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Darragh McManus on radio: The hitch-hikers' guide to a universe of adventure

 

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Skellig Michael

Skellig Michael

Skellig Michael

"Everybody used to hitch in those days, it was just the done thing. People would hitch all the time, everywhere."

These are the words of Jane Crosby, who "used to hitch-hike in Ireland in the 70s and 80s". She was one of the contributors to Anywhere But Here (Newstalk, Sun 7am), whose words will have struck a sweet, nostalgic chord with anyone old enough to remember "the golden age of hitch-hiking".

It's amusingly ironic, of course, that a programme about freedom of the roads aired so soon after we had all been stuck at home for months. As it happens, Francesca Lalor's documentary was recorded pre-pandemic and mixed during the lockdown. It was very entertaining, featuring a cast of charming characters and some fantastic stories, both here and further afield.

It's mad, really, how normal hitching was in the past. Nowadays you would probably get arrested. Anyway, the show is repeated this evening at 9pm; if you were once a thumbs-aloft King (or Queen) of the Road, I heartily recommend tuning in.

Hitching is in the past - but what is the past? Does it actually exist? Is time as we think it is?

The ever-interesting Futureproof (Newstalk, Sat 12 noon) treated us to a mind-boggling and very enjoyable discussion on that subject. In 1955, Jonathan McCrea told us, Einstein wrote: "The distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion." 

Even though that seems insanely counterintuitive (not to mention plain old insane), it appears the great man was right, once again. On the normal levels of personal experience, we feel that time passes, yes.

"But in today's physics," according to University of Geneva physicist Nicolas Gisin, "especially in relativity, time seems to be frozen, non-passing, non-existing; past, present and future have the same status." Essentially, everything that will ever happen was inevitable. It's like watching a film, Nicolas added: you haven't seen the rest of it but you know it's already been made, it can't be changed.

Weird and wonderful stuff - with the emphasis on weird.

Meanwhile in Kerry, the OPW is reviewing a decision to close Unesco heritage site Sceilg Mhichíl (Skellig Michael) for the summer season. Amy Ní Riada (Morning Ireland, Radio 1, Mon-Fri 7am) heard from local publican Anthony Keating, whose business is "down 50pc because of Sceilg not being open. It's devastating. I hope it does open and we'll be ready for it".

The hospitality industry has had it particularly tough during Covid-19. May the force be with them.

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