The West's Awakeby Cormac MacConnell
- An open letter to President Obama - some handy local tips for his visit to Ireland
- Some wonderful discoveries - relishing Irish trad session, The Gathering visitors and more
- The swallows return, beard competition, historic crimes and other musings
- A new taste of spring in Ireland- Tayto crisp’s cheese and onion chocolate bar
- Margaret Thatcher, Queen Elizabeth and the two Marys - Now it the time for a woman Prime Minister in Ireland
If ye want to know why I enjoy the Christmas season so much more during the past decade, then glance upwards at my image on this page and you will agree, I think, that at least to the rounded eyes of a child, I do nowadays bear a certain similarity to Santa Claus his own self.
That photo is some years old now and I am somewhat more silvery and a little plumper of cheek nowadays. So the small ones dangling at the end of their mothers' shopping arms do tend to stop in their tracks when they see me on the town streets or in the shopping centers.
I’m writing this in an Internet cafe in Cork before catching a plane to Holland in a few hours. The screen in front of me is devouring euros with all the greed of a Dublin banker, and it is cold outside and I'm having to rush a bit.
Forgive me for that but, after the budget we got earlier in the week, everybody is watching their petty cash a bit closer than usual.
It is blanched and white outside as the cold spell continues. The chilled land lies inert. The first of the Christmas decorations blink in a neighbor's garden, twined around small shrubs, green and red and white and yellow.
The highlights of a trans-Atlantic jet are arching away out of Shannon, so far away I cannot hear the engines. Swans and coots and mallards complain against the cold on the face of the lough behind Jimmy White's house across the road.
"For God's sake don't be standing there on the doorstep with a face on you as long as a wet week. Come on inside to the fire and take the weight off your feet.