Floods and fighting: a tale of the heroic and ‘The Notorious’

There are times when you – or at least I – would struggle to make sense of this thing that we call life, and occasionally it’s very hard to understand how and why the cards are dealt the way they are. I am writing this on a very wet, miserable Monday morning (are there any other kind, says you).

Going through the morning papers and listening to the news on the local and national radio stations, it’s hard to equate the emotions that different Irish people are feeling all round the country as they face into the Christmas countdown.

On one hand we have the amazing Conor McGregor story, a man who in the early hours of Sunday morning, in the MGM in Las Vegas, became arguably one of the greatest Irish sportstars of all time, with his 13-second destruction of previously unbeaten 10-year-world UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo – and in the process set himself on the way to becoming a sporting billionaire.

When you consider, that only a week or so before, another (more or less) Irishman, Tyson Fury, was also becoming a world champion – this time in heavyweight boxing and also opening the door to unimaginable riches – it’s been an extraordinary couple of weeks for Irish sport.

And, lest you think I am in any way begrudging of these successes, I most certainly am not and I rejoice, as any Irish person would, in their achievements. On the other hand however (I know it took me long enough to get to it) on Saturday night all over the country we had whole communities, hundreds, maybe thousands, of people working all through the night trying, in some cases in vain, to keep raging floodwaters out of their homes and businesses.

Now of course it wasn’t only last Saturday night that those efforts were going on. For a full week we have seen all these communities pulling together, helping each other and bringing us back to the days of the ‘meitheal’ – and yet despite their trojan and heroic efforts, many families will be forced out of their homes this Christmas and facing into very uncertain futures. On our own doorstep, the people of Athleague (this is my third time to write about Athleague in a couple of months) have been up against it trying to protect themselves and their homes and businesses – and there too we have seen an enormous community effort.

So far they have managed to keep the floodwaters at bay. And yet a regular reader of this column reminded me this morning that, despite the apparent success of their effort, none of us realise how close Athleague (and many other such villages) came to actually closing down forever.

Pubs, shops, restaurants, in fact all businesses, have lost out on a major portion of the Christmas trading period, and the reader in question and I yet again want to emphasise the importance of supporting local business. We will never know how much they mean to us all until they are gone. I am of course well aware of the bargains we can get in the Aldi and Lidls of this world – and in the present economic climate no one could be blamed for going to them. But, and I know I’ve said it before, save a bit for your local shopkeeper who, after all, is also your neighbour and friend.

As for the people in Athleague, well done on such a Herculean, effort but also remember to help your village by supporting the many thriving businesses that you have there now – it’s up to you to keep them there! Going back to McGregor, and I make no secret of the fact that I have very little time for his actual sport, but I like McGregor and admire what he has done to get to where he is today, and he definitely has a number of fans in my house.

I went to bed on Saturday night early enough (wasn’t out) and was sleeping the sleep of the just (and the sober) when an almighty roar nearly knocked me right out of the bed. I thought the roof must have caved in, but after a few confused moments (thank God I wasn’t drinking), I realised it was only Paul, my son, who was celebrating the stunning knockout blow and the extraordinary result. That was the end of my rest for that night, so while McGregor put Aldo to sleep, he ruined mine!

Return of The Corrs

Changing subjects entirely, and you will know by now that I am a fan of Late Late host Ryan Tubridy, but normally not of the Late Late Show!

However, last Friday night (I really had a quiet weekend), I thought he had one of his best shows of the year, and for a change, he had what we would call A-list guests, actors Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, golfer Shane Lowry and Baz whatever his name is. (Editor: It’s Baz Ashmawy, admittedly not a common name in Creggs).

In their own way they were all interesting and entertaining, but for me it was the re-emergence of The Corrs that made the night. Funny enough, I wasn’t their biggest fan when they were at their peak, although I certainly liked their music, but a recent interview with Jim, in which he was very open about his battle with financial institutions, along with his battle with the booze, made me interested in the family group and it was great to see them back together after a ten-year absence.

What the future holds for them, or any of us, no one knows, but even in their short appearance on the Late Late it was easy to see how talented they are and I hope, this time around, they get the success they deserve and this time without the drama that obviously caused them problems in the past.

And finally…

Finally for this week, I’m told the best ever Senior Citizens Party took place on Sunday last in our local parochial hall, when more than ninety of our parishioners were wined and dined and musically entertained, all at no expense to them. So a big well done and thank you to all the members of the hard-working committee who made it a day to remember.

In case you’re wondering, I’m still ‘underage’, but I’m closing in on the day when I’m an official member, although, in fairness, age makes no difference when it comes to the organisers of the Christmas party. All are welcomed with open arms.

‘Till next week, Bye for now