Sunday, September 24, 2006

Thunderbirds are Go!

5,4,3,2,1....Thunderbirds are go!

Saturday Mornings, 10am and I was sitting before the telly...HTV (Harlech Television) and I was set. My favourite TV show in the whole world. The world of Gerry Anderson was my world. Stingray, Captain Scarlet, Secret Agent and my other favourite Joe 90 who my son loves watching just as much as I did. The schoolyard was full of kids doing the marionette walk on Mondays. The music as I recall was "deadlydesh" as we say in Wexford.

It is amazing seeing my youngster develop passions for the same thing I once enjoyed as a youngster.

As we grew up, Gerry Anderson developed series for the adult world like U.F.O. and his more famous work Space 1999 which has a huge following stateside. Martin Landau was the main star in this series. The premise of the series was that the Moon was being used by earth as a repository for storing nuclear waste. A catastrophic explosion blows the moon out of the earth's orbit and sends it hurtling through space. It actually was a fun series and very popular when aired. The models used were brilliant in concept 7 design, the eagle transporters (pictured) being particularly striking. The design crew of this series led by Brian Johnson (who worked on Thunderbirds as well) went onto work for Ridley Scott in "Alien" and George Lucas in Star wars "The Empire strikes back".

UFO, for me though was the Dog's Bollix of Cult TV. Great premise, a secret organisation set up to counter a sinister alien invasion. Great stuff when you're a teen and the world is full of conspiracy theories. The autopsy of the alien in the first program was incredible (for the time) TV, 11pm on HTV - Saturdays. Great thing I was allowed to stay up & watch it by my mam. (mam= IRE, mom=US, mum = UK). Barry Grays theme music as before in all the other shows listed here was groooovy!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Artemis Fowl

We hope to head off on another cross -country safari soon. This time down to Lexington to see an old friend from school. Eoin Colfer is the creator of the best selling "Artemis Fowl" book series. His websites can be viewed here, & . He is on a book tour at this moment in time, hence the trip to darkest Kentucky. The books are wonderful for readers of all ages and are winning devotees all over the world.

Eoin was a good pal at school with a wonderful wit which you'll discover reading his work. Playwright, Artist, Actor, Singer. A man of many talents as are his Brothers & Parents. Believe me, it is thrilling to see the fact materialize that "good things do happen to good people!" Eoin is living proof of this. He is the product of remarkable parents.

His father was the best teacher I ever had. People come into your life and make a change or influence you in some way. Billy Colfer’s influence in my life has been momentous to say the least.

If I could some the man up in a word, a statement even - it would simply be "encouragement!".

It may appear trite at first but to a ten year old, dealing with all types of upheaval and discouragement at home, a kindly word of encouraging spirit meant the world to me.

I was introduced to the world of history in this man's class. Made aware of my heritage, my roots, and our common past - our sense of place in the world. I will never forget our visit one day to the SW of my County, Tintern Abbey, Baginbun, The magical Hook Head and Dunbrody. The hinterland of the Colfers.

As soon as I could drive, they were my favourite haunts. Places I could get lost in and indulge in my love of local history. Places, memories I still revisit when I have quiet time here.

I loved reading. Reading was then my safe retreat, it still is and to participate in a classroom where it was extolled was a revelation. To be encouraged (that word again) to think about what we had read and to discuss it in an adult fashion was a joy.. We were enabled not patronized.

I brought so many life lessons out of that class, lessons that I hope I pass on to the kids I coach, the others I teach. Encouragement is such a crucial, vital force for this world at the moment. Good things happen when it is used.

I may not have joined the Royal Hong Kong Police Force, as I stated in his classroom one day (deadly serious too!) but I did sense I would someday move away from Erin's green shores, such was the need I guess, of escape in my life.

If he is reading this someday, I've been meaning to express my gratitude either via a letter or phone call for many a year but could never pluck up the courage. So maybe by doing so publicly via a blog is my way of saying "Thank you Billy, for all your encouragement those years ago!".

W's Doggy position

We're actually thinking of getting a dog. "Her indoors" favours a terrier - non moulting.!

....If it is to be one, we will have to agree on a Scottie or Wheaten. They're characters and wise little buggers into the bargain.

I want a German Shepherd but that is a non starter with the missus as most American ones tend to be homicidal maniacs or not the full shilling (dogs not wives, though that can be open to debate I guess!).

Bringing one over from Europe is an option but a costly one at that but something to look forward to in the future. At least we are talking about dogs which is somewhat comforting. Dogs are fun, they're loyal and they don't back answer!

The bliss of domesticity! As I write, the little fella stands behind me, looking over my shoulder. Footy on the telly, the missus vacuuming. Hovering & hoovering on a Saturday afternoon.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

John Barry

Commodore John Barry

As long as I can remember, John Barry has been a fixture in my head. I suppose like any Wexford person (townie anyway), there are landmarks that we carry about in our minds like some spare change in an old suit pocket - in my case it was Barry. I am sure there is some freudian import in this but I can't be bothered to analyse myself at this moment in time!

I remember as a very small boy, a toddler even, being brought down to the quay and to look up at him, a towering figure, solid, grim, foreboding yet strangely comforting. Staring, out across the sea to the wild Irish Sea which became the Atlantic around the corner.

Barry was a legend and is only being recognized now for what he was – the father of the American Navy. He was known locally as "The Pirate Barry" , my source was a venearable old sea dog, Ibar Murphy who rejoiced in Barry's Rosslare connections.

I remember the "Barry Days", the visiting US Navy, the pomp & ceremony of the day as both navies of Ireland & the US paid homage to their spiritual father (formerly) and actual father (latterly).

Indeed the United States owes a lot to the South East Corner of Ireland, her shores sending off rafts(pun intended) of men to form and man her navy , particularly the Barony of Forth & Bargy – my own ancestral home through my paternal grandmother.

As it often is, History can be very piquant. This corner of old Erin having more in common with the South West of England than the rest of Ireland. Our cultures & traditions being very much in sync with those of Cornwall, Somerset & Devon. Indeed these Counties are all that remain of Celtic Britain, the Britons being the dominant Celtic tribe of the land, Wales being their last refuge.

Yet it was this Southeastern corner that was the most rebellious, insurgent piece of soil, the English had ever encountered. Our mixture of Gaelic, Viking, Flemish & Norman blood made us a belligerent bunch when facing tyranny or hostility.

I’ll write more of my home’s history. As I type here in exile, I reflect very much that it is the soil that forms us and makes us what we are which makes me very comfortable in my skin these days. Call it tribal, whatever but I guess when it comes to adopting a mark, I wear my tattoos on the inside with pride.

John Barry Kelly is a descendant of John Barry. He is a Park Ranger at the Philadelphia Heritage Park, a favorite haunt of mine. He wrote the following piece on his great uncle here: . Do yourself a favor and read it.

With regard to “Philly”, it is fair to say that History literally seeps from the pores in her cobbled streets. If you have the means, the time – Visit this City. America has given so much to the World and indeed received a lot too. This city will help you understand that fact and why we all need each other, especially in these darkened days.

Fogra: Today is "National Speak like a Pirate day!", according to Captain Pugwash at work. Shiver me timbers ya curs, Hoist sail for the coast of Malabar or I'll keelhaul every one of ye before the day is through!

Monday, September 18, 2006

a bloody good laugh!

These days it seems we could all do with a good laugh.
When I left Ireland, Podge & Rodge were doing the business back home.
Podge & Rodge O'Leprosy are brothers from Ballydung, a sinister pair if there was such!
Anyway they have now progressed from kid's TV to their own chat show....this is an interview with Johnny Vegas an erstwhile rotund comic of the vulgar persuasion from England...Bellicose is very much a term that comes to mind but he is very funny!
this is a clip from an interview last may. Podge & Rodge are the alteregos of Mick O'Hara & Ciaran Morrison, and very funny men they are too. More on the lads here at;

Friday, September 15, 2006

Probably the Greatest Rock Band in the World...

Phil Lynott's 20th anniversary was back in January. To those that did not know, the man or his music, specifically Thin Lizzy, he was and is a legend.

He was taken from us tragically young, victim of his own indulgence you might say, like so many in that art. He left us with wonderful memories.

Thin Lizzy(imho) was the greatest Irish band ever! - "What about U2?"- what about them? Hype is the modus operandi of that Industry as it always have been. Some managers have been brilliantly exploitative of that fact!
But if you don't believe me about "Lizzy", have a look yourself here:
The boys are doing Jailbreak, Gary Moore looking er, a wee bit bloated but is he the world's greatest guitarist? Some say he is, I'd love to hear somebody better!

Anyway back to Phil....
His Mother told Billy Connolly this tale:
Somebody asked Phil "What was it like to be Black & Irish?
" a bit like a pint of Guinness!"- Phil retorted!

Gone but not forgotten!

Trolling the Internet!

Before I start my sermon/rant!

A pal sent me a link to this website,
Some gems among the dross but altogether a very funny website. I miss the banter of the homeland where cut & countercut, jibe & counterjibe is the order of the day with no offence given or taken unless you're a humourless merchant banker (see rhyming slang).

A word to those imps, trolls and things that go bump in the night when writing/reading a blog.

Blogging is fun! It's public and is there to be read so keep that in mind when you publish. The privacy option is a great little device altogether!

A troll yesterday!

If you're reading this with a mean spirited motive to make me look ridiculous, tough! I can do that easily enough on my own! You may as well look elsewhere!

Life has a way of biting one in the arse when one intentionally causes mayhem or evil mischief in the life of another, there is nothing surer! So pass on and Let your God go with you!


Monday, September 11, 2006

Happy Birthday pt 2

Today, I’m 42…I was 9 when Allende was overthrown by Pinochet in a coup in Chile on this very day. I wrote about that in an earlier post, access it here...
You can read all about that day here......

Pinochet - an evil bastard

Even then I was curious about the world I lived in. 1973 was to say the least a bleak but yet an interesting year, the Arab-Israeli conflict where Israel fought a desperate rearguard action but survived. OPEC flexing their blackmailing muscle and sending the west into a nose dive economically.

Terrorism of the Arab kind was nothing new then; Munich was but a year in the past. I was very aware even then of the fact that we were not living in some idyllic Eden but a very, tough, uncompromising, unsentimental world.

I remember the interminable queues at the gas/petrol stations. I remember those days as very dark, bleak. I remember the union strikes, the power cuts. I remember my mother cooking food on the family fireplace, the stew (yes folks, bloody stew!) tasting like soot or rather having a sooty taste – is that the same thing?. (Oh! The deprivation!).

Northern Ireland was in turmoil, I remember the refugees though we did not call them that. People with even stranger accents than ours - coming to visit for a few weeks which turned into months until they were re-housed by the Government. That year saw a United Irish team, succumb to the mighty Brazil 3-2 at Lansdowne road. So in the midst of all the gloom, there were sparks of a hint at a better tomorrow.

1973 was also the year; Ireland joined the EEC which later on became the EU. It was a seismic event in our history. Britain & Denmark joined also. I remember a charity match in London’s Wembley which was called the 3 versus the 6. Irish, British & Danish footballers against the crème de la crème of the footballers of the other 6 countries. If I recall the “3” won the game too.

1973 a desolate year.....

I remember things getting better after that, optimism is the spark of life.

Others call it Faith!

Happy 1

It’s easy to be despondent these days. Where is the justice? We all know what happened on this day 5 years ago. Two wars and hundreds of thousands of casualties later, we are daily reminded “that freedom isn’t free”,
I cannot help but think of the line
“but who pays the ferryman?”
What really happened on that day and what has happened to us since?

The pictures here are my own, taken last August when we were in NY for a fast & furious day of “sight/site-seeing”. The ambience of the City had changed since I last visited 5 years previously. I’d describe it as a harsh environment but when you have a 16 acre crater in place of a once vibrant, creative hub…I would say any city would feel scarred, numb, violated.
Part of her soul was lost that day! Will it ever heal?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Gypsies, Bacon & Pipes

A while ago, "her Indoors" & I went to look at a house in Lynchburg, Ohio. Totally by accident, we found ourselves on another street, outside a lovely old home...we adored the house but found out later that it was sold much to our disappointment.

Anyway as I stepped out of the car I smelled cooking wafting out from the kitchen of a nearby home. Instantly I was transferred in years and miles back to Cabra in Dublin, getting out of my dad's car and smelling the same smell wafting out from my granny's kitchen. A simple scent and you're transformed from the present to the past. A time machine of the senses....

Amazing the things that trigger our memories, "recall switches" if you like.

One of the things I remember from my Grannys house was stepping outside, going a few yards onto Leix road and staring down to Phibsboro and the floodlights of Dalymount park, (home of Irish football), standing sentinel like those aliens from that book by HG Wells.

My mother told me, she was there the night they switched those lights on (in 1962) as she was the lead piper in The Emerald Girl's Pipe Band who were the musical support that night! I understand incidentally that they were World Champions at the time too (I kid you not!). Until you hear Irish warpipes warm up in a 12' x 14' livingroom - you have never lived!

I remember one summer, football was slumbering in it's off season yet I could hear the tones of Bob Marley wandering up the concrete canyons of Old Cabra - my first real encounter with reggae. If I recall it was 1979. It was his last big concert before his death 6 months later....see Ireland & die, I guess!

Bohemians were & are my Irish team for that simple reason. That scene from leix road, those towers, that roar forever etched in my memory. I've been to the ground on several occassions for Boh's games and the odd international. Last one was v France, a cold bollox of a night which got worse as it started to rain and we along with 10,000 others slp slided away down to the front. Michel Platini was the French manager, resplendent in a long grey trench-coat, he looked more like "Colombo" than Napoleon as I think he intended. We 5, that came up from the the "Sceachs", muttered something like "F*ck this for a game of soldiers!" and headed around the corner to "Dalys" for a pint and to watch the game in the comfort of a Dublin Pub, then onto the haunt of my Grandad Mick , "the Homestead" and onto the "hole in the wall" in the Phoenix Park where we ended off the night! Enough of that wandering down memory lane, I'm getting a hangover thinking about it.

News from Dublin now says that "the Gypsies" are to leave Dublin 7 and move out to the Country netting them a cool $100m in the process with a new stadium to boot. I am sad of the news that "Dalyer" is no more but it was falling to bits when I was there last and I hear it was even worse now. The other thing is that it turns the Club from perennial paupers to eternally secure & wealthy..a bit like another team I know.

I always regarded "Bohs" as a sleeping giant now we'll see what a few bob in the arse pocket will do for them!

Boh's can be found here:

Friday, September 08, 2006

Chicago in August!

A month later but some pictures of our trip to Chicago.

Even more than ever, we’re committed Chicago fans. I guess it is something to do with our familial links with the City. A part of Chicago dies at midnight tonight with the acquisition of Marshall Fields by Macys.

The Sledd Aquarium, The Field Museum, the Adler Planetarium, The Science & Industry Museum plus the Hancock Tower all part of the great deal offered by

From The Hancock, the view is simply stunning!

The little fellah loved it so much we returned the next day for a night-time viewing. Where else can you wander around a major world city at 12 midnight without fear. Simply a very exciting place to be.

The game was an anti-climax, though it was great to meet the lads and have a few chats with some old & indeed new friends. Hallo Mokes! A fellow blue that made the bus trip to Chicago from D.C.. That is what devotion is all about!

Last year at training in New Jersey, there were about 20 or so Chelsea Diehards…this year at the Chicago session, there was 7,000. Proof that the World has sat up & taken notice of us. Proof that the youngster is taking notice of us is his repeating of a phrase that 500 or so Chelsea fans exclaimed after Didier Drogba’s goal was dis-allowed, beginning with F ending in K’s and add a “Sake” to that and you get my drift!

Bridgeview is a lovely stadium; hopefully it will resurrect that area of Chicago and build Chicago Fire a real fan-base. The organization there are a wonderful bunch of people and very helpful to all. Some of the Security got over zealous with the Celery throwing, (a Chelsea tradition from the early 80’s)…the song is the funny part and no I am not posting the lyrics here.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


911, A date that forever will be associated with shock, terror, fear, outrage...these words seem so cliched these days but not then. America changed that day, the World changed!

911 is a big day in my home, we have two birthdays on that day.

A friend of mine, Larry Kirwan lives less than a mile from the site where once stood the Twin Towers...This is how he recalls it.... (by permission of the Author).

It will be five years on Monday since the Twin Towers were attacked. What changes have overcome us! It's not that we haven't recovered from the shock. Still, there is a rip in the fabric of our society that has yet to be repaired. I've often wondered why. All I can figure is that when those three thousand people departed the city, they took with them a measure of our hopes and dreams. They were vibrant souls, full of confidence in themselves and their country. It's nauseating and beyond disgraceful how their memory continues to be twisted for cheap political gain. They deserve better as do the many thousands with respiratory ailments who rushed to their rescue. Despite all the heartbreak and loss, the event is slowly receding into myth. I wrote a newsletter soon after describing what it was like in the city on the day. Unfortunately, I've mislaid it. This is an extract from Green Suede Shoes that I based on the original newsletter. Perhaps, in some small way, it will help cut through the ratings-driven hoopla of television coverage and the shilling of cheap, flag waving politicians from both major parties, and for a few moments resurrect the essence of these sorely missed people.

"I can't overestimate what a beautiful day it was. Clear blue and with just the barest hint of fall in the air. January is New Year for much of the world, but the first two weeks after Labor Day signal the beginning for New York. People come back from the shore and the mountains full of new resolutions and, for whatever reason, there was even more hope in the air than usual. Maybe there was even time for the Mets to turn it around.

No one spoke. It was too much. We live just north of Canal Street and the view of the Trades had always been spectacular. I don't know why it sprang to mind, but my first sight of them was towards the end of the movie Carnal Knowledge, when Jack and Artie are having their last conversation. But that was just an instant flash. Suddenly, everyone was talking and shouting and you could hear the cries echoing from the surrounding rooftops. It was an accident of course. How could the bloody pilot have gone so off course and hit one of our lovely Towers? The utter stupidity of it all! Hadn't he ever seen the old pictures of the plane crash into the Empire State?

And then the second plane hit the Eastward Tower. We didn't see it and the sound was muted, for the plane came from the South and was blocked from our view. But we felt the impact; the Tower itself seemed to buckle from the shock. There were no flames from our angle, just another gaping, smoky hole and then a confetti of glass and paper exploded outwards and seemed to hang in the air around the two buildings. It finally dawned on us all, we were being attacked, but by whom? I ran downstairs for a pair of old binoculars and trained these on the Eastward building. Large black pieces of debris were sailing right through the glassy confetti. I instinctively knew that bodies were hurtling down too but, on no account, did I wish to see them. Luckily a neighbor asked for a look. Better him than me, I thought, as I handed them over.

He never got to use them for a cloud of brown smoke and dust erupted; the building shuddered, then wavered and collapsed to the ground in an almost orderly, but totally surreal, manner. It was hard to trust the eyes, but this was no mirage. The building had disintegrated downwards in a couple of awful seconds and a great cloud of smoke and dust arose, to my mind, almost like a shroud. People were now yelling and screaming from all the rooftops. A number of women around me cried hysterically, while the men cursed loudly. It was as if time stood still during those awful seconds while comprehension sought to reassert itself. The general consensus was that the tower had been blown up by bombs previously placed in the basement. The dread feeling, though generally unspoken, was that these unidentified bombers were invincible and could now do as they wished with the city.

I stayed on the roof for another couple of minutes trying to piece together conflicting thoughts and emotions, but everything seemed utterly changed, and I don't mean just the purely physical. The Westward building was still standing but it looked violated. I got the distinct, sickening feeling that the gaping hole in that tower was like an ugly smoking wound that would never be healed. Now a general panic swept across the rooftops and the screams merged in with the howl of many sirens heading south on Broadway. The loudest scream, though silent, was "what's coming next?"

I took back my binoculars and trained them on the standing tower; it seemed so close and we on the rooftops particularly vulnerable, being less than a mile away. I had no hope; it was just a matter of time until the second tower fell, and I didn't think for a moment that the orderly collapse of its sister would be repeated. No, this one would surely explode outwards and shower us with the glassy confetti, the dark beams and God knows what else. Many others felt the same way and there was an exodus off the rooftops. I ran downstairs, just in time to turn on the TV and watch the second Tower disintegrate in the same sickeningly neat manner.

It's very hard to put into words the feeling of vulnerability in the next hours as rumors swept the city: new planes were headed in for more attacks, the tunnels had been booby trapped, the "bombs" that had brought down the Trades contained biological and germ warfare devices, etc. And then soon after, two screaming air force jets banked over the city, causing widespread panic, before they were identified. Where the hell had they been, we screamed back skywards? But there was no reply, nor has there been a satisfactory one to this day.

I headed down to Canal Street and decided to walk towards the WTC area, knowing that it would soon be blocked off. People were streaming up Broadway, dazed and glassy-eyed, some formally dressed, some in casual attire, but most dusted over with a fine white powder. After five or six blocks, however, the smoke and dust became too dense and I was forced to halt. With my back against a wall, I watched emergency vehicles speed down Broadway, shoving the escapees up onto the sidewalk. All was chaos, but there was remarkably little panic. Just shock - silent for the most part – with no hysteria or tears, only a dazed bitter uncertainty. One man stood out. An African-American, his shirt had either been blown off or removed. He must have been about 6'4" and was covered from head to toe with that same fine white dust with which we would all soon be familiar. He was moving up Broadway with a purposeful stride. I looked in his eyes as he passed me. There was no shock or fear there, just a fierce, but calm, determination to get home, get out of that area, get back to some kind of sanity. I watched him until he faded off into the smoky distance of Broadway. He took a large measure of our past with him".

About the writer.....

Larry Kirwan is an extremely talented man...He is a prolific writer and playwright, He is also the founder of a (deadlydesh!) brilliant Musical Experiment called Black 47, I won't call them a rock band as that title is too worn these days... You can read, listen, amuse yourself at his website here;

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

An Irish sing song!

The scene "Mary's bar" in John's Gate Street, Wexford......

Outside a drizzly night, cold speckles in the air,
A cold north westerly in off the Irish Sea all the way down from the Arctic.
Inside the small parlour that is Mary’s bar, a steaming throng that is ready fro the singing pubs competition of the Opera festival

The self appointed MC glowers at the expectant, upturned faces of the audience. His height or rather lack of it decrees he clambers onto a chair. He is what is popularly known in Wexford parlance as a “short arse” . A terrier like individual, all piss & vinegar as they say in Ohio.
“Order! Now! Order!
“Ah C’mon for jayze sake, will ye whist! the man’s going to sing…
Go ahead there Tommy!”
The “short arse” like so many short bad tempered curs all over the world barking orders like he was the last man left on the planet,
The assembled, weary downtrodden sheep that they are comply and grudgingly shut up, a few murmurs that attract the evil eye from the terrier

The called on singer clears his throat, opens his mouth, a cavernous hole if ever there was one belying the fact that what follows brings a tear to every eye in the place

When apples still grow in November
When Blossoms still bloom from each tree
When leaves are still green in December
It's then that our land will be free
I wander her hills and her valleys
And still through my sorrow I see
A land that has never known freedom
And only her rivers run free

I drink to the death of her manhood
Those men who'd rather have died
Than to live in the cold chains of bondage
To bring back their rights were denied
Oh where are you now when we need you
What burns where the flame used to be
Are ye gone like the snows of last winter
And will only our rivers run free?

How sweet is life but we're crying
How mellow the wine but it's dry
How fragrant the rose but it's dyingH
ow gentle the breeze but it sighs
What good is in youth when it's aging
What joy is in eyes that can't see
When there's sorrow in sunshine and flowers
And still only our rivers run free

No wonder we Irish are a melancholy bunch, we get out for a few jars, a sing-along and we sing about our history. Our past never escapes us or is allowed to escape. We are prisoners of it, of that there is no doubt.

We drink to forget our past, to escape the chains that bind but instead end up even more glued to its memories. Those of us that break the cycle, that defy the norm are regarded as heretical. Indifference replacing friendship as you leave the circle leaving you to discover that what you perceived as friendship was not friendship at all just perhaps a tolerance, if even that.

The fact that the Irish are portrayed as Drinkers is indeed established. They have no one to blame but themselves but to portray that as a national trait is folly. Every Country that tolerates alcohol has the same pre-occupation with it. To deny it is just plain stupid.

Vistas like the scene described above make me smile & wince at the same time (psychological phenomena like recalled memory can make us physically incredibly dexterous facially!).

Back to the vista,

A few more scoops, time to clear out…the stragglers depart, the halted steps and then the chosen few remain. The deadbolt drawn across the door as the conversation turns to the match next Sunday, “how much is that field worth?”…another song, the tone is more hushed now

Once upon a time there was
Irish ways and Irish laws
Villages of Irish blood
waking to the morning
Waking to the morning

Then the Vikings came around,
turned us up and turned us down
Started building boats and towns,
they tried to change our living
They tried to change our living

Cromwell and the soldiers came,
started centuries of shame
But they could not make us turn,
we are a river flowing
We're a river flowing

Again, again the soldiers came,
burnt our houses, stole our grain
Shot the farmers in their fields
working for a living
They were working for a living

Eight hundred years we have been down,
the secret of the water sound
Has kept the spirit of a man
above the pain descending
Above the pain descending

Today the struggle carries on,
I wonder will I live so long
To see the gates being opened up
to a people and their freedom
A people and their freedom

Once upon a time there was
Irish ways and Irish laws
Villages of Irish blood
waking to the morning
Waking to the morning

...........“Lord, Lamplighting Jayze, will somebody sing something a bit more lively!”…says a Dublin accent in the corner…”Why not yourself if you’re so good at it!”..and he does…

Tim Finnegan lived in Walkin Street,
a gentle Irishman mighty odd
He had a brogue both rich and sweet,
an' to rise in the world he carried a hod

You see he'd a sort of a tipplers way
but the love for the liquor poor Tim was born
To help him on his way each day,
he'd a drop of the craythur every morn

Whack fol the dah now dance to yer partner
around the flure yer trotters shake
Wasn't it the truth I told you?
Lots of fun at Finnegan's Wake

One morning Tim got rather full,
his head felt heavy which made him shake
He fell from a ladder and he broke his skull,

and they carried him home his corpse to wake

They rolled him up in a nice clean sheet,
laid him out upon the bed
with a bottle of whiskey at his feet '
and a barrel of porter at his head

Whack fol the dah now dance to yer partner
around the flure yer trotters shake
Wasn't it the truth I told you?
Lots of fun at Finnegan's Wake

His friends assembled at the wake,
and Mrs Finnegan called for lunch
First she brought in tay and cake,
then pipes, tobacco and whiskey punch

Biddy O'Brien began to cry,
"Such a nice clean corpse, did you ever see,
Tim avourneen, why did you die?",
"Will ye hould your gob?" said Paddy McGee

Whack fol the dah now dance to yer partner
around the flure yer trotters shake
Wasn't it the truth I told you?
Lots of fun at Finnegan's Wake

Then Maggie O'Connor took up the job,
"Biddy" says she "you're wrong, I'm sure
"Biddy gave her a belt in the gob
and left her sprawling on the floor

Then civil war did soon engage,
Woman to woman and man to man
Shillelagh law was all the rage
and a row and a ruction soon began

Whack fol the dah now dance to yer partner
around the flure yer trotters shake
Wasn't it the truth I told you?
Lots of fun at Finnegan's Wake

Mickey Maloney ducked his head
when a bucket of whiskey flew at him
It missed, and falling on the bed,
the liquor scattered over Tim
Bedad he revives, see how he rises,
Tim Finnegan rising from the bed

Saying "Throwing your whiskey around like blazes,
Be the thunderin' Jaysus, do ye think I'm dead?

"Whack fol the dah now dance to yer partner
around the flure yer trotters shake
Wasn't it the truth I told you?
Lots of fun at Finnegan's

.....The remaining choristers are in fits of laughter with joining in as “Finnegan’s Wake” is once more caroled around a bar-room in Ireland. I don’t expect the non-Celt to understand this passage I write but I do beg their indulgence in reading my discourse and contemplating what makes the Celtic mind “tick”.

The helter skelter of emotions, our ability to weep one minute, laugh uproariously the next. Our love of life and all that goes with it. Our love of words – whether it be in song, poetry, literature or conversation is eternal. The adoration of the bard is our true national Character trait.

But don’t take my word for it…if you wish to discover irish literature, you could do no wrong than start here:

And that is it in a Irish singsong from the maudlin to the hilarious from one song to the next..much like our conversation, much like our psyche.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Marcus Fiesel

To say I am heartbroken is an understatement...I could not write on this till today..."Cold Fury", has anyone really experienced what that feels like, I did when I heard what had happened to Little Marcus.

The story is here, killed by his "loving" foster parents...

Finger pointing, backstabbing, all the usual stuff that happens when the excrement hits the fan.

The cynical exploitation of the child's demise has already begun...I could comment on that but I won't, this isn't the time, the place or the proper forum. Other people far better qualified or positioned than I will no doubt in time point this out.

I must say this, I was never so proud of the work that the Investigators did on this case, they never gave up and hopefully their work will be recognized in due course.

The huge outpouring of grief makes me realize that I live amongst good decent people. People I am proud to call friends & neighbors.

This whole story tears me up. It makes me so thankful to GOD for my little boy, my family. It made me realize that I have roots that are deeper than I ever thought in this part of the World.

I will never ever forget you Marcus, I never knew you but you will live in my heart forever...I know that thousands more touched by your plight feel the same way!

God Bless you