Losing With Style At The Connemara Marathon 2018

“Well, at least you finished,” was a sympathetic response I got from several runners when I told them I did the Connemarathon last Sunday in 5hours 20mins. Most of these people had done sub 4 hours.

To this sympathetic tone and sincere look of pity, I felt the need to defend my manhood.

“I was wearing these barefoot shoes, see,” said I, showing them my VFFs as proof, “I’m doing Limerick in two weeks in ‘normal’ shoes and expect I’ll do sub 4 hours.”

Continue reading “Losing With Style At The Connemara Marathon 2018”

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Being Hit by the High Seas at the Frances Thornton Memorial Swim 2016

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Danger is my middle name. Okay, it’s not really, but I’m not really a COW either. But nor is Batman a bat.

Today I’m hitting the high seas of Galway Bay for the eleventh annual Frances Thornton Memorial swim. One-hundred-and-two swimmers are braving the elements to swim 13km across the bay from Clare to Blackrock in Salthill and, with my unique set of special skills, I’ve managed to wrangle my way onto one of the more than seventy boats that have volunteered their assistance. Continue reading “Being Hit by the High Seas at the Frances Thornton Memorial Swim 2016”

Small Venue, Big Laughs, Feminism, & Pizza

Stand-up comic Cormac McGuinness is MC’ing for Thursday night’s gathering of the Smallest Comedy Club in Ireland upstairs in the Dew Drop Inn on Mainguard Street in Galway. His strong features and jet black hair remind me a little bit of Christopher Reeves, but maybe that’s just because I have a nauseating obsession with heroes these days. In between acts he makes some very interesting jokes relating to the saying that “you are what you eat” and I can say, honestly, that I have not been this impressed and amused with such bold public assertions since Frank McCourt wrote openly about wanking in Angela’s Ashes.

Cormac McGuinness

Continue reading “Small Venue, Big Laughs, Feminism, & Pizza”

Pins Burst Hearts at Take Me Out in Aid of Crumlin’s Children’s Hospital

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Shearing sheep and wrestling bears are facets of the first chap up who attempts, and succeeds, to woo the ladies at Saturday night’s Take Me Out in the Clayton hotel, Galway, in aid of Crumlin’s children’s hospital. His name is Owen and here he is enjoying his date. Continue reading “Pins Burst Hearts at Take Me Out in Aid of Crumlin’s Children’s Hospital”

Sub-Zero Hero

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Photo used with permission of Gavan John Paul Hennigan

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Jean Claude Van Damme and many others epitomised the definition of hero for me when I was growing up. However, rather than finding these guys inspiring, I found they actually filled me with huge amounts of insecurity as I recall thinking that I could never be the one-man-army that a hero is required to be in the unlikely situations that these ‘heroes’ always found themselves in. I remember feeling very rebellious watching these VHS movies with the 18’s certificate in white numerals on a red circular background. The red colour elicited a sense of doing something a bit dangerous by watching it. 18 is so old, I thought then. Continue reading “Sub-Zero Hero”

Voodoo, Pixies, & Magic in Merlin Woods

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Peculiar is the only word I can think of to describe a rather bizarre experience that I had on Saturday afternoon. I’m not sure if perhaps I drank one too many coffees, was under the weather, banged my head, or if it was the bargain priced mustard from Aldi, that I had liberally slathered over my ham and cheese sandwich, that led to the following tale in Merlin Woods that I am about to relate to you, dear reader. Whether it was some form of hallucination, some momentary lapse of any sensible notions of reality, or whatever, I am not sure, but the one thing I am sure of is that the whole experience felt very real. Continue reading “Voodoo, Pixies, & Magic in Merlin Woods”

Bear Hugged by a Hunter

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Racism, rape, feminism, sexism, and homosexuality jokes are all part of what make the show full of the kind of belly laughs that bring tears to my eyes and leave my stomach hurting. It is not that any of these concepts are particularly funny, they are not, but the sad fact is that it sometimes feels as if we live in a world where a man could be accused of being a mysogynist pig for saying his wife is good at cooking dinner. And so, by exploring these topics as part of a comedy show, Mr Hunter is, to me and many of his fans, a freedom fighter in the war against the terrorism of political correctness.

I arrived at the show with my camera, half expecting security to relieve me of it or pass some comment but they don’t, so I figure I’m good to take a few non-flash shots.

Canadian Mr Glenn Wool is the warm-up act and I use his show to make sure my camera settings are primed for Mr Reginald D. Hunter. I feel slightly ashamed for taking pictures of the former rather than giving complete attention to his jokes which had me laughing my socks off and accidentally spilling my beer, that I hadn’t taken a mouthful of, all over the floor.

Continue reading “Bear Hugged by a Hunter”

A Hero’s Welcome for the Connacht Rugby Team

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Tired from battle, the boys returned to Galway to a hero’s welcome. Under the yoke of defeat since many years before the 1916 Rising, these chaps are heroes of the same calibre of Michael Collins when he fought the Brits, King Leonidas when he fought with his 300 against the supposedly immortal Persian armies, or indeed Rambo when he freed the POWs in Rambo First Blood: Part 2. Yes, I’m aware that Rambo was just a movie, but heroes are heroes and that’s all there is to it. Continue reading “A Hero’s Welcome for the Connacht Rugby Team”

The New Tribes of Galway – Africa Day 2016

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Awash with vibrant colour, Africa Day was in full swing when I arrived. Outside, I met a semi-retired photographer from the Connacht Tribune, called Stan, and he’s talking to some very colourfully dressed Africans that are involved in the show and so I decide to say a quick “How are you?”

“I’m having an awful hard time spelling these names,” he says, “and you have to get them right or you could be sued.”

“Is that right?” I ask.

“It is,” he replies and proceeds to tell me of a case in England where a newspaper was sued for 50 grand for having published someone’s name wrong in the paper. Worrying stuff indeed. Continue reading “The New Tribes of Galway – Africa Day 2016”

Life Through a Lens

lensBabies and little children look at everything and everyone very closely, shamelessly. Everybody accepts that because they are little kids and they don’t know any better. When you get a bit older you stop looking so closely at other people for fear of being branded a pervert or being thought of as rude. If you stare at someone you perceive as beautiful, the person may feel uncomfortable. If you stare at someone else, that you also perceive as beautiful, but who has a small birthmark, then you might just spark off torrents of insecurity in the person that lead to your being a victim of the person’s subsequent wrath at the perceived attack on their self-confidence. Continue reading “Life Through a Lens”