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Showing posts from March, 2017

Joyous faces in the Galway rain

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So what does it mean to be Irish?

And what’s the best way to celebrate on our national holiday?        


Those questions hit me on a strange St Patrick’s Day this year, when I took in my city’s rain-swept parade, attended the funeral of an old friend’s sister, and somehow managed to survive a night as possibly the only sober person in a crowded Galway pub.

Is the best way to celebrate being Irish to get absolutely hammered, as so many did on our national holiday?

Friends in the service industries tell me they hate to work on this particular day.

The stereotype of the "drunken Irish" has become such a cliche that Amazon even tried to sell an offensive green 'Drunk Lives Matter' t-shirt this year.

In one fell swoop, they managed to insult the entire Irish race and the black people in the United States who have genuine grievances with the racist elements of their country's police.

I've long since given up on hard drinking on March 17, as it can be alarming to wa…

Remembering the 'Maggies'

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It is hard for people of my generation, or those younger than us, to imagine the terrible stigma which was attached to single motherhood in 20th century Ireland.

It’s only now we are waking up to what a terrible institution the Roman Catholic Church was and the awful, disgusting, inhumane ways in which some religious orders and individuals treated some of the most vulnerable members in our society.
There was no joy, no sense of fun or adventure, in post-colonisation Ireland. Beautiful people were locked up for decades because the most natural thing imaginable, having sex, was turned into a dirty, rotten crime.
The children of single mothers were branded as “illegitimate” and “bastards”, leading to the kind of terrible attitudes which allowed 796 of them to be buried in a septic tank in a so-called ‘mother and baby’ home in Tuam.
They were seen as less than human, the devil’s spawn, and harsh treatment of them was seen as the norm.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, during my University day…

A letter to Donnie O'Trump

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Dear Donald,

(Or Donnie ... as we might call ya out here in the wild wesht of Ireland).

Just a quick note to say I’d only be too delighted to join you at the White House, or the Teach Ban if you’d like to learn a bit of Irish, on St Patrick’s Day.              

Meself and Fionnuala have the bowl of shamrock ready since November and we’re really thrilled by the chance to meet yourself and Melania on March 16.                        

To be honest with ya, I could do with the break. I’ve had a rough few weeks since a feckin’ do-gooder Garda, a policeman to yourself Donnie, almost brought down the entire Government over a few feckin’ penalty points and nearly cost me my job.

It means even more to me to visit this year than it used to when the O’Bamas were in the White House, because there’s a lot of feckers tryin’ their best to retire me at the moment.

But I won’t give up without a fight. I didn’t become the longest serving TD in Ireland, or make Ireland great again, by pure chance.

It’…