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Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Law One Line At A Time

Most laws in Ireland by themselves are easily defined while the more vague ones cloaked in double speak are a tad more challenging and requires a bit of testing in court to set the precedent for their meanings. That is in essence the script based formula for why anyone needs a solicitor or barrister in the first place. laws were formulated in ancient times in order that we might all get along until the lawyers worked diligently too since then to make those same laws unintelligible for the less informed or for those in a dangerous and frightful hurry and not being aware who the real enemy is, and it may not be the defendant that they seek redress from.

Solicitors/lawyers feed you one line of legal information at a time and months apart because for them ignorance is bliss; by that time it may well be over for you whether you won or lost in the court system. They are legally accountable to no one least of all The Law Society Of Ireland for they are as toothless as a plumbers union is for plumbers. But there is hope for the client if only an effort is put in to their  own case by themselves before they go from client, whether you are a plaintiff or a defendant, to becoming a victim of a very corrupt legal system. That journey starts off by leaving the fear outside the hallowed halls of justice and leaving emotions there too and putting on the robes of a practical mindset based on simple objectivity. As you read further, below is a simple real- life illustrations of what you may face and the danger you might find yourself in when you find out that the hired professional friend was really the hired professional foe. 

A man named Tom goes to his friendly solicitor because he feels he was defamed by another man named Jack. Tom’s solicitor tells him that he has a great case (and he had) and would be happy to represent him. Tom wins. He was awarded €50,000 plus costs and his lawyer, feeling the love now, decided that those costs would be another €50,000. Facing down a judgement totalling €10o,000, it looked like Jack’s goose was cooked. It would've been except Jack could not afford an egg from a hen let alone one from a goose. Eight years have since passed since that case and no one thought to inform Tom, least of all his solicitor, that Jack was as poor as he claimed he was during all that time. The question is why not? The simple answer to that one is that it was not in Tom’s solicitor’s interest to tell him. The reality for Tom is different now from that heady day when he thought he had won the case and costs. Surely there may be must be some mistake!

No mistake. Tom’s solicitor intends to get paid whether it is from Tom or Jack. At least he knew absolutely that his friend Tom has lots of money. The solicitor’s job was only to win the case legally. If he had an ethical imperative or moral position as a gentleman in all of this it would have to have been the duty of care to Tom to tell him that even if they won and Jack had no money, then it would have to be him that would have to foot the bill. If that had been done in the first instance then a minor case need not have become a federal one and would most likely never have been undertaken. Then again, there is no money in the truth for solicitors, only financial penury for their victims, whether it be defendant or plaintiff, that are otherwise called clients in a world where the sun shines everyday. 

Everyday you hear of people fighting their cases all the way to the Supreme Court, the most expensive court in the land. There is only one law and one winner in the court on the final day. That day may not be the end of a nightmare but the beginning of one for that winner or loser. Just this week in London two greedy sons tried to disinherit their stepmother and beloved wife of their now deceased father. They wanted to have reduced her inheritance from £125,000 to £100,000 by claiming that their father’s last will was invalid. It was valid. This was over just £25,000!!!! Real justice will be served on these idiots and not the skewed justice they sought. They will now have to come up with another £132,000 between them on top of their full inheritance which goes to court costs awarded against them. Those court cost were £200,000. The judge was shocked that this case actually got to court while the widow's dignity and inheritance remained intact.

In the tall grass somewhere was their solicitor who knew the script before they did and the final act. He will face no court for just knowing what these idiots did not- one line at a time. Sometimes justice is served on a hot plate of irony.

Barry Clifford

Friday, March 17, 2017

The tides of March

           It was on March 17th in 180AD that the emperor Marcus Aurelius died

Beware the XVI Kalends of April. No, that date doesn’t have quite the same ring as the Ides of March, although it was only two days later – ie March 17th – in the Roman calendar: as described by the strange custom of skipping ahead to the next milestone, the 1st (or kalends) of April, and then counting backwards, in this case by 16 days inclusive.

But however you arrived there, it was on March 17th, 180AD that the emperor Marcus Aurelius died, an event at least as ominous as the assassination of Caesar two centuries earlier.

If you’ve seen the film Gladiator, you know the story, roughly. As played by Richard Harris, the emperor is a sad but wise old man who sees too clearly how useless his son Commodus (Joaquín Phoenix) is. He wants a proper Roman general (Russell Crowe) to succeed instead. But before he can arrange this, death intervenes, with suspected assistance from the natural heir.

Aurelius brought the curtain down on an era that Gibbon believed had not been bettered anywhere before or since

So much for the opening scenes of the cinema version. As for history, the demise of Marcus Aurelius also provides the starting point – or more accurately, the end of the beginning – of one of the greatest books ever written: Edward Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

The last of the “Five Good Emperors”, Aurelius brought the curtain down on an era that Gibbon believed had not been bettered anywhere before or since. Thus he writes, early in his masterpiece:
“If a man were called to fix the period in the history of the world during which the condition of the human race was most happy and prosperous, he would, without hesitation, name that which elapsed from the death of Domitian [in 96AD] to the accession of Commodus.”

It was a time, Gibbon argued, when the absolute power with which Rome ruled a vast empire was in perfect balance with the “virtue and wisdom” of its leaders. Of the last two – Antoninus Pius and Aurelius – in particular, he added: “Their united reigns are possibly the only period of history in which the happiness of a great people was the sole object of government.”

When he wasn’t slaughtering human opposition, it was animals, including once – notoriously – a giraffe. And then there was his sex life, degenerate even by Roman standards

Commodus had no such object. He fancied himself as a gladiator, mainly. He fought hundreds of public fights, their outcomes presumably preordained, and further outraged public opinion by awarding himself from the general gladiators’ fund “a stipend so exorbitant” it required a new tax.
When he wasn’t slaughtering human opposition, it was animals, including once – notoriously – a giraffe. And then there was his sex life, degenerate even by Roman standards.

Here, as everywhere, Gibbon had done the research. “The ancient historians have expatiated on these abandoned scenes of prostitution, which scorned every restraint of nature or modesty,” he wrote, adding: “it would not be easy to translate their too faithful descriptions into the decency of modern language”. A little disappointingly, he left it at that.

Christians against lions
Mind you, getting back to gladiatorial sports, it should be noted that the wise old Aurelius had presided over them too. Indirectly or otherwise, his leadership also saw an upsurge in events that pitted Christians against lions. But then Gibbon might not have been unduly disturbed by this.
He blamed the new religion, largely, for the empire’s demise. There was also a more general decline of civic virtue, he lamented, in which citizens lost their willingness to live hard, soldierly lives. In the meantime, too many people were seduced by Christian promises of the better world awaiting them to make the necessary sacrifices in this one.

In any case, one small consequence of the Roman decline that set in from the 2nd century onwards was that a certain, mist-covered island west of Europe was never added to the imperial collection.
It would have been an “easy” job, Gibbon suggests, quoting the historian Tacitus, who was in turn quoting Gnaeus Julius Agricola, conqueror of Britain, to the effect that “one legion and a few auxiliaries” would take care of Ireland.

Not everyone agreed. “The Irish writers, jealous of their national honour, are extremely provoked on this occasion, both with Tacitus and with Agricola,” adds Gibbon in a footnote.
But the invasion plan was never tested. When a British Roman conquered Ireland two and a half centuries later, it was in the name of the new religion. And among the far-reaching results are that what used to be the XVI Kalends of April is now known, much more popularly, as Paddy’s Day.

Frank McNally

Photo Minute: Galway in original colour 1913

Do you know who invented St. Patrick’s Day?

Luke Wadding: You may never have heard of him, but we owe him a deep debt of gratitude.
You may never have heard of him, but we owe him a deep debt of gratitude, for Luke Wadding is the man we can all thank, praise or blame for making St Patricks Day the day it is. Wadding, a Co. Waterford native born in October 1558, was a Franciscan priest ordained in 1607 and sent as a chaplain to Rome in 1618.

Once there, he soon began raising funds for an Irish college for clerical students studying for the priesthood.  He had accumulated great power in Rome and succeeded in his quest, opening the college in 1625. Wadding acted as head of the Irish College for decades after.

A fierce Irish nationalist, he had no time at all for the English and their occupation of Ireland. He strongly supported the Irish Catholic uprising in the war of 1641, and his college became a hotbed of opposition to the English. Wadding sent soldiers and arms to Ireland and persuaded Pope Innocent X to send Archbishop Giovanni Rinuccini there as his representative.

Rinuccini went to Ireland with a huge quantity of arms, including 20,000 pounds of gunpowder, and a large sum of money to help the Irish rebels, who he hoped would declare an independent Catholic Ireland.
Alas, Rinuccini failed in his task, partly because of internal Irish strife (what’s new?). He returned to Rome in 1649, leaving Ireland at the mercy of Oliver Cromwell, who later crushed the Irish rebellion.

Oliver Cromwell.

Efforts were made to make Luke Wadding a cardinal, but his enemies prevented it. He was by far the strongest advocate of the Irish cause in Rome and met with several popes to push the issue.  He was so effective that generations later his spirit lived on in the Irish college.
In the late 19th century, Sir George Errington was sent by British Prime Minister William Gladstone to Rome to explain the Irish question and ask for support for the British position.

He came back empty-handed, however, explaining that the Irish politicians in Ireland were utter moderates compared to the priests and staff at the Irish College.
Wadding succeeded, against all the odds, in making St Patricks Day a feast day. After it was decreed a holy day of obligation, it was wholeheartedly embraced by the Catholic Church and soon became a worldwide day of celebration. Though the day had been observed from around the 10th century, Wadding was the one who put the power of the Church behind it.

Sculpture of St. Patrick.

His legacy has come down the ages to us. In 1900, his portrait and part of his library were placed in the Franciscan convent on Merchant's Quay in Dublin. His life story was written by Francis Harold, his nephew, in the 17th century.

So spare a thought for Luke Wadding this St Patricks Day. Without him, we would likely never have the grand occasion we celebrate this week.

The Anatomy Of A Lie

THE ANATOMY OF A LIE - The Irish woman who lived as a man to practice medicine

When the esteemed Dr James Barry died in 1865, above, an examination of his body revealed that he was a woman, Margaret Bulkley, who had disguised herself to practise medicine, says Robert Hume

HOW did a Cork greengrocer’s daughter in the 19th century defy all the odds to become a doctor? Charwoman Sophia Bishop was laying out the body of Dr James Barry, on July 25, 1865, when she screamed. Her master was a woman.

The eminent ‘Dr Barry’ was Margaret Ann Bulkley, daughter of Jeremiah Bulkley, a greengrocer on the South Mall who supplemented his income by working at the weigh house. But the recklessness of his elder son destituted the family and Jeremiah was locked up in the Debtors’ Prison in Dublin. Their only hope was his wife’s brother, James Barry, the famous Cork artist and professor of painting at London’s Royal Academy.

The artist died in 1806, leaving money to the Bulkleys, who moved to London. Barry’s friends took the family under their wing. Margaret began lessons with the physician, Edward Frye. Margaret, a bright child, dreamed of becoming a doctor. But no women were allowed to enter university.

The friends devised a daring plan that would have appealed to Uncle James, who was a great fan of Mary Wollstonecraft’s book A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792). Margaret’s mother would disguise her as a boy, take her to Edinburgh and enrol her at the university medical school, one of the most famous in Europe. In 1809, aged 14, Margaret was taken to Edinburgh by sea. She was dressed as a boy, in a thick overcoat.

She had a new name, a combination of her uncle’s, and those of two friends, both party to the deception: General Francisco de Miranda, from Venezuela, and David Stuart Erskine, a keen supporter of women’s education. Exit Margaret Bulkley. Enter James Miranda Stuart Barry.

Like all other new students, James Barry had a medical that was evidently so superficial that ‘his’ gender was not discovered, and he won admission. He proved a brilliant student, and swept through his exams, receiving his MD in 1812.

The plan was for him to go with General Miranda to Venezuela, where female doctors were allowed to practise; but there was one hitch — the general was now in prison. Barry would have to continue in his male role. From Edinburgh, he went to London and spent six months at St Thomas’s Hospital. After passing the Royal College of Surgeons exam, he enlisted as a surgeon in the British Army.

Serving in Europe, India, South Africa and Canada, he was promoted through the ranks to become inspector general in charge of military hospitals — the most senior medical position in the British Army. He became a highly acclaimed surgeon, and championed better food, sanitation and medical care for soldiers, prisoners and lepers.

Barry’s first posting, in 1816, was to the Cape of Good Hope. There, he acquired a black poodle, called Psyche; a goat, which he took around with him so he could drink its milk; and a black servant, who would stay with him for the next 50 years. Each morning, the servant’s task was to lay out six small towels that Barry would use as bandages to disguise his curves and broaden his shoulders. But this was not enough to stop Barry from attracting attention: even with his three-inch soles, he was tiny, just over five feet. His small hands, smooth skin, squeaky voice and mincing manner made him effeminate. And when Governor Charles Somerset gave Barry private apartments, some people suspected the two were in a homosexual relationship.

Yet Barry was accepted as male. He swore like a trooper, and was quite a ladies’ man, behaving so flirtatiously with women that one husband accused him of paying “improper attentions” to his wife.

While in Cape Town, in 1826, he performed an emergency Caesarean section while the patient was lying on a kitchen table — the first ever to be documented. Although anaesthetics and antiseptics had not yet been invented, both mother and child survived. Forty years later, in 1866, a future prime minister of South Africa was named James Barry Munnik Hertzog in the surgeon’s honour.

Barry was renowned for his fiery temper, and he fought two duels. During the Crimean War, his bullish manner made him very unpopular with Florence Nightingale. “He behaved like a brute,” she wrote, “the most hardened creature I ever met throughout the army.”

After Barry’s death, from dysentery, aged 70, Bishop let the story out; but, by then, Barry had been given a full military funeral. The General Register Office asked Barry’s doctor why he had issued a death certificate describing Barry as ‘male’. When he replied he had no reason to suspect he was a woman, Bishop retorted he was “a pretty poor doctor not to know this”. Another doctor who had treated Barry, for a chest infection in Canada, said that the bedroom was always in darkness when he examined him.

Barry’s deathbed sex secret rocked the Victorian establishment. The army had been fooled, and placed an embargo on Barry’s military record for a hundred years — hoping the scandal would pass. Instead, there was a frenzy to discover the true identity of one of the day’s most respected surgeons.

All this because Bishop had ignored Barry’s final wish. The doctor had insisted that he should not be changed out of the clothes in which he died. Instead, Bishop had examined his body closely and had literally uncovered his secret: Barry was a “perfect female”. And there was more: she had stretch marks on her stomach, evidence of an earlier pregnancy. Bulkley could have done what most women of that time did: married and had children. But she was determined to become a doctor. This meant living a huge lie, but she became the first woman to graduate in medicine — an honour usually accorded to Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, in 1865, the year Barry died. A war hero and medical pioneer, Margaret Ann Bulkley saved the lives of soldiers, and gave life to the unborn
By Robert Hume

What have the Irish ever done for us? (More than you might think)

The Irish are known for many things, but perhaps not for splitting the atom and curing leprosy. Lets set the record straight

It’s that time of year again when shamrockery, Guinness and “Kiss me I’m Irish” hats come to the fore in presenting a particular image of “Irishness” to the world.
When the sons and daughters of the diaspora will celebrate “Patty’s Day” by eating corned beef and cabbage, downing green beer and jumping around to the House of Pain.
It’s all harmless fun, of course. Though some may not approve of the version of Ireland it portrays, our politicians and tourism agencies will wring the very last drop of green from St Patrick’s Day for maximum fiscal effect.
There is another Ireland that has been making its way in the world for centuries, however, making a positive impact around the globe and what better time to celebrate some of those real Irish achievements.

Splitting the atom

Ernest Walton: an Irish physicist and Nobel laureate who became the first person to artificially split the atom, thus ushering the nuclear age. Photograph: Jack McManus
The son of a Methodist minister and born in Dungarvan, Co Waterford, Ernest Walton was a research scholar at Cambridge where under the guidance of Sir Ernest Rutherford with John Cockcroft he successfully managed to split the nuclei of lithium atoms by bombarding them with a stream of protons. It was the first time an atom had been split and it was for this achievement that Walton and Cockcroft were awarded the Nobel Prize for physics in 1951.


                                                                        Eileen Gray: a Modernist master
One of the most influential figures in the Modern movement in design and architecture was an Irishwoman from Co Wexford. Eileen Gray was little-known in her homeland during her long lifetime but in recent times she has been recognised as one of the most important and influential contributors to Modernism.

A cure for leprosy

The Leprosy Mission commissioned a portrait of Dr Vincent Barry to mark his discovery of the cure for leprosy. From left, Síle DeValera, Prof Hugh Brady, president of UCD, artist Sarah Tynan and Ken Gibson of the Leprosy Mission
Cork doctor Vincent Barry played a vital role in da small team at Trinity College working on the related disease tuberculosis. In 1954 Barry was able to synthesise the compound Clofazimine which would become a crucial part of the multi-drug treatment now used for leprosy around the world.

The Angel of the Delta

Margaret Haughery: an orphan herself, she opened many orphanages in New Orleans becoming known locally as “The Angel of the Delta”
Margaret Haughery emigrated to the United States as child to escape the ravages of the famine in south Leitrim and once in America was orphaned when her parents were killed in a yellow fever outbreak. Her life was further blighted by tragedy when her own husband and only child also succumbed to disease. Despite her personal tragedies she successfully managed and opened many orphanages in New Orleans becoming known locally as “The Angel of the Delta”. When she died in 1882 her funeral was one of the largest the city has ever seen such was her standing in the community.

The steam turbine

Charles Parsons, son of Anglo-Irish astronomer William Parsons of Parsonstown (now Birr, Co Offaly), invented the steam turbine. Photograph: Corbis via Getty Images
Developed by Charles Parsons , son of Anglo-Irish astronomer William Parsons of Parsonstown (now Birr, Co Offaly) the steam turbine was a major advance in steam engine technology. It enabled the direct generation of electricity from steam power and was installed at power stations around the world as well as transforming marine propulsion.

Righteous Among the Nations
Mary Elmes, a Cork woman became the only Irish citizen to be honoured as Righteous Among the Nations by the State of Israel. She joined the University of London Ambulance Unit in Spain to help the innocent victims of the vicious ongoing Spanish Civil War and later worked in refugee camps in southern France following the outbreak of the second World War. At great personal risk she saved the lived of hundreds of Jewish children by smuggling them to safety, often in the boot of her car.

Modern economics

                                                                                      Richard Cantillon
He was a banker, speculator and economic opportunist and a man of great intellectual ability, Kerryman Richard Cantillon is often cited as one of the founders of modern economics. In 1730 Cantillon wrote the work that he is now remembered for, Essai Sur La Nature Du Commerce En Général (Essay on the Nature of Trade in General), inspired by his experiences during the Mississippi bubble. In Essai, as it is commonly abbreviated, Cantillon outlines a systematic modern economic theory covering a range of now core economic ideas including cause and effect, monetary theory, entrepreneur theory and spatial economics. Cantillon’s Essai is now regarded as having huge significance in the development of modern economic theory and influenced many of those who followed including Adam Smith, who cited it in his Wealth of Nations.

Mother Jones

Irish-born American labour organiser Mother Jones (Mary Harris Jones) poses with a five-tiered cake in celebration of her 100th birthday in 1930. Photograph: FPG/Getty Images
Mary Harris, better known as “Mother Jones”, rose from humble beginnings in Cork city to become one of the most effective labour activists in the United States. Once described as “the most dangerous woman in America”, she was a tireless campaigner for the rights of the poor and the working class particularly women and children. She once led a march of women and children from Pennsylvania to the home of President Theodore Roosevelt on Long Island to demand an end to child labour.


Edmund Burke: the political philosopher is one of the founding fathers of modern conservatism. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons
Dubliner Edmund Burke was one of the most influential political thinkers of his time. His ideas have had a lasting impact on political discourse in both Britain and America and he is often regarded as one of the founding fathers of modern conservatism. Burke was a vocal critic of British policy towards the American colonies, a policy that would eventually lead to the creation of the United States. He was also a critic of the “mob rule” of the French Revolution and a staunch defender of parliamentary independence.

The Royal Ballet

Ninette De Valois, stage-name of Edris Stannus, founded what would become the Royal Ballet in London

Dame Ninette de Valois was born as Edris Stannus in 1898 in Blessington, Co Wicklow. When she turned 10 she began attending ballet lessons and became a successful dancer in London with the Ballets Russes under the renowned impresario Sergei Diaghilev. She later founded her own ballet school, the Academy of Choreographic Art, in London in 1926 and established the Abbey Theatre School of Ballet in Dublin. In London she set about defining a new English ballet with its own independent style and approach, founding the Sadlers Wells Ballet School and the Vic-Wells Ballet company that would become the Royal Ballet. She lived most of her life in an unassuming house in Barnes, London with her husband, surgeon Arthur Connell. She passed away in 2001 at the age of 102.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Photo Minute: Oh, what a wonderful world

What happened to the Irish girl in the 1927 National Geographic photo?

16-year-old Bridget Kane [center] moved to the US just months after the photograph was taken.

In 2016, IrishCentral published a series of photos from a 1927 edition of National Geographic which documented the lives of the people in the then Irish Free State. Included among these pictures was a beautiful portrait of three women – three separate generations of one family –  stationed at the door of their thatched stone cottage in Co. Galway.

Now, thanks to an eagle-eyed reader with a very personal connection to the photograph, we know who these women were. Bridget Kane, a resident of Lettergesh in Galway, was just 16 years old when photographer Clifton R. Adams landed on her doorstep in 1927, taking snaps of a country still recovering from the devastation of the War of Independence and Civil War. Within a year Bridget had moved to the US, making a lonely solo passage across the waves to Boston. She did not return home again for 44 years.
Her story is the Irish story of emigration, sadness, a new life and her own version of the American dream. There was even a trip home much later back to her Camelot, her home place.
When her photo was first published, her son Tom Farrell contacted IrishCentral to tell us more about the young girl in the 90-year-old photograph and the two women who stand by her side. A quiet and unassuming character, Bridget, or Betty as she was known in America, never spoke too much of the photo and it was only discovered by accident later when another family member spotted it while browsing through magazines.
Born on December 20, 1910, Bridget had three sisters and three brothers, all of whom left Ireland but for two brothers who looked after the farm. Two of her sisters left for Boston before she made the journey, joining them and her father’s brother’s family a couple of months after her appearance in National Geographic magazine. She left behind the two women in the picture: her mother Annie Mulkerns Kane and her paternal grandmother Bridget Coyne Kane. After she boarded the ship for the long journey to America she never saw either again.

Tom Farrell with his copy. Image: Tom Farrell.

“She had just turned 16 a couple months before that [the picture] and the next year she left Ireland and she never saw her parents again. She did go back in 1972, but my grandparents had passed away. I think she missed my grandmother by a few years,” Farrell told IrishCentral.
“It was 44 years. I look at this and I find it mind-boggling because I have a grandson. He just turned 16 and I'm a basket case that he's going to be driving now. She crossed the ocean by herself. She didn't have anybody else with her.
“She had two sisters here who sent her money to help her with her passage,” he continued, “but she went to Boston originally. She had cousins in Boston. Her father's brother had emigrated to Boston and had seven children up there and a couple of cousins were her age, born around 1910, 1911, 1912.
“But none of the three sisters were that happy up in Boston and they moved down to Brooklyn.”
Bridget – by then Betty for fear an Irish name would work against her – moved to Brooklyn in the early 1930s, met Farrell’s father, the son of Irish immigrants from Longford, and married shortly thereafter. They settled in the Prospect Heights area of Brooklyn. There they stayed until 1951 when they moved out to New Jersey.
Bridget returned to Ireland just once, in 1972.
Despite her famous turn in the international magazine, Farrell’s family only came across the original copy of the magazine after Bridget's death and she is said to have spoken little of something her family still regards as extremely special. It was only when her brother-in-law recognized her when he picked up the magazine in a waiting room that the photo came to the attention of the family at all.

Farrell's daughter Tracey by the cottage. Image: Tom Farrell.

“I think she was self-conscious about the picture being that it was a peasant farm and she had no shoes on. I know she got into the magazine by accident,” Farrell explained.
“We have two copies. I have one and my sister has one. She has the original one which she found after my mother passed away. It was buried in a chest of drawers at the bottom. We knew about it and we had seen it, but she never kept it out much. I just think she was very self-conscious. I don't recall her bringing it out or pointing it out to anybody.
“She was very low-key, quiet, easy going. She could get lost in a crowd because she's not going to be one that's looking for attention or anything. I think that's probably pretty accurate to say that she was self-conscious about the picture.”
Carrying on the family tradition of portraits outside the old home, Farrell even has a picture of his own daughter standing outside the Lettergesh house, taken in 1996 on one of his several trips to Ireland to visit his mother's homeplace. He even spent a whole summer on the farm, which is now owned by a neighbor, back in 1952. His visit just fell short of coinciding with the shooting of “The Quiet Man.” The horse race scenes were filmed along Lettergesh Beach near the house.

The 1927 National Geographic.

“That building, that was their outhouse and when my daughter was there it was really just a barn, but when I was there they used to keep chickens in it. I spent the whole summer there in 1952. They had built a house across the street on the other side of the road.”
“When I went in 1952 … they had no running water or anything like that and when I went back in 1996 the friend that I had met in ‘52, Peter Kane, he told me they didn't have running water until the ‘80s or something like that. It's still pretty much unchanged.”
Even though she featured in some of the first color photographs taken in Ireland, Farrell still believes his mother, who died of pancreatic cancer in 1975, wouldn’t be too impressed by it all.
“She'd be more impressed by all her descendants and that we're a close family,” he said.
“She was the backbone. My father was out there working every day. He was a laborer and worked hard. She never worked and he was so proud of it, but she was the one who made sure we got to school on time, the lunches were made and everything.
“My brother and sister live within half an hour of me and we see each other all the time. 
“I know she would be very pleased. One of her final words to my sister was to always stay close and we have. She has 18 descendants: three children, six grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.” 

By Frances Mulraney

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Cork man 'driving 49 years' fails test for 15th time

Ray Heffernan was on Cork's Red FM this morning after failing his driving test for the 15th time.

Speaking on The Neil Prendeville Show, Mr Heffernan said he has been driving for 49 years and has never had an accident or a crash and has never been prosecuted for a road offence.

Discussing his 15th test, Mr Predeville went through the test with Mr Heffernan and found 37 faults of differing grades including the position on the road, not indicating at roundabouts and observation when reversing.

Mr Heffernan feels he is "blacklisted" said none of the errors occurred when he went out with his driving instructor Pat O'Mahony.

Mr Prendeville has previouly been out driving with Mr Heffernan and said he felt perfectly safe in the car. Mr Prendeville said he would continue to pay for his tests until he passed, something Mr Heffernan was very grateful for.

Mr Heffernan's insurance is currently at €950 and says he has driven all over Wales and in London.

While a court can't overturn the decision, they can instruct that test be resit and Mr Heffernan plans to lodge an appeal.