Letters to the Editor: 'Following Fionn’s example for some youthful vigour'
Summer solstice, which falls today, is the longest day of the year. To be meteorologically accurate, summer solstice is the day with the greatest amount of daylight. Even though the weather is currently unsettled, we can expect more than 17 hours of daylight today.
The next three months, leading up to mid-September, is the period when nature is most active in all its glory. The trees are in full foliage, plants and shrubs are blooming, hay and silage is being saved and the countryside is at its magnificent best.
In Irish mythology, Fionn mac Cumhaill and Na Fianna always enjoyed an invigorating swim in the wild Atlantic waves from Slea Head to Erris Head on summer solstice, the day when the sun god was closest to Ireland. On that day, Manannán mac Lir, the god of the sea lavished his bounty of minerals, iodines and nutrients on those who swam in the Atlantic, bestowing on them the virility of youth they needed in battle. Many of Na Fianna died far too young but Fionn’s son, Oisín, did reach Tír na nÓg, where he spent 300 years with the beautiful Niamh Chinn Óir.
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It’s a charming story and I must admit that I always enjoy a long refreshing sea swim on June 21 each year in the hope some of that youthful vigour is still floating around.
So far, it seems to be, as, in mind and body, I feel as young and vigorous as I was back in the day!
Spa, Co Kerry
Only way to punish corrupt is to cancel World Cup 2022
The obscenely wealthy denizens of the oil and gas-rich autocracy of Qatar think they can use money to cajole international institutions to award their country opportunities to host the most prestigious sporting events, such as the football World Cup in 2022.
And it seems they are right. Let’s ignore the realities for the time being, that temperatures of more than 45C are not conducive to athletic performance, or the death toll of migrant workers used to build stadia in a country which had none, or that those stadia will hardly be filled by Qataris. Investigations into how Qatar was awarded this honour started in 2016. Nothing much has happened since.
Fifa, like the International Olympic Committee, has shown itself to be lured into corruption by lucrative incentives to individual members by the ruling elite of nations who think they can get what they want by buying it.
No official investigation is going to punish these miscreants. There is only one way they can learn their lesson and make sure others will not try to do the same. That is to either move the 2022 Word Cup to a country which already has the infrastructure to host it or, probably better, to cancel it altogether.
Cancellation is a better option because it might make the corrupt officials of Fifa think twice before taking bribes from those who think, because of their wealth, they do not need to have the same moral values as the rest of us.
Stillorgan, Co Dublin
We must try to learn lessons from tragedy of Ana’s death
Your story on Ana Kriegel (June 19) made for sad reading. It is deeply shocking two 13-year-old boys could carry out such a horrific crime.
After sentencing and exhaustion of all appeals, a thorough examination must be undertaken to ascertain just what made these boys act as they did and what, if any, lessons can be learned.
This is a tragedy, too, for the boys’ families.
Ana was, by all accounts, a beautiful young girl, a tribute to her adoptive parents (who cannot reproach themselves), a loss and martyr to Ireland. The Irish Independent paid its own worthy tribute by putting her portrait on the front page.
Nothing to be admired about the cuckoo, Mr Murphy
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy thinks so-called cuckoo funds are beneficial.
Firstly, he needs to understand the cuckoo. It is the only bird which, instead of building a nest, simply flies into a nest not of its making when parents are out foraging for food.
The cuckoo proceeds to push the unhatched eggs out of the nest and take ownership. It will aggressively defend the nest against owners returning home, as if it is in the right.
Like the vultures, one needs to understand the cuckoo. It does what it says on the tin.
Cloontykilla Castle, Boyle, Co Roscommon
Brexit or not, UK is still top of the pile for universities
For all the imprecision of the QS World University Rankings, one stark fact is clear.
While the UK has nine universities in the top 50, the highest entrant from any of the other 27 EU countries (population 456 million) is 50th.
After Brexit, one hopes the European elite will continue to be educated in Britain – or Australia, which has four universities in the top 50.
Dr John Doherty
Operngasse, Vienna, Austria