Sunday 23 October 2016

Skellig Michael is a reminder of the beauty and power of God

Published 04/05/2016 | 02:30

The Star Wars set at Ceann Sibéal, Dingle, Co Kerry
The Star Wars set at Ceann Sibéal, Dingle, Co Kerry

The front page photograph on Monday's Irish Independent showing the "exact replica" of the beehive huts on Skellig Michael next to the lovely Daisy Ridley, begs, for me at any rate, the question of what it was that attracted those men out to that jagged rock in the wild Atlantic in the first place? They arrived there not as tourists but to make their homes in those original beehive huts and to live their lives there, perched precariously on the edge of Skellig Michael, like some exotic community of house martins, until they died.

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Why did they do it?

When I was a child, I once watched an orchestral performance on RTÉ after the TV sound transmission had failed.

Visually, the whole exercise seemed pointless, even silly. But when the sound was restored and with it the lovely melody, then I began to understand the beauty that had drawn those men together. Those tiny beehive huts that have stubbornly survived for centuries all that sea and sky could hurl at them, are a silent yet eloquent witness to "those who have ears to hear", of the loveliness and beauty of God, and the reality and enduring power of his presence among us down to this day.

Fr Freddy Warner SMA

Portumna, Co Galway


Exam 'reform' really an attack

It is annoying to see the current attack by politicians on the Junior Cert syllabus constantly being referred to as a "reform". It is nothing of the sort.

I hope the new Dáil will commit to suspend the brainless forcing-through of coursework into the Junior Cert curriculum, whether marked by the classroom teacher or externally. Coursework (written material supposedly done by the pupil outside the exam and possibly outside the school) will not reduce stress: the stress comes from the competition for limited college places, not from the exams. Our Transition Year Programme already provides a perfect opportunity to give pupils experience in compiling a portfolio of personal work in a less stressful situation. Giving pupils unsupervised work and then marking it to exam standards that will impact for a lifetime ought to be so obviously open to failure of the system that it is astonishing that it is even being contemplated. Teachers (and parents) elsewhere are under intolerable pressure to 'help' the candidate submit work gaining high marks. Not for the pupil's benefit, but so that the school can maintain its position in the league table.

Teachers or unions that try to point this out are demonised. But no, no: "It has failed in every other country, so we'll do it here (!)."

M Ó Fearghail

Glanmire, Co Cork


Politicians in a parallel universe

I do not know where to start in relation to our sad little country. There is so much wrong being hoisted on the backs of the middle and lower-income families that patience will eventually run out as with Irish Water, not forgetting our elderly and mentally affected.

Our politicians are so far removed from this section of society that they are living in a parallel world.

What surprises me is how people put up with the lies and false promises Behind closed doors democracy disappears, if it ever existed.

The problems facing little Ireland were created by the select few - hospital needs ignored, mental health budget cut, HSE forcing ill people into the expensive private sector, etc. Not to mention foreign companies paying a pittance in tax. And as for the Senate, dear God preserve us from this bunch of losers. The list goes on, and on.

S O'Rourke



'Flowers of the Forest' on RTÉ

Congratulations to RTÉ Radio 1 which respected the beginning of May and devotion to the Blessed Mother Mary with 'Flowers of the Forest' filling our airwaves. Thanks for the enjoyable gesture.

Brendan Rice

Rossigh, Co Fermanagh


Sock it to them

Reading recently that we lose "at least one sock a month", suggests to me a Sale sign for the window of an enterprising draper. "Special offer - buy one sock, get one free."

Tom Gilsenan

Beaumont, Dublin 9


Adams tweet controversy

Obviously, too much tweeting will lead to Unchained malady.

Brian Ahern

Dublin 15


If Leicester can do it . . .

As you know Leicester City have just won the English Premier League. At the start of the season, that result was worth 5,000 to 1 at your local bookies. I didn't back Leicester but I'm putting a euro on the next sure thing at 1,000 to 1.

That's right. I'm betting on Leitrim winning the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship 2016.

Anything Leicester can do, our lovely Leitrim will follow.

Damien Carroll

Dublin 24


Picture perfect

What a lovely photograph on page 2/3 of Monday's Independent.

It clearly shows the love and affection of a granddaughter for her grandfather. It would brighten anyone's day. Compliments to the photographer Gerry Mooney.

Tom Walsh

Nenagh, Co Tipperary


A political bedtime story . . .

There was once a thriving provincial town with two drapery shops. One was called Fiacra Fliursach in High Street and the other was called Fionn Gaofar in Low Street. They were cousins who were once united but had a falling-out.

Even though they were arch rivals, customers did not see much difference in them. Some customers even switched between them from time to time. To maintain the rivalry they used have competition in sales .

For years, both shops controlled almost 90pc of the drapery trade. Then gradually things began to change. More people got cars and travelled out of town and other clothes shops with more modern brands and ideas began to appear.

Then the town was bypassed and suddenly both shops found that they controlled less than 50pc of the trade. The people began to speculate if they should merge, as they could see that there might be only room for one. Both shops refused point-blank to merge but they decided that they would help each other out, only where it benefited each other.

So the staff began to meet regularly for coffee, share information, accepted that they had more in common than they believed, and decided they would co-operate.

The ultra-loyal customers were very confused, as it began to dawn on them that maybe it had all been a phoney war. Shortly after that, both owners retired and two younger family members took over.

The ice finally melted and after 100 years they joined forces and called themselves Fliursach & Gaofar and they all lived happily ever after.

Joseph Kiely

Donegal Town, Co Donegal

Irish Independent

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