Archive for the ‘Keyes Side’ Category

The Great Wind Debate Gusts On

On a spin home from Lismore recently, I embarked upon a road less travelled, turning off the N72, driving beyond Ballinameela and onto the Drum Hills, to the ESB’s €33 million Woodhouse Wind Farm. On what was a fresh, clear evening, the view from the hilltop, with Dungarvan and the Ring Peninsula to my right and [...]

Charmed by Deise’s “Lamp of Learning”

The South Door and spire of St Carthage’s Cathedral in Lismore.
The South Door of Saint Carthage’s Cathedral in Lismore, accessed via a cobbled path laid in 1811 which in turn is flanked by lime trees planted almost four centuries ago, featured a four-legged, fur-clad sentry on Saturday last. A young tabby cat pranced and slinked around the grounds of this most serene of sites and [...]

Why MND isn’t defining Róisín

Róisín Foley's attitude to life in the face of her Motor Neurone Disease diagnosis is a testament to positive thinking.
Speaking to a wave of journalists about the grim reality of a Motor Neurone Disease (MND) diagnosis might not be a choice the majority of those living with this particularly cruel terminal illness would plump for. But in the case of Róisín Foley, dealing with the media as she has during MND Awareness Month has [...]

A Night at the Opera

Mezzo Soprano Rachel Kelly enchanted and charmed the Lismore Castle audience in her turn as Isabella, the titular character of Rossini’s ‘L’Italiana in Algeri’. 	 								| Photo: Blackwater Opera Festival
The din of enthused patrons, crunching along the gravel path of Lismore Castle’s Upper Garden, illuminated by tiki torches under a clear night sky, provided the closing bars of an unforgettable midweek soundtrack. Rossini’s ‘L’Italiana In Algeri’, the centrepiece of this year’s Blackwater Valley Opera Festival, had just concluded, having audibly won over both this columnist [...]

“It’s a Disease of Our Time”

"Loneliness crosses the rural-urban divide," according to Senator and GP Keith Swanwick, who is chair of a new Loneliness Taskforce.
Why has loneliness become so prevalent in Ireland, I asked Sean Moynihan, the Chief Executive of ALONE, who spoke to me in the wake of last Wednesday’s inaugural meeting of the Loneliness Taskforce at Leinster House. “That really is the question,” said Mr Moynihan, who collaborated with Senator Keith Swanwick (FF) in establishing this new [...]

Is it Hard to Do What’s Right?

Eye of the storm: Health Service Executive Director General Tony O'Brien. | Still: RTE
The annual salary of Health Service Executive (HSE) boss Tony O’Brien comes to €185,000. No-one doubts just how tough a job fronting our national health service must be, but, by most standards, €185,000 represents a sizeable income. It’s what the Taoiseach gets by on, after all. Last week’s disclosure concerning Mr O’Brien’s joining the board of [...]

A Health Campaign That Needs Oxygen

Eoghan Breathnach (pictured with son Fionn) had a brush with his own mortality when he sustained a serious injury while hurling on Easter Sunday. "I feel I'm lucky to still be here," he told this columnist.
Eoghan Breathnach looked a picture of health when we met in Dungarvan on Tuesday last. “It’s my first week back at work (at Gaelscoil Thiobraid Árann in Tipperary Town) and the pupils are taking it easy on me,” the 37-year-old joked. “Tadhg Ó hUallacháin, who’s from An Rinn like myself, is also working at the Gaelscoil [...]

A century and a half caring for the city’s eldery

A sketch of where the Little Sisters of the Poor have been based in Ireland over the past 150 years, including the three different locations in Waterford it's called home since 1868.
The sense of peace and comfort at Saint Joseph’s Home, run by the Little Sisters of the Poor in Ferrybank, struck me as much as its impressive scale did during a recent visit. Sitting on the Waterford/Kilkenny boundary and boasting a magnificent view of the city’s South Quay, the custom-built facility, opened amidst the snow [...]

Tea in the Home of an Irish Hero

The Crean tomb at Ballinacourty Graveyard, which was built by Tom Crean himself.
“Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful, Honour and recognition in case of success.” The above quote, attributed to Ernest Shackelton, greets visitors at the South Pole Inn, the premises built and run by a “a great Irishman who didn’t have to die [...]

Gary Graham on a life in full “Bloom”

Gary Graham devised the Bloom concept, and it’s proven an outstanding addition to the Irish festival/event circuit. For more on Bloom, visit
Bloom, the brainchild of Woodstown resident Gary Graham, has sunk deep roots into the Irish festival/event circuit since it was first held back in 2007. With its 12th staging in the Phoenix Park now less than two months away (May 31st to June 4th), its London-born and Dublin reared founder made for a fascinating guest speaker [...]