Monday, 21 June 2010



The moon on the one hand, the dawn on the other:

The moon is my sister, the dawn is my brother.
The moon on my left and the dawn on my right.
My brother, good morning: my sister, good night.

Hilaire Belloc

Sunday, 20 June 2010


An architects model of the
revamped Milk Market


I have to beg the indulgence of international Hermonites for this piece, as it concerns a relatively small patch of turf on my own doorstep here in Limerick city. The issues it raises though may concern many places outside of this country, as the grinding wheels of ‘progress’ roll relentlessly on ,often taking in their wake the essence and bedrock of our collective heritage. Sometimes advancement enhances a feature that has stood the test of time, but on occasion it becomes a blight on an otherwise satisfactory enterprise that has served people well down through the years.

A market trader in happier times

The newly revamped city Milk Market opened on Saturday and I took advantage of the beautiful sunny morning to pay a visit. What a huge disappointment the canopied market square is. The idea was to change an essentially open air market into one covered over with a tent-like roofing structure, and so make it suitable for use in all weathers.

The first thing that hit me as I walked in through the old main gate was the sheer volume of noise bounced between the canvas roof and the newly laid marble floor. Admittedly there was a huge crowd present for the opening, but even allowing for that ,the ‘noise’ was really intrusive.
The other thing that is immediately apparent, coming in from a glorious June morning ,is the absence of sunshine under the shade of the canvas covering

Musical harmony inside the old Milk Market

In fact I believe the ‘brains’ behind the Milk Market development may, in their zeal to expand the Market’s earning potential, have killed the goose that laid the golden egg. Entering the Milk Market now, has all the atmosphere and ambiance of entering yet another shopping mall.
An authentic piece of the Limerick social landscape has been destroyed and in its place is this raucous impostor. Having vandalised King Johns castle with the infamous ‘glass box’ the desecration continues with this latest piece of ‘official’ Limerick’s ‘damn the begrudgers’ policy of ’improvement’

Tom, Market musician perhaps
playing a lament for the old days

For this visitor the oasis of banter and chat that was the old City Market is no more, the gentle pace of local trade replaced by the greed of the trustees hell-bent on the destruction of another part of our cherished heritage.

Gerard O'Shea

Wednesday, 16 June 2010



Plan ahead... It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark.
Stay fit. When you're 600 years old, someone might ask you to do something REALLY big.
Don't listen to critics- do what has to be done.
Build on high ground.

For safety's sake, travel in pairs.
Two heads are better than one.
Speed isn't always an advantage. The cheetahs were on board but... so were the snails.
If you can't fight or flee---float!!

Take care of your animals as if they were the last ones on Earth.
Don't forget that we're all in the same boat.
When things get really deep, don't sit there and complain-- shovel!!!
Stay below deck during the storm.

Remember that the ark was built by amateurs and the Titanic was built by professionals.
If you have to start over, have a friend by your side.
Don't miss the boat.
No matter how bleak it looks, there's always a rainbow on the horizon

Saturday, 12 June 2010


Abby posted this short note on her blog just a couple
of hours ago, I thought you would like to read it...


Hey everyone,
Sorry I haven't written in so long as you probably already know I had a pretty rough couple of days. I can't write much now as I am typing on a french key pad as well as trying to stay seated in a bouncy fishing boat.
The long and the short of it is, well, one long wave, and one short mast (short meaning two inch stub.) I'll write a more detailed blog later, just wanted to let every one know I am safe and sound on a great big fishing boat headed I am not exactly sure where.
Crazy is the word that really describes everything that has happened best.
Within a few minutes of being on board the fishing boat, I was already getting calls from the press. I don't know how they got the number but it seems everybody is eager to pounce on my story now that something bad has happened.
There are plenty of things people can think of to blame for my situation; my age, the time of year and many more. The truth is, I was in a storm and you don't sail through the Indian Ocean without getting in at least one storm. It wasn't the time of year it was just a Southern Ocean storm. Storms are part of the deal when you set out to sail around the world.
As for age, since when does age create gigantic waves and storms?
I keep hitting the wrong keys and am still trying to get over the fact that I will never see my Wild Eyes again. So Ill write more later.




According to the Los Angeles Times teenage sailor Abby Sunderland has been rescued from the South Indian ocean within the last hour. The 16 year old had been stranded 2,000 nautical miles off western Australia for the last few days after severe storms battered her sailing boat ‘Wild Eyes’. The French fishing vessel Ile De La Reunion , the nearest boat to Abby’s location took 24 hours to reach the young mariner and effected the rescue with air support from a Global Express aircraft. Her family set up an Internet page to update news on Abby’s progress and it seems their prayer, “ HURRY HOME ABBY ! You are in our hearts and our prayers, come home safely” is being answered. The 1,295 ton fishing boat launched a smaller vessel and hauled the wet and cold teenager aboard.

'Wild Eyes' in the south Indian ocean

Sunderland had left Los Angeles last January in an attempt to become the youngest person to solo circumnavigate the globe. After damage to her boat she abandoned that goal and pulled in to Capetown to effect the necessary repairs. She decided to continue her journey anyway until last Thursday, when in rough seas the mast of her yacht broke, knocking off her satellite communications. Throughout her epic voyage Abby managed to regularly blog the details of the trip and garnered a huge online following for her daily dramas on the high seas. I think when Abby eventually settles back to domestic life on dry land she may well relate to these words found in the book of Psalms…

“ They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep. For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits' end. Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.” (Psalm 107:23-30 )

Abby Sunderland's Brother Speaks Out


Since this video interview with her brother Zac, Abby has been spotted in the south Indian sea by searchers in a Quantas airbus. After brief radio contact they ascertained that she is well after her boat took a severe battering in a storm, though her main sails have broken and she is effectively stranded. It could take up to 24 hours for the nearest ship (a fishing vessel) to reach her. I have followed Abby's progress during the last few months and pray now for her safe return to her family. ~GOSh.~

Sunday, 6 June 2010



This sea demurely purrs for the tourist hordes
Emerging on the sunny days
To exclaim breathlessly, “ This is so beautiful”.

In the winter these waves dash above the stony shoreline
And the surging sea heaves so hard that nothing can sail on her,
Then her true wild heart is unleashed
Without sight of a coach or bike.

An awesome power and majesty
Reigning in the occult winter.

Gerard O'Shea


The graveyard at Fanore


I think May has to be one of my favourite months as the Springtime takes root and the jaded scenarios of winter are endued with a fresh and vibrant mantle. It’s God’s great outdoor paint job when everything that grows becomes new and noticeable again. This year the May blossom (or hawthorn) made a late appearance at the end of the month ,but when it showed it most surely did not disappoint. Here are just a few examples of the dazzling views that this years month of May has delivered, for some of them I wandered into the fist few days of June !

This exotic flower appeared across the road from my place drooping from an electric-light pole. Perhaps some kind Dew reader may be able to identify it, the flowers are purple and it seems to me like some kind of willow. Under bright sunshine it really is quite a spectacular sight that brightens up an otherwise drab suburban road.

I made my first trip of 2010 to the Burren today ,and spent several hours just soaking in the atmosphere of this unique area on the edge of the Atlantic . The distinctive limestone terrain plays host to a wide variety of rare flora uniquely found here, often growing in the clefts of the great limestone slabs where they find shelter from the sea winds. While there I visited the graveyard at Fanore where John O’Donnohue is laid to rest, and later found a space among the Burren stones to seclude myself for a few hours with a book.

Gerard O'Shea

Wednesday, 2 June 2010


"You haven't lived today
until you've done something
for someone
who cannot
pay you back."

John Bunyan