Hello to all the Advertiser readers.
Well, we’re in the middle of deep frost, sometimes snow and really piercing cold. I can hear some of the readers saying “And there she is – last week she was warbling about the first of February, the beginning of spring, St Brigid’s Day etc, and now we have what can only be called wintry weather.”
Yes indeed, but I still stick to the fact that it is February and it is spring, and I got further confirmation of that by Éanna Ní Lamhna who was on a radio show during the week saying specifically and fiercely that yes, February 1 is the beginning of spring.
And look how the days are lengthening. It is now almost 6 o’clock before the curtains need to be pulled at night. Isn’t that just wonderful?
So much to talk about this week. Firstly, I want to mention the hopefully impending trip by An Taoiseach Micheál Martin to the US to present the new President Joe Biden with the customary bowl of shamrock. As soon as this was announced, a whole chorus of disapproval began; why should he go, when so many people can’t meet their loved ones? Why should he go when so many are dying? All true of course, but remember Micheál Martin, if he goes, is not going on a trip of enjoyment; he is going because it is so important for Ireland now that there is a president who is totally attuned to Ireland, the first since John F. Kennedy back all those years ago.
It is my opinion that, if he is invited, he should get his vaccine and he should go to Washington and there talk about Ireland and what it has to offer the US, and all the myriad issues which they would have to talk about together.
To me, the disapproval is just a type of envy. Of course we can’t all go to the US, but someone like An Taoiseach should go if and when he is invited. I am sure many of the readers of this column would agree with me, but of course there will be many who won’t. That I understand.
The recent court judgement about the pubs who had been insured with FBD and who had lost their business due to the coronavirus has been very interesting. For us here in Athlone, we had Sean’s Bar which as well as being the oldest bar in Europe now carries the name of being one of the four pubs which were successful at the court bid. It appears that this judgement will extend to all other insurance claims which publicans have. Of course we have to wait and see if the judgement will be appealed, but I am glad to see that Sean’s Bar has been successful.
I don’t know if many of the readers saw a show which went out last Thursday on RTÉ2. It was called Junk Kouture Grand Final. I saw it by chance and was really blown away looking at the fabulous wardrobe which was put together by young students from all over Ireland by going through their recycling. Students put their creativity to work knocking up amazing outfits from the everyday junk we usually toss away.
The Grand Final of this is usually held at 3 Arena in Dublin, but Covid-19 restrictions meant the organisers had to get creative and come up with a different way of presenting the final creations. So the solution was the first televised final to celebrate Junk Kouture’s tenth year, filmed in a series of impressive locations around the country and featuring students modelling their creations made of everything from old tyres, used toothbrushes, burnt toast, etc etc. I was amazed at the most beautiful ball gowns, day gowns and general wonderful creativity which we saw on the show. Louis Walsh of X Factor and Michelle Visage were the judges.
It was a wonderful panoramic account of creativity and imagination. I was delighted to see that Moate Community School was one of the regional winners, and they had a most extravagant beautiful black and white ball gown, all made from leftover rubbish. What a wonderful way to use the imagination and creativity of young people. I was so happy that I came upon the show by pure chance and enjoyed it thoroughly.
Now to the rugby. What a feast we had to enjoy over last weekend. Firstly, on Friday night, we had Connacht’s great win against Dragons 30-20. This was an immensely swift game and the score showed that – 50 points in one game is a very big return. Connacht played really well and they are now second in Conference B, even though they are in fact ten points behind Munster. Well done Connacht: it was an away game but you showed how it could be done. It was on TG4 Rugbaí Beo.
Then of course on Saturday we had an abundance of rugby. The first match was France vs Italy in Rome. Now, nobody expected but that France would win, which they did in a magnificent fashion. Italy are a few years behind in the Six Nations and are trying all the time to make up. On Saturday afternoon we had a most marvellous game, England vs Scotland. What a game, and what a result! Scotland really epitomised Scotland the Brave; they swept all before them, never let up on their thrust and their courage and had a great and totally unexpected win over England, who were thought to be the top dogs in the Six Nations.
But of course, we awaited with hope and anticipation Ireland vs Wales in Cardiff on Sunday, and I settled down to watch the game. Now it was a great game; Ireland played valiantly but lost out 21-16. As the readers will know, we were just 14 minutes into the game when Peter O’Mahony got a red card and we were left playing the rest of the game with 14 men versus 15. Despite that, it was hugely energising and Ireland gave their very best. But let’s put It plainly: the game is for 15 people versus 15, and to play so much of the match with one man short was well nigh impossible.
For us here in Athlone, Robbie Henshaw was truly a hero and he gave an outright stunning performance. Each move he made was so clear on TV and I was cheering him silently as the game went on.
However, it was not to be, and we await next weekend with a huge degree again of both anticipation and trepidation. It is great to see the games so clearly shown on TV.
That’s my lot for this week. Hope to talk with you all next week.
In the meantime, stay at home. We are getting the better of the virus but it is only by staying at home and staying safe that we will continue to do so.
Slán go fóill.