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It struck me very strongly when I was beginning this column that many of the events of these few days are of a national and international variety.
The scene of the Sunday morning breakfast table in Biarritz at the beginning of the recent G7 summit was a sobering one for Irish viewers. President Donald Tump and prime minister Boris Johnson, leaders of the two countries that would traditionally be considered our main allies, egging each other on in pursuit of a hard Brexit that would be detrimental to this country.
We had marvellous hurling matches on Saturday and Sunday and it was great. They were on RTÉ both days which meant I didn’t have to go out to visit to see either of them, but could sit in my chair in my own home and revel in the sport of it.
Well, there was so much sporting excitement over the weekend that it was hard to cope with, and hard to know what to concentrate on at any one point. Because of the national implications, I’ll plump first for Shane Lowry. What a player, what a guy, what a man. He really showed everyone how victory can be attained, how to handle it, and above all how to show your appreciation.
Well, for once the weather in Ireland performed exactly as required.
The weather has turned particularly uncertain for high summer. I for one am very glad, and I’m sure many other people are, that it has turned cool and uncertain. It seems that always we have heatwave weather when students are doing their Junior Cert and Leaving Cert, and how difficult it must be for them as they swelter with their thoughts and their writings in the examination hall and the sun beams in the windows, leaving them with the feeling that they should be out enjoying it. But the cooler weather has meant it is easier for them to concentrate.
Sex and Death at Merlin Park Hospital is the arresting title of Kevin Higgins’ new collection of poetry, which is published by Salmon and will be launched on Saturday, June 14, at the House Hotel.
I’m going to begin this column with really interesting creative and exciting news. Last Friday night I was invited to launch a book called Tales from the Heart – New Creative Writing from Athlone Institute of Technology. Now, this is a compilation by Mick Donnellan of nineteen writers who attended his creative writing course for the last number of months. The course is conducted under the aegis of the Department of Lifelong Learning in Athlone IT.
We might call last weekend’s rugby a success, but I call it a qualified success, and I’ll explain that as I go on. Firstly, the women played a magnificent game and triumphed over Scotland. Likewise, the under 20 team had a significant win in their joust with Scotland. So now we come to the big one last Saturday, Ireland versus Scotland. I settled myself down to look at it, turned off my telephone and my email and decided I would wallow in what I hoped would be a victory.
FROM 'MAYA'S Soliloquy to Pablo [Picasso]’, the striking opening of the first poem of White Horses, it is clear Northern Irish poet Jo Burns is in control of what she is doing with her poetry in a way most debut collection poets simply are not.