Thursday, April 27, 2006

La Guantanamera

"Man loves liberty, even if he does not know that he loves it. He is driven by it and flees from where it does not exist". - Jose Marti, Cuban Statesman, Poet, and Journalist (1853-1895)

I love music!

It seems these days I am listening to a lot of stuff from the sixties. Maybe it is because I was a baby/toddler/youngster and that time was a happy period in my life. Maybe it’s because I remember the optimism of those earlier years and the music reflected that.

In these days I tend to go back to “La Guantanamera” a lot. It is a song I heard a lot of when I was a kid…I remember I loved the chorus, never knowing what it stood for or indeed what the preceding Spanish verses meant! Just the sheer beauty of the sounds made me smile then.

Years later it was adopted with adjusted lyrics by various football fans on countless terraces around Britain & Ireland. I heard it with a deal of sadness when The Republic of Ireland beat Northern Ireland 3-0, “one team in Ireland, there’s only one team in Ireland”. I loathe the fact that the small island of Ireland has to have two football teams when we are united in other sports. I imagined that the writer of the true lyrics Jose Marti would not have appreciated the sentiments of the crowd in Lansdowne Road that day as it was a poem identified (with) the love of freedom for his native Cuba…It is a beautiful song, set to a traditional Cuban air by Jose Fernandez Diaz.

Yo soy un hombre sincero I am a truthful man
De donde crece la palma From where the palm tree grows
Y antes de morirme quiero And before dying I want
Echar mis versos del alma To let out the verses of my soul
Guantanamera, guajira Guantanamera

Mi verso es de un verde claro My verse is light green
de un carmín encendido And it is flaming crimson
Mi verso es un ciervo herido My verse is a wounded fawn
Que busca en el monte amparo Who seeks refuge on the mountain
Guantanamera, guajira Guantanamera

Cultivo una rosa blanca I grow a white rose
En julio como en enero In July just as in January
Para el amigo sincero For the honest friend
Que me da su mano franca Who gives me his open hand
Guantanamera, guajira Guantanamera

Con los pobres de la tierra With the poor people of the earth
Quiero yo mi suerte echar I want to share my luck
El arroyo de la sierra The stream of the mountains
Me complace más que el mar Gives me more pleasure than the sea
Guantanamera, guajira Guantanamera

The sheer beauty of the lyrics even in English is breath-taking, I simply love this song and Pete Seeger’s 1963 live recording of it is incredible. The world owes a great debt to Pete for keeping songs such as this in the public consciousness….more on that man later.

As I play the song my two year old “sings” along to the melody…the torch is passed!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Easter Monday, 1916

Easter Monday, 1916.

The day it all began, Ireland would never be the same again nor would the British Empire for that mater.

A mere handful of men fought the might of the British Army in a doomed battle and little more than 5 years later, managed to drive them to the negotiating table and out of Ireland, well almost.

The Empire’s denizens, suffering her imperial presence, furtively took notice and asked, “Well if the Irish can do it and they live next door! well we can do it here too!”
Whether “here” was the Indian Sub Continent, South, East or West Africa, the Middle East & Palestine. Wherever territory was ruled by the Union Jack”. Ireland’s fellow strugglers were heartened by her resolve & her spirit and adopted the Irish principle of “why not?” In the course of the next 40 years, the sun set on an ever shortening empire as people after people rose up against Whitehall.

Not much notice is taken of that week in Ireland by World Historians but its effect in history are still felt today. Just as dramatic as a certain “Tea-Party” in Boston and almost equally as important.

The irony is that those ideals that liberated Ireland in 1921 and consequently lit the torch paper to the destruction of the empire was American in its concept. The ideals of 1776 inspired those men of 1916 as the founder of Modern Irish Republicanism – Theobald Wolfe Tone was a devotee of Jefferson, Franklin & Paine.

Perfect day

Today was wonderful!

The family spent a lovely day in Dayton, paid a visit to Wright Patterson AFB.

We signed up for the Presidential Tour and made a call to "SAM 26000". The VC 137c, (Boeing 707) - JFK's Air Force 1 which bore him to Dallas on that fateful day and bore his remains back to Washington. It was eerie to stand in the area where Johnson took the oath of office, Jackie stunned, gazing on.....a tragic day not just for America but the World!

The Craft of FDR, Truman, Eisenhower not to mention that above 707 which served JFK, Johnson, Nixon, Ford & Carter are all here. Fascinating viewing.

The little fellah loves aircraft and he fell in love with the XB-70 “Valkyrie”. It is truly a beautiful craft, quite breathtaking. Only two were built, one crashed in 1968, the other remains and lives in a hangar on the base proper.

Other craft to live here include the Douglas x-3, "the stiletto" dating from the early 50's, incredible elan in it's design.
The Hawker Siddeley Harrier, the first V-STOL aircraft much loved by aircraft buffs the world over. The F-16 by General Dynamics. The X-15 by North American, without which the space program may well have faltered as it's research in test flights was of incalculable value to the Mercury, Gemini & Apollo projects. Stealth technology like "Tacit Blue" by Northrop, and much more. Altogether it was an amazing tour, 45 minutes though is all you have!

We enjoyed the IMAX movie, the youngest member of the family totally entranced by the Helicopters featured doing their turns, spins and death defying stunts.

When we arrived home, I was greeted by the news that I am now eligible to apply for Citizenship of this wonderful land. It has been a strange journey to this point with many twists and turns. For all those I have encountered upon it, thank you for your compassion and understanding. May you be truly blessed in all your endeavours. To all my wonderful friends thank you for your support throughout.

Thanks to the Lord Jesus for his wonderful gift on this Passover weekend, the Passover Lamb comes through for us all with a little faith, even if it is a mere mustard seed - that is all he requires.

Sorry if I am appearing mystical here but God alone knows what am I talking about. It is a huge weight of my shoulders.

"Such a perfect day", Lou Reed could not say it any better!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter 1916

Speaking to my Mother moments ago, she told me of the easter parade in Dublin commemorating the events of this week 90 years ago in Ireland.

It was 90 years ago today that my Grandfathers Mick Wade & Paddy Kiernan were getting ready to strike a blow for Irish freedom.

Being Ireland & the Irish, The head of the Irish Volunteers ordered that Body to stand down; almost all did including my Grandfather Kiernan’s battalion in Co.Cavan.

My Grandfather Wade’s comrades in Dublin were a different matter. He was a very young adjutant under the command of a man called Eamonn DeValera, a U.S. born teacher of mathematics at Blackrock College and a rising light in the Independence movement.

They occupied Boland’s Mills guarding the approaches from (then) Kingstown’s harbour and denying the British easy egress to the city Center with re-inforcements.

Many talk, indeed sing about the G.P.O. and that doomed but beautiful struggle that lit the torch paper of Irish freedom but Boland’s Mills was different. It was a successful military operation, imposing huge casualties on the occupying forces.

My own Counties of Dublin (birth) & Wexford (upbringing) rose against the British that week plus an action in Galway.
My Grandfather Wade had a huge fondness of all things Wexford as a result ever since that date and indeed for those areas that obeyed Pearse’s instructions on that fateful Easter weekend.

At the end of the week, With the city ablaze & the native populace spitting at the participants - the British thought they had killed Irish freedom forever, but three days later as the executions began & the peals of the requiem bells rung out across the land, Freedom rose from the grave and as in the words of the poet, “a terrible beauty was born”. The irony is not lost on one as I write these words on this particular day.

I’ll write more of the events of this week later but it’s Easter Sunday. I can’t help thinking of my Grandfather Mick now. At this time 90 years ago, what thoughts were going through his young mind preparing for war. The fear & anticipation he must have felt, the anxiety & the determined knowledge that he was right. To free his homeland, a war of independence. His sacrifice and My God!., did he sacrifice a lot. He must have realized that life would never be the same again

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Deadbeat poetry contest winner 2001

A sort of Irish peace . . .

Beyond the mute TV Screens
Beyond the limp handshakes
Beyond the forced hilarity
Of false bonhomie
And goodwill to all men
through gritted teeth
Beyond the bland smiles
and empty posturing of graceless politicos
lies a peace process
that took two score more years
and then some to discuss
the blood of three thousand martyrs
cries out the grave
"We died for this peace
-- Make it work!"

5 years ago I entered this “masterpiece” in the local Citybeat…jayze, didn’t they put it in the paper as a winner despite some whining from them about people not putting in as much as the year before.

Well 5 years on and I am still awaiting my prize/s , We’ve had 911, the war on terror, war in Afghanistan, war in Iraq, the Muppets join Disney, Chelsea win their first league Championship in 50 years, I become a dad!...and still no prize!

No wonder people weren’t bothered sending in stuff…they never got anything back!

That is why I refer to Citybeat amongst polite company as Deadbeat!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


The Da Vinci code & other hackworks….

What is all this hoopla about this bloody book? It is fiction, folks, fiction…and people get their knickers in a knot about it?…Whoever is the PR person at Random House - He/She should get pr award of the decade!

There is an Industry spawned on this book and one can only laugh, throw a dog a bone, I guess and he’ll gnaw away!

It almost reminds me of James Joyce and some of the assorted glitterati that follow him, trying to make head & tail out of “Ulysses” not to mention “Finnegan’s Wake”. I have tried to understand these Joycean scholars & their constant theorizing on Leopold Bloom but I simply don’t get it, maybe I am simply not an intellectual…or maybe is it that I feel like the child in that fable of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” when surrounded by these “Arsigans”. It's almost like being a Chelsea supporter or getting lost in the turmoils of a writer like Brendan Behan!

I enjoy Joyce but then again I enjoy Enid Blyton too!

The man was ahead of his time, pushed out the boundaries of writing and in so doing, brought reflected glory to his countrymen - reinforcing the view of the Emerald Isle as a place of “Saints & Scholars”. It’s a pity in those days that the saints ran the scholars out of the country! More’s the pity that Mr. Joyce eked out a living at the end of his days thanks to their fascism.

A decent man called Philip Thompson organizes a “Bloomsday” on or around June 16th in Jack Quinn’s Alehouse in Covington. The following is an article with Mr. T who explains his passion to Citybeat (a great paper for lagging btw!).


Accuiel de Notre Dame - Hostel of Our lady

It took a year to build this Hostel which has incredible hospital like facilities for the sick
& elderly.. It is a marvel and typical of the French flair, their élan…their stunning style in architecture through all the ages..yes I am a Francophone!

Lourdes is a very special place for me. I have witnessed many miracles there. Not the miracles one usually thinks of, the crippled kid leaping out of a wheelchair but the miracles of seeing amazing dignity at work. The power to transform within, spiritual miracles….

It is easy to get bogged down in theology, codology whatever! It is a special place for me, period! Millions of people come there to pray, to reconcile, to accept.

The power of that prayers lingers on, it is tangible even to the cynical like me as I discovered one morning at 3am in the grotto, The river gave is roaring past but the tranquility all encompassing…lives change totally when one is looking earnestly for God. He does listen!

It’s a pity we don’t talk to him more often.

Oliver & Martin

Oliver Sinnott & Martin Goff

I just heard about the passing of a decent man. Oliver Sinnott was one of those rare people you meet…a true Christian.

Oliver was a renowned actor, a penchant for the comedic but sublimely gifted in the art of drama itself. I saw him first in Billy Roche’s first staging of “The Boker Poker Club” or more famously known as “A handful of stars” in Wexford’s Arts Center.

I first met Ollie properly in the Order of Malta Ambulance Corps, - The modern Sovereign Military Order of Malta or indeed the Knights of Malta as we are commonly called by the populace.

One of our duties, privileges rather was to assist in the Ferns Diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes which is held every May.

I had the privilege of working with him in Lourdes, a place that truly is a sanctuary to me but more of that anon.

Oliver cared, the only attribute worth having when assisting in the Hospital at Lourdes. His attitude to those less fortunate and in distress was a beacon to those around him especially us younger ones who could only hope to learn from him. He had his moments as we all do but he helped me immeasurably in learning to care, to aid…He above all others taught me the true motto of the Knights “Our Lords, the poor, the infirm & the old” when in his company there.

I hope I learned something from Oliver as indeed I did from another wonderful friend & Lourdes Comrade - Martin Goff who passed away a couple of years ago, his demise left a big hole in my heart…Another wonderful Christian whose laughter I can still hear today!

Martin would explode into a room with the word “God save all here!” or “God bless the work!”. I confess Martin & I would often have a few jars after a busy shift be it in France or after “fence duty” on a greasy day in Lyngstown at a “point to point”. There wasn’t a “shibeen” unknownst to us in the south east of Ireland as we traveled each weekend to cover first aid or care duties in the darkest corners of Wexford & Waterford.

I worked with “Goff” in Dun Mhuire, the parish hall of Wexford, as a stagehand on many shows. Once more the “craic” was ninety as tricks on the unfortunate cast were planned & schemed upon. He was simply a joy to be around, I am laughing as I type as I think of some of the jokes he told, some of the pranks he played, too ribald to type here but maybe someday……

Martin though was simply brilliant as a Human being, His visits to the forgotten in those monolithic nursing homes. The sheer joy he brought to those lonely souls, telling them news from their parish. He was a phenomenal fund raiser too, He would have been a multi millionaire save for his humanity..He was too honest. The man was a dynamo!

My heart goes out to his wife Kathleen & their family….as indeed to Oliver’s wife Peggy & their family. God bless them all.

Dirty old town

Covington's latest star
"The Ascent at Roebling's Bridge"
by Daniel Libeskind

Les Miserables

I remember a fellah called Les Dawson who was bloody hilarious but who is Les Miserables?, his Greek cousin?

Seriously, her indoors has never seen the show yet so as it is on its last legs…tour I mean, it will be coming to the Queen city on the 28th of this month so we’ll head down-town, I have already ordered the limousine from Brinks & taken out three more life policies as we venture into Cincinnati/nasty/natty.

It has all the qualities to be a lovely city but as always grasps defeat from the jaws of victory. Meanwhile across the river, Newport & Covington are fast developing into the type of City that Cinci wanted to be.

Daniel Libeskind, he of the new towers in NYC (to replace & commemorate the World Trade Center) has designed a beautiful 21 floor tower in Covington which will be built in the next year.

Other developments are taking place in the area, developments that should have been in Cincinnati. The “Banks” controversy, a searing indictment of the stupid politicking & no imagination that City Council has displayed in what really is an elegant city. Hopefully new mayor, Mark Mallory can knock some heads together, get a consensus on what is good for the city and bring her back. He seems a decent man and may be able to make Cinci the place to be …but don’t hold your breath.

Les Miserables, fitting isn’t it?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

On our travels....

Chelsea - Milan

That’s yours truly with the Coor’s jersey, the 16 yr old with the Black shirt & the missus & baby in between
knackered by 100 degree heat or so it felt!

Last July we spent a few days in NY, well New Jersey really, well New Brunswick actually, in the garden state...well you get my drift.Anyway, the "Chels" were in town and the NY blues were putting on a show and we had a great time.

On the Friday, we met up with Mike Neat, who had our tickets for us and did a magnificent job of orchestrating the Blue supporters from all around and corralled us into our very own "shed end" at the northern end of the stadium.

Mike also ensured we got passes for the following day's training session and we had a blast with the lads.

Frankie Lampard looked surprised when I proffered him my toddler's shoes to sign but loved the idea and likewise Peter Cech & Billy Gallas did the will be a treasured keepsake for the little man as he grows up.

The game was alright I guess, a chance to see some of the new players play...a chance to see another favourite team of mine, Milan play my beloved Chelsea, two great goals...a 1-1 draw in the end.

More to come

hallo again....

A long time since I last posted.
The young fellah is now 2 years 4 months old and I have to say every day is a blessing. He is great fun and developing into a wonderful personality.
Thank God, I have a lovely family and a wonderful missus! It is great to be able to recognise that fact too, I imagine.
We're off to Wright Patterson (yet again) on Monday. The baby loves aircraft...(dunno where he gets that from?) but oh well, I'll have to toe along I guess.