Did the souls of boys,cut down in France,come home again,to rest in lush ditches,by English country lanes,as bright summer poppies, So, each year unending,free to dance once more,joyful remembrance blooms,headless of the rush,of passing motorcars,in home-counties soil, Red now their clothes,heads sway rejoicing,on wildly weaving stalks,stout-hearted amid weeds,no brown wilted youth,inside worn frames, Ebullient life... Continue Reading →
Curvature of Cork,breaking free of static lines,blending ancient bridges,with sharp edged blocks,scraggly trees,and pavement gazing pedestrians. Rushing head long,into the event horizon,when distant melts,will raise the waters,wash out the swamp,for a final time. Pleas will be hurled,prayers incanted,as the great and good,are carried downstream,like petrified timber,ripped from the Gearagh. Concrete and brick crumbles,high tide lines... Continue Reading →
Tá scéal an-Éireannach agamsa. Scéal faoi crunniu seans i na scáileanna teach solais. Dé hAoine seo caithe a tharla é. Bhí fear agus me fein ag comhrá í nGaeilge mar bhí ár gcuid páistí ag imirt i bpáirc. 'Cá as tú?' arsa mise. ‘An Spidéal’, a deir sé. ‘Rugadh mé ansin’, a deir mise. ‘Caithfidh... Continue Reading →
There has been huge amounts of commentary about the recent ill fated decision to formally commemorate the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and the Dublin Metropolitan Police. It descended very quickly into a massive argument, with the vast majority of the public quickly coming to a consensus that can be summed up as 'who in the... Continue Reading →
A Changed World.
In 1919, the war to end all wars was over. The 19th of January saw the start of peace negotiations in Paris, which would culminate in the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in June. This momentous year saw the drafting of the covenant of the League of Nations, the surrender and scuttling of the German high seas fleet in Scapa Flow. It also on the 21st of January saw the first Dáil sit in the Mansion House in Dublin, where they declared Irish Independence in fulfilment of the goals of the grand heroic failure of the 1916 Easter Rising. Also on that fateful day in Soloheadbeg, volunteers of the 3rd Tipperary Brigade under the command of Seán Treacy and Dan Breen, ambushed and shot two constables of the Royal Irish Constabulary. The first two dead men of an estimated 1,400 deaths between 1919 and 1921. While most of the fighting occurred on land across Ireland, the sea had a major role to play in both the Rising and the War of Independence.
Lonely Edge of Europe.
Ireland holds a geostrategic maritime position on the lonely edge of Europe, facing out into the North Atlantic where the European and North American sea lanes veritably bustle with all manner of shipping. At the turn of the century, Ireland's seas and maritime domain where under the firm control of the British Empire and the might of the Royal Navy. The ports and deep sheltered harbours of Cork, Berehaven and Lough Swilly, protected by massive forts and coastal artillery batteries, had played their part in centuries of British domination of the high seas and from these ports where shipped troops to fight in Britain's many wars. Many a period of rebelliousness across Ireland was subdued by forces shipped from these Naval installations, helping to underpin the British presence in Ireland as the dark clouds of war gathered on the European horizon. Those clouds burst in August 1914.
She was 93 years old,grandmother of all agitators,immigrant teacher's words stirred men to action,she wrote her story down,passing labours flame from Pennsylvania,from coal mining heartlands built on the bones of union,tales of the silk children's knight crusader,charging the power of the mill.
The call of the woman of the north side,fell into the ear of the ragged trousered wretch,growing straight in the regimented pines,arrayed through the ruins of famine homesteads,hemmed in by the meandering dry stone walls,built from their shells,pray for the dead,fight like hell for the living,in mines and bogs or dockyard slips,the boot seeks a neck,the company scales the pocket picked,join a union
The Tower of Il-Gardjola
We hear it all,the endless message,carved high into the battlements,conform and heed our call.
We see it all,the lidless eye is never sleeping,stays dry mid widows weeping,for the husbands who lay bleeding.
Changing of the Watch.
In the days of sail, the ships bell would ring out the passing of time and signal to the crew that it was time for the change of the watch. That bell has pealed on Haulbowline and Commodore Hugh Tully, Flag Officer Commanding the Naval Service (FOCNS) has handed over his watch to the newly promoted Commodore Michael Malone, with effect from the 26th of December last.And what a watch it has been, Commodore Tully has given 42 years of exemplary service to the Irish nation. His career spanned some of the most challenging periods of the Navy. Joining the service in 1975 in a class of three cadets, these future Naval Officers were dispatched to Dartmouth in the United Kingdom (UK). They returned from the UK and were sent to sea on LÉ DEIRDRE, which at the time was the only Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) in service, commissioned in 1973, she joined the three venerable minesweepers GRÁINNE, FOLA, BANBA which comprised the entirety of Irelands Naval assets. When he qualified as a Naval watchkeeper, he joined LÉ FOLA as the Navigation and Gunnery officer combined. Rotating ashore he spent some time on Spike Island with the Cadet College, where he was, in fact, the cadet class officer for Commodore Malone.
Cobh -The Gateway to Munster.
Cobh is the most beautiful seaside town in Ireland, looking out over the vast Cork harbour where the mighty River Lee runs down to meet the ocean. A place of rich history, which has stunning natural beauty and it is where the world’s largest liners come alongside the Deep Water Quay. The huge floating palaces carrying thousands of tourists each year are vast in scale and they tower over the brightly painted fishing boats which set out from the small little piers and coves with their pots & nets seeking to bring home the bounty of the waters outside the harbour.
Béal na mBláth
I often wonder how that young Private felt,when he saw the blood flow from Collins,to mingle with the dirt in Beal na mBláth,struck down by a ricochet,the echoes still reverberating,ringing through the decades.
Lord of Connaught.
The last Lord of Connaught is still,silent are the hills,which once quivered with the ancient sound,echoing round Belleek Castle & the Moy.
Rebuilding Somalia – “The sea is our future”
This article will also feature in the upcoming edition of Emergency Service Ireland magazine.The horn of Africa for decades has been a much-troubled location. Recently Paul O’Brien MA delivered an overview of the conflict in this publication and in this follow-up article, I will focus on the efforts underway to rebuild the country.A lasting peace will be built not only by the absence of conflict but by resetting the foundations of the state; this must bring together many different interconnected parts to provide a place where a functioning government can use its natural resources for the benefit of all its citizens.One of the greatest resources open to Somalia is the sea. They have the longest coastline on mainland Africa and in the middle East, at 3,025km. The waters off Somalia have become synonymous with piracy and lawlessness, yet this will be one of the key areas where economic activity is brought back to the impoverished country, which is balanced on a knife edge with regards to its own security and stability.