It’s Monday evening…and here in the west of Ireland, it’s a sunny, bright (though cold) September evening, and even though it’s normal for us to give out about the weather, the truth is that we have very little to complain about, as we hardly ever experience any major weather-related disasters.
Last week Hurricane Dorian absolutely ravaged The Bahamas, and although, so far, the official death toll is only in the mid-forties, leaders there believe hundreds, if not thousands, remain missing, and they predict that a “staggering” death toll will be the end result. Photographs on national and international media outlets show the total and utter devastation that has followed on from the visit of the hurricane, with homes completely flattened like paper houses, and basic life necessities like food and water in short supply, and a massive humanitarian aid mission is required to try to keep the desperate survivors alive.
And so it would be easy to believe that these natural disasters tend to only occur in poverty-ridden islands, like The Bahamas, Haiti, and Papua New Guinea, but, as Irish Independent journalist Rachel Farrell, has recently discovered, the most powerful state in the world, the United States of America, has suffered enormous damage from weather-related incidents over the last 10 years or so. Almost 7.3 million Americans have been displaced in those ten years, with many losing their homes altogether, some living in hotels, some relying on strangers to help them, but many of them still have no place to go.
There is a national emergency fund, FEMA, which set up to try to alleviate the suffering of the millions of displaced residents, but the sheer scale of the numbers, in both actual and monetary terms, means that progress is too slow, and many of those who are already homeless may always remain so. On top of those unfortunates, it is calculated that every year a quarter of a million people in America will have to leave their homes as a result of various disasters. These will be added to the already enormous list, and nobody knows when, or if, they will ever be re-housed.
As we face into a winter where we may have a bit of frost, or, God forbid, an inch or two of snow, it’s time for us as a nation, to be grateful for the exceptionally kind climate that we are blessed with, and even though we have had some people displaced here due to flooding in recent years, as a rule of thumb we are very lucky with the weather we have, and the very little damage that it does.
Camogie was class!
On Sunday last I found myself watching, enthralled, as the camogie players of Galway and Kilkenny played out a thrill-a-minute All-Ireland senior camogie final, which the Galway girls won by a flattering six points, but it was the quality, commitment and intensity that both teams brought to the table that amazed me.
At the risk of being deemed sexist, I would have expected loads of skill, with maybe not as much physicality, but the exchanges were every bit as tough as any man’s game, and a wonderful advertisement for camogie. Why they don’t just call it hurling, I don’t know.
Anyways, I thoroughly enjoyed the game, and full credit to the Galway girls. A couple of their players were just fantastic, especially Niamh Kilkenny and captain Sarah Dervin, but in a tiny way my heart went out to the Kilkenny team who were losing their third final in a row. Mind you, when I thought of all their men have won under Brian Cody, I lost whatever bit of sympathy that I had.
Staying with the camogie, and Galway were on the receiving end of a terrific comeback in the intermediate final, when Westmeath overturned a seven-point half-time deficit to win their first ever title at that grade (by two points).
It was however the reaction of their manager, Johnny Greville, that made it so memorable, as his delight and sheer joy at the victory was just magical. I can’t do it justice in a few written words, but I’m sure you’ll find it somewhere in the land of social media, and, if you do find it, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. Anyway for me it was my first time to watch the camogie finals, but after Sunday, it won’t be the last.
Happy to hear the cuckoo!
Recently I have watched television programmes which have highlighted the damage being done to our natural habitats, and how birds like the corncrake, curlew and the cuckoo have more or less disappeared from our countryside. And so it was with a large amount of joy that, this morning, at about 7.15 am, I heard the unmistakable sound of the cuckoo.
I know that sometimes she can sound a bit like a pigeon, but this morning there was no doubt – the sound was perfectly clear, and could not have been anything other than the sound of a bird that we tend to regard as a bit of a parasite. (This is because the cuckoo has the reputation of taking over the nests of other birds). That may or may not be true, but regardless, I definitely heard a cuckoo this morning – and was delighted to do so. A sceptic (or two) wondered if I was dreaming, as 7.15 am is a bit early for me, but I have no doubt…I was wide awake and heard what I heard. Wouldn’t it be great if they were to make a comeback?
Finally for this week, we have only four weeks to the big dance in Dowd’s of Glinsk…so from Monday next we will be hitting the highways and the byways, and calling to as many doors as we can get to. Hopefully your generosity will be as good as it has been for so many years now.
Two great causes, Cancer Care West and the Lourdes Invalid Fund, have benefitted greatly over the years, so please God we can once again dig deep and help people who are less fortunate than we are.
The Lancers are all set for the night, which, by the way, is October 12th, so put it in your diary…and we look forward to seeing you all over the next week or two.
Till next week, Bye for now!