Sinead Ryan: 'This is such a great-great little country'
To my shame (not really), I once blagged a couple of tickets to a Broadway show on the basis of my name.
No, I'm not famous Stateside, or anywhere, but it was my first visit in a dial-up internet age where surfing was still something you did at the beach so pre-booking wasn't a thing.
Tickets at Times Square Tkts kiosk were completely out of my price range, so I trooped along to the theatre in the hope there had been a late cancellation.
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There were a couple of affordable tickets but only in the gods, and a conversation with the booth lady wandered along the lines of "Ryan?", Yes, that's right. "Are you from Ireland?" - this stretched to a three-syllable word. "Oh my gawd, like anywhere near Limerick?" Eh, OK, yes (not a complete fib; my father was born there). "Oh my gawd, do you know where (names a townland) is?" … Oh yes, it's lovely (no idea whether it is nor not).
"So, like you know the Ryans there? That's my great-grandmother's family". Amazing. I'll definitely say hello next time I'm home. Discounted tickets, row four, parterre, secured. I'm not proud.
Some names are common as muck, as they say. Murphy, O'Connor, O'Brien and yes, Ryan. In Cork, Kelleher is reasonably well spread around, but four of them rocked up in the District Court on the same day recently having taken diverse life paths to get there.
Judge Olann Kelleher took the clever-clogs route, as did the defending solicitor Diarmuid Kelleher, along with local sergeant John Kelleher. Defendant Roy Kelleher had taken the less travelled path and found himself on the wrong side of two of the Kellehers having threatened a local man with, eh, intemperate language while under the influence of several cans of Tuborg. He was fined €200 and handed a suspended sentence by one of the Kellehers, to the satisfaction of the second, and possibly the relief of the third, with the top one pointing out to the court that none of the four were related.
Except, you know, it's Ireland, and if you go far enough back, they'd probably find a great-great something in common.
Prince Andrew gets the welcome he deserves
It's not easy being Billy-no-mates and while the British royal family live a strange existence, they're used to thousands of adoring fans lining the streets when they turn out in public.
Not so Prince Andrew, who was met by just one lonely supporter when he rocked up in Oz to promote his entrepreneurial pitch@palace event. He was ushered through the empty square to nobody's notice except a local schoolteacher who waved her flag enthusiastically. It was a stark contrast to the Sussexes' successful tour of South Africa where the press were concentrated, so the suspicion is the palace deliberately organised Andrew's visit while they were all busy elsewhere.
His daughter's recent engagement apparently wasn't enough to distract from his creepy association with deceased paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
Royals are used to having flunkeys do their bidding. Being asked hard questions by the media isn't what he signed up to a life of luxury for, clearly.
Families can learn a lot from Paschal
Another year, another Budget. Imagine if we managed our household finances the way Paschal Donohoe does the country's. The family would sit down but once a year, decide how much needs to be spent on electricity, phones, food, and the other million things we'll buy over the next 365 days, cross our fingers nothing crops up, then at the end, hand ourselves another fiver and pat ourselves on the back for a job well done.