Fond Memories of Christy Dignam in early 1990s Galway.

I have fond memories of Christy Dignam when he, along with Conor Goff, played a number of times for me when I had Club Rapparees in Monroe's Tavern in the early 1990s.
He was a true gentleman with a voice that was so emotional, so spell-binding.

His addiction with drugs though at the time was obvious and so sad to see. Something that couldn’t be defended nor tolerated. It was why his fellow band members and friends in Aslan had to get him to quit the band in the late 1980s.
But he never lost his friendliness and indeed kindness.
The last gig 'Dignam and Goff' played Club Rapparee Monroes was in July 1992 (see photo and extract of Christy at Club Rapparee from our inhouse music newsletter). The two lads were a fantastic acoustic duo but light years away from the frenzy electric dance rock of the 1980s Aslan.
Still songs such as 'Feel It In My Heart' always captured the hearts of the Rapparee audiences. 
Two years later in the summer of 1994 he played again for me, this time in 'Setantas' Salthill as part of the reformed Aslan.
That too, as with all his gigs, was a magical experience. I will never forget that night- the venue was packed with working class Dubliners and boy! did they hero-worship in a way that I have never witnessed before or since.

Rest in Peace Christy- Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam

Back under an African Sky: South Sudan


After an absence of 7 months, I have happily returned to Africa to continue teaching technology programmes to teachers and students in schools across the continent.
For 8 exciting years, I was a master mentor and course content developer for the Africa Code Week(ACW) initiative. 
Founded by the SAP corporation in association with Camden Trust, UNESCO, Irish Aid, African governments and 130 implementing partners across 54 African countries, ACW represented the largest educational digital movement in the history of the continent.
Now that this wonderful initiative is being transitioned to the African governments and learning from the experiences gained over these years, I am now part of the Camden Trust team, that with Irish government support, led by the visionary Bernard Kirk and working alongside the wonderful Linda Cardiff is helping to continue bringing more much needed technological projects and resources to African education in order to empower its youth especially females, on the youngest continent in the world, to become digital creators and innovators in order to create a better more sustainable egalitarian future for its peoples. 
Our first mission was to the Republic of South Sudan to organise a pilot World Robot Olympiad in a girls secondary school in the town of Rumbek. Such an initiative is needed in a country where there are huge cultural and economic obstacles to female education. Only 17% of girls finish primary school and only 4% complete a secondary school education. Few children can afford books and the classroom blackboard remains the primary means of delivering education.
Our task was only made possible by the fantastic hard working determined ground-breaking pioneering principal of the Catholic Loreto convent compound with its circa 1200 students, its primary and secondary schools, its community medical clinic and farm. Sister Orla Treacy from Bray in county Wicklow is a force of nature. Working in Rumbek since 2006, she has helped transform the hopes and aspirations of young South Sudanese women, creating educational routes that never previously existed, securing funding for them to continue university studies in Juba, Nairobi Kenya and elsewhere before returning to their homeland after graduation to help in developing the youngest country in the world. South Sudan only came into existence in 2011 after securing independence from Sudan. From 2013 until 2020, its people suffered a brutal civil war that led to the death of 400,000 civilians. 
More stories to follow over the coming days now that I am back in Ireland.