Tuesday, 30 June 2009


'Anonymous' hard at work


The lifeblood of any blog are comments as they indicate that somewhere out there in the great world wide web somebody is interested enough to read these offerings. I am of the opinion that whether a comment is positive or negative it is always preferred to silence, the only exception being comments that malign others or under the veil of anonymity are personally insulting of me. I am not averse to criticism and as long as somebody identifies him or her self I am happy to publish these comments. Over the last few months I have received several comments by an anonymous reader that are personally critical of me and in fact grossly offensive, but I will immediately publish these remarks should the person wish to identify him or her self. Don’t get me wrong anonymous comments are always welcome but when they enter the realm of personal insult I insist on a name so that I know who I’m talking to. So Mr/Ms Anonymous come out , come out wherever you are and allow me to share your ‘insights’ with a wider audience and at least allow me the right to reply. Once again let me encourage anyone reading the Dew to comment freely and be assured your input is greatly appreciated.


Gerard O'Shea

Friday, 26 June 2009


Michael Jackson R.I.P , 1958~2009
.The death of Michael Jackson at age 50 is of course a huge worldwide news story and in the light of his legions of fans his passing will affect so many who had such high regard for this complex star. Musically Jackson was an innovative genius whose album ‘Thriller’ will stand as an all time pop classic. The combination of tight sharp lyrics, crisp gilt produced music and impeccably executed dance routines will ensure his lasting status as a pop music icon for ages to come. My own favourite Jackson song was a single release from the ‘Bad’ album in 1988, ‘Man In The Mirror’, a song that encouraged all seekers of change on a grand global scale to begin with self assessment and personal transformation. Sadly Michael seemed incapable of heeding the wisdom of the song,
.“I'm Starting With The Man In The Mirror
I'm Asking Him To Change His Ways
And No Message Could Have Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World A Better Place
(If You Wanna Make The World A Better Place)
Take A Look At Yourself,
And Then Make A Change
.His glittering musical legacy was marred by the continuing allegations of child sexual abuse made against the superstar. Although never proven in a court of law the large cash settlements made by him to quell the prospect of incriminating allegations surfacing in the law courts, did not in the public mind acquit him as an innocent man.
His sudden death is a tragedy whatever the bizarre truth might be about his personal life and it reminds us all of the brevity and uncertainty of our own mortal spans. Despite the cult of celebrity , the incredible wealth and the adulation of millions Michael Jackson now keeps an appointment with his Creator as Lord and Judge. This final meeting is one all of us will have to keep and it is in the choices that we make here and now that will determine how we face that last Judgement.
He said at one time, “If you enter this world knowing you are loved and you leave this world knowing the same, then everything that happens in between can be dealt with.” I hope that Michael found that Love which endures through death and which showed itself to the world nailed to a wooden cross 2,000 years ago.

Gerard O'Shea

Thursday, 25 June 2009



The Judge asked the defendant, "Mr. Jones ,do you understand that you have sworn to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?"
"I do."
"Now what do you say to defend yourself?"
"Your Honour, under those limitations... nothing."

Sunday, 21 June 2009


'The Dance' by Henri Matisse

Today is Midsummer Day the longest of the year, and what a glorious one it turned out to be in these parts with the afternoon sunshine raising the temperature to dizzying Summer heights. In fact it became so warm that one could almost obey the injunction of the poem, however in the case of this writer the abandonment confined itself to the wearing of sandals and light seasonal clothes in deference to my neighbours and the community at large ! The words though as ever danced in frantic liberation, unfettered, naked and free. ~GOSh.~



Look at those naked words dancing together !
Everyone’s very embarrassed.
Only one thing to do about it -
Off with your clothes
And join in the dance.
Naked words and people dancing together.
There’s going to be trouble.
Here come the Poetry Police !


Keep dancing.


Adrian Mitchell

Wednesday, 17 June 2009


Jesus calls the fishermen
The old hymn made famous by the late Jim Reeves declares ‘It Is No Secret What God Can Do’ and yet paradoxically God only reveals His secret to a chosen few ! Jesus often communicated His most sublime teaching by spinning stories called Parables and after telling one about the sower He shook the disciples by saying, “ But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.” (Matthew 13:16-17). It seems as incongruous to us as I’m sure it did to His early followers that many of the Prophets and Righteous men and women of old desired greatly to see the day that Jesus was living in, and did not. Even the Pharisees, the religious leaders of that time while living as contemporaries of Christ also missed the significance of that day. Most people imagine that the function of so called religious types is to maintain the rules and rituals of the particular group they represent. In this country the argument is well made that the religious clergy and hierarchy were so concerned preserving the institution of the Catholic church that they overlooked the plain teachings of Jesus particularly in regard to the welfare of children in their care. At the time of Jesus, the Pharisees were the religious bigwigs and they also lost sight of the wood for the trees! They had become so obsessed with the observation of the minutiae of Jewish Law that they had forgotten why the Law had been given in the first place. When asked about keeping the Sabbath Jesus had to remind the theological experts that the Sabbath (or by extension the Law) had been made for man and not the other way round. As if this didn’t rock their boat sufficiently He went on to declare “The Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.” (Matthew2:28)
As a child Jesus had been brought up to the Temple for the dedication to God at the same time as a devout man named Simeon was there praying. The old man had spent his life anticipating the ‘consolation of Israel’ (Luke2:25), and taking the child in his arms he prayed aloud, “ Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles” (Luke2:29-32) All the laws and rituals and detailed instructions listed in the books of the Old Testament were all pointing to one momentous event, the coming of Messiah. The almost mundane manner of Jesus arrival onto planet Earth (as a baby in a stable etc,.) took many unawares and a large percentage of the professional religious class missed altogether the fulfilment of all their rituals and ceremonies in the carpenter from Nazareth. Often in fact it was the ordinary ‘hurting’ man or woman in the street who first recognised that Jesus was the long promised Messiah for Israel. They responded to Him in an honest heartfelt way as they reached out to Him from their own distress and saw in Him the very face of God.

Jesus talks to a Pharisee
Jesus summed up His appeal to the marginalized of society by saying, “ It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” (Matthew9:12) Immediately after this He defined the keynote of God’s new arrangement with humankind, “ I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." (Matthew9:13). So there it is in a nutshell the secret of God’s Kingdom and the very heart of the Gospel. Proud religious spirits have no truck with this kind of Saviour, they are far too busy with the day to day demands of maintaining the religious status quo.They have their masses and their services to attend to, their novenas and pilgrimages to organise, their theological conferences and synods to convene and a thousand and one other activities that keeps the old religious ball rolling along ! But for the broken-hearted and the downtrodden, for those who weep and those who hurt, for the dispossessed and the helpless there is One who is the Saviour, who stands arms outstretched and says again and again, “ Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew11:28). As if to re-iterate this Divine invitation in the very last book of the Bible, Revelation again the appeal is “Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life.” (Revelation22:17)
So the Call is to all but only those who respond are entrusted with the secret of God’s plan for His created world, the Lordship and ultimate universal Kingship of His Son, Jesus. How sad to miss that glorious prize either because of our pre-occupation with the things of this world, or a misguided zeal in pursuing the crucifying demands of a dead and soulless religion ! To those rooted in this world the Bible has this chilling reminder, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews9:26), and to those whose heads are buried in their Holy books Jesus delivers this stinging rebuke, “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life” (John5:39-40) The Gospel is freely available for all who cry out in anguish or distress and the answer is always the same. “Come, follow me” (Luke9:23). Jesus invitation is universal to all people, in all places, at all times. He shares His secret with those who respond and say ‘Yes Lord, I will follow’. This is the secret of godliness hidden from the rich and wise, now revealed to the poor and those whom the world consider foolish. Take heed while you may, His pleading will not go on for ever.


Gerard O'Shea


John Edwards
Not for the first time Genesis TV has redeemed the largely flawed nature of so called Christian TV. In this country the idea of Christian TV is a fairly recent development and thanks to satellite provider SKY there are 16 stations available free to all their customers as part of their various programme packages. For the most part these channels do more harm than good it seems to me as their constant emphasis is on fund raising and their Gospel message seems to have more in common with the power of positive thinking than the Good News of Jesus Christ. Genesis TV is a notable exception as it presents real people who have had an experience with the living God and whose sole motivation is to share the Gospel with as many people as possible.
One of their flagship shows is a nightly two hour presentation called ‘Voice In The Wilderness’ variously fronted by the likes of ‘Mark the cabby’, a London taxi driver and sufferer of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), and David Winter a wise old evangelist with what has been described as the ‘kindest face on TV’. The V I T W show takes telephone calls live on air from people often struggling with illness or mental anguish, and prayer is frequently requested and made on their behalf by the presenter. There is no Christian triumphalism here just compassionate hearts and listening ears and a keen faith in God’s ability to resolve ‘impossible’ situations through intercessory prayer.

Last evening the VITW slot was occupied by John Edwards and Aisling both originally from Dublin but now living in Britain. John was at one time a drug addict as was Aisling and they now are part of a group who work with those caught up in similar situations and sharing with them the life-changing power of Jesus Christ. Co-incidentally a few months ago I picked up a book by John called ‘Walking Free’ , his autobiography , in which he recounts his long and rocky road to faith and transformation. Seeing him on the TV and listening to the wise and gracious way he dealt with those who called in was hugely impressive and has sent me back to his book to learn more of this remarkable man and the work in which he is engaged. The whole programme was such a blessing, to hear two believers with the faith and experience to be able to minister so effectively to those troubled viewers who called in, some of them at the very point of ending it all. John and Aisling listened carefully to the individual stories and then drawing on their own experiences and the words of the Bible, gently shared the ‘better way’ of the Gospel and the power of God’s love to alter lives. There aren’t too many Irish voices to be heard in the world of Christian television the whole scenario seems to be top heavy with slick American (with respect to my U.S. readers) types who might as comfortably sell Cadillacs as present the gospel. I’m not tarring all U.S. evangelists with the same brush obviously, in fact two of my own favourites are Billy Graham and Tony Campolo, but anyone who has seen most of Christian TV will likely know exactly what I’m talking about. Anyhow national pride aside last evening while watching John and Aisling presenting ‘Voice In The Wilderness’ this viewer was in turn blessed, moved and challenged by the clear testimony of two lives yielded to God. The power of the Gospel is our only hope for the future both as a nation and individually, and our own surrendered lives will be the vessels of blessing through which He will move and shake the ground from under our feet !


Gerard O'Shea

Voice In The Wilderness’ is shown nightly , Mon-Fri from 10.30 - 12.30pm on Genesis TV , channel 592 on the SKY platform. Or view online at http://www.revelationtv.com/watchrev.php

Saturday, 13 June 2009



Are you seeking?

For what are you seeking?

Something satisfying, something that brings happiness?

God’s answer is: ‘You will seek me and find me.’

God, who made you, knows and loves you, wants to give you what you are seeking.

Are you seeking to be loved?

Are you seeking security?

In Him alone will your deepest needs be met.

Do you seek fulfilment?

Do you seek someone who is completely available for you, someone to love and confide in?

The One who does not lie, who cannot deceive, promises to give life abundantly.

So turn to Him.

He loves you.

He will answer you and fulfil the longings of your heart.

He cannot, and will not, disappoint you.

(Jeremiah 29:13 RSV; John 10:10)

Basilea Schlink


The boneless tongue so small and weak,
Can crush and kill declared the Greek.
The tongue destroys a greater horde
the Turk asserts, than does the sword.
The Persian proverb wisely saith
A lengthy tongue - an early death.
Or sometimes takes this form instead,
Don't let your tongue cut off your head.
The tongue can speak a word whose speed
The Arab says outstrips the steed.
While Chinese sages thus impart
The tongue's great storehouse is the heart.
From Hebrew wit the maxim's sprung,
Tho' foot may slip ne'er let the tongue.
The sacred writer crowns the whole,
Who keeps his tongue doth keep his soul.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009


One of the wittier posters on display
My abiding memory of the recent elections here will be the bewildering amount of posters that festooned our streets with names of candidates mostly unfamiliar to me, putting their names forward in the local and European elections. Light pole after light pole were draped with air-brushed hopefuls each one trying to outdo the other in capturing that ‘see how sincere I am’ look, a kind of political pout that indicates savvy, soundness and saintliness all rolled into one electable package ! In truth, judging by the appearance of some of the candidates they should have more appropriately hung in the Wanted section of the local Garda station ! The optics aside this was an electoral outing that was savoured by many of the citizenry as their first chance to register their anger and dismay at the response of our governing parties to the economic crises. As a result the Fianna Fail / Green alliance suffered heavy losses across the board with the Greens being particularly decimated. The net winners were the Fine Gael and Labour parties with two spectacular results from independent socialists. Sinn Fein held their own while Declan Ganley’s new pan European grouping, Libertas suffered meltdown. The Libertas result hit home as a good friend of mine had signed up with them after the demise of the Progressive Democrats , and as a result of these two debacles he is fast developing a reputation as a party-pooper ! Politics is such a grave business you need to have a laugh.
Now the call is for a General Election where the hope is that the present Government incumbents will be ousted and a new crew installed. It seems that a lot of the anger out there is borne by people’s genuine frustration at the soaring cost of living and the increased calls being made on diminishing wages, as well as the growing number (1000 a day) being added to the unemployment ranks. It’s sad if our hope for justice and equality solely rests with the politicians as these are people like ourselves with all our strengths and weaknesses. As we read the Gospels our sights are raised to the example of Jesus who not only spoke ‘truth’ but exemplified it in a perfect life. His is the Way of victory and power which uniquely offers real answers to the dilemmas of the human heart. Interestingly when confronted with the question of Political responsibility and God accountability Jesus simply replied, “ Give to Caesar those things that are Caesar’s ,and give to God those things that are God‘s ” (Matthew 22:21) Of course everything is God’s and even governments sit beneath His throne, how much we now need as individuals to vote for our ‘Caesars’ and devote our hearts to the living God. Political activism has its place and I commend all those who have gone through the process and become elected officials but our real and abiding hope for change rests with another, the Holy Spirit of God. As we are changed into the likeness of our Master the world will sit up and see that we are marching to the beat of a different drum.
Gerard O'Shea

Monday, 8 June 2009


P J with guitar in cowboy mode !
The death occurred recently of P. J. Barry, poet, wit and philosopher of Ardnacrusha , County Clare. P.J. was a larger than life character who for a living made and sold garden sheds, however his daytime occupation was only half the story of a colourful persona.He was a gifted raconteur and wit who cast a sardonic eye on the excesses of middle class society. Outside his business premises there was a selection of epigrams by his literary hero Oscar Wilde on display for the education and jollification of the passing traffic.
On my return to the house here at Ardhu about 12 years ago my uncle Frank decided to buy me a garden shed as a kind of house-warming gift. Frank was a onetime neighbour of the Barry’s when he lived at Ballycannon and knew P.J.’s father Mick well, so we arrived at the Ardnacrusha premises to make the purchase. We were warmly welcomed by the man himself then ushered in to the back and the exotic delights of El Paso, a shed P.J. had converted in to a Wild West saloon. Fitted out with a fully functioning bar El Paso had entertained P.J. and friends through many a night and into the early hours, while on that afternoon we remained strictly tea-total ! For over two hours P. J. regaled us with stories and poems and his own distinctive perspective on life in modern Ireland. During the conversation he expressed his admiration for Paddy O’Gorman the journalist who interviewed the ordinary people of Ireland in his radio programme. In fact he presented me with a copy of Paddy’s book, ‘Queuing For A Living’.
P .J. (right) watches Frank being buried at Kilquane.
Frank of course was in his element reminiscing about the old days and neighbours and acquaintances around Ballycannon. We were both impressed by our hosts wide breadth of knowledge especially of literature and of course his unique, if slightly jaundiced commentary on the new prosperous Ireland. Both men agreed that in bygone days people happily reared large families in tiny little cottages, while today relatively huge houses are home to families of two or three children !
About six years ago P.J. hit the headlines when he erected his own headstone at Ballycannon Cemetery falling foul of the local Council Authorities. The headstone bore the epitaph, “What, that time already ?” and “lived in chains…now free at last !” P.J. had to move the stone several times to comply with the Council’s regulations ,but eventually found a resting place where he was buried last month. Only last February an obviously unwell P.J. made his way to attend Frank’s burial at Kilquane and I spoke briefly to him on that occasion. P.J. had a huge sense of the importance of people and place and in his own inimitable manner he added greatly to the colour and diversity of Ardnacrusha and surrounds and indeed to all who knew and loved him. In one final act that demonstrated this quality , he was laid out at McMahon’s funeral home arrayed in a cowboy outfit complete with a US Marshal’s badge, cowboy buckle, waistcoat and bandanna. P.J. is survived by his wife Teresa, son Paul and daughters Kerry and Antoinette.
Gerard O'Shea

Friday, 5 June 2009


Here is one of those poems that needs to be read and memorised and then recited aloud (alone or in company, the choice is yours !) to experience the power of the words in describing the dramatic swoop of the mighty eagle. Feel the wind in your hair as you free fall with this majestic bird of prey from his lofty mountain perch ! ~ GOSh.~ ..
He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.


Alfred Lord Tennyson

Thursday, 4 June 2009


The missing word at the top is 'Allegations' !
On a recent blazing hot afternoon I was alerted by a clanging bell to the exotic sight of a Town Crier in full scarlet-robed regalia sweeping through the main street of Limerick city ! As this is the 21st century the sight of this Victorian costumed gentleman certainly grabbed my attention. On closer inspection I noticed he was holding aloft a placard (pictured above) with some damning allegations against a well known firm of solicitors in town. I managed to speak briefly with the Crier but did not manage to get details of his alleged grievances, only that he was very angry and wished to highlight his case to as wide a public as possible. He gave me a leaflet with the words from the placard on one side and a history of the Town Crier on the reverse. Many people feel disaffected and disillusioned in these days with various arms of official Ireland and at least this man had the courage of his convictions to air his grievances in this most public manner. I don’t know the rights and wrongs of this particular case but it is refreshing to see someone who dares to be different and stands up to be counted in such a colourful and dramatic way. It’s another one of the signs of our times !


Gerard O'Shea

Tuesday, 2 June 2009


Van Gogh's Sunflowers

Recessionary gloom has lifted from the island of Ireland and the fog of Euro and local electioneering has cleared under the clear blue skies of the last several days and the prospect for continuing sunshine to last into next week !This sudden outburst of summer also explains my absence from the Dew for a while as I have been catching up on my vitamin D deficit by keeping out and about as much as possible. Some of our international readers may be agog at the difference a little bit of sun can bring to a nation, that’s because you don’t live here and you haven’t experienced the temperamental nature of the ‘Irish Summer’. To be honest the ‘summer’ has become something of a national joke as it has been distinctly absent in reality for the last few years. Of course during those heady days of Celtic Tiger we simply abandoned the rain-sogged island and climbed aboard a Ryanair flight to Anywhere but Here with sunshine ! Now stranded by the Downturn it was heartening indeed to experience temperatures of 25, 26 and even 27 degrees over the June holiday weekend , turning the whole population into a big open air Mardi Gras on the beach, in the field, on the water, in the city, on the hills, and out the back garden . The smell of the holiday was burning charcoal and the soundtrack was laughter and music as the Irish sizzled under clear skies and copious sunshine. We know this is only a temporary and fleeting reprieve from the weightier matters of state but what the heck at least we can change the country’s complexion from the pallor of financial lack to the golden tan of those kissed by sister Sun. And with local and European elections looming next Friday the mood afoot is to hammer the government for their incompetence and dithering, not even a meteorological heat wave can save them now it seems. To celebrate our untypical seasonal cheer I dedicate this page to that glorious sentinel of all things bright and beautiful - the Sunflower !
Gerard O'Shea
Ah, Sunflower! weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the sun,
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the traveller's journey is done;
Where the youth pined away with desire
And the pale virgin shrouded in snow
Arise from their graves, and aspire
Where my Sunflower wishes to go.
William Blake