The Irish Hospice Foundation – Cycling Safaris 2013 – Atlantic to the Med

Supporting my friend Sean Melly’s fund raising cycle for The Irish Hospice 2013. (most recent entries upfront) donate HERE watch his progress on GPS map HERE             FINISHED! I could not believe it. We had made it. We arrived at Narbonne sur plage (on the beach) in the afternoon after completing our 112km cycle.  We were wrecked but exalted. Some cyclists ran straight away into the water in their riding gear, others changed into shorts, but we all piled into the Mediterranean which felt cold after the hot sunshine and the long ride. The water was wonderful and cooling. Then we had lunch on the beach before cycling the 25km back to Norbonne city itself. Tonight we shall have a celebratory dinner and then fly home tomorrow. So, over the five days we have cycled a total of 650km with climbs of 7500 metres. The climbs were the tough part of the trip, cycling on the level is easy but elevations are a killer. Last year I did the Lyons to Nice race which was hard, but this trip was definitely tougher. There are rumours of which route they will take next year with San Sebastian to Barcelona […]

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Happy Birthday Aspire Magazine

ASPIRE Magazine is officially one year old and is the top selling business magazine on iTunes. It is a business magazine with a difference.  On its first birthday last month, Nick Broadhurst, editor and founder, came out with a new and improved mission statement. The mission of the magazine and its contributors is to help people become GameChangers. Nick defines a GameChanger as someone who wants to make a positive mark on the work. “They put their mission first and are driven by empathy rather than ego. They create change in the world because they care,” he explains. “How they meet their mission is inconsistent. Rather than following an existing path, they create their own and leave a trail. They embody resourcefulness, the courage to disrupt and the commitment to pursue the unreasonable.  “What they create is the infrastructure for a new paradigm. They recognize Einstein’s sage advice that the greatest problems we face can’t be solved using the same level of thinking that created them. Thus, they focus on building a new model that makes an existing model obsolete.   Your interest in this magazine is a telling sign that you recognize a new model of business is being […]

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Uniquely Dublin

Ok, I didn’t win, I didn’t even make the long list but there were some 500 entries and only 10 in the long list, of which one, my good friend Robert Duffy was chosen. I enclose his entry after mine (lol – this is my blog, sorry Robert, lol) So we were given the task of writing about Dublin, and it’s uniqueness, in just 100 words. I came up with this: Freezing winter nights, laced with Dublin particulars, and hazed with orange lights around the Green. Slipping into a warm hostelry, sipping cold stout, the antithesis of comfort yet warming within. Oh, go on, a whiskey chaser then. Spring days come stretching slow. We are green because of our rain, ample amounts of it and temperatures mild and cunning. Sudden sunshine too, rainbows over the Spire. Tourists take quick pictures in the glare. Summer, because of calendar dates not weather, gushes over us and more green. Tourists loving it. Autumn, sometimes Indian, more often not. More rain. Repeat! It didn’t cut the mustard! But Robert’s did – go Robert! What about the wonderful gush of imagination surging from the slabs of Westmoreland Street? Bright book upon book, our declamatory Pat, […]

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Divorce is a dish best served cold

A recent complaint before The Law Society would suggest warring spouses should think twice before seeking legal heavyweights to resolve matrimonial differences. The subject of the complaint, the current Minister for Justice Alan Shatter, was unanimously and totally exonerated of all claims in the case which arose from a difficult family law dispute between Michael Izatt and Jillian Godsil. The complaint was brought by Godsil who had retained Shatter as her divorce lawyer until he came off record mid-way through her divorce proceedings. His actions prior to that point, and indeed subsequent, were the object of the long winded, but ultimately rejected, complaint. Godsil may be known to some as the Irish divorcee who sold her house on YouTube until the banks stopped the sale. She was landed with a mortgage of some €1million on a house worth less than half that amount when her ex, returning to the UK to go bankrupt, gave the entire mortgage to his ex-wife and their two young daughters. Last month, she was served repossession papers, so she dropped the asking price of her well-known Georgian Manor House to €250,000 and has received a formal offer. However, her bank refuses to talk to her […]

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Suicide and Young People

Yesterday I was the funeral of a child, a 14 year old, who died by suicide. One of the most upsetting funerals I have ever attended. His sixth class teacher spoke at the end. He had us laughing about the impish ways of the young lad. But at the very end of his tribute he looked around the packed church where many of the mourners were only children themselves. He said: “I wanted to end on a note of positivity. I wanted to give you something positive to walk away with. But as I look around this church and see the carnage and the heart broken people I cannot.” He paused. “Instead,” he said. “I will quote Martin Luther King. He said if you cannot fly, then run. If you cannot run, then walk. If you cannot walk, then crawl.But whatever you do, keep moving forward.” I had the privilege to be part of this short and very moving video on suicide – if you have a few moments look at Edward White’s video here It is called ‘Let’s stop suicide together’ I was also privileged to be part of Norah Boran and Alan Lavender’s #DepressionHurts video here It is called ‘It […]

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Three things I learnt at Trailblazers

The first is that I am not afraid. I wanted to rise up from my seat in the upper Special Criminal Court house and call it out. Colm O’Gorman was speaking. It felt a bit like the eponymous Jeffers’ book: Feel the fear but do it anyway. My heart pounded and I wanted to stand up and call it out but it wasn’t my time and maybe I had confused my emotion with a film from Hollywood. But I felt it very strongly. The second is the level of propaganda promulgated by the status quo. When Ross Maguire spoke he talked of giving ordinary home owners a break, a time out. He wanted a dignified mechanism that could be implemented without the mortgage holder having to beg for help or worse not been listened to at all. Terms such as debt forgiveness and moral hazard are used by …bankers. How dare they? The purveyors of Usury should not be allowed to dictate the ethics of our society. For that is at the very nub of this problem. We are a society of individuals who have come together to create our world. Service providers, such as finance houses, are there to […]

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Bright Lights Big City

It was a cold and frosty night but the American Lifeguard, dressed only in shorts, tee shirt and flipflops, stood aloft in his high chair and called constantly through his megaphone. “Do not go into the water,” he repeated. The crowd, Irish and wrapped up in scarves and coats, laughed and stamped their collective feet against the cold.  A number of women wore very high heels combined with belt-short skirts and their bare legs shivered in sympathy with the lifeguard’s. No one was in any danger of going into the water, not that there was any in the city centre location.   The queue was lined up for the Jameson Cult film night in the Tivoli Theatre on Frances Street. Previous screenings in the Cult series had included Snatch, Alien and Reservoir of Dogs. Attendance was by invitation only and we, my friend and I, had gained our entrance through a competition run by WorldIrish. We joined the queue and soon spotted another actor roaming alongside, dressed in cutoffs and oversized glasses. Chief Brody was on hand to keep an eye on things. This caused more laughter and talk and we made some temporary friends in the people in the […]

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Horse Sense

Arriving at Camp Some years ago I went on a cattle drive in Montana. Wow, that’s some sentence in itself. When I am old and grey I shall surprise my (as yet unformed) grandchildren that the doddery old woman in front of them once cantered across US plains rounding up cattle with cowboys – just like in the movies. I wonder will they believe me or think it merely the ramblings of a senile old woman. Anyway, it is true. Some years ago I went on a cattle drive in Montana. I have the pictures to prove it, even if the memories fade in time. Before I went my main worry was the lack of sanitation. We were to camp in tents and while porta-loos were provided, or porta-potties as the cowboys called them which creases me up to this day, there were no showers for the first three days. As I habitually shower first thing every morning I was freaking out about this privation. I know – first world problems.  Advised by people who had undertaken this trip previously I stocked up on baby wipes, enough to clean the bottoms of an entire nursery if truth be told. The […]

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Haggling over the Price

Over the weekend an Australian film maker went stratospheric when the culmination of an online auction of two virgins raised almost a million euros. Actually, it was only the girl who attracted the large bidding, with more than $700,000 pledged by a Japanese business man. The male virgin had to settle for a mere $3000. The auction and the proposed documentary has excited a lot of people, not least of which are law makers and the director may yet end up with a visit to his local penitentiary. Justin Sisely, director of Thomas Williams Productions, appears to have been limited to filming weddings prior to his big break. In what he claims is a search for the change that happens when virginity is sold, he advertised across campuses in his native Australia for virgins to enter the experiment and his documentary. The creative urge was to explore human sexuality and our views on virginity, but the posters looking for participants said they would be paid $20,000 and win fame and fortune; a somewhat incongruous and conflicting message. Initially he was seeking local virgins but the campaign went viral and global. The female virgin, Catarini Migliorini from Brazil was set to […]

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I don’t need my toilet rolls any more…

No, I haven’t dispensed with my bottom, given up eating for good or undergone radical colonic surgery – it’s the empty ones I don’t need. I looked at the collection of empty toilet rolls loitering sadly beside the bin in my bathroom and waiting patiently to be moved into the recycling bin, when it suddenly hit me. I don’t need them any more. Time was I collected them faithfully for activities which involved my children. I don’t believe there was ever a ‘make-and-do’ slot on Blue Peter that did not call for the obligatory brown cardboard roll, never a crafty evening in Girls Friendly Society that did not insist on empty toilet rolls, or a school’s art day that didn’t need the cylinders, especially for making doll people in the naivety scenes or fat sausage dogs on leads. Over the years I got used to hoarding the empty rolls, sometimes adding an elongated tube or two from kitchen-film or tin-foil dispensers, and they travelled into school or were used in playtime at home. We never had stick-thin people; no our cardboard people were always lovely and fat, chubby as Santa Claus himself, even baby Jesus was a roly-poly in the crib. So, when […]

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