Celebrating Irish women in sport and the kindness of Shannon Airport is needed among all the darker news stories.
I am deliberately and maybe even a bit desperately staying on the bright side of things as yet another chilly enough weekend greys the west and stops the grass growing for thousands of hungry cattle for whom fodder is already being imported from England and elsewhere.
Enough of that. Tomorrow will maybe be a brighter day. Here’s hoping.
And on that brighter front, there was an impressive and heartwarming move by the bosses at Shannon Airport down the road yesterday. Shannon has always prided itself on being our community airport. It behaved accordingly by responding to the fodder crisis by offering all the grass on its hundreds of acres around the airstrips to the local farmers.
The project is being finalized as I write and the grass which would not normally be cut until midsummer will shortly be available to feed the local cattle and sheep. Something heartwarming there for sure. We can do with all of that spiritual fodder in the times that are in it.
Equally heartwarming, I have to say, is the splendid article on IrishCentral last week about the 7more caring organization founded in Texas by a Dublin woman and her Texan husband some years ago when they found a weak little baby abandoned by a needy mother in Houston.
Arising from their caring respite for that child, and their growing awareness of the needs of folk being discharged from jail in their prison garb and with no outside resources this magnificent couple established 7more to provide the vulnerable ex-prisoners with new clothes and a range of other backup amenities to help ease them back into society with a better chance of success. Look up that yarn and it will make your day as bright as mine is now.
To lighten the mood, even more, I had a morning visit from my extremely witty friend Sean Roughan a while ago, and Sean is always not just witty but extremely wise.
Annet was watching a TV cookery show when Sean called, for example, and the show featured a huge chef who was quite frankly obese creating tiny vegan menus for his viewers. He was almost too large, was the chef, for the small TV studio kitchen in which he was working his arts and crafts.
Sean’s comment was priceless to my ears, “Too many broths spoil the cook!” Where else would you get it?
Sean and I, inevitably, as often before, caught a break between the showers to walk up as far as Willie and Bernie Walsh’s merry pub the Talk of the Town in the center of Killaloe. There is always good craic in Willie’s and, this being Saturday, and the day of the great Grand National horse race over in Liverpool, with many Irish horses and riders involved, the sporting agendas ruled the roost.
No mention at all of the warplanes over Syria or, for that matter, a certain Conor McGregor either. But about every other sporting discipline featured in the debate along the bar.
Intriguingly there was much hope that Katie Walsh, daughter of legendary Ted Walsh and sister of top jockey Ruby Walsh, both of whom have won the Grand National in their time, would do well in the race on her favored mount. And this led to much praise for Irish sportswomen both of the past and present, such as Sonia O’Sullivan and the formidable other Katie, the boxer Katie Taylor, currently flying high at international level.
I now know most of the regulars in what is my local, but there was a big man with a Mayo accent who was a stranger to me and, dammit, he added an interesting element to the craic when the talk turned to GAA matters nationally, the dominance of Dublin in late seasons, and the impending beginning of the 2018 football championships across the provinces any day now.
The big Mayo man, who has seen Mayo lose out so many times in recent decades, often to Dublin and often in games they should have won, said powerfully over the top of his Guinness that Mayo’s best hope this year was to break with the old and now obsolete gender rules and play Mayo’s greatest footballer Cora Staunton in the forward line.
This mighty Staunton, he said, who has already starred in Aussie Rules football Down Under, was certain to score twice as much as any of the male forwards Mayo would select. The man could have a point too.
Staunton, though now in her thirties, is as speedy and lethal as she has ever been. She terrorized the Aussie Rules players during her time there and might well be heading back Down Under if Mayo’s male management do not get down on their knees and beg her to offer them salvation in Croke Park this fall.
That’s it for now. I hope ye are feeling somewhat brighter than when we began. I know I am as I raise my glass to Katie Walsh and Cora Staunton!
Do you have a favorite happy news story of the week? Let us know about it in the comments section, below.