The power of the human spirit

Home is the hero

Home is the hero

You'd envy Gavan Hennigan this morning, so you would.

Even with the shins torn off him from the rapping of the oars.

And the skin burnt off him with the sun and the rain and the breeze.

And the legs on him longing just to go for a walk, just to get up and stand straight and be able to walk more than three metres without having to turn around and sit back down again.

Yes, even with all that, you'd envy him.

As he took the final strokes this morning that brought him to the end of an incredible journey, one that has inspired many and helped countless others through his association with local charities.

And you'd envy the longing he'll have on him now for some normal conversation, one that isn't over the hiss of a radio. Just a normal chat about how things are in the world. He must be fed up of talking to seagulls. The seagulls out there 'know nawthing' about stuff, so they don't.

You'd envy him too because out there on the ocean, you don't have to listen to the hate and the bigotry and the sexism and the shite and the sheer stupidity that we have had to listen to over the last two or three weeks. Out there on the waves, the fish are the fish, the birds are the birds and the role they play in your existence is complimentary.

There are times over the last few weeks when you'd just have to get out and walk or go for a run to get away from the overwhelming nature of the hate and stupidity that is coming our way under the guise of leadership.

Because of the time difference and the reluctance to sleep and the desire to work through weekends of this new US administration, there seems to be no time that is a safe time from the possibility of the next shocking thing.

At any given time, something else comes along. Something that copperfastens a principle based on hate and mistrust. And it bothers you that decade after decade of hard work to inch human rights along a dogged path is just being signed away with the flick of a pen by a dangerous fool doing the bidding of those who engineered his success.

And when you get out and have a walk or a run or a swim or if the fit takes you, a row across the ocean, you let nature soothe your mind and knock sense into it. The wind and the rain and the sun and the breeze that you run into have a unique way of distressing you, of making you see the clearer picture, of reassuring you that what you are thinking is the right way of thinking, despite what a lot of the world seems to be saying.

It is now more important than ever that we all stand up for those who are vulnerable. Don't let the relegation of responsible discourse into the gutter allow you to follow it there. Energise yourself by embracing nature so that you stay strong to play your part in the battle.

Gavan's row was the equivalent of the great walk in the woods that we all should take from time to time. As regularly as possible.

We congratulate him on his remarkable achievement — another Galwayman to look up to.

His row has been followed with great interest by many schoolchildren around the city and county. Let it be an example to them all of the power of the human spirit in the face of adversity.

May it inspire them to become giving human beings in a caring society.

May it inspire us all to ensure that this caring society is created for them to enjoy.

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