Mladic verdict a reminder of just how close we always are to barbarity

Thu, Nov 23, 2017

Yesterday morning, we got a reminder of just how close we always are to turning on one another.

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Let light guide us through the winter

Thu, Nov 16, 2017

There is a strong sense of impending Christmas about Galway this week. Tomorrow, the city lights will be switched on, in a progressive way by a city-hopping Santa who will by the end of his journey have brought the power of illumination to us all. The crews have been working on this and on the Christmas Market stalls and huts for the past seven days. The clang clang of their hammers and drills; the constant beeping of the reversing vehicles; the rattling of the dividing fences that will provide safety, the chatter of men dangling by ropes from the steel structure that forms the big Ferris wheel, almost 100 feet above the ground.

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We should never forget the words of Gordon Wilson

Thu, Nov 09, 2017

So recalled the late Gordon Wilson as he watched his daughter lying critically injured under the rubble in Enniskillen, in an era which seems like it was thousands of miles away and hundreds of years ago, but which in reality just happened a few hours up the road 30 years ago this week.

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Fooling ourselves if we think our regional stadia are international standard

Thu, Nov 02, 2017

For the 1982 World Cup, Adidas introduced a ball named the Tango. It was the first major design change of a football in a decade. With its circular panels and adidas livery, it was thing of beauty. Myself and my teammates in our small team in Ballinrobe never got to kick one, but a trip to Galway to some place like the Great Outdoors meant we could see it in all its glory and we salivated over it.

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Galway investments arm us for an uncertain future

Thu, Oct 26, 2017

As I write this, I am travelling on a bus through central Strasbourg in France, from where I have been working all of this week, observing the sessions of the European Parliament and talking to some of the people who will play a key role in the direction of the EU as it hurtles towards March 2019. The trip to the European Parliament is one I have made many times in the distant past. On those occasions, it was difficult to get past the enormity of the issues that faced the institutions. You would return from each trip unsure as to what exactly would exercise the mind.

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Thank you to all who minded us this week

Thu, Oct 19, 2017

There is no worse feeling in the world than the realisation that you don’t matter, that whatever you do will not alter the axis of the world, that other people’s lives will not be changed a bit even if they were to bump into you. As citizens, it is our duty to make sure that others do not feel this way. As good humans, you have to do your bit to ensure that whatever you take from someone, let it not be their dignity and sense of security.

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WRAP Fund can inspire a new generation of storytellers

Thu, Oct 12, 2017

I often think that the best inspiration for doing something creative is to drag yourself out to a bit of wilderness and let a chunk of nature put ideas into your head. Out here with just the wind and the rain and the waves and the hills and the greenness to act as your creative palate, it is amazing how soon things start to make sense and stories start to be created in your head.

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Remembering those who never came home

Thu, Oct 05, 2017

In the midst of that wonderful book Solar Bones written by Mayo author Mike McCormack, there is an intensely moving passage which encapsulates the atmosphere of a house after its children have grown and left. It is as if the soul of the house has been hoovered out and what is left is a void within a space made for many, but now occupied by just one or two. It is feeling that many of you have experienced as your own children have grown up and left, the end of a slow metamorphosis of your home becoming just a house again, its four walls no substitute for the noise, the bustle, the drama.

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A snake across the greenness

Thu, Sep 28, 2017

The family of hares sit on the hillock and observed it all, monarchs of a sea of emerald. Away to the right across the large expanse of green, of trees and fields and the occasion red-roofed barn, sat Athenry. To the left, in the distance, a swathe of east Galway leading away in the mist to where lies Tuam.

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Return of the king of the selfies

Thu, Sep 21, 2017

It seems the little man-een is coming back to us. At the moment in the middle of Eyre Square lies a large wooden box housing a team of workmen, beavering away on some secret project, Galway’s answer to Shrodinger’s cat. But this cat may be out of the bag, because speculation is rife (when is speculation anything other than rife?) that in the second week of next month, a familiar face will return to the Square. And it’s not a minute too soon.

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Let imagination run free where it was once stymied

Thu, Sep 14, 2017

The news this week that Lenaboy Castle has been handed over to the city by the Sisters of Mercy, along with a €750,000 stipend to kickstart its refurbishment, is to be welcomed.

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Get to Athenry tonight — honour the heroes for a great cause

Thu, Sep 07, 2017

The only moment of possible happiness is the present.

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You are of Galway, let the hand of history guide you

Thu, Aug 31, 2017

Lads, you are of Galway…breathe in the air that sweeps down from the stands.

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Exposure to the language of hate will strengthen our resolve to oppose it

Thu, Aug 24, 2017

There seems to be no downtime from tragedy and events now. As our news cycle goes to sleep on one side of the world, another erupts with a vengeance on the other side. Perhaps in years to come, the true impact of the events of the past two years on our mental health will come to be analysed and quantified.

Paris was shocking until Brussels was until Nice was until London was until Barcelona. And this coming after a year of coverage of the horrors in Syria and people drowning and dying on the shores of Europe. Because of this, it is easy to become weary of human suffering, to dismiss it because it has become so commonplace in our space. In the past, it was horrifyingly easy to dismiss suffering if it was on the African continent. As long as it stayed over there, and wasn’t over here, it was not easy for us to empathise fully with the life-altering awfulness of events in those regions.

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For the week that’s in it...

Thu, Aug 03, 2017

I’m here so I am, like. I’ve landed. Free as a bird. As free as Kieran Donaghy in a Galway defence …coming here thirty year or more, so I am, with me fadder and me fadder’s fadder and me fadder’s fadder’s fadder… though not at the same time like…Sun rises in the capital of culture… ate a clock in the morning like…waking up in a crumpled hape…smartphone alarm beep beeps into me hand picks up and smashes it again the wall...not so smart now is it…Radio bursts on…blah blah blah Kevin Myers, whodafeckisKevinMyers…they kape talking about him and the races, so he must be a trainer or something. Must keep an eye out for him...’tis Race Week…where am I...recessed lights in ceiling shine into me me pyjamas have a hood in them and me skinny jeans…fell asleep in the clothes again...where am I...not Mrs O’Brien’s B & bloody B this year…no a cheap hotel I found somewhere on the internet thingy… jaypers the state of me…went to bed with me hair like Scaramucci, woke up and ’twas like Sean Spicers’…open shirt buttons and spray deodorant under arms and head for the lift…close buttons, push buttons and fella in the lift mirror does the same...full Irish with bacon rashers and eggs…throw back the lugs and dive in...lash back the orange juice...parched I am...try to walk sober like, wan foot then the udder, repeat...I’m Racingman, I’m wide out…I’m part of Galway. I’m Racingman, the boyoh, unleashed for the week…I walk down the street like Travolta in Saturday Night Fever ‘cept without the can o’ paint…shakin that ass..…down the square check out paddys ladbrokes boyles get the odds... and ends... too early to go out yet...jaypers there’s grass in the Square this year. Council must have shafted the Christmas market so they must…I sit on bench and look at the fountain knocked on for the week……For the day…the small trickle, they’d needn’t have bothered their...whole week I’m here for…sit on steps, legs sprawled…then light up me e-fag…not cool at all…like a small wavin pipe it is… wink at young wan heading to work down town, get scowl but scowl back at her…Trump the tramp has made it difficult for the likes of me and me smalltalk charm..I’m in love, besotted, but she don’t know what’s she missing...missing in Racingman... me. the man…loads o’ young lads in suits…Anthony Ryan mustn’t have a confirmation suit left…Reach into arse pocket of me jeans. What’s this? A wristband from last year saying I Back Galway…what’s that about…I back Galway…I back everything in Galway…Everything I back in Galway normally falls coming up the hill towards the stand…hand shakes but ‘twould by now anyways Wednesday and all... phone dying just two bars...head dying just 25 bars…text from the lads…Pile the money on Balko Des Flos they say. What sort of name of a nag is that, I ask... The brother in law’s sister, well her first cousin knows the stablehands…says Balko Des Flos will walk the Plate…need cash...act fast...shaky fingers dance on vomit-splattered keypad at the bank hole in wall...good job don’t need numbers 3, 8, 2 as they’re splashed pretty bad... cash comes out crisp clean only gives 300 so go to other machine... clean pad, thick wad jammed in arse pocket but switch to front of skinny jeans that are like Glenamaddy ‘cos there’s no ballroom in Glenamaddy anymore... can’t be too sure... cute hoor watching ya catching ya but not me. I’m wide out me so I am, sham ya have to get outa the scratcher early to catch out Racingman…some fecker murdering a violin in the Square...where’s Lee Harvey Oswald when ya need him…I’m in love with the shape of you he sings at me…smart fecker…get the Racing look cool like…in the know…and the Star...dash into Debbinghams cosmetics section and when the posh wimmen staff aren’t looking over, Racingman is lost in a spraycloud of Calvin Kyne, Packie Rabanne and Ralph Lawrence eau de sweat…lash on the lot of them…the cognac combo….then a splash on ur hand to look like ya know your stuff…spray some on that little card yolk… doubles up as a toothpick…smelling grand...looking good, give the crown jewels a scratch…let me get wan thing straight and all that…ready for the road...ready for the course...hop into taxi...sit in front…legs sprawled…talk the talk…big happy head on him...air stinks of air freshener and stale conversation...he tells me country is fecked...emigrants should shag off home…to Mayo…Brexit. Then he said something about a rising tide lifting boats…knows his stuff this fella…crabbing on about immigrants taking our wimmen, can’t get jobs…and he’s from Lagos...three ways to, blue and red routes…an hour later we take a bit of blue and red and he drops me in a cowshit-spattered field near Castlegar church...walk that way he says... the brown route...and I walk...go to ring the boys but smartphone still smarting from batin’ I gave it… walk covered in sheeeite…sham says ‘any wan want to try the three card trick the three card trick, watch out Char-less the shades are lamping the scene’... don’t fall for that not after last year not me cos I’m wide out...Racingman won’t fall for that...this the yer man from home he waves and says he knows for sure Balko des Flos won’t have a snowball’s chance in a cat or whatever the saying is I tell him he’s probably right…get card and page from card and jam it in raffle drum to win another shaggin’ night in another gombeen hotel...always been lucky, mother said, when I won the teddy bear at the sale of work but she didn’t know I stole it then sold it then stole it again...Guard nods at me I nod back ‘howya guard’ what does he know... probably has a file on Racingman... Maybe a whistleblower will get it for me…the big happy Templemore head on him and eyes red-out from reading Pulse all night…lads say to tease them about the missing breath tests but I told them I will in me ....whole day looking around to see famous sign of Leo at all at all here. Mustn’t be his scene, this sort of stuff, so it mustn’t…God with the days when ya’d meet Bertie and we didn’t know that he was walking around with all his wages in his pocket…Saw the Lads, roared c’mon ya bollix at them, the boys from home...lads swore they saw some of the Tipp hurlers there, but I said naw, not with the match on Sunday…saw Ted Walsh though…twenty years since he rode her to the stand... spilling plastic pints down new Next shirt, it’ll live up to its name tomorrow…Balko Des Flos romps home fair play Davy Russell...plastic pints go skywards...beef sandwiches all round... grease is the next stain for the Next shirt... Lads have quare wans’ mobile numbers… they want 200 notes for an hour of the bould thing... lads laugh when I ask for group discount….an hour I laugh, an hour of drinking time wasted...she says for 400 she’ll bate me with a whip ’til I cry and give me a happy ending…told her I can get a batin’ for nawthing outside the chipper…and if I want a happy ending, I can watch Frozen…and the lads laugh…I know my culture…and then the streets...Latin Quarter with not a word of latin on me…nil desperandum and all that…from wan pub to another.…with the boys…Not a sign of any Latinos in the Latin Quarter…Racingman’s head’s in a spin...time for food...tuna melt with extra dolphin...staggered up the pedestrianised streets…loose cobblestones with solicitors’ numbers painted on to them...hops into taxi and shows him card from hotel...Lagos man again......more stale conversation...he’s up from Carlow with all the other taxidrivers…takes me home to Newcastle via Athenry…he knows a shortcut. Tells me he loves Trump…drives me around town nine times to make sure he gets parking and then drops me back at gombeen hotel where room was chayper than taxi...birds are singing when me head hits the bed...zzzzzzzzzzzzz..ate a clock...smartphone about to beep its alarm, but decides not that’s a smart phone...still only Thursday morning…but I love it. I love Race Week...and today’s Ladies’ Day. I better have a bath....

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A party town for some, but not the homeless

Thu, Jul 27, 2017

In a month in which we in Galway thrive on festivals, tourists, and summer sunshine, we realise just how blessed we are to live in one of Europe's most engaging cities. As the most influential arts festival winds down this weekend, and the iconic Galway Races begin, we can feel a little smug that we live in a such a special place. Every day, every month, every year it seems Galway just marches forward - more visitors, more recognition, and more festivals.

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Art is good for you

Thu, Jul 20, 2017

The arrival of the Galway International Arts Festival is a sure sign that it’s high summer in Galway, and this is a glorious time to enjoy all that our beautiful city has to offer.

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