Posted on 4th February 2023

On Monday we have a new Bank Holiday.  This time to celebrate the life of St. Brigid of Kildare, a true Irish heroine who amalgamated both Pagan and Christian traditions.  A good counter balance to St. Patrick.  I was thinking of the rightful place that Brigid should hold in our calendar whilst listening on Thursday to contributors to Liveline discussing the cancellation of Katie Taylor’s homecoming fight with Amanda Serrano.  Now Katie is without question the most outstanding sportsperson of her generation and it is a shame that the arrangements for staging the fight at Croke Park have fallen apart.  Curiously enough I have harboured an ambition to stage a title fight at Slane.  There is strangely enough adjacent to the Castle a large stone with one word engraved on it and it says “FIGHTING”.  So, as I see it, a ring could be set up in the area in front of the Castle.  Thinking of the great Muhammad Ali’s “Rumble in the Jungle” with George Foreman, when he gloriously took back his title,  why not call this fight “The Battle of the Boyne”.  As they say, my door is always open.

The Omagh bombing on 15th August 1998 killed 29 people and injured 220.  It was profoundly shocking.  If there was anything good to come out of it, the sense of disgust certainly spurred on the Peace Process and severely damaged the reputation of Dissident Republicans.  The announcement by the British government that there is now going to be an independent statutory enquiry is to be more than welcomed and I hope that our government will give this enquiry every assistance it can to try to establish the truth.  The haunting question remains.  Could this awful atrocity have been prevented ?  There may be some really awkward questions to be answered in both the North and the Republic.  The Taoiseach has said “ There was probably a cross border element to this crime and we are going to sit down with the UK authorities and work out how we can contribute to that”.  Sounds to me that he has a good grasp of what is needed and must importantly the moral obligation to uncover the truth.  I have some knowledge of the suffering of the victims, which is best expressed in their own words “ I just remember the noise and then the silence, then the chaos and  devastation that ensued after.  It will stay with me forever”.  We owe it to them.

Finally to the gruesome war which gets ever more depressing as it grinds on.  Germany relents and Ukraine gets the tanks it so urgently needed but the NATO allies refuse to supply aircraft needed to throw Putin out of Ukraine.

The view of Slane Castle from the hill