts were regular.
After the Shankhill we were taken to the ‘Peace Walls’ as they are euphemistically called. These divide the two opposing communities. And to our surprise our guide told us that some were still being built! They consist of say 30 foot high concrete which were not able to defend from missiles being thrown over them so they added say 15 foot sheets of corrugated iron to which they had later to add say 10 feet of mesh fence. Even at that some houses close to the wall had to have their own meshed defence. There are still gates that are opened in the morning and closed in the evening.
After the Shankhill we were taken to The Falls area and the murals here were dominated by Republican imagery and especially the Hunger Strikers. Top of the league here is Bobby Sands with the signature ‘Poet, Gaeilgeoir, Revolutionary, IRA Volunteer’. The fact that he was also an M.P. is not used. 
Our next stop was at the Bombay Street and Clonard Memorial Garden to dead Republican Volunteers and interestingly extends to the names of civilians killed by opposing forces of varying hues during the troubles. Bombay Street was a street gutted by Loyalists in the early days while Clonard Monastery was the home of Father Reid who was a very early peacemaker. There is so much history in these streets. We were told that there are many of these ‘Memorial Gardens’ throughout the city.         
It is only as I write that the, despair, hatred and cruelty of what happened in many parts of Northern Ireland casts its depressing shadow. We here in Southern Ireland have no idea of what went on in places like The Falls Road and The Shankhill two areas so close to each other. An irony as well that it was mainly working class people who got caught up in the maelstrom. Progress might be mirrored by how long these murals-relics to wholescale killing- remain and that could be quite a while.  It was good though that when I asked the guide if it could possibly reignite he was very confident that it would not. The new generation who basically know only peace now would not countenance it as a new mind-set and a new prospering environment shows Belfast in the positive light of prosperity and optimism. This is enriched by the huge growth in tourism and an outward perspective. 

The Titanic Exhibition
The attraction which has the tourists flocking to Belfast is ‘The Titanic Experience’. It really is a magnificently presented  exhibition. All facets of the great liner's short life are shown in detail by a varying array of modern technology. It is ironic I suppose that a city’s rebirth owes a great deal of emerging life to the death of its most famous ship.  We were there for three hours but one could roster for another visit. It is divided into 9 segments; such as Boomtown Belfast of the Industrial Age/The Shipyard/ The Launch/ The Fit Out/ The Maiden Voyage/ The Sinking/ The Aftermath/ Myths and Reality/ and the Titanic remains on the sea bed. There are visitor stand-out elements during this such as a short cable- car-type swirl around the furnace and a stop where one feels like he is moving from one deck to another.

Coming shortly is another experience based on the hugely popular television series ‘Game of Thrones’ part of which is filmed in Northern Ireland but with its production headquarters in Belfast.
So I would certainly recommend a visit to Belfast perhaps away from peak season when cruise liners et all visit. Belfast is not a very large city and one can get to grips with it pretty quickly. Cost wise as someone I know says after (Southern) Ireland costs few places come across as very expensive. There is a boom in hotel building with some eight in the process. There were a number of things I might have done such as the city tourist bus ride, also the walking tour and so on.  I had been lazy in my prep work so it would be advisable to research or enquire regarding the sights which would be recommended. 
The Murals though kind of haunt me in a negative way.


Congratulations again to Paul Young and Cartoon Saloon  for them winning at the Annie Awards  in Los Angeles last week-end with their Best Animated Feature — Independent
‘The Breadwinner’.   

Boyle Celtic
Fortunes turned a full cycle for Boyle Celtic last week-end at Lecarrow  when they lost 5 to 1 v St. Peter’s Athlone. Boyle had a very impressive similar win the previous week v Castlerea Celtic. This week there is a very important game in the Connacht Cup v St. Bernard’s of Galway City.


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Update 23rd January

Treating the Robins.

Few wild birds are as close to domesticity as the Robin. I’ll give her a her and a capital R. here, if you don’t mind, out of respect. For some years now at this time of year a number of Robins call to my raised back patio. They have an expectation of being welcomed and treated well. Hopefully they are not disappointed. Each morning I donate a few spoonful’s of porridge for their breakfast. They are near eating out my hand and we exchange the salutations of the day. Natural instincts are just amazing. Many times there is not a Robin to be seen but when feeding time comes they just emerge from, wherever. Of course when I am a bit late they arrive pecking at the empty feeding bowl and staring in the window kind of chastising me for my lapse. The Robin must be a brave soul as it tries its best to defend its territory from other larger predators and even has dust ups with its own kind. Keeping the feed solely for the Robin is a challenge at times as the blackbird and occasionally the magpie have got in on the act now. The robin will peck and fly a short distance and return regularly. She is not one to gorge but eats in steady portions.  
The Robin quickly appears also when one has the spade or other implement and they follow your course seeing the possibility of the odd worm.  The Robin’s red breast is traditionally regarded as having sprung from its attendance at Calvary when a splash of blood marked it distinctively. It is suggested that this happened when the Robin pulled a thorn from Christ's brow.
Certain birds down the aeons of  time were often caged for amusement. I suppose some still are. A poet once wrote of the Robin in this situation “A Robin redbreast in a cage/Puts all heaven in a rage”. I remember Pat Feely at an occasional party relating the monologue of ‘Who Killed Cock Robin’ . ‘Not I’ was the response of a succession of suspects.  
I look forward to seeing my cheeky Robins giving me the eye and suggesting that I get on with the chore of their feeding which I am happy to do. They deserve that for the diversion of their pretentious presence.   

Robbie Burns Scotland’s National Poet.
Thursday of last week, January 18th , was Rabbie Burns Night, the annual celebration of the great Scottish poet who has given us some of the iconic poems of the English language. Nearly everyone will have recited/sang and shed a tear in doing so with his New Year’s Eve rallying call ‘For Auld lang syne’ (for the sake of old times)
Robert Burns, also known as Rabbie Burns, Ploughman Poet, is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland and is celebrated worldwide.
He was born on  January 25, 1759 in Alloway Scotland and died on July 21, 1796 in Dumfries aged just 37.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

Chorus - For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll take a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

His great love poem/song and an inspiration to many like Bob Dylan is…

A Red, Red Rose

O my Luve's like a red, red rose
That's newly sprung in June;
O my Luve's like the melodie
That's sweetly play'd in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I:
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry:

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun:
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.

And fare thee well, my only Luve
And fare thee well, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho' it were ten thousand mile.

Amongst the notable stand out quotes from Burns, regularly adapted, is the following  

“The best laid schemes o' mice an' men Gang aft a-gley, An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain For promis'd joy”.

As can be seen ‘O’ Mice and Men’ was used by my overall favourite  writer John Steinbeck for a novel of the same name in the 30s’.  Many Boyle people may remember this as a New York Broadway play transmitted to the screen in Carrick starring Chris O’Dowd and James Franco in April 2014.  

Shane McGowan at 60
Since I am in the literary vein I see that another poet/song-writer with similarities to Rabbie Burns i.e. Shane McGowan celebrated his 60th birthday last week January 15th.  He was actually born on Christmas Day 1957. The concert took place at the National concert Hall  organised by his friends to mark the occasion. It was a celebration to mark this notable birthday since it was widely felt back the years that Shane might not make a significant birthday of any consequence due to his lifestyle where drink and excess was dominant. (I go on a related diversion here; I have a friend, a Roscommon town legend, named T. Hill. A few years ago he visited his doctor’s centre and was met by a new doctor to him. T. enquired  about his former doctor whom he had not seen for a number of years at this stage. ‘Oh he died some five years ago’ answered his now doc, ’Any particular reason why you ask?’ ‘Well he was the doctor who told me fifteen years ago that I wouldn’t make another five if I did not make drastic changes to MY lifestyle’ replied T.)
Anyway Shane has made 60 in the company of his patient and tolerant partner Victoria Mary Clarke. Once when the members of  'The Pogues' could no longer tolerate Shane’s erratic behaviour they fired him from the band to which Shane stoically responded ‘What took you so long?’   

While ‘Fairytale of New York’ is the dominant song of the airwaves  Shane has been the author of a number of other fine songs such as ‘Rainy Day in Soho which I transfer to below. I’ll paste a verse of a favoured Dodd’s session song first;        

Sally MacLennane sung from time to time by Francis Gaffney.

We walked him to the station in the rain
We kissed him as we put him on the train
And we sang him a song of times long gone
Though we knew that we'd be seeing him again (Far away)
Sad to say I must be on my way
So buy me beer and whiskey cause I'm going far away (far away)
I'd like to think of me returning when I can
To the greatest little boozer and to Sally MacLennane

If Burns’s love song is ‘Red Red Rose’ Shane’s Rainy Night in Soho is a fine song in a similar vein.  


I've been loving you a long time
Down all the years, down all the days
And I've cried for all your troubles
Smiled at your funny little ways
We watched our friends grow up together
And we saw them as they fell
Some of them fell into Heaven
Some of them fell into Hell

I took shelter from a shower
And I stepped into your arms
On a rainy night in Soho
The wind was whistling all its charms
I sang you all my sorrows
You told me all your joys
Whatever happened to that old song
To all those little girls and boys

Sometimes I wake up in the morning
The ginger lady by my bed
Covered in a cloak of silence
I hear you in my head
I'm not singing for the future
I'm not dreaming of the past
I'm not talking of the first time
I never think about the last

Now the song is nearly over
We may never find out what it means
Still there's a light I hold before me
You're the measure of my dreams
The measure of my dreams

I really like the repetition in the last two lines, like Frost with ‘I have miles to go before I sleep and miles to go before I sleep’ in ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’.

The Passing of Dolores
As I write Limerick bids farewell to their iconic singer Dolores O’Riordan. Barry Egan in the Sunday independent Living Supplement wrote “(It is) heart-breaking to imagine Dolores O‘Riordan’s short, brilliant life is truly over. Heart-breaking to think that she is gone forever, this beautiful young woman with more talent in her little finger than a dozen Beyonces, this voice of a generation who could sing like an angel with a damaged wing soaring over Mount Olympus”. I do not know enough to comment on the talent or music and songs of Dolores so I rely on her friend Barry to be the voice of commendation.

*The Robin outside my window has ushered me down the road the ‘View’ has taken today and leaves a small list of subjects that I meant to touch on for another day, perhaps. Today I’m being indulgent. ‘Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both …’ and all that.

I’ll make one exception though with my final paragraph. I don’t want the meringue to get stale.

Boyle Celtic Shine Under the Southern Lights
For the first 45 minutes of this Roscommon League game in Lecarrow, on a cold Saturday night, Boyle Celtic were in the doldrums against table toppers Castlerea Celtic. Castlerea played with speed, quality and threat in that first half and finished 2 goals up at the break. One would have to be a real optimist to suggest a dramatic turnaround. This encouraged a member of the significant Castlerea support to ask of one the meagre Boyle support, ‘How did Boyle get to where they did in competitions last year?’ By the end of the game the Boyle supporter had a gilded answer but his side-line adversary had left before the referee had called the final curtain.
In the second half a revitalised Boyle had awoken from their slumber to play champagne football and after five minutes or so it was 2 all and shortly after 3 to 2 for Boyle. Boyle were now playing with style and determination and continued to the end by which time the score had reached Boyle 6 Castlerea 2.  For the partisan 8 or 9 Boyle supporters it was ridiculously entertaining, a performance and game which those 8/9 will remember for some time and smile at the recollection.
Boyle Kyle Sweeney/ Dessie Carlos/ John Connolly Capt./ Sean Purcell 1/ Gerard McDermotroe/ Ml. Corrigan 2/ Danny Browne 1 penalty/ Aaron Calpin/Shane Battles/ Niall Brennan/ Dylan Edwards 2  with Luka Roddy/ Brian McCrann/ Lochlainn Conboy/ Lee McKilleen/ Martin Doherty. Manager Darren Hurd.
(Boyle are 4th in the League which Castlerea still lead with two games more played. The favourites to challenge Castlerea at this stage are St. Peter’s Athlone but ‘there is many a slip twixt cup and lip’.  If Boyle can consistently replicate the form of last Saturday night then they could get in the mix. A key game is the return game against St. Peter’s who won the first one by 1 to 0 also at Lecarrow. The Roscommon and District website has much detail on the progress of the games in the games including leading goal scorers with Ml. Corrigan in second place and Dylan Edwards in third).



Thursday, January 11, 2018

Update 11th January

·       While 2018 will be the Centenary of a number of events in the 26 counties it can be regarded I feel as the 50th Anniversary year of the Northern Ireland ‘Troubles’… 50 years … imagine!
·       • I had intended to refer to the Christmas Quiz – which I set too hard- but may do so next time.
·       • As I expected there were a number of names –some very obvious!- which were not on our Christmas Wishes list. Must do better.
·       • A highlight of my year the Sitges trip.

 Young Scientist of the Year
There are a number of events that bookmark the year as it progresses. The current one is The Young Scientist of the Year. I only attended once when a family friend had a project on display there. It was a pretty impressive occasion and it seems as if that is consistent through the years. There have been impressive winners also with quite a number cropping up in subsequent years at advanced levels in their respective fields. I am not aware of outstanding projects from this region but perhaps that is just my perception. There are many areas which have a wide spread for investigation especially the environment and its abuse by, I suppose, all of us. So on Saturday we will see the winners and their projects but I imagine many students will visit the RDS to get an overview and hopefully they will be inspired by some of what they see there.

The GAA in a Turbulent Time
The County Conventions and AGMs are mostly over with the major annual GAA Annual Conference remaining i.e. Annual Congress. A Boyle motion regarding a sensitive issue of the moment was passed at Roscommon Convention and should be discussed at Congress. The motion is as follows;
“That Cumann Luth Chleas Gael do not renew nor enter contracts with television companies that require ‘pay per view’ for coverage of our national games after the current contract expires”. Sky is probably the TV company most in the sights of such a motion.
Clann na nGael had a similar motion but it was withdrawn in favour of the Boyle motion. In last Sunday’s Independent Joe Brolly gave an incisive outline of his views on the march of Sky and its potential dominance of sports coverage with the attendant spread of a Sky sports culture and influence. Joe Brolly’s article looks to be really well researched and those who go to Congress and speak on the Boyle motion will do well to study it. If the GAA with all its traditions, cultural philosophy and being rooted in the wide community cannot resist the March of a Sky culture and its dominance then it indicative of the power of the great multi-nationals with their huge financial resources. (I’ll try and deal with some of the GAA issues into the future as they get some cohesion in my head).
A further issue emerged last Saturday with a Martin Brehony article regarding the criteria stipulated for a person seeking the position of Director General to succeed Paraic Duffy. The GAA has now extended the deadline for applications to Jan. 19th. The power of the pen and a bit of common sense.

The Golden Globes
What a great achievement it was for young Carlow actress Saoirse Ronan to win the Golden Globe Award for best actress in a musical or comedy for her role in the coming-of-age story, Ladybird.
While London Irishman with very strong Irish connections, Martin McDonagh's 'Three Billboard's Outside Ebbing Missouri' won four awards, including best film, and best screenplay.
Also nominated for a gong was Paul Young’s Cartoon Saloon’s ‘Breadwinner’ .
Meanwhile the majority of women wore black to the Golden Globe awards to highlight sexual harassment in the industry.
Hundreds of actors, writers and directors have signed up to the ‘Times Up’ campaign calling for new laws to tackle the issue.
Comedian Seth Meyers opened the ceremony by saying "Welcome ladies and remaining gentlemen".
Also on the night Oprah Winfrey on receiving an award for her extensive range of media skills and achievements used the occasion to give a powerful speech on various issues of the moment. It is being suggested that the speech was an opening salvo in her possible run for President of the United States.  

Observations on Some Television Programmes
I may watch too much television. I like to think though that I am pretty selective! There is a whole swathe of television programmes that I avoid with due diligence. Amongst those are ‘the soaps’. (Why are they called soaps? Ans. Because they were originally sponsored by soap producing companies).  My self-indulgence lies with Champions League soccer. In the latter months of the ’17 there was a good deal of excellent games from the Premier League in England also.  
Over Christmas I watched Shane again. It must be nearly a score of times I’ve seen that western classic which first came to the screens in 1952 with Alan Ladd and the bad guy Wilson played by Jack Palance. I watched ‘The Big Country’ not for Charlton Heston who I avoid, since his famous ‘From these dead hands’ speech to the N.R.A. in the U.S. It was for the performance of Burl Ives as Rufus Hannassey in opposition to Charles Bickford’s Major Tyrell. Burl Ives was also a popular singer and I seem to remember, when I was a boy, him singing Big Rock Candy Mountain.
There were a good few quizzes on tv and with University Challenge and others being dumbed down they were entertaining.
With the advance in technology making it easy to record a programme and view it when convenient there is no need to miss a programme that interests you. That happened with the Monday night RTE transmission of ‘Micko’ on the life and football career of Mick O’Dwyer. It was in many ways subdued as it outlined his fierce commitment to Gaelic games first as an outstanding player himself and then as the most successful Gaelic football team trainer ever. It was sad to see what time does to us all in his decline and muted speech. Still it was not one of those boring undiluted patronising programmes of the man as is often the case. So having it recorded I will watch again at a more studied pace.
Having regularly recommended viewing the series on The Vietnam War the one I have begun to watch now is ‘The House of Saud’. It deals with the Royal House of Saudi Arabia and its influence in contemporary history of the Middle East. That region is being shredded by complicated conflicts where the toxic mix of religion and tradition are to the fore. (In this country we know a bit about that). UNESCO, which includes the Ancient City of Aleppo on its World Heritage List, describes it as having "exceptional universal value because it represents medieval Arab architectural styles that are rare and authentic”. Thousands have been killed there and a city that was one of the jewels of The Middle East has been brought to rubble. The conflict and destruction seems as if it will continue for decades as the divisions are so deep rooted.  (Northern Ireland 50 years)  

Barry McElduff M.P. West Tyrone
A Sinn Fein MP has been suspended by his party for three months for posting a social media video of himself balancing a loaf of Kingsmill bread on his head on the anniversary of the Kingsmill massacre of ‘76. West Tyrone MP Barry McElduff said he accepted the sanction imposed by an embarrassed Sinn Fein leadership! He claims; “He had not realised or imagined for a second any possible link between the product brand name and the Kingsmill Anniversary”. Would you believe that? He is in the category of the clown that can ruin a party or the Leitrim footballer who, a number of years ago, mentioned a bomb at Kennedy airport in some sensitive area. Only that his gimmick can cause so much hurt and reinforce the bitterness that is taking so long to subside in Northern Ireland. McElduff is an M.P. so being suspended for three months does not impinge on that since Sinn Fein M.P.s’ do not attend there anyway. There is a school of thought that suggests that they should at this opportune time. Indeed the suspension of political presence at the N.I. parliament at Stormont must be a big issue for the weary community in the North from all sides.
The Kingsmill massacre took place on 5 January 1976, when IRA gunmen stopped a minibus in rural south Armagh and murdered ten Protestant workmen. Alan Black was the only survivor, despite being shot 18 times. A Catholic workman also survived being picked out by the gunmen and allowed to go on his way.
Karen Bradley has been named as the new Northern Ireland Secretary of State. She takes over from James Brokenshire who has stepped down for health reasons!

Bereavements Over the past Week
In the weeks after Christmas there seems to be more bereavements than at other times. I do not know if that stacks up but it seems to have validity this week.  
Paddy Mulvey the great Shannon Gaels clubman for decades was laid to rest in Drumlion Cemetery on Sunday. Paddy was aged 88 and originally played with Elphin and Boheroe before coming to the Shannon Gaels area in the early 60s’. With them he was a jack of all trades as player, selector, pitch organiser, trainer of many under-age teams, taxi man for teams, custodian of team jerseys, county team selector, delegate to County Board, Secretary of Northern Board, Scor organiser and more. A number of years ago, in 2011, the GAA nationally awarded Paddy with its equivalent of their Medal of Honour by the Association’s President, Christy Cooney. There was a huge crowd at his funeral on Sunday and quite a few amusing stories were swapped about Paddy’s interaction with referees, opposing teams and their managers and his running of various meetings especially of the North board. (Another constituency would be familiar with Paddy from their attendance at Bingo in the Patrician Hall, Cortober).  Paddy was of course unique and there are very few surviving of his like in the Association.

On Monday I attended the funeral of Diarmuid O’Donovan who had been a teacher in the Mercy Convent. I did not know him very well but I was influenced by Micheal O’Callaghan in that. Once at a small funeral in Assylinn, I, in some way, asked Micheal how he happened to be attending there and I paraphrase his answer,  ‘I knew it would be a small funeral. The great can have their great funerals but this person was also a Boyle man and I wasn’t for forgetting that’.

On Wednesday we attended at the home of the Brennan family mourning the death of the wife and mother of the house Bernadette. It was not long ago that I watched on Television a telling documentary as her husband Jackie cared for her in their home.

On today’s realboyle I see notice of the death of Pat Malone husband of Frances Grehan. Pat has been a regular visitor to Boyle down the years and I often met him and enjoyed his company. A true, kind and jovial Dub.

Also there is the notice of the death of Ted (Timothy) Brennan of Manorhamilton;  Lisserdrea, Boyle and Melbourne the father of Maureen Carty and grandfather of James and Maggie. I had met Ted just a couple of times. On one of those occasions we talked of his being in Australia and a big construction job inland. There was reference in our talk to Snowy Mountain. I was to meet him again but I didn’t.  There is a poem in my head submerged dealing with that theme. Perhaps it will have surfaced for the next time I visit here.  So since I like to add the occasional few verses I will add one of the fourteen verses of an iconic Australian poem which Ted would have been aware of.   

The Man from Snowy River

There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around

That the colt from old Regret had got away,

And had joined the wild bush horses - he was worth a thousand pound,

So all the cracks had gathered to the fray.

All the tried and noted riders from the stations near and far

Had mustered at the homestead overnight,

For the bushmen love hard riding where the wild bush horses are,

And the stock-horse snuffs the battle with delight.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Update 20th December

Ciaran Conlon and family/ Paraic Sweeney & Sarah/ Conor Nangle/ Enda, Jacquie and Emer O’Callaghan/ Seamie Gallagher/ Damien Keenehan/ Ciaran Keenehan/Clodagh Egan from Green St. in Sydney/Ger. O’Gara and clan including Joan and honorary Boyle man, Sean Casey/ Joseph Moran in Sydney/ Jenny Jessop (O'Dowd) from Abbeytown/ Dr. Timothy O'Dowd/ Benny Sheerin, Sydney.

The U.S.
Damien Dooley/ Frankie Flaherty/ Marcus Kennedy/ Joseph Mahon/ Brendan O’Callaghan/ Chris O’Dowd/ Doirbhle O'Dowd/ Austin and Paraic Beisty/ The Spellman family x Forest View/ Pat and Margaret Lavin also x Forest View now/ Niall Mc Crann  /Pat and Peter Nicholson/ Arnold Gaffney, Boston/ Hillary and Kenneth Beirne.  (I’m sure there are many more but….)

Tadgh Egan/ Sean Mullaney/ Miss Compton/ Dearbhaile Mac Namara in Toronto/ Dr.Patrick Nicholson, formerly Sheegora now in Toronto.

Caoimhin Young/ Killian (with a K) Egan/ John Harrington/ Gary Tiernan/ Nicky Emmett/Sarah Mullaney/ John O'Dowd from Abbeytown/ Niall Greenan/ Christy and Jim Toolan, London.

Liam Young & family /Rory Nangle.

James Candon in Brussels

Germany and Belgrade
The Gannon family Belgrade/ Michael and Maria Kelly and family in Munich/ Gareth Gilmartin.

Sean Young & family/ John & Joan Gallagher and family, thanks again for your hospitality in October./ Gavin, Declan and Anthony in various places.

Mattie Scott in sunny Portugal.

Paddy Conlon stationed in The Gulf temporarily/ Darren Dockery, the Gulf!/ Neil Nangle in Bahrain.

Abu Dhabi
Ronan Smith and Gratiana Lyons, Maple Drive (home for Christmas)

South Africa
Carmel Finneran.

Fr. Tony Conry.

Kate Gilmartin coming home for Christmas.

Catriona Moran and family. 

New Zealand
Elisabeth Hemi Taute (Sweeney) husband and son Cian in N.Z. 

                         Christina Marnell daughter of Marie Paul also in New Zealand.

(Above is just a guesstimate as to Boyle people in far flung places. We would like very much to have a comprehensive list so if people let us know we will add names to the record).

Boyle Celtic Back on Track Connacht Cup Boyle Celtic 4 Galway Hibernians 2 at Lecarrow.
Boyle Celtic with a very good second half performance on Sunday last showed many of the qualities which were so evident last season. This was a key game being in the knock-out tournament the Connacht Cup against Galway Hibernians in Lecarrow. At half time things were still problematic as Hibernian pushed forward with determination and led by 2 goals to 1 at half time. The Boyle goal came from an excellent header by Ml. Corrigan. Shortly into the second half the switch of Martin Doherty to the right side, the introduction of Jake McCrann and the more forward role of Dylan Edwards saw Boyle come good. A cracking long range goal from Gerard Mc Dermotroe levelled things and Boyle were going up the gears. Dylan Edwards added a third goal with a brilliant mazy run which would have graced any level, 3 : 1 to Boyle. While Hibernian tried hard to get back in the game Boyle secured the points in emphatic fashion with a fantastic goal from a free by Gerard McDermotroe close to the end. Gerard had shown this great dead ball skill regularly last season.
So they now break until the new year when, if they can repeat the quality of their second half performance, they should certainly be more consistent than heretofore.  

"Banged Up Abroad"
Many of you will be familiar with the series of that name or at least what it means. On Monday’s online edition of the Independent there was a telling story of Tyrone footballer Dean McNally on a stag party in las Vegas and what happened to him. I’ll just suggest that you check it out as it is too long to sum up here.  

An Post   
There are confusing reports coming from An Post these days. On the one hand there is a surge of package mail through online shopping and a fall-off in letters due to email. I am a regular user of An Post for letters/books etc. and I find that An Post have contributed themselves to the downturn through charges which are steep. I sent a medium sized book to Dublin a couple of weeks ago and it cost me 8 or 9 euro. A tad dear I would have thought. I believe in doing that rather than having the said book getting a sun tan inside the back window of the car for months waiting until I meet up with the person.
Christmas cards to the U.K. and U.S.A. €1.35 I think. The same price and so on. The post has been a huge community service for over a century and a half so it is a pity that it is under pressure.   

Roscommon People Highlights
On last week’s Roscommon People there was a series of mini interviews with a number of people regarding their favourite sporting moment of the year, sportsman of the year and so on. Now if I was nominating such I might have followed Athleague Camogie player Kelley Hopkins (a new name in Athleague to me) who nominated Kerry’s  precocious Gaelic player at minor level David Clifford. I have seen some young Gaelic stars in my time and until this summer I had Michael Finneran aged 16/17/18 of Ballinagare as my number one but David Clifford was majestic this season. 

I digress to cricket here. When the Olympics went to Sydney in 2000 there was a case to have cricketer Don Bradman light the Olympic Torch because he was Australia’s greatest ever sportsman. Cricket of course was not an Olympic sport. In nearly all sports there are arguments regarding the number one-Messi v Ronaldo- but what put Bradman on the lunar pinnacle is that he stands so far ahead of the second person.  Bradman’s Test batting average stands at 99.94 runs in tests while in second place is the Indian god of cricket Sachin Tendulkar who stands at 55.44. Why I go to that analogy is that David Clifford similarly is so far ahead of any player his age that I’ve seen. I look forward to him in the future. He carries a huge expectation.  

Miriam Kerins Columnist
Since I have referenced the Roscommon People one of the most energetic columnists that I tune into from time to time plies her trade there. Last week Miriam covered Mister Jack Brennan’s telling contribution on the RTE programme on the challenges facing Carers. Miriam Kerins tells it as she sees it in a very forthright manner. A couple of weeks ago she reminded us that Mel Gibson was not the benign character he seems in ‘Daddy’s Home 2’. And so it goes. 
So if I was chairing say Brendan O’Connor’s ‘The Cutting Edge’ and was in charge of the panel for a week or so Miriam would be there with Joe Brolly, Gerry Emmett and Eamonn Sweeney. It’s a sports ‘Edge’ that week Miriam so I hope that is ok with you.  Being a Dub. I imagine it would.  

The Season of Dickens
I often associate many of the books of Dickens with Christmas. In the magical ‘A Christmas Carol’ there is an enduring relevance in the character of Ebenezer Scrooge. Indeed in every book of Dickens there are memorable characters. The list would include;

Ebenezer Scrooge (A Christmas Carol)/Uriah Heep (David Copperfield)/ Estella (Great Expectations)/ Joe Gargery (Great Expectations)/ Bill Sikes and Nancy in Oliver/Pip in Great Expectations/ Mr Pickwick (The Pickwick Papers)/Micawber (David Copperfield)/Miss Havisham (Great Expectations). 
There are many more. From my list there are four from my favourite of all books Great Expectations. I suppose my favouring of Great Expectations is reinforced by my exposure to it as the classic film by David Lean in the late forties. Dickens was the greatest ever story teller. The most popular early representation of a coach and horses on many Christmas cards, which I well remember and continues a little, may have been inspired by his writing.  

Great Sports Books
We are really spoiled with a selection of great sports books this year. It is a bit of a mantra of mine which says if  book does not carry you on, then leave it as there are millions of books that will. We have had a number of banal sports books of course where top names like Coady, Shevlin and perhaps The Gooch this year trade on their names and profiles and produce  disappointing books. However at this year’s end there seems to be, if the widespread reviews are valid, some riveting sports books.     

I’ve mentioned the sports books of the year some weeks back and it seems as if the ones that are getting the top reviews consistently include ‘The Choice’, Philly McMahon with Niall Kelly (Gill Books). A gripe here is that Philly gives no credit or mention to the ‘ghost’ writer Nially Kelly. 
A book that is getting rave reviews is ‘Centaur’ and is a possible William Hill Sports Book of the Year. It is by jockey Declan Murphy who was close to death after a fall.
“Coping with your own death, when you are not yet dead, is a strange thing... This is a story of triumph, fear, love and loss, by turns primal, heart-breaking and inspirational, and ultimately, it is the story of hope, and of life”.
The one I will probably go for initially is ‘The Warrior’s Code: My Autobiography, Jackie Tyrell with Christy O’ Connor. O’Connor wrote an award winning book called The Club some years ago. This one is the first real glimpse inside the Kilkenny hurling dynasty and I am tuned into that. 

Other worthy titles include The Ascent: Séan Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation, Barry Ryan (Gill Books); Form: My Autobiography, Kieran Fallon with Oliver Holt (Simon & Schuster UK) and The Pursuit of Perfection: The Life, Death and Legacy of Cormac McAnallen, by Donal McAnallen, published by Penguin Ireland.

An Irish Political Leonardo da Vinci 
In googling through Ministers and Junior Ministers for a quiz question for next week I came across an astonishing Irish politician -who I had never heard of- by the name of Pat Breen. Pat is listed as;    
‘Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise and Innovation, the Department of Employment and Social Protection, the Department of the Taoiseach and the Department of Justice and Equality with special responsibility for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection’.

Not since Ray Burke, in the final days of Brian Cowan, have I seen such capability and range! 

The passing of two Boyle Ladies.

Mary Daly R.I.P.
Surrounding Christmas is always a particularly sad time for a family bereavement. There were two such bereavements in Boyle within the last week.  
The death occurred last week of Mary Daly of Plunkett Avenue. Mary was predeceased some time ago by her husband PJ. I remember Mary as being an activist with Boyle Scouts of which her sons were members. I was told that she was also a member of Foroige and a Boyle Celtic supporter.  I met her  down the years when she worked in Mick Gilmartin’s Three Counties and in Feighan’s Newsagents. She was always a pleasant and courteous lady. She will be sadly missed by her sons Martin and Phillip, who I have known for many years, and her extended family.

Frances McGee R.I.P. 
The death also occurred of Frances McGee (nee Beatty). Mrs. McGee with her husband Paddy was a founder of Marians Fashions, an iconic Boyle ladies fashion outlet, in 1954. I came to a bustling busy town which was Boyle in 1972. Marians was known the country over and had a top reputation for ladies fashion for all occasions. Boyle, particularly then, was a great shopping town and had a wide catchment area. Marians contributed greatly to that. That reputation has stood the test of time by consistently retaining the highest standards and presentation.
I always saw her as ‘Marian’ personifying her own place and not Frances. She was an iconic figure as she walked the short distance from her home on the Crescent to her shop. She was a formidable lady, a great innovator and supporter of the town. The Chairman of Boyle Chamber of Commerce, Michael Keville, pays Mrs. McGee a worthy tribute in the Boyle Notes of the Roscommon Herald. 
My sympathy to both the Daly and McGee families at this time.  

News Headlines
The story of the questionable reading and now review of over 40 thousand scans in a Tralee Hospital is top of the news this evening Wednesday. Now I have a question? How was it that a single (it appears) radiologist in a Tralee Hospital had over 40,000 scans to work on over a period of I think 18 months, March ’16 to July ’17. As they say in the U.S. ‘do the Math.’ 40. 000 divided by 18 months = 2,222 i.e. 555 per week. Even our Da Vinci, Pat Breen would be challenged with that. 
The other constant theme is to do with homelessness - 8,100 including 3,000 children; tracker mortgages, rising rents, the lack of prospect of young people buying a house, especially in Dublin.
Now if I am here in Dec. 2018 I doubt that this housing story will be much different. Perhaps Eoghan Murphy will do a runner as Simon Coveney did. 

I’ll leave it at that for now.           

I wish you all a Happy Christmas and 2018.

Drink Responsibly. Drive Safely. Never Drink and Drive.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Update 12th December

It’s that time of year…. again.  Boyle GAA Quiz will take place on Wednesday Dec. 27th in St. Joseph’s Hall from 8 (sharp) to 10.15 not so sharp. There will also be some presentations to Snr., Jnr and U 20 Players of the Year and ‘Hall of Fame’.  Do whatever the ‘Whats Apping’ thing is re. spreading the word. 

Boyle Celtic: Connacht Cup….Sunday next at Boyle at 2 against Galway Hibs

The Big Freeze
The Met office personnel have become the new kids on the block and ‘celebs’ of the T.V. screen this winter. After their win with Storm Ophelia they are out front again with the freeze of the week-end. While it not possible to quantify they have in all probability saved lives. The warnings and recommendations are out there early now, loud and clear. So the Met. Service does just that with good direction for coming days. So no need to watch which the goat is facing. And if there are people who wish to ignore them- as at Salthill during Storm Ophelia- then there isn’t much more that can be done.

The Morning Car Challenge
Keeping the car ready for morning take-off is a challenge. Over time I have adopted a few practises that help. From the bottom up they would be; (c) instead of newspaper on the windscreen try a plastic turf/fertiliser bag. Lock it in place with upright windscreen wipers. That will give a visual windscreen but the rest will have to come with car heating (b) the windscreen foil cover which is available in many shops. This will give you a full as opposed to partially clear windscreen with the plastic bag. It can be locked on with the doors closing over the flaps. (a) the real deal is the full car cover which looks after all windows and gives full visibility when taken off. It may be a bit of a struggle for one person to place this over the car and secure on mudguard points but with two it is a breeze. The frost and snow will keep it in place but it is unlikely to stay on board with wind. But then there should be less need for it in those conditions. Sin e. Terms and conditions of course apply to any recommendation. 284

Trip to South Roscommon
Visiting the fine memorial remembering Roscommon’s great footballer and hurler Gerry O’Malley in Brideswell, South Roscommon.  Gerry died in early 2016 and is buried in the nearby cemetery of Cam. Left to right: Charlie Finneran, (Chairman of the Memorial Committee and proprietor of the very impressive Derryglad Museum); Michael Costello; Paddy Cummins (Roscommon GAA stalwart, Killina); Tony Conboy

In growing older in Fuerty/Athleague there were parts of Roscommon which were just not on our radar for social activities such as dances etc. My first time through Boyle was in FCA uniform on the way to Finner Camp between Bundoran and Ballyshannon in the mid-sixties. Later it was the Fleadhs which put Boyle on our map. While we in Boyle visit Roscommon town with regularity for matches, meetings, car tax in the past, courts(!), marts and so on it is rare enough to see a Roscommon town person on the streets of Boyle. Through GAA activity I have been to most corners of this county. ‘God’s County’ as Jimmy Murray used to refer to it.  
Anyway in October a committee in Brideswell unveiled a memorial to probably Roscommon’s greatest ever footballer, Gerry O’Malley and I attended of course. It was a crowded busy evening. A senior friend of mine Paddy was to come with me but to his great disappointment he was hospitalised for a number of days and was unable to be there on the occasion. I promised to take him up when all the stars were in line and that happened a couple of weeks ago. With another senior friend I collected Paddy en route and set off a little like the group in the lovely television series ‘Last of the Summer Wine’. I tried to take a short cut via Athleague-for exploratory and show-off purposes - but going against my pretty good directional instincts at a crossroads found myself out near Knockcroghery on a regular road.
On arrival in Curraghaboy we picked up Charlie Finneran, Chairman of the Gerry O’Malley Memorial Committee at his Derryglad Museum, more about which anon. Then we went to Gerry’s Memorial in Brideswell and a very fine one it is. There to meet us was Sean Kilbride of St. Brigid’s club out of respect for our effort in travelling from North Roscommon to the deep south. An appropriate record in pictures of our visit was easily facilitated in the quiet village where Gerry spent his childhood and never forgot. Then we called to see the famous little field -O’Malley’s Field- or The Stand as it is referred to where he first began to develop his skills as a footballer. Our last homage to Gerry was to call to Cam Graveyard, within sight of his original home, where he was laid to rest in 2016. The Gaelic warrior had returned, as he always said he would, to his native shore. We too, a little like the traveller in Walter de La Mare’s evocative poem ‘The Listeners’ had done our duty; 
“‘Tell them I came, and no one answered,   
   That I kept my word,’ he said.

Duty done we returned with Charlie Finneran to his labour of love, Derrglad Museum, and his generous welcome and hospitality. If any group wish to do a journey back in time and nostalgia many of the benchmarks of our youth are on display here. With over 6000 items on show it is a gem of an award winning museum. It includes dedicated ‘rooms’ such as a classroom of the fifties, an excellent Sports Section on Roscommon with Gerry O’Malley at the heart of it, a ‘Medical Hall’, Photography Room, a representation of a bar cum grocery, a broad collection of farm implements including a 1951 Ferguson T20 TVO. It is growing collection but the dedication and commitment that Charlie and his wife Bridie have put into it is hugely evident in its detailed presentation and depth. It is a location to visit and revisit and I highly recommend it. With the Gerry O’Malley Memorial it is sure to welcome many more Roscommon people and groups next year and beyond. 
 web site

Television Review
Since I watch a good deal of T.V. I might as well get a return on it here. 

‘The Vietnam War’
I’ve already mentioned my top programme of the recent times as being ‘The Vietnam War’. It is a war that many in the United States are still trying to come to terms with. This is represented by the contributions of veterans. It is not all about the war but about the muddied politics surrounding it where the next election dominated and the attendant lies were an ongoing thread. For a history of the United States from the mid-fifties to mid-seventies this is a text book requirement. Like that of ‘Band of Brothers’ the fine World War 2 series the music soundtrack is haunting. The series is close to the greatest war series by Channel 4 in the seventies covering the Second World War titled ‘The World at War’ with the eloquent narration of Laurence Olivier.

David Brophy’s Choir of Ages
While I just tinkered initially in watching this series I got engaged with it. It had a number of positives including the presenter himself. It is about putting together a choir from groups of people from Leitrim and Dublin. There are two groups in each constituency one senior and one national school children. So it coalesces the senior and young people plus the rural and urban. A first outing in Leitrim looked as if this was fraught with the giddy youngsters irritating a serious senior lady. But all was resolved and it is a positive experience that those involved will remember long into the future. There are many stand-out characters but a wee girl who has come to Leitrim with her returning parents from Australia was a star. The series concludes on Thursday 14 at 10.15 on R.T.E. 1.

Prime Time: Carers in Crisis
This was a telling picture of a nearly underground movement of people who care for their loved ones in their homes. It was good that Miriam O’Callaghan choose to go to the frontline herself on this one. This she did in a sympathetic and empathetic way. It is just incredible in a wealthy country that it takes such a battle (not always successful) to get basic support in the home for those who care for relatives who need it. It is widely accepted that care in their own homes is what senior people and people with disability desire. It is also accepted that it is cost effective. Now there will be exceptions to the axiom of course. The Minister responsible Finnian McGrath -like Ministers dealing with homelessness- said all the right things about reports, strategies and financial allocations but little changes. The penny pinching in terms of care worker visits of 30 and 45 minutes and the restrictions on what they are actually allowed to do would make one pull ones hair out. I am a little aware of a senior connection of mine in England who manages to remain is in his own home with considerable issues because of the input from the NHS agencies there. So this is probably the number one issue of the frontline issues that deserve resolution.

The Chaotic Court Service
Last night (Monday) we saw the chaos in another very important area of Irish civil life provision i.e. the court service. It is too big a question to even touch on here but again it is a bad story of mismanagement and is just a mess. Again the politician Fergus O’Dowd, Chairman of some committee or other made all the right noises about looking into this and that but of course come back in say five years time and nothing will have changed.     

‘My Astonishing Self’ 
I just recorded this programme dealing with Ireland’s first of four Nobel Literature winners George Bernard Shaw. He is the only writer who has also received an Oscar.  George Bernard Shaw won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1925, and an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay (Pygmalion) in 1938. 
The only other ‘writer’ to do that was Bob Dylan who won the Nobel prize in Literature in 2016, and an Academy Award for Best Original Song (Things have Changed) in 2000. 
I have never tuned in to George Bernard who always struck me as an Irishman who would have qualified to play for England. 
This week’s television writer is James Joyce on Wednesday night on R.T.E. 1 at 9.35. 

Blues Sisters
This was a documentary form a short time ago on RTÉ called 'Blues Sisters' which followed the fortunes of the Dublin Ladies Football team on their way to All-Ireland glory this year. It is worth tracking down. The rise of Ladies Gaelic Football is really something with the final Dublin v Mayo being drawing the biggest crowd to a ladies sporting event forever perhaps. 

Say Yes to the Dress
If ‘Carers in Crisis’ was a major insightful programme which should awaken consciousness, who comes up with such a trite ‘series’ for 9.30 pm. viewing on RTE 2 titled ‘Say Yes to the Dress’? I presume it will be followed by a series on ‘The Suit’, ‘The Shoes’ the possibilities are all there!     

Irish interest in Golden Globes
Congratulations to a number of Irish nominations with their Golden globes nominations. First to Cartoon Saloon and its co-founder Paul Young whose production ‘The Breadwinner’ supported by Angelina Jolie is nominated in the best Animated Film category and carries on the tradition of ‘The Secret of Kells’ and ‘Song of the Sea. 
Carlow born Saoirse Ronan has received her third nomination for her role in ‘Lady Bird’ . Perhaps this is her year (2018) to get the top gong Oscar.
Daniel Day Lewis who is said to be retiring from film making is also nominated as is London Irish writer-director Martin McDonagh and a lady I am not familiar with Caitriona Balfe. 
So the Irish are performing at the top level in the toughest trade.

Last Sunday’s Independent
There were a number of sports articles in the Sunday Independent which engaged me. Eamon Sweeney came through with a gem (again) article on County final winners especially first time winners. There are several references in this collector’s item. Too many to mention here.  One of the most unlikely was that Liam Mellows from Renmore in Galway City winning the Galway hurling final for the first time since 1970. Hurling has not been a big thing in Galway but this should give it a real shot. One comic story involved St. John’s Antrim keeper getting a red card following an altercation with an opposing Lámh Dearg forward who kicked his tee away. They were brothers! The keepers manager was cool about the incident in a post-match interview as he was …the father of the duo!
The heroic sporting incident to look for on You Tube is that of Kerry jockey Kennedy staying aboard his horse with the result…..I’ll let you go there to find out. Magic. 
In the Sunday Indo if Eamonn was tops Brolly and O’Rourke were interesting also.      

The Premiership on Television  
I had nearly given up on watching premiership games on television a couple of months ago because I was getting to feel it was mundane. However in the last month or so it has blossomed. There have been classic games, performances and classic goals. As the Spanish dominance in the entertainment stakes has declined the English Premiership has taken centre stage. This now has Man City/Man Utd./ Spurs/ Liverpool and Chelsea in the final 16 of the Champions league and Arsenal in the hardly worth mentioning Europa league. There have been classic games like Arsenal v Manchester Utd. when David de Gea produced a performance of relentless brilliance in goal for Utd.  Liverpool’s 7 goal fest against CSKA Moscow. Wayne Rooney’s hat trick for Everton v West Ham with a sensational goal from his own half. There are many more goals in this past 6 weeks or so also. While the destination of the League title looks pretty much decided in Manchester City’s favour the role of English clubs in The Campions League will be intriguing. In the last 16 they line up as follows; Chelsea v Barcelona/ Liverpool v F.C. Porto/ Spurs v Juventus/ Manchester Utd. v Seville and Manchester City v Basel. Still the top game is Real Madrid v Paris P.S.G. Those should keep things boiling in early February.   

Boyle Celtic Struggle
I was amongst a dozen spectators at most who saw Boyle Celtic 0 go down to Shiven Rovers 2 on Sunday Dec. 3rd at a bleak Celtic Park.  It was a game that Boyle would have been expected to win but failed similar to some others they have lost this season. Conditions were poor with the pitch itself which is understandable because of the weather and the number of teams now playing on the single pitch available. In that way Celtic are a victim of its own success and expansion at under-age level. A questionable pitch means that games may have to be postponed which are not always allowed as seen with St. Peter’s. So in that case it can mean conceding home advantage. League winning possibilities, while still alive, are receding. So the one competition which they will certainly want a good run in is the Connacht Cup. This will get a good test on Sunday next at Boyle at 2 against Galway Hibs.
Boyle GAA Club are in a similar position regarding demands on limited space. In my opinion what is really needed is a Community area which both Boyle Celtic and Boyle GAA can develop  grounds with ‘regulatory alignment’ as the speak of the moment goes. It is said that there are considerable grants available for such ‘community’ developed facilities. This would be necessary as both clubs are challenged to meet current expenses. I hope the energy and personnel are there and willing to take on such a challenge. 

Patrick Kavanagh - the 50th Anniversary of his death.
In my last post here I missed referring to the 50th anniversary of the death of Patrick Kavanagh. Mea culpa, mea culpa.  So rather than some commentary I post one of his memorable poems. I don’t know of course if any former students remember but I tried to imbue in them respect and regard for that most significant lady in their lives. I wonder. Many senior people, if you have got this far in a too long blog, will identify with the Kavanagh’s imagery, sentiment and feelings in this collection of pictures from a bygone age.   

IN MEMORY OF MY MOTHER. Patrick Kavanagh.

I do not think of you lying in the wet clay 
Of a Monaghan graveyard; I see 
You walking down a lane among the poplars 
On your way to the station, or happily 

Going to second Mass on a summer Sunday - 
You meet me and you say: 
'Don't forget to see about the cattle - ' 
Among your earthiest words the angels stray. 

And I think of you walking along a headland 
Of green oats in June, 
So full of repose, so rich with life - 
And I see us meeting at the end of a town 

On a fair day by accident, after 
The bargains are all made and we can walk 
Together through the shops and stalls and markets 
Free in the oriental streets of thought. 

O you are not lying in the wet clay, 
For it is a harvest evening now and we 
Are piling up the ricks against the moonlight 
And you smile up at us - eternally.