Saturday, 27 November 2010


On a sub-zero morning at the Milk Market this poster gave me a chuckle. While I can't vouch for Peter's pies (I have yet to indulge) obviously his sense of humour is intact and that no mean feat in these perilous times !


Saturday, 20 November 2010



O God, I beg two favours from you;

let me have them before I die.
First, help me never to tell a lie.
Second, give me neither poverty nor riches!
Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.
For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?”
And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.

Proverbs 30: 7-9

My friend Antoin brought these verses to my notice recently as we discussed our present woes, they are from the Book of Proverbs and would make an appropriate national prayer in this hour of uncertainty.
As the International Monetary Fund negotiate with our government as to the extent of our economic rescue package and the atmosphere of fear amongst the general population grows, truly these are uncertain times. During our Celtic Tiger feeding frenzy, Consumerism became the new Irish state religion, and by now the shopping trips to New York would have been booked as hordes of Gaels descended upon the U.S. metropolis in search of seasonal gifts. I heard that at the peak of the Boom we joined the global league for ownership of most helicopters per head of population (handy for popping off to race meetings, don’t you know). Things are different now though, as our European paymasters take control of our economic affairs ( and by extension, our sovereignty), and we wait with deep foreboding for Budget Day on December 7th. The air of gloom is real and palpable and it seems as if many will face even deeper cuts into their income or welfare allowances. There might be an upside to all of this if the coming era of austerity causes us as a nation to rediscover that life does not consist just of consumerable things but that there are qualities like truth and love which are essential to the functioning of a vibrant and healthy society. These lost gems reflect our spiritual aspect which can be smothered by the glitter and glam of the world. I would argue that as a nation we have sold our birthright for a bowl of EU subsidy pottage, and now we are beginning to reap that whirlwind.

Gerard O'Shea

Wednesday, 17 November 2010


In the aftermath of the Newcastlewest killings


Sometimes words are not enough to convey the pain and the gut wrenching heartache of what man is capable of inflicting on his fellow man. In the last 24 hours as the nation poised itself for the imminent IMF financial bailout a scene of unimaginable horror was unfolding in a provincial Irish town, Newcastlewest and in a Cork seaside village, Ballycotton. In the first incident a mother, her friend and her two children (Reece, 3 and Amy,5 months) were found dead in their home at Hazelgrove Estate around lunchtime yesterday. Earlier the quiet seaside town of Ballycotton was shaken as news emerged of the ‘suspicious’ deaths of two children (Zoe,7 and Ella,2) in their home and the death of their father after his car had crashed into a tree near the house. Two unspeakable events made all the more poignant because of the little innocents who were brutally killed, apparently by adults whom they would have loved and trusted. The tragedies have drawn a pall over the country making our economic emergency seem trivial by comparison. Those close to the families, left behind ,have a huge burden of grief and loss to bear and our prayers are needed at this time that they may receive help from God to cope. At times of great evil it seems as if hell has been opened to us and we can see all too clearly the depraved potential of the human heart, and it is easy to fall into a malaise of despair where Satan and his works seem to have triumphed. This is not so, the Cross of Christ and His glorious resurrection from the dead will not allow it, our foe is defeated , death itself will be swallowed up in victory. These simple words from Christina Rossetti should encourage all our hearts that God is still in control and His love endures forever, and that in their hour of heartbreak we can confidently lift those bereaved by these events before His throne.

Gerard O'Shea

O Lord, seek us, O Lord, find us
In they patient care;
By thy love before, behind us,
Round us everywhere;
Lest the god of this world blind us,
Lest he speak us fair,
Lest he forge a chain to bind us,
Lest he bait a snare.
Turn not from us, call to mind us,
Find embrace us, bear;
Be thy love before, behind us,
Round us, everywhere.

Christina Rossetti

The burnt out car at Ballycotton

Friday, 12 November 2010



William Shakespeare

The original spelling version. the f = s -> ftar = star
u = v - > loue = love

Sunday, 7 November 2010



I saw a great idea for a gift the other day, a Thank You journal. Now before you say anything the venture is in aid of the Hospice movement who do such outstanding work in the care of the terminally ill and each year they come up with a creative fund raising venture to tie in with the Christmas spending spree. The Journal has a few ‘celebrity’ entries to get the ball rolling and the idea is a simple one, to record the everyday things for which we may be grateful. I think it’s a great idea even if the thought of saying ‘thanks’ seems a bit hollow when not addressed to anyone in particular, so I’d suggest for believers the ‘thank you’ would be addressed to God, the giver of every good gift. Sometimes saying ‘thanks’ is the hardest thing as when Jesus healed the ten lepers and only one returned to thank Him. The Bible is full of examples of being thankful in both the New and Old Testaments , “ Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift” ( 2 Corinthians 9: 15) and "Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men."(Psalm 107:8 ). In fact the practise of ‘thanksgiving’ is mentioned as the antidote to worry and stress by Paul the Apostle when he advised, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God."(Philippians 4:6 ). There is what I’ll call the ‘sublime’ thanksgiving for the marvellous aspects of God’s dealings with us and then there is the more ‘prosaic’ thanks we should remember for those little blessings which sometimes creep right by us without our notice. It’s the little blessings I’d like to concentrate on in my efforts here to create my very own ‘Thank You’ journal…so here goes…

Thank you Lord for…

A friend calling my name to join them in walking to town.

The healing effect of a live music gig.

The soothing effect of Manuka honey on a sore throat.

For meeting an old friend after many years.

Walking through the brilliantly coloured autumnal leaves.

Getting through a long day at work.

Being inside in front of the fire waiting for the storm.

The thrill of flicking through ‘Soundings’ (my Poetry book from school) after 35 years.

Seeing the Shannon at high tide.

Gerard O'Shea

Author Sheila Flanagan launches the Hospice fundraiser.
You can find out more about the Irish Hospice Foundation’s ‘The Thank You Book’ here,