Going to the Pictures

I didn’t really like war films when I was young. I used to get bored watching cities being bombed when there was no human interest. The storylines in these kinds of films were pretty standard. A guy would stand in a trench telling his friend about his sweetheart. Often he’d take out a picture of her.

A Special Confession

Michael smiled as he sat in his old parish church, reflecting upon the tricks childhood memories play on adult minds. The building he had remembered as magnificent in his youth seemed small and only modestly impressive so many years later. He had for some time intended to go back to visit Father O’ Sullivan who still held the position of parish priest there. The opportunity presented itself when his work took him to the area where he had lived until he reached the age of sixteen.

A Million Miles from Home

During the course of a major project the engineers experience many phases - enthusiasm, worry, despair, working long unpaid hours, seeking essential parts made from unobtainium and facing huge overspends. Finally it is done, someone presses the start button – panels light up, motors pick up speed and things move.

Croagh Patrick, St Patrick’s Chair and the Rolling Sun

Those of us who would like to go but will be unlikely to ever attend Newgrange on Winter Solstice and who end up being disappointed with the recordings, broadcasting and online streaming of the annual event should consider a “sunny alternative” spectacle. Discovered by the late Gerry Bracken in the 1980/90s, this phenomenon is not as widely known as its County Meath counterpart but just as astonishing.

Pitch and Toss

There is an old gambling game played by throwing a coin towards a mark (called a moth) that has been popular for many years throughout the world. However, when I was growing up in a Co. Tipperary town in the 1950s, another game also called Pitch and Toss involving pennies was often played on Sunday mornings in a quiet lane.

Happy Caravan Holidays in Warrenpoint

Back in the 1950s we travelled by Steam train from Portadown to Warrenpoint, Co. Down for our summer holidays. We had a small caravan in a field just off the Rostrevor Road, not far from the well-known Rostrevor Monument. I was interested to learn that it’s dedicated to General Roos, whose army during the American Wars burned The White House in 1814. Some days before we left Portadown my mother baked spicey apple tarts and wheaten and soda bread to take with us. We carried our suitcases from Warrenpoint Station to the caravan, a distance of around two miles.

Coronavirus – A reflection

As I lay on my bed this morning. I looked out at the grey sky. A large old tree from the green across the road reached up to touch it. The tree is void of leaves. The birds busied themselves collecting bits and pieces to make nests. They are getting ready to make a home for their new family. The grey sky is like a blind.

Great all-weather family attraction planned for Connemara

Given the restrictions over the past 20 months, there has been a surge in the demand for “staycations” or holidays within Ireland. For that reason it’s good that investment is going into facilities in this area, for example such as the Greenways that have proved so popular. At the moment it’s planned to put a new crossing of the Shannon in Athlone as part of a Greenway that will travel across the country from Dublin to Galway.

Childrens’ Grief Centre: a place of great hope

A major expansion is planned for Ireland’s only dedicated Childrens’ Grief Centre, which is based in Limerick city. It is a crucial service, as some children have great difficulty in coping with their grief, and there’s a massive waiting list at the moment of 250 children, but the organisers are anxious to push ahead with their planned €3.3m development.

Manchán Mangan and his one-man touring show

Fennelly’s of Callan was the venue for a presentation of Arán & Im, in October, a performance by travel writer/broadcaster Manchán Mangan in which he enthralled the audience for 70 minutes with his own peculiar take on the history and mythology of Ireland, and his passion for the Irish language.

The Craic is Mighty

While some people say that there is no English equivalent of the Irish word craic, it can however be described as fun, gossip, laughter and enjoyable conversation.

Skellig Michael – Its History and Religion

News that Skellig Michael, the remote island off the County Kerry coast, is to reopen, is welcome after its closure due to Covid-19 restrictions in Ireland, as elsewhere. The ancient monastic site is the responsibility of Ireland’s Office of Public Works, for its protection, management and maintenance.

Grange’s Wellington Tower – One Of Ireland’s Hidden Gems

One of the few benefits of our recent lockdown during Covid restrictions is that people all over the country get to discover some of our country’s beautiful and historic buildings. One recent trip to the village of Grange in County Tipperary brought this author in contact with the historic Wellington Tower.

Two for the price of one

Monday morning had arrived, it was the beginning of a new week. Ryan entered the County council offices with the human stream of people who worked there. He floated through the entrance as if he was log being carried along by a river.

The Culleen

Situated on the south side of our neighbour’s hill field, the culleen – from the Irish word coillín, a little wood – was a fascinating place. In contrast to the straight lines of whitethorn hedges on either side, it spread in an irregular mass like a miniature jungle.