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
Our aunt Marytee went to Rome to see the Pope the year that I was about 10 and she brought me back a special gift, then unique in Ireland. It was a one-inch thick flickerbook with a photo of then Pope Pius XII giving his papal blessing on every page of hundreds.
When you riffled the pages there was the optical illusion of his hands moving as he delivered a very personal blessing to the viewer. That was a very special gift to bring home to a Catholic boy in the fifties. I made the most of it.
I was down in the Honk the other night among neighbors and friends in an effort to gently cure the consequences of a mighty MacConnell clan gathering on Ennis all through the weekend in honor of my birthday.
My friends in the bar sang a rousing Happy Birthday chorus as I approached my barstool, and Sean later bought me the first Baby Guinness of my lifetime. It was a perfect cure.
I'm very angry about something and I have to get it off my chest. I think many of you with Irish blood in your veins will be angry too by the time I've finished because most of you will be aware of the existence of the controversial Bishop Eamon Casey of Galway and Ireland and, in his considerable prime, of the international Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church. The church of forgiveness and love.
What I'm angry about is that even after all these long years of suffering and shame following his 1992 disgrace after his affair with American divorcee Annie Murphy, his church, the Catholic church of forgiveness and love, is still severely punishing Bishop Casey.
Ach, let me tell ye about our youngest MacConnell clansman Ultan that I held in my grandfatherly grasp for the first time last week, and let me please go beyond that to show how "cracked" the clan are that the morsel is joining, God love him, and beyond that again to deal with the strange realities of me being a small bit fey -- the Scottish word for psychic -- and even beyond that again into the zone occupied by the genetic cargo in this modern Ireland.
First, and factually, permit me to remark that Ultan MacConnell, first child of my son Dara and his wife Aine, is an exceptionally beautiful baby by any standards. He is only about nine weeks old and already is one of those rare babies who doesn’t wear the universal baby face.