If you embarked on a journey through Waterford city, do you know what modern/ancient streets you might walk?  Take a saunter down Faha Road (Cannon Street) and along Longcourse (Barrack Street) before turning up Horse Mill Lane (Doyle Street) to reach Infantry Road (Lower Yellow Road).  Later in the day you might wander down Balbeen Lane (West side of Philip Street) and the New Road (Thomas Street) to reach The Quay (The Quay).  Later, after a rest, you might explore the delights of Milk Lane (off Peter Street) Warehouse Lane (Coffee House Lane) and Wallace’s Lane (off Coffee House Lane) before doubling back to the city centre via Factory Lane (Bailey’s New Street) and Brick Lane (off Greyfriars towards Bailey’s New Street).  Nip through Orphan House Lane (John’s Lane/Avenue) and Corrigan’s Court (off John Street) and take another rest!

Evicted from the Dail

I loved the report last week by my colleague Kieran Foley about city shop-keeper Sean Hayes who was politely evicted from the Dail after he had unwittingly breached its security. When his adventure was over, Sean said that, while he hadn’t consulted the history books, he was, as far as he knew, the first Waterford man to be evicted from the Dail. No doubt, there are some readers who are thinking to themselves that it’s a pity there weren’t others before him!

Queen to visit Lismore?

Rumours are rife in Lismore that Britain’s Queen Elizabeth will visit the town next year. The word is the Queen and he party will stay at the castle which is the Irish home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire and, of course, Prince Charles and the then Camilla Parker Bowles spent some time in the castle six years ago without incident.

The Mayor of Lismore, Councillor Orla Russell, said the Queen would be more than welcome in the town and her comments were echoed by Councillor Bernard Leddy who said such a visit would be a tremendous boost to tourism and the farming industry in the area. “People need to forget the past as far as they can. This is doing something for the future and we cannot become prisoners of history”, he added.

Needless to say, there has been no official comment on the rumours but it is true that dozens of other towns throughout Ireland have also written to the British Ambassador inviting the Queen to visit their community.

The emigrant trail

One of the saddest and most frightening photographs I’ve seen for a long time appeared on the front-page of The Wexford Echo newspaper last week. It showed ten young people with their bags and baggage waiting for a bus that was to take them to Dublin and a flight to the Australian city of Perth where they intend to make a new life for themselves. The headline read: ‘The Boys of Wexford are forced to emigrate’ and, according to the accompanying report, over 100 family and friends turned out to wave them a tearful goodbye. All the ten are tradesmen and most of them shipped their tools out to Australia in advance of their departure. Sadly, it is probably an exodus that is being repeated all over our little country at present.

Idir Mna

Idir Mná is a TG4 docudrama on women, crime and society that is currently running on TG4 on Tuesday nights with repeats the following Mondays. The six-part series combines powerful, dramatic reconstructions of true life stories with expert contributor analysis that lifts the lid on some of the most critical social issues facing Irish women today. Definitely worth checking out.

Never dismiss a County Waterford farmer

There was huge excitement in a certain County Waterford village one afternoon last week when the Garda Drug Squad, backed up by an armed response unit, swept into the area and blocked off all roads leading in and out of the village. Locals watched in amazement as officers concentrated on two big fields belonging to an elderly farmer.

“We intend to inspect your fields as we have information that illegal drugs are being cultivated”, said the senior officer in charge. “God Almighty, Inspector, I wouldn’t have anything to do with that kind of filth”, replied the shocked old man. “Well, then, you have nothing to worry about”, said the officer stiffly, as he gave his men orders to commence the search.

“Hold up there now”, interrupted the farmer, “you can search the field on your left but you can’t go in the one on your right.”

“Sir”, snarled the senior officer as he pulled his warrant-card out of his pocket, “do you see this badge? This badge gives me authority from the government to go into whatever field I like and if you don’t get out of my way, quick pronto, I’ll arrest you for obstruction.” Without another word, the angry Inspector hopped over the wall and headed for the far boundary fence in the right-hand field.

Five minutes later, all eyes turned to the field when they heard bellowing and screaming coming from that direction. Everybody rushed to the wall where they saw the Inspector being chased around the field by a huge bull with steam coming out of his nostrils.

Nobody knew what to do. One of the armed response gardai fired a burst of bullets into the air but, if anything, that seemed to irritate the animal more. “Let me through and help me stand on the wall”, begged the old farmer as he made his way through the crowd. “Inspector”, he yelled through his cupped hands, “show him your badge and your authority from the government.”