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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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