My Writings (I hope!) reflect my Guiding Principles: -'Enjoy Life to the Utmost but not at other people's expense'-'Think Global, Act Local'-'Variety is the Spice of Life'-'Use Technology & Wisdom to Make the World A Better Place for All God's Creatures'-'Do Not Accept Injustice No Matter Where You Find It'-'Laughter is the Best Medicine'
Our Team Score Big at Croke Park!
My Mother was Brigid.
The early 2000s XBox Game Parties are back!
Before Broadband became available to most homes, the capabilities and architecture of the first Xbox generation facilitated young people gathering together over twenty years ago in one location with their own consoles and screens to play the same games using a 'local area network' (LAN).
Known as the Xbox 'System Link', it allowed up to 16 players to share the same game.
Our good chippie friend Brendan Walsh made a very long table unit that accommodates four large screens with four of Microsoft's first home video game console. Two of the screens were donated by Diarmuid Keaney and two by Philip Burke who also provided the Xboxes.
Based on the feedback from last night's young participants who gave the system a trial run, the Xbox LAN is going to be one of the most popular interactive exhibits that the museum will have on offer to visitors.
The World has lost an Angel. Rest in Peace Carole Raftery
Sadly she passed away on Thursday night.
I was met at the reception by a lady with a gregarious smile and an infectious laugh that just radiated
Then together working with the HSE (Brid and Maeve), the Galway City Partnership (Suzanne McNena and later Fiona Blaney), state agencies, the residents and others we set up the first ever weekly residents-management-external organisations liaison committee in such a centre, a library, created a residents’ managed website, organised a series of offsite events (fashion shows, children’s’ trips, sports activities) as well as in-house Christmas parties and receptions with mayors, TDs and government ministers…
So much happened due to Carole- she was the engine that kept things happening and moving along. Then in 2014 we secured and established a community garden for residents on old wasteland at the back of the centre with residents led by Lyudvig, with funding secured by Nollaig McGuinness(GCP) and with ongoing horticultural expertise from Kay Synott. The Eglinton front line staff of Patrick, Anne, Noel (RIP), Iva, Murdo, Lubo, Radoslav, Milada, Kevin, Sean… were always there to help out Carole and the rest of us.
Carole’s caring friendly disposition meant that she was looked on by most of the Eglinton residents in a very affectionate way. She was family. She was a listener. She was an advisor. Adults daily came to her for advice, and the kids called her ‘auntie’ such was her kindness and familiarity with them. On a weekly basis she chaired the Friday residents-management liaison meetings and ensured that the concerns of residents went to the appropriate authorities and were acted upon.
Carole devoted her life to others. With her big heart, kind nature and gentle soul, she was the fairy godmother and angel that will never be forgotten by all those who have had the privilege of knowing her and benefiting from her goodness. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam.
Christmas 2022: The offspring of Santa Claus's favourite tree takes root in the soils of Terryland Forest Park!
An Irishman in New York City – The Big Apple is going Green!
New York City (NYC) is very special to me. As a city that I worked in during my student days at the height of the disco era it holds exciting memories of good times- for instance I saw the Bees Gees on stage in Madison Square Gardens during their Saturday Night Fever phase!
As a family we travelled to the Big Apple annually over the last few years except 2021 due to the pandemic. We were back this April and it was wonderful to see that, a place that had a reputation pre-2020 as “a city that never sleeps” finally, like so much of the rest of the world, woke up after its enforced COVID slumber.
Of course New York has serious social and economic issues which are well documented and highlighted by its own new breed of progressive radical politicians. But what fascinates me most with New York in the present era is its brilliant pioneering eco-projects. That is why I visit. Manhattan, whose streets were only a few years ago dominated by cars, is very quickly being immersed with a pedestrian and cycling infrastructure. The Gung-ho ethos in action. There is a greening of the city that is only made possible by grassroots NGOs, big business, large institutions and municipal government working towards a common goal of urban sustainability. If NYC can go green, blue and smart, then any city worldwide can. Shame on our Galway City Council for still promoting outdated and discredited transport strategies whilst failing to adequately protect and invest sufficiently in our public parks- the green lungs of the city.
More on the greening of the Big Red Apple in future postings.
But I also love visiting the USA to meet my American cousins. None more so than Ed Eccles, a true and honourable gentleman. New York suffered horribly during COVID with over 43,000 deaths. But Ed kept working throughout the crisis, travelling by train from New Jersey into the city on an almost daily basis working in maintenance at the New York University in downtown Manhattan helping to keep its systems operational. Thanks Ed.
An Irish Christmas, Past and Present
The spirit of caring and helping is symptomatic of a modern day Christmas with tens of millions of euros being collected for good causes every December in modern day Ireland. There is a wonderful emphasis on volunteering and taking part in fund-raising events to support those who are disadvantaged both at home and abroad. Inclusivity and diversity takes centre stage with children of special needs, disabilities, different ethnicity and faiths being given respect and prominence in the media such as on the Late Late Toy Show and other festive television delights. In Ireland the renowned generosity and openness of our people is there for all to see.
Colourful pop-up Xmas markets are hosted in every city enticing the visitor with amongst other things, live entertainment, an array of Irish handmade produce, fair trade gifts, mouth-watering craft beverages and tasty homegrown organic foods. Post-Ukrainian invasion, Irish towns and villages across the country are still decorated with colourful sparkling bunting and lights, and the gardens and buildings of some private houses look like Las Vegas at night-time.
Over the last few years, the Irish people have been encouraged to Buy Irish, Buy Local, Buy Sustainable, Buy Organic and support jobs and innovation in Ireland.
Thanks to online shopping and special festive product releases, the selection of toys for children as well as electronic gadgetry, clothes, toiletries and jewellery for adults has never been more wide ranging. A guilt-free happy consumerism ‘for good causes’ (family, friends, country, the economically disadvantaged and oneself) takes centre stage.
Post COVID, all age groups thankfully are once again celebrating at Christmas with their peers, from work parties for adults, to school concerts for children and parents, and clubbing/pubbing for the youth (& young at heart!). I myself enjoy organising a very special annual alcohol-free end-of-year multicultural party at my research institute paying homage to the rich culinary and other homeland traditions of our members. The cinemas, streaming and online media libraries such as Netflix as well as music services explode with much anticipated seasonal movies and music blockbusters. Though truth be told, the almost complete absence now of nightclubs in a Galway city famed for its ents is hard to believe.
Children happily write cards to Santa and more likely than not in Ireland he delivers their requested and oftentimes very expensive gifts. Boys and girls wake up early on Christmas morning to rush down to the tree to be overwhelmed with an array of toys. Thank you Santa!
But the most welcome characteristic of Christmas 2022 is the reappearance of the extended family coming together for Christmas. For the first time since 2019, parents, children, uncles and aunts are returning home from distant lands to spend the festive season with mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, sons and daughters. In our case, our own youngest son Dáire came home to Ireland from Barcelona where he is studying medical science and in a few days I will travelling to the home of my youth in Carrickmacross to spend a few days with my brother Michael and to hopefully met a few friends from school days.
In times past.
Christmas during my childhood was more frugal, more serious, more religious, less bright and less festive than that of the 21st century. But it was nevertheless magical and wondrous for children then as it is for today’s young generation. But in a different way. In our household we try as with many other Irish families try to keep in 2022 some of these often millennia old traditions alive which have almost evaporated in the last few decades or where their true meaning has been for forgotten.
Part 2 to follow.
When We Were Young- the university campus of my Student Days
Mr Origami- A Veteran Star of the Galway Science & Technology Festival’s Sunday Fair
After being absent since 2019 due to COVID, the Galway Science and Technology Festival Fair made a welcome return to the University of Galway campus. Approximately 22,000 visited this major event in the Galway calendar, showing the appetite that people of all ages have for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM) in Galway city and county. This was probably our largest attendance ever!
What can Galway Learn from Belfast?
Goodbye dear Friend
With the passing of Michael Tiernan, Galway has lost one of its truest gentlemen and I have lost a dear friend.
Graduation Day- The End of an Era for our son, for his university and for his parents
A Crazy Irishman in Havana
1990s- Condoms, Gay Rights, Big Bands & the Guildford Four.
Racism, Sectarianism, Hatred, Imperial Triumpalism & Misogyny are Alive & Well in Northern Ireland
Community, Health & Environmental Success at 'Pride of Place' Awards.
The win by the Tuatha of Terryland Forest Park in the all-Ireland 'Pride of Place' awards in Killarney this week is dedicated to the tens of thousands of volunteers in Galway City of all ages and backgrounds who have over many many decades understood the critical importance of Nature for the health of the planet and the health of people, and that the battle to save the rainforests of Amazonia, the Congo and Indonesia will be fought and won in the cities of the world.
Little Schools are the Heartbeat of Rural Ireland & the Foundations for its Revitalisation
Planting a Ukrainian woods with an African connection and roots back to ancient Ireland within Terryland Forest Park.
The Tuatha volunteers have since mid March quietly planted a small woodland in Terryland Forest Park dedicated to the brave people of Ukraine who are suffering so much as they bravely resist Putin's brutal invasion.Only trees native to both countries were planted, namely oak, birch and alder.
We also had trees donated from the wonderful Self-Help Africa programme thanks to the generousity of Ronan Scully--, one of the great heroes of modern Ireland, whose work spanning two continents is based on implementing sustainability, environmental protection and community empowerment, combatting social exclusion and overcoming systemic poverty. The Self-Help Africa programme connects the planting of trees by schools in Ireland with reforestation in Africa. Ronan is also a worthy champion of the Galway National Park initiative. Thank you Ronan for all that you have been doing over many decades.