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
After watching the football All-Ireland at home with a ball of malt and a warm fire, I had that sorta empty feeling you can easily get when a big game does not really catch fire, and where your fancy gets defeated anyway.
There was only one kick of a ball between Cork and Down at the end but, apart from the last five minutes, it was not a memorable final at all. Nothing during the action was as memorable as the fact this was broadcaster Miceal O'Muircheartaigh's last All-Ireland before his retirement.
I switched off the TV sound and listened to him on the radio, relishing every word. He has been mighty down all the summer Sundays of more than 50 years.
The sun is shining. We are knocking the last morsel of craic out of this splendid continuing Irish summer and fall. Tipperary is only a few hundred yards away because we are coming down from Dromineer Harbor to Garrykennedy where we will watch the game in Ciss Ryan's fabled pub in the heartland of Tipperary hurling. The joy of it.
We are too lazy and loose to hoist the sails, so we just putter down on the engine and find a handy berth and go ashore. We have a late breakfast in Larkin's and then head towards Ciss Ryan’s. Garrykennedy, snugged up to the banks of the Derg, is a picture postcard populated by real people.
I just have to tell ye this minute my story of Romeo and Juliet and their sons Gog and Magog and their daughter Oonagh, the most beautiful of the three. And I think, being a bit cracked as ye know, that it is a life story in miniature but nonetheless powerful in its way.
I have been writing all summer about my Irish meanderings, and they have not finished yet as I will relate shortly. I also have been writing about our brilliant weather, especially in the earlier weeks of the summer. That is relevant to this tale of Romeo and Juliet and their family.
I meander into Cavan town again near my home county, and it is the height of the Fleadh Cheoil with the weather good, the organization even better, the whole town ringing with music and craic.
We are truly a resilient and "cracked" nation, thanks be to God for that. The news bulletins are ringing with the stories of recession and woe and misery and here, for the unique folk music festival, something like 100,000 people are letting their hair down, singing and laughing, playing music on every instrument under the sun, following the ancient advice of eat, drink and be merry. And to hell with tomorrow.
And I meet my lovely brother Cathal and his musical friends, and 'tis totally special. This, I think, as the autumnal leaves begin to fall, has probably been the best summer of all my life. The Cavan atmosphere is electricated in the nicest possible way.