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Life, Is changing every day, In every possible way.

Rockefeller centerIt was the Summer of 1994 I was working in New York. It was my first time to fly on  a plane and it was good to get away from Ireland for a little while. It was exciting, it was exhilarating, an amazing experience for a young buck from the west of Ireland who thought he knew it all. I lived in Elmhurst, Queens in a diverse ethnic neighbourhood but where the majority seemed to be either Colombians or Koreans. I had secured a Doorman’s job in a large Manhattan Apartment building and a couple of day jobs as well. Earning plenty of dollars I was able to pay the rent and have plenty of beer money. Mid-week we got the train up to Van Cortland Park for pretty basic Gaelic football training.  I remember there was a rock on an outcrop overlooking the playing fields and Broadway with an Irish Tricolour painted on it. At weekends we played matches in Gaelic Park and met people from home in the bar afterwards.  I threw myself completely into the City and when I was off work into Irish-Americana. An Irish-American friend gave me tours of old Bronx Irish neighbourhoods such as Fordham, Kingsbridge, and Bainbridge and regaled me with stories of famous local characters. We drank together in neighbourhood bars. With one ear we listened respectfully to ‘old-timers’ and with the other it was all  Nirvana and Pearl Jam from the jukebox.

gaelic parkwoodlawn

In many ways that summer was a rite of passage for me and my first real foray into the a wider world.  I still longed for news from home.  Occasionally I bought the Leitrim Observer in an Irish shop in Jackson heights. For national news I sometimes bought the Irish Independent from a Yemeni man who had a small kiosk not far from where I worked.

The start of the summer for us was the World Cup and that memorable game in Giants Stadium. Who can forget that moment Ray Houghton chipped Pagliuca. It was a great day to be Irish. It also gave us bragging rights in a City which culturally was so dominated up to that time by the Irish and Italian communities. It felt strange at the time defeating a big time soccer nation like Italy.

Later in the summer my native County also made history by winning the Connacht Championship for the first time in sixty seven years. The previous year Derry had won their first All-Ireland. There was much new ground broken in those crucial years, the collapse of communism, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the break-up of the USSR. All these things were unimaginable and improbable just a short time earlier.

Despite all these new beginnings the Troubles in the North lingered on. A number of events stood out for me in 1993; the IRA bomb in the Shankill, the UFF massacre at Greysteel and the naked sectarianism on display in Windsor Park on the night Ireland qualified for USA ’94.

One other atrocity earlier that year had a huge effect on me. It happened in a town called Warrington which is about half way between Liverpool and Manchester. The IRA made a warning call to the Samaritans in Liverpool saying that they had planted a bomb outside Boots Chemist. The authorities still maintain that the caller never said what Boots shop the bomb had been placed at. Just 30 minutes later a bomb exploded outside Boots in Warrington. As people ran from the scene they were caught up in a second bomb planted outside Argos.

The bombs were placed in cast iron bins which ensured there was lots of shrapnel. Johnathan Ball died at the scene, only 3 years old he was in town with his babysitter. She was buying him a Mother’s Day card. About fifty people were injured and maimed by the explosions. warrington_parry_ball_pa

A few days later the parents of 12 year old Tim Parry had to make the awful decision to turn off his life support machine. The aftermath consisted of the IRA blaming the Police for not acting on precise warnings and the Police and most right thinking people blaming the bombers. The weeks following the bombing were punctuated by even more sectarian killings in the North. Tim Parry’s father made a huge impression on me when I heard him speak about reconciliation and conflict resolution on TV.

One morning late in my summer sojourn I was walking south on 3rd Avenue. I had walked past Hunter College and The Armoury. Suddenly I heard someone calling me. It was Asil the Yemeni kiosk owner. He was shouting ‘Irishman, Irishman, look, look, peace in your country’. He was holding up the latest edition of the Irish Independent an in big back letters I could clearly read the words ‘ITS OVER FOR GOOD’.  IRA Ceasfire

He looked like Neville Chamberlain come back from Munich. Of course my reaction was that this can’t be true and I think I actually said this to Asil. I was certainly dismissive. Nevertheless I bought the paper, which is probably what Asil really wanted. I read it as I walked and read it again several times on the subway home. It slowly began to sink in. It was true. It really was. Peace in our time. Ironically the roles are now reversed and I wish peace for Asil’s home country of Yemen.

The only reason I’m recalling those crazy days of 1993 and 1994 is the sad passing of Dolores O’Riordan. The Cranberries were the soundtrack of that period for thousands of young Irish people like me. The Band released the album ‘Everyone else is doing it why can’t we’ in 1993. In a way the title sums up how we felt when we beat the Italians over in New Jersey. The Cranberries were heading for rock stardom. They were touring the UK when the Warrington bomb went off. In the aftermath Dolores apparently penned the words to the song ‘Zombie’ . It would be released on the 1994 Album ‘No need to argue’ and later be a number one single. The song would also win best song at the MTV Music awards.

Another head hangs lowly

Child is slowly taken

And the violence caused such silence

Who are we mistaken

It’s not necessarily the Cranberries best song and is very much a departure from their songbook even if the instantly recognisable grungy riffs are still to the fore. It is at its heart a quintessential anti-war song and it struck a note big time with many of us, expressing as it did how we had come to feel about the Troubles. It was also marvellous that it was this feisty little rock chick from Limerick telling the World how we felt. There will be enough commentary about the premature passing of Ireland’s first global female rock star. For many of us she will always be simply the voice of the generation who lived either side of the watershed of peace on this Island. That’s how I’ll remember her.

life, Is changing every day,dolores-o-riordan

In every possible way.

And oh, my dreams,

It’s never quite as it seems




The Start of a Roadtrip

The Start of a Roadtrip

Who’s idea was this! At 2 am, on a very foggy Wednesday morning, we set off on our journey.  All packed into my trusty Ford…

The post The Start of a Roadtrip appeared first on Fiona McGuire.

Boyle Town Team criticised over delay to ‘scattered hotel’ study

The Royal Hotel is now the property of Roscommon County Council

Boyle Town Team has been strongly criticised for not yet publishing its feasibility study on the ‘scattered hotel’ that’s planned for town.

The team is exploring the concept that would involve refurbishing some property owners’ accommodation to Bord Fáilte-approved standard.

The project was boosted last year when Boyle received €100,000 for its enhancement under the government’s Town and Village Renewal Scheme.

A Galway consultancy firm was appointed to assess whether ‘scattered hotel’ project would be viable in the town and has completed its study.

But Boyle community activist John Mulligan is annoyed its findings haven’t been made public.


Brian Nerney, the chairman of Boyle Town Team, insists the study will be published in February.


PODCAST: Sinn Féin raises concerns over €6m Boyle centre

Claire Kerrane, pictured with Councillor Michael Mulligan, wants to become a TD in Roscommon-Galway (Photo: Claire's Facebook page)

On Monday, Boyle Primary Care finally opened its doors after a considerable delay.

A €6-million facility, a variety of services will be available in the centre: occupational therapy, physiotherapy, psychology and podiatry.

However, in response to a parliamentary question from Sinn Fein, the HSE reveals that existing staff are relocating to the centre, with no new staff being employed.

Ballaghaderreen’s Claire Kerrane, Sinn Fein’s general election candidate in Roscommon-Galway, raised her concerns on Let’s Talk on Wednesday.

Listen in full to her interview below.


Anger following dumping at renowned Leitrim beauty spot


It’s being claimed a scenic area in south Leitrim is being repeatedly targeted for illegal dumping.

Ann Reynolds, who lives in the Gorvagh-Cloone road, claims household waste, televisions and waste are constantly being discarded in the locality.

She says it has been taking place for several years, with episodes occurring every couple of weeks.

Reynolds is calling on Leitrim County Council to take strong action against those responsible and condemns the latest incident:



Fears Boyle Primary Care Centre could be understaffed

Boyle Primary Care Centre opened on Monday, several months later than intended

The government has been accused of ‘selling the people a pup’ by not allocating any new staff to Boyle Primary Care Centre.

The €6-million facility opened on Monday, providing a variety of services, such as occupational therapy, physiotherapy, psychology and podiatry.

However, in response to a parliamentary question from Sinn Fein, the HSE revealed the centre is being run by existing staff, with no additional employees allocated.

Claire Kerrane, Sinn Fein’s general election candidate, is slamming the news.


The HSE says provision has been made in the new primary care centres for primary care staff that are currently being recruited and for developments and enhancements in the future as the plans for a decisive shift of activity to primary care are implemented.

PODCAST: Boyle hotel site to become ‘public space’

There's a large plot of land to the rear of the Royal Hotel, which Roscommon County Council also now owns

Last June Roscommon County Council purchased the Royal Hotel in Boyle for €100,000 and it’s still deciding what to do with the building.

It sought submissions from the public and more than 60 per cent backed a hotel development.

But in an interview with the Roscommon Herald this week, the council’s chief executive, Eugene Cummins, appeared to dampen the chances of that.

He says a ‘public space’ or amenity is being considered.

In an interview on Let’s Talk on Tuesday, Boyle community activist John Mulligan gave his thoughts on the CEO’s comments.

Listen in full to the discussion below.



James (Jimmy) Rabbitte


James (Jimmy) Rabbitte

Boher, Streamstown, Mullingar, Co Westmeath.

Monday January 15th suddenly at his home.

Reposing in Rooney’s Funeral Home Ballymore tomorrow (Thurs) from five o’clock until seven o’clock.

Removal on (Fri) morning to St Brigid’s Church, Boher arriving at ten to twelve for Funeral Prayers. Funeral Mass at twelve noon.

Burial afterwards in adjoining cemetery.

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