A wake-up call…

I woke early, on what was a beautiful May morning, in my home town of Dublin, Ireland. As I picked out my T-shirt / Jeans combination (a very important decision, I am sure you’ll agree), I could feel my nervous energy hit a peek…in fact, if I’m honest, this nervous energy had been slowly smouldering away inside of me, ever since I received my invite to attend Wheatfield Prison, in order to have a chat with some of the lads currently serving time there…an invite I was completely honoured and amazed by. I decided to go with a black T-shirt and dark blue jeans…at least the lads good enough to attend my talk wouldn’t notice the sweat patches under my arms…hopefully!! 🙂  I got a kiss and a “hug for good luck” from my amazing partner, and just as I turned to leave she said, “Just be yourself Gar…that is what you are best at doing”. What an amazing woman!

I can only be myself…I don’t know another way…

I set off on my adventure, with Google Maps being my trusted guide, as I navigated a course for this immense prison. It took me two buses, and to be honest, I was glad of this, as it gave me a chance to run over in my head what I was hoping to say to these men. I have never done anything like this before…what have I let myself in for?? I arrive at the gates, and am met by a really nice Officer, who asks for my ID, and then directs me towards some lockers, in order for me to store my personal belongings. We make small talk, and this man again reminds me of the amazing Officers we have working in our nations jails. To him, maybe it was small talk…but to me…well…he was quelling the nerves! I was due to meet a lady by the name of Lorraine, and after a short wait, Lorraine appears with a warm smile and a hearty welcome…excellent. She leads me through a metal scanner, and then walks me towards the school of Wheatfield. As we saunter along, I find my mind begin to wander. Although there are not many similarities between this Jail, and the one that housed myself, the whole “closed jail” feeling begins to wash over me. I find that already I am feeling sorry for the lads I am due to meet, although, this is not a “pity-sorry”, I just wish they where somewhere else instead of here. Soon we arrive at the school, and I notice a small stage has been constructed, with chairs surrounding it in a semi-circle. Lorraine offers me refreshments, and then we sit and talk. We are joined by another male Officer and again, I am so thankful for their kindness and consideration…I am beginning to sweat a little less…thanks Officers 🙂 Soon, the incredible teaching staff start to arrive and the introductions begin. I feel slightly more adjusted….let’s do this…..

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The lads from Wheatfield have taken to their seats, just as I make my way towards the stage. I get a wonderful introduction from the School Principal, which is followed by a nice round of applause from the attending lads. I introduce myself, and then quickly move to take the piss out of myself, in the hope that these men won’t get the impression that I think I am something I am not. I am ex-prisoner…and fuck all else! I explain that I have never attempted anything like this before, and so I politely suggest that questions can be asked at any stage, and not just at the end…and I am so glad I made that suggestion. Almost immediately, a young man sitting not two feet away from me, pulls me up on a reference I made in my book about another prisoner. I took the piss out of this particular man in my tale, which hand-on-heart, I meant it in a “tongue-in-cheek” way, but this young man in Wheatfield felt he needed to ask me why I had done this. Nothing wrong with that…except that this young man and his thoughtful and considered words, made me take a long and hard look at myself…and I was annoyed with what I saw. This amazing man in Wheatfield reminded me that I too am a recovering addict (the reference I made was one which called a prisoner, who in fairness had hit me, a “Tablet-Guzzling Zombie”…and as much as I meant it in a “joke” kind of way, how dare I make reference to his own struggles). He highlighted the real struggles that addicts face on a daily basis…but do you know what? What blew me away most about this young man was how articulate he was…how calm, concise and yet forthright he was as he spoke to me. He blew my mind. He made me realise I had “dropped the ball” when it came to this particular part of my book…and I feel like I have let myself down as a result…or at least that was how I felt…that is until, at the end of my talk as all the other prisoners dispersed, this young man hung-on…and I am so glad he did. He quickly made me feel more at ease, as he complimented me on the fact I admitted, in front of everyone, that I had “got it wrong” when it came to this part of my story. And then he began to tell me about his own band that himself and a few of the lads had created. Here is a man who has made a mistake and is paying the ultimate price for his wrong-doing…and yet, he stood before me and portrayed a man who was not about to let his past dictate his future. He seems to be the one that other prisoners gravitate to when they are feeling low…not an easy task by any means…but one which I get the impression he carries off with aplomb. This man made a very big impact on me today. He completely embodies a reformed character. He is exactly the type of man, I am constantly telling all who will listen, that proves you CAN change…you CAN reform. He’s last words to me related to his future…. “I’d love to work with kids when I get out of here…hopefully teach them how to play guitar“……wow! I am a true believer that people come into your life for a reason…I am just so glad that, for whatever reason, our paths crossed today. Thank you “A”. Thank you for getting your point across with such passion and yet in such a calm manner. Thank you for making me realise that I am still learning…I am still a work in progress. You made a huge impact on me today…thank you. My door will always be open for you…

Never judge a book by its cover…

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And he wasn’t the only incredible individual in attendance today. In fact, one lad completely knocked my socks off when, after I invited him to do so, he took to the stage and preformed one of the many raps he has constructed…and it was incredible…unbelievable talent! He took to the black stool sitting proudly in the middle of the stage, and gave it all he had as he “spat out his rhyme” that was so true to life. And, what impressed me even more about this young rapper, was his brutally honest answer to one of my questions:

Q. “So, do you find, if your feeling low…pissed off, or down in any way, that writing a rhyme makes you feel better?

A. Well…look…sometimes you just feel like shit, and writing ain’t gonna cure that…sometimes ya just have to deal with things….

What a breath of fresh air…I tip my hat to you sir 🙂

The talk ended with this group of men gathering around a projector screen, as we watched my band’s video to our cover of “Iron Sky”, and at its conclusion, it received a very welcomed round of applause. To say I was “chuffed” would be a massive understatement. These men, and the Officers I encountered today, are shining examples of what I am trying to achieve with my book. Today, I was giving a talk, and yet, I am pretty sure that it is I that came away from this more enlightened. I honestly cannot thank the staff of Wheatfield Prison enough for how welcomed they made me feel…and I know the Officers won’t mind if I reserve a slightly bigger thanks to the lads who were good enough to attend my talk. You are all incredible men in your own right, and I felt honoured and grateful to spend today with each and every one of you. And, upon your release, I hope that each of you leaves with your heads held as high as your neck muscles will permit, and that life instantly becomes the exact life that you want…it is nothing less than you deserve.

Everybody has a story to tell…take the time to listen…

And so, as I draw this blog to a close, I urge those good enough to have made it this far, not to be so quick to judge. Every single one of us is capable of making mistakes…some  mistakes are “worse” than others…but we ALL deserve a second chance. Take the time to listen to someones story….you will be amazed with what you might learn. I know, after my meeting with these men today, especially meeting “A”, I have learned so much. Let’s listen without prejudice…

Thank you as always for sharing this blog with me.

Look after each other…and play nice 🙂

Over and Under,

Gar 🙂

 

This Strange Kinda Life….

Phew! I sit here, mind slightly askew, and begin to recollect on what has been an incredible, life-changing few days! My smile, seemingly tattooed permanently on my face, is the bringer of so many positive and amazing feelings…a simple smile! I urge you, if you can, to read this blog whilst smiling. It really makes you feel good 🙂

OK…for those of you that don’t really know me, here is a quick run down on what has happened…strap yo’ self in baby….

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I only went and got my book published!! Wow…I note the tremble in my fingers as I type…I still cannot truly believe it. A wonderful and very funny man by the name of David Givens, from The Liffey Press, read my submission…loved it…and amazingly agreed to get behind me and publish my book! Watching such a master as he steadily edited my tale, with so much care and consideration, was truly amazing and inspiring. He has shown so much trust in me…has taken such a chance on me…and I intend being the best risk he has ever taken. The above snaps are of myself and some of my amazing family on the day I received my own copy…of my own book! I have never felt a level of pride that high inside of me in my entire life. To hold my story which, thanks to David and The Liffey Press (including his astounding wife Darina), had become this beautiful object, slightly heavy in my hand was incredible. I opened the cover and as the smell of a new book..of new print…rose and entered my grateful nostrils, I was instantly transported into book shops from my youth, as I’d trawl the shelves looking for another Famous Five adventure to sink my young, yellow teeth into….. I cried….quite a bit actually….well…no surprise there I suppose! Let’s move on…

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So, amazingly, on April 5th I had my very own book launch!! (pictures above!) I mean, come on! For a guy who, prior to his incarceration, had no respect for himself, and more shockingly anyone around him, to be in a magnificent room in the enchanting Freemason Hall on Molesworth Street, in Dublin’s fair city…and filling said room with friends, family, Niall Boylan whom was my MC, and is a fantastic and controversial talk show host on Classic Hits 4FM, ex-prisoners and high-ranking members of the Irish Prison Service…all blending together in what became a wonderfully satisfying, and very healthy smoothie. #carbs 🙂

To be able to stand in front of my stunningly attractive, and amazingly supportive partner, Antoinette…a woman whose love for me has never dipped, even through my bad health…and express my total love for her in front of everyone that is important to me, will go down as one of my proudest moments. Antoinette and my amazing family have been huge contributing factors in my eventual change…change that is achievable by all…but I’ll come back to that…

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The very next night…yes reader…the next feckin’ night…I appeared on The Late Late Show on RTE. Jaysis…thanks-be-to-God I’m off the gargle!! 🙂 But…this experience, as truly amazing as it was, has changed my life…and I am so overwhelmed…eternally grateful, please don’t get me wrong…but overwhelmed all the same. I have always believed the negative beliefs of others from my disgusting and embarrassing past..I would never amount to anything. So, as I’m sure you can understand, hearing such amazing and encouraging words of support and love…of requests for help, or just a chat…I sometimes feel that, “Wait…I don’t deserve this…I’m not meant to amount to anything…I did horrible things to beautiful people…I don’t deserve this” but people in this world are so good..and nice…and very persistent!! And by-God am I happy that they are..in fact, if you are one of these people who I don’t really know at all and yet you reached out to me…you have blown my mind and I am so grateful for you. Thank you……

So, there I am, about to walk out onto The Late Feckin’ Late, and this wonderful girl who works back stage, advises me to stop and wave…stop and feckin’ wave…like, “Hey everyone…you don’t know me, but I’m an ex-prisoner“, wink and cheesy smile included 🙂 But I took her advice, waved, and just as I was about to park my bum upon the soft, light-brown leather chair, my health problem decided that this would be a perfect time to attack me with its bloody pain batons! I was in a lot of pain…but determined to try my best to get my story and views across. All was going swimmingly…until the remarkable and incredibly friendly host, Mr. Ryan Tubirdy, asked how my shameful incarceration had affected my mother…try as I might to fight back the tears…my love, worry, and admiration for this amazingly astounding lady overcame me…I burst…and do you know what? I apologise to nobody for it. That is the most honest and true side of me, and I am not ashamed to shed a tear. There really is nothing wrong with it! I am who I am…sorry!

But having my mother and my beautiful partner sitting there in the audience as I bore my soul, was all the encouragement I required, as I tried to show an honest version of myself…of how I hide behind no long list of excuses of why I ended up in jail. I ended up in jail because I was a disgusting person…a liar, a teller of disgusting lies at that…a bad father/son/brother/uncle…and I was too selfish to acknowledge any of this…instead I drank my problems away…along with my family, my friends, and my self-respect. I really tried to show people that I was that person…but I am this person now.

An amazing night, with amazing, friendly, supportive people…a fairy-tale if I am completely honest. All of which has driven the demand for my book to a level I could have only dreamed of…in fact, the last little photo in the above collage is myself outside an amazing shop, Clever Buys, in Finglas…the place where I grew up, as they proudly display my book….head = blown. Here’s the “crying gobshite” bit aswell 🙂

 

If this is lost…I don’t want to be found…

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So, there you have it. A quick synopsis on what has become such a proud time in my life. I am going to draw this blog to a close…I’ve really missed these musings and look forward to annoying you all with more of my ramblings…but before I say goodbye, please let me leave you with something to think about. When was the last time you told yourself, “You’re doing good here…well done“…when did you last feel fuckin’ great about yourself? The funny thing is, if I was to ask you, “when was the last time you felt shit, or down, or hard on yourself“, you would have answered straight away. Why do we do this to ourselves? We are amazing creatures that at the drop of a hat will jump to the aid of others in order to prevent them from feeling low, or pain, or shame, or guilt…but who looks after YOU? Believe it or not…that answer is simple…YOU looks after YOU! If you can’t be ok with yourself, how do you expect others to be ok with you? We all know that “it’s ok not to be ok“, and that is a crucial ingredient in your “I’m caring about me today” plan, but for those of you that feel trapped..that feel guilt over something they have done…or maybe not done…I urge you to talk about it….admit your faults…almost own them…if you are looking for an apology this will stand to you…own your guilt, understand it fully, and then you can show how you will change…and I promise you…if you truly want to change you truly will. Banish negativity…embrace the positivity…simple! Like, if this gobshite that is typing away here, wearing a dressing gown that is in urgent need of a trip to the washing machine, drinking cold coffee and, unusually enjoying it…yes…if I can change…anyone can. I served my time with the most incredible men…inspiring men that have become my greatest of friends…we all changed…yes it was hard at times…but if you want something so bad…nothing is too hard! And remember, I was a vile human before my eventual change…I respected no one and in turn had no respect for myself. And I am still working on myself…in fact I’ll never stop. There are still people so precious to me that I have hurt so badly…but I will try, ever so quietly, until my dying day, to show them how truly sorry I am. They are worth the wait.

 

So, please stay strong…and invincible. There is nothing you can’t achieve…nothing you don’t deserve. Just ask for it…believe…and I really do feel you will receive. And always remain grateful…it costs nothing…not a cent…to be nice 🙂

 

Thank you every single one of you…you have made my life overflow with love and happiness. I think you are all amazing…I truly do…so please…think the very same thing about yourselves.

Smile….it really suits ya 🙂

Take Care

Over and Under,

Gar 🙂

Book available in all good book shops, or online here:

http://www.theliffeypress.com/joys-of-joy-finding-myself-in-an-irish-prison-by-gary-cunningham.html

It’s been awhile…

Dear Alcoholic Gary…

It seems like a lifetime ago since we’ve talked…well…I say “talked”, but it was more like you talked and I obeyed. You had such a controlling demeanor, such a powerful, vice-like grip that took hold of me in what seemed like the blink of an eye. I bought into your cravings and allowed myself to succumb to your “way of life”. And recently I have found myself reminiscing on the early days of our first meetings. I remember being a foolish 13 year-old who cared not for authority, but cared immensely about the acceptance of my peers. A 13 year-old who knew everything…when really I knew nothing at all. I remember bunking off school with Mick Bass one day, and the two of us making our way like stealth ninja’s towards my home, which I knew was to be empty for the day. The plan was to sit in the house and do nothing…great plan eh? But it wasn’t long after we arrived that boredom kicked in and mischievous-minds began cranking into over-drive. “Here Gar, does your aul fella have a drinks cabinet?” enquired Mick. Now, I vaguely remember a sense of dread wave through my entire body as I was quite aware that the punishment for my actions would be quite severe…but then I thought “sure it will be grand” (a statement which I found you used quite a lot Alcoholic Gary) and so I proceeded to open the small, teak, squeaky door of the drinks cabinet in my sitting room. As the door dropped open, myself and Mick’s nostrils were met with an aroma of musty furniture and high-spirit alcohol all blended together. We had no idea what the percentage of an alcohol meant, nor that it was highly recommended that you do NOT mix these toxic beverages together. Drinks like vodka and malt whisky. But…of course…myself and Mick did just that! I remember instantly hating the feeling of having lost control…control of my body…control of my mind…control of the contents of my stomach which ended up covering quite an impressive segment of my mam’s prized carpet. It was horrendous. We both felt like rung-out tea-towels, we were caught not only bunking school but drinking too, and we were barred from hanging around together. So, you’d think this would put me off the “demon drink” for life…but you had other ideas Alcoholic Gary…

As I grew into an even more obnoxious 15/16 year-old, the pressure from my peers to “go drinkin'” was intensifying. Though, truth be known, I didn’t really feel that much pressure…you took care of that Alcoholic Gary didn’t you? So I began drinking every Friday night in parks and lanes all dotted around the area where I grew up. Getting the drink would always pose a problem, but we somehow always found a way. I began to really look forward to buying my “six cans for a fiver” deal, and struggling to get through four of them before I passed out. I even made sure to get myself a little job on a Friday afternoon after school, doing the milk-money collection with the local milkman, thus ensuring I had sufficient funds “for me gargle“. I need to ask you Alcoholic Gary…was it in these early days that you began to manifest? Is this where you began to assume control? Please forgive me if I seem to be pointing fingers here…for I know I am not blameless. But the Friday Sessions continued, and my tolerance for alcohol grew and grew. And then something amazing and shocking happened…

As you know Alcoholic Gary, at the ripe young age of 16 I became a father to the most perfect and amazing child I have ever known and her arrival into the world completely ceased all communication between me and you. The only drinking I did, was to drink in the strength and beauty of my little girl. I was so happy…alas it wasn’t to be… As you are also aware Alcoholic Gary, my daughter passed away after six months. You are aware of this because it was around this time that you got back in contact with me. You saw an opportunity and you took it, and this time you brought new personality traits that you planned testing out on me. But, again, I can’t just blame you. I was weak. I used the fact that my beautiful and amazing daughter had died as an excuse to become a carbon image of you. I hate myself for that. I hate that instead of mourning the passing of my baby girl, I refused to accept that she was gone, and set out on a one-way road of total self-destruction. And this is when you really took control…

I began telling lies…constantly! I told disgusting, irresponsible and despicable lies and cared not about who I said them to. I hurt and destroyed a lot of people with these disgusting “Walter Mitty” musings, and I have most probably destroyed any chance to even beg these people for forgiveness…and I can’t blame them…I don’t deserve it! I became aggressive…but none more so than when I “had a few drinks in me”. I spat vile and hate and hurt from my drunken mouth during arguments…words that could never be taken back. And that is where I began to detest you Alcoholic Gary. For you see, when I’d sober up…come back to myself so to speak…I would be filled with so much remorse. I would cringe in embarrassment as people would recall what I had done or said. And sadly, most times, the damage I had caused was too severe to mend with apologies. I would make empty promises to get rid of you once and for all…but I was weak. I allowed you to regain control. And the funny thing is, once you had control you were useless! Ok, some of the lads found you funny…the odd time. Yes you could hold your own in a conversation pertaining to Dublin GAA or Liverpool FC. I will say that you were a very generous person, but I do feel that this was me shining through you. But other than that, you were useless! If you were lucky enough for some poor unfortunate woman to feel sorry for you enough to maybe think about spending the night with you…you were fuckin’ useless! You would convince yourself that you could drive…you idiot! You never knew when to stop drinking, with the fear of god running through your body at last orders as you survey your current number of pints, and calculate how many you need to see you home. And then, as you hung around the next morning…lingering…your presence on more that one occasion prevented me from going into work. I’ll never fully know how lucky I was to have my father as my boss. As much as I tormented him, he still gave me work. I was so lucky. And then I abused this luck and his trust even further when you introduced me to cocaine…and “shit got REAL”

Of course I’d end up taking coke…it’s what idiots like me do isn’t it? So now Alcoholic Gary is adding coke to the mixture…well…my brain just frazzled. I was now completely lost in a haze of regret and sorrow. Of anger and hate. Of sparse highs and constant lows. But you never let your grip loosen did you Alcoholic Gary? Even when my Father passed away? When I lost my job and my source of income to try to keep up with the addiction which you had so (UN)kindly bestowed upon me, diminished? No…you kept at me and at me and at me and at me and…BANG! What needed to happen in my life happened…an intervention, although at the time it felt like the end of the world. I was arrested and sent to prison…and it was the beginning of the end of me and you. Prison saved my life! Its high, grey walls topped with barbed-wire were enough to keep you away from me for long enough for me to realise how much I hate you. Yes, you tormented me in the first few months of my incarceration, but I grew strong. I wanted you out…gone for good. I’m just so disappointed that it took me to end up in prison to finally get rid of you. But rid of you I am…

I still take each day at a time…

So, Alcoholic Gary, as I draw this catch-up to a close I feel empowered, for I have been able to “speak” with you throughout this letter, without having to put up with you butting in and interfering. Again, in the sport of fairness, I would like to reiterate that the person I was back then is not all your doing. I played my part by being weak. For allowing such bile to leave my mouth. For always having excuses. Excuses, in my opinion, are for the weak. I today feel I have no excuses for my past actions, I just have the honest reasons why they happened. But I can’t lie Alcoholic Gary…being free from you has been the best feeling I have had for a very long time. I don’t miss you one bit…although you still try to mooch your way back in on occasions. But I am ready for you. And I will remain that way thanks to the love of an amazing woman and her family, and my own amazing family. So stay away.

You could argue, “Hey…we had some good times me and you” but do me a favor…go back, just as I have many, many times, and think about these “good times”…trust me…they weren’t that good.

Regards,

Sober Gary.

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Thanks as always for stopping by. Ok, so to quote a “prison phrase”, this weeks blog is a bit “balls rough!” In other words it’s a bit sober…I mean, somber…but I suppose there is no funny side to addiction. My particular drug of choice was alcohol, which progressed onto cocaine. They both had such a hold over me that I felt I was living in another world, and I suppose in my mind I was. But I was a great man for excuses. I always had an excuse. And it’s my opinion that, if an addict can quell their excuses, they are on the right road to beginning recovery. Yes it WILL be hard…but I swear to you it’s worth it in the end. To have your life back in your OWN control is a pleasure you will never want to lose again. If you are suffering from any type of addiction GO…TALK…TO…SOMEONE! You will be amazed how understanding people can be. And that’s where everyone else comes in. If we can show a basic level of understanding maybe we can assist an addict into recovery.

Whilst I was in Mountjoy prison in Dublin, Ireland, and I was coming to terms with the fact that I was an alcoholic who wanted to change, I wrote a song called “Addicted To Me”. The verses are the addiction talking, with the chorus being the addict talking. These words have since been put on display in Merchant Quay in Dublin, which provide counseling  services for addicts. I hope you like it…and the “dodgy video” of me singing it. The song is murky and so I wanted the recording to coincide with that.

Addicted To Me:

(Verse 1)

Just a taste you will see,

You’re addicted to me,

Your problems gone, but not for long,

As I still hold the key.

Ease your troubles away,

Well at least for today,

But soon you’ll crack, then I’ll be back,

Maybe this time I’ll stay.

(Chorus)

One hit, takes away all my pain.

Your grip, helps me, breathe again.

Whats real? Whats fake? I can’t tell,

Oh, save me…from this hell.

(Verse 2)

Let the terror begin,

Now I’m under your skin,

Your only friend, until the end,

Your deadliest sin.

You have sold me your soul,

Its left you down in a hole,

The deals been made, and now you’ve paid,

With your life put on hold.

(Repeat Chorus)

Thanks again for dropping by. I really do think that each and every one of ya’s are “bleedin’ deadly” (or for those not living in Dublin, “quite superb”) 🙂

Look out for each other.

Over and Under.

Gary. 🙂

The End Is Nigh…or is it?

Well…what a week that was!

Mr. Donald Trump is to be the next president of The United States Of America. A man who has spouted some terrible views on numerous matters (I’m sure by now everybody knows his opinions on certain topics! ). A man who comes across like a caricature of an evil villain in the old Batman TV show from way back when. Only this time there is no Adam West in questionable underwear to “save the day”…holy presidential race Batman…KA-POW! And yet, he won the race to the White House, some would say, with relative ease. Ok, one can argue that he was “the best of a bad pairing” as his opponent didn’t exactly emanate a brighter future for America. But America spoke…in fact America yelled, “This is the man we want.” What Trump seems to have tapped into is Middle America…the ordinary “Joe America” who has grown weary of being forgotten about…of being over-looked. It seems that on certain issues Trump was saying what a vast majority of Americans wanted to say, but where too afraid to. Do I personally agree with some (almost all) of what this man has said throughout his campaign? Absolutely NOT! I find most of his views repulsive. But in no way would I want him censored…and that leads me onto this weeks blog…

Thank you as always for dropping by and having a nose. I am sure to ruffle a few feathers with this particular blog. In fact, I wrestled with the idea of not publishing it, for fear of being vilified, of being attacked by the Lefty’s and the Snowflakes that have grown in numbers like a herd of rabbits. But the fact that I questioned myself, actually spurred me on…so here it goes!

For those that don’t know me, I live in Dublin, Ireland…and I love it! Every Friday our National Broadcaster airs an entertainment show called “The Late Late Show”, and it has almost become part of our heritage at this stage. Guests can vary from A-List celebs and sportsmen and women at the top of their game, to up-and-coming musicians and budding authors…and everything else in between. On last Friday’s show, the controversial newspaper columnist Katie Hopkins, who seems to have no filter when she speaks, was to be interviewed. She has been extremely vocal in her support of Donald Trump throughout his campaign, and so one would think she would make for a great guest to speak about the happenings of the preceding week…or maybe not according to the 1,300 complaints that RTE (the national broadcaster) received in the days leading up to her appearance. Now…just like our good friend Trump, I would agree with less than 50% of what Mrs Hopkins has to say. I find some of the things she said in the past to be insulting and disgusting, and not very well thought-out. But these are her opinions…and the last time I checked we are all entitled to our opinions. And this is what has got my back up reader. It seems that unless your opinion conforms to the Leftist strict criteria, or the impeccably high  standards of the PC Brigade with its army of Snowflakes, then you “best keep that opinion to yourself!” God help you if you stray from the righteous path of the preciously perfect people and their idealistic views on how we should act and behave…for this is a sin of great magnitude. They will ensure that you are singled out and made feel like the lowest of the low for speaking your mind and “saying it like it is.” Being branded a racist or a bigot is something that doesn’t come out in the wash…in fact it sticks. And yet, most people are only sharing their views…their opinions! Most wouldn’t have a racist bone in their bodies. But just because they speak up and don’t conform, they are branded and vilified. And it really pisses me off! The very people who tore strips off the RTE for having Katie Hopkins on their show, describe her in such a vile and disgusting way, using language and descriptions that are quite cutting…this from the same group of people who say she shouldn’t be heard…her opinions should be quelled…as she spouts nothing but bile and hate…hmmmm…pot? Kettle? What colour?? Or is it ok for them to refer to Mrs Hopkins and Mr Trump in whatever fashion they please as they have “clarity of the heart”…they are “fighting the good fight”? It’s hypocrisy at its most highest level in my humble opinion.

Ok, let’s face it…the majority of the things that emit from Trump and Hopkins mouths are not well thought out ramblings, and misguided bullshit. They are fully aware that they are striking a chord with the general public…good or bad! But they are not the only people who share their views. Look at the election result in America! The polls got it so wrong and it was put down to the fact that, when asked, the majority of Americans standing in the voting lines that were interviewed lied about who they were voting for…lied because of the fear of being judged…or being branded! I really feel we need to hear ALL sides of an argument…even if what you are about to hear “offends” you. For only then can we mount an educated and articulate response. Whether we like it or not there are some strong-minded people out there with some views that may shock. And these people don’t need a television camera and a microphone pointed at them to express how they feel (and I do see the irony that I am doing just that as I sit here typing this blog!). I really fear that we are raising children today wrapped up in cotton wool. Forcing on them an idealistic image of a “perfect world”. I’m sorry, but this crazy planet is far from perfect! This is why I feel so strongly about allowing these people, like Katie Hopkins, to air their views…what might shock you is how many people agree, in some part, with them. Just because you don’t agree with something, doesn’t make it wrong! Each and every one of us has been afforded the gift of free speech. Those that abuse this privilege and incite hatred, racism, bullying or violence deserve facing the full wrath of the law. But those that express an educated opinion…no matter how “right-wing” or controversial it may seem, should be afforded the same respect that is given to the left-wing conservative views. We should all try to listen without prejudice…listen without being offended. And when your “opponent” has finished giving their view, you can have your say. We all might learn a thing or ten!

everything-will-be-okay

Call me a hippy, but I really do believe the above statement…

I am two years released from prison now, and I have enjoyed getting to know this world we live in once again. I found my love for writing (maybe keep looking, says you) whilst incarcerated and I love to sit here at my small wooden desk and type my stream of consciousness. I felt, and rightly so, like such an outsider two years ago. I struggled to see where I’d fit in. I blamed no one but myself for feeling like an unwanted reject…and then the people of Dublin, and of Ireland, saved me! Bit  of a strange statement I hear you say? And yeah, I would agree…but let me explain. I am an avid listener to daytime radio and I love to listen in on the talk shows that grace the Irish airwaves. In fact, I was listening to Niall Boylan on Classic Hits 4fm today…and who was his guest? Only Katie “bloody” Hopkins!! Brilliant. I urge you to find the podcast and give it a listen…it was pure radio gold.

Anyway, back to the Irish people saving me…

So I would spend my days listening in on whatever topics that were chosen for that day, and I was blown away by the intelligent and well-rounded opinions being shared. I would find myself laughing out loud…or getting angry..I LOVED IT. And so I plucked up the courage to phone into one of these shows and I shared my opinion on some topic pertaining to Irish jails. I surprised myself by blurting out that I had shamefully spent time in prison…and the people didn’t judge me…in fact those that know me know how well received my story has become, as I keep plugging away trying to get my book published. I have been humbled by the support of complete strangers…and yet, I would hazard that some of these people maybe started out by having a negative view of me…which they are entitled to have. But I opened many dialogs with these people, and through honest conversation, and respecting each others views, we both got a result we were happy with. Is it really inconceivable to think that if we open our minds to others opinions…no matter how vile we think they are…then maybe we might actually get somewhere? And I have faith in the people of Ireland today, that we can all find a common ground, regardless of our differing views. So, maybe next time, listen to the argument…no matter how uncomfortable it may be…and absorb the information. This will become your greatest weapon in your arsenal.

Oh…and if I offended you with this blog….F_ _ _ Y _ _ ….I jest. If I did offend, please just try to remember, offence is taken not given.

Over and Under guys and gals….listen to each other.

Gary 🙂

 

Why Me?

That was the best weekend of young Pete’s life. He had lead his online team through the enchanted and forbidden forest of “Zolor” as they fought courageously and with valour against the hoard of Orgre’s that stood between them and redemption. What a rush! Pete felt so at home lost and immersed in this fictional world, which was transmitted to him via the TV screen that sat on the dusty wooden desktop in his favourite, most safe place on earth….his bedroom. Here, young Pete could converse with fellow gamers from all around the world….and not one of these guys or girls would judge him…they would not make him feel like a zero. In fact, they admired him, proven this very weekend when he was chosen to lead their team into battle in the brand new online game that is sweeping the planet. Pete was feeling good….but it’s Monday morning….the start of a new week in school….and the resumption of the onslaught of name calling, pushing and shoving, and general misery, all contributing to the feelings of fear and loneliness that engulfs Pete’s young life. Pete is excelling in all subjects in school, which is quite an achievement, as school is Pete’s least favourite place to be. “The Bully” in question is Nathan…. who’s build and size makes him look much older than his 13 years. Great footballer? Check. “Ladies man”? If you consider the young girls attending the local secondary school that fall all over our Nathan to be ladies, then Check! Funny guy? If putting people down as a source of entertainment is considered funny then, Check. Bully and general torment? Double Check!! Nathan held his loyal bunch of followers attention through fear….fear that they would become his next target. Alas for Pete, it seems that Nathan currently has only one target…one that he can focus all his time and energy on…”Why Me?” is the question that bombards around young Pete’s frazzled brain on an hourly basis. “I didn’t ask to be born short”“I try at sports but find they are just not for me….I don’t mean to let anyone down”“I’m sorry that I study and enjoy learning….I am not trying to make you look bad, I’m trying to make me look good”“GOD!! WHY ME?”

Nathan has made Pete’s world so small, in fact sometimes it can feel that himself and Nathan are the only two inhabitants on this lonely, hate-filled planet. Pete would love to let others into his world, others that might assist Pete in finally banishing the ugly Nathan from his world once and for all….if only he could summon his online team for assistance…..together they would quell Nathan, the King of the Orgre’s!…

But Pete is paralysed by fear and a sense of failure which prevents him from allowing people into this dreaded world. Fear of the bullying intensifying as a result of “ratting”….how dare he! The feeling of failure, as Pete has convinced himself that asking for help will result in Nathan “winning”. 

And so Pete, yet again, digs deep as he sits with his wonderful family around the light-oak kitchen table that sits proudly in the airy and spacious kitchen of his loving family home. Somehow he musters up the strength required to face school, and more importantly, Nathan. Little does Pete’s father know, that the genuine interest he shows in Pete’s online quests, asking how well the battle went etc, fills Pete’s courage tank with just enough to get him through the day. And as he heads for the door and his Mam stops him in his tracks and gives him a breath-constricting hug and tells him she loves him, Pete can’t help but wonder does Nasty Nathan not receive this kind of attention in his home? “If only I could talk to him, show him how much he hurts me, find out if he is hurting, even HELP him”….but Pete knows this is a pipe dream. Nathan will always be Nathan. An attention seeking fool, who feels threatened by the success and growth of others. 

And so Pete leaves to do battle once more with the King of the Orgre’s…only four more sleeps until Friday when he will meet up with his online team and set off on another adventure. But the question still nags him…the question he can’t escape…“Why ME?”

Thank you as always for sharing this blog with me. I have had quite a bit going on in my life lately from losing one job to starting another, whilst still trying to deal with the damage caused by the car crash I was involved in earlier this year (nothing serious, just nerve damage that has left four of my fingers feeling like they are stuck in a bunch of nettles…OUCH!…But they are on the mend…thanks be to JAYSIS) so I have neglected these blogs…and honestly, I have really missed them. So it’s good to be back 😆

I have always been very vocal about my disdain towards bullies. Although the above story is from my imagination, I would hazard that in many ways it is quite accurate…. and this saddens me. We live in an age where the bully doesn’t even have to leave their beds in order to wreck someone’s life…to gnaw away at their self-confidence until none of it remains. It is scary, and I feel we all should be extra vigilant to what may be going on right under our noses. And please don’t be fooled that bullying is restricted to children, teens, and young adults….there are many adults who right now…this very second…can relate to Pete in my story. I am a very fond listener of Niall Boylan on Classic Hits 4FM. He hosts a phone-in talk show weekdays from 1pm to 3pm and also from 9pm ’till late. (Can I just add…if you are reading this blog and you hail from Ireland like yours truly (or if you reside in countries afar), and you listen to the radio on a daily basis, either whilst working or in the comfort of your home, I cannot recommend enough Niall’s show and also Dublin Talks on 98FM as a most welcome escape from the humdrum of your day. Laughs, tears, and thought provoking aplenty!) Recently I was blown away from a post on Facebook that Mr. Niall Boylan had put up. This guy has a wonderful way of winding people up with his opinions, but he is also a fair and impartial judge as the conversations on his show flow. He is not afraid to speak his mind but can show immense compassion if the situation requires it. And yet, this one post he put up recently made me, and many others, admire him on a level away from his show. Niall is a “fighter for the cause” as regards to preventing bullying, as it is a subject matter close to his heart. As a young boy he was bullied in school, which lead to health issues arising from the stress he found himself under…which is what he disclosed in this recent post. Rather than me regurgitate this post for you, I urge you to seek it out and give it a read….it will be worth it…trust me.

Amazingly Niall also details a very recent bullying incident in this post that shocked me. Again, read the post to find out what occurred, but to think that as a grown man he still finds himself dealing with a bully is actually astounding. But I thank and praise him for sharing his story…for highlighting that bullying is still happening to ALL AGES.It needs to stop! But, and I always say this, the people united will never be defeated. So let’s stay extra vigilant….of all our friends and family. Make sure they know they have you to talk to as you listen without judgement. And if you feel like someone you know IS “The Bully” don’t confront them with violence. Instead try with your words and experience to show them the carnage they are creating. Bullies must be stopped. They are just attention seeking buffoon’s that are jealous or feel threatened by you on a level that makes them feel vulnerable.

Thank you again for stopping by.

Watch out for each other.

Over and Under.

Gary 😉


Tears Of A Clown

The game was nearing its nerve-shattering conclusion, as the colourful crowd in Dublin’s Croke Park were once again brought towards the edge of their seats (or the edge of the steps on Hill 16). A fine fist pass over the head of the Kerry half-back from Connelly, was gratefully accepted by O’Gara, who barges through the remaining defensive blockade…drops the shoulder…BANG…back of the net! Dublin up by 2! The hill (the standing area behind one of the goals in Croke Park ) is united in unbridled joy. Mark turns to his friends just in time to join them all in a group hug as they start the famous chant of The Boys In Blue…“Come…on…you…boys in blue.” “What a goal” screams Mark , quickly followed by, “I TOLD ya’s all…ya’s wouldn’t listen to me…O’Gara lads…he’s a feckin legend!!” “Alright Mark, calm down”,mocked Tommy, Mark’s closest friend. The ref gave his whistle its final blow of the day, confirming Dublin’s hard-fought 2 point win. Mark is enjoying this moment…the sun shining on his face, his coal-black hair slicked back and waxed within an inch of its life. It’s always great to see the Dubs win, but it’s an extra special bonus if it’s the mighty Kerry that they dispense of. “Super lads”, starts Mark to his mates…his always attentive audience, “Now….imagine if that game was actually FOR something, and not just a challenge match (similar to a friendly in soccer terms)“. This brings loud laughter from Tommy and Mark’s two other pals, Gavin and Darren.

HON THE DUBS

The lads begin leaving Croke Park and they are all hanging on every word that omits from Mark’s mouth. “There’s an All-Ireland in that team boys…I’m telling ya”, beams Mark. “You’re rarely wrong Marko me aul flower” offers Gavin, a short, chubby lad with a balding head, and a heart of gold. In many ways Gavin regards Mark as a “bit of a hero”…though he would never dare divulge that information for fear of eternal mocking from his mates. But little did Gavin know, both Tommy and Darren both held Mark in a similar high regard. Mark was the “cool” one in their little gang. And that’s going way back to when they were kids and he arrived down to The Green one sunny summer’s afternoon on a brand new BMX…with red, five-spoke wheels! It was always Mark that formulated their adventures…most of which ended in some form of punishment from their respective parents…but those adventures were always worth it! It was Mark that first approached “The Girls” that hung around The Green…and within ten minutes of dazzling them with his zealous charm and heart-braking smile, he had convinced The Girls to join him, Tommy, Gavin,and Darren, in a game of Spin The Bottle. Fantastic!!

And today not much has changed. It’s still Mark that formulate’s their adventures, though now-a-days this only requires which pub to start in on their nights out. “So, where to first chief?”, asks Darren of Mark. Darren is the brains of the group…the only one of their gang to go to college to study something that none of the others have any comprehension of…or care that much about! A tall, skinny lad, Darren usually finds himself in the firing line of sad and pathetic folk that gain amusement from mocking others. But don’t let Darren’s “Harry Potter” styled glasses fool you…he is quite the wordsmith and fears no one. He is always three steps ahead of his “mockers” and their duel usually ends with Darren claiming victory as his “mocker” scuttles away dazed and confused. “I was reading a great piece from that journalist I was telling you all about, Tony, from Joe.ie”, says Mark. “He gave the “Definitive guide to the best Dublin pub crawl…EVER” in a really well written piece…he got me excited lads”. Mark says all of this as he flashes that famous smile of his…the lads get it…it’s gonna be a good night.

The first couple of pubs were good craic, alas the lads craved more. But then they entered O’Reilly’s Bar, just as the songs from the slightly inebriated punters were getting into swing. “You’re up Mark…go on lad…not a bother to ya” proudly declared Tommy to Mark. Tommy and Mark have been “best buds” since they were both knee-high to a grasshopper. They did everything together as kids and again, not much has changed today. Tommy sees Mark as an inspiration…someone who is constantly available to cheer you up when you’re down. To offer a shoulder to cry on, or some sound advice. At one stage of his younger life, Tommy wasn’t very successful with the opposite sex. He suffered from an out-break of acne just as puberty kicked in, which knocked him completely. But it was Mark that instilled in him confidence. It was Mark that showed him what an amazing bloke he is. It was Mark that thought him that they were “only pimples…they won’t be around forever….but your good heart and your amazing wit will be…So focus on them”. Tommy has never forgotten his friends help, and is forever grateful for his friendship. “Ahh sure I might get up and sing  one!” says Mark, laughing, as he makes his way into the middle of a crowd of Dublin supporters,none of whom he actually knows, and with his arms raised high above his head he begins his party-piece,”on hill 16, they never gave up hope, without Jimmy Keaveney the man they call the pope…everyone in the bar listened on in respect as Mark made his way through this famous song about a Dublin team from yesteryear, joining in with him on the song’s chorus. As Mark brought the song to an end, he also took the aging roof of O’Reilly’s bar, with its large teak beams spanning it left and right, clean off! Everyone cheered and made a bee-line for Mark, in order to pat him on the back and congratulate him on a song well sang. Tommy, Gavin and Darren watch on in awe and admiration. “Next few pints are on us buddy”, they proudly declare to Mark.

Great times with great friends.

Mark soon finds that he is the centre of attention as he rhymes off another inappropriate joke, or recounts a funny work-related story to the table that now includes some very attractive ladies…one in particular who seems to have taking a liking to Mark. “I’m Debbie”, says the small-framed, petite Debbie, her flame-red hair glistening as it catches a single ray of sun that has poked through a crack in the window behind her. “Mark is my name Debbie…very pleased to meet you,” replies Mark, as he flashes his dimples in her direction. The lads can feel what’s coming next. Good aul Mark….the ladies man. Sure, he never fails. What a bloke!

After another few drinks, and a sneaky kiss from the delectable Debbie, Mark turns to his friends and surprisingly announces that he’s hitting the road. This is met with massive disappointment and groans from Tommy, Gavin and Darren, but Mark informs them that he is “just wrecked lads…I’m just wrecked! Sure I’ll see ya’s all tomorrow for the Liverpool game yeah? Now….Tommy…stop worrying while you’re talking to that girl…she likes you so relax. Gav, you need to calm down a little…she doesn’t want to fall in love with you tonight…take it handy me aul pal. And Darren…you’re doing great…I’ve nothing to say to you!” The lads are joined in a chorus of laughter. “Deadly Mark…nice one man…safe home…see ya tomorrow bud” say the lads, as Tommy follows it up by shouting, “the singer is leaving the building”. This brings a massive cheer in honour of Mark and his repertoire of songs. “Go on Mark ya legend….what a guy”.

And so Mark trudges home, trying to ignore the sinister voice that is lurking inside his mind…”you’re an idiot”…”what have you ever done that’s right?” Mark has always had this voice inside him for as long as he can remember. He knows not how it got there, nor why it continues to stay. Usually Mark is quite skilled at muting this horrid voice…he is quite the master of pretending that he can’t hear it…of sweeping it under life’s carpet and portraying the ultra-cool, nice-guy exterior that he has spent so long trying to create. A persona he only wished he could actually relate to…for the truth is, Mark DOES listen to that sinister voice…sometimes…sometimes it’s unavoidable…like tonight in the pub. As Mark enters his home, he makes his way straight up the stairs and into his room, not wanting to make small talk with his folks for now. He closes the door and turns on the bedside lamp, which illuminates the room just enough, bathing it in a soft, warm glow. He catches sight of his face in the mirror…this being a fatal mistake, for when he looks into his own eyes, the voice inside him seems to increase in volume. “A Muppet is all you are Mark…nothing you do is good enough…you’re pathetic…a waste”..

After some time has passed, the intruding voice inside of Mark’s head begins to quell. He dries the salty tears from his face, and attempts one last look in the mirror before he turns in for the night. As he looks at his swollen, blood-shot eyes, and sees the marks the tears have left on his face, he finds his heart sinks a little. He doesn’t want these thoughts in his head…if only he felt he could talk to someone…tell someone how he feels…what he is thinking…but no…that’s out of the question…sure they would “probably laugh at me”. And so, he looks hard into his blood-shot eyes, and with slight determination he tells himself, “You ARE good enough Mark…you’re NOT a bad person”. And so he lays his hurting head upon his pillow and waits for the Sandman to take him away…away from here…just for a while…sure tomorrow is another day…

Thank you so much for having a read of this week’s blog. Do you know a “Mark” in your life, one similar to the Mark I created for this short story? If so I ask you to take some time with them…listen to them…show them you care.  Do you relate to this character Mark yourself?  If so, I urge you to talk to someone…anyone…hell talk to ME if you think it will help. There are many “walking wounded” out there. Some are better at hiding it then others…but we all have a story. Never judge a book by its cover…

Over and under folks…and please keep an eye on each other.

Gar 😉

“Irish Mammy’s”…an Institution!

Her hair a tangled mess…her clothes wafting the stench accumulated from the creation and preparation of that day’s dinner. She multi-tasks at a voracious rate as she keeps the home…HER home…together and in tip-top condition, all the while readily administering good advice or cutting remarks to you and your siblings. And God help you if you think you can pull the wool over this hugely unique woman’s eyes…..

Hey…thank you as always for dropping by. Today I want to pay homage to, what I feel, is one of the many unique advantages (and sometimes disadvantages) of hailing from Ireland…The “Irish Mammy”. I feel completely and utterly blessed and filled with so much pride to be able to divulge to all of you that, over the weekend, I got to celebrate this incredible woman’s (and my very own Irish Mammy) birthday:

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Now…I do value my life, so I will not tell you what birthday she celebrated…but I can say that she looks nowhere near her age. She is every beautiful and inspiring adjective known to man, and I am forever in awe of her beauty, fun spirit, and never-ending love. But, throughout the years, I have also been made aware of her, somewhat, “superhero” abilities. It seemed, when I was a younger more mischievous lad, she had the ability of “mind-reading”, as she could tell from a mile away that I had “got up to something” simply by looking at my posture! She also possessed amazing foresight, as she would almost know what devious act I was planning…before I did! And I’m sure my fellow Irish men and women will concur that this constant “game of chess” between yourself and your “Ma” begins at a very young age.

I think it is fair to say, that the Irish Mammy only has your best interests at heart. Sometimes her worries can alter her perception of reality, as she will make wild accusations that she hopes will deter you from being a “bold boy/girl” or stop terrible harm occurring to you. Things like, “Get up off that cold ground! You’ll get a kidney infection!”  or “Don’t sit so close to the TV…you’ll get square eyes!” One of my personal favourites was when my Mam would blatantly lie to me as she informed me that she had an actual extra pair of eyes, that grew at the back of her head…silly right?…or is it? I don’t know about you but I started to actually look for these eyes at one stage as it seemed she could, basically, SEE EVERYTHING! No matter how hard I tried, I was no match for this amazing woman and her “Irish Mammy Super Powers”.

The Irish Mammy is also the greatest life-coach you are likely to encounter. My own mother (whom it wouldn’t surprise me had a special agent number similar to James Bond…”Lilly 002″ ) thought me so much about life, that only now as a (slightly more mature) adult I can fully appreciate:

  • She thought me to have respect for others hard work: “If you two are going to kill each other, then do it outside…I’ve spent all day cleaning this bloody house!
  • She brought forth religion into my life: “I swear to JAYSUS you better pray to God that stain comes out of those corduroy trousers”
  • She opened my mind to time-travel: ” Keep it up, and I’ll smack you into the middle of next week!”
  • She thought me logic in its most simple form: “Because I said so…THAT’S why!”
  • She fired up my brain to deal with ridiculous contradictions: “Shut your mouth and eat your dinner!!”
  • She touched on the crazy world of a contortionist with me: “Would you LOOK at the dirt on the back of your neck!”
  • She showed me hypocrisy at its most glaring best: “I’ve told you a million times, DON’T EXAGGERATE!”
  • And she also opened my mind to envy: “There are kids all over the world who don’t have such a wonderful Mother as you have!”

And how right she was…

irish-mammy-washing

For I think we can stand unanimous and say that our own Mother is/was just that…wonderful! No other person will ever worry about you like your Mam. My girlfriend never warns me to put on a jacket when I’m leaving our apartment, for fear that I will “catch my death”, nor does she cook the dinners that my Mam cooked…which is actually a good thing. My particular “Irish Mammy” would fill the dinner plate so much that it became an added challenge to try to digest its contents without it spilling all over the table! She would cook for me and my brothers a dinner fit for a king…EVERY…SINGLE…DAY! Your Mam would never let you leave the house looking like a dog’s dinner”, though I’m sure she knew that you will most likely return looking just like the aforementioned mutts meal! Irish Mammy’s hold the record for “The Cleanest Children’s Ears…EVER!” Never mind your brain or your heart or lungs…the way an Irish Mammy would determine her child’s health, was through the cleanliness of their ears. But, by God, did she look after you and all that entered her home. Your clothes washed and ironed to perfection. The house which you resided in (excluding your own bedroom) was pristine in each and every corner. The pride you felt when your Mam made a great impression on your mates by being uncharacteristically funny, or how your friends parents all loved your Mam as she would fill them with tea and as much food as they could consume every time they popped in. Your heart would break when you would see the turmoil your Mam put herself through, as she frantically tried to recall if she had turned off the immersion! What a woman…

And no matter how many brothers or sisters you have…she made you feel like you were her only child…

I know I am blessed to still have my incredible Irish Mammy by my side. She is a lover of these blogs, which fills me with so much pride. I have put this woman through a lot, and yet her love for me never wavered. I know how lucky I am to be able to pick up the phone and hear the beautiful tone of my “Super Agent Mother”come through my phones receiver…for sadly, sometimes the cruelty and harsh injustice of the world we live in, can raise its ugly and unwanted head. I have two equally beautiful and strong sister-in-laws that had their particular “Superhero Mammy” taken from them way, way too soon. They lost not only their Mother…but their best friend. My Mam has always been there for both of these incredible women, but knows never to try to replace the irreplaceable. And I love my Mam for that. Although these two wonderful young women lost their “rock”, the knowledge they gained from their respective mother’s is there for all to see, as they are both amazing and incredible Mammy’s themselves. And I’m sure they have picked up some of their own “Irish Mammy” mannerisms along the way! But Bernadette and Niamh, I salute you both and heap thanks and praise on you for being incredible Mothers to my nephew’s and niece’s…and both of your “Superheros” will forever stay in our hearts.

Irish-mammies

And so I draw this weeks blog to a close. I have enjoyed writing about one of the strongest and bravest women I know. I have loved sharing with you the raw emotion I have when it comes to this woman. She is my inspiration and she drives me to keep pushing forward…to follow my dreams…no matter how far-fetched they are. I love ya Ma…always have…always will…Happy birthday xx

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Happiness…what life is all about…two incredible and strong women…I am blessed!

For those fortunate to have your Mammy still with you, I urge you to pick up the phone and ring her…just to say thanks, and to tell her you love her. And to those who sadly don’t have their amazing mothers with them, stop what you are doing and allow yourself to think back…back to a happier time when you both shared a laugh…open your mind and your heart and let the spirit of your mother come flooding in. And to all the “new” mammy’s out there…I wish you luck…you’re all doing a great job…just don’t be afraid to “become” your Mother…you never know when you might need her “Super Powers” for yourself!

Over and Under you bunch of fantastic free-spirits, and remember…

“If you fall and break your legs…DON’T come running to me!”

Gar 🙂