Sorry Phil, but I’m making a stand: I’ll be sitting down for Ireland’s Call!



Just a couple of short weeks ago the Irish soccer team went to Cardiff and played Wales in a vital World Cup qualifier match, and while undoubtedly the win was the highlight of the night, another abiding memory was the amazing rendition of the Welsh National Anthem, sung unaccompanied and with extraordinary passion by the thousands of Welsh supporters, players and management. It truly was a memorable and hair-raising moment.

  And of course for those of us who are lucky enough to get to some of the international rugby matches, ‘La Marseillaise’, ‘Advance Australia Fair’, ‘God Defend New Zealand’, and the ‘Flower of Scotland’ are all anthems guaranteed to lift the roof off the stadiums when bellowed out at full tilt by thousands of patriotic supporters, and all of them add to the colour and fervour of the occasions.

  That brings me to the thorny subject of Ireland’s Call; a song penned by Phil Coulter in 1995, when the Irish Rugby Football Union commissioned a song with no political undertones, as a sort of a peace offering to the Ulster players who regarded God Save The Queen as their anthem and who refused to sing Amhrain na Bhfiann.

  Since then, Coulter’s song has been adopted by the I.R.F.U. to such an extent that at our away international matches it is the only song played, although at home matches we play and sing our real anthem as well, and the hockey, cricket, and rugby league unions have all also adopted it, so at this stage some people see it as our official national anthem.

  And so, nowadays when the song is played before the rugby games, some people expect that everyone should stand up, while others refuse to acknowledge its authenticity, and sit stoutly during its rendition, which, on occasion, can cause a little bit of friction on the terraces.

  All this came to my mind at a social occasion in the recent past when Ireland’s Call was played and sang, and a large number of the people present stood up, while a minority stayed sitting in their seats; I run with the second group, who recognise Abhrain na Bhiann as our anthem, and so, the next time you see me at an international rugby match, I’ll be one of those sitting down.


And now… musings from my hospital bed


I’ve said it before but we should never make plans, particularly as we get older. And so, on what looks like a beautiful sunny Wednesday morning, I am writing this in St. John’s Ward in Portiuncula Hospital where I found myself landed yesterday afternoon with a few rattling chest pains. Due to the peculiar history of my ticker, it was deemed wiser to be safe than sorry and so here I am in the good hands of the hospital staff.

  I won’t go into details as to how busy this place was yesterday evening and last night but, as always, the staff worked in horrendous conditions, and did so with great professionalism and remarkably good humour.  

  As of now I’d don’t know when I am going to get out, but I fully expect to be selling our homemade cally on the street in Creggs next Monday afternoon – make sure you fill up early, as demand will be huge!

  That, of course, will all be part of the Harvest Festival so remember it’s on all weekend and you will find something for your entertainment. I haven’t brought the poster with me to Portiuncula but just turn up and between the Craft Fair, Dog Show, Harvest Parade, music, cally and loads of other stuff you’ll be guaranteed another weekend to remember.  

* Staying with local matters, and last Wednesday night in Dowd’s, Glinsk, we presented the wonderful sum of €5,160 to be divided equally between Cancer Care West and the Lourdes Invalid Fund. The money was raised through the recent fundraising dance with The Lancers in Glinsk. So once again thanks to everyone who helped and hopefully  (if they let me out of here) we’ll do it all again next year!

Dancing in Dowd’s

On Wednesday of last week we couldn’t help but notice that Mildred Beirne was holding a social dance class in Dowd’s.

  Marie Fitzmaurice told me it was great craic and takes place each Wednesday from 8.30 pm to 11 pm and everyone should head along! Sadly, as a champion dancer myself (Creggs Harvest Festival 2012), I don’t need to.

 And finally…

Finally for this week, you won’t believe me but it’s eleven o’clock in the morning and a sing-song is in full swing in St. John’s Ward. The craic is only ninety and I may not be out be out for the cally in Creggs this weekend!