Thursday 30 January 2014

The Daffodils

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high oe'r vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretch'd in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay;
Ten thousand saw I at a glance
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee.
A poet could not but be gay
In such a jocund company!
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills
And dances with the daffodils.

William Wordsworth 

Saturday 25 January 2014

Major Advances in Science

1934-45 Alexander Fleming discovers and develops penicillin.
1935 Moniz develops lobotomy for mental illness.
1938 Electroshock therapy introduced.
1945 First atomic bomb detonated.
1950 Drugs developed for leukemia
1952 Drug for treating schizophrenia identified.
1965 Penzias and Wilson discover cosmic microwave radiation.
1967 Bell and Hewish discover pulsars.
1969 Apollo astronauts land on Moon.
1971 First commercial microprocessor introduced.
1972-1985 CT scan and MRI introduced.
1975 Personal computer industry launched.
1975 Role of endorphins discovered.
1976 Cosmic string theory introduced.
1978 Sweden leads ban in CFC aerosol.
1980 World Health Organization declares smallpox eradicated.
1981 Aids is officially recognised.
1987 Antidepressant Prozac introduced.
1992 World Wide Web arrives.
1993 Search for behavioral genes.
1994 4.4 million-year-old human ancestor found.
1996 Meteorite from Mars points to possibility of life on other planets.
1996 Dolly, the world's first cloned sheep, is born.
2005 Mobile phone use approaches 100 per cent in Ireland.
2005 First successful partial face transplant.
2006 First successful penis transplant.

Dolly: the world's first cloned sheep

Thursday 23 January 2014

Munster SFC Semi-Final 1970

I have always had great regard for the true Tipperary Gaels who, down the years, have devoted so much of their time and energy in their efforts to restore Tipperary Football to the status it enjoyed up to the early 1950s. They often do this in the face of cynicism and ignorance from many masquerading as Tipperary GAA people.

Glimmers of light at the end of the tunnel have emerged from time to time. I think back to 1955 when an excellent Tipperary minor football team had the better of the exchanges with Dublin in the All-Ireland final only to concede three goals through defensive lapses. The recent successes of the minor footballers, with the wonderful All-Ireland win in 2011 followed by a Munster final win the following year, gives ground for optimism.

At senior level, a game that stands out for me was the Munster semi-final of 1970, played in Clonmel when Tipperary were thwarted by three late points from a very strong Cork team. The outstanding memory from that game, for me, were the three great goals scored by Tipperary dual star, Michael "Babs" Keating. I remember, especially, the one he scored in the second half, when he drove the ball to the net through a crowded Cork goal line.

I reproduce here an account of that game written some years afterwards:
Cork and Tipperary drew an attendance of 8,000 to Clonmel Sportsfield on July 5th 1970 for their Munster Senior Football Semi-Final clash. The sideline was closed before the curtain-raiser had concluded and both teams paraded behind the Carrick-on-Suir Brass Band prior to the game. RTE cameras were on hand to record the highlights and there was great confidence behind the Premier County side which had been prepared by the late James P. McGowan, the former Mayo star. 
The Tipperary supporters who flocked to see the home side in action were not to be disappointed as the Tipperary players carried the fight to hot favourites Cork from the beginning and two goals from Michael Keating got Tipp away to a dream start. Cork showed all their fighting qualities however to come back at the break with only two points separating the teams. Tipperary again gained the upper hand in the early stages of the second half and in the last quarter they went four points clear. Once again Cork called upon all their expertise and spirit, and the Tipp defence cracked under the pressure. Cork drew level three minutes from the end and a trio of points in the closing stages gained them a flattering three points win. 
The final score read Cork 2-15 Tipperary 3-9 and once again Tipperary's football hopes were dealt a cruel blow. The scorers were: Cork: Denis Coughlan 1-10; T. Holland 1-0; Ned Kirby 0-3; Ray Cummins 0-2. Tipperary: M. Keating 3-1; Paudie Blighe 0-4; Sean Kearney 0-2; Paddy O'Connell, Patsy Dawson 0-1 each.

Wednesday 15 January 2014

The Liam McCarthy Cup

Liam McCarthy, GAA Patron (1853-1928)
The winners of the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship receive the Liam McCarthy Cup.

The trophy was first presented for the final of 1921 between Dublin and Limerick, and played at Croke Park on 4th March, 1923.

The day of the first final was bright but cold; admission was one shilling and two shillings (or five cent and ten cent in to-day's currency) and six pence for schoolboys.

The ground was in excellent condition, and the "proceedings were enlivened by the Transport Workers Band and the Artane Boys' Band", to quote a newspaper report the following day.

The match attracted an attendance of close on 19,000, it was the first between Dublin and Limerick, and the referee was Willie Walsh of Waterford.

Dublin were defending champion and holders of the Great Southern Cup which, until then, was the trophy for the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship.

The final proved to be the poorest in years. The first ten minutes were exciting enough, but then Limerick took a grip on the exchanges. Their backs gave little away, and the attack, powered by team skipper Bob McConkey and Tom McGrath, began to find the target.

The Shannon-siders led by eleven points at the interval, and went on for an 8-5 to 3-2 win. McConkey was an inspiring captain. "The little fellow with the grey capthe skipper who knows more about finding the net than most", as a report in a daily newspaper put it. McConkey scored four goals in that game.

The Liam McCarthy Cup commemorates a man who gave sterling service to the Gaelic Athletic Association in Britain. Liam McCarthy was born in Ballygarvan, Co. Cork. He emigrated to London, where he became the first President of the Provincial Council of Britain. He brought many teams to play in London.

Sunday 12 January 2014

Gold Scott Medals

The following are extracts from a recent post on the official website of the Garda Siochana Retired Members Association:
Two Tipperary Brothers - Gold Scott Medals 
Thomas J. Callanan (Tommy Joe) was born at Lisbalting, Kilsheelan, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary on 7 November 1931 and left farming for a career with the Gardai on 27th May 1954. From the early seventies until he retired in 1984, he was Sergeant-in-charge of the Special Criminal Court. In the late afternoon of 6 January 1977 he entered the Bank of Ireland at Whitehall, Dublin, unarmed, in plain clothes and on private business only to find an armed robbery in progress. One of the raiders placed the barrel of a sawn-off shot gun against his stomach and ordered him to the floor. Except for bank staff and one other customer, all lying prone, nobody but Callanan were present. Despite the unenviable odds, Callanan instantly struck the gun aside and knocked the raider to the ground. He was then attacked by one of the other men who called on his accomplices to flee while striking Callanan a heavy blow on the shoulder with a krooklock.As one of the fleeing raiders, bag of money in hand, vaulted the counter, Callanan seized him and grabbed the bag ,throwing it back over the counter. A brief inconclusive struggle followed, during which Callanan managed to pull off the man's mask and found that the robber's features were known to him. All four raiders, put to flight by one intrepid unarmed Guard, were arrested near the bank quite soon afterwards. When examined, the shotgun which had been held against Callanan's stomach was found to be loaded with two live cartidges. 
Thomas J. Callanan received the Scott Gold Medal from Gerard Collins, Minister for Justice, on 24 November 1977 at Templemore Garda Training Centre. He continued thereafter to serve in the Dublin Metropolitan Division, retiring on 11 June 1984 after 30 years and 16 days. He died on 14 November 1997 having battled a coronary problem since 1970. 
His brother Sergeant Philip F. Callanan, born on 9 January 1936 became a Scott Gold Medalist one year later in similar circumstances.While serving in Tullow (Carlow/Kildare Division) on 16 January 1978, in uniform and unarmed, he challenged four armed robbers outside the town's Bank of Ireland. He seized one of the raiders but was shot in the thighs, sustaining severe injuries. Sergeant Phillip Callanan received his Scott Gold Medal from Justice Minister Gerard Collins in November 1978 at a ceremony in Templemore Garda Training Centre. He continued to serve thereafter in the Carlow-Kildare Division, retiring on 31 August 1988 after 30 years and 11 days service.
The following comments were posted by Noel H:
...exactly 54 years earlier on 8th January 1924 Walter Scott wrote to General Eoin O'Duffy, who was then Commissioner of An Garda Siochana, confirming his offer to endow a Medal for valour for the new Irish Police Force. In that letter he stated that "it has always been a practice of mine to present flowers during life, when one can enjoy their beauty and fragrance". Later that year when Commissioner O'Duffy was presenting a very first Scott Medal to James Mulroy, later a D/ Ennis, Co. Clare, he stated that "a brave Guard is braver than a brave Soldier.The Soldier goes into battle under the command of his officers, but the Guard is often on his own with his own decisions to make. He fights his fight alone".
How propetic then were these remarks in January 1978 when Phil Callanan, unarmed, confronted four masked men coming out of the Bank of Ireland in Market St, Tullow, Co.Carlow. He was on his own with his own decisions to make. In the Main Square in Tullow there is a fine monument erected to that insurgent priest, Fr.John Murphy of Boolavogue. Perhaps a similar monument will also be erected some day outside the Bank of Ireland in Tullow to commemorate Phil Callanan's bravery.

Wednesday 8 January 2014

John L. O'Sullivan

In the Cork Examiner (now the Irish Examiner) of Friday, August 17th 1979, George Cronin wrote a profile of John L. O'Sullivan—who is deceased for more than 30 years—following a visit to his home.

John L, as he was so well known, had been Captain of "L" Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Cork Brigade of the Old IRA during the War of Independence. He also served as Captain in the Irish National Army from 1922 to 1925. He was a Fine Gael TD for the constituency of Cork South-West and a member of Cork County Council for many years.

To counteract the lies that continue to be propagated by certain elements of the subversive kind, in respect of the Irish Plenipotentiaries who negotiated the Anglo-Irish Treaty in December 1921, I will reproduce an excerpt from George Cronin's report following his conversation with John L. O'Sullivan:
....One of the points made by John L during my meeting with him was that the general public are not aware of the powers given to the plenipotentiaries when they were discussing the Treaty. 
"These two copy documents (which he handed me) make it quite clear", he said, "that the plenipotentiaries had full power to negotiate and to conclude an agreement with the British". 
The first, signed by Eamonn de Valera as President, reads: 
In virtue of the authority vested in me by Dail Eireann, I hereby appoint Arthur Griffith TD, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Chairman; Michael Collins TD, Minister of Finance, Robert C. Barton TD, Minister for Economic Affairs; Edmond J. Duggan TD; George Gavin Duffy TD, as envoys plenipotentiary from the elected government of the Republic of Ireland to negotiate and conclude on behalf of Ireland with the representatives of his Britannic Majesty, George V, a treaty or treaties of settlement, association and accommodation between Ireland and the community of nations known as the British Commonwealth" (done in the City of Dublin this 7th day of October in the year of Our Lord 1921 in five identical originals). 
The second was an extract from Piaras Beaslai's book, Michael Collins and the Making of a New Ireland. This read:
When De Valera proposed his five plenipotentiaries—Arthur Griffith, Michael Collins, Robert Barton, Eamonn Duggan and George Gavan Duffy—for ratification to the private session of the Dail, Miss McSweeney and Joseph McDonagh sought to have conditions imposed on the delegates. 
Mr. De Valera strenuously objected to this course. He insisted that they be plenipotentiaries without any limitations to their terms of reference. 
"The Dail", he pointed out, "would have sufficient safeguard in the fact that any agreement signed by them would have to be submitted to the Dail for ratification". 
"Remember what you are asking them to do", he said emphatically. "You are asking them to secure by negotiations what we are totally unable to secure by force of arms". 
On this point he overbore all opposition and Mr. McDonagh withdrew his proposal, declaring himself satisfied.