Crimes and coal: Did you hear the news?



It’s Saturday afternoon, and while I was quite busy earlier in the day, I am taking time out to read the paper. Three separate items catch my attention.

  Up in Belfast a fellow attacks his mother-in-law with a hatchet, causing her serious head and face injuries. Only for the handle flew off he would have killed her. Fortunately, he was caught and charged with grevious bodily harm, and was sentenced to a spell in Her Majesty’s prison.

  On the same night, a shopkeeper in Clones was the victim of an aggravated burglary, in which he was attacked by two armed robbers, who, having knocked him across a box of oranges (he was a fruit merchant), escaped with what was described as a small sum of money. The merchant was seriously injured, but  fortunate that the guards arrived while the robbery was in progress. Even though the perpetrators escaped, they went without a large sum of money and some expensive jewellery that the merchant had in a safe.

  The other thing that caught my eye was the price of fuel, in particular the prohibitive cost of coal. A meeting in Dublin was attended by a large crowd, with the people present protesting at a 25% rise in the price. The meeting unanimously decided to boycott the previous suppliers and to look for new sources.

  Now all of these things would appear, on the face of it, to be normal everyday things which are happening all the time, but what makes them different is the fact that I took all of them from the Weekly Freeman dated January 11th 1908. Reading through it, it simply proves that some things never change, and a lot of the stuff is just repeated again and again.

  The only big difference is the political correctness of the modern era. A lot of the language used back then would have you thrown in jail nowadays. Anyway, I have a full year’s papers to go through, and the truth is it’s great craic, and the most enjoyable read I have had in a long time. I can’t wait to keep reading. I will give you an occasional titbit to keep you up to date with the happenings of the world more than 110 years ago. That is unless someone decides to buy them in the meantime.


She’s one tough lady!


Still on Tuesday and the news bulletins are all talking about the big vote taking place in England this evening on the subject of Brexit. While I don’t claim to have much of a clue, it does appear as if Theresa May is not going to secure even the backing of her own party. But even if that happens, it seems she has no intention of resigning as Prime Minister, and I just wondered what type of thick skin do you need to be a politician.

  For normal, everyday people – no matter what we say –rejection, in any shape or form, is not a very nice thing, but for politicians – at every level – it is just an occupational hazard. Whether or not you agree with them, you must admire their ability to deal with the ups and downs of public life. It must be soul-destroying to top the poll at one point and then lose your seat the next – to go from top dog to also-ran. I suppose the trick is to see it as a rejection of your party rather than of yourself!

  Many years ago local legend Jackie McGovern used to try to encourage me to go for the Council for his beloved Fine Gael, but I could never see myself in that role. The fact that no-one else other than Jackie approached me probably helped me with my decision not to run, but I genuinely believe that you must be made of special stuff (which I’m not) for that way of life. Whatever happens Theresa May tonight – or in the future – she keeps showing that she is one tough lady.


Time for ‘cop on’ rather than ‘catch and fine’?



It’s Tuesday afternoon, back in today’s world, and a familiar theme is annoying me again. It’s the crackdown on speed limits in rural areas…and the difficulty drivers have in obeying them.

  Firstly let me say that I am totally against speeding. I believe that speed is a very dangerous thing and I’m convinced that ‘high speed’ drivers should be treated very harshly by the lawmakers.

  What is concerning me is the 50 to 60 kilometre limit areas. I believe there should be a little leeway in those areas. Since I got my penalty points and an €80 fine, I have become very conscious of the limits, and try to obey them everywhere I go. Yet today, going through Castlecoote, while I dropped down to 50, I found it very hard to stay under it, and had to continually keep an eye on my speedometer to make sure I didn’t creep up a little bit.

  And to my mind that made me a bigger danger than I already was, as by looking at the clock I wasn’t looking at the road, and so I wasn’t giving my full attention to my driving. I just felt if there was a small bit of leeway or old style cop-on, rather than a rigid ‘catch and fine’ policy, it would have been a lot easier on me – and a lot safer for other road users.


And finally…


Finally for this week, on Monday I found myself going on a magical mystery tour of the counties Longford and Westmeath, and I visited places I had either never seen at all or had forgotten about.

  When the midday hunger pangs set in, we were in the village of Rathowen, and we pulled in for lunch in Feerick’s Hotel. I suppose it was a good sign that the sizeable carpark was full. When we went in, we were pleasantly surprised. A big, friendly man was serving the lunch, and when I said to him that we were starving and not to spare the food, he did exactly what I told him! 

  We both had the beef, which was lovely and tender. It put me to the pin of my collar to finish it, but pride would not let me send any back, and I did it justice by cleaning my plate. I can only say that if you find yourself in that neck of the woods – and you are hungry – call into Feerick’s and you will be well looked after.

  From the photos on the wall, there must be a Mayo connection somewhere, but I won’t hold that against it. I also think that musical genius Mick Foster is from around there, but there was no sign of him yesterday. However, Mayo or not, give Feerick’s a visit – and tell them I sent you!

 Till next week, Bye for now!