Nuclear threats, protesting in Mosco, Jeffrey Epstein, Boris Johnson... better off to focus on the Harvest Moon, the Fleadh and the GAA
Cead Mile Failte to you all again from the banks of the silver Shannon on this coast of the Wild Atlantic Way.
By all the reports reaching us here on the Emerald Isle, it is a lot wilder altogether on the weather front over where the majority of you are reading this. Keep yourselves safe from all the extremes being heaped upon you this August which Dame Edna O’Brien long ago described as a wicked month at every level. The good lady knew well what she was talking about too.
From where I’m sitting here, tapping away under a mysterious Harvest Moon flanked by just one bright star piercing the mist over nearby Tipperary across the bridge five minutes away, all the media screens around the house here in Killaloe are flickering with thousands of global and national stories in keeping with the times we are experiencing nowadays. It is very difficult indeed to make any sense at all out of the jumble.
Easier by far to avoid all the threats of nuclear war from cockpits such as Kashmir, the Korean Peninsula, Hong Kong and China, the protesting streets of Moscow (not to mention forest fires sweeping across Russia), the apparent suicide in his prison cell of the dreadful sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein, and to wryly concentrate on the upcoming visit to Dublin and Belfast by the tousled English Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
There is a fragment of amazing history upcoming there. He has a majority of just one in Westminster after losing his first by-election. He is insisting that he will drag his country out of Europe in a few weeks time, with or without a Brexit deal, and has created a situation whereby the venerable Queen Elizabeth may yet be called upon to intervene directly for the first time in the politics of her clearly Disunited Kingdom.
Our Celtic cousins in Scotland say they would declare full independence like a shot if given half a chance. If what is happening around Westminster and Buckingham Palace since Boris moved into 10 Downing Street were happening here in the Emerald Isle, the English tabloid press would be spouting Paddywhackery headlines across all editions.
Back to Boris and his impending visit to Dublin. The reality is that he will visit both sides of the border imposed on us by our former rulers but which he does not accept is there at all! He does not accept that there has to be frontier customs checks on this invisible border once Brexit occurs at the end of October.
Meanwhile, despite losing his first by-election to the Liberal Democrats, the English leader with a wafer-thin majority at the summer recess is behaving exactly like a man preparing the electorate for a general election in the immediate future. Billions are being promised daily for the areas always short of cash such as hospitals, police forces, customs officers and areas of rural depression generally.
I’d say with some confidence that the citizens of Johnson’s Disunited Kingdom are likely to be voting again on the Brexit fiasco before Christmas. And there are indications that many of them are having second thoughts about the wisdom of leaving Europe already.
I am delighted to say, on the brighter and lighter side of our lives here in the Emerald Isle, that the merrymaking across the entire land has never been livelier. There are festivals of music, song, and dance everywhere.
There is the All-Ireland Fleadh transporting citizens and visitors to artistic spaces where we Irish have always punched well above our weight on the world stage. It is reckoned the local economy and area will benefit to the tune of about €50 million for the rest of August, and the craic will continue long after the official program is over.
It has always been that way in all the towns which host our premiere musical event. The Drogheda folks enjoyed it so much last year that they were delighted to host it again in 2019.
If you are on vacation in the region anytime this fall make certain to visit Drogheda. You will have the time of your life.
Mighty sporting clashes in Croke Park in recent days have further garnished our lives. Great sport altogether and classic games in both football and hurling.
Again, one has to feel sorry for Mayo’s perennially hopeful footballers. They began brilliantly against a Dublin side already fancied to create GAA history by winning Sam Maguire again and create a unique winning streak.
Mayo tackled like tigers and led at the break with their faithful supporters shaking the stands with waves of applause and joy. Sadly for them, the Dublin players exploded on to the Croke Park sward after the resumption quickly scored no less than three goals and hammered on from there to humiliate their opponents by no less than 10 points.
In the second semifinal, a young Kerry squad had to fight hard throughout to eventually defeat a gallant Tyrone outfit by a narrow margin.
So it will be Dublin and Kerry yet again in the All-Ireland final, and everyone is predicting that Dublin will win again. They almost surely will.
On the hurling front, as most of you are well aware already, there is another potentially thrilling final clash which again features traditional top hurling overlords Kilkenny against my neighbors here in Killaloe, the craftsmen of Tipperary on the other bank of the Shannon.
Tickets for that epic, for which the Kilkenny Cats may well start as slight favorites, are already, as they say here, as scarce as hen’s teeth!
Nobody in Croke Park this fall will have any thoughts of Boris Johnson or his Brexit fiasco anywhere close to their flags and banners. That is for sure.
As ye know by now, it is a short way from my home here to Tipperary. I’m tempted to say goodnight now and venture over the Shannon under the Harvest Moon for a sliver of the craic of the merrymaking season at its peak.
Have I your permission, please, to do that? Thanks very much for that and keep safe and well until we meet and greet again. God bless you all.