Unwelcome anti-social trend developing in Galway

Our man Frank on his traditional badger blues (now being addressed); How ‘The Boogiemen’ have triggered his memories of ‘The Bogeyman’; Social disorder in Galway… and some musings on the passing of time

Of all the places that people like to visit in Ireland, Galway City ranks up there with the very best of them. Every time we have socialised there (more infrequently nowadays), we have commented on the unique atmosphere that makes the City of the Tribes so special.

A few weeks ago we were at a ‘do’ in the Galmont Hotel and got talking to a family group of Americans, and they couldn’t speak highly enough of the fun they were having and the welcome they had received from everyone they met. They were on a bit of a pub crawl when we met them and had absolutely no fear of walking around the city.

But just a few weeks later, we are hearing and reading about all kinds of violent incidents taking place in Galway, and I have to admit it saddens me greatly to think that there seems to be so much trouble on the streets of the western capital.

Apparently there are local feuds erupting all over the place, with a Ford Focus being deliberately driven at speed into a group of people at the Galway Shopping Centre on the Headford Road, and hurls, golf clubs, iron bars, and slash hooks all being used in a massive brawl on Sunday afternoon.

Earlier in the week there was another huge fight in William Street, and as the videos of these disturbances are all over social media, it is no wonder that Galway city businesses and other service providers are concerned about the city’s image.

I’m sure the Gardaí are on the case and will do their best to stop all these incidents, but on top of all the trouble recently in Dublin, it is all setting a very worrying trend. Hopefully the powers-that-be will come up with a solution soon, but in the meantime, Galway is getting a lot of poor publicity that it could well do without.

My badger blues!

It’s a funny thing, but until last Monday morning I never really considered what happens to ‘roadkill’. As I would drive along and from time to time see the remains of foxes, badgers, and even deer on the side of the road, it never crossed my mind as to how the remains are disposed of.

A friend of mine told me that other animals, particularly foxes, would make short work of their unexpected good fortune. He gave me an instance of a deer carcass that had all but disappeared inside 24 hours recently, such was the enthusiasm that the foxes showed in devouring the tasty meat.

At the weekend, as I drove to Creggs, I spotted the body of a sizeable badger lying on the road halfway up the hill towards Kilbegnet Church. As it was lying in a relatively dangerous position for oncoming traffic, I decided I had better figure out a way to get it out of there, without having to move it myself. (For some reason, I have an abnormal fear of badgers. Dead or alive, I want to have nothing to do with them).

And so I decided to go to Google to see if I could come up with an answer to my problem. Lo and behold, I found that local County Councils take care of any dead animals on the road.

As I write this, I have contacted the Council and am awaiting their arrival, and I must say that while sometimes I give out about the state of the roads, with potholes and overhanging hedges, etc., I have to applaud them for supplying a service that, until now, I didn’t know existed!

Anyway, hopefully Mr Badger will soon be gone. And if you are unlucky enough to find any dead animal on the road near you, give your friendly Council people a ring and they will sort it for you!


Impressed with ‘Boogiemen’ (nothing like Bogey men!)

I recall as a young child that one of the threats parents would use to put manners on their kids was that if they continued to be bold, the ‘Bogey man’ or ‘Bogeymen’ would come and get us! Funnily enough, they never told us what such an unwelcome meeting would mean for us, but to this day I can still remember the fear and trepidation at the prospect of ever coming face to face with this terrible monster!

Well, whatever about the ‘Bogeymen’ of lore, last Saturday night I finally came across real live Boogiemen – and I can confirm they were anything but the terrifying ogres that we feared in our childhood! This was a two-man band who were performing in Mikeen’s, and if I have ever heard a better duo, I can’t remember when!

‘Armed’ with only a fiddle and a guitar, the sound they produced was unbelievable. It was almost impossible to believe there were only two performers in the group.

As it happens, some months ago they had been in Mikeen’s, and on the same evening, Creggs rugby lads played Castlebar down in the Mayo town in a very important league game. We barely won, and even though I had been looking forward so much to The Boogiemen, I was so depressed by our performance that I hadn’t the heart to go out. However, the reports from those lucky enough to be there that night were extremely positive, and everyone raved about them.

Last Saturday we again were playing Castlebar, this time on the best grass pitch in Connacht, i.e. The Green. For an early season game, we played pretty well and won comfortably enough – so I had no excuse to miss the music!

I had a word with Stephen, the guitarist and singer with the band, and he told me they are from Ballinasloe and play somewhere most weekends. I can honestly say (bearing in mind I am no Louis Walsh) that I have heard a lot of very good pub bands down through the years (maybe I spend too much time in pubs), and The Boogiemen are as good as anything I have ever heard. So if you notice them being advertised anywhere locally, make sure you go to see them – even if your team has played badly. Let there be no excuses!

As for the rugby game, it was a notable one due to the return of Tom Callaghan after a break of a year or two, while two-try Tommie Devine had an interesting first quarter – two tries and a yellow card, all in the first 20 minutes.

My own young lad (well, not so young) Mark got through the whole game, playing pretty well at scrum-half. All in all it was a positive outing, and hopefully the club will have another successful rugby season.


And finally…

We often comment on the speed at which the years go by and wonder where the time has gone – something that was really brought home for me recently with an invite I got from one of my secondary school mates.

Jim Keating, who we know as Jaz, asked me to go to a mini-reunion of our classmates up in the Davenport Hotel in Dublin (owned by one of our own, Noel O’Callaghan) to celebrate the 60th anniversary of our arrival in Cistercian College, Roscrea. On September 3rd 1963, we started out on our very diverse journeys through life, and a number of the lads actually turned up on the day to reminisce and chat about those far-off days.

As it happened I couldn’t go, and I suppose I would be a doubtful candidate to make the 70th. But if you had asked me all those years ago about a 60th reunion, I would have thought you were mad and been certain I wouldn’t have a chance of making it!

In our first year in Roscrea, some very successful past-pupils who were 50 years gone from the college, came back to speak to us and inspire us to achieve great things in our careers. Obviously it didn’t work for a lot of us, but my abiding memory of the occasion was wondering how, after all those years, they were still alive! Maybe I should have paid a bit more attention to the content of the speeches, but at least now, 55 years after our leaving the hallowed grounds of CCR, I know how they were still alive.