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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Raheengraney House – what next?

It has been such a long journey and with so many twists and turns that I scarcely know where to begin. It started with a kiss, it started with a Facebook update, It started with a mid life crisis (not mine, lol, I’m waiting to have mine later!), It started with a divorce… I’m actually not sure where it started and I am even less certain of where it will end, but one thing I know for sure, this year I’m fighting fit. This week I made a video. You can watch it here. http://youtu.be/tzKO6Nw_p0k Last year I also made a video. You can watch it here if you like too, although much of it is cannibalised into my second video. So what is my story and where do I begin? You know what they say – a good start is half the battle. So here goes! This is a story of the big house, the big divorce, the big lawyers, the big courts, the big banks, the big bankruptcy, the big recession and little ole me standing at the other end of the lane, scratching my head at the wonder of it all, at the injustice of it all, and […]

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The man next door is not your enemy – a rant on the side of the people

The man next door is not your enemy. He may well be in receipt of many hundreds of welfare money and reliefs each week, but he is not your enemy. The young girl who has a baby to ‘get ’a house is not your enemy. Would you wish that lifestyle choice on your sister, daughter, or friend? The chap doing the nixers and claiming the dole is not your enemy. People make choices but often choices are forced on them. It could be accident of birth, education or geographical location. It could be as result of job loss, divorce or bereavement. It could be the school you went to, the kids you hung out with, or what your parents did. It could a desire to follow a dream, or conversely inertia and laziness. It could be because you fell in love in final year, broke up in final year, or could not find love in final year. It could be the books you read, the books you hoped to read, or more importantly the books you never read. It could be the songs sung to you in the cradle, the songs you hummed as a child, or the songs you […]

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I’ve hit Rock Bottom and I’m Really Happy

It’s official. In November I hit rock bottom. The bailiffs came to my office to seize my goods. Only they gave me a stay of execution for a week. I have to say it was the toughest week of my life: the toughest week in a run of five years of very tough weeks. I am glad to say that on that Friday in November the stay was extended and the threat removed. I am glad to say my eldest daughter does not need to leave school and get a job as a groom to support her broken mother. I am so very glad to see the back of that week. And I’m even better than glad, I’m actually really happy because I have hit rock bottom and as everyone knows, once you hit the bottom, the only way is up. Over the past five years I have hit so many lows, you’d have thought I was limbo dancer trying desperately to get under that bar. And each time, it moved a little lower. I’m pretty flexible and springy but there is a limit, and even elastic can snap. So, when I went into meltdown during that terrible week, my […]

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Debt Becomes Her

At the end of last year, as the debate over our national indebtedness continues, there was a horrific story that hit the headlines:  A professional Irish man who had lost his job and was currently unemployed, was struggling to pay his mortgage. And in struggling to pay his mortgage, he was neglecting to feed his children. The story grew even more terrible as it transpired he found his daughter in her bedroom chewing on cardboard from a cereal packet to stave off the hunger. This story is frightening from so many perspectives that it is hard to know where to begin. One really scary point is that it is being told in modern Ireland. This was not, when I last looked, a Third World country with no infrastructure, no police force, and no welfare state. This is a country that recently entertained the Queen and the President of the United States of America. We spent millions on security, on entertainment, on promoting the visits but they went without hitch and even with a fair degree of pride. In terms of keeping up with the Joneses, we were right up there. Is feider linn we all repeated after the O’Bama from […]

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How do you find the middle?

Bang in the Middle!   Jillian Godsil became divorced. Her ex husband became bankrupt and she was left with a million euro mortgage on a house worth half that. This is her story about being in the middle.     How do you know when you are in the middle? Is it by age, experience or weight? As the Ardal O’Hanlon joke goes, everyone wants to know your weight at birth but no one wants to know at death. So how can we tell where we are? Age is equally arbitrary; genes and luck count in unequal amounts; some of the healthiest people I know have been struck down in car accidents, lives wrenched horribly short. Or do the gods wait for us to complete our own personal bucket list? And what if we are too conservative or wildly over-optimistic? Does that have any bearing on what we get to finish and can we keep on topping that list up every year if we are lucky enough to reach those ambitions? I am hoping I am only at the middle. It feels a bit like Peter Pan and Tinkerbell: she may have pleaded for everyone to believe in fairies; I […]

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Raheengraney House – an Historic Story from the Future (fiction)

It is the year of the Green Gods 3011 and I am named Seth. I am in my final year of Home Schooling: next year I will join my brothers on the Mars Satellite for a three year rotation. The rotations are getting longer as we run out of oxygen here on earth. The planting decrees came too late and only small bubbles of breathable gases are still found on earth, Ireland being one such bubble. As it our custom when we leave a planet, we must write a leave taking. My tutors have explained that each leave taking should be viewed as a final, standalone account. Just in case we have a final, final conflict, and yes the irony is not lost on me. People once wrote on parchment, then on paper and the printing press seemed to create a lasting legacy. But of course parchment can turn to dust and books can be burnt or lost in floods. Then people believed that what was written on the internet would live for ever, but this too turned out to be false. If you have no computers, there is no internet and data cannot remain suspended forever, and for many […]

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