Sunday, July 31, 2011

Glen Hansard: Raglan Road Patrick Kavanagh The Frames Swell Seasons Once...

Looking up the the ranking of favourite Irish Poems on the Irish Culture and Customs Website which was taken from a survey of Irish Times readers, I noticed that this comes in at number five with W.B. Yeats holding the number one and two spots. Of course there's nothing out there really comes close to this and there are more versions than there are stars in the sky. Luke Kelly who to the best of my knowledge recorded it first and whose version most people would identify with has almost one million hits to it on youtube. There are many others as well. It was written by Patrick Kavanagh about his then girlfriend Hilda Moriarty and first published in The Irish Press on the 3rd of October 1946. Teasing him about only writing poems of rural things he wrote this. She brought him down to Dunsany once looking for patronage and while I don't think they were successful he wrote a poem about it called "Bluebells for Love". I went for Glen Hansard singing the song, just liked the sound. So with thanks to youtube and "Stephen James Smith" for posting. Other sources Wikipedia.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ireland Is ... (response to the bailout, recession and where Ireland's g...

Colm Keegan is a poet that shows up regularly on the RTE Arts and Culture show Arena on Radio 1 and once heard you tend to remember! There are a number of his poems listed on youtube including a reading at The White House in Limerick, and though I went for the one above the others are equally as good. Give it a listen and then give the others a listen! With thanks to youtube and the person who posted.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Graveyard Shift

Nothing Changes.

Watching the program on the Magdalene Laundries and listening to Joe Duffy last week you can only wonder about it all and just when does the "News" become the news. Probably at some distance that is safely removed. This all went on up to very recent times and yet hardly merited a mention in the press, or on radio or television at the time. The norm can be a dangerous place. And yet nothing much has changed, it just shape-shifts to "virtual wards" and waiting lists and block booking appointments, and you just wonder who will write it all up at some future date and apologize to those who didn't quite make it. I wrote this poem when the Celtic Tiger was on the prowl, and before the "Clamper-Vans" moved into the Public Hospitals. Easy pickings!

The Graveyard Shift.

The remains
Moulding away.
Like a passing fancy
On some convenience.
Hadn't a prayer.
And poor enough service
In the end.
Drifting in and out.
Dying for a smoke.
Getting their fix
From some box in a corner
Plastered with exhortations
To eat more fruit
Cake while you're waiting
Hollowed eyed
Behind frosted glass
Filling in details.
Have you had an accident?
Is your visit really necessary?
Killing time!
To degrees of indifference,

Frank Murphy.

Photo: Tricolour at Scurlogstown. 


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

O' Sullivan Beare/ Great Speeches

Great Speeches.   

Listening to Aidan Dooley on the RTE Arts and Culture show last night talking about his new one man show on O' Sullivan Beare reminded me of a book I read a number of years ago, and of a conversation we were having around the camp fires during the long wait for the "off" prior to a battle I won't mention again for a while! Anyway the talk got around to Aughrim in 1691 and the number of casualties there (don't ask!), but there was another Battle of Aughrim on the 10th of January 1603 which brings me to the above. Following the defeat at Kinsale in 1601 O' Sullivan held out until New Year's Eve 1602 when he set out on an epic journey north to join Hugh O' Neill. To do so he would have to traverse most of Ireland and of the 1000 who set out on the journey with him only 35 made it into O' Rourke's Castle at Leitrim Fort. And to the speech! Written down later by his nephew Phillip who was in Spain at the time, is it word for word, who knows! Anyway caught at Aughrim with forces on both sides he addressed his followers.

O' Sullivan Beare. From "Endurance" by Dermot Sommers.

Since our desperate fortunes have left us here without means or country, wives or children to fight for, the struggle with our enemies before us now is for our bare lives;  we have nothing else that we can lose... In God's eternal name I ask you, men, will you not rather fall gloriously in battle, avenging your blood, than die like brute cattle in a cowardly fight? Our ancestors would never seek to avoid an honourable death. Let us follow in the footsteps of our sires: there is no other salvation. See around you the country is bare of woods or bog; there is no concealment; the people of these parts offer us no aid. Roads and passes are blocked, even if we had the strength to fly. Our only hope is in our own courage, and the strength of our own arms.... Remember that everywhere hitherto, enemies who attacked us were routed by the Divine Mercy. Victory is the gift of God... Fear not this worthless mob:  they are not men of such fame as we, nor used to fight as we are...

Quoting from "Endurance" the Battle of Aughrim 1603 was a stunning victory for O' Sullivan.

The above was sourced from "Endurance" by Dermot Sommers./ The O' Brien Press Dublin.
Photo: Book Cover.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

On Matters Of Jurisprudence

A Treatise Upon Discernment                                           

Wanted Judges!
Patrician types for small fringe festival.
No experience necessary as training will be given though willingness to suspend critical faculties while taking cognizance of social mores and the need to trim down accordingly a must!

Some knowledge of parlour music essential and while one might encounter the odd malign influence the opportunity to dine out should provide ample reward. Though grapes are to be avoided.

Reading material may be provided by the Board and while we would have no wish to influence any decision made please be advised that "It was only a whimsical notion" has been over subscribed and that you may wish to provide your own copy.

Reading backwards can be difficult at first but this is easily mastered and in order to enjoy the full majesty we suggest that you leave the light on!

Colloquial reference and items of or pertaining to the vernacular can be trying, but these can be alleviated by the partaking of the balm and listening to a little light music, the machinations and turnover positions on the enigma variations might provide for easy listening if I can borrow from another source but we leave this to your discretion! Weighed under and with the onerous and often unenviable task of discriminating in this regard one wonders how you will sleep at night. The party hat though is to be obligatory. In matters of jurisprudence it is best to know what side your bread is buttered on!

Finally, and while the gentle reminder that the judge's decision is final will often suffice one is cautioned that in this neck of the woods it often!

                                                                                                                                 Jay Swift

Translations available 
Beer Cans and Coffee Cups
Tee-Shirts and Knick Knacks.
Copywright on the above! 


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Bonfire Of The Quangos?

A Bonfire Of The Quangos?

Reading through The Sunday Times (I know it's Tuesday!) I came across an article by Michael Clifford on the governments plan to abolish quangos, or to be more accurate its pre-election promise to do so. And of the one hundred and forty five that were to be abolished the National Consumer Agency was to be the first to go. Except according to the article it's off to hide within the Competition Authority. So much for that! Anyway, and ahead of the posse I worked out a possible solution a little while back that might satisfy all concerned! A Eureka moment! 


Had to rummage
Around a bit.
Find the parts.
All that calculus
And the mad geometry
That couldn't be done
They said,
Rome wasn't built in a day
The smirks....

About the midnight oil,
And the loophole detectors 
Wouldn't take it
The begrudgers!

Beavering away
On how many knots
In a guideline,
Or who wants to be
A millionaire.

Just watch the crank
They said.
The little cogs,
The exhibits!

Well I'll show 'em
A museum piece.
The Quango Hammer!

Frank Murphy. 

Photo: Girls just wanna have fun! 
          Scurlogstown Haymaking Festival 2011.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Fourth Estate

The Fourth Estate                                                              

Sourcing from Wikipedia on the above, Thomas Carlyle attributed the remark to Edmund Burke who used it in a Parliamentary debate in 1787 at the opening of press reporting on the House of Commons though there is much more information as to its origin if you care to look it up. Oscar Wilde, and quoting from the same source remarked that "In the old days men had the rack now they have the Press!" and of the other three estates The Lords Spiritual says nothing, The Lords Temporal have nothing to say and The Commons has nothing to say and says it! But then Oscar would wouldn't he. Much more fun if you look it up on Wikipedia and much more accurate too. In a week when a major newspaper has "failed" the estate described by Burke as the most important of them all seems to have gone to seed! Anyway a chance to use a poem from a few years ago.

The Fourth Estate

Embedded in such legalese
As please M' Lords
A little wheeze
Could show good cause
To such respect
When body politic

That every class
Of hound or hack
Was safely muzzled
Round the back.

Or carcass nailed
In some debate
That prowled about
The Fourth Estate.

Frank Murphy.

Photo: Trim Castle/Scurlogstown Haymaking Festival.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Battle of the Books 2011

Presentation: Battle of the Books 2011

Michael Farry put in a great performance to win this year's Battle of the Books at the Castle Hotel in Trim on Sunday last. Ably assisted by Bill Comerford, James linnane, and Caroline Finn who put in a great performance herself the trophy was presented afterwards by Noel Dempsey.

Early favourites and odds on to win the event The Meath Writers ran out seconds on an afternoon hampered out to bad ground and the over reliance on a timepiece purloined off on an away leg out to the Stretford End. Coupled with the long "wait" of expectation and the low blood sugar levels, the failure to secure an inside line mitigated heavily against when the match officials lined out on the other side, but gracious to the end the Meath Writers offered the heartiest of congratulations and departed for lunch, in Dunshaughlin!

Photo: Noel Dempsey presenting Trophy to Michael Farry and other members of team.
          From left/Caroline Finn, Bill Comerford, Noel Dempsey, Michael Farry
          And James Linnane,

Friday, July 1, 2011

Trim Swift Festival Great Readathon!!

The Trim Swift Festival 2011
Marathon Reading

Made it into Trim today for the marathon reading of Gulliver's Travels and was rewarded with a certificate for my efforts. Organised by Paddy Smith of The Boyne Writers and Trim Swift Festival Committee to raise money for charity (Aware). The readings were held in the back of a Suzuki Swift on Market Street and continue until Sunday, and while the reading list is now closed, listeners can be squeezed in for the modest sum of  €2 Euro. A worthy cause and just one of the many events taking place in the town over the weekend! Many of the events are absolutely free and some of the best known names on the Irish literary scene (Honest, we'll be there!), not to mention the "Meeja" and academics of almost every hue and cry from the far flung outposts of Empire (Green) to the next parish will be there! Gulliver himself can be seen  taking his ease out toward Summerhill and I'd keep on writing only I have to save myself for Sunday!

Photo: Suzuki Swift On Market Street Trim.      

Photo: Gulliver Mural on Summerhill Road.

Photo: Michael Farry reading on Market Street.

Photo: Looking towards Emmet Street.