Saturday, 31 March 2007


Blake's death

On the day of his death, Blake worked relentlessly on his Dante series. Eventually, it is reported, he ceased working and turned to his wife, who was in tears by his bedside. Beholding her, Blake is said to have cried, "Stay Kate! Keep just as you are – I will draw your portrait – for you have ever been an angel to me." Having completed this portrait (now lost), Blake laid down his tools and began to sing hymns and verses. At six that evening, after promising his wife that he would be with her always, Blake died. Gilchrist reports that a female lodger in the same house, present at his expiration, said, "I have been at the death, not of a man, but of a blessed angel."

George Richmond gives the following account of Blake's death in a letter to Samuel Palmer
"He died ... in a most glorious manner. He said He was going to that Country he had all His life wished to see & expressed Himself Happy, hoping for
Salvationn through Jesus Christ
— Just before he died His Countenance became fair. His eyes Brighten'd and he burst out Singing of the things he saw in Heaven."

Wednesday, 28 March 2007


Amazing Grace

I've just been to see 'Amazing Grace' , a film about the efforts of William Wilberforce and his life long battle to abolish slavery in 19th century Britain. Year after year he presented his abolitionist bill to Westminster until at last it was accepted by a majority of M.P.'s and voted into law.Along the way Wilberforce was greatly influenced by his friendship with John Newton, himself a former slave master. Newton underwent a dramatic conversion to Christ and over a period of time the enormity of the awfulness of slavery became an acute cause of distress to him.He became a firm supporter of Wilberforce and the Abolitionists cause. Now, of course we remember Newton for that stirring hymn of testimony Amazing Grace, which he wrote.

The most memorable lines in the film are when Newton declares to Wilberforce..."I only know two things for certain,that I am a great sinner, and Jesus is a great Saviour!"

The film also concenterates on Wilberforces own spiritual awakening, and how his faith propelled his lifelong crusade for justice and equality for all people and indeed for every creature! As well as his long campaign to outlaw slavery,Wilberforce also fought for the rights of English workers and founded the R.S.P.C.A. to protect animals against neglect and cruelty.

The film portrayal of this fierce crusader shows him in all his humanity and frailty, yet tireless in his pursuit of what he considered right and just.

At one point in his early political life Wilberforce was faced with an apparent dilemna,could a man of faith also become a man of politics ? Quickly however a group of radical churchmen rallied around him and showed him that sometimes to effect real change , the man of faith must become involved in politics to inject Gods values into a society. Once Wilberforce was clear on his mission, he continued this course to the end of his life.

'Amazing Grace' challenges anyone who sees themselves as people of faith into this question.."What am I prepared to do in my world to make a difference for others?" We are being challenged on many fronts to 'do our bit'...for the environment...for the worlds poor...for peace in war torn lands...for social equality in our own country etc,. While this film doesnt make any of those choices easier to make, it does encourage us in our individual response, as we follow the long and lasting differences that were made by one passionate man under God.

I left the cinema deeply moved by the evil of the slave trade and inspired by the achievements of Wilberforce in the face of huge opposition. It also made me do a stock -take of my own less than inspiring life ! Not many 'entertainments' nowadays can raise those kind of questions and for that reason alone it should be seen, and with Gods grace the awkward questions raised must be answered.

Gerard O'Shea


We can easily manage if we will only take, each day, the burden appointed to it. But the load will be too heavy for us if we carry yesterday's burden over again today, and then add the burden of the morrow before we are required to bear it.

John Newton 1725–1807, English clergyman and hymn writer, b. London. Until 1755, his life was spent chiefly at sea, where he eventually became the captain of a slave ship plying the waters between Liverpool and Sierra Leone. For the subsequent five years he was surveyor of tides at Liverpool, using his leisure time for the study of Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and theology. Newton, who was much influenced by the religious reformer George Whitefield, was ordained in the Church of England and appointed curate of Olney, Buckinghamshire, in 1764. When William Cowper made his home in the parish, friendship and literary sympathy between the two men resulted in their publishing jointly the Olney Hymns (1779 and later eds.). Among the best known of Newton's hymns are “Amazing Grace,” by far his most famous work, “How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds”, “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken,” and “God Moves in a Mysterious Way.” From 1779 he was rector of St. Mary Woolnoth, London where he became known as an abolitionist preacher. Newton's first-hand testimony before Parliament regarding the evils of slavery aided in the passage of legislation (1807) barring the British slave trade.

Tuesday, 27 March 2007


Spring Came
Flinging song of warblers
blooming jade of pine
red tinge on hillside
green in bleached
dead grass of winter
new spears, blood edged,soon to be tulips
stars of brilliant hues,cups of gold and white
crocus, aconite
lines blur, soften.The wonder - birth
not the cold, wintry orb,but sun of love
gold, water dances, released,sings, lulls day slow -wood cock's vibrations
in earth-scented cool evening
sunset-gold to night
planets, stars dancelook - and wonder.

Kendra Peters (14)

Friday, 23 March 2007



Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson went on a camping trip. After a good meal and a bottle of wine, they lay down for the night, and went to sleep.Some hours later, Holmes awoke and nudged his faithful friend."Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see."Watson replied, "I see millions and millions of stars.""What does that tell you?" Holmes asked.Watson pondered for a minute. "Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets.Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, I can see that God is all-powerful and that we are small and insignificant.Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow.What does it tell you?"Holmes was silent for a minute, then spoke."Watson, you idiot. Somebody has stolen our tent!"

Wednesday, 21 March 2007


My Remarkable Uncle
My uncle Frank Phillips is a fascinating man who has been an inspiration to me for as long as I can remember. Frank like so many others of his generation , was forced to seek out work in London where he lived for over forty years. During all that time he never lost touch with his roots in Ballycannon just outside Limerick. I remember as a child listening to my mother reading aloud Franks letters, in which he would reminisce about his old neighbours and the pleasant days he spent growing up in their midst. Even though Frank made his living in the building trade in the cosmopolitan city of London he retained a precise memory of the people and places he left behind in Ireland. He could literally travel the Ballycannon road in his minds eye noting every gap and gate and house as he went. For all I know he could note every bush and tree as well ,as he travelled this mental road!His memory of past events is still astonishing even to this present day.One of Franks many talents is the ability to remember poetry that he learned a long time ago, and he has the knack of quoting sizable chunks of verse at an appropriate moment! He disparages this talent by saying "I'm a mine of useless information!" Like many others I have dug rich nuggets from this "mine" over the years, and have listened spellbound as Frank recited works by the great classical writers. The following poem is one of his favourites, and has become one of mine. ..


WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.


Tuesday, 20 March 2007


Last weeks local The Limerick Leader led with a headline FURY OVER GAY HATE PREACHER,with Limericks gay community calling for a meeting by the Reverend Angus Stewart to be cancelled. Apparently Reverend Steweart was planning to address the question of what the Bible teaches about homosexuality at an upcoming public meeting.A spokesperson for the gay community in Limerick Vanessa Buswell believed the meeting should not be allowed to take place, saying "Gay and lesbian people should have the freedom not to be required to live by someone elses view of morality". She called for a public boycott of the debate if it was allowed to take place.As it turned out the Limerick Youth Service the proposed venue for the meeting withdrew permission for the event. In response to this article I have sent the following letter to the Limerick Leader...

The Limerick Gay Community’s reaction to a proposed address by the Reverend Angus Stewart is fanatical and disproportionate, in my view. Understandably the LGC does not share Reverend Stewarts views on the subject of homosexuality, but that’s not the issue. The issue is the right to express a difference of opinion in a public forum in the context of a pluralist society !
Gone are the bad old days when we bowed to the might of the church, and when debate on issues, particularly of a sexual nature were unheard of. In those times one view alone held sway and opposition was barely tolerated. Also past are the days when homosexual people were pilloried and discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. How ironical then that a group representing that minority should now seek to silence the dissenting views of a visiting clergyman! Having suffered the stifflement of the old church orthodoxy are we now to replace it with a new liberal orthodoxy against which we daren’t demur ?

Gerard O’Shea

Saturday, 17 March 2007



The old buildings gaze impervious to the photo-frantic hordes,

They scarcely blink to the light of the camera flash.,

These pastel coloured walls

Have seen the crowds come and go,

Have wined and dined the European elite of old,

And now become a notice board

For the vulgar tourist horde.

The ancient Queen Venecia decked in her faded robes,

Siren of the watewways, luring the jaded traveller

Who, despite all the stench of the canals

Is drawn to this courtesans perfumed charm.

Gerard O'Shea

Wednesday, 14 March 2007


Snakes Alive...
Tis A Great Day For The Irish

Signs of the onset of Spring are abundantly in the air... the birds busily flitting here and there gathering materials for their nests...a golden profusion of daffodils delighting the eyes at every turn...and today the sunshine burst out heralding the promise of even brighter and better to come !This being Ireland though, and with the imminent onset of our National saints day , nothing can be taken for granted.
My abiding memory of St. Patricks day is a rain sodden parade sludging its way down O'Connell street in Limerick, while I stood wet and miserable usually attached to a long suffering adults hand ! In those far off days (not that far really!), the only prospect of raising the soggy spirit was the appearance of an Industrial float festooned with gaudy bunting ! In later years as a teenager the American majorettes leading the visiting bands did a far better job, but that's another story!
So now the question on every ones lips is 'will the weather hold for Paddys day?'
Sadly the expression 'drowning the shamrock' has nothing to do with the precipitation on the 17th of March, and all to do with this country's preoccupation with our destructive national pastime. Alcoholic consumption in Ireland is really high especially amongst the teen/twenties group, where binge drinking is the norm .On Saturday nights, Accident and Emergency units of all our hospitals are jam-packed with this age group suffering in one way or another from the excessive intake of alcohol. How ironical then that on the day we celebrate Patrick, the one attributed with bringing the Christian message to these shores, the occasion itself is almost submerged in a sea of booze!
The message Patrick brought back then in the 5th century ,proclaimed the life-changing power of the One who said at the end of another feast in another place..."“Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” Whether or not the weather holds for next Saturday is any ones guess, but we can be sure that anyone who comes by faith to Jesus Christ will not be turned away or disappointed.
Patrick left behind his written life story called 'Confessio' or 'Confession' in which he recounts how he went away from God in his youth. It was only after he was brought to this country as a slave to mind sheep on Sliabh Mis, that he considered his life and the love and fear of God returned to him. He writes "I was always careful to lead my flocks to pasture and pray fervently. The love and fear of God inflamed my heart,my faith enlarged,my spirit augmented I prayed and prayed by day and night".
Patricks story is a personal account of how God responds when we call upon Him. Never more than now does this generation of the second millennium ,in Celtic Tiger Ireland need to heed Patricks call.
Gerard O'Shea


A Geographical Puzzle
The expression "the dew of Hermon" has, it seems, long proved "a geographical puzzle" to some. But to one who has the mind of Christ it is no puzzle, but a most striking and beautiful figure. Hermon is the very loftiest peak in all the land of Palestine, and from its snowy cap, when all the surrounding country is parched, the refreshing dew descends upon the mountains of Zion; and this is one of the figures used by the Holy Ghost to illustrate the beauty and pleasantness of brethren dwelling together in unity...Then, what joy to be enabled, in any little measure, to refresh the heart of God! He delights to see His children walking in love. It is He who says, "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" Surely this ought to stir our hearts to seek in every possible way to promote this lovely unity. It should lead us to sink self and all its belongings, to surrender everything that might tend in any measure to alienate our hearts from Christ, or from one another.

Tuesday, 13 March 2007


Mount Hermon

Mangerton Mountain


This union of mountains

Mangerton and Hermon..

Kerry and Israel passionately kiss

The mist of Mangerton - dispelled by Poet

The dew of Hermon - drenching Aarons beard...

A symmetery of Seeking

Places above the vulgar earth

Stretching towards Infinity...

A Union of Purpose,

Twin Towers of Faith -

Blowing to pieces

All our manly creeds !

Gerard O'Shea


Concealed beneath a five thousand year old bog near Ballycastle in Co Mayo is a remarkable pattern of walled fields and corrals which indicate the existence of an ancient, ordered tribe who farmed this area before the bog was formed. A visit there caused me to write this poem...

Ceidhe Fields

For 5000 years their lives were sealed
By peat and rain,
Until our modern curiosity
Uncovered their quiet existence.
Farming folk who lived and died
Without a thought for war,
Men and women so caught up with living
That they endured,
And when the end came
They believed that yet it was not over.

Gerard O'Shea


Here is a short piece from the pages of Herald of His Coming on the subject of unity that I found helpful. The Herald is a free paper circulating now for many years, dedicated to fostering revival in the church...there is a wide range of material available through their archive on

In Unity Is Strength

By G. S. Ingram

The strength unity gives is something inconceivable. The power of each individual member is increased to a large degree by the inspiration of fellowship with a large and conquering host. Nothing can so help us to an ever-larger faith as the consciousness of being one body and one spirit in Christ Jesus.
The power of union we see everywhere in nature. How feeble is a drop of rain as it falls to earth. But when the many drops are united in one stream, and thus become one body, the power is irresistible. Such is the power of true union in prayer.
And such can our prayer be if we unite all our forces in pleading the promise of the Father. And when the world "comes in like a flood," it can be overcome in the power of united prayer. Read Matthew 18:18-20; Isaiah 59:19.
It was in the upper room that they abode the ten days until they had truly become one heart and one soul. When the Spirit of God descended, He not only filled each individual, but took possession of the whole company as the body of Christ.
Do believe, O Christians, that in this present century the prayer of our Lord Jesus is still being offered: "Father...that they also may be one in us" (John 17:21). It is in the fellowship of loving and believing prayer that our hearts can be melted into one, and that we shall become strong in faith to believe and to accept what God has promised us.

Friday, 9 March 2007

Introduction to Poetry
Billy Collins

I ask them to take a poem

and hold it up to the light

like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse

into a poem

and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem's room

and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski

across the surface of a poem

waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do

is tie the poem to a chair with rope

and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose

to find out what it really means.

from The Apple that Astonished Paris, 1996University of Arkansas Press, Fayetteville, Ark.


What Canst Thou Say…

You will say Christ saith this, and the apostles say this,

but what canst thou say?

Art thou a child of Light and hast thou walked in the Light,

and what thou speakest is it inwardly from God?

Margaret Fell, quoting from her first encounter with George Fox


Hands Up..Its a Fair Cop
Gerard O'Shea

A lively debate ensued at last nights Bible study around 1Peter2:13-15..."For the Lord’s sake, respect all human authority—whether the king as head of state, 14 or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right.
15 It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. 16 For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. 17 Respect everyone, and love your Christian brothers and sisters.[
i] Fear God, and respect the king".

The burning question was , does this instruction to the civil government apply to all regimes whether friendly or hostile to the Christian believer? In the context of Peters time, the King in question would have been the Emperor Nero, an enemy of the church and persecutor of the very Christian communities that are addressed in this letter.So when in the face of a hostile regime does the believer say "enough" and flee the situation, or does he ,come what may stand firm and take whatever punishment the State deals out.Of course at all times the believer must side with Gods instruction on a matter even when it contradicts the Authority line, but should he then stay around to face the consequences of this action or run for the hills ?In Christian history we have evidence of both responses to persecution,some embracing it even to the point of martyrdom, and others fleeing from the trouble and living to see another day.

Our natural reaction to trouble is to avoid it at all cost,but there seems to be a blessing in patiently enduring trouble...a rare virtue in the times in which we live."21 For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered[k] for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.". Maybe these words help us to decide what our response should be..."20 Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you."

Much as it goes against our natural reaction, this surrendering attitude even in the face of evil is the example that Jesus Himself left us to follow..." 22 He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone.[l] 23 He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly."An impossible way to live ? Of course...apart from a supernatural infusion of Gods Holy Spirit to conform us into the image of Jesus Christ.Our mission is for perfection even as He is perfect... as we honestly express our inability to go the way of the Cross, still we strive to enter in by His grace ! Thank God He is our Shepherd and the Guardian of our souls(v25)
Homage To The Munster Red
Nash's Red Lemonade

Nash’s Mineral Waters supplies a wide range of ‘mixer’ and soft drinks products to pubs and restaurants. Our 2 litre range is also available in supermarkets.

Best known is of course, Red Lemonade for which Nash’s is rightly famous
throughout Ireland. The unique, tangy taste and fiery colour entices even the most jaded palate and it is sold in 2 litre, 500ml and 250 ml sizes. White Lemonade and Orange are also part of our carbonated range and sold in a handy 2 litre size, with Orange and Lemonade are also available as a 500 ml option.

Company History

More than 700 years ago a group of Knights Templars returning from the crusades, settled in West Limerick, Ireland. The site they chose for their castle was influenced by the presence of a well, providing an abundance of cool, clear spring water of the utmost purity and freshness. They named it St. David’s Well and surrounded it with a sturdy keep inside the castle. Eventually a town grew up, called Newcastle West – today a thriving village in one of the most beautiful parts of Ireland.

Then … and Now:

The modern company as we know it was the brainchild of Richard & Johanna Nash in 1875, and it has remained a family business since then. Using only the best ingredients and the pure water from St. David’s Well, the enterprising couple mixed, bottled, capped and distributed their soda water and ginger ale for thirsty farm workers. Displaying a flair for anticipating trends, their innovation led to distribution to local pubs and markets beyond.

Starting only with a pony and trap, Richard Nash was soon using trains and 40 horses and traps to distribute his increasingly popular products. By the 1920s though, lorries had replaced the traditional form of transport and the Nash’s would have been over-whelmed to see their soft drinks being introduced to countries they had never even heard of, such as Ghana and Tahiti.

One product, however, has remained favourite locally – Nash’s Red Lemonade. No farm worker’s lunch was complete without a bottle of the unique fiery coloured drink. To this day the formula for this refreshment remains a closely-guarded family secret.

Today, Nash’s is a successful business, based in Newcastle West. Innovation, however, is still at the forefront of the company’s success and new products are continually coming on stream. Nevertheless, Nash’s will always remain true to its roots, supplying simply the best soft drinks and mineral water around.


Red lemonade is a popular soft drink in Ireland. Unlike in other countries, Lemonade in Ireland comes in two varieties - red and white. Both are officially lemon-flavoured, but there is a marked difference in taste between the varieties. Visitors to the country are often surprised when serving staff ask which type of lemonade a person has ordered.

Red lemonade is one of the most popular mixers used with spirits in Ireland, particularly whiskey, including Paddy, Jameson and Southern Comfort.
Three major brands of red lemonade exist - TK (Taylor Keith), Country Spring which comes in a three litre bottle, and Nash's. TK is by far the most popular.

Red Lemonade is frequently quoted in the top ten things that Irish expatriates miss about the country.

A popular urban myth is that red lemonade only exists in Ireland as the chemical used to make it red is banned elsewhere in the world.


Out in the Country
And Up Crotta

My grandfather, Dicko Laide, who had a curious sense of humour and liking for the bottle of stout, was always an avid spectator to see how "the townies" were getting on at the game of hurling. He was hoping perhaps that we could contribute to the revival of the glory days of Crotta Hurling to which Pat & Dick Laide had made great contributions. He was never slow to shout out instructions as he leant over the wall behind the house - "Tanam an Dial men throw it up high and hit it on the way down" was one of his catch cries. We tried our best and many a good Sunday afternoon was spent hitting a sub-standard, if not homemade sliothair. Dicko Laide was always good for two shillings or half a crown for Nash's lemonade in McElligotts of Crotta Cross.
Dick Spring


We carry a range of produce imported from Ireland including Shaw's puddings, Tayto Crisps, Odlums Bread Mixes, McCann's & Irish Pride Bracks, Barry's Tea, Bolands Mikado & Kimberley Biscuits, Cidona and Nash's Red Lemonade to name but a few.


We walked though the nearby Blarney Woolen Mills outlet just as it was closing. We also took a quick look at the celebrated Durty Nellie’s pub and restaurant, which dates to 1690 and claims to be the oldest pub in Ireland. But the heavy cloud of cigarette smoke inside the establishment turned us off. So we ate at the hotel’s restaurant. The meal was pretty good, the food portions generous and the prices moderate. Our waitress was a charming and friendly young woman named Sioghan. She introduced me to one of Ireland’s favorite libations, “Jameson with a dash of red.”
The concoction is made from a pour of Jameson Irish Whiskey and topped with a small amount of Nash red lemonade. We had seen a distinguished looking, older gentleman drinking it in a pub in Ballyferriter.
When I described it to Sioghan, she knew exactly what it was. It is somewhat sweet and tastes like an Old Fashioned. When I asked Sioghan if it is consumed as a before-dinner aperitif or as an after-dinner cordial, she cheerfully exclaimed “all the way through.”
By Lewis Nolan March 2003

Thursday, 8 March 2007


Once in a while someone crosses ones path and makes a profound impression, indeed it may be said,a life-changing impression . In my case John Moriarty is such a man, through his writing and his spoken words, this is a man who has seen things and somebody who has a sight and vision for the future ! Moriarty sees hope in the fundamental Christian expectation of an afterlife...somewhere out of this time and space....beyond...that eternal place apart ,where neither moth or rust can destroy! Having had the privilege to listen to this man and in a teaching sense, to sit at his feet...I see him as a signpost on this earthly landscape reminding us powerfully that this is not all there a long shot ! In tribute to John I wrote these few lines,wishing him well with his recent health issues...
Gerard O'Shea

For John Moriarty

When Mangerton's cap is hidden by the mist
And the furze blooms dip their yellow heads,
And the driving rain thunders on the roof
And every ditch and stone is dripping wet,
Then there is need for the seer
To look beyond the world that dreary hangs,
And touch the hidden sun,beyond the cloud
And kiss the smiling lips beneath the shroud,
And share the beauty-truths that still abound
Even in a world more lost than found.
For this time John, you were born
A benediction on all forlorn
To share the Eucharist of your wound
And bending down to hug the holy ground

Strong dweller of the solitary place,
Hermit who loves the swirling crowd,
Abstainer from every man cut creed,
Friend to the broken heart and face cast down,
Dreamer of substance more real than earth,
You have gone out and left the fetid camp
Like One who hung beyond a city wall.
You have climbed the ascending path
Beside the torrenting waterfall
And all the days of your life you have gazed upon it
And learned the lesson to be still
And found the essence of all our days
Hidden in the deep deep heart of God.



Bedtime Prayer

Loving Father, put away

All the wrong I’ve done today;

Make me sorry, true, and good;

Make me love thee as I should;

Make me feel by day and night

I am ever in thy sight.

Heavenly Father, hear my prayer,

Take thy child into thy care;

Let thy angels pure and bright

Watch around me through the night.


A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem. A psalm of David

How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony!

For harmony is as precious as the anointing oil that was poured over Aaron’s head, that ran down his beard and onto the border of his robe.

Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon that falls on the mountains of Zion.

And there the Lord has pronounced his blessing, even life everlasting.



By whatever road you have arrived at this are warmly welcomed. A couple of years ago a few of us produced a little magazine called 'Dew of Hermon', the title taken from a line in Psalm 133. The writer of that ancient song enthused about how good it is when people live together in unity,and compares it poetically to the dew of Hermon descending upon the mountains of Zion. In that spirit it is hoped these scribblings will be more refreshing mountain dew, than obscurantist valley fog...a friendly hitching post where tired pilgrims can stay awhile and leave refreshed and refuelled ! Lofty sounding aims...but we also want to have fun and avoid bullshit, the pilgrims way is already too richly spread with that commodity by cant and platitude. So join the motley crew of the good ship Ragamuffin, and lets see what oceans we will cross and what monsters we will meet out there in the Deep....we will face them together linked by the pilgrims rule and bound by invisible ties.

Gerard O'Shea