The West's Awakeby Cormac MacConnell
- Remembering Jimjoejoe’s innocent life and rare talent
- The bonding nature of the spud and a lesson the modern Irish potato and its realities
- Living off the land, GAA sporting pride and economic woes bring sad times too
- Ireland’s weather, Black and Tans, The Gathering and a song for shy singers
- An open letter to President Obama - some handy local tips for his visit to Ireland
Published Wednesday, October 14, 2009, 12:40 PM
There is a full moon over Clare tonight. It is almost as bright as day still after an orange and ochre twilight.
There is a small breeze and the leaves that are falling in whispering legions are dark shadows now against the moon's face, even though they will be gold and yellow and russet and rustling in the morning.
Published Wednesday, October 21, 2009, 9:19 AM
This is a simple and personal little story. There is not much entertainment in here.
Maybe I should not write it at all I think, even as I sit at the keyboard, because the trippings and trappings of one little man's little life are not the stuff from which columns are normally made.
Published Wednesday, October 28, 2009, 9:22 AM
Wise people who propose to build a new country house in the Clare region often send for Councilor P.J. Kelly to come and have a look at their site before they lay one block.
The lively and likeable councilor is a man of many parts, and dowsing or divining with rods and wires is just one of his arts. He has a national reputation in that field. It is well deserved.
Published Wednesday, November 4, 2009, 11:33 AM
November is still the official Month of the Dead in Ireland.
People go to their chapels and visit the peaceful graves of their dead, say a certain ritual of Hail Marys and Holy Marys and gain for the dead a plenary indulgence which releases them instantly from Purgatory and into Paradise like a shot.
Published Wednesday, November 11, 2009, 9:55 AM
A different era in a different and much more blandified Ireland, yet a few of the old roads still have to be followed faithfully.
I picked up the phone yesterday and called a certain number in Connemara, like I do every early November, and I put in my order for Christmas. I don't yet know how or where I will collect my order come December, but I know my crystal consignment will be there somewhere, and I don't think it will cost me much more than €60 in my money and whatever that is nowadays in yours.
Published Wednesday, November 18, 2009, 9:11 AM
I take up my battered old bugle to blow a brazen blast of praise over my Irish Voice colleague John Spain for his piece recently about the crazy new drink driving legislation moving rapidly towards the statute books even as we speak.
John and I most often sing from different ends of the sheet, as well as from different coasts, but by heavens the next time I meet him in a country pub the drinks will be on me. Every comma of his column and every word of it rings as pure truth.
Published Wednesday, November 25, 2009, 1:27 PM
The last time I mentioned Sarah Palin in this pastoral kind of patch it was at the direct request of our beloved editor. Hacks of my generation tend to do what editors request, so I produced.
I said, in synopsis, that because she was sassy and a breath of fresh air on the political scene, and since she had gorgeous eyes and legs, that I would be tempted to cross party lines here in Ireland and vote for her election to the local town council. She would be a bit of craic at that level.
Published Wednesday, December 2, 2009, 3:53 PM
I was writing in another paper recently about what seems to be the lost art of whistling in Ireland. The reaction from all sides astonished me.
What I wrote was a light piece about how much I missed the presence of whistlers nowadays on the streets and in workplaces. It was a bit of craic around the reality that whistlers are indeed very scarce on the island now.
Published Tuesday, March 10, 2009, 6:19 PM
Toward the end of a bleak year for international bankers and Irish balladeers, I'm sitting in the cottage on a November evening listening to RTE playing the late and great Ronnie Drew.
Both the presenter and myself and probably thousands of other listeners are misty-eyed as the gravel voice counterpoints the almost saccharine sweet tones of Eleanor Shanley in a duet version of "I've Got a Couple More Years On You Baby, That's All." Infinitely poignant.
Published Wednesday, December 9, 2009, 1:27 PM
I have been stunned recently by yet another series of foul accusations of serious misconduct against Her Majesty's troops in Iraq. Will it never end?
Down all the decades of my lifetime, from about every corner of the globe, these vile and foul accusations continue to be directed against Her Majesty's men and women despite the fact that full and thorough investigations of them by Her Majesty's other men -- usually distinguished retired judges and officers -- find that all of them are unjustified.