Monday, November 25, 2013

Shooting the Messenger

Shooting the Messenger! 
So...50 years ago, today, I was just 7, and was playing by myself in our back-yard on Main Street, Loughrea Town ('cause no one would play with me), hitting a tennis ball with my hurley against the big wooden gate that closed off our yard from the street. My brother Paul had numbered the squares on the gate, assigning scores to each target, the smaller the square, the bigger the score. I was aceing the hard-to-hit-for-a-seven-year-old #3 target that was the wicket gate, when the window above me opened up, in what was Sweeneys Grocery then, but now is AIB Bank. Gerry Sweeney popped his head out, a mass of ginger hair, animated, 'JFK has been shot' he roared, before slamming the window shut. 
I had no idea what this utterance meant, but given the nature of its delivery, felt obliged to drop the hurley and dash into our Kitchen, where mum and dad and who knows how many of my 6 siblings were having their tea (supper, whatever) and waiting for the 6 o'clock news to come on the warmed-up wireless, after the Angelus, that was chiming away sonorously amid the clack and clatter of cups and saucers and spoons. I blurted out Gerry's news, 'JFK has been shot' to be met by incredulous stares and the rebuke, 'Shut up, the news is only coming on, what would you know about JFK, sure wasn't he just in Eyre Square a couple a months ago, shot??? Shure who would shoot a man like that, shame on you for your wicked imagination, go up those stairs to your room, what a thing to say, shhh, here's the news just coming on now...get, get you up those stairs, and don't come down until you have had a long think about what trouble telling lies gets you, boyo, ...pass the milk Clare please, shush, whisth!!, ...what's that they just said?.. JFK, Oh my God......!'
"Don't let it be forgot
That once there was a spot.
For one brief, shining moment
That was known as Camelot."
-- Alan J. Lerner (a classmate of JFK's at Harvard)

Later I wrote a piece from the walking tours I give in Galway. I call the tours Galway's Horrible Histories Walking Tours...but in fairness, only some of them are horrible.

Earlier today I was asked what did JFK ever do for Ireland? What indeed, quite a bit I'd's how I answered the question.

Social Media, Blog & Content Creator - Walking Tours
Earlier today I was asked what did JFK ever do for Ireland?
When I do my Galway's Horrible Histories Walking Tours ( ), I stop at the Browne Doorway in Eyre Square and tell the story of how JFK won the hearts and minds of Galway and Ireland ..and I quote from his speech (in Cork)..."I bring to you today the greetings of the people of Galway, New York; Dublin, New Hampshire; the people of Killarney, West Virginia; Kilkenny, Minnesota; the people of Limerick, Maine; and the people of Shamrock, Texas." Whoever wrote his speeches, knew his craft right well. I then tell how he and Eamon Devalera signed an agreement which limited future Irish emigration to the US, but the quid pro quo was the promise of FDI from US companies...including Boston's Digital Equipment Company (Digital), who 10 years later employed over 1,000 people in Galway. The rest is history. The foundation for modern Ireland's prosperity was laid right there in Eyre Square by JFK, who was assassinated in Dallas just 5 months later.

and Finally, just to cap it all off, two other progressive paople died the same day as JFK. They were C. S. Lewis and Aldous Huxley. What an astonishing co-incidence, three of the most visionary men on earth...all gone in one day. Air dheis De go raibh a h-anamacha.