Milestone birthday shows the importance of friendship
Published 24/07/2014 | 02:30
* I recently celebrated my 50th birthday with a party. Having heard from some friends about their reactions to their own half century milestones, it was with some trepidation that I approached the big day.
Over 40 people attended my celebration party. A number of others sent their apologies. It got me thinking of the nature of friendships. Who are our friends? Are friendships constant in life?
Looking back from my present vantage point, I can see I have no contact with the majority of people I grew up with, people I spent my formative years with.
It is a similar story with the majority of people I studied with in various third level institutions and worked with in various jobs.
Friends have come into my life, stayed for a while before we drifted apart, sometimes by mutual consent, other times the "separation" initiated by me or the other party.
Other friendships have remained more long-term in my life. Today I realise I have wonderful friends who would be there for me at the drop of a hat, if needed.
In life we come in contact with other people, each of them on their own particular path. Sometimes we can be touched in a special way by some of these people and that is wonderful when it happens.
It is sometimes in the nature of friendships that people come into our lives, leave their mark, then leave, like ships passing in the night.
Make the most of the now. Cherish your friends today. You never know what tomorrow holds.
And finally, be a friend to yourself.
We all enter this world on our own and leave in a similar fashion.
CROWDS AT CROAGH
* What's the difference between Croagh Patrick and Croke Park? This Sunday there will be 40,000 people at Croagh Patrick.
MILL STREET, WESTPORT, CO MAYO
A LOST OPPORTUNITY
* I just felt that I had to write about what has happened in this country with Garth Brooks. The country is on its knees, crying out for work and our young are leaving. This was an opportunity for over €50m in revenue, not to mention extra work for those who cannot find full-time employment.
I am not a Garth Brooks fan, but I could see the city's shops were packed on the days of the One Direction concerts. It was like Christmas Eve. How could they let an opportunity like this go?
BALBRIGGAN, CO DUBLIN
POLITICIANS MUST ACT OVER GAZA
* I feel powerless witnessing the genocide of the people of Gaza. Is my inaction or powerlessness that far removed from those who knew what was going on in the concentration camps dotted all over Europe less than a century ago?
They defended their inaction with the excuse of being powerless to act. I cannot allow myself to be in that number.
In a democracy our elected representatives have a responsibility to act. I want them to demand the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador to Ireland.
I ask them to demand the highest sanction possible on Israel. I seek them to use the full weight of their political voice to demand a cessation of this genocide. I am not hopeful. Sure aren't they on their 'holliers'.
DUNDALK, CO LOUTH
DISAPPOINTED AT ISRAELI BIAS
* I am shocked that so many children are being killed in Gaza. My two-year-old boy shared my bed recently. In the morning, as I held my boy, I was touched by sadness knowing that some parents in Gaza would lose their children before the day was out.
Today I decided to read the 'New York Times' and 'The Washington Post' to see if they were biased. Their articles left me deeply disappointed. The biggest news from their perspective was a missing Israeli soldier, a rocket landing near Tel Aviv airport and flights being cancelled for a day.
ADDRESS WITH EDITOR
GOLDEN VALE IDEAL FOR TOURISTS
* My wife and I returned on Saturday evening from a circular 300 mile itinerary of south Leinster and Munster by chartered train, ably organised by the Irish Railway Records Society and the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland.
Our journey along the quiet, rural railways in the Golden Vale traversed Victorian bow-string bridges and viaducts in cut blue limestone. We alighted at quaint stations built in the "gas-pipe Gothic style" beloved by the intrepid Carlow-born engineer and contractor William Dargan.
We enjoyed delightful glimpses of semi-ruined Norman keeps and Cistercian monasteries, the magnificent Cahir Castle, and iconic Gothic revival churches designed by John Semple.
Sadly it is feared that the Waterford through to Limerick Junction section of this most scenic of Irish and European cross-country lines is threatened with imminent closure by an overly centralised administration.
Surely the local communities and development agencies can be motivated to follow the example of their inspired counterparts on the western seaboard, who have initiated the Wild Atlantic Way and the Great Western Greenway cycle experience.
A Golden Vale Railway Experience, involving expanded train services and stopovers at selected hotels and historic sites along the line, could be the equal of any of the above and bring welcome benefits to a treasured but lesser known tourist destination.
Are there interested individuals and organisations in the counties of the Golden Vale who might take up an exciting challenge ?
HUGH M FINLAY
BLACKROCK, CO DUBLIN
PRAISE FOR MOTORING ARTICLES
* I have to commend two articles written by your motor correspondent Eddie Cunningham (Irish Independent, July 23).
'Disabled Parking – Five things to think about before stealing a slot' was excellent. This crime happens every day and affects so many people, not only in Ireland but across the world.
'Chilling prediction: how many will die on roads' was also excellent. I congratulate you on printing such an article and hope it saves many lives.
RATHGAR AVENUE, RATHGAR, DUBLIN 6
ARE CHRISTIANS REALLY UNITED?
* Cal Hyland (Irish Independent, July 23) believes Christians are now "moving towards the message of Christ through ecumenism" while Jews and Muslims are "still in the mire", believing in a vengeful, unforgiving and self-righteous God.
Would Mr Hyland also include those Christians living in Northern Ireland and Glasgow; and, according to the Centre for the Study of Global Christianity, the other 30,000 different schisms within Christianity?
GARY J BYRNE
IFSC, DUBLIN 1