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Irish Eyes

By Mattie Lennon

The Year So Far

Most of the year has now gone into the gulf of Eternity and amid "the skirts of the departing year" I am looking back at January 2008.

Charles Lamb wrote:

"Every man has two birth-days; two days at least, in every year, which set him upon revolving the lapse of time, as it affects his mortal duration. The one is that which in an especial manner he termeth his".

The other of course is the birth of a new year. January has a special significance for me. Maybe it's because I was born in January. I am subjected to a feeling that I can't explain when I write the "New Year date" for the first time. (It's usually on a cheque to pay for Christmas extravagances.) It was always the same. A lot of water has flowed under Templeboden bridge since I was moved on seeing the new year of "1955" written in a snow-drift at the bottom of the Lodge Lane. What has happened in the last eleven months?

January:

    Major discoveries around the world at the beginning of 2008 probably won't have any significant effect on lives around Kylebeg or Lacken. Or even Ballinastocken. But who knows?

    Researchers at Wroclaw University, in Poland, found that long legs are a sign of good health. An Alabama based, Optics Corporation invented a machine that can see through walls. The inventor was Rick Shies.

February:

    Senator Donie Cassidy came up with the bright idea that we drive on the right-hand side of the road. Before they got too busy with tribunals and planning to take medical cards from the over-seventies his colleagues must have told Donie to cop himself on. Because I haven't heard any more about his hare-brained (or in Donie's case should that be "hair-brained"?)

    On a visit to Poland Bertie Ahern discovered that 30% of all hurleys used in Ireland were made in Poland.

    The Galway-based group "Amicable Society" decided to launch a campaign for a "Fixed Easter".

March:

    Brendan O' Connor claimed that, as all senior politicians had gone to foreign parts for Saint Patrick's Day, it was a mistake to leave the country in the hands of Willie O'Dea and Brendan Howlin as they . . . were too small.

    Heather Mills got 75 million off Paul McCartney. Which brought to mind Rod Stewart's comment, "There is no point in getting married. Just find a woman you don't like and give her a house".

    Ian Paisley stepped down. The Reverend Ian was a brilliant speaker; I heard him one day in Belfast. (I was in Dundalk at the time.)

    Dustin the Turkey was picked to represent Ireland in the Eurovision.

April:

    Bertie Ahern steps down As Taoiseach.

May:

    The Irish army lost (or mislaid) a "Drone" in Chad.
    Locals object to plans by "Music Factory" night club, in Wexford, to install three King-size beds in the club.

    Ned Kelly is exonerated in Australia and Brian Cowen says, "fuckers" in the Dail.

June:

    Scientists discovered the Oxylocin- a naturally occurring hormone- can be developed into a wonder-drug to overcome shyness and may be used to . . . combat infidelity in marriage.

July:

    Rebecca Sheppard sent an "E-petition" to Gordon Browne asking that he put a weight limit on women who wear stilettos. She claimed that the concentrated load on a small area was "creating a hazard for all".

August:

    Genealogists found that Barack Obama's great grand uncle was a wig-maker in Dublin. (no comment from Donie Cassidy).

    And it was discovered that Roscommon has a higher life expectancy than any other county.

November:

    Research carried out at UCD has shown that it is possible to know a sheep by its eye; a photograph of the unique blood vessels in the sheep's eye is a reliable way of identifying it. The team that made this discovery was working under Prof. Shane Ward.
    And to think that there have been locker-room jokes for years about Wicklow sheep farmers looking into sheep's' eyes.

    The Space Shuttle, Endeavour linked up with the international space station and delivered, among other things, a re-cycling system for converting urine into drinking-water. This happened on the very day that the Irish media gave a lot of coverage to the fact that traces of "human waste" had been found in bottled water. Were they taking the piss?

    Scientists discovered that female monkeys like to gossip. A study carried out on Kayo Santiago island off Puerto Rico; found that- just like humans- the female of the species was more talkative than the male.

    And elsewhere biomarks were discovered which will determine a person's "true" physical age, as distinct from the number of years someone has lived. Not everyone ages at the same rate. So I may be only forty. On the other hand . . . I could be . . . eighty!

    But whatever age I am there's good news. The Wicklow seaside town of Greystones was judged one of the world's "most liveable communities" by the United Nations. It was awarded the gold medal at the LivCon Awards in China.

December:

    By the time you read this it will be December. But what can I say about December? Oh yes . . .

HAPPY CHRISTMAS.


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