Letters to the Editor: 'Ten easy-to-follow tips for a Happy New Year and soul-nourishing 2019'
Please may I give 10 simple resolutions to nourish the soul, mind and heart, by doing things that enhances our levels of happiness. As follows:
1. Engage your mind with things that stimulate you;
2. Go for a walk and breathe in the sweet sights and sounds of nature;
3. Read books;
4. Book a weekend away;
5. Have a regular date night with your partner;
6. Do some volunteer work;
7. Smile - it is something that will make other people feel good;
8. Ignore the bullies, they're just very sad people;
9. Leave the past behind, and live and enjoy, as the song says, "one day at a time";
10. And above all, stop punishing yourself by trying to measure up to someone else's standards, and start embracing the fact that you're perfect just as you are.
A very, very Happy New Year to you all!
Glenties, Co Donegal
Hope springs eternal to save us all from despair
There is something special about New Year's Eve. We bid goodbye to one year and welcome in a new one. No matter how bad we feel a year has gone for us, the eternal optimist in us looks forward to possibly a new beginning and better times ahead.
It is this quirk of the human psyche that brings us through difficult times. If we didn't have this in us we would all capitulate at the slightest setback we encounter along the way.
To everyone who has struggled in 2018, whatever the circumstances, I wish them happiness for the year ahead. This year is almost complete; we know not what joys await us in 2019.
Martin's political strategy is canny, not strange
Reading the latest of the many quotes published over the holiday period attributed to Leo Varadkar helped to explain, what appears to many, Micheál Martin's strange political strategy ('Vultures better with writedowns than banks', Irish Independent, December 28).
To paraphrase Napoleon, never interrupt a mountebank while he is in the process of showing his true colours.
Rathedmond, Co Sligo
Trump's vocabulary could do with an upgrade
America is facing the great "shutdown" but what we should be seeing is a "shut up". Most people hold the role of US president in the greatest esteem with the possible exception of the incumbent.
Speeches inspire, tweets don't. There should be well thought-out speeches and press statements that use the full vocabulary of the English language and not invented words.
Present the best and forget the rest.
All Ireland's a stage - thanks to our amateurs
I read with interest Sophia Donaldson's article 'Dublin's Lost Theatres - places so important to the city and its people' ('Weekend Magazine', December 29). Unfortunately, another shamefully neglected element of Ireland's theatre history is the amateur drama movement.
By the 1930s, Ireland's craze for Hollywood "talkies" had reached fever pitch while parish halls countrywide throbbed to the sounds of the quick step, foxtrot and other such non-Irish dance tunes.
In the ultra-conservative Ireland of its day these social activities were viewed with absolute abhorrence by both the de Valera Government and Roman Catholic Church and castigated as evil influences on Ireland's moral wellbeing.
When the Church enforced a Lenten ban on such activities, people turned to the stage and amateur drama. There was an unprecedented rise in the formation of drama groups and subsequent founding of competitive festivals countrywide.
In a bid to formalise amateur drama the Amateur Drama Council of Ireland was founded in 1952, while the first all-Ireland Amateur Drama Festival was held in 1953.
My own research of Co Kerry's forgotten history has unearthed incredibly innovative thinking; for example, Josephine Albericci, founder of the Kerry Drama Festival, understood it as a potential cultural tourism product.
The amateur movement caught the imagination of ambitious young writers, producers and players; some of whom sought professional careers and succeeded while many others failed.
The popularity of playwriting alone is reflected in the number of submissions to the Abbey Theatre during the 1940s and 50s.
However, not all veered towards the professional: many committed to the competitive festival circuit while the majority sought satisfaction in entertaining their own communities. Ambitious groups such as Killarney Players staged up to four productions a year and people queued for hours to buy tickets.
If indeed the history of variety theatre is neglected because it is "not seen as an art form", perhaps the same can be said of the amateur drama movement? Then, sadly, Ireland's theatre history remains all the poorer for it.
Dr Fiona Brennan
Knocknagree, Co Cork
Snowman stands strong in a blizzard of change
It's a bit of a Christmas miracle that the word snowman has survived in common usage. I thought by now we'd be building snowpersons in the meadow.