The Late Late 50 Years

“What is your best memory of the Late Late?” I was asked this live on East Coast Radio on Friday morning last, June 1, 2012. I had been invited to join a panel of guests to talk about the news and current affairs. Given that it was the day after the Referendum Vote I supposed the talk to be all about voting patterns and hopes and outcomes. I had also not read a paper in the week unless it was about the voting. I was joined by Parish Priest Fr Martin Cosgrove and Arklow Chamber of Commerce President Irene Sweeney in the Arklow Credit Union building. It too was celebrating – 50 years I understand too, but neither Irene nor Martin had looked at the papers either. We were placed in one corner of the Credit Union but the rest of the room was filling up with people and stalls for their celebration. The noise was rising and it was actually quite hard to hear above the general hum.  Then our host Declan Meehan had taken the wrong exit and arrived literally seconds before we were to go live on air. Now Declan is a consummate professional and he swung […]

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National Volunteering Week – May 14-21

National Volunteering Week – May 14-21 “We all know that volunteering benefits Irish society, but volunteering also has a powerful effect on the volunteer. We recently carried out a survey with 500 active volunteers, 98 per cent of respondents found that volunteering makes them a happier person.” Anna Lee, Chairperson of Volunteer Ireland, (originally published in thejournal.ie) Volunteering makes us happy. Or perhaps less grumpy. Or maybe able to complain faster! Most parents will volunteer with their children’s hobbies and activities. Typically their children cannot attend leisure activities outside of formal schooling without some form of parental assistance and it becomes a necessity, whether it is coaching the Under 12s, making cakes for the fund raisers or becoming bona fide leaders in the Boy Scouts. It doesn’t mean the politics are any the less or that events run on time, but there is bonding between families and sharing with children. Sometimes volunteering is only for a season. Perhaps your child grows out of their sport or someone else is voted in to a new committee. It does help to spread the load, although of course there are professional volunteering parents and leaders who will stay with the organisation regardless of their children’s […]

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Short Stories and Long Lies launched by Minister for the Arts

    Minister Jimmy Deenihan launches Book in Tinahely   Minister for the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan, TD, was in Tinahely on Saturday May 12, 2012 to launch a collection of short stories and poetry by a local writing group. Called Short Stories and Long lies, the book was written by five local writers; Alison McGuire, Tara Quirke, Thomas Clare, Robert Duffy and Jillian Godsil. The launch was held in the Riverside Business Centre, Tinahely. Minister Deenihan launched the book and said: “Tinahley is renowned as a centre for culture and artistic activity and it is great to see new and existing authors coming together to publish lively collections such this one. The village already boasts a thriving arts centre and here at Riverside Art Gallery we have another great venue promoting the arts. “Creative writing can be a lonely pursuit and the presence of a writing group can be very supportive. I would like to congratulate all five authors on their work and ultimate production of this interesting book.” The launch was held in the new Art Gallery. Entertainment was provided by three young harpists, local sisters Miriam and Bernadette Lambert along with their first cousin […]

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See You at the Pictures

Yesterday I was invited by Planet Korda to come share my filmic experiences for a documentary called ‘See you at the Pictures’. I had seen the tweet calling for people to be featured and had wracked my brains to think of any interesting anecdotes to tell. I love films, proper ones, but go much less frequently than I might. Living in the country contributes to this, although when I lived in Raheengraney House we had our own home cinema in the basement. The big screen in the low ceiling room with huge speakers and sub woofers and other pieces of canine sounding technology quite beyond me, created a pretty amazing cinematic experience. The large, old and tatty grey elephant leather sofas made for comfortable reclining and of course since we were at home all manner of refreshments were on hand. Since quitting Raheengraney, I have been forced to attend the real McCoy to see films. My children often watch films online but since our taste in films is quite different, this is not a natural combination. I don’t really like romcom (especially bad romcom of which there is a lot), actively dislike slasher films, and those superhero remakes leave me […]

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#DepressionHurts wins Best Shorts Competition, California, USA

I had the honour of acting in this short film. #DepressionHurts wins Best Shorts Competition, California, USA   Dublin,Ireland, May 1, 2012…#DepressionHurts video has won a prestigious Award of Merit from the Best Shorts Competition,California. The award was given for the special purpose video created by a volunteer team to highlight awareness of mental illness and depression.   The project and film was made with the support volunteers from social media network Twitter, who together with producer Norah Bohan and director Alan Lavender helped co-ordinate Ireland’s first 24/7 Twitter helpline for depression and suicide, which ran for the nine days of Christmas and New Year 2011. Lavender said, “We called the video ‘It Starts With You’ – because it does! It’s how YOU think and behave that either adds to the hurt of depression or suicide or helps the sufferers. We know to change attitude & remove stigma to depression and suicide, ‘It Starts With You’ and we hope lots of ‘You’ will decide to be part of the change. ”Winning the Best Shorts Award of Merit is a tremendous boost to our team. It will certainly help us continue with our important project.” Winning the Award of Merit has […]

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TV people don’t sunbathe!

It’s been a very funny start to the year. My five minutes of fame seem to have extended to twelve months of fame, and it doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon. You may be familiar with me. I joking call myself the ‘brokest woman in Ireland’ and that may not be so far from the truth. An accident of divorce and the recession left me holding the baby, or rather a one million euro mortgage on a house worth less than half that. I cannot afford to live in the house and I am at the pin of my collar to support and keep my two teenage daughters. Currently, we live in a rented cottage some ten miles from our original house, but it may as well be 100 miles away. I have sold everything from my old house to pay for bills. This year is a bit bleak as I have nothing left to sell and the bills keep coming. In 2011 I decided to sell my house (the beautiful Georgian Raheengraney House, just outside Shillelagh), come what may. I made a video, posted it on You Tube and it went viral. Mark Little from RTE was in […]

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We are an Island Race

Exporting is part of our culture. Since we learnt we were on an island we have expended as much time getting off as we have expelling invaders. Our monks have sailed boats in far flung adventures while repelling invaders became a part of our lives once St Patrick expelled the snakes. When we couldn’t get rid of our next influx of unwanted visitors we often resorted to down right, low down tactics and married them. Think of the Normans more Irish than the Irish themselves. We consumed our invaders and we exported our under-the-radar colonists. The only difference with our colonising is that we used words and song and music to grab emotional landbanks across the world. A recent comment on WorldIrish had one non Irish commenter suggest there were 40million living today on this small island. The sheer weight would of course have sunk our patch of green but it is a testament to the vast export of our numbers over the years. For an island race we are an interesting mix of conflicting characteristics. For an island race, we don’t really swim that well as a nation, we could argue we don’t have the weather. We don’t really […]

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Exporting our Troubles

As a nation we have become adept at exporting our troubles. When our population soared in the mid 1800s we exported our surplus population by the coffin ship. There just were not enough potatoes to go around. When we grew a pair and started to demand national self determination and that spilled in active resistance in the next century, so we began flexing the fledging muscles of independence. But then when a timely and largely indiscriminate thin red line was drawn across the upper province of our country, we managed to export the actual violence and daily grind of sectarian anger and destruction over the border. When we were unable to cope with the concept and possible results of sex outside of marriage, we exported our pregnant teenagers to the UK to have abortions. We still export this problem for distressed women who need a termination regardless of marriage status. When we could not tolerate any breakdown in the sanctity of marriage, we exported that problem too for a long time. Even now, we operate a splintered path to divorce, a two part process that draws out the painful division of a couple, resulting in months, even years of arguing […]

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Get off your bottom and so something!

Get off your bottom and do something! I wrote a short piece about the global phenomenon that is Kony 2012. It ran in www.GoodMenProject.com on March 10, a few days after the video was released. In that article I decided not to mention the criticism of the project or the charity behind it. Any global initiative that involves a viral video with 70million hits in three days and climbing, war lords, the American military, child soldiers,Africa and money is going to attract its fair share of knocks, trolls and copycat videos. So I made a choice and did not include these criticisms. The main reason being I applauded the charity who were actively working on a cause and value system that they believed in. I still do. The third point I made in the article was the Kony 2012 campaign is all about doing something, anything to make the world a better place. Doing stuff – why not? I personally am heavily involved in an equine charity and have been for the past ten years in a voluntary capacity. The charity, The Irish Horse Welfare Trust, rescues and rehomes abandoned horses, retrains racehorses for secondary careers and provides education on equine welfare, […]

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Meeting Michael Fassbender

I am a woman: do not fold, spindle or mutilate. I am a woman. I am in my forties. I have two teenage children. I am divorced. I like sex. There, I’ve said it. Why am I telling you this, dear reader? Well, I posted what I believed to be an amusing, tongue in cheek report of what it was like to meet Michael Fassbender. To give you context, you can click here, or just to say that given the furore about his penis in Shame I found myself literally without words when I met him. All I could think was ‘don’t mention the penis, don’t mention the penis.’ I felt as though I was stuck in that funny Faulty Towers episode when German tourists stay in the eponymously named hotel. Basil keeps on telling Polly ‘Don’t mention the war.’ Of course, Basil does it himself numerous times and ends up doing the goosestep ala The Monty Python school of funny walks. So as I looked at Mr Fassbender all I could think of was his penis. I didn’t mention it at the time, in fact I said very little to him at all. My quirky article went on to talk […]

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