Change for the sake of change is not always for the better, indeed I’ve heard it said that the more things change the more they stay the same, In my opinion, it seems that way. Talk is cheap action is harder to see in motion, there can be no doubt that in the last forty years there have been some considerable advancements in certain fields especially in areas of communication, such as personal computers, mobile tablets, and of course mobile phones.

Now you might say “isn’t that great” we can send emails, Skype, or speak to anyone anywhere in the world, just press the buttons or touch screens and hey presto we’re in business, that would fine if we left it at that but now it seems that we can’t go anywhere without our Smart Phones-tablet, you can see people with them in restaurants, Doctors surgeries, Churches, planes, trains and just about anywhere, it’s almost as if they’ve become an extension of the human anatomy. I’m not complaining or pontificating, I have a mobile phone and a PC myself. The modern social media phenomena have engulfed the whole planet. It has become an essential way of life, and now before we leave our homes we invariably take the following, mobile phone, keys, purse or wallet. However, I remember a time when you needed or wanted to make a telephone call you had to queue outside a telephone box with a pocketful of shilling coins waiting for whoever it was, was finished with their call. In fact, there was a time when there was a telephone box in every village and town because there weren’t many people who had their own phones. It was only when Michael Smurfit came along and improved the postal system that ordinary folk could apply for one. The change I see is that rather than reconnecting people, mobile modern communications has disconnected people in a way that makes them insular and slaves to a device which is only as good the battery that powers it.

Of course, there have been other changes that have impacted on our lives, motorways have improved the movement of transport, we have an annual NCT, morning and evening gridlocks, still burn petrol and diesel, and still have too many deaths on the roads. Our highly educated young people are leaving in droves, our politicians sing different tunes to the ones back in the seventies although the merry-go-round remains the same, same names, the same family, same old promises of CHANGE for the better?

On another note, the shopping experience has changed beyond all recognition. Back in the day men would usually drive their wives to the supermarkets and leave them to it while they ‘The Men’ waited or indulged themselves in other shops, men were seldom seen with their other half. In this enlightened age, men have embraced their feminine side, changing nappies, pushing prams, staying at home more and that’s a good thing, a positive change. No strange thing to see husbands, partners, and boyfriends out and about in the supermarkets shopping and helping and even packing the messages into bags mostly with smiles on their faces, why because we’re happy, supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl’s have come to town spreading joy and cheer with their weekly surprises and delights. However, you see a man before you who is both confused and perplexed “Why” he is happy with the quality and the price of trousers on offer at these establishments but is totally confused; the reason is when you see a size thirty-eight waistline and an inside leg of thirty-six inches surely that’s not possible, there should be a retraction, not a lengthening. If somebody could explain this weird anomaly I would most grateful indeed. I’m shrinking not growing…


Ned Says

An Irish Funeral
The Irish Funeral follows a pattern regardless of the age of the deceased. It is almost like a ritual, a ritual with its customs, the funeral home or wake, the removal, mass or service, burial, grub, and sometimes even the craic, more so in the case of an elderly person who has enjoyed what is commonly referred to as a good innings. Rural funerals, especially in the case of the old can often be a good day out, a chance to see and mingle with people you haven’t seen in a while. City funerals are different; mainly in the sense of traffic congestion, which could make it more difficult for people to attend and to be able to take their time. All funerals are unique in their own fashion but there’s nothing quite like an Irish Funeral. Of course the passing of a family member, friend or an acquaintance is a sad time for all involved; the younger the person the sadder the occasion. With older people there is an easier acceptance of their demise.
With the advent of modern technology, word of someone’s passing travels much faster, we hear the news via local radio, Facebook, emails, text messages, newspapers, and of course word of mouth. First thing that happens is the removal of the deceased either from the home place, nursing home or from the hospital. In most cases it’s from the hospital. In older times the dearly departed would be waked at home before their removal to the local church, but in more recent times the removal from the hospital morgue to the funeral home is what usually takes place, this is where the recently deceased can be viewed by friends and neighbours with the immediate family in close proximity. Viewing customarily occurs in the late afternoon; however it can begin earlier if the deceased is a victim of circumstance, famous, or well liked. Sympathisers after viewing the mortal remains of the deceased will then offer their hand in sympathy to the deceased immediate family, usually accompanied with the immortal words “Sorry for your trouble”. After the viewing is complete the funeral director will prepare the casket for the journey to the church or service, and this procedure is what’s known as the removal.
So how do you find yourself at someone’s funeral? Someone may ask you if you intend going to the removal, or mass or service, or both. This will depend on certain factors: how well did you know the deceased or the family? Are you obliged to go? Can you get off work to go to the mass? How far away is the church? Who will there? Will there be food afterwards? You would be amazed how many people will go if there is a feed and a pint after the deceased has finally been laid to rest.
Generally folk turn out for funerals to show their respect for the family in question, and out of respect for friends and work colleagues who are related to the deceased in some way. If you can make both the removal and the mass or service all the better; but if you can only make one, that will do as you will have honoured the family. Of course it goes without question that you will attend a family or extended family members funeral if at all possible. Why? Because it’s expected of you, and not to do so would cause people to notice; there are always people who turn up to see who haven’t turned up. Gossip is an integral part of Irish life and there are no exceptions.
After the funeral is over, family, friends and neighbours will usually retire to a local hotel or hostelry for something to eat and drink; this can range from soup and sandwiches to a sit-down meal or even a buffet. This is the time when people will mingle and chat.
It goes without saying that the deceased is never spoken badly of (Well in most cases) but rather the opposite. People are inclined to say nice things “She was a beautiful corpse, I haven’t seen her look as well in years” A complete contradiction , if you find yourself in conversation with someone who is spouting stuff like that, better to just nod the head in affirmation. I once overheard a group of elderly women discussing the passing of their friend. “Poor ould Bridie…she’s in a much better place. “She was a great knitter” another said. “She’s knitting for the boss himself as we speak” someone else chirped in. I almost wished that poor ould Bride had knitted one for myself. I suppose, in a sense it’s a way of keeping the dearly departed in our hearts and minds, and that in its self is no bad thing, a healthier way at looking at death rather than a morbid fascination with it, and that as they say is all part of an Irish Funeral.

Ned Say’s



During the week I happened to catch the last of a discussion on the radio about Margaretta D’Arcy, a 79 year old feminist, peace activist, and film maker who was jailed last week for three months in prison in relation to protests over the US military’s use of Shannon Airport. She finds herself in jail for refusing to sign a bond to keep the peace and to stay away from unauthorised zones at Shannon Airport.

Her case is notably for several reasons, notwithstanding her age; she is also undergoing treatment for cancer. However she has become the focus of media attention for the visit of one of her oldest friends who just happens to be the president’s wife Sabina Higgins. This I am sure, suits Margareta’s cause because the publicity of her incarceration and subsequent visit from her friend will highlight her protest no-end. I do not condone her or her co-protesters unauthorised use of Shannon Airport’s run-ways, simply because this action can or may cause harm to innocent people. I do on the other hand greatly admire her courage and determination in the pursuit of Truth and Justice; two words, so rare in our world to-day. Two simple words that have cost the lives of so many that have believed in the integrity of these two human principals.   

The point I would like to make regarding this particular case is this; when Margaretta serves her time in prison which she intends to do, she will in the eyes of Judicial Law have a criminal record, therefore making her a criminal. To my of thinking she is no more a criminal than someone who finds themselves behind bars for non-payment of a Television Licence…all the more so because said man/women could not afford to do so. One law for those in power and one law for those who are not, it would seem.

I cannot for the life of me understand how those, who were responsible for Ireland’s economic collapse, have not even accounted for their irresponsible actions before the people of our country. No sign of expedient Law in motion here! We are entitled to the Truth, whatever about Justice, but then again that would be too much to expect. In the case against Margaretta D’Arcy the law has been carried out to the letter; when in all fairness; common sense should have prevailed. She is a 79 year old woman suffering from Parkinson’s disease who refuses to bow down to an autocratic system which espouses to be seen, to carry out justice.

People are justifiable outraged at this decision to jail her, and are organising a protest which is to take place at the Department of Justice.  But I suspect that Margaretta will have the last laugh; she will treated with kid gloves and emerge from prison a heroine whether she serves the full term or not, unlike the Justice Department which has acted shamefully rather than with common sense or honour.








Ned Says

The Skin I Live in

Take a look at my skin; it’s the only one you’ve got. In humans, it is the largest organ of the integumentary system…there’s a good one for you. I’d never heard of the integumentary system before, well, at least not until recently; last week to be honest.

You see, I’ve taken an interest in my skin of late, not because there’s anything wrong with it you see, it’s just simply that I’m getting on with life, pushing the boat further into the big blue yonder, sailing towards the next horizon, trying to get over the hill rather than under it. I digress, where was I? Oh yes, the integumentary system. Well the thing about the integumentary system, is that it protects the internal structures of the body from damage, prevents dehydration, stores fat and produces vitamins and hormones. Wow! That’s a lot of information, and not only is the skin the largest organ of the body; which by the way is a pretty big organ, our skin is also waterproof, so they say…that’s pretty cool. In fact it’s amazing.

So who are THEY? And why do we believe everything They tell us? Pin to the collar, I haven’t a clue. I’m in the same boat as you my friend and I don’t mean the one that’s heading for the next horizon. I refer to the boat that those faceless experts tell us, is perfectly safe to sail in. Well you know what? I don’t think THEY; those promulgated masters of self-acquired knowledge know half as much as They presume, and there’s another strange anomaly, most people will defend those faceless experts to the death, figuratively speaking of course, but on second thoughts I’m not so sure.

Water proof skin They said “don’t go out in the rain, you’ll catch your death” some believed in the theory of water proof skin, and now for their trouble are pushing up the Daisies; John Doe RIP died of pneumonia, cause of death porous skin.

My skin, weathered and worn, farmers tan. An army of wrinkles are prosecuting a relentless war and some of their ilk have made bases around my hallowed skin. There is nothing I can do to prevent this process which is known as aging, however our faceless experts known as THEY have assured us that by using certain portents and creams we may prevent what nature has decreed. I have only to look into the mirror at the face that stares back at me for conformation that nature will have her way. But you know, it doesn’t bother me, if on the other hand you find issue with what you see, then look the other way…not my problem, it’s yours. However, if what you see is what you like, it’s a starting point, and all starting points have a life of their own.

Ned Says