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So Where Are You headed On St. Paddy’s Day?

So what country will you be visiting on the 17th. of March 2018, Patrick’s day?

While you are making your mind up; do be aware that just back yesterday from their 28-day Christmas holiday recess, government ministers are already planning for the ‘St. Patrick’s Day Weekend-Away’, courtesy of the ever-generous Irish taxpayer.

This year St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Saturday and a total of 35 countries will be visited as part of our annual political junket celebrations. Alas only mostly common backbenchers, yet again, to be found in the ‘place d’honneur’, seated on our parade viewing stands.

Taoiseach Mr Leo Varadkar will travel to the US where he will visit the US President Mr Donald Trump at the White House, while Tánaiste Mr Simon Coveney will lead a large delegation to China and Hong Kong. The Cathaoirleach of The Seanad, Mr Denis O’Donovan is off for a little skiing in Slovenia.

Minister for State for Housing Mr Damien English is set to view the medieval architecture of Poland, while junior Minister Mr Pat Breen is off to Bonny Wee Scotland, soon to be the next breakaway colony of GB.

Our Finance Minister Mr Paschal Donohoe is expected to travel to Argentina this year. (Check his luggage for cash boys; remember the Nazi Ratlines) with Education Minister Mr Richard Bruton taking a linguistics course in German.

Flights are booked to the USA for Attorney General Mr Seamus Wolfe, Minister Ms Heather Humphreys, Mr Michael Ring, Mr David Staunton, Mr Ciaran Cannon, Mr Michael D’Arcy, Mr Brendan Griffin, latter who is also expected to visit President D. Trumps ‘great wall’, from the Mexican side.

Communications Minister Mr Denis Naughten and Minister of State Mr Patrick O’Donovan will say hello to the thousands forced to flee from Ireland seeking a life over the past 8-10 years and now residing in Canada, while Children’s Minister Ms Katherine Zappone and Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty will savour the juice of this years ‘Vitis vinifera’  and ‘Petit Verdot’  grape, in Italy and France, respectively.

Culture Minister Ms Josepha Madigan will drop off in Norway and Sweden, parachuting along the way Junior Minister Ms Catherine Byrne into Denmark and Finland.

Housing Minister Mr Eoghan Murphy will be checking housing prices and rents in South Korea and Japan and Chief Whip Mr Joe McHugh can’t wait to examine how opposition party members end up being shot in Brazil.

Mr John Halligan, widely tipped to travel to North Korea, has instead been forced to present a bowl of Shamrock to the Queen of England.

Ms Mary Mitchell O’Connor will be tanning herself in the United Arab Emirates and Oman, and Minister Paul Kehoe will be checking out defences in Cyprus.

Minister of State for Disabilities is Mr Finian McGrath will be off to the Czech Republic, with Junior Minister for Agriculture Mr Andrew Doyle all set to examine the rice paddy field terraces of Vietnam.

Minister of State for Rural Affairs and Natural Resources Mr Sean Kyne is off to Switzerland to look at the profitability of manufacturing Cuckoo Clacks to boost rural job opportunities, with Minister of State for European Affairs Ms Helen McEntee being sent into nearby Austria and Slovakia, to dance the Vienna Waltz in the palaces of Schönbrunn and Hofburg.

Minister of State for the OPW Mr Kevin Boxer Moran, if he survives his visit to Tipperary next week, will study flooding and climate change in Kenya, and the Minister of State for Local Government and Electoral Reform Mr JP Phelan will study electoral reform in Singapore.

Minister of State for Older People Mr Jim Daly will travel to Australia and New Zealand, and the Ceann Comhairle Sean O’Fhearghail will travel to Croatia.

Who’s Minding the Shop?
So, who will be left minding the shop I hear you say?  Fear not, yes once again our old stalwart Transport Minister Mr Shane Ross will remain on hand with the nuclear button on his desk, ready for use if necessary, should North Korea’s Mr Kim Jong-un get pissed off, with all this “greening of the world”.

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A New Year’s Tale From The Arch Bar, Liberty Sq., Thurles

Sure, it must be over a fortnight since I was up in the Arch Bar in Liberty Square last; that is until last night. My absence was due to that nasty Aussie Flu that was going about at the start of the new year.  A sorry dose I can tell you, so up I went to the Shannon Doc.

“Flu”, says he.  “No”, says I, “Sure I only live up the road, I came on the bike”.

The Doc glared at me briefly before penning a prescription in his usual total illegible hand writing. Putting it in my pocket I decided to ignore my ailment, what with all the other expenses this Christmas.

Still for the last week the hand written illegible prescription got me into the movies in the IMC Thurles twice; into Semple Stadium once last Sunday for the hurling match; and having shown it to my boss, as a sick note, last Thursday, he said he would arrange for a pay rise immediately.  My daughter, rifling through my pockets for loose change, played it on the piano on Wednesday and was invited to accept a scholarship for 20,000 Canadian Dollars, to the Toronto Royal Conservatory of Music, last Friday. So, the €60 Euro demanded for the 3.5-minute consultation wasn’t totally wasted.

Of course, my pal Mikey Ryan, was above at the Arch counter as was to be expected. Mikey you know feels obliged to take the same holidays as hard-working TD’s, so his business also concluded on Thursday the 16th December 2017 at 2.30pm and to quote his own words, “Sure I won’t sit again until Tuesday 16th January 2018”.

Mikey admitted it had been a good pre-Xmas period financially, having received a cheque for a an office decoration job down in University Hospital Limerick (UHL), in mid-December, paid by the Health Service Executive (HSE).

“Jasus, to tell you the truth, I was lucky to be paid at all”, Mikey disclosed secretly to me. But then as Mickey said, “Sure its hard enough to paint two-inch letters, for a word containing 14 feckin letters, onto a glass panel just 18 inches across, and I only having a 1.5 inch paint brush.”

“You know I could easily have lost that contract” said Mikey exhibiting a visible shiver down his spine, “Wasn’t Lucky for me that some fellow by the name of Mr O’Brien happened to be passing, who informed me that ‘Psychotherapist’ is just one single word.”

Listen, I have to be going, sure I will be chatting to ye next week anyway.

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Arch Bar, Liberty Square, Thurles, Humming Last Christmas Eve

The Arch Bar in Liberty Square, Thurles, was humming on Christmas Eve. Present were teachers, civil servants, personnel from local shops and quite a few down from Dublin and from further afield; all returned briefly to celebrate Christmas with family and to restore past camaraderie with their once close friends.

Down in one corner of the pub were a noisy bunch of chess players, all bragging about charity games they had played earlier that week; “Very festive, Chess nuts boasting in an open foyer”, Mikey Ryan later jokingly remarked.

I myself had set a personal record this Christmas, by getting my bits of shopping completed three weeks ahead of the deadline of December 25th. With all my purchases back in the house; I was over the halfway mark in the gift wrapping stakes, when I realised my major error. Hadn’t I purchased the wrong wrapping paper from Thurles Shopping Centre, so there was no one I could blame. The paper I had purchased said, ‘Happy Birthday’.  Not wanting to waste it; I decided to just write ‘Jesus’ in a few required areas in heavy indelible red marker, on the back and front. Problem solved.

Christmas here in Thurles seemed to go reasonably well for most of our residents; well that’s if the people I consulted are to be believed.  On the other hand, when asked how things were going back home since his return to “the little woman”; Mikey Ryan refused to discuss same in detail, other than to inform me that, quote, “Marriage is a bit like a deck of cards. In the beginning it’s all about two hearts and a diamond, and by the end you wish you owned a club and a spade.” 

Mikey did have one small misunderstanding; the details of which he related to me on Christmas Eve night. From what I could gather, it seems that he went into Thurles Post Office, before Christmas, on the instructions of his wife, to buy stamps for Christmas cards.
“May I have 50 stamps”? said he to the busy female Post Office clerk.
The Post Office clerk stared, before asking, “What denominations would Sir like”?
“God help us”, said Mikey, “Didn’t I just know that when Fine Gael got into power in this country, that it would eventually come to this; give me 22 Catholic, 12 Protestant, 10 Jewish and 6 Muslim”.

So, that’s it, I have no further news; but from the Arch Bar, Mikey Ryan and myself; have a truly Happy and Prosperous New Year.

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Santa Claus Comin’ To Thurles Despite Potholes

“Thurles roads, take me home,
To the place I belong,
Tipperary, land of potholes, take me home.
Country roads”

(Apologies to the great late John Denver)

The windows of businesses premises in the town of Thurles are looking extremely inviting this festive season and it has also been confirmed, (so do please tell your kids); yes Santa Claus is comin’ to Thurles and the surrounding areas on Christmas Eve. This confirmation comes despite the failure of our local paid elected representatives to get the potholes in our streets, filled before Christmas.

Thurles you must understand is somewhat like Ahch-To Island, the birthplace of the Jedi Order, e.g. situated as we are at the edge of the map, lost in time in a galaxy far far away from Dublin and blanketed in large water-filled potholes.

Nevertheless,  Santa has stated that since he spends most of his time on the roofs of houses in order to climb down and up chimneys; deplorable road surfaces in the town of Thurles are not being seen by him as an immediate problem, during this Christmas period.

However, residents of the town, despite seething inside, continue to remain remarkably voiceless on the topic, fearing we understand that if Santa got to hear about this issue, he might fear for the health and safety of reindeer and bypass the Thurles area altogether.

The funny thing about potholes is that they rarely appear if you use a miracle product which was first used some 80 years ago. From memory I believe it was called cement; environmentally friendly; can be recycled and required no expensive adhesive petroleum products. You can even add a black colourant to make it look like tarmacadam.

Speaking Of Thurles Potholes.
A woman some years back went to her priest to confess, “Fr”, said she, “I’ve committed adultery”.  The priest forgives her; telling her not to let it happen again.

Within the next month, over 50 people had confessed claiming they had committed adultery. The priest decided that during his next sermon, he would make a statement on this issue. The next Sunday he declared the following:- “From now on, if anyone of you commits adultery, don’t tell me that you did. Instead, tell me something else, like ‘I tripped in a pothole’, for example”. So, from then on people began confessing to the priest that they had ‘tripped in a pothole’.

Years later the priest passed away as a consequence of old age. His replacement Curate knew nothing about the whole pothole issue.  Whenever people informed him that they had ‘tripped in a pothole’, he would offer sympathy with the warning, “You really need to watch your step in future.”

Eventually one day, the priest decided to take this issue of potholes up with the local Town Clerk. “Excuse me Sir,” said he one day, “I think you need to examine the issue of potholes and set about making the required repairs to our town’s roads, as many of my congregation regularly keep tripping up in them; almost on a daily basis.

“Oh that,” sniggered an all knowing Town Clerk, who continued to laugh, aware that the priest had no idea regarding the background to this whole pothole episode.
The priest now stared at him before replying angrily, “This is really no laughing matter, Sir. Your wife alone has tripped in some 5 or 6 potholes in just the last 7 days!”

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Life – It’s Not All It’s Cracked Up To Be

As you will be aware, it’s not that I am the sort of person anxious to be spreading gossip, but things appears to be a bit shaky with regards to Mikey Ryan, despite his decision to get back with the wife.

It’s from reading between the lines, that I’ve come to that conclusion; well that and other obvious testimony coming from the mouth of none other than Mikey himself.

We were above in the Arch Bar, Liberty Square on Saturday night, when Mikey told me about the rather unusual phone call. He claims the telephone rang just as he was dozing off in bed around 1.30am. With eyes still half closed and with only the light filtering through his curtains from the street outside, he retrieved the phone’s receiver from his bedside locker. He listened for a few seconds before shouting down the phone “How the feck would I know, sure that’s about 124 km from Thurles”.
His wife, lying beside him, rolled over and asked “Who was that Mikey”, to which Mikey replied “Oh I don’t know, some idiot of a man wanting to know if ‘the coast was clear’; as if I could tell him from this distance inland.”

Add that to the fact that earlier that day Mikey had stormed into the Thurles postmaster’s office in a rage. “I’ve been getting threatening letters in the mail for months and I want them stopped.” demanded Mikey.
“Yes of course”, said the postmaster. “Sending threatening letters through the mail is indeed a criminal offence. Now can you tell me do you know who is sending them?”
“Yes”, shouted a very annoyed Mikey “It’s those feckin idiots in the Thurles Revenue Office”.

It would appear from what I could gather that the postmaster on hearing this had agreed to “seriously examine the situation”, and I, thankfully, remembered those great words of the poet Thomas Grey; “Where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise”, and didn’t further elaborate on what truly constitutes threatening mail.

“Listen Mikey”, said I, in an effort to change the subject, “Before I go; you know that Viking guy that moved to live up in the Moyne Road last week; he’s known as Rudolph (The Red)?  Well having looked out his window last night he informed his wife, that, quote, “It’s going to rain.”
His wife asked, “How do you know?”
To which the Viking replied “Because Rudolph the Red knows rain, Dear.”

Sure listen I have to run, look I’ll be chatting to you before Christmas.

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