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After four years of trying to lock him down for a date to perform in Westport Town Hall, Irish actor-writer Mikel Murfi finally brings his enormously big-hearted and ridiculously energetic one-man show “The Man in The Woman’s Shoes” to Westport on January 16 and 17.
Hunting rabbits was a favourite pasttime of boys and dogs on Omey, that sand-duned, tidal island, that ploughs into the sea at Claddaghduff, near Cleggan. It is possible to say that the over-used cliche ‘magical’ can apply to Omey.* It can hardly be seen from the mainland. But if the tide is out, a series of arrowed posts guide the driver across the strand to the only road on the island. And that too runs out.
Although St Kieran’s College was only 10 miles from the Kilroy’s home at Callan, Tom Kilroy and his four brothers were educated there as boarders. In those days, early 1950s, any journey beyond that of a pony and trap was an adventure.You had to take Tom Nolan’s bus to get from Callan to Kilkenny. The school buildings were a mixture of carved balconies, and entrance steps in neo-Gothic riot. Behind its extravagant exterior, lay a new Catholic church, proudly testifying the various Emancipation Bills in the previous century, which gave Catholics the freedoms to practice. St Kiernans’ was a typical diocesan college of the Diocese of Ossory. An important function was the education of young men to be priests.
Insider has been a keen observer of the political scene for well over 40 years, and, up until recently, thought he had seen and heard it all. There were many contenders for the ‘Brass Neck’ award over the years - from Charlie Haughey’s ‘doing the State some service’ to Ray Burke’s ‘line in the sand’ to Bertie Aherne's ‘won it on the horses’.
The Medical Missionaries of Mary were founded by a remarkable Irish woman Mother Mary Martin in 1937, dedicated to providing health care in underdeveloped regions of the world.* While working at ‘Mile 4’ hospital (St Patrick’s), near Abakaliki, eastern Nigeria, Dr Dom Colbert regularly visited the near-by leprosarium, which, despite the pitiful deformities, he describes as a ‘peaceful, tranquil place’. The lepers there were all long-term patients, ‘many had distorted faces, lacked ears or noses…deformities of the hands or feet with missing fingers or toes.’ Recurrent ulceration and infection of the skin required constant attention, dressing changes, and meticulous hygiene.
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On Sunday evening March 25 1866, the two children of the schoolmaster Mr St George, were playing near the fire together in the Mission School (now Scoil Fhursa), when suddenly there was an explosion. The elder child burnt his hand. His injuries put him into a ‘very precarious position’. I am not sure how serious that was, but the story took an insidious turn when it was given out that ‘some malicious person climbed on the roof, and threw a packet of gunpowder down the chimney.’
Historian Catherine Corless has declined an invitation to a civic reception for Pope Francis at Dublin Castle this Saturday.
A five minute video portraying the scandal of the Tuam mother and baby home has received hundreds of thousands of views on Facebook.
With the Papal visit this weekend, it is evident that this event has garnered much attention throughout the country. Ultimately, this visit means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. For many people of faith, it is a positive event that the Head of the Catholic Church will be visiting our fair Ireland for the first time since the last Papal visit almost 40 years ago. Both Dublin and Knock are very much prepared for the vast number of devout followers that intend to share an audience with Pope Francis.