The trauma of the onlooker

Thu, Mar 14, 2019

We are all suffering from it, yet we may not notice. There is a fatigue around that is engaging us; that is holding us in its grasp. A sort of voyeuristic urge to look on aghast at what is happening in the two countries which perhaps have influenced us the most over the past few centuries. This morning, we wake up to more news of Brexit, as we slide inexorably towards that date at the end of the month.

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A necessary evil?

Thu, Mar 14, 2019

As a first time candidate running for city council advice about how to run a campaign is always forthcoming.

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The slow pealing of the bell

Thu, Mar 07, 2019

I have heard too many funeral bells this winter. I have donned my funeral coat more than I wished to. I have shuffled along funeral lines and proffered my sympathies to trembling hands, damp from the tears dabbed momentarily. I have accepted sympathies too. I have been in the lines and among the lines. I have said goodbye to people I loved and respected. I have hugged colleagues and friends who shake with sadness and shock. I have had the obligatory cup in my hand at wakes, picked at fruit cake baked by the loving hands of saddened neighbours.

I have hoped that with the coming of spring and the stretching of the day that the low peal of the funeral will become an uncommon sound. I remember ringing it as an altarboy, slow and deliberate, not the rushed 25 peals of the bell eight minutes before Sunday Mass. No, for the impending arrival of a cortege, when we tugged at the rope that led all the way to the bell in the tower, we took care to ensure that the clapper would hit the inside of the bell once, in a low meaningful but subdued way; to go out across the sky and tell all that a death had taken place, that a moment of reflection should occur, to ensure that even when the sound stops that you would hear the echo of its lone ringing in your heart. It would go out through the evening sky to stop people in their tracks, to disturb people’s lives and tell them that someone in their community is mourning.

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Ireland Not Performing to Expectation in Six Nations

Tue, Mar 05, 2019

The Six Nations is underway and by their own admissions things are not going according to plan for the Irish team. In 2018 they were riding high after becoming the Grand Slam winners so sitting in third place is not entirely cutting it. Freetips.com looks at their game so far.

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Take up rather than give up this coming Lent

Thu, Feb 28, 2019

Back in the dark dreary days of the eighties, when the birds were falling off the trees with the hunger and the smell of rain-sodden hand-me down duffle coats was the overriding scent of the era, we actually looked forward to Lent and the chance to give up something you were probably unlikely to be having anyway.

Back then, there didn’t seem many vices that seemed give-up-able for 40 days. There wasn’t that much TV, there was no internet or social media of which to deprive yourselves. In the main, it was sweets and sugar — and so the beet and sweet industry took a blow during the Springtime of each year, as our souls were saved from eternal damnation by virtue of our amazing willpower to deny ourselves goodies that were probably out of reach anyway.

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Fantasy Football round 29 preview

Thu, Feb 28, 2019

There are only 10 matches to go in the Premier League. Liverpool and Man City are slugging it out at the top for the right for them to call themselves the best team in the land; the battle for Champions League football is hotting up, and plenty of sides are fighting for their top-flight lives; it is exciting.

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The beauty of being there

Thu, Feb 21, 2019

Midway through the first half of the National Hurling League game between Galway and Dublin in Salthill on Sunday, the stadium announcer proclaimed that somebody had handed in a house key, a “sort of elaborate-looking house key” to be more precise, and that it could be reclaimed from the stand at halftime.

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Three coats of blue gloss and an understanding

Thu, Feb 14, 2019

I always loved this time of year as a kid. All winter long, the three lake boats which we had on Lough Mask would lie as part of the winter furniture — a plaything for my childhood. It was their hibernation, a chance for them to drip dry over the winter months. A chance for the floorboards, probably sodden in water all summer, to dry in the shed, alongside the oars. To have a timbered chat with each other about the adventures that they’d had all year, the rocks they’d have run aground, the stories they’d have heard, the secrets shared between anglers and gillies, the dying fish which breathed last on their thin ribs beneath the floorboards.

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Consultation can move us all forward

Thu, Feb 07, 2019

Consultation is an under-rated concept. But it is key as it helps engender the support that decisions need to be successfully implemented. The importance of it is to the fore in Galway this week because of two major projects. One which is just starting out, and the other which is midway through.

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Let's make more of our global connections

Thu, Jan 31, 2019

Back in the day, town twinnings were a great fashion altogether. Every little town and village had some fella living down the road, probably in on a witness protection programme or someone who said he hailed from some little Breton village named Creton-LeBlanque or Moron du Ville. And in a time when there was really nothing on the telly and it rained for eight months of the year, the temptation for a jolly to an exotic destination (anything east of Moate) was too much to resist.

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Get ready for RUXI’s midnight runners

Thu, Jan 24, 2019

Imagine the scene in a small rural cottage. It’s nine o clock on a Saturday (the regular crowd shuffles in)...Paddy is in the jacks, clean-shaven, unusually clean shaven for that hour of the night. New geansai on him. His Sunday mass geansai. His sums copy shirt underneath. A pair of Farah slacks giving him shape. Smell of Old Spice and Lynx off him. At this hour of a Saturday, he’s normally just about to get ready for cocoa and slippers and a shout at the telly “how did that hoor Darcy get his own TV show...”

But tonight, it’s different. Tonight, Paddy is looking at the mirror and talking to himself. “You talking to me.... ha, are you talking to me. C’mere I wantcha, are yooooo talking to me.”

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Fantasy Football January review

Tue, Jan 22, 2019

What a weekend of Premier League action that was.

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The benefits of recycling our wasted community wisdom

Thu, Jan 17, 2019

I often wonder about the amount of wisdom that filters through our lives unused. The stories untold, the knowledge unshared, the information that is left under-utilised. All of our communities feature hundreds of people who have a major contribution to make to the betterment of life, yet there is often no facilitation of this expertise.

On one level, think of the men’s sheds — set up to enable people of mixed personalities and expertise to come together, and after a few ‘howyas’ and ‘lishens’, that a conversation ensues about how they can combine to make life better for their communities.

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Fantasy Football round 23 preview

Wed, Jan 16, 2019

It was a fairly quiet week on the football simply because there was very little football taking place.

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Being Nora — city loses one of its great characters

Thu, Jan 10, 2019

It was only about two months ago when I was sitting scribbling in a comfy chair in a corner of Renzo cafe and gallery on Eyre Street, when I looked up and saw her face looking down at me.

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Cracking Down On Gambling Laws

Mon, Jan 07, 2019

There’s been a major crackdown on gambling laws in Ireland this year, as what was once recognised as a safe haven for businesses due to favourable cooperation taxes, has seen revenue commissioners get gambling and gaming operators in their sights as they seek to clean up the industry somewhat. There’s been a suggestion that the relevant authorities want to reign in operators, as they felt things had increasingly gotten out of control. The Irish population have a real passion for gambling, with over 6,000 said to work in the gambling outlets spread around the country. The passion for gambling in Ireland increased considerably thanks to the emergence of online and mobile gambling, especially as this gives people the ability to place bets or play their favourite casino games at any time of the day or night. This has allowed PartyCasino, among others, to offer their services to a very willing audience.

So, you could say that gambling operators based in Ireland have enjoyed a number of very fruitful years, but that is all about to change as they look to chase up those who haven’t paid the full amounts of tax due, whilst also looking to crack down on those who are operating without the correct licenses in place. Over 400 licenses have been issued or renewed this year, with the authorities taking a keen interest in gaming machines too.

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Simplicity can be the hardest thing of all

Thu, Dec 13, 2018

Maybe it was all Darina Allen’s fault. For about 100 years of cooking Christmas dinners and burning turkeys, we were happy.

But somewhere around the 1980s, Darina came along. In two-channel land, everything was watched on Irish television. There were people who came in late at night to stand for the national anthem at shut down time, and then watch the multicolours of the test card and listen to the whistle of its accompanying sound. Maybe, that was where we got the notion that there was nawthin’ on the telly.

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Fantasy Football round 17 preview

Thu, Dec 13, 2018

Another week of European action has ended with Spurs achieving their "greatest ever European result", a 1-1 draw away to a Barcelona B team and Mo Salah and Alisson Becker sending Liverpool through to the knock-out stage after a tense 1-0 win over Napoli at Anfield on Tuesday night.

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In focus: Galway’s gambling scene

Thu, Dec 13, 2018

We all know the old cliché: “the luck of the Irish”. Whether this originated in the context of gambling or not, there’s no doubt it’s relevant to the Irish people’s love of a flutter – whether it’s on the horses, in the lottery or even in one of the country’s many casinos.

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How we stop doing things the stupid way

Thu, Nov 29, 2018

When all is said and done, there is great wisdom to be got from Puss in Boots in Shrek. A master of the art of life, a great survivor, a curator of the nine lives that he was born with, he was often known to impart the words of a creature who had lived life to the full and knew all its twists and turns.

And although, Puss in Boots is unlikely to be ever mentioned in the same breadth as Einstein or Shaw or Wilde, there is one of his quotes that often comes to my mind, and maybe because that is the way I am wired.

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