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The Dingle Diaries. 2: The Magharees

Monday is walking day. Originally we’d hoped to be walking Friday, Saturday and Sunday too, but the best laid plans etc. We decided on a loop around The Magharees (Na Macharaí, ‘the plains’) as described in Adrian Hendroff’s The Dingle Peninsula: a Walking Guide. It’s an excellent book, really well laid out and clear. The version we chose (he offers two) is about 16km, a three and a half hour walk.

The Dingle Diaries. 1: Arrival, Feeling Raw

I’m in Dingle. I nDaingean Uí Chúis. It’s no hardship to say those particular words. Whether it’s February or August, wet or dry, cold or warm. I’m trying to write. And walk, between bouts of rain. After the few days I’ve had, with the funeral and everything, heading off on Sunday morning had a surreality about it. Any journey has a leaving behind, but this one – well, death is final, it’s the last ending so it’s hard to look forward at all, but we must. Mostly, we can.

Profane Time and Sacred Time in Sport

It’s February 3rd 2019. I’m at the Cork Wexford National Hurling League match in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. And I’m thinking about time. I’m thinking back to a different time, six months ago on July 29th, 2018, when last I watched the Cork senior hurlers play – against Limerick, in Croke Park in the All-Ireland semi final.

On the Futility of Comparative Analyses of Different Intangible Heritages … or … My Sport Is Better Than Yours

So. Hurling and camogie have been granted special status by the United Nations cultural body. I like the name of the list that UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) uses: the Intangible Heritage List. I would have thought hurling and camogie tangible enough, if you were given the task of being marked (pun intended) by a Catherine Foley or Daithí Burke for 60 or 70 minutes of championship fare. But I get what they mean – as distinct from buildings and objects and so on. In a way, describing sports as intangible is a good idea, because it’s the feelings we have about sports that matter, not their physical presence or essence – or importance.

Fógra: A Message from the PRO

A chairde, the PRO has asked me to pass on the following information, though the chair:   Tadhg Coakley’s novel in stories, The First Sunday in September, was shortlisted for the Mercier Press Fiction Prize, 2017 and was published by Mercier Press in August 2018. It tells the story of a fictional All-Ireland Hurling Final Sunday, from the points of view of several recurring characters, exploring recurring themes. From the book blurb: ‘It’s the day of the All-Ireland Hurling Final. A hungover Clareman goes to Dublin, having remortgaged his house and bet the last of the money on his county to win. An Englishwoman attends the final with her partner, wondering when to tell him that she’s pregnant. A long-retired player watches the match from the stands, his gaze repeatedly falling on the Cork captain, whom he and his wife gave up for adoption years earlier. Clare’s star forward struggles under

What I Feel when I’m on The Pilgrim Path to Croke Park

All of the 71,000 souls who took the pilgrim path to Croke Park yesterday to live the moment in Limerick’s exquisite win over Cork experienced a scatter of emotions. Not just those who travelled, either – but hundreds of thousands of others who watched or listened in. Here are some of mine before the game. A sense of intention, of purpose, when I wake in the holiday home five minutes before 6am. Up and at ‘em. Here we go, here we go, here we go, and all that. Mount Brandon is stretching itself up into clouds, as it usually does. The gate leaves a creaky grumble when I free the latch. The water on Smerwick Harbour is a slate grey, waves flecking the surface.

To Win Just Once – The Game Is On

So, anyway, I wrote this book. I got down off the ditch and into the game. Great view from the ditch, you can hold forth in high judgement and you can hide there, in the crowd. Not easy being inside the white lines, against tough opposition, making a show of yourself with everybody looking at you. Nowhere to hide. But I did it, anyway.

Admiration, Wonder, Joy.

Sport is about emotion. I’ve said this before. Other things too, but mostly emotion. And sometimes the emotions aren’t good but we seek them out anyway. We make ourselves vulnerable to them, we put ourselves out there. We let ourselves be open and exposed. Not a common stance for men. We stick our unprotected heads above the parapet in the full knowledge we could get our blocks knocked off.

It’s been dry, it’s been very dry. . .

It’s been dry, it’s been very dry here in Cork City by the Lee, my hometown here in the deep south. [APPLAUSE] Yes it’s been a very dry Autumn, and also very still for weeks now, hardly a puff of wind, which means that we still have a spectacular Autumn array of colourful leaves on the trees, even though we’re coming into November and on past All Soul’s Day. Wonderful colours on the leaves on the branches of the sweet chestnut trees, down by Pairc Ui Chaoimh, on the lime trees by the Marina, on the sycamore trees lining Colmcille Avenue in Mayfield and down The North Ring Road, on the weeping willows and the great willows in the Lee Fields, on the walnut trees in John F. Kennedy Park.

Margo and the Snakes

Margo, our innkeeper, wanted to talk about snakes. This was at breakfast, in Galax, North Carolina. In fairness, the Canadian woman, Lori, brought them up. She and her husband, Glen had a close encounter the previous day when cycling on a trail. At the inn, you have breakfast with other residents. 8am. Breakfast on the table.