A Close Call

A Close Call

I had a very lucky let off yesterday morning.

It shows the importance of not rushing and checking things. Taking your time.

I was trying to buy tickets for Ennio Morricone in the Three Arena for Saturday September 23rd. You know the guy. Composed the ‘The Mission’ music.

Brilliant stuff (and Marty recommends…..)

I sourced the tickets with Viagogo and logged on to the website. It started giving me non stop messages to hurry up and I felt very uncomfortable.

“You have only 8 minutes left before tickets sold out” That kind of thing…..

I bought 4 tickets for 210 euro. Dear but it would be worth it, I felt.

I hoped to bring two good friends with Maura and myself. I was really looking forward to it. I really love good music.

The website kept hassling me to hurry up. That always rubs me the wrong way.

Maura will tell you, I hate being rushed. So I steadied up myself and tried to concentrate. I never like buying tickets online but Maura had just got a new credit card and I was giving it its first whirl.

Eventually, after a lot of data entry at high speed, it came to complete the purchase. So even though I felt really pressurised by the website, I did a final check on everything eg. the seating etc.

Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the figure 1100€ Total.

I could not believe it. And looked again at the small print.

The sneaky, bloody website was trying to trick me into paying 210 euro for EACH ticket! It was all VERY cleverly done. No doubt about it.

Quickly, I cancelled the order and breathed a huge sigh of relief mixed with disgust/anger. Here was indeed ‘The Good, Bad and the Ugly’. In real life.

Maura would have killed me if I had of mistakenly paid over a thousand euro for 4 tickets (even though it would have been a great concert. I am sure)

Seeing the Flowers

Seeing the Flowers

We were parked in Blanchardstown shopping centre this afternoon

when Maura suddenly noticed beautiful yellow flowers in the hedge.

I was really thrilled.

She had cataracts removed last week and the week before

and now everything is brighter

and should grow even more so, please God.


Things were even amazingly clear enough to read the number plate

of the car in front of us on the M50.

This is already unprecedented clarity for Maura

who has always needed thick glasses for driving

and even then all was dim, dull and dangerous.

It’s like in that fascinating Gospel passage where Jesus cures a blind man

and his sight comes back but only gradually.

Mary, Cause of our Joy.

A very memorable evening

We got the vigil mass of Sunday in Rathmullan and headed north along the coast, a very scenic drive into the wilds of Donegal. Thank God for such a good and reliable car. A few loose sheep cropped the edges of the hilly parts of the road which twisted and turned. My uncle Charlie had recommended a spin up to Port Salon and, boy, was he right. Thank God for old pals. We arrived at the golf club restaurant open to all and sat down comfortably to a delicious meal in the spacious lounge buzzing with happy holiday makers in friendly mood. The service was pleasant and speedy. The views overlooking the beach were spectacular. Then we parked and went for a lovely long walk on the beach with its orangey-yellow sand and quietly lapping waves slipping in off the Atlantic Ocean. A beautiful expanse. So open. Wild and surrounded by rugged hills upon which the sunset light played. Amazing horizons that lead your tired eyes away into the distance. Almost a different planet to Dublin City and it’s traffic, dirt, pollution and crime. The Observer newspaper called this the second most beautiful beach in the whole world and that is saying something. The sound of the sea is calming and soothing to ears bombarded with electrical sounds so constantly. A healing balm for the soul. Music for the inner spirit. All tranquil as night started to gently fall and we made for home contented and rested deep into our bones. I felt overcome by the rich beauty and shed a tear of emotion that God could bless my little family in such a special and deeply moving and memorable way. Inspired to gratitude we sang that old song as we drove along “I’m on the top of the world and looking down on creation and the only explanation I can find is the love that I have found…..”

I resolved again to keep on serving my God who shows His intimate personal love for us so splendidly in nature in such magic moments of near paradise. The soft air was so fresh and all was clean and pure. Salted by the rough winter weather to prepare the glory of a summer evening I will never forget.


CD launch report

Our Charity “Party Pieces” CD Launch July 1st Baldoyle Library

I think everyone who attended our little local launch enjoyed it last Saturday.

Eddie sang, Mairín sang, Dick sang, Willie sang, Paddy G sang too.

It was all really wonderful.

All to a scenic backdrop of Baldoyle estuary full tide and Ireland’s eye in the distance with the sailing boats in the sunshine.

Maura kindly provided the Buns and Lemonade and Vino

Paddy Malone enjoyed them.

Johnny was the hero of the hour.

He kicked off the party eloquently and photographed it in detail.

The simple Spanish guitar is a great sociable ice breaker.

Even Ollie, the very helpful library caretaker, said it had a nice easy, relaxing tone.

Thanks to all.

And all who would have liked to have been there.

Plus we collected a few bob for the massive famine in South Sudan

due to war and drought. Thank God.


Summer hols

Our Amazing Full-On Holiday in North Clare Late June 2017

We certainly packed a lot of interesting action into our few days holiday in North Clare this month. We arrived in Lisdoonvarna on Thursday via a very welcome pit stop in the fantastic Supermac’s plaza just outside Galway city. Our apartment was lovely. Two bedrooms and a spacious, high-ceilinged, airy sitting room/kitchen with comfy couches. The Bean An Tí, Joan, gave us a lovely welcome to Town House Square beside the famous Ritz matchmaking hotel. We soon found the local Mace for milk etc. We also sent off a few postcards. We went out for dinner that night in an excellent Irish music venue nearby. The Rathbaun hotel.  Good quality food and good music too. Grand, prompt service and friendliness. They really have tourism hospitality off to an art form in Clare.

Next day, Friday, we visited the fascinating, multifaceted Burren visitors interpretative centre in Kilfenora (you could spend a week here) and the amazing Ailwee cave, which was full of gas stories and amusement. Then we visited the authentic, unique Burren Perfumerie. A lovely drive into the moonlike heart of the Burren. The roads are very scenic if a bit scary for driving. Next morning we got the boat from Doolin to Gaeltacht Inish Oírr (Inishere) which was a lovely experience. We had a short tour of the island on a mini bus with a local character and lunch in a homespun cafe run by a Dublin woman married to the bus driver’s cousin. Lovely and sunny. On the way back, we viewed the Cliffs of Moher close up from the ferry. A bit rough.

We were glad to crash out for a while then until that evening when we headed for Lahinch and Liscannor and back home by the new Visitors Centre at the Cliffs of Moher. This was the only real drizzly downpour we experienced but the exhibition in the centre made it worthwhile. Well organised. Maura and I went for a classic pint and some music in the same hotel that Saturday night. On Sunday, we had a full Irish breakfast in the Spa hotel and then got a strong community Mass (actually a funeral Mass of a local man, a real pillar) and then walked the beautiful beach of Fanore in sunshine and stopped in Ballyvaughan for a late lunch after another lovely picturesque if tricky drive by Black Head. The highlight of the weekend was a guided tour of the wild Mullaghmore region of the Burren with Marie Mc Guaran, a native guide, from Corofin.

An Appreciation of ‘The Mullagmore Experience’

(a unique guided walk in the Burren with Marie Mc Gauran)

My wife, Maura, and my son, Pauric, age 13, and I really enjoyed our walk with Marie into the heart of the Burren last weekend.

June is a beautiful month and the flowers were really splendid and extra special. I got photos of orchids and other beautiful plants whose traditional names I forget. Marie told us all about them and the different types eg Alpine and Mediterranean.

My mother, Mary, whose is nearly 90 now, will fully appreciate these as she is a country girl too from Donegal. Her mother, Matilda, was big into Botany.

Marie is a native here in Co Clare and loves the land which she farmed herself with her late father Donie (Denis) O Brien, and her whole family.

Her brothers farm this land now in cooperation with the Heritage people

ie. the government and OPW.

There is also a strong network of local Eco people trying bravely to preserve this sacred sanctuary of nature and folklore.

We walked and talked and absorbed the whole experience. We climbed rocks like goats and strolled on lower paths too.

We saw a sky lark, gallantly protecting her nest. We heard Marie tell of the other wildlife and the ancient geology of the place which is unique in Europe.

It was a lovely evening and just as we finished, we got a typical shower of rain which made the limestone glisten.

We absorbed the history, eg about famine times, as well as the geography in this open air class room.

We chatted freely and Marie was especially encouraging to our young lad, Pauric, who is a real ‘townie’.

Her passion is to pass on this earthy folk wisdom to the future generations.

In a busy world, this is a real tonic. In a sense, a spiritual cure for ‘sore’ eyes.

Clare Holiday 2017 description (continued)

That Sunday night we had a lovely, simple pizza meal in the modern, youth-filled Burren Storehouse next door to the Burren Smokehouse which Maura had visited that morning. She had found it very interesting and educational.

On the way back to Dublin on Monday, we stopped at the lovely garden centre in Kilcolgan. Keane’s. Maura got an Ivy and Chrysanths.

We were horrified in the Enfield Applegreen to clash with busloads of drunken teenagers heading for the Chainsmokers gig in Belfast. The poor young things were positively indecent but obviously peer pressure is really huge. They wore a uniform of cheap hot pants, tacky spray tanned legs, provocatively open bosom tops and all had the same boring, unsmiling hair style. The lads were all ‘macho’, pissed stupid. Dehumanised. No one looked happy at all.

Pauric was really shocked and taken aback. He seems immune to joining these disgusting, degrading gangs, thank God. We had, as it were, left an ancient paradise and passed through a contemporary hell.

We were very glad to get to the sanity of home even though it seemed funnily empty without our family dogs, Hank and Marley, who were also on hols in kennels in Wicklow.