You will have read in our news pages about Councillor Gary Wyse’s call for a large sporting/concert venue to be established in Waterford city.  Certainly, a venue of the size that he is talking about would have to be built from scratch and it would be wonderful if it happened but we shouldn’t hold our breath.  Mind you, there are a great many people who would like to see one major GAA venue in Waterford as opposed to resources being split between Walsh Park and Fraher Field.  That, of course, is a matter for the GAA and its members to decide but, for a variety of reasons, I wouldn’t be optimistic of anything major happening on that front in the near future.

That said, Walsh Park, Fraher Field and the RSC would be capable of hosting medium sized musical events or concerts.  Great care would have to be taken to protect playing surfaces and, in the case of the RSC, its expensive running track but, if the weather was any way right, all three venues would be very pleasant places to enjoy an open-air concert or other performance.  There is seated accommodation for about 5,000 in Walsh Park and 3,000 in Fraher Field while both grounds have loads of standing room on their other three sides.  Standing room is limited at the RSC but there are about 3,000 comfortable bucket-seats and extensive on-site car-parking available.    Not all the neighbours in the vicinity of Nowlan Park in Kilkenny were overjoyed when the various concerts were held there but they were certainly very popular with punters and attracted a lot of money into the city on each occasion.

Hotbed of sex and crime

I’m not being smug or sanctimonious here because I am pretty sure that Waterford city and other urban areas across the South East are no different to anywhere else but Laois (whose GAA teams also sport the White and Blue) has really been branded of late as being a veritable hotbed of sex and crime.

The headline on the front-page of last week’s Laois Nationalist read: ‘Exposed – the seedy sex life of our dirty old towns.’ The newspaper went on to tell its readers that twenty brothels had been raided in Portlaoise, that Stradbally was the home of wife-swapping and that prostitutes were so busy they were earning €1,000 a night.

Garda sources confirmed that twenty brothels were closed in the last six weeks and that neither the landlords nor letting agencies knew what was going on in the houses and apartments. Apparently, gardai were first alerted to the extent of the sex trade when it was discovered that a known criminal broke into and ransacked an apartment. The man in question is currently being held in a British jail awaiting trial on charges relating to human trafficking, controlling prostitution and money-laundering.

The newspaper also claimed that wife-swapping, or swinging as it is now called, is commonplace in Laois with over 800 active adults within a one-hundred mile radius of Portlaoise. Dogging, which (I’m told) is outdoor sex that often attracts an invited audience, also takes place and, according to one website accessed by the newspaper, there are twelve locations in County Laois where the activity takes place. Cripes and cripes again!

Swine flu warning – nine years ago!

Hopefully, the dreaded swine-flu will not gain too much of a foothold in this country but it is certainly doing the rounds. A colleague of mine returned from Mayo at the weekend and told me that, the previous week, an important junior football game had to be postponed when no less than 13 players on one of the teams were in bed recovering from swine-flu.

Incidentally, congratulations to Dr Neil Rowan of Athlone IT who, all of nine years ago, warned against factors that could produce such an illness and predicted that, when it occurred, it would have a global consequence.

Very few took much notice of Dr Rowan when he said global factors were in place that would facilitate the emergence of worldwide infectious diseases. He predicted that intensive animal husbandry, combined with climate change, migration and modern air travel, was likely to create a situation whereby animal viruses would infect human beings. How right he was.

Husbands and wives

There was a big crowd on the ferry from Rosslare to Fisguard one night last weekend and there was such a demand for cabins for the three-hour crossing that many people ended up snoozing on chairs. A very attractive looking woman got the last double-berth cabin and, as she was walking away with the key, the man next in the queue behind her introduced himself and asked her would she consider allowing him to share the cabin as he really needed to get some sleep before commencing the long drive to London.

She looked him up and down and somewhat reluctantly agreed provided he reimbursed her for half the cost of the cabin. When they reached the cabin she insisted on taking the lower berth but he had no problem with that and clambered into the top bunk and promptly fell asleep. He awoke an hour later feeling very cold and, peering out over the side of his bunk, he could see the woman below was wide awake. “How could I possibly sleep with the noise of your bloody snoring”, she said angrily.

“I’m really sorry, I’ll try not to do it any more”, he replied, before asking the woman if she wouldn’t mind opening the press next to her bunk and hand him up a spare blanket. “Do you know what”, replied the woman in a bright tone of voice, “why not, just for tonight, pretend that we are married.” 

The man couldn’t believe his luck because she really was a very attractive woman, just his type. “Wow”, he said, “that’s a great idea. I’m all for that.” “Good”, said the woman, “so get your own fecking blanket.” 

Mysterious flying objects

Two lads from the Kill area were out shooting crows last week when they heard a noise above them and, looking up, saw a motorised hand-glider buzzing above their heads. One of the pair quickly raised his gun and took a pot-shot at the glider. “Mother of God”, said the other man, “what on earth was that?” “I don’t know what kind of a yoke it was”, said his companion, “but whatever it was it let go of the poor divil it was carrying pretty quick.”