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IN THE bleak midwinter of the Covid pandemic and another lockdown, there is a bright point of light - Music for Galway’s annual midwinter festival, the first major event of any year on Galway’s cultural calendar, is going ahead.
I hope some of you got to look at the wonderful games on TV over last weekend.
Connacht head to France to take one of rugby's elite, Racing 92, in the opening of this season's Champions Cup.
Travelling abroad in 2020 has pretty much been a no go option for most of us due to the pandemic. No doubt our travelling itches are growing more irritable by the day so Matt Cassidy is here to provide a few suggestions on where we should go next year (fingers crossed). Here he starts his South American adventure in Buenos Aires.
The Joyces finally arrived in Zurich on 17 December 1940 exhausted after weeks of torturous negotiations with the German, Vichy-French and Swiss authorities. They had sought refuge in Switzerland during World War I, now they hoped to do so again. To add to the stress of it all they had to leave their daughter Lucia behind in a psychiatric hospital in Brittany which was behind German lines. Joyce hoped that once settled in Zurich he could use all the influence he could muster to have her follow them to safety.
Nora’s last visit to Galway in April 1922 did not go well. Galway, as well as the country, was caught up in a deadly Civil War. The anti -Treaty forces had occupied the Connaught Rangers’ Barracks, Renmore, while the pro- Treaty forces occupied the Great Southern Hotel. The Galway to Dublin train was regularly fired upon from the barracks. There were sporadic gun fights around the Custom House, and the Masonic hall, as both sides struggled for possession. It was a dangerous time and people were fearful.
One recent evening Insider watched the 1967 Jean-Luc Godard film La Chinoise in which a small group of French students sit around their apartment, located in what is described as a “workers’ district”, and engage in theatrical discussions about how they must overthrow the bourgeoise and, in particular, the hierarchal French university system which saw students as passive receivers of knowledge handed down by their god-like professors, rather than participants in a dialectical exchange in which both students and teachers learn from each other and grow as a result. No one, with the exception of chairman Mao, is radical enough for most of these students. The French Communist Party which, to draw an Irish parallel, would have been more or less the political equivalent of present day Sinn Féin, is condemned as hopelessly “revisionist”. The Soviet Union, in particular its then president, the now largely forgotten Mr Kosygin, is convicted by the students at their kitchen table discussions of failing to do enough to support the Vietnamese in their war against Lyndon Johnson. And the French working class, with whom said kitchen table debaters absolutely sympathise, are seen as hopelessly passive. In a mix of desperation, madness, and idealism, the students decide to mount a campaign of terrorism, which will involve them doing something they have singularly failed to do for most of the film; getting up from that kitchen table and going outside. They plan to kill the visiting Soviet minister for culture who has been invited by President de Gaulle’s own culture minister, the novelist and decayed Stalinist intellectual Andre Malraux, to open a new wing of the university. After that, they hope to bomb the Sorbonne in the belief that this will spark a revolution. Insider is against blowing up universities. Partly because he knows such actions more often provoke backlash than revolution. But also because Insider happens to teach at a university and coming out in favour of blowing up universities might lead to an awkward email from one’s department head.
The Criminal Conversation case taken by Richard Martin against John Petrie, in 1791, the seducer of his wife Eliza, which was extensively covered in the newspapers of the time, and no doubt read with enormous enjoyment by society in both England and Ireland, nevertheless, did not go entirely in Martin’s favour.
Mrs Eliza Martin, threw caution to the wind, and settled down to live openly with Mr John Petrie, a merchant, at his London house in Soho Square. Her flaunting of the end of her 13 years marriage to Richard Martin, a man of legendary accomplishments, and the owner of vast lands in Connemara, who was not a man to be reckoned with, left society wondering what his response would be to this embarrassment.
Such is the weakness of man, it seems, that even the mighty Daniel O’ Connell may have succumbed to the allures of the fair sex, committing an indiscretion in his youth, which came back to haunt him in later years when he and his wife Mary shared ‘abiding affection’.