Paul Healy’s Week



I saw a sign on a shop window in Roscommon today. It read ‘Wanted: Pre-loved furniture’. In fairness, no surprise that the sign was worded as it was – ‘pre-loved furniture’ is now an established phrase. But it’s a silly phrase. God knows who came up with it first. An antique dealer going through a mid-life crisis?

  Back to ‘pre-loved furniture’. I mean, what does it…mean? It’s not as if we actually fall out of love with our furniture and then ruthlessly turn our back on it. I understand that some people ‘move furniture on’. But why pre-loved? What’s wrong with ‘used’ or ‘second-hand’? It’s not like we see ads for ‘pre-loved cars’…

  Anyways, I suppose the one thing ‘pre-loved’ furniture would want is…to be ‘wanted’.   




At 6 pm this evening, Loughnaneane Park in Roscommon was like a moving version of the type of illustration you’d see in those old Ladybird books, or in any artist’s drawing of a park. 

  Young couples sauntering. People walking dogs, or is it dogs walking people? When a jogger went by, it really reminded me of the idyllic parks of our imagination/real experience. Then, a young girl on roller blades. The nice stereotypes continued. When I passed the duck pond, there were four or five teenagers congregated at a bench beside a hedge. A mother and father walked past, with three children, two of them on small bikes. Near the new viewing area, an elderly couple stroll. 

  It strikes me that we are all here – up to 50 people – as the latest Covid figures from NPHET are due (usually just before 6 pm every evening). But it appears that nobody here is waiting for the latest update on the pandemic. They are enjoying the fresh air, a beautiful evening, nature. We should not be prisoners to the never-ending Covid-dominated news bulletins, most of them still sobering at best. I need hardly add that Loughnaneane Park is a magnificent facility. 


All weekend


I cannot join the ‘Anti-Bryson DeChambeau’ Club. Count me out. I presume the American golfing superstar with the much talked about physique is unpopular with some people and divides opinion as much as he does because he’s seen as brash and arrogant…well, that and the fact that his power game is offensive to many traditionalists. 

  Personally, I thought he was a great sport at the weekend. On his way to winning a wonderfully entertaining Arnold Palmer Invitational in Florida, the man with the bulging muscles and the monster drive put on a great show. Highlights were his epic drives across the water on the par 5 6th hole – shots that travelled around 380 yards. While every other player was avoiding the water (with good reason) Bryson sensationally missiled the ball directly over it. This was great sporting theatre, DeChambeau as showman, the fans (some were present) loving it. 

  Bryson may be arrogant, and his barnstorming style might be an affront to purists, but he’s exciting to watch, he’s innovative, he’s setting new standards – and this guy showed at the weekend that he has a sense of humour and wants to thrill the crowds. Moreover, he spoke very respectfully and emotionally of how much he has been influenced by Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods. He respects the greats in whose footsteps he follows. 

  Knocking Bryson has become a sport in itself. How about enjoying him instead…and welcoming the emergence of a true one-off? 




Just as I was about to reach for the Sky remote, that interview came on…and I was transported to a place of wonder. If you didn’t see the garden in which THE INTERVIEW was held, let me put its splendour into perspective: it was so fancy, billionaire Oprah Winfrey and her neighbours (Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan) chose it above their own gardens, ‘borrowing’ it from another neighbour. Imagine having a garden that Royals – and Oprah – look up to? 

  I haven’t seen Oprah in maybe fifteen years (it’s mutual). She’s quite the pro alright. The Queen of broadcasting was fairly forensic in her questioning. It wasn’t the softest interview, but it wasn’t the toughest either. Every time Meghan (on camera much more than Harry) made a serious allegation, I was hoping Oprah would ask for specifics: ‘Who said it to you or Harry? In what environment? In what context? If you can’t tell me who said it, what did they say?’ Oprah looked sceptical at times, but she didn’t press for specifics. Pity. (Also, when Meghan alleged that a member of the family made potentially racist comments, by not naming the person, the effect was to unfairly tarnish several people, which is hardly fair). 

  Cards (Royal Flush?) on the table, I have little time for the conduct of Harry and Meghan. Of course I am sympathetic on the issue of the Duchess’ mental health. As for the wider thrust of the couple’s complaints, I really think they’re trying to have it both ways. As our old friend Vincent Browne might say, is it remotely credible that Meghan wouldn’t have known what set-up she was marrying into? The idea – as conveyed in this interview – that the Duchess was unprepared for ‘life with the Royals’ is one that lacks credibility. If Meghan didn’t research the Royal family before her wedding, did she not ask her partner what she should expect? 

  I absolutely accept that this couple were unhappy with ‘The Firm’ – and probably with good reason. Most people, me included, will understand their frustration (and maybe even anger) over how they were treated. It may well be the case that Meghan wasn’t enthusiastically welcomed from day one. But surely Harry and Meghan knew what to expect before committing to a shared life as a Royal couple? I think they knew what they were getting into, and are simply sore at how it all turned out.

  There is an element of hypocrisy about their stance too. They made the decision to walk away, while calling for privacy. Then they go and embrace Planet Oprah. They’ve just washed the Royal family’s dirty linen in public, while conveniently availing of the opportunity to reveal – before the world’s media – the gender of baby number two.  

  Anyways, I digress: those neighbours have a lovely garden…




Given the Covid situation, ongoing lockdown, the vaccine rollout delays, gangland crime, the Davy scandal and other such ‘stories’, it was natural that Liveline would devote all 75 minutes to…Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah. 

  It was good harmless fun, with callers making utterly unsubstantiated claims (“Kate licks up to the Queen”, “Meghan wanted to change the Royal family from day one”, “Diana was murdered”, etc). 

  As ever, Joe excelled with his winning formula – conventional broadcasting skill, occasional curtness, humour, occasional mock anger, and – at all costs – whatever it takes to keep stirring it up! 




‘Whole world spellbound as two Royals spill beans in dramatic TV chat show appearance’. I know Tommy Tiernan’s good, but I honestly didn’t expect this level of worldwide interest in his chat with fellow Meath Royal Sean Boylan…