Get up and Go – Some Blabs in Advance

Sligo October 17, 2015  #GUAG2015 LIsten to Breifne Earley talking about his Pedal the Planet and whether or not he is a YAMIL (Young-Aged Man in Lycra) in advance of the Get Up and Go Conference in Sligo on October 17     Get Up and Go – Inspirational conference to come to the NorthWest Motivational Team includes Puttnam, Breen and Gates   An Inspirational Conference aimed at people wanting to make their dreams a reality is being hosted in Sligo on October 17th. The theme is For your dreams and pays homage to Yeats’ home and poetry. The Get Up and Go team have pulled together an amazing and inspiring range of motivational speakers creating a momentous conference in Sligo and the Northwest. The speakers are all trailblazers, role models and people who inspire. They have had the courage to step outside their comfort zones and followed their dreams into new areas of self-expression, contribution and power. Labour Peer and Filmmaker David Puttnam, Entrepreneur and Secret Millionaire Jim Breen, and life changing, mountain climbing heroine Teena Gates head up a speaker list that will challenge, motivate and change your life. This is one event that you cannot afford to […]

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Twitter = The Modern Machine Gun

The speed at which moral outrage can circle the world can be measured in mouse clicks. Six degrees of separation is all that divides us from Cecil the Lion; that and a few million tweets. For a story that barely grazed the pages of the Zimbabwean newspapers, it had generated an angry online mob complete with death threats within hours. It had swiftly mutated out of social media and mobilised into an on-the-ground band of protestors complete with placards and news cameras. It had even become the source of Jimmy Kimmel’s normally comic opening to his show. The dentist is in hiding with US police checking out the death threats. There are calls for him to be extradited to Zimbabwe to face criminal charges. He won’t be looking at too many dental cavities for the next little while. His five seconds of fame with Cecil might have put him out of a job permanently. This is not the first time Man versus the Twitter machine loses. In fact, the solitary human being is no match for the thousands, nay millions, of bullets from self-righteous online activists.   I am reminded of world war one when the machine gun emerged as the […]

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Trial by Social Media

This article was written on July 9th. It was a tough article to write.   Trial by Social Media A recent high profile video of a young woman with a black eye and her child in the background has gone viral. The young woman, tender and vulnerable, talks movingly about her decision to go public on her beating. She introduces her small child who is playing on the stairs and informs us that she also has a seven month old child by the same man. Her video has gone viral and she has received widespread praise from women’s groups, individuals and the majority of media outlets. Her injury was allegedly received at the hands of her partner, a man who she tells us that she loved with all her heart. It is a very emotional and moving video. However, and here I almost hesitate to write, I feel uncomfortable while watching this video. The first reason is that she talks about their life together and the affairs he is said to have had and even the fact that he has fathered other children. These affairs and additional children while horrible to the woman, are not hanging offences. It is not […]

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Travel writer, South Africa: Swimming with hippos and other adventures from the veld

In a series of reader submissions to the Irish Times Amateur Travel Writer competition, we meet Jillian Godsil, who finds herself in the midst of adventure on an equestrian safari           Sometimes, oftentimes, the things you really should do never feature on the average bucket list. For example, it would take a random ideas generator to put hippos and swimming together. The category of ‘swimming with’ usually includes non-violent animals such as dolphins or whales, and maybe sharks but that typically includes a cage or two. I was on an equestrian safari in South Africa in the Waterberg region when I met my hippos. We had done all sorts of activities on horseback; witnessed giraffes up close, viewed any number of gazelle take fancy and flight, watched pronking sprinkbok with our mouths open (and our mounts firmly on all four legs) and had even ridden in a cloud of wildebeest as they whirled in formation across a dusty plain. We once rode softly past a white rhino and her calf, the quieter of the African rhinos, and she barely looked at the horses and riders as we tiptoed past, trying to balance cameras and click pictures […]

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Tick Tock

Tick tock Listen here  Tick tock The clock Stopped   The hopes and fears Of all the years Were met in Greece tonight   Arears Arears The bankers cheers And blood crept down the wall   A people poised The choices posed Not even Solomon could call   Under the orb of a constant eye That counts in coins alone The ancient cradle of polls and votes Was backed into corners by suited louts   Spotlight of world rights Erased its autonomy Off with its head – Give it a frontal lobotomy The queen of hearts could not have been as cruel Please may I have some more – Achtung give it gruel   And blood seeped through the ancient stones As booted bankers stepped over bones Cracking and crunching the feeble sticks. And cheering acolytes called them by name Praised their virtue, passed on the blame To a faceless race where bewilderment ticks   What match is flesh for filthy lucre What match is right for coins and notes What match is humanity for the pounds, shillings and pence Of a world that is not right in the head Of a world that denies the existence of the heart […]

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Live from the pitch on England/Ireland Soccer Friendly June 6th, 2015

  LISTEN TO BOTH ANTHEMS HERE Wayne Rooney is tiny. Really tiny. I stood less than ten feet away from him on Sunday, on the pitch in the Aviva, and I reckoned I was taller than him. When I got home I checked and so I am. But then I reckoned I was taller than most of the Irish and English football players as the two teams lined up before the momentous replay of the friendly match twenty years ago. The original match that was stopped short with rioting. I was part of the Island of Ireland Peace Choir and we had been rehearsing for the past two months. We had a four part harmony for the British National Anthem and a three part for the Irish. There was no favouritism. We had to play it down the middle, play fair and make sure each team got a rousing welcome. Jack Charlton, on the other hand, is very tall. He was also very emotional. A little skinny, he has not been well recently apparently. His grin was ear to ear. The crowd, all of the crowd, gave him a standing ovation. He was moved to tears. We clapped hard. The crowd […]

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Want to feel invisible? Try hunting for a job at 50

          First printed in the Irish Independent, May 5, 2015 and featured on The John Murray Show on May 8, 2015 – invisible at 50 podcast. Oops, it happened again. There I was, casually sauntering along through life, sending off job applications and foolishly expecting a reply but nothing happens. Not so much as a ‘Thank you’. How had it come to this? When had I morphed from experienced professional to an unwanted ‘has-been’? Had it happened overnight? Well, it certainly feels as though I have become an overnight failure. Yesterday, my years on this earth promised experienced, talented, sought-after skills. Today, it appears those same years have somehow put me into a new, unemployable category. I can’t even boast grey hair talent as I am not that old. Instead, I exist in a dark limbo-land of invisibility. Welcome to the new 50. We are suckered into believing that 50 is the new 40; that because we still fit into our skinny jeans, still hang out in trendy cafés, still listen to cool music, that we are part of thriving culture, but when it comes to applying for jobs, that date of birth is the kiss […]

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Please Sir, can I have some less?

On February 17, 2014 I became the first female bankrupt under the new Insolvency laws in Ireland. I didn’t arrive at this point lightly. It had been a very torturous six years leading up to my finally appearing in the High Court and standing up briefly while I was adjudicated bankrupt by the judge. Along the way I had lost my husband to divorce, my home to repossession and my business to bailiffs. I had accumulated debt in the same way an elderly lady accumulates cats. At first there was only one or two to feed, and then before I knew it, I had a house full of the meowing buggers. No one was more puzzled than I about the straitened circumstances in which I found myself. And no one is more puzzled than I about my inability to extract myself from the same mess. I have been playing a waiting game, with a timetable set by the government and at a cost that goes beyond my €200 per week job seekers allowance.   I should like to first say now that which I wanted to say to the Judge. I didn’t ask to be bankrupt. I hadn’t been reckless. […]

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TEdxTheHighSchoolDublin – April 18, 2015

TEDx is coming to a Dublin secondary school for the very first time. The High School, in Dublin 6, has secured the prestigious licence from the global innovation platform, and will run the first secondary school TEDx conference on Saturday April 18th, from 12-4pm. The conference is being organised by two teachers, Eoghan Keegan and Sarah Garnett, and seven pupils. The organising team comprises of fourth and fifth year students Alannah O’Reilly, Kate Hunter-Hanley, Jason Cosgrove, Aela O’Flynn, Grainne Dowling, Abigail Nolan and Ellen Galvin.  The media team, responsible for recording the event on the day, is made up three other fifth year students – Kirsty Leith, Conor Ryan and Ethan Jones.   The external speakers are: Mary Aiken, Director of the RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre Colm O’Gorman, founder of One in Four, former senator, and current executive director of Amnesty International in Ireland Arthur Godsil, Educationalist and former Headmaster of St Andrews College, Blackrock Dr Gary McDarby, CTO of Fifth Province Ventures and Co-founder of Camara Jillian Godsil, past pupil of the school and former European Parliament candidate Jane-Anne McKenna, Director of Médecins Sans Frontières, Ireland Niall Harbison, founder of ‘Lovin’ Dublin’. Mark Griffin, junior doctor, writer and director. […]

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The Tricolour

The Irish Tricolour, with its distinctive stripes of Green, White and Orange, is often viewed as a militant flag, a direct contrast and challenge to the British Union Jack and owned solely by one tradition in Ireland – the nationalist Catholic community. In fact, its origins could not be further from the truth and there is currently a movement to rehabilitate its image and indeed to encourage its widespread use in the same way that Americans, of whatever ethnicity, fly their national flag in backyards across the States. The Irish Tricolour was first flown in Waterford by Thomas Francis Meagher on March 7, 1848, at the Wolfe Tone Confederate Club at 33 The Mall. This was also of significance as Wolfe Tone a century before had fired up a movement that said: ‘Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter all unite under the common name of United Irishman.’  Meagher had just returned from France and wanted to realise a vision of a New Ireland from the wreck of the old sectarian Ireland. The band of white in the flag was the symbol of peace to join Irish Catholic with Irish Protestant and to forge a new unity and brotherhood between the two sides […]

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