Thorns and roses
•More predictable than the chill air that stirs the gold-tinted chestnut leaves at this time of year is the sneering whispering of those who attack the Rose of Tralee.
Flint-edged feminists and crusty chauvinists find common cause in slating what is a harmless throwback to a time when people could be civil and women felt comfortable with homespun values.
The Roses are seen for what they are. They have a brief moment to shine and rekindle some old embers of connection with the home fires which probably burnt out long ago. But what harm is there in that?