Big Dom holding back the waves from crashing against the shore

Thu, Jan 22, 2015

A Tuesday, around teatime. Galway City Council HQ.

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Je suis Galway, Je suis Connacht

Thu, Jan 15, 2015

On Sunday Connacht Rugby will host English premiership side Exeter in their final European pool fixture this season - another massive task for the Irish province against a side favoured to win the tournament overall. However if Connacht have proved anything this year - despite a hiccup last weekend - is that they possess an x-factor, particularly at home. That x-factor is neither a Robbie Henshaw nor a Mils Muliaina - though they do make a massive contribution - but a philosophy coach Pat Lam has been developing - it is what he calls the Connacht "culture".

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Time for new blood to answer Ireland's call?

Thu, Jan 08, 2015

Are ya ready to be part of this new blood to shake up Irish politics? Have ya thought about it? Did ya get the call, did ya get the call? Lucinda was in town last night, with the little red book. Maybe your number was in it. Maybe she's fond of ya. Maybe you’ll get the call for BootupdaArseIreland. Tog out. Warm up. Slap those calves. Throw on the wintercream. And then Mike Fitzmaurice joining up with your man with the plummy voice from Wickla, Ross. Sure you have to get the call. Ireland’s call. Your role in history. This is your moment. New party. Wow. Maybe more. Jaypers I never thought we'd see the day when you might be asked to join a party. Sit by the phone and wait.

Get the hair done or cut, just in case. Tidy the front room after the Christmas. You could meet Lucinda in there. Do the deal. It'll be grand. She's just a Claremorris woman, she won't mind a bit of mess. Mike Fitz, him, you could meet out in the yard. Walk around. He'd be more confortable there. He likes doing a deal with the sound of muck on the ground and the smella cowshite hangin' in the air.  And he'll say 'Lisshhhennnnnn” in a way that makes ya lisshhhhhennnnn. And ya will. Now if Ross comes you'll have to break out the blue willow teacups and make tea and serve horses' ovaries and canapes and the likes 'cos he likes to talk posh like. But they want you, 'cos you've something to offer. You can make a difference.

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Look into my eyes — I see a strange year ahead

Tue, Dec 30, 2014

Time to peer into that crystal ball again. No, not the one in the Treasure Chest window. Here’s a taste of what we can expect in the year ahead.

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Grab life and give the gift of yourself

Tue, Dec 23, 2014

There’s this fella I know who found himself unwell some time back. Fairly unwell, actually, to the point that he was nearly a goner. And on one of those days when he felt the life draining out of himself and a strange calmness coming over him, he took a notepad and a dodgy old biro and started to write down the things he wanted to say to the people who loved him.

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Let the jostling begin

Thu, Dec 18, 2014

One thing a runner focuses on when limbering up at a start line, is the exact position of the finish line. And in the mind’s eye, the runner visualises the acceleration at the start, the pacing and jostling of the runners as they traverse the circuit and then strategise the manoeuvres for the home run with one eye firmly on the finish. And when you know how far away that finish line is, then you get a greater indication of the tactics you use.

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Cruelty towards the vulnerable continues - just an hour down the road

Thu, Dec 11, 2014

In the main, there are two types of people in the world. The big people and the little people. At any stage in life we can be either, or indeed both. In some scenarios we feel we are the big people because there are little people who we can take advantage of. In other scenarios we feel we are the little people because there are big people telling us what to do, where to be, what to say, if indeed we are allowed to say anything at all.

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Unconditional Love: A mother’s story

Mon, Dec 08, 2014

Sophie Loren once said “When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child” and that is most certainly true of a lady whose story I am about to relate.

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A Wilde night in the west

Thu, Dec 04, 2014

It is hard to believe that it is a decade since Oscar Wilde and Thomas Vilde took up residence outside Matt O’Flahertys on Williamsgate Street. A gift from the Estonian nation, in that period they have become the iconic face of modern Galway. Tonight a concert of Estonian music will be held to mark the occasion. I caught up with the happy Wildes as they sat outside a shop in the city centre.

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Don’t be afraid to ask for help this Christmas

Thu, Nov 27, 2014

In all of our communities right now, there are husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, who are wondering how they are going to make it through the winter and out the far side. They know that there are just a few weeks until Christmas; that their children are looking enviously at the Smyths catalogue and making a wishlist — yet they feel they have never been as badly prepared as they are this year.

For all of them, this new situation is coming as a shock. Their bodies go into shutdown, their minds try to come to terms with the new reality that money is not as plentiful and every decision will have to be calculated. The comfort of the Tiger years left them ill-prepared for it and now, although they know that it is a common situation, they do not know where to turn to for help. Factors such as pride prevent them from turning to others, letting people know the truth. And so many will sit in their nice negative-equitied homes, with their children going cold and hungry, rather than asking for help and sharing their situation.

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Let the market forces give you the taste of Christmas

Thu, Nov 20, 2014

John F Kennedy might have said that on a clear day you can see Boston, but from tomorrow evening, we're nearer Berlin than Boston. Just when you're thinking where has the year gone since you sank your teeth into your last kangaroo burger, the Galway Continental Not So German But Full of Foreign Crusty Types Anyway Incontinence Christmas Market is upon us yet again.

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We’re back in the saddle again...

Thu, Nov 13, 2014

On Monday week in Galway city, the ride will most definitely not be out of the question. For the cost of a loaf, a pint of milk, and one of those old-style paid-for newspapers you’d buy for your granny, you will be able to ride your way around this city to your heart’s content.

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You can never own too many airports

Thu, Nov 06, 2014

Ní féidir leat do dhóthain aerfoirt a bheith agat— You can never own too many airports, so says the old Irish saying uttered by Peig Sayers and she in the last throes of her life below in the Kerry peninsula. And although airports had yet to be invented, and Alcock and Brown were still in nappies, when the withered auld sage said it in between wailing and woeing about missing the boat to Amerikay, the prophesy of it all will come true next Monday in City Hall when Galway City Council will discuss such matters and hope to add another airport to their long list of assets.

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Galway FC shows what can be done with togetherness

Thu, Oct 30, 2014

Sometimes a feeling abounds that Galway does not punch the weight it should, that there is something amiss, divisive, unhealthy even, that eats at the heart of every concerted effort to make this city better. It is not a begrudgery. It is something more than that. A sort of reticence in the drive to improve things, to make Galway a city like all the others. There are many reasons for this. There are many objections to key infrastructural advancements, but this in itself is not solely a bad thing. It is an opinionated city, though often the balance of opinion lies with those who pose an alternative view, based on the perception of the world, rather than on how it is viewed or needed locally.

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Your call is important to us, yeah right..

Thu, Oct 23, 2014

Hello, You have reached the offices of Irish Water, Uisce Paddy. You call is important to us so it may be recorded for training porpoises. Please also note that at any stage your call may be terminated or transferred to the talking clock in Australia, so Uisce Paddy must approve in principle the tenure of your call.

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Don’t believe the hype - there is genuine hurt in the homes and streets

Thu, Oct 16, 2014

I had a letter the other day from a woman who told me that she and her husband and their sons are just about getting by. They did not splurge out during the Tiger years, that they have paid all their bills and that as a result, they are surviving — but there is not much money to spare. In fact there is nothing to spare when all is said and done by the end of the month.

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Out of darkness, a light beckons

Thu, Oct 09, 2014

On Tuesday evening, as I left the office and was making my way to the car, I spotted a couple. Obviously tourists because they were holding hands with that foreign great hair look about them, with colourful jackets and a bearing that made them stand apart from the Irish, but blend in with the hundreds of visitors on the street at that time.

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Message to the great unwashed

Thu, Oct 02, 2014

OK, we're a day into it, A day into realising that while you may lead a horse to water, when he gets there, the fecker's gonna cost you a few bob. On Tuesday we splashed around in the bathroom like an orgy in the last days of Pompeii, but since then, we've been up half the night trying to ensure that the drop dripping from the tap in the kitchen is captured for the tay for breakfast. So what are we to do? How can we live the lifes of post-Celtic Tiger metrosexuals used to our washing and waxing and shaving and conditioning and scents that could kill an ass from 20 paces. How are we going to cope knowing that everytime you hear a flush, your wallet has a bowel movement? The days and nights of the much coiffured sweet smelling high heeled gelled back brigade hitting the clubs may soon be a thing of the past. Good old poor hygiene of the 70s and 80s will come back into vogue. A shower will become a luxury even if you do manage to get three a month. Lattes will replace straight coffees. Spuds will be steamed not boiled, car washes will become car polishes; horses at the racecourse will have to be rubbed down with a wet Babywipe instead of the traditional hosing. And gorse fires will be let burn burn burn. So life as we know it has changed immeasurably. So what can we do to save a few bob. Here are a few tips.

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Long summer and water charges will leave the lonely vulnerable

Thu, Sep 25, 2014

Paddy is confused. He's known something has been wrong for the last while, but he just cannot put his finger on it. He wakes up in the morning and there it is, the bright shining light in the sky since 6 am. And he groans cos now it's getting him down. He feels like going to the window in his striped pyjamas and string vest and shouting out at the land outside a la Sarah Miles in White Mischief – Oh no, not another effin' beautiful day.' Cos like Miles , he is now begging for it to end. Or cool down at least. Or make up its bloody mind.

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Tis a fine state to be in

Thu, Sep 18, 2014

Hello Mrs Murphy. Cold out, isn’t it?

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