Regular readers of my blog will know that one of my all time heroes is Michael Collins. I have written about him before here
. For my overseas readers, Michael Collins was the man who gained Ireland her freedom after 800 years of occupation by Britain.
Many of you will also be aware of the competition currently running on RTE to find Irelands Greatest. The contenders are Michael Collins, Bono (yep, I kid you not), Mary Robinson, John Hume and James Connolly. Each of these great Irish people is being featured in an hour long documentary outlining why they should be voted Ireland’s Greatest. I watched the Michael Collins one (a repeat of the original broadcast) on Sunday night.
I have read widely on Collins and so although I didn’t learn much I didn’t already know, the old news reel footage was wonderful and confirmed most of my opinions about him. Here was a man, a farmer’s son from West Cork, who went to London at 16 to work in the Post Office Bank. He returned to Dublin in time for the Easter Rising and went on over the next 6 years to achieve Ireland’s freedom from the most powerful empire on Earth.
He strode around my city and this country with confidence, vision and a seemingly huge amount of charm and charisma. He managed (in the days before mass media) to sell The Treaty he negotiated with Britain to the Irish people whom he addressed at mass rallies all over Ireland. He was a gifted communicator, a visionary, a soldier, an intelligence expert, a politician, a statesman and a celebrity. His work rate was huge. He was passionate, committed and determined. For me, there is no competition. He is Ireland’s Greatest.
On the same night as I watched the documentary on Collins, millions of people across the US were watching Jay Leno, who began his show by displaying a very unflattering photo of our Taoiseach asking his audience to guess who this man was. Was he a bar-tender, a politician or a night club comic? To huge roars of laughter, he announced that this man was in fact Ireland’s Prime Minister. He finished up by saying “at least we aren’t the only ones with drunken morons”. It was cringe making watching the clip back on YouTube the following day. And who can blame Jay Leno? Our leader, Brian Cowen has left himself wide open to such ridicule by his recent behaviour. But even before the hungover interview on Morning Ireland, Brian Cowen has managed to give the impression that he is weary of having to lead this country. He often comes across tetchy and irritated during interviews, as if it is a real nuisance to have to answer questions about the economy etc. He may have said it is an honour to lead this country, but you would never deduce that from his usual demeanour.
One wonders how Ireland could have gone from having a leader such as Collins to having a Taoiseach such as Cowen. I am angry that he has reduced our country to a laughing stock and a financial wreck. But trying to stay positive I am holding to the old adage that the darkest time is just before the dawn. Perhaps somewhere on this island, a new Collins is about to come into focus; someone who will lead Ireland forward to a new day. I really hope so!
RTE is currently desperately trying to put together a ‘Debriefing Programme’ to assist their two distressed journalists who are returning to the mother station after deeply shocking experiences out in the Big Bad World. “Post traumatic stress on this level has never before been seen in Ireland” a spokesman for the station reported, “we are most anxious to ease their transition back to the world they know best here in Dublin 4.”
It has been reported that both boys have been seen in recent days wandering the corridors of the station mumbling about “not being listened to” and “no-one knowing who they are” and clearly in a very troubled state. But help is at hand. Duncan Stewart will play a vital role in the debriefing. “Whether it was The White House or Leinster House, I can help the guys identify what the problems are and how best to get over them,” the About The House presenter said. Yummy Mummy Miriam is said to be ready with her special recipe chicken soup which she will serve in two specially commissioned new RTE mugs, George and Charlie. “This will help them to remember just who they are and how valued and important they are,” she purred. And of course they will be encouraged to ‘talk to Joe’. Master Counsellor Joe will no doubt, have invaluable advice for them both. “Jaysus, there’s a lesson for us all. It’s a dangerous world out there beyond Montrose,” he said sagely.
It is thought that the first assignment to be given to the two lads will be a stint demonstrating the toys on this year’s Toy Show. “We will be picking toys specially that shouldn’t trigger any flashbacks that could prove fatal for the boys. I hope that they will enjoy working with other boys their own age” golden boy Tubridy said.
So there you have it folks. Finally RTE has produced intrepid, war correspondents who are willing to brave the outside world for months at a time. A heroes welcome awaits our two brave reporters as they return from the wars of real life and are rehabilitated back into the cosy womb like ambiance of our national broadcasters HQ in Dublin 4. The only place it seems where they are known and respected and loved! Doesn’t that give you a proud to be Irish feeling!
We had an interesting week and had a few heroes – each for very different reasons.
I will start with the greatest hero last week – who was my baby Mia (9). Mia’s top front left tooth was a no show which has been monitored by the Orthodontist for the last few months. It’s refusal to budge at all, in the direction of her mouth to take its rightful place alongside its partner meant that Mia had to have a little ‘procedure’ done last Thursday in the very cute and charming Clane Hospital (Kildare). This ‘little procedure’ involved a slit in her gum to open ‘a flap’, some bone being dislodged (as it was in the way), a gold chain being attached to errant tooth and everything stitched back up again. The chain will now be attached to some kind of bracket which will be fitted to one of her teeth and be tightened regularly to coax the tooth down into place! Are you still with me here? Anyway – go to Mia’s blog to read her account. From it you will see that Mia was very matter of fact in her approach to this adventure and was very dignified and calm throughout. She gets my award for Hero of Our House this week!
But there is a very worthy runner up as second place goes to Roisin (11). Regular readers will already know that Roisin is a keen GAA player. She plays for Foxrock Cabinteely U11’s A Team. A dedicated and very talented bunch of young women! Roisin is very conscientious about training and always trys her best on the field. Saturday last was a blustery, squally day and we were at a pitch just off the seafront in Clontarf (it was really and truly freezing) for the Championship Final. Roisin was took her place a little into the second half and scored a point. Delight all around. There were some lovely goals and great play by all the girls. The team won fairly conclusively although they had very worthy opposition in Kilmacud Crokes. To crown the day for Roisin, in the (temporary) absence of the Team Captain, she was asked to collect the cup and make a little speech. I almost melted with pride and delight. So well done Roisin and all the girls of FoxCab!
Finally, the only male in the house also had a glory moment. From Tide To Table, a comprehensive Fish Cookery Book by Georgina Campbell has just been awarded the Bord Bia Irish Food Book of The Year. And himself did the photography. Check out his blog here for more information. He is very delighted and once again we are all proud!
Carla, and I will no doubt be heroes another week! And I will be sure to let you all know about that. Our role this week was in support and we were glad to do it!
Have you had a Hero moment recently?