It’s been so long

Posted in Uncategorized on April 6, 2013 by jonoclifford

So it’s nearly 2 years since I last took to blogging. I’ve decided to give it a little go again. Nothing major but we’ll try to come up with something interesting for all involved. 

Keep tuned for blogs about everything so I guess! 

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Mona – Lines in the Sand

Posted in Uncategorized on June 16, 2011 by jonoclifford

Great tune from an up and coming band from Nashville.

The Ireland that we live in.

Posted in Uncategorized on June 9, 2011 by jonoclifford

A political rant from me for the first time in over a year.

Before I wrote this I looked back at some of the cringe worthy Blogs I wrote while I was an officer in USI and I aim not to take a juvenile and ignorant stance on my opinions and how I express them today. And I just want to point out that I am not affiliated to any particular party nor have I ever been and I doubt that I ever will. I have always voted based on individual candidates and their own merits not that of their parties.

Now over the past month or so their has been an extraordinary amount of activity that has had the media foaming at the mouth as well as many political enthusiasts and the everyday commoner on the street, so I want to give my opinions on the incidents that interested me most.

The Queen’s Visit to Ireland

Now I was away in Turkey on the week of the Queen’s visit so a lot of this went over my head as I was far more interested in the Sun and Beer while away but I did see enough before and after and saw snippets during the week to feel I can give an opinion. I suppose the first thing I have to say is that I had no issue whatsoever with the Queen coming over here. I felt it was a huge gesture and it was a way of our country moving forward.

What frustrated me in the lead up to her visit was the ignorance and downright stupidity I saw in the streets around me, in the company of my own friends and of course on Facebook. I saw plenty of people ranting on FB about how dare the Queen come here, it’s a disgrace, it’s this and it’s that. And what really gets to me is that these are the same people who support English Football Clubs, or support Celtic. The same people who if you asked them who Bobby Sands was or Michael Collins they’d struggle to tell you what they achieved or what they stood for. The same people who only know there was a Civil War in this country because the watched ‘The wind that shakes the Barley’. It’s a long time ago since those incidents happened. It’s a long time ago that our two countries fought an unholy war and it’s a long time ago that our own country fell apart as a result. I am a proud Irish Man. A very proud Irish man. I am disgusted at some of the incidents that took place especially Bloody Sunday. I will always hate the Black & Tans and the tactics they employed. But it is now more than ever a time for us as Irish people to forgive and it is now time for us to move on and stop looking at the past.

The Queen’s visit is one of the most prolific moments in recent memory and will be one that will only help our island to move forward. The Queen carried herself as would have been expected, with grace and extreme humility and the numerous gestures made during her visit were amazing.

And on a final note, I think the way our own President Mary McAleese carried herself and spoke during the visit is something we can be proud of and it is a great way for her to cement an outstanding 14 years as our President.

I think in summary I don’t for one second think we should forget our past and forget the work of  people like Padraig Pearse & James Connolly and so many more, but I do think we have to move on as a nation and this was a major step in doing so.

Obama’s Visit to Ireland

This was probably for me more exciting than the Queens visit. And while it didn’t stand for half what the Queen’s visit did, Obama’s visit had me glued to TV all day. Look firstly I know Obama has made a lot of mistakes as US president, but I also think he inherited a raw deal from George W. and I can honestly say that in my 23 years on this earth I have never seen a leader (with the exception of Eoin Hayes : ) ) deliver a speech like this man. He is by far the most charasmatic leader in the world today.

So, was his visit done in order to help his own Presidential Campaign? Of course it was. But for one day, just one day the people of Ireland forgot about the recession. For one day the people of Ireland forgot about all the little and big worries they were encountering and everyone reveled in the moments that Obama created. From standing in Ollie Hayes’ pub in Moneygall telling stories, skulling a Guinness to be fair and coming out with the great line ‘I just want you to know, that the President pays his bar tab’. To walking the street and shaking the hands of the worshipers in the crowd to the speech that lifted a Nation which had previously, been on it’s knees with one line: Is Feidir Linn. Obama made us believe that we can do it. We can turn this country around. He made us believe what we always wanted to believe and he made us believe in ourselves again. One line that I felt was completely overshadowed in that speech was this ‘Whatever hardships the winter may bring, Springtime’s always’s just around the corner’. Obama made Ireland realise that Yes We Can.

Ruari Quinn’s U Turn

I am not going to claim to know the Ins and Outs of this, I’ll just talk about what I’ve seen. Quinn has always been someone who positioned himself along with USI. He has always been someone who has been someone who prided himself on valuing the youth and in particular the Students of this country. He was a man who I didn’t and still don’t know a lot about apart from what I saw from him in my time in the Student Movement and I have to say I liked the guy.

For those of you who don’t know Quinn signed a contract with USI last year saying that if he got into Government, no increase in the Fees would occur and he would fight to reduce any increases in the meantime (Or something to that effect). Basically that the registration fee would be at 1500 euro. It now stands at 2000 euro and Quinn was yesterday asked would he be reversing the increase of 500 euro. His responses to this in my opinion, were extremely weak. So weak that I don’t even remember any of them, but it now seems as if things will not change and as a matter of fact things will get worse.

Now if I was a USI officer I’d probably go on a rant based on my mandate, I don’t have a mandate anymore so here’s my two cents. Quinn has been backed into a very dangerous corner, to be honest he made a promise that he could never keep. And I think deep down he knew that. I  don’t agree with Fees, I never have and I never will. I don’t agree that if fees are introduced they should be means tested, this doesn’t work for the grant, why would it work for Fees. Quinn should’ve been honest from the outset but instead he sold his name down the river to get elected. I have a 15 yr old brother sitting his Junior Cert at the minute and I shudder to think whether or not he’ll be able to get into Third Level. Now I have to look at it from the other side, is the current third level system we have in place sustainable? I don’t think so, but there needs to be a much bigger picture thought of here, the country is in a very bad way and we do need to invest in our future and by pricing the Middle and Lowe Classes out of Third Level we will see a much darker future ahead. I don’t know the solution but I’m not the Minister for Education who signed a deal with 250, 000 students and then turned my back on them or so it seems, but I hope he can prove me wrong.

David Norris – The President we need. 

Again I don’t know a whole lot about David Norris, I know a little about his work in gaining so much ground on the rights for homosexuals in Ireland in the past few decades and the fact that he was hated and loathed for this work and I know that he has done a severe amount of work for human rights in general. I also know that is a very flamboyant and outgoing character who’s not afraid to speak his mind and say what’s what. And it is because of this I am deeply saddened at the media backlash or whatever you want to call it that has been hit out at Senator Norris over the past week.

Norris is a tireless worker. He always has been and now things that he has said over the years are being brandished around the papers to make him look like he is Public Enemy Number 1. Norris is a realist, unlike all other politicians who want to bury their heads in the sand and keep Ireland in the 1960s and make sure that we still have that element of Old Ireland that we can be so proud of. It’s time we grew up.  Norris’ views are the views of a modern Ireland and at least he’s willing to discuss the contentious issues that exist in our country such as drug use, pedophilia, prostitution and sexual abuse. He has not once said that he would be pushing these things forward but merely giving opinion on them and he is being chastised for this. Norris is a braver man that I could ever be. He is a stringer man than I could ever be and he is now probably not going to be even nominated for President of this country because he states the fact. Well it’s funny how I talked about Ireland moving forward, the fact is if Pat Cox or Sean Gallagher said these things there wouldn’t be an ounce of the outrage and attention that Norris has gotten. And why is that? Simple, Norris is Gay. And Ireland is not ready for that and is looking for a way to stop him even getting out onto the race track let alone even crossing the finish line. It’s as simple as that and it’s a damned shame that we as a nation are still stuck in the dark ages. He speaks nothing but truth and I think (again this is all my own opinion) because he’s gay, his views are somehow cast under a different light as a result.

If he manages to get a nomination and his name is on the Ballot Paper, I will be putting my number 1 next to David Norris, and nothing next to any of the other candidates that have put themselves forward thus far. I want a President who will speak the truth, and not follow the status quo as these other jokers have. Norris would be a leader I would be proud of.

As a country we have a lot of growing up to do.  But we have come a lot further in recent times. We need to keep pushing forward and stop allowing ourselves to believe that there is no way back. It’s a dark time, but like the old say goes ‘The night is at it’s darkest, just before the dawn’, we need to push on until dawn and it is then and only then that we as a nation can take the steps that we need to and become the Ireland that we can be.

The Frames – Star Star Live at the Olympia

Posted in Uncategorized on June 9, 2011 by jonoclifford

One of the most influential and inspirational people for me in my life has been Glen Hansard. Ever since I saw The Frames on the first series of ‘Other Voices’ I have been hooked on them and particularly on the roamings of Glen.

He’s a salt of the earth, genuine Dub and his music is some of the most poetic and beautiful music that I have ever heard, and after all these years I’m finally going to be seeing him and The Frames live this Saturday in the Marquee in Cork.

Mona – Teenager

Posted in Uncategorized on May 27, 2011 by jonoclifford

These guys hail from Nashville Tennessee, the same town that a little band called Kings of Leon are from. They are definitely making strides to get to the same level as KOL. And why not with seriously catchy songs like this one taken from Jools Holland last year.

Mona are playing support to KOL at Slane tomorrow.

Kings of Leon – Where is my Mind? (Pixies Cover)

Posted in Uncategorized on May 26, 2011 by jonoclifford

For the week that’s in it & considering I cannot wait to go to Slane, I said I’d throw up this cracker of a cover by the awesome Kings of Leon. Enjoy

The Paul Galvin Factor

Posted in Uncategorized on December 29, 2010 by jonoclifford

So it’s been quiet a while since I’ve done this, so what better thing to talk about than what everyone is talking about today.

Unless you live under a rock or your someone who who ignores all things GAA, Paul Galvin is a household name these days. A 30 year old Gaelic Footballer and Hurler from Lixnaw, Galvin was he feature of a documentary last night on RTE1 called Galvinised.

Now I was never a huge Galvin fan. I thought he was a great footballer, with exceptional ability and skill, and I thought he would never reach his full potential because of his short temper and rash actions. I also thought he wasn’t the nicest guy in the world but I always respected him. I have completely changed my opinion of the man, I think he’s a legend. The documentary gave a huge insight into Paul Galvin, the man outside of football and off the pitch. I think for one he came across ten times better than he did on the Late Late a few weeks ago where he seemed nervous and unwilling to talk. In this documentary he was very honest and open and I have nothing but respect for someone like that. There are a few things I want to focus on.

Firstly Galvin ‘The Footballer’. Galvin as I said has exceptional skill. He is possibly the best wing forward this decade when he is on his game. Few players can rival his pace on the ball, as well as his strength. Let alone his amazing accuracy and ability to deliver an inch perfect pass. But it was interesting that he never talked much about the positives of his game, yes he did motivate himself to b player of the yearr and to win an All Ireland in 2009, but not once did he talk his skills up. He was incredibly humble about his ability. He did however focus on things he needs to change and improve on in his game. He acknowledged the wrongs he did and he said a lot of things that needed to be said. His first sending off this year was an absolute joke. Neither player should’ve been sent off. 2 yellow cards possibly but definitely no sending off was warranted. And Galvin got a two month ban as a result. An absolute outrage in my opinion. And again in my own opinion he was made a scapegoat again. Now his second offence on Eoin Caddagan I believe was a different story, did he deserve the ban? Yes. Did the Sunday Game make a bigger deal out of it because it was Paul Galvin? Yes I think so. Did Paul Galvin make any excuses and try and cover it up? No. He knew he did wrong and never made excuses. This is something you have to respect. And to anyone who gives out and says he’s a thug. Play a GAA match when some dickhead is in your face and giving you th  height of abuse. I’d love to see how you’d react.

Paul Galvin ‘The Style Guru’. A lot has been made recently about the way Galvin dresses. I actually thought he only dressed like that on nights out or on TV, but that is the way the man dresses all the time. And I say fairplay to him, he can pull it off and he has no problem with it if people don’t like it. I think his style is class. He got a lot of stick over it and people question his sexuality over it which to me is a bit of a disgrace that people judge a person’s sexuality on the way they dress. He knows clothes, he likes them and as he said himself he doesn’t play golf or watch tv, shopping is his hobby. It’s different to what Paidi O’ Se and Pat Spillane would’ve done, but then again it’s not 1970 anymore and I think GAA heads need to realise that.

Paul Galvin & Cork. Before I get into this topic I want to say I respect Cork as a footballing county. They are strong and they showed that by deservedly won the All Ireland this year. But having said that I think that the level of abuse Galvin receives at the hands of Cork fans is a disgrace.  All you need to do is look at the comments on Youtube from some people who claim to be GAA fans, and some of the comments are a disgrace. One thing I always hate at any sport is booing, I have no problem with a bit of jeering or shouting, anyone who has stood next to me at a football match knows that I’m far from silent and far from reserved at a match, but I hate booing. I hate going to any game that the Dubs are in, all they do is Boo. And I was at Fitzgerald Stadium this year when Galvin came on and the booing was sick. A man my father’s age was calling Galvin every name under the sun and I couldn’t take it anymore so I defended Galvin and told him to have a bit of sportsmanship and respect, because he was making a fool out of himself. Does Galvin like the Boos? He admitted that he loved it. He doesn’t like cork, that was obvious from his comments and what he said was very true. Cork have been hyped up every year for the last number of years and they finally delivered this year. Are Cork a great team? Yes – This Year. Are they one of the greatest teams in GAA history ?Of course not, they need to win again this year before people can start saying that. Are they currently the best team in Ireland? Yes by far, and I do think they’ll win another All Ireland in the next 2 years. Galvin knows this and he acknowledged it. Galvin’s first teaching job was in a school in Cork. And at the time a few years back he was involved in an incident in a Cork game, which left the Rebel fans outraged. There was a load of calls into Radio Kerry slating Galvin and a Cork woman rang in who’s son attended that school and said, ‘It’s a disgrace that these people are ringing in abusing this man. He is the only teacher in that school, who will stay after hours in that school and train those boys how to play football!!’ . Are you telling me this man is a thug? Think again.

Overall I think Galvin came out of the documentary shining. He’s not the typical GAA player, but that’s a good thing, he’s a little out there and his whole life does not revolve around football and what’s wrong with that. He is definitely the David Beckham of the GAA and he has a good future ahead of him in a huge number of possible avenues.

The only question remains can Galvin repeat the amazing year he had in 2009? Or will the bad temper keep him sidelined for another Summer of Sundays? Only time will tell.