The Dawn of Change???

“Voters will go to the polls today in an election that is set to change the face of Irish politics.”

So says one of our nation’s well read newspapers.

I don’t have a vote in this election as I’m currently off shore and not the son of a diplomat or a soldier of our nations army. Unfortunately for me the most significant election in my 27 years as an Irishman and debatedly the most significant election the ‘Republic’ of Ireland has ever encountered, is upon us. We all know the Ireland of the last 10/15 years is no more and we all know Fianna Fail were the captains of the ship which has well and truly sank. As of right now, I’m asking myself the following question: Will my fellow Irish men and women vote for what is RIGHT for them? and what is RIGHT for our country and our country’s children? If I hark back to late last year when there were protests and people voicing their anger in whatever way shape or form they could – at the time watching that fanned the flames of my patriotism and further instilled my pride and passion for our great island. It brought with it a great sense of hope that Ireland was indeed ready and willing to break free from the corruption, greed and civil war politics that has marred our young nation’s short lived existence. As tomorrow approaches I can only place my trust in my fellow peoples and pray to god each each and every last one of them votes with the future of their (still) sovereign nation in mind and remembers the damage done by ALL those involved in said previous factors.

The following words are as apt right now as they ever were…

‘Everyone, Republican or otherwise, has their own particular part to play. No part is too great or too small; no one is too old or too young to do something’.


Food for thought

Keeping track of my countrys’ affairs from afar is an interesting experience. The wonders of modern day technology comfortably allow me to lay on my bed listening to local and national radio stations, catch up on national television or indeed read that days newspaper.

Mr Universe 1987

All the talk at the moment is about the awful mess our country is currently in and how much our government is a shower of incapable so and so’s. I have just finished watching the Frontline with Pat Kenny. Tonights programme was all about enterprise and entrepreneurship, Pat even opened the programme by saying: “You’re hired. We meet the people who say they can fix our jobs crisis”. Now that in itself is a nice positive statement to hear in these times, so I decided I’d watch the rest of the programme – Pat the plank had got my attention (for a change). He talked to lots of different people who had set up their own successful businesses and about their dealings wth Enterprise Ireland. The one overriding factor I felt came out of the programme was a positive one and by god that seems to be few and far between in Ireland at the moment.

Now I personally think we Irish find it very easy to knock someone or slag them off and basically be a begrudging sort. Given the times we’re in these traits have increased tenfold. In tonights programme there was times when it nearly turned into -” lets talk about how much of a mess we’re in and whos fault it is”, but thankfully it didnt. It was fecking marvellous to hear from successful people who understand that in order to reap the benefits that life has to bring, you have to get up off your arse and do something about it. Former Wexford hurling manager and successful businessman Liam Griffin even mentioned finding a passion you have and to go and damn well do something about it! It is statements like these I think many people seem to be afraid to make in Ireland at the moment for the simple reason they know only too well Paddy or Mary beside them will probably tell them to kop on and generally take them down a peg or two.

The Celtic Tiger in its entirety was hardly some fluke happening. In order for it to have happened we Irish must have contributed positively in some way shape or form for the good times to have occured. I do believe it was partly never “real”, it was based on false credit that was never really there and unfortunately now we have to suffer the consequences and repay that credit. Right thats enough of that. What i’m trying to get at here is that maybe if we toned down that negative begrudging attitude and replaced it with a more positive encouraging one, we would certainly be on the righttrack to getting our country to a stable successful economy that is real and benefits everyone. Yes we can!!!

Bill Bryson on cricket

In the last 2/3 years I have become a bit of a Bill Bryson fan. For those that don’t know, he is best known as an American travel writer. I have only completely read 2 of his books and I am currently on my third with many more to go. He is one of a few authors who actually make me laugh out loud when reading his books. At the moment I’m halfway through ‘In a sunburned country’ – this particular book is about his travels in Australia.

The following is an excerpt from this book. It is Brysons description of the game of cricket. The best description I have ever heard…

“After years of patient study (and with cricket there can be no other kind) I have decided that there is nothing wrong with the game that the introduction of golf carts wouldn’t fix in a hurry. It is not true that the English invented cricket as a way of making all other human endeavors look interesting and lively; that was merely an unintended side effect. I don’t wish to denigrate a sport that is enjoyed by millions, some of them awake and facing the right way, but it is an odd game. It is the only sport that incorporates meal breaks. It is the only sport that shares its name with an insect. It is the only sport in which spectators burn as many calories as players – more if they are moderately restless. It is the only competitive activity of any type, other than perhaps baking, in which you can dress in white from head to toe and be as clean at the end of the day as you were at the beginning.

Imagine a form of baseball in which the pitcher, after each delivery, collects the ball from the catcher and walks slowly with it out to center field; and that there, after a minute’s pause to collect himself, he turns and runs full tilt toward the pitcher’s mound before hurling the ball at the ankles of a man who stands before him wearing a riding hat, heavy gloves of the sort used to handle radioactive isotopes, and a mattress strapped to each leg. Imagine moreover that if this batsman fails to hit the ball in a way that heartens him sufficiently to waddle forty feet with mattresses strapped to his legs, he is under no formal compunction to run; he may stand there all day, and, as a rule, does. If by some miracle he is coaxed into making a misstroke that leads to his being put out, all the fielders throw up their arms in triumph and have a hug. Then tea is called and everyone retires happily to a distant pavilion to fortify for the next siege. Now imagine all this going on for so long that by the time the match concludes autumn has crept in and all your library books are overdue. There you have cricket.”

Well said Bill! Please don’t sue me.

A happy day for the Ros and an Ethiopian encounter

Toronto at Dusk

So Toronto then ay? or Canada?

I likes it here. It’s my type of place. Why? Well ya see, if you think you might know me, you probably don’t or never will. But maybe this might help…

My impression so far is that Canadians (maybe more specifically Torontonians) do not judge you or one whatsoever. They’re an easygoing and polite sort of people. Example – I’ve just got off a bus and the whole bus journey home I sang – not in your face singing but you know, I kept the masses entertained like (or so I thought :)).  Now, just before that, after getting off the subway and while waiting on our bus, I had sat with Daryl and an Ethiopian guy on top of a thrash container. Of course me being me I ask the Ethiopian guy if he was familiar with Haile Gebrselassie? He was a legend of an athlete like. I asked him if he happened to be a runner too because lets face it the only Ethiopians I know (apart from those on a trocaire box) are the feckers that ya see every Olympics beating our one and only white pasty slim chance of a medal. Guess what? I dont think he had a fecking clue what in gods name I was on about – would ya blame him?

Would ya blame him? Well ya see I got up this morning and made my way  to the Galway Arms pub in order to watch the Ulster and Connacht finals. Now, picture this – I got up at 8am, had a shower, made a cup of coffee, looked in the fridge and decided to grab a cupcake and that was my breakfast. Arrived (after a bit of a journey) at the Galway Arms, paid 20 fecking dollars in and duly sat down to enjoy the days festivities. Festivities being a big screen in a pub surrounded by 80 year old ex pats and the bar not open till 11am! Well they did have free tea and coffee at least, so for the time being we availed of that and once that bar was open, 2 pints of guinness were called for.

Me and Daryl

Right, so thats were it all went downhill. By the way I should mention I was wearing a Roscommon jersey too and if ya dont know by now Roscommon decided to beat Sligo and win their first senior Connacht football final since 2001 – so, I had  literally everyone and anyone coming up and congratulating me – little did they fecking know I was actually a proud Dub. Hence the reason I generally said nothing and shook their hand, smiled and just pointed at Daryl (at this stage Daryl was standing beside me, lost for words with his mouth open trying to grasp the result of the match) . Now that worked well for a while but of course I had to open me mouth eventually like.  Jays and once I did the bloody confusion or maybe more correctly – disdain! But ya know I kinda like defending being a Dub and in some ways I love it when someone decides to go and have a crack at us – if it makes you happy go ahead boss, I’ll defend us to the hills! Please just try and lose that chip on your shoulder… you’re the one sounding like a prick!

Right so yeah anyway, Galway Arms. The 2 finals finished (Tyrone defeated Monaghan in the Ulster final) and we stayed there and being in a pub we kept drinking – alcoholic beverages of course! After a good few pints of vitamin g we moved on to the shorts (cos I dont know about you but I can only handle a certain amount of pints no matter what time of the day) – met a family from Leitrim, as in a daughter our age, her mother and grandfather and some other relations and we had a right good auld bit of banter with them.  Jays hey between waltzin (mammy you’d be proud of me), jiving, singing, talking, drinking and joking! twas mighty!

I guess that takes me back  to singing on the bus on the way home (13/14 fecking hours later like) and the Ethiopian. Ok so he mightn’t necessarily be a Canadian or drinking in an Irish pub full of Irish might also not be what one would describe as experiencing Canadian culture – but hey this place is so unbelievably multicultural and cosmpolitan its actually goddamn hard to meet someone who will actually tell you they’re Canadian! They might put ay on the end of every sentence and tell you thats awesome but you’re goddamn guaranteed they’ll tell you they’re Italian, Portugese, Greek, German, British, Brazilian, Spanish or Ethiopian 🙂 before they’ll tell you they’re Canadian!… maybe thats a good thing?

Does that at all explain why I think Torontonians are polite, easy goin and non judgemental? Hmm me being me I dont think it does! I had a point! Trust me I did!