Greenways will not shut the door on our rail history

Fri, Sep 14, 2018

Every generation is afraid to lose what was gained before. And so it is with the trains. There is a great sentimentality about the fear of losing the rail services.

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Football is so much of how we see ourselves

Fri, Sep 07, 2018

'Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you' — It is not every week that I reach into Game of Thrones to find what I want to say, but the above line does just that.

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Help me make it through Race Week

Thu, Aug 02, 2018

I’m here so I am, like. I’ve landed. Free as a bird. As free as that Clare fella Colm Galvin swapin’ up all that Galway has to throw at me …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…I’d need Hawkeye to see if I made it home at all last night…smartphone alarm beep beeps into me ear...one hand picks up and smashes it again the wall...not so smart now is it…Radio bursts on…I hear them saying de Valera might be back in the Aras, and Limerick back in the All-Ireland so I think I’ve been hungover all the way back to 1975 like a great big langered Rip Van Winkle in reverse…the head on me like a feckin’ explosion in a mattress factory…’tis Race Week…where am I...recessed lights in ceiling shine into me eyes...discover me pyjamas have a hood in them and me in skinny jeans…fell asleep in the clothes again...where am I...not Mrs O'Brien's B & bloody B this year…no an AiryB&B yolk which is basically paying hotel prices for someone else’s scratcher and someone else’s jacks…went to bed looking like Damian Duff woke up looking like Dunphy...open shirt buttons and spray deodorant under arms one squirt for each oxter and one for the road with a shot for the lads below…and head for the lift…close buttons, push buttons, and fella in the lift mirror does the same…state of me like…airyB&B and a kitchen with nobody’s food left in it…head for the morning chipper…full Irish with bacon rashers and eggs and a free paper…throw back the lugs and dive in...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..…now I’ve me Vape on me since I quit the ciggies…menthol and rhubarb custard flavour…the state of it. I suck it in and me face curls up into the look ya get when a bulldog licks a thistle…down the square check out paddys ladbrokes boyles get the odds... and ends...too early to go out to Ballybrit yet...sit on bench and look at the fountain knocked on for the week…Arts Festival hippies got their own festival garden for atin’ hummus and talking through their…whole week I'm here for…sit on steps, legs sprawled…then suck at the vape again…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…then I remember MeTwo or what ya call it, so I stall the ogling’…cramps me style though bigtime. Me the man, Racingman... me the man…loads o’ young lads in Conor McGregor suits…Anthony Ryan mustn’t have a confirmation suit left in his storeroom…Reach into arse pocket of me jeans…find a stump of the ticket from Croker last Saturday and a loyalty card for Applegreen…hand shakes but 'twould by now anyways Wednesday... been a long hard week since Croker and all...and Thurles to come... some fecker murdering a guitar 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 Post...to 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…I’m the man…talk the talk…big happy head on me…air stinks of air freshener and stale conversation...he tells me country is fecked...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 racecourse...green, 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 straight...shoes covered in sheeeite...in the gate...Text the lads but they get back on WhatsUpp app thingy…haven’t used that since the time I WhatsUpped Mixer the story about Murphy’s father and the nurse up the village and didn’t know I was telling’ the whole hurling club like…They’re at the new champagne place they tell me, the Wilson Philips building with Moate written on the side of it…what’s that about and they tell me ’tis the name of the champagne like…Or maybe they couldn't fit Tyrrellspass on the wall...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 faces...no sign of Leo at all at all here. Mustn’t be his scene, this sort of stuff, so it mustn’t…Saw the Lads, roared c’mon ye bollix at them, the boys from home…saw Ted Walsh though…twenty years since he rode her mother... 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 and take out me Leap card….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…Am great for the auld repartee, me Racingman. Me head's in a spin...hops into taxi and shows the driver lad the place where the AiryB&B is…It’s Lagos man again...more stale conversation...he's up from Carlow with all the other taxidrivers…takes me to Newcastle via Athenry…he knows a shortcut. Tells me he loves Trump…drives me around town nine times to make sure before I push in door of AiryB&B and I crash on the couch but then there’s a thump and some fella shouting about getting out of his house and then I sees that I do be in the wrong Airy B&B.…but I love it. I love Race Week...and today's Ladies' Day. I better have a bath...it's August.

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Fans who get in will have to shout for four who didn't

Fri, Jun 29, 2018

And so to Saturday night. Another sunset evening when we will play the weekly summer game of Russian roulette, another orange-bathed occasion, with the mid-year heat seeping through our bones, warming the blood that will run rapidly through our veins, as our hearts pump-pump-pump with the 'pick and move' shape of another emotional Mayo qualifier.

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Will Magdalene redemption hasten the day this country delivers for all its citizens?

Fri, Jun 08, 2018

There has been a lot of talk about journeys in Ireland over the past few months.

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Demand for empathy at all-time high as country lurches into another scandal

Fri, Jun 01, 2018

The empathy of the Irish people has been tested over the past few days, weeks, months.

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If you wait for the right time, you wait forever

Fri, Apr 20, 2018

Weeks pass by in the flash of an eye. There is such order to what we do now, that we become enslaved to the routine so that on Monday you do Monday things, on Tuesday, Tuesday things, and so on, until before you know it, you're back doing Monday things again.

And when you consider that you're lying down flat with no memory of a third of every week, it is no wonder that they add up and move along and are hurriedly consigned to the past.

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Tragedy shows the risks of a life at sea

Fri, Apr 13, 2018

It was Van Gogh who wrote that fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore. It is a line that permeates our thoughts each time we take to the water. For those whose livelihood is the water, it is the confirmation of a constant presence, a permanent danger that underlines their activities at the mercy of the waves.

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Science needs more rock stars like Hawking

Fri, Mar 16, 2018

They say that those who live in the shadow of death are those who live most. Those who have opportunity taken from them are those who see the greater wonder in the things that others just take for granted. And that is so true. It is only when you are faced with losing something that you start to miss it the most. At times like that, it hard to focus on the positive, to reach out and see a light when there is but a dim torch in the distance.

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After a week looking on, West finally feels the force of the blizzard

Fri, Mar 02, 2018

Like fading divas on an operatic stage, it has been a strange, although welcome, feeling this week not be the default centre of attention when it comes to adverse weather in this country. For the best part of two decades now, the west has been the owner of the weather monopoly.

If a rogue tide or a heavy gust of wind was spotted on the map at all, we were sure it was coming our way.

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Time to enjoy that stretch in the evenings

Fri, Feb 09, 2018

Every year, the smell of thick gloss blue and grey paint would fill the evening sky, as the work continued past dusk.

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A hero whose visage symbolises the west

Fri, Jan 26, 2018

There are some artists whose life falls onto the canvas, becomes part of it, whose angst is evident in the brushstrokes; whose empathy shapes the message of the painting. They become part of what they work on, and what they work on becomes the whole of them. They become one with each other until it is impossible to ever see them apart as separate entities. To rob one from the other is to divide it irrevocably.

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