Monday 26 September 2016

Brendan O'Connor: God, sport and the Rose of Tralee

Published 28/08/2016 | 02:30

'The Rose of Tralee is the latest casualty of the summer of madness.' Picture Credit : Frank McGrath
'The Rose of Tralee is the latest casualty of the summer of madness.' Picture Credit : Frank McGrath

The question facing the nation now is how we are ever going to go back to dull reality again.

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How can we get worked up about politics, or the budget, or water charges, or any of the rest of it - now that we have tasted the dizzy highs of the best silly season ever?

As the madness has spiralled, we've become more reckless than a Rio cop with a video camera and an internet connection. We've taken to casting aside daily the things that used to make us what we are.

In the space of about three weeks, we casually killed sport, the Church and the Rose of Tralee. There's a feeling that nothing is safe anymore. In its own strange way this could be the greatest period of modernisation the country has ever seen.

The Rose of Tralee is the latest casualty of the summer of madness. No one is still quite sure what went on there - but according to reports, they brought down 65 lovely girls, then put half of them in a room and shot them at point-blank range.

A few of the ones who didn't win have now come out and said this is not what they signed up for. Indeed, it seems that the vetting process slipped slightly this year due to the number of contestants and a few slipped thorough who were not genuine lovely girls.

The Sydney Rose shocked everyone on stage on Monday night when she did a Samba dance. Mary Kennedy said that the Rose of Tralee was not the place for modern things like Samba dancing, but Twitter was alive with messages of support.

The Sydney Rose then wrote a piece for the Irish Times detailing her shock that the Rose of Tralee was a lovely girls competition and a TV show.

The organisers have now promised to review the approach for next year. It is believed they may introduce polygraphs to make sure there are no dangerous feminists and no journalists among the Roses.

Meanwhile the Church is falling to pieces, too. People barely raised an eyebrow at the news that trainee priests in Maynooth were using Grindr. Mainly there was a little jealousy that the seminarians seemed to be having more sex than the rest of us.

The wannabe priests will now be supervised while they are having their dinner and made to say the Rosary every night. It is thought that this will give them less time to have sex. As one senior churchman, who wished to remain anonymous, pointed out, "They'll have plenty of time for that kind of thing when they become priests. But in the meantime they need to knuckle down and get their education first."

And then, of course, there's Pat Hickey banged up abroad while the rest of us have become like crack addicts waiting for the daily dispatches from those loco Rio police guys, who instantly call a press conference to share every new thought and every new email they come across in their investigation.

But the party can't continue forever. And one of these days we're going to have to come back to reality and survey the wreckage, and face up to what we have become - a country without faith in God, sport or the Rose of Tralee.

Sunday Independent

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