Thursday 29 December 2016


Hogmanay, or cake day, is the name used in Scotland and North England for New Year's Eve and the gifts then made. Presents are exchanged by friends; children are given oatcakes to the cry of "hogmanay"; masquers sing and act sketches. This year's Hogmanay also offers sporting entertainment by those great soccer protagonists from Glasgow Rangers and Celtic at Ibrox Park, home of Rangers.

Monday 19 December 2016

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

An 1897 editorial by Francis P. Church in the New York Sun became one of the most popular ever written. It was written in response to a letter the paper received from an eight-year old girl seeking assurance that Santa Claus existed. The girl's name was Virginia O'Hanlon and I will show her letter hereunder:-
Dear Editor, 
I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says,"If you see it in The Sun, it's so". Please tell me the truth. Is there a Santa Claus? 
Virginia O'Hanlon.

I will quote some of Mr.Church's response:
...Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life it's highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there was no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginia's! There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished... 
....No Santa Claus! Thank God! He lives and lives for ever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood
Veteran editor, Mr.Church, had covered the Civil War for the New York Times and was then an anonymous editorial writer for the New York Sun having worked on that newspaper for the previous 20 years. His famous editorial was reprinted annually until 1949 when the paper went out of business.

Virginia O'Hanlon, with her masters degree in education, was a teacher for 47 years when she retired. Virginia O'Hanlon Douglas died on May 13th 1971, at the age of 81, in a nursing home in New York.

Wednesday 14 December 2016

Night in Winter

Shut in from all the world without,
We sat in clean-winged hearth about,
Content to let the north-wind roar
In baffled rage at pane and door,
While the red logs before us beat
The frost-line back with tropic heat;
And ever, when a louder blast
Shook beam and rafter as it passed,
The merrier up its roaring draught
The great throat of the chimney laughed;
The house-dog on his paws outspread
laid to the fire his drowsy head,
The cat's dark silhouette on the wall,
A couchant tiger's seemed to fall;

What matter how the night behaved!
What matter how the north-wind raved!
Blow high, blow low, not all it's snow
Could quench our hearth-fire's ruddy glow.

— John Greenleaf Whittier

Thursday 8 December 2016

Tipperary Cup Centenary

In a recent edition of the Clonmel Nationalist, dated 24th November 2016, the following caption appeared under a photograph of the 1916 Committee of the Clonmel and Kilsheelan Coursing Club:
The first Tipperary Cup in coursing was held at Ballyglasheen, Kilsheelan on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 19th, 20th and 21st of January 1916 when Boys Hurrah beat Tablespoon in a thrilling final. 
The judge for the three day festival was Maurice F. Davin, nephew of the former President of the GAA, and Mullinahone man, Bob Redmond, handled the leathers. The Acting Stewards for the meeting came from Belfast, Tralee, Portumna, Dublin and Limerick together with T.A. Morris from Clonmel. The three days attracted a large crowd, including the Lord Lieutenant who had the pleasure of watching his runner qualify for the semi-finals of the feature event. Clonmel and Kilsheelan Coursing Club, in association with Clonmel & District Open Coursing Club, held this year's event on Saturday and Sunday 19th and 20th November.