Quite some time since I ranted politically. Its not that I have become cynical ...exactly; perhaps just less naive. The media circus which surrounded the last Irish general election and its aftermath, reminded me more of a World Cup Soccer or Rugby Campaign. The fact that Ireland was probably facing its greatest, most dramatic challenge since the civil war was given the lightest entertainment treatment possible. I found myself looking at and listening to Vincent Browne, and in particular, during his much-publicised TV skirmish with Conor Lenihan, asking myself just how sincere any of this really was. Once the election was done and dusted, Queen Elizabeth popped over the English channel for a visit. I didn't get to see any of the TV coverage of her stay here, but the picture below, which shows her sharing a joke with a chap on the fish stall in the English market in Cork is an absolute joy. I thought it rather poignant, that the death of Garret Fitzgerald, unquestionably, one of Ireland's most honourable political leaders, should coincide with this momentous piece of history-making, when as Taoiseach, he co-signed the Anglo-Irish Agreement with British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher in November 1985
The Summer has not brought much in the way of sunshine and has served up more than its fair share of bad news stories. Surprise, surprise NAMA is in billions of trouble; Barrack Obama appears to be in an almost inevitable downward spiral of support, given the unrealistic messiah-like expectations, that were pinned upon him in the first place; Libyans and Syrians are being slaughtered because they have a different opinion about how they want their country to be governed; thousands of African children are starving in the worst drought for 20 years; a 32 year old, Norwegian right-wing extremist, who hates muslims, Breivik, massacred approx 80 innocent young people, who came together to share an adventure; several towns and cities in Britain have been under seige from rampaging hooligans, whose reasons, for their abominable behaviour, range from not having jobs, money, a severe lack of hope in a better future, and racial hatred. The latter of these justifications was seen in all its stark reality as three muslims were mowed down by a single car and killed in Birmingham during the week. Would be easy for some to blame this kind of trouble solely upon those, who don't know any better, because they are badly educated or as some would like to believe, a product of one-parent or unemployed and quite often 'ghettoized' families etc etc. However, it would appear not to be quite as simplistic as that, when it is reported, that law students, accountants, would-be social workers, and an Olympic ambassador are standing in the dock alongside an eleven year old child. Difficult enough as it is, to remain cheerful and optimistic during these cloudy, challenging times, I have had a busy, but delightful Summer so far, even if the thermometer has rarely tipped 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Rose and Richie's Wedding (My daughter Katy right of bride)
I spent two weeks in the UK minding my brother's house, his dog, Harry, his 21 hanging baskets and looking after my father's garden and gorging myself, once more, on scones, clotted cream and jam; and of course, fish and chips. As soon as I got back home, I was into Drama Workshopping, which was work, but nevertheless magical, because I had buckets of fun with new little friends. Then my 'adopted daughter', Rose got married to the hugely charismatic Corkman, Richie. Rose was in the same class at school as my eldest daughter, Emma, and became an extended part of our family from the tender age of five. We have dragged her up the Galtee Mountains in all kinds of weather, across fields and beaches, and she comes over to our house every Christmas for a piece of carrot cake (recipe cajoled from Spillane's Bar, Maharees, Co. Kerry) that I bake especially for her and Katy.
The Walsh Family and our bestest friend and 'adopted son', Chris Kelly all got a job to do for Rose and Richie's wedding. Katy was a bridesmaid, Emma sang in the church at Kilfeacle, and I arranged her wedding flowers, with the help of my two goafers, Tony and Chris. Without exaggeration, it was quite possibly the most beautiful wedding, I had ever had the pleasure to be invited to. Of course, Rose calls me her 'second mammy' and we are of course, very close, but it was more than that. In the present climate, just as the priesthood and religious institutions are getting a bit of a bashing, and quite rightly so, in many cases, came along a priest, called Father Moloney from Cashel, who caused the Summer sun to shine so so brilliantly in Kilfeacle Church, as he officiated at Rose and Richie's wedding. Every word that fell from his lips was filled with the most genuine love and humility, which was projected passionately but calmly on a beautifully warm, resonant speaking voice. He captivated everyone in the congregation that day. He was everything and more I had ever imagined a genuine pastor to be.
Rose's Wedding Bouquet
(Someone took this picture of Rose's wedding bouquet, and I'm throwing it in, because I am rather proud of it.)
I am told that I am an idealist and a romantic, but I believe that when a couple walk down the aisle, they are convinced that their love will last until death and beyond. In Rose and Richie's case, from the first moment we saw them together, there was no doubting that here was a couple, who were destined to be together. The speeches at the wedding feast were both heartfelt and funny. Richie said that Rose was the love of his life and Rose said that Richie made her laugh every day. May they love and laugh every day of their lives together!
Rose and Richie. Great Fancy Dress people!
Well the wedding is over, so is the Summer almost! We were graced with Phil the pheasant for some weeks, but he has gone on walkabout; probably checking out the barley and wheat in surrounding fields. Sincerely hope he's not ended up on a neighbour's dinner table. Back to things political for just a moment.
I'm glad that Gaybo has decided to pull out of the race for the office of President, because I think he might have upset the apple cart for Michael D. Higgins. There can be no doubt, that Gaybo with all his sensitivities, was and is one of Ireland's very best broadcasters, but Michael D. Higgins gave up an academic career, to serve the people of this nation as a politician, and has done so for decades; standing up for what he believes in, against all odds. I stood in the council chambers in Clonmel, where the Labour Party was formed in 1912, during the last General Election campaign, and listened to Michael D. speak. I had always admired and respected him, as I had done Garret Fitzgerald, but to listen to him in the flesh was quite something else. I sincerely hope that Michael D., as he is affectionately known, makes it all the way to the Park. He deserves it and will be a worthy recipient of the baton that has lain in the very capable hands of Mary McAleese, and Mary Robinson before her.
The moon is shining cheekily tonight, as if she has a secret to tell, and my garden is silent and still after a day of sweet birdsong and soft summer rain.
Heard the track below on the radio recently and was surprised to discover that Paul McCartney was singing a song penned by comedian, Steve Martin. Steve Martin is also playing the banjo in the piece. Not just a funny, funny man! It's called quite simply Best Love. Hope you enjoy!