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.

Marcia (not her real name) is in her thirties and finds herself in the unenviable position of being all things to many people. Together with her husband, who is unwell at times, she struggles to rear her five children now in primary and secondary education while providing full-time care to her Mum who suffers with dementia and who has regressed to her own childhood. Marcia doesn’t complain, instead she wants to convey the responsibility that accrues on becoming a parent.

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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.

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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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What have the Scots ever done for us?

Thu, Sep 11, 2014

Next week when the Scots go to the polls to vote whether to stay or nay, there'll be mixed feelings on this side of the country. We might have watched with pride the exploits of Mel Gibson as William Wallace, roaring on his compatriots (all of whom looked like Brendan Gleeson) in the battle against the Sassanach in Braveheart; we might have found ourselves running down that street with Ewan McGregor in the opening of Trainspotting; we might have found ourselves singing in the street at 4am to the lyrics of The Proclaimers; we probably roared on Archie Gemmill when he scored that wonder goal against the Dutch in the '78 World Cup, but here in Galway, there is only one thing that we have not yet forgiven the Scots for — and that's the stealing of Digital.

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Time we stood up for the performing animals who stood up for us

Thu, Sep 04, 2014

I loved the circus, really loved it. As a kid, it was one of the few flashes of true colour that came through in a life decidedly lived in black and white. They'd arrive in the Green a few hundred yards behind our house and from early morning, the ping ping ping of the tent pegs being hammered into the soft ground would shatter through the morning silence. By the time we'd come home from school for lunch, the tent flags would flutter above the trees and for a day or two, a little bit of magic would light up the dullness of the town. In some ways, the arrival of the circus was better than the circus itself.

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Explaining the Ice Bucket Challenge in the style of Druid

Thu, Aug 28, 2014

Location: A cottage on Aran. A turf fire crackles in the grate. A woman in a shawl (prob played by Marie Mullen) shuffles across the stage and spits into the flames. A howling sea wind is heard outside, battering the cottage.

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University of life or career - or both

Thu, Aug 21, 2014

We have moved very far from Newman’s idea of a university - the purpose of which was to present a cultural inheritance of the Western World and to provide the tools whereby graduates could continue their journeys of education.

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Let yourself be led back into the light

Thu, Aug 14, 2014

I've lost just too many friends to suicide. People I worked with, people I went to school with, people I socialised with, people I've acted with and played football with. All unique. All different. They had varying professions and occupations, various loves and losses.

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