Monthly Archives: September 2015

The certainty of this moment.

I can say with absolute certainty that Ireland are having a really good World Cup.  I can’t say, for certain, that this will continue.  I hope it does.  We had such an amazing trip at the weekend.  We gazed down Wembley Way and there they were.  70,000 Ireland supporters making their way to the Fanzone, to have a few beers and to load up on calories for the main event.  Watching Rugby tends to be exhausting.  The students that we brought with us had an epic adventure.

I can say with absolute certainty that tomorrow is another day.  Life may take a different turn and the love that we find or the new career that we explore, may prove to be a defining moment.  Nevertheless, I can’t guarantee that tomorrow will arrive for everyone.  I can’t guarantee that tomorrow actually exists.

Hope envisages the life that we might lead.  Conscience dictates the life that we should live.  Our footsteps determine the direction we actually take, despite the fact that tomorrow doesn’t exist in this moment.  The future depends on the second hand energising the minute hand and the hour striking now.  Now is the moment that we act on our hopes, listen to our conscience and choose a different direction.  I can only guarantee that I am writing this in this second, but I am not entirely sure that my thoughts will have sufficient energy to exist tomorrow.

However, it is an absolute fact that humankind has made enough mistakes in the past, to allow us to envisage the possibility of a different tomorrow for everyone.  That tomorrow doesn’t yet  exist.  If it arrives, we could act together to build on the wisdom of our collective experience?

Alas, humankind will always exist in the certainty of this moment.  Tomorrow doesn’t exist and the past is dead.



The Rugby World Cup and me.

In our house, there was many a discussion that centred around sport.  Football.  Cricket.  Rugby.   Tennis.  All sports.

There was one magical year in my life.  1985.  The year that Ireland won the Triple Crown and the Championship.  I was scheduled to play guitar in the annual CE contest on the final day.  My father was allowed to stay in the car and listen to the match.  I didn’t rock the place.  In fact, on the guitar, I played a rather stoical, stalled version of, ‘Spirit of God, unseen as the wind,’ also known as the Skye Boat song.  I had scored a massive 73% in the preliminaries against myself.  I had no rivals.  I literally had no string rivals.  In the final, with rivals playing violin, banjo and every string instrument they could get their hands on, I scored a highly creditable 42%.

I rushed out to the Car Park and there was my dad.  He said those three words that are as important today as they were back then, ‘Ireland have won!!!’  I was so happy.  We all then went on to watch rearguard attempts by Ireland to stem the tide of England, then Scotland and then England again and then Wales.  Then Ireland entered the professional era, Ulster won, Munster won and Leinster won and won and won.  Ireland showed promise and failed at every World Cup.

I still remember my Dad’s words in 1985, ‘Ireland have won.’

Fingers crossed.

The road goes on forever.

Don’t worry.  I am not talking about the Northern Ireland Peace Process.

I am thinking about the snapshots of life that we all hold, within the filing cabinet of our mind, labelled memories.

I could head off on a great nostalgic journey through the ages of myself.  No.  I am going to resist.

Thought continues for as long as life exists, holding on to those key moments that inspire the smiles, bring on the tears and fashion the change of heart and direction that are inevitably necessitated by living.

There is no telling which junction we will alight from.  There is only the stories that we hope to leave behind.  If they bring smiles, tears and inspire a change of heart or direction, the road will go on forever and the tale will continue to be told.


The touch that still feels.

I know that there are millions out there who are caring for someone they love.  Wives, husbands and children.  Friends, cousins and everyone else who I have inadvertently left out.

To care for a child who has a disability or a debilitating illness.  To hope that the strength we hold can turn a different page.

To care for a mother or father who is dying.  To hope that the love we have will keep the door open.

To care for the love of your life when disease intervenes.  To hold that promise you made.

To hold the caring touch that always feels.  To live as the impossible person.

This is my tribute to you all.

You are amazing!!!



Stormont in crisis!!!

Stormont is always in a state of crisis.  It is nothing to worry about.  For most of my life Stormont didn’t exist and life itself was a step into the unknown.  I remember the day the taxi driver was murdered.  I remember how life meant less than it should and that tomorrow’s news would feast on yesterday.  I remember pieces of the soul disappearing.

Stormont is always in a state of crisis because it will take time to develop a common framework that will determine how we all join our footsteps towards a new path.  We all have to shed the luggage that we carry.  It will be hard.  It will be excruciatingly painful for many.  It will happen.  If it doesn’t.  We are lost again.

I will always celebrate the progress we have made as a society.  Fair enough, we haven’t always tackled the difficult questions and we still have a few barriers to hurdle, but we have made progress.  We have Stormont.  We have power-sharing, despite another inevitable debacle.  When we get through this current crisis, we will all have to turn our thoughts towards developing a robust and future orientated society that delivers employment and opportunity to the generation that is currently tuned out by the current political noise.  We will have to work towards giving over power to the generation that isn’t held by our generation’s defunct notions.

People may question my positivity?  My answer.  It has to be.  Unleashing the potential of our society’s future cannot be shackled by failed notions.  Forward.

The death of aspiration.

A long, long time ago.

I can still remember how that music used to make me smile.

I knew if I was given the chance that I could make those tills dance.

But the political know how wasn’t there.

September made me shiver with all the hopes that I wanted to deliver.

Bad news on the doorstep.  I couldn’t take one more step.

I can’t remember if I cried.  The day that aspiration died.

But something touched me deep inside.

The day aspiration died.


The jury delivered a verdict of incompetence.

IRA ceasefires.  Loyalist cessations.  To be absolutely truthful.  Never again, do I want to hear about the grief that affects the families of those who were lost in the Northern Ireland conflict.  The unfathomable tears that have been shed by too many people.  The sense of unbelievable loss that is beyond repair.  The personal loss that scars the future.  The tears.  I feel from them all.

There is a clear possibility that Northern Ireland can exist in a post-conflict scenario.  How many of our politicians are ready to take up that responsibility?