Thursday, March 31, 2011

Visiting my old school

Tuesday morning Galway United Manager Sean Connor and players were due to visit my old school - St Josephs College aka "The Bish". I was asked to accompany them. It was my first time back since I graduated in 2002. Only a hand full of my old teachers were still there but it was great seeing them again and having a bit of a chat. The staff even had a cake to greet the team which was very much appreciated...and tasty too. : )

My old Religion teacher Ciaran Doyle is now principal. Here he is chatting with Sean Connor the manager.

Goal Keeper Conor Winn with "Bish" teacher and Galway United Committee member Liam Glynn. Conor is also an ex-pupil of the school.

The Staff first time in there... : )

While there I also had the chance to chat with the school secretaries, sisters Maureen and Peggy whom I always got on well with during my school years. As it happens my wife and I have gotten to know the family pretty well over recent years. Rita their mum is a resident in the nursing home my wife works in. 

Walk of Dreams

Sunday, myself Antony and the rest of the Galway United crew took part in the John Giles Foundation Walk of Dreams. The 5km walk was to raise funds for the John Giles foundation and the everyday running of Galway United Football Club. We were joined by a number of amateur and professional teams from Galway City and County. The weather was great and it was a super way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

12 Things I love about being Irish

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone... In honour of our national holiday St. Patrick's Day here's a list of a few of my favorite things about being Irish...In no particular order:

1 The Common Lizard: Our only native reptilian species I adore these little guys, they are the ultimate cold blooded survivors. How can we complain about the miserable weather when even they've gotten used tho it!

2. Salt and Vinegar Tayto's and Cadbury's Dairy Milk Chocolate. These are my favorite treats and the trick is you have to eat them together! The flavours work perfectly with one another. Tayto is an Irish company and although Cadbury is originally British, the Irish branch was established in 1932 and has produced it's own Cadbury products using only Irish ingredients since. Personally I think Irish chocolate is the nicest in the world! I'm off chocolate for Lent so I'm really looking forward to a Cadbury Chocolate egg come Easter.

3. GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association). The GAA is an amateur sporting organisation focused primarily on promoting Gaelic games, which include the traditional Irish sports of hurling, camogie, Gaelic football, handball and rounders. Pride in your county is of the utmost importance. No matter were you live, who you marry...where your children are born - an Irish man/woman will always support the county they were born in. No matter were I've lived I am and always will be a proud Galway man! 

4. The wave: In the country, when you are either walking or driving and you pass an oncoming car or fellow walker they will ALWAYS wave "hello". It doesn't matter whether or not they know you -  it's a matter of habit and country courtesy

5. The Irish International Football/Soccer team: I love my football. If I had three wishes, chances are I'd wish for world peace, an end to hunger and for Ireland to one day win the World Cup!

6. Travelling oversea's: Neen and I have been to quite a few countries at this stage. No matter where we are, the minute anyone finds out we are from Ireland their mood immediately changes...everyone seems to love the Irish!...Everyone we've met anyway!

7. "Sorry"....Let me explain: In Ireland if you bump into another Irish person while walking down the street their response will nearly always be "Sorry". In which you reply "Sorry" back. It doesn't really matter who's at fault. "Sorry" is used in place of "excuse me" For the most part we are very much a non-confrontational people. Something I really like. On a much larger scale that's partially why we as a country have remained neutral military-wise. Something else very important to me.

8. Green: I love the colour green, I love the fact that for ever more Ireland will be Internationally represented by such a beautiful shade. It may seem a small, insignificant and mundane thing to love but I do... I love the fact that we are the "Emerald Isle".

9. Farm Animals and the countryside: Ireland is such a small country. No matter what town or city you live in you're nearly always just a stones throw away from a green field full of cows or sheep.

10. Stone walls: Wobbly weathered stone walls line the entire Irish countryside. Like drunken old men staggering gingerly home from the pub they precariously line every field and country roadside.

11. Tea - In Ireland tea is more than a beverage it's a way of life. For most the day revolves around the act of continually reboiling the kettle. You will never ever arrive at a house without being offered a cup of tea a couple of rich tea and maybe even a ham sandwich. 

12. The smell of turf: Nothing in the world smells better than a turf fire...unfortunately the only way to experience it is first hand...a picture really doesn't do it justice. So what are ya waiting for? Book those plane tickets and drop by for a visit.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Warmest Spot in the House

We ran out of heating oil towards the end of last week and are still awaiting a delivery. The weather of late, especially in the west has been unseasonably wintery. It even snowed over the weekend. So naturally the house has been freezing. Every day as I shiver away in the icy cold studio the terrapins get to relax in the only warm spot in the house.  An underwater heater coupled with a UVA/B light means that for the turtles at least  it's summer every day.

Felt Shamrock

I was feeling crafty Sunday evening so decided to get out the box of fleece and make something. Initially my intention was to make a puppet. Unfortunately after 3 hours of planning, cutting, pinning and sewing I ended up scrapping it...To be frank it looked terrible. I was working with out any sort of pattern and it showed! 

So I cleaned up my mess, destroyed the evidence and made Neen a shamrock badge instead. She'll be working in the Nursing home St. Patrick's Day so now she has something green to wear!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Listening to Chopin....

I picked up a CD today in HMV...'Chopin Piano Favorites' I love Chopin's work and this album features a selection of some of the composers best. One of the tracks featured is 'Prelude In D Flat Major "Raindrop" Op. 28 No.15' my absolute favorite piece of music by the Polish composer.

Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami

My thoughts and prayers are very much with the victims of the Japanese earthquake and subsequent tsunami...the picture above was drawn by a young child from Aizu, Northern Japan. (The drawing was originally featured on and property of this blog here.)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Playing Pokemon White

Neen picked me up Pokemon White for the Nintendo DS yesterday...It's a really well designed update to the popular Pokemon series. The addition of a seasonal cycle and improved graphics are two notable changes. The world itself also has a more 3-dimensional feel to it. In fact although I'm only a couple of hours in, it's definitely the most beautiful looking Pokemon game I've ever played. Couple that beauty with perfectly crafted game play and it's obvious, Nintendo have hit another home run with these 5th Generation installments.

Kick Off!

It was the first match of the season last night. Galway United versus St. Patrick's Athletic in Terryland Park.

Antony came along to watch his first football match and ended up donning the stewards jacket along with myself and the rest of the Galway United Committee. He did a really great job selling programs and helping set up. I was very proud of him. My cousin Mark was at the match too but as he was with his friends and had his image to uphold - I understandably didn't see much of him. : )

A few pre-match training shots...

The opposition in training.

Kick Off...

We ended up losing the match 3-0 but the young fans were just happy to be there. I was really impressed by the way the entire Galway United squad took time to sign autographs and chat with the munchkins. Even in defeat they were true gentlemen. The vast majority of the team are newly signed, but are already living up to their roles as hero's to the local kid's.

After the match Antony and I headed over to Pappa Johns and shared a sausage and pepperoni pizza. Despite the loss it really was a great night.