It is difficult to understand how the government cannot see the merit in the suggestion by the Society of the Irish Motor Industry that purchasers of second-hand cars should be permitted to re-register them in the county of their choice. It would, says SIMI, raise about €20m in extra taxes for the government and I would say they are probably being conservative in that. I know lots of people over the years who liked the look of a second-hand car in a garage but were then turned off by the Reg No. “There is no way I’m driving a car with a ‘blankety-blank’ registration”, they would cry. Then there are many people who have nothing against any other county’s registration but would prefer to have a car with their own county registration out of pride of their native place. It also works the other way and dealers in Dublin will tell you they find it hard to sell cars with country reg nos because lots of Dubs wouldn’t be caught dead driving a culchie car. There are about 750,000 second-hand transactions every year and a fair proportion of the new owners would be prepared to pay to change their registration.

Mystic Moira gets mad! 

Mystic Moira, the famous Bennettsbridge psychic, has been predicting that Kilkenny will definitely win ‘five in a row’ All Irelands by accounting for Tipperary on the first Sunday in September.  She knows because the spirits have told her, she explains.  Of course, nobody in Kilkenny would disagree with Moira or her spirits but Fr Joe Delaney from Mount Carmel did offer the opinion that psychics performed the devil’s work.

Needless to say, Mystic Moira was not pleased and accused Fr Delaney of indulging in the age-old mistake of not understanding that psychics were merely gifted people who had ‘developed and fine-tuned their psychic ability and healing powers from the forces of light for the benefit of ordinary people’.

Mystic Moira also reminded the Callan priest that a psychic woman named Petronella was burned alive in Kilkenny’s High Street in the 13th century as the local bishop and clergy looked on.  “Countless other women were tortured before meeting the same fate across Europe at the height of the persecution by the Church of female psychics”, she thundered. I bet Fr Delaney is sorry he said anything at all.  As for Mystic Moira’s prediction, we shall see what we shall see.

 New Irish language newspaper 

Gaelsceal is a new, weekly, Irish language newspaper based in Spideal, County Galway. It’s a very nice, colourful production that addresses national and international issues. For instance, last week, actor and author, Amy Huberman, and actor and singer, Keith Duffy, graced the front-page photograph while some of the stories included articles on the high cost of training psychiatric nurses, dissident republicans, fireworks in the night sky and back to school expenses. If you are interested in a weekly current affairs read, as Gaeilge, it’s worth seeking out Gaelsceal.

Dancing in marquees

If anybody yearned for the halcyon days of the showbands and dancing in marquees, they should get themselves off to Drumlish in County Longford this weekend where there is a three-day festival of dancing and mainly country music.

Country star Declan Nerney, who had a big hit with a song called ‘Marquee in Drumlish’, is just one of the many big names that will feature in the big tent commencing on Friday.

Many people look back with fondness on those days and there were certainly plenty of marquee dances in and around Waterford, South Kilkenny and South Tipperary.  Personally, I hated the marquees with a vengeance because the sound was almost always terrible and, more often than not, you were up to your ankles in mud!

Unusual funeral tribute 

It’s always hard for a family to cope with the death of a young person and people are normally slow to interfere in their grief but there were complaints about the nature of a funeral tribute to a young man up the road in East Cork last week.

Apparently, some people attending the funeral were unhappy when the cortege stopped and a customised car appeared in front of the hearse and, in a flurry of screeching brakes and smoking tyres, began to execute a number of ‘donuts’ in tribute to the deceased. At the same time, a guard of honour of similar vehicles loudly revved their engines in unison.

Surreal and possibly dangerous were some of the comments passed but a spokesperson for the bereaved family told reporters nobody had been at risk. The matter had been cleared with gardai beforehand and a team of stewards had been present to ensure safety.  It was a meaningful tribute to the deceased and nothing more, said the spokesperson.

Keith Barry finally astounded Polly

Before he was as famous as he is now, the Waterford magician and entertainer, Keith Barry, was working on a cruise liner in the Mediterranean.  Keith’s performance was the highlight of the cabaret every night and, because the ship’s passengers changed every week, he was able to repeat his illusions on an on-going basis.  However, a few weeks into the season, Keith began to have problems with the captain’s parrot, a big, noisy bird named Polly.

Polly used to sit on a perch next to the captain’s table and, having seen Keith’s tricks and routine so many times, he took to interrupting and squawking at the audience: “He’s hiding the flowers under the table”, “That’s not the same hat”, “The whole deck is full of Ace of Spades”, he would screech and everybody thought it was hilarious except Keith. He would have happily strangled the mangy bird with his bare hands but he couldn’t afford to upset the captain so he had to grin and bear it.

Then, one night, a terrible storm blew up that sank the ship and the only survivors were Keith and the parrot. For two days they drifted in the middle of the ocean on a small raft and, to Keith’s relief, the parrot didn’t utter a single word or sound. Eventually, they were found by the rescue services and, as Keith was embarking from the lifeboat onto the dock, the parrot finally broke its silence.  “OK, I give up”, it squawked, “what did you do with the ship.”