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Digital Edition

Dec 2021

Is 270 Vol 19

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Going Forward

The Covid-19 pandemic has taken its

toll on us, like it has on many other

magazines, organisations and

businesses globally. Among the

problems facing us are:

Our new landlord’s reluctance to

come to a compromise on rent for an

unused office during the pandemic and

threat to hike rent meant we had to

vacate our home of 20 years,

The genuine public fear of physical

interaction makes putting a magazine

on the streets problematic.

The advent of a cashless society.

Unfortunately, all have contributed

to a landscape that has irreversibly

changed since the Big Issue first hit

the streets in 1995. To meet this

challenge, Ireland’s Big Issue

have reluctantly decided to host the

magazine digitally-only for the

immediate future. We will revisit this

decision as time moves on and

circumstances change.

We thank you for your support to-date

and ask that you continue to help us

help those on the margins of society.

This has always been our aim and

shall continue to be our driving force.

Digital Edition Contacts:

Editor: Sean Kavanagh

Ireland’s Big Issue

Email: info@irelandsbigissue.com

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Page 7

Letter to my

Younger Self –

Imelda May

Queen of Rockabilly,

Imelda May writes a

letter to her 16 year old

self.

Page 8

Homeless at

Christmas

Connor from South

Belfast speaks to us

about being homeless at

Christmas in Camden,

whilst battling mental

health issues after

becoming a victim of

workplace bullying.

Page 12

André Rieu:

“My Most Favourite

Time of the Year.”

André Rieu

on his new

Christmas show

and what he

hopes Santa puts

under his tree

this year.

Page 14

Interview:

Simon Reeve

Sam McMurdock has

a chat with adventurer

Simon Reeve about

the mental health

problems that plagued

him as a young man,

how he learned to

be confident and

the ‘flop’ book that

became a New York

Contents

Times best-seller.

Page 18

Home Alone: It’s That Time

of Year

Shaun Anthony takes a look

back at the 1990’s classic movie

Home Alone; a film that never

gets old!

Page 26

Ian Bailey In his Own Words

(Part 4)

Ian Bailey’s final article on his

experience after the death of

Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

Page 32

Competitions Galore

Fancy winning a £200 voucher or

maybe you’d like a hand-carved

Donegal pen...So much to choose

from. Get entering!

Page 34

Kate Tyrrell: The

First irish Woman to

be a Ship’s Captain

Liz Scales looks at

the life of trailblazing

Wicklow woman, Kate

Tyrrell who fought

the patriarchy and an

antiquated law to be

recognised as a ship’s captain.

Regulars

23/24/25– Photo World

36/37 – Screen Scene

40/41 - Book reviews

3


Wishing all a Happy Christmas and Peaceful New Year

Micheál Martin T.D.

An Taoiseach & Leader of Fianna Fáil

On behalf of myself and

everyone at Fianna Fáil,

I would like to wish the

readers and supporters

of the Big Issue a Happy

Christmas and peaceful

New Year. It is important to

keep supporting the vital

work and services offered

to the homeless all over

Ireland by everyone at

the Big Issue.

4


Editors Note

Another year has passed, its incredible to realise how

fast time flies and yet we seem to have stood still.

Two years ago we were all going on our merry little way,

oblivious to what was to come; picture back to that time

and its like another world. In a way, everyday since has

seemed like Groundhog Day.

Time moves on however, even if perceptibly slowly,

but perhaps there is good in that. We have been

given time to reflect, to see things, not in the narrow

perspective of our own lives but looking outward at

the world we live in and have, to some degree created.

Something that is patently obvious to us all now is, there

is no hiding the reality that we live in a fragile world

where all actions have consequences. Government or

individuals, whatever we do, good or bad affects our little

world and the greater world we live in.

It is no longer viable for us to say it’s not

my responsibility. It IS our

responsibility. Like it or not,

our actions or inactions have

contributed to where we are

now, our imperfect world.

There is no hiding the fact we are living in a time

of unprecedented challenges, war, Covid, climate

change, famine, human trafficking, racism, poverty and

homelessness. If you leave out Covid and climate change

there is nothing new in this, but those two items at least

make us focus and realise we can no longer stand idly by

and all will be okay. It won’t - and we must bear our share

of responsibility.

What can we do ?

Nobody has all the answers, governments don’t,

although its convenient to have someone to vent our

anger on. Perhaps we should look at ourselves first before

critisising those in power.

The world is full of moaners and whingers, social

media is full of these people who blame everyone for

everything but do nothing positive themselves.

People are very quick to point out their entitlements,

but never ask the question,

Why am I entitled ?

Change is gradual, and change

begins with your mindset. Being

positive is a start.

Or, what am I doing that is positive and not self-centred?

If the answer is nothing, then maybe its time to take a

good look, to re-evaluate, realising it is only a matter of

luck and geography that we enjoy and take for granted

the freedom and comforts many like those recently

drowned in the frigid waters of the English channel were

seeking.

Change does not happen overnight,

despite what power seekers say.

Change is gradual, and change

begins with your mindset.

Being positive is a start.

Lets start by doing something

small, in our own world,

whatever it may be, it’s the accumulation of small steps

that leads to major change. We all have it within us to be

more caring, appreciative and generous, but it is up to

each individual to find a way of doing this and bring a

bit of Christmas cheer to our wounded world.

Although we are not able to sell the magazine on the

streets due to Covid uncertainty, I would ask people,

especially those who use cards for payment to put some

spare cash in your pocket this Christmas, so you never

have to pass a person on the street who is in need, it is a

terrible feeling to see someone in need and be unable to

help them in some small way.

On behalf of Ireland’s Big Issue magazine I’d like to

wish you all a Happy Christmas and Peaceful New

Year.

5 Sean


Wishing all a Happy Christmas and Peaceful New Year

Cllr Joe Costello

Labour Party

Email: joe@joecostello.ie

Mobile: 0872450777

Facebook: joecostelloIE

Twitter: JoeCostelloIE

CATHERINE CONNOLLY

Independent TD

Nollaig Shona agus athbhliain faoi

mhaise daoibh go léir

Catherine.connolly@oir.ie

091-567870

4 Commerce House

Flood Street

Galway

6


Issues: Life

Letter to my Younger Self -

Imelda May

Each issue we ask a well-known face to write a letter to their 16-year-old self. This issue, singersongwriter

Imelda May (46) from The Liberties, Dublin takes on the challenge. Imelda has just

published her much anticipated debut poetry collection, “ A Lick and a Promise.”

I know you won’t

want a long drawn

out letter as

you’re busy and

up to your eyes

with ridiculous

homework and

exams (pointless

BTW).

So here are some

tips:

Listen to Mam

and Dad.

They know more

than you think.

Don’t bother

trying to fit in.

You’re already

cool.

Don’t be swayed

by conformity,

It’s overrated.

Do stay strong

willed. It’ll stand

to you.

Your friends going

to Holland

without you will

be shitty

But you’ll get over it and travel the world

anyway.

Don’t kiss the guy at Fiéle who says

he’ll leave you alone if you do.

He won’t.

Trust your instincts.

They’re usually right.

Keep daydreaming,

Its your key to freedom.

7

Your feet will thank you.

Call Mam when you’re staying out.

Have fun!

Stay kind.

It’s going to be a crazy ride.

You’re fabulous,

Love you!

Keep going

to gigs and

galleries,

Even if you

must go alone

The teacher

was wrong

You will

amount to

something.

Other people’s

behaviour and

consequences

are

not your

responsibility.

Learn to say

‘No’ louder.

Don’t be afraid

to say it!

Use the face

creams Auntie

Kathleen gave

you. She was

right.

Buy the good

shoes,


Issues: Life

Homeless at Christmas

Connor (26) from an affluent area of Belfast tells his story of living rough

in Camden, London after a bullying incident in the workplace left him

crippled with anxiety and clinical depression and eventually, homeless.

There’s a common misconception that homeless

people come from a bad family, lack motivation,

brought it on themselves or must be addicts. None of

these fallacies

apply to

Connor, or

indeed many

homeless

people.

*Connor

from South

Belfast has

documented

his

experiences on

the discussion

site Reddit

and when

approached,

was happy

to write his

own, firsthand account of what it was like to be alone

in a strange town, sleeping rough, leading up to

Christmas, this time five years ago.

I was twenty, I had a good career

ahead of me at an independent

insurance company. My

parents wanted me to go to

university but I wanted to start

earning at eighteen. I got a good job in the

underwriting department because I have an A* in

both Maths and Further Maths at A-Level and had

been tutoring GCSE maths students as part of a

buddy system whilst studying for three A-Levels:

Maths, Further Maths and Computer Science.

My school principal wrote one of my references - his

brother Alan owned the company. When I started

“I increasingly noticed I

was being isolated ....”

working there Alan popped in one day that week and

joked with the office manager, Maggie that I was his

big brother’s protégé so she’d better treat me right. I

didn’t realise that

this would have

indescribable

ramifications.

At first I thought

I was being

oversensitive, but I

increasingly noticed

I was being isolated;

five of us worked in

the office and I was

consciously aware

that I was never

addressed. I tried to

make conversation

but they would

answer in an offhand

manner and

continue interacting with each other.

Maggie was particularly cruel and would leave

twenty files, demanding they were checked, signed

off and logged in the database by

lunchtime (I later discovered

that 20 was the target for the

whole day - not lunchtime).

Understandably, because I was

under pressure (she would walk behind

me clicking a pen and sighing disapprovingly.) I

started to make the occasional error. Maggie made a

comment more than once about nepotism, another

time she told me,

“I don’t offer special favours, no matter who you are.”

I had no idea what she was implying. Suffice to say, I

became obsessed with avoiding this woman’s wrath at

all costs.

8


Things came to a head one icy morning in

December. I went out to

get into my car and took

a sharp pain in my chest.

I couldn’t breathe but all I

could think of was getting

to work on time; Maggie

had implied more than

once that she’d no respect

for “personal days” so I

feared calling in sick. That

morning, for the first time

ever, I was late. Maggie

casually shouted, “Good

afternoon.” It was 9.30am. I

sat down. She walked over

and said,

”I see you’re struggling

with the workload ….

its not for everybody….”

This was news to me as

Alan had told me just

days before when we were

having a coffee in the

canteen that they were

really pleased with my

work ethic. I was going

to inform her of that but

thought better of it.

I was at breaking point. I

noticed that Maggie was

Queen Bee - the other

employees were constantly

ingratiating themselves

to her. There’d been

veiled comments about

my weight, there wasn’t

an hour went past that

I hadn’t been ridiculed,

taunted or singled out

in some way by her. I was also pretty sure that a

rumour currently circulating that

I (a straight man) was in a

romantic relationship with

the (straight & happily

married) owner had

been orchestrated by

Maggie. On top of all this,

my grandmother passed

away unexpectedly. We were

exceptionally close. My body was shaking, I

had a lump in my throat that made eating almost

“That Christmas Eve I will

never ever forget. I was sleeping in

the park...”

impossible and the overwhelming sadness, feelings

of impending

terror, anxiety

and debilitating

depression floored

me. I had nothing left

to give.

My parents were

really proud of me, I

didn’t know how to

tell them I’d walked

out of my job.

I filled a duffle bag

and got a plane to

visit my sister. Six

months later I still

hadn’t gone to see

her and by now I’d

used almost all my

savings on eating

out, hostels and the

occasional B&B. My

parents thought I was

in Lyon on a career

break, visiting an old

high school friend

but I was in Camden,

struggling to see

each day through -

battling against every

proclivity to end it all.

That Christmas Eve I

will never ever forget.

I had £23 left in the

bank, I was sleeping

in the park and I felt

hollow. I needed a

£10 top-up for my

phone but I needed a bottle of booze more. I couldn’t

face my thoughts, my feelings. I went for a

walk to take my mind off things, and to

warm up and I saw a mum and dad

with two children walking between

them. The girl reminded me of my

sister. She had a single, long dark

plait down her back and she was

laughing. I was overwhelmed with

sorrow and didn’t realise I was crying until

I felt the tickle of a tear, then a torrent of them fall

from my chin.

9


There were Christmas lights everywhere, there was

excitement in the air but I felt invisible, like I was

an alien observing something new I didn’t quite

understand or have

the human capacity

to enjoy. I walked a

bit more and caught

my reflection in a

mirror in a shop

window. I had to look

again. This time I

studied my image. I

didn’t know myself.

I knew I was dirty - I

could smell myself

and I knew I had a

beard and my hair

was unkempt but I

looked different. My

eyes were sunken.

My usual round,

plumpish face was hollow. I had dents under my

cheeks.

I was starving but aware I needed to top-up to call

my parents. I started to worry about what I’d

do, I literally had one day’s money

left. What was left for me? I

feared this day - the day

when I might have to beg.

I headed back towards the

park, I hated it there but on

the few nights I’d slept near

the bus station I felt vulnerable

and I’d seen girls who looked like

zombies nearby - I knew they were on hard drugs

and I was terrified I’d ever be tempted, if only to get

out of my own head for a couple of hours.

As I was walking back I was approached by a man

and woman in the shop as I bought a top-up voucher.

They bought me a flapjack and tea from the machine

and asked where I was from. I hadn’t had a caring

interaction like this in months. I broke down. They

were from a street homeless team in association with

Camden Council. They encouraged me to ‘phone

my sister and admit where I was. Ironically, she was

only 19 miles away in Bromley but I’d continued the

facade I was in Lyon.

When my sister came for me I can’t remember

saying a word to her that night. I woke up the next

“There were Christmas lights

everywhere, there was excitement in

the air but I felt invisible...”

morning - Christmas Day and she was sitting on my

bed.“You’re going to be okay … it doesn’t seem that

way but I promise, it will.”

I found it really hard to

believe her. But I wanted

to desperately. Although

this was a very sad time,

I’ll never forget that

Christmas. I think deep

down I knew the only

way was up - and when

my parents cried on the

‘phone and said they

couldn’t care less about

the job, it’s me they love

- I felt this overwhelming

burden lifted from my

shoulders. I had my

family’s love. As my sister

handed me a hot cup of

tea, I wrapped my hands

around it and smiled. I actually smiled. That was

my perfect Christmas gift - the best one I’ve ever

received.

Remember, no matter how bad things are, there’s

hope. Now that I’m in a better frame of

mind I can see how ridiculous it

was that I didn’t tell my parents or

confide in a friend ..... remember,

when you keep a problem bottled

up, it magnifies. It looks worse

than it is. My advice to anyone out

there on the streets is, make that ‘phone

call. Talk. If a street team want to get you

help - take it. Don’t view your poor mental health as

something to be ashamed of and certainly, never be

embarrassed to tell a friend that you’re struggling.

That might be a male thing but I really want anyone

out there to know - you CAN get better - there IS a

better life out there for you.”

* Connor - not real name was diagnosed with

Clinical Depression and Generalised Anxiety

Disorder. After speaking with his employer &

HR manager, Maggie was approached with the

allegations of bullying (ironically another employee

from the same office also came forward - with a

detailed diary of abuse). Maggie handed in her

notice. Connor worked part-time from home until

he was well enough to return to work full-time just

over a year later.

10


Wishing all a Happy Christmas and Peaceful New Year

Download our new app Dublin Rough

Sleeper Alert

* Are you self-employed or a director/partner

of a small to medium sized business?

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or company secretarial requirements?

* Call or email the small business experts for

a quality and value for money service.

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Tel: 01 6903804

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Web: www.dbfs.ie

147 Hampton Cove

Balbriggan

Co Dublin

11


André Rieu

“My Most Favourite Time of the Year”

André Rieu on his new show Christmas with André and what he hopes Santa will

put under his tree this year.

Welcome back. What makes Christmas so

special for you?

What can audiences expect from this

special Christmas Event?

Christmas is

by far my most

favourite time

of the year;

after several

months of

touring, which

still is very

satisfying, we’re

all coming

home. At

the end of

December, I

spend my time

with my small

family (my wife,

our sons with

their wives and

- of course - our

five gorgeous

grand children). I say deliberately small family, because

my big family are the lovely people with whom I travel

around the world: my orchestra and crew members!

Since many years, our sons make Christmas dinner;

nowadays, they’re being helped by

their wives and their children. All

I have to do is sit back and relax.

There is another tradition: I take

home a Christmas decoration for

our Christmas tree every year, and I give

it to my wife Marjorie who collects these. So, we have a

very international tree! Last but not least, I started a new

tradition in my hometown Maastricht in 2019: Christmas

concerts! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to organise them

last year because of the covid-pandemic, but I have good

hope for upcoming December!

People

from all

over the

world are

invited to

come to

the cinema

and watch

my newest

Christmas

special:

there is

so much

to see, to

hear and

to enjoy!

Before

you know

it, the

cinema is

turned into

a winter wonderland. Chandeliers, snow, everything

you need for a delicious Yule Time in front of a gigantic

screen. You’ll have a once in a lifetime experience,

there is a backstage tour, I’ll tell

you things you’ve never

heard before. My beloved

Johann Strauss Orchestra

can be seen, but also the

lovely sopranos Anna Majchrzak

and Donij van Doorn, the fantastic Platin Tenors, the

Golden Voices of Gospel, the Maastricht Dance and Ice

Skate Company... too much to mention!

Before you know

it, the cinema is

turned into a winter

12

How long has this special event been in

the making and what makes it different


from the others?

Since a couple

of years, I’ve

been thinking

and dreaming

of this

December

tradition in my

hometown;

since my

summer

concerts are

so succesfull,

I thought,

there might

be a chance

that Christmas

concerts will

reach the same

effect. Two

years ago, my

dream came true (like Walt Disney already said: “If you

can dream it, you can do it!”). It is very special, because it

is in my ‘own’ Maastricht; I don’t have to travel far to go

to the stage and enjoy every day there!

What are you hoping to get from Santa?

First and

Maastricht Kerstconcert foremost,

Christmas is

meant to be

a feast for the

small ones...

but, okay,

when you ask

me: I hope

to receive the

green light for

all my concerts

in 2022! I can’t

wait to perform

again for all my

beloved fans,

they’ve

been waiting

(just like me) far

too long for our

concerts. In case this ‘gift’ is too much to ask for, I’m also

happy with a nice novel or Christmas presents made by

my grandchildren.

Of all the beautiful Christmas songs, which is

your favourite and why?

There are so many outstanding Christmas songs,

that I simply can’t choose just one. Just to mention a

few: “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”, “I’m

Dreaming Of A White Christmas,” “Oh Holy Night”,

“Walking In The Air” and “Jingle Bells” because it is so

happy... Alright, there is one song which incorporates all

feelings together: “Jerusalem, The Holy City”! There is

joy, hope, togetherness! And I’d like to record “Slumber

my darling” one day.

Are you doing anything special for

Christmas this year?

Being at home and enjoy spending time with my wife,

children and grand children; hopefully there will be snow,

so we can make a nice walk all together on the St. Pieters

Mountain next to my house. In the evening, there will be

gifts and may be a wonderful movie like “The Sound Of

Music” or “Mary Poppins”.

Christmas with André in

cinemas 4 & 5 December

13


Simon Reeve:

“Human beings are the most extraordinary creatures - they’re capable of

astonishing transformations.”

Documentary filmmaker, TV presenter, journalist, author and adventurer Simon

Reeve recently spoke to Samantha McMurdock about the depression that almost

ended in suicide as a teenager, how a series of small steps helped him gain the

confidence to take on life’s challenges and the ‘flop’ that became a New York Times

best-seller.

You left school with

no qualifications

yet have been

incredibly

successful. Do you

think we need to

stop measuring

academic ability

purely on exam

results?

I think it’s still one

metric for sensing

a person’s academic

capabilities to a

degree, but its also

such a small aspect of

Simon has travelled the world

a human being, but on the other hand, although I’ve been

reasonably successful - I’ve been incredibly lucky and

I’ve met maybe 100,000 people over the years who could

do what I do, but I’ve just been the lucky s*d

who’s got the gig. I don’t deserve it. I

never thought it would be my life.

It’s been a weird series of events

that have got me here. More

useful than qualifications, I think,

is having the ability to work hard

and having opportunities that allow your

confidence to grow.

Because, to be fair, you were a bit of a naughty

boy with behaviour problems that resulted in

you starting fires and setting off explosives.

[Laughs] Yes, when I started work [as a post boy at The

Sunday Times], this became my school, my college, my

university combined and it was an environment that

allowed me to grow a little bit more each day

14

“I lived with really dark emotions

and feelings.”

in confidence, and as I

started becoming a bit

more confident, they

gave me more and more

responsibilities

and with those

responsibilities, I could

grow further. Not

everybody gets that

opportunity in life or

employment

and that’s why I say that I’m

very lucky. Qualifications

do have their place, for

those who want to be

academic but they’ve done

bu**er all for me [laughs].

As for the behavioural issues … you’re right, I was very

naughty, but I never stabbed anybody, nobody died at my

hands … I’m not saying that flippantly, because

I grew up on the edge of inner-city

London. It wasn’t a conflict zone,

although it sometimes felt like it.

That past, particularly at the start

of my teens really started to indicate

that my problems stemmed from

a complete lack of confidence. I suffered

a lot with teenage angst, I found it very difficult to be

a teenager and I lived with really dark emotions and

feelings.

How did you deal with that?

Not very well. I sank. I wasn’t someone who didn’t have

love around me. I had a family, and although we had a

lot of trouble at home, there was still love there. I wasn’t


growing up in the middle of a war zone or terrible

suffering, yet I somehow could not find my way - my little

path. I think we’re very bad in our society at channeling

youngsters, particularly young guys and finding a path for

them, especially when it’s not obvious.

If someone isn’t university-bound, many

teachers, and even some parents simply lose

interest.

Exactly.

It’s not

automatically

school to

college to

university

for every

single person.

Society

doesn’t assist

you or get

involved if

you don’t fit

that mound

and that’s

something I

feel incredibly

bitter about.

I had to find

my own way.

How did

you do that?

A lot of luck. Hitting rock bottom and deciding that

ending my life was not the thing to do.

You considered suicide?

Yes. Yes, I did.

How did you elevate yourself

out of such a dark

spiralling depression?

It was a very physical act,

the act of just putting one

foot in front of the other

and going on a little bit of

an adventure to Scotland on my

own and finding myself - physical selfconfidence,

and that gave me emotional confidence and

the outlook to start applying for jobs after being on the

dole for quite a while.

How did you progress from post boy to

Publicity image from ‘The Americas. with Simon

Reeve.’ BBC

I think we’re very bad in our

society at channeling youngsters,

particularly young guys and finding a

path for them, especially when it’s

not obvious.

15

investigative journalist? The Sunday Times must

have noticed a great talent within you.

Honestly, I don’t think so. I think they just gave me

opportunities and I took them. It’s massively important

that I remember that I lived in London and I was able to

stay with friends and family whilst working as a post boy,

whereas if I’d been living in Hull or Inverness it would

have been much harder for me as I had no contacts in the

media, nobody in my family has ever gone to university,

I don’t come from

a connected

family, so it was

geographic luck

and employment

luck.

I think you’re

being very

humble,

because

many people

would’ve got

the job as post

boy, clock

watched and

completed

only the tasks

necessary of

them.

Well, that’s the

thing. I worked

hard, I volunteered,

I said yes, I approached the job as a blank canvas, I

didn’t think anybody owed me anything and as a result I

think the staff were more willing to take chances on me

and allow me to try things. When you’re starting at the

bottom, like I did, you must be open to possibilities and

put yourself out there. I quite quickly realised that.

That must have been difficult considering your

mental health issues when you started the

job.

Yes, every morning I struggled to get

there. I would throw up in the mornings,

I couldn’t eat when I was there … I was

riddled with nerves, but quickly, on the

job, things started to change, my confidence

started to lift, things started to get easier.

That’s a very uplighting story that I’m sure will

help many who are struggling.

Well, human beings are the most extraordinary creatures

- they’re capable of astonishing transformations. Anyone


who is in a dark place, they have to know that they CAN

come through that. I’m not saying they will, but they can

- any human being

is capable of almost

anything in my view.

At just 18 years

of age, your job

was to follow a

weapons dealer

at Gatwick

Airport. Was that

frightening? After

all, you weren’t

much more than a

child.

That was a random

example of the

weird things I was

doing. I’d been at

The Sunday Times a

year when I did that.

I don’t remember

feeling nervous.

By the time I was

working undercover

and following arms

dealers and working

on investigations I

was tense because

there was a stress,

but my confidence

had grown so

dramatically, so

quickly that I felt

more than capable.

Instilling

confidence in kids is very important to you.

Yes, I’ve seen first-hand how children, even if they don’t

come from a supportive background

or they feel they’re cut off from

people - when you start to widen

their horizons and give them

opportunities - they can blossom

and flower. I had those chances

and I grew with them. I want

opportunities for children - every

child has the right to build confidence.

You wrote a New York Times best-seller at 21

and became a media expert in terrorism. Is

terrorism a topic that’s always interested you

and how did you feel about the reception to the

book?

…every morning I struggled

to get there. I would throw up in the

mornings, I couldn’t eat when I was

there … I was riddled with nerves…

16

It has always interested me in the sense that, although I

was living on the edge of inner-city London, I didn’t feel

connected to the

Filming in Columbia.

Image: Simon Reeve/Twitter

bigger world at

all. I didn’t go on

holidays as a child,

I’d never been

on a plane until I

was an adult and

I didn’t feel that

connection, if that

makes sense, with

the rest of planet

earth, but I was

still very interested

in listening to the

radio and watching

the news - more

so the sharpest

possible end of

global events, and

terrorism was right

at that point. I’d

been fascinated

by terrorism since

I’d met two South

African neo-Nazi

terrorists on the

run in the UK

when I was 18 -

and this was my

big break in many

ways. I knew I was

a pathetic kid but

I could see that

they were too. I

didn’t understand

how they could

have so much power politically and over life and death,

so that appalled and fascinated me. I started investigating

the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 the

same day that happened and carried on

investigating long after everyone had

lost interest. I started researching my

book at the age of 20 and it came

out when I was 26. It became a

New York Times best-seller after

9/11. The reception was initially very

depressing as nobody took any notice

of my book. The conclusion of the book

was that we were entering a new era of terrorism

where terrorists wanted to launch apocalyptic attacks -

very different from the Provisionals for instance who had

political aims. The new breed of terrorists wanted to blow

up the negotiating table and everyone around it. Nobody

took any notice of the book. My parents went around


ook shops moving it from the dusty shelves at the back

to the front. Hardly anyone bought it and I went off and

worked on others stuff - stewing with bitterness how my

book had not been listened to. I was like every other who

thinks their book is important but not being taken notice

of. I’m telling anyone out there - never ever write a book

- never! Unless you’ve time on your hands and loads of

money, don’t write it - then again, sometimes you can’t

stop yourself and I fell into that category.

Your advice for anyone struggling out there?

You’ve got to believe in yourself, have a plan and pursue

it.

Sounds like my favourite Dolly Parton quote,

“Figure our who you are, then do it on purpose.”

Exactly [laughs]. But we can’t underplay the value of luck

- where would I be without luck?

Highly recommended: Journeys to Impossible

Places: In Life and Every Adventure by Simon

Reeve is out now. Published by Hodder &

Stoughton

17


Home Alone -

It's That Time of Year

Shaun Anthony takes a look back at the 1990 Christmas classic Home Alone;

a film that never gets old!

Home Alone is one of the greatest Christmas

films of all time. No

matter how many times

you see it, there’s

always something you

haven’t noticed before.

Its a film you can easily

watch and enjoy every

year.

Home Alone was

written by John Hughes

(who captured comingof-age

movies like The

Breakfast Club and

Sixteen Candles) and

starred the naturally

gifted child actor

Macaulay Culkin as

the boy who defends

his house from burglars

when his family

accidentally leave him at home in Chicago as

they holiday in Paris.

Home Alone’s Genesis

John Hughes actually thought up the idea for

the film when he was making preparations

for a holiday and was plagued by a recurring

nightmare that he’d left his children at home.

The dream was becoming so frequent that

he jokingly wrote, ‘Don’t forget the kids’ on

his holiday to-do

list, which made him

ponder the notion of

what would happen

if he actually left the

kids home alone; this

seed of inspiration

led to him penning

eight A4 pages,

which eventually

morphed into a film

script.

Secret Talks with

the Opposition

Warner Bros said

they would finance

and distribute the

movie but threw

in the towel when

they realised it would require a much

larger budget than anticipated. Hughes had

promised that he could make the film for

under $10 million, considerably less than

most feature film production budgets of

that era. Concerned his project would most

probably exceed that amount, Hughes met

secretly with 20th Century Fox, before

production to see if they would fund the

project if Warner proved unaccommodating.

18


Executive producer Scott Rosenfelt said

a copy of the script was “clandestinely”

delivered to Fox, bypassing the legal

restrictions that would have otherwise

prevented Fox from seeing it until the project

was in

turnaround.

Hughes

Didn’t Get

his First

Choice in

Directors

John Hughes

really

wanted

Patrick Read

Johnston to

direct, but

he was contracted to Spaced Invaders and

Hughes couldn’t wait for him to complete so

he turned to Christopher Columbus, who’d

just walked out of National Lampoon’s

Christmas Vacation after

he and the star, Chevy

Chase had a massive

argument. Columbus

felt that Chase was

unworkable and was

treating the cast and crew “like dirt”

(of course, Chase was later exposed as being

near impossible to work with and hated

in Hollywood circles by actors, producers

and directors alike). Hughes, aware of the

Chevy Chase issue gave Chris the scripts for

both Home Alone and Reach the Rock and

Columbus chose to direct Home Alone, as

he found it funnier and liked the Christmas

theme. Columbus did an uncredited rewrite

of the script, which included the character

Old Man Marley (played by Roberts

Blossom). He added the

….

a copy of the script was

“clandestinely” delivered to Fox,

bypassing the legal restrictions that

would have otherwise prevented Fox

from seeing it…

character to give the story a more serious

layer, as well as a more emotional ending.

Culkin a Favourite from Day One

Hughes had

always been

determined

that

Macaulay

Culkin

would

play Kevin

McCallister;

he’d

previously

cast the

8-year-old in

Uncle Buck

and felt

he would bring authenticity to the role but

director Christopher Columbus stated that

the proper audition process must be followed

and hundreds of kids from around the U.S.

were auditioned in person

and via tape. Eventually

Columbus conceded

that Hughes was right

- Macaulay Culkin was

Kevin McCallister.

Casting

Hughes really wanted Robert De Niro to play

Harry, the short and hot-headed thief who

targets the McCallisters’ home with his mate

Marv but Robert had no interest. Next Jon

Lovitz, but again, he didn’t enjoy the script.

Eventually, the script made it into the hands

of Joe Pesci who accepted it, Pesci, who

swears incessantly in real life found himself

accidentally swearing during the rough and

tumble of physical scenes and so he actually

19


made up new child-friendly swear words

which made their way into the final cut.

For the role of

idiot burglar Marv

Murchins, Daniel

Stern was cast but

before shooting

started, he was told

that the production

schedule had been

extended from six

weeks to eight with no

extra pay. Stern said

he would drop out Culkin with Pesci & Stern

unless his salary was

increased pro rata and

so they brought in Daniel Roebuck to replace

him. Just days later Columbus

felt that Roebuck was

lacking chemistry with

Pesci and brought back

Stern.

John Candy is paid just $414!

John Candy had only one free day the year

Home Alone was being made and Hughes

seized it. Candy and Hughes were very close

friends and John said he’d shoot his scenes

for scale, if he was allowed to “just feel” the

script “and improvise” (which ended up

taking 23 hours). Candy actually earned less

than the actor who played the pizza delivery

guy in the film, earning $414.

A Family Affair

When Macauley heard Columbus saying he

needed another young boy for the film on

short notice, the 9-year-old asked them to

give his brother Kieran an audition. Kieran

dazzled Columbus and he was cast as Fuller,

….

Pesci made up new childfriendly

swear words which made

their way into the final cut….

20

the bed-wetter. Ironically, whilst Macaulay

has shunned Hollywood and celebrity,

Kieran has forged an impressive acting

career for himself,

most notably as

the compelling

Roman Roy in the

monster hit show,

Succession.

Culkin was

Terrified of Pesci

and Stern

Hughes and

Columbus felt they

needed to keep

Macaulay away from the robbers Pesci and

Stern to amp up the child’s natural

fear. In fact, prior to the

scene where Marv and

Harry finally catch

up to Kevin, hang him

by the jumper from a coat

hook and Harry threatens to bite off

one of the boy’s fingers Joe Pesci actually

bit one of Culkin’s fingers, breaking the

skin and leaving him with a permanent

scar! Culkin was terrified of both men and

Hughes ensured that this spilled over into his

performance.

Filming

Filming was completed in 83 (very long)

days. The house exterior scenes were filmed

in Winnetka, Illinois. Cinematographer Julio

recalled that Pesci was more difficult to work

with than Culkin, believing some dialogue

was not of a quality commensurate with his

acting ability. Pesci also resented the early

calls, since they prevented him from starting

his day with nine holes of golf as he


preferred to do. After he took the assistant

director by the collar to complain, daily call

times were moved back from 7 to 9 a.m.

to accommodate his rounds. The crew had

limited time to film the many night-time

scenes, since Culkin could not work any later

than 10 p.m. due to his age.

The Stunts

Those

feats of

daring were

performed

by a

stuntman

called

Larry

Nicholas

who,

despite

being thirty

years old,

was about

as tall as a

nine-yearold

boy.

Stunts were originally prepared with safety

harnesses, but because of their visibility

on camera, the film’s final stunts were

performed without them. Columbus said, “

We’d watch it, and I would just pray that the

guys were alive.”

Despite Stern’s fear, that was actually a real

tarantula that walked over his face!

John Candy

actually earned less than the actor who

played the pizza delivery guy in the film…

Reception

Home Alone grossed $476.7 million

worldwide, against a production budget of

$18 million and was number one for twelve

consecutive weeks (remaining in the top ten

21

until 26th April). The film became the

third highest grossing film of all worldwide

(behind Star Wars and ET).

Culkin Becomes Impossible to Pay

Child Star

Macaulay Culkin, thanks to his cuteness and

natural screen charm was now a bonafide

Hollywood heavyweight who commanded

$4.5m per movie post

Home Alone. When his

parents divorced mid-

90s there was a bitter

custody battle and a

fight for control

of Macaulay’s trust.

Culkin’s father Kit

wanted bigger and

bigger paydays for

his son - but bearing

in mind that Home

Alone 2 alone brought

in $350m - it does

seem that $4.5 was

not a lot to ask for the

star. Sadly Kit would

destroy Macaulay’s career, angering studio

executives and producers. His personal

agenda was to usurp creative control

of Macaulay’s movies and get his other

children noticed but power is a delicate

commodity in Tinsel Town.

Still, to this day, Culkin, despite staying

out of the industry, is a multi-millionaire

thanks to Home Alone and has a net worth

of $18m. As the film finds itself a whole

new generation of Home Alone fans every

few years, its fair to say it will remain a firm

favourite for decades to come.


Wishing all a Happy Christmas and Peaceful New Year

Wishing all A Happy

Christmas and peaceful

New Year

Word Power

Over the next few issues we’ll be attempting to increase your word power. Have a look at the words

below and afterwards see if you know their meaning.

Word

Pronunciation

1. Myrrh Mur

2. Yuletide Youl-tide

3. Poinsettia Poyn-sett-e-ah

4. Wassail Waus-ayl

5. Sugarplum Shu-gar-plum

6. Epiphany Ep-if-an-ee

7. Magi May-jie

8. Advent Add-vent

9. Ceremonious Sair-im-ohn-eus

10.Magnanimous Mag-nan-e-mus

11.Altruistic Ahlt-tru-is-tik

12. Tidings Tie-dings

How did YOU score?

10 or more – Perfection!6-9

Brilliant.

3-5 Well done.

0-2 Must do better.

Answers

1. A sticky substance with a sweet smell that comes from trees

and is used to make perfume and incense.

2. The period around Christmas Day.

3. Plant with large red or pink leaves that grow to look like

flowers, often grown indoors in pots.

4. To enjoy yourself by drinking alcohol with others.

5. A small round sweet.

6. A Christian festival, held on the 6 January, in memory of the

time when the Magi came to see the baby Jesus in Bethlehem.

7. The three wise men from the East who brought presents to

the baby Jesus.

8. The advent of something/somebody the coming of an

important event, person, invention, etc.

9. Behaving or performed in an extremely formal way.

10. Kind, generous and forgiving.

11. Caring about the needs and happiness of other people.

12. News, i.e. bringing glad tidings.

22


Old Ireland in Colour

Have you every wanted to walk down memory lane? Dwell a while in a place and time from years

gone by? A new book from Merrion Press might just be the perfect gift for you this Christmas.

We all hearken back to those salad days when life was

simpler, and a new book, Old Ireland in Colour 2

transports us there! This beautiful hardback, which

is the eagerly anticipated sequel to John Breslin and

Sarah-Anne

Buckley’s

2020

illustrated

bestseller

(which

of course

became

the Irish

publishing

phenomenon

of the year

and even

made the

homepage

of CNN) is

out now and

we were so

impressed by

these images

that we just

had to bring

you a small

sample of

what graces

the pages of

this Merrion

Press

publication.

In Old

Ireland in

Colour 2, the authors have delved even deeper into our

historical archives to uncover captivating photographic

gems to bring to life using cutting-edge technology,

historical research and expert colourisation. The book

further celebrates the rich history of Ireland and the

Irish people, from all walks of life, with all 32 counties

represented. With over 150 superb images, the book is

the perfect portrait of life in Ireland throughout 19th

& 20th

Century.

This photo,

centre page

for example

is a fiddler

(1860-1883),

and while it

looks at first

sight to be a

traditional

fiddler

playing, and

would be one

of the earliest

images of

such a thing,

the fiddle

only has

three strings!

The image is

part of the

collection

of stereo

negatives in

the National

Library of

Ireland.

This and

countless

other images with great facts can be viewed in the new

book and over the next two pages we’re bringing you a

sample of what’s on offer.

23


TEATIME

c.1900, Glencar, Co. Leitrim

LARKIN: This iconic

photograph of labour leader

James ( Jim) Larkin shows

him addressing a crowd on

Sackville (O’Connell) Street.

1923. Dublin

24


SWEET TREATS. 24 June 1916,

Co. Waterford.

Grafton Street c 1880-1890

25


Ian Bailey

In his own words: Part IV

This Christmas marks the 25th anniversary of one of

Ireland’s most infamous and unsolved murders. On

Monday 23rd December 1996 West Cork became

the subject of international media interest as news of

the savage slaying of a French national Md. Sophie

du Plantier, nee Bounoil, as she was locally known,

broke on the world

stage.

As an accredited

stringer, or freelance

correspondent, I

was called upon

to cover the crime

initially by the Cork

Examiner. I followed

my instructions

and began to report

on the murder for

Irish, British and

French newspapers,

magazines and

media. I remember

the life changing

events of that

midwinter very well.

At home on The Prairy it was a busy time. We were

to have a full cottage that Christmas. My now former

partners’ three daughters Saffron, Virginia

and the youngest Fennella were

all there and the middle girl

“Ginny” had invited an Italian

girlfriend called Ariana down

from Dublin.

...after 24 years of

interference, abuse and false accusation,

2021 was going to become the most

traumatic and testing period of my

life...

On Sunday 22nd there were jobs

to be done. We decided to save a few pounds on a

Christmas tree by slicing the top off a Sitka Spruce

at the nearby Studio House and there were three

fattened turkeys to dispatch. One for our own table

26

one for our then good friends Pol and and Marie

Colman and one for the Ballydehob butcher

O’Sullivan.

On Sunday afternoon I dispatched the seasonal

fowl and in the process got a slight scratch to

my head from one of

the kicking talons. The

domestic arrangement

was, I would do the dirty

deed; Saffron would do the

de-feathering and Jules the

disembowelling.

Later on Saffron and myself

went down to the Studio

House where I climbed

up through a 30 odd feet

Spruce and sawed a five foot

length off the top. In the

process of doing that I got

some light none bloodied

scratches on my arms.

We then dragged the tree

top back up to the Prairy

Cottage about two hundred yards and Jules and the

girls then dressed the tree complete with crackers,

chocolate oranges, walnut whips and a fairy on the

top.

It was beginning to feel a little

bit like Christmas. In the

evening, we all but Fennella

who said she was feeling a bit

unwell, went out for a drink,

music and a bit of craic. I took my

bodhrán with me.

We initially went to Dennis Quinlan’s Courtyard

Bar and from there on to David and Venita Galvin’s


Galley Bar where a group of visiting traditional

musicians were gathering. Later at their invitation I

joined them on the drum and threw in a couple of

poems.

We did not stay that

late and drove back

West over Hunt’s Hill

where you could see

across Dunmanus

Bay all the little

glittering Christmas

lights of Kilchrohane

and the Sheep’s Head

Peninsula.

On the Monday Jules

and myself had been

intending to go to

Skibbereen to do our

last minute Christmas

food shop. But shortly before we departed at 1.40 the

phone rang. Fenella, the youngest who was then 13,

took the call.

In October of 2020 the Dublin High Court once and

hopefully for all time rejected the perfidious French

request for rendition. Anybody observing from a

distance might well have assumed my fortunes were

on the up.

On my return to West Cork

things were not as I might

of expected. I thought that

Jules would have been

relieved that I had finally

defeated the possibility

of enforced separation by

extradition. The reception I

got was rather cool.

The night after I got back

I felt very strange and at

some point I went into the

yard and had what I guess

was a blackout. I remember

coming too on the gravel in

the yard. I managed to get

up and put the incident down to the huge long and

exhausting pressure I had been subjected to over a

long length of time.

She came into the kitchen and said it was somebody

after me. It was from the Cork Examiner’s

West Cork staffer, Eddie Cassidy

in Clonakilty informing me

of a crime and giving me

details of the scene. Three

or so miles from The

Prairy.

I listened to the 2 o’clock news,

which confirmed the incident. I told Jules to get

her camera and then headed off to investigate.

Little could I have known or guessed at what was

subsequently to befall us.

Within 6 weeks I went from being the lead reporter

on the case to being wrongly accused of the crime

and branded “prime suspect” by the media thus

began a 25-year form of torture.

His false statement was

exposed by the fact that when I had

obtained a schedule of items taken from

The Prairy on the first arrest, the first item

listed was my long black coat.

The detailed trials and tribulation of those years will

have to wait for the full autobiography. But, suffice to

say, none of them prepared me for what was about to

happen to me in the course of this year.

At the end of the day we are human and I had often

felt I was being tested to the edge of my coping

abilities. Something has to give at some

point and I had managed various

panic and anxiety attacks over the

years

The Christmas of 2020 was lonely.

Jules went off to be with her family

in Cork and I was on my own most of the

time. I went through the motions of trying to have a

bit of seasonal cheer I even roasted a turkey crown,

which I chewed, alone.

Maybe I should have sensed what was subsequently

going to happen. Little was I to know that after 24

years of interference, abuse and false accusation, that

2021 was going to become the most traumatic and

testing period of my life and what should have been

an annus mirabilis was to turn into annus horribilis.

In January I started planting seeds for the subsequent

growing season. I set tomatoes, sweet corn, broad

beans and a few other plants which as it turned out I

was never going to plant out eat or sell.

Between 1997 and 2020 I had been subjected to two

domestic arrests and detentions and three abusive

arrests under the European Arrest Warrant (EAW)

process.

27

In March a letter arrived hand addressed to me.

I remember Jules putting it down on the kitchen

table. I did not recognise the writing and opened

it wondering who it was from and what message it


would contain.

What I read sent a deep emotional shock through

me...it was written by a third party at Jules behest

informing me that she wanted me out of her life and

out of the house. Our journey was at an end.

The shock was profound. What Jules had done was to

get another person to write a good-bye letter, which,

with the benefit of hindsight I guess she had not had

the courage to write herself.

Another

chapter in a life

extraordinary

was about to

commence...

more on that

later.

For the

previous five

years I had been

cooperating and

facilitating the

six times Oscar

nominated Irish

film director

and National

Treasure Jim

Sheridan. I

had agreed to

give him pretty

well unlimited

access to

myself and my

extensive historical archive on the case.

During those years I facilitated various filming

sessions with Jim’s men and women who included

the amazing one man camera crew Dublin Colm

Quinn, the redoubtable Cork freelance Niamh

Riley and from time to time the “Boy Wonder”

investigative journalist and Professor of Criminology

Donal MacIntyre.

In July 2016 Jim approached the BBC Special

documentary unit Storyville using footage of

interviews with me to pitch the idea for a 90-minute

documentary. The Commissioning Editor was a

lady called Kate Townsend and she expressed great

interest in what Jim was exclusively offering to

deliver for a televisual coup. The story just cried out

to be told in drama documentary format.

28

In 2016, I remember getting an excited call from Jim

in London. He told me that Townsend liked his idea.

Both Jules and myself were happy with the prospect

of our torturous story being told to a wider audience

and as British citizens the BBC was the perfect media

to shine a light into our darkness.

What was to happen next, in my opinion, was a

disgraceful act of betrayal. What Jim did not know

was that Townsend was about to jump ship having

been offered the job of chief commissioning editor

for the US based private company called NETFLIX.

With director Jim Sheridan

It appears instead

of furthering the

project idea for

Jim, Ms. Townsend,

it appears had

contacted a close

friend, one Mr.

Simon Chinn MD

of London based

private production

company Lightbox

and told him about

Jim’s project. As far

as I know the first

Jim heard about

it was when Ms

Townsend phoned

my solicitor Frank

Buttimer to ask for

my participation,

despite the fact

that she should

have known I

had an exclusive

arrangement with Jim who had been working on

it for four years. The production team at Lightbox

insinuated that Jim was a first time documentary

director which was untrue but that was the reason

they gave as to why Ms Townsend could not use him

despite the fact that she had offered to commission

him in glowing terms while at the BBC.

With Townsend having migrated to Netflix she

proceeded, it appears, to green light a multi-million

dollar project for Chinn. The Sheridan Project,

as I christened it, was severely disadvantaged by

Townsend’s move from the BBC to a corporate

global giant. People might not be aware, as I am as

an international intellectual property lawyer that

it is impossible to protect an idea by copyright.

In a phone call in late 2018 Chinn rang me from

London trying to persuade me to in effect to jump


ship. I explained my relationship with Jim and left

the solicitor Buttimer to deal with him. Chinn as

producer brought in a Scottish director, John Dower

who then wrote to me seeking my cooperation in

the Netflix production. I went on to meet him and

explained to Dower the situation. I did however

allow him some limited access to me in the market

places of Skibbereen and Schull.

I had also rather naively had given two trusted

journalists some limited access to me on The Prairy

in May 2018. This was to finish up in the hands of the

Netflix production and was used to make it appear

as if Dower had conducted the interview, in the

three part faux documentary Sophie: A Murder in

West Cork. The original journalists were never even

credited. It occurred to me that my existence and

continued persistence was feeding a small industry.

I even made light of it by joking that I was no more

than a bone to be chewed by various animals. Some

of them friendly like Jim’s

team others like

the Netflix team,

hostile.

I knew that

the Netflix so-called

documentary was going to be a piece

of self-serving abusive propaganda that would

perpetuate the false narrative and I was right.

The Sheridan Project, as I christened

it, was severely disadvantaged by a disgraceful

act of betrayal

At a certain point in early 2021 there was a race on

between Jim’s objective project, a five parter which

was to air on Rupert Murdoch’s Sky network and

Netflix’s project. I had been bracing myself for the

releases. I was also reeling from the emotional fall

out of Jules’ decision to call time. I had contacted

Cork County Council to apply for a council house

and had a rake of paperwork to complete.

I was about to embark on the craziest and most

testing time of my life. I had started to gather my

possessions and bunch things I wanted to retain

into the shed, which for several years had been my

creative sanctuary where I would spend my time

between writing and wood carving.

Jim’s project went to air in early May. I had a go at

watching the first two episodes with Fenella’s fine

young son Theo, but had found it upsetting. It nearly

brought me to tears. I was upset for the victim, upset

for Jules and almost upset for myself. I took the

decision that I was too emotionally fragile to watch

any more.

29

Two weeks later the Netflix project came out and I

was inundated with media calls asking me for my

reaction and to comment.

Although I did not watch Netflix production I

was made aware of certain passages which most

shockingly contained a number of downright

falsehoods. The ones that stood out referred to my

long black coat which I had worn at the Christmas

Day swim in Schull and two totally false statements

the first made by the retired Chief Superintendent,

the Kerry born Dermot Jerimiah Dwyer. Dwyer

wasn’t telling the truth when he said I had burned

the coat in a fire on St. Stephen’s Day at the Studio

House. His false statement was exposed by the fact

that when I had obtained a schedule of items taken

from The Prairy on the first arrest in February 1997

the first item listed was my long black coat. The

second untruth had come from Ginny’s Christmas

guest the Italian Ariana Boarina. She claims, for

whatever reason I do not know, that

while a guest in the cottage,

she remembers seeing

my dark coat soaking in

a bucket in the bathroom.

(However, in her statement to

Gardaí, she had said she saw clothes being cleaned

in the bath). This is a total fabrication. Ms. Boarina’s

statement is a blatant untruth, which still has to be

explained. What makes this untruth all the more

damaging is that John Dower the director sets up a

sequence in which a black coat is soaking in a bucket.

These two untruths conveniently gave Director

Dower & Netflix the perfect hook to hang their story

and distort the narrative. At the time of writing

lawyers in the US are considering whether I have a

case against Netflix and Chinn for deformation. The

problem is money, it costs a fortune to sue in the US

and as everybody knows I am financially one of the

poorest people in Ireland although rich in so many

non-material ways.

I note the head of Netflix, Ted Sarandos has claimed

that no film they have distributed has had real life

negative effects on their subjects…Well let me tell

you Mr Sarandos, the release of your demonising,

biased and defamatory film ultimately had

catastrophic real life effects on me.I lost my partner,

my home, and was subjected to real life death threats

and social media abuse.

The release of the two projects coincided

coincidentally with my deciding to lose my Social

Media virginity. I went from no SM presence to


Facebook, Instagram and within a very short time

found I was well de-flowered. I currently have 3,000

plus friends, fans and followers on FB and 6,000 on

Twitter and Instagram.

I started receiving enormous support from

thousands of people, the vast majority of whom I

had never met. At

the same time on

Twitter I became

the subject of a

small number of

trolls. The trolls,

who of course

are cowardly

inadequate use

false identities

and seemed

to be acting in

some form of

orchestrated unity.

Their language was

crude and it was

apparent they were

not very bright

and motivated

by hatred. Their

Sineád O’Connor and I

offensive remarks, far from upsetting me, rather

perversely amused me and I took to taunting them. I

even managed to deduce the true identity of some of

them. My response was to report the more obscene

twatterers as I christened them, to Zuckerberg’s

organs. A couple I reported to the Guardians of Our

Freedoms, AGS, for what it was worth.

Amazingly a small army of supporters sprang up,

many from the North, to challenge the imbecilic

idiots and really put them to the word sword. The

rantings of the trolls did not upset me, on the

contrary, but what did was the way they would

viciously go after anybody who was brave enough to

voice support.

In June I took a phone call from none other than

the National Treasure who was formally known as

Sineád O’Connor telling me she had a new job as a

reporter for the Sunday Independent and that she

wanted to talk to me about my poetry and to write

an article.

I agreed to meet her and gave her four hours of

interview. I trusted her, she seemed to be not

too unreasonable although as a seasoned senior

journalist I found her interview technique of

30

throwing up to twenty different questions into one

a wee bit irritating. I gave this cub reporter some

learned professional critical feedback.

Somehow, I suppose because our initial meeting was

in semi-public the media not only got to hear of our

meeting but photographed it as well. The following

morning I had the first of a

series of seriously abusive

communications from Ms.

O’Connor.

After the first ranting

telephone call I took no

more calls but was then

to receive a series of

incoherent ranting texts,

12 in all (of which I have

copies).

The last one was sent on

the Saturday night before

her first ever article was

to appear. It suggested I

was mad, bad and needed

help. She suggested I

was an alcoholic and

should get myself to rehab.

Somehow the communication was leaked to the Irish

Sun whose following Monday edition carried the

legendary headline,

“Sineád tells Ian he needs to go to Rehab...He said

No, No, No”.

This marks the end or my series of articles ‘In My

Own Words’ for Ireland’s Big Issue magazine. I am

grateful to have been given the opportunity to have

my say, as all too often I have been the subject of false

narratives.

As an undertaking to the editor I have agreed to

answer any questions he wants to put to me in

relation to events as described in the 4 articles, I have

nothing to hide, never had. Hopefully the truth will

come out and the killer of Ms Sophie du Plantier will

be found, giving some solace to her family.

In the next edition of Irelands Big Issue I will answer

those questions.

Ian Bailey In His Own Words: Part IV

All words and photographs Copyright Ian K. Bailey

2021


Wishing all a Happy Christmas and Peaceful New Year

Have you a complaint about a public body?

If so, the Ombudsman may be able to help.

The Ombudsman investigates complaints about providers of public services such as:

• government departments

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You must have tried to resolve your complaint with the public body

before contacting the Ombudsman. If you are unhappy with the

response then you can complain to the Ombudsman:

Online: www.ombudsman.ie

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Call us if you need any assistance at 01 639 5600.

The Ombudsman cannot take complaints about consumer matters,

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OUR SERVICE IS IMPARTIAL, INDEPENDENT & FREE

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31


Fancy getting your hands on one of our great

CHRISTMAS PRIZES? Simply email

info@irelandsissuesmagazine.com & type

Competition in subject line. Remember to include

your name, address & daytime ‘phone number

(this will not be stored on file or used for

marketing purposes). Closing date 20th December.

www.gola.co.uk

Fancy some new trainers?

Like a £60 Gola voucher? Are trainers

worn on the head or feet?

Handmade Beauty Products

To win a box of goodies from this

Co. Meath company. Where’s The

Handmade Soap Company based?

https://thehandmadesoapcompany.ie

Unwind in the Kitchen?

To win a €50 giftcard. from Caulfield

Country Boards? Where’s this business

based? Kells or Letterkenny.

www.caulfieldcountryboards.ie

Write your memoirs?

Two Handmade Pens from Donegal Pens

To win one of two pens. Does a pen use ink or

lead?

www.donegalpens.com

To win a €20 BOOK VOUCHER for Kenny’s bookshop.

Is fiction true or false? www.kennys.ie

Thank you everyone!

We wish you all lots of

luck and may we take this

time to thank you for your

support and encouraging

words. We appreciate your

it enormously as it allows

us to continue highlighting

under-represented voices

and continue to bring you

justice-driven journalism.

Your contribution via our

website (you can also PayPal

info@irelandsbigissue.com)

helps us to continue helping

the marginalised through

the power of sport. Your

support is greatly valued.

32


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To win a giftbox of

hand-poured soap.

When was BareEssential

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www.bareessential.ie

NutraCheck WEIGHT TRACKING App. We have 5 yearly

subscriptions to give away.

When do people mostly start their diet: Christmas Day

or in January?

www.nutracheck.co.uk

To win a boxset of gorgeous COOKING SAUCES.

Did the wok originate in China or Wales?

www.whitemausu.com

To win a year’s supply of BARRY’S TEA.

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kind of cube sweetens tea? www.barrystea.ie

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answer the following question.

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To win a LIMITED EDITION TRAVEL-THEMED

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33


Issues: Historical

Kate Tyrrell:

The First Irish Woman to be a Ship’s Captain

County Wicklow’s Kate Tyrrell was the first woman in Ireland to be a ship’s sea

captain. Kate would fight the patriarchy and an antiquated law tirelessly for over

a decade to be recognised for what she was - a ship’s captain! Liz Scales reports.

Trailblazer, Kate Tyrrell was born into a naval family in

Arklow, Co. Wicklow in 1863, the second of four girls

born to Elizabeth and

Edward Tyrrell. From

early childhood Kate

had a dream to live an

exciting life on the highseas

and had interest

in nothing else beyond

boats and all things

seafaring.

Edward owned a

shipping company

importing and exporting

goods such as coal,

bricks, iron ore and

textiles between Ireland

and Wales and from very

early childhood, Kate,

unlike other girls of the

time had no interest in

dolls and domesticity

- she spent all her free time at the shipyard where she

watched the men at work, asking endless questions and

taking mental notes. Edward soon realised that Kate

would be his successor as she knew just about everything

that happened at the shipyard, not

to mention keeping up-to-date

with shipping information

that affected the company.

She also had a great mind for

figures and was a fantastic business

woman.

The men may not always

have liked her but they admired and

respected her enormously.

and judgement completely and she would carry out many

tasks as his assistant, including filling out the shipping

journals and monitoring the

finances. Edward would

often stop what he was doing

and marvel at his daughter’s

great mind and admirable

work ethic;

“You can do absolutely

anything Kate … in fact, one

day you’ll own your own ship.

You wait and see.”

Kate would smile, hoping

his words were prophetic -

because she wanted nothing

else in the whole world but

that.

When Kate was 19, her

younger sister died from TB

and her mother sank into

deep, clinical depression. Kate, did what she could to

keep the family home ticking over but domesticity was

bringing her down and she knew, in order to save her

own sanity, she needed to be back in the shipyard and

sailing. It was a difficult decision but she

found herself lacking any zest for

life when she wasn’t near a ship

and the hustle and bustle of the

shipyard goings on.

Kate gets her own ship - kind of.

Kate becomes her father’s right-hand woman.

By the age of 12, Edward trusted his daughter’s abilities

In 1885 Edward bought a 62-ton schooner called the

‘Denbighshire Lass’ from Wales and registered it in Kate’s

name. Kate successfully captained the ship back home to

34


Arklow. Locals started to talk. Who was this wayward,

boisterous woman daring to call herself Captain? Taking

charge of a vessel like that. Shouldn’t she be at home and

doing what other respectable women were doing? Wasn’t

she aware it was illegal to be female and the listed owner

of a ship? Kate, never one to look for the recognition or

approval of others couldn’t

have cared less what people

thought or said. She fought

the rules deemed to keep

her out of men’s business

over and over - but was

unsuccessful each time.

Angrily she vowed that

this would not stop her

fulfilling her dream.

Edward dies

unheard of in those days. The community started to

talk - in fact the news was a scandal in wider society and

people started all sorts of rumours.

Kate had The Denbighshire Lass registered under her new

husband’s name but continued to fight the legal system

to have her own name on the

documents. The couple had

two children, James born in

1900 and Elizabeth born in

1905 but shortly after her

daughter’s birth, Kate’s health

started to deteriorate and

she became broken-hearted

at being less able to travel as

frequently aboard her ship.

The less time she spent at sea,

the worse she became.

At the age of 23, Kate’s

father passed away from

a heart attack and his

groundbreaking daughter

took over the business.

She immediately began a

decluttering of sorts, selling

off quite a few ships and

became the sole owner of

the ‘Denbighshire Lass’.

Although she owned

the ship, she still wasn’t

allowed her name on

the vessel’s official paperwork so she asked a trusted

male colleague, Lawrence Brennan to sign his name

on the documents and she continued carrying out all

the business operations as usual, examining repairs,

commanding the crew and maintaining a successful

shipyard.

Tyrrell was very proficient at

running the business and this

enabled her to spend most

of her time captaining her

ship, which led to her becoming a

respected expert at navigation - in fact,

all aspects of sailing. Of course she wasn’t always popular.

She was known for being a very strict enforcer of rules

and order on board the ‘Denbighshire Lass’ and refused

to put up with any drunken crew members or tomfoolery.

The men may not always have liked her but they admired

and respected her enormously.

Kate marries

At the age of 33 Kate married her childhood best friend,

John Fitzpatrick but kept her own surname - something

Kate wed childhood best friend, John Fitzpatrick

The Denbighshire

Lass continued to sail

throughout World War I, navigating

landmines in the Irish Sea without

incident, despite having no

insurance!

35

Success against the

antiquated law

After over a decade of

fighting the authorities to

be called Captain, Kate was

officially recognised as the

owner of the Denbighshire

Lass in 1899, at the age of 36.

Despite being in ill-health,

Tyrrell celebrated - she’d

achieved her goal - she’d

made an impact. She knew her father would be very

proud and he was the only person she’d ever truly enjoyed

impressing.

The first ship to fly the new Irish

tricolour flag at a foreign port.

The Denbighshire Lass continued

to sail throughout World War I,

navigating landmines in the Irish

Sea without incident, despite having no

insurance! It was the first ship to fly the new Irish

tricolour flag at a foreign port.

Kate Tyrell died in 1921 aged 57. Kate was a remarkable,

pioneering woman. Even faced with outdated, sexist laws,

she pursued her dream to be called Captain and nothing

would stop her.

Male or female we could all learn a thing or two from the

legacy this County Wicklow woman left behind.


Screen

Scene

Red Notice ***

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds

Run Time: 115 mins

Streaming on: Netflix

Available to stream from: 12 November

The Unforgivable ****

Starring: Sandra Bullock

Streaming on: Netflix

Run Time: 113 mins

Available to stream from: 10 December

When an Interpol-issued Red Notice — the highest level warrant

to hunt and capture the world’s most wanted— goes out, the

FBI’s top profiler John Hartley (Dwayne Johnson) is on the case.

His global pursuit finds him smack dab in the middle of a daring

heist where he’s forced to partner with the world’s greatest art

thief Nolan Booth (Ryan Reynolds) in order to catch the world’s

most wanted art thief, “The Bishop” (Gal Gadot). The high-flying

adventure that ensues takes the trio around the world, across the

dance floor, trapped in a

secluded prison, into the

jungle and, worst of all

for them, constantly into

each other’s company.

The all star cast is

joined by Ritu Arya and

Chris Diamantopoulos.

Directed and written

by Rawson Marshall

Thurber (Central

Intelligence, Skyscraper)

and produced by

Hiram Garcia, Dwayne

Johnson and Dany

Garcia of Seven Bucks

Productions, Beau Flynn’s

Flynn Picture Co. and

Thurber’s Bad Version,

Inc., Red Notice is a

stylish globe-trotting

game of cat-and-mouse

(and cat).

Based on the British miniseries, Unforgiven,

The Unforgivable stars Sandra Bullock,

playing the role of a woman just released from

prison after serving a sentence for a violent

crime but facing major struggles to move

forward in life when society refuses to forgive

her past. Bullock, of course is no stranger

to Netflix Originals, having starred in Bird

Box recently, but in the role of Ruth Slater,

a woman attempting to seek redemption

through finding the little sister she left behind,

we see a whole new side of Bullock. Great

actress - superb performance.

36


Misneach ****

Starring: N/A

Streaming: TG4 Player

Run Time: 2 x 30 mins

Available to stream: Now

Robin Robin ***

Starring: Gillian Anderson, Richard E. Grant

Streaming: Netflix

Run Time: 32 mins

Available to watch: From 24 November

Ireland has always been a lonely place for

Whistleblowers. Those who stand up and speak out have

historically suffered as a result of their disclosures. The

2014 Protected Disclosures Act exists to offer protection

to those willing to speak out. But what of those who

spoke out before any protection existed? How does one

cope when your world is turned upside down and you

become the target for doing the right thing?These are the

stories of those who stood up against wrongdoing in the

workplace and found their lives almost destroyed forever

because they refused to stay silent.

A stop-motion Christmas musical special with

Aardman. When her egg fortuitously rolls into

a rubbish dump, Robin is raised by a loving

family of mice. As she grows up, her differences

become more apparent. Robin sets off on the

heist to end all heists to prove to her family that

she can be a really good mouse - but ends up

discovering who she really is. Beautiful film for

all the family.

Misneach

Robin Robin

Love Actually****

Starring: Hugh Grant, Martine McCutcheon

Streaming: Prime

Run Time: 129 mins.

We’ve watched it a million times and still somehow haven’t

tired of it. Starring Hugh Grant and Martine McCutcheon,

this 2003 (yes, it really is that old) this British rom-com

has gone down in history as one of the most famous festive

flicks and feel good Christmas movies to come out of the

noughties - and with good reason! The movie follows

the complicated lives of multiple London couples as they

navigate their personal and professional worlds in the five

weeks leading up to the ever-emotional festive season,

culminating in an epic ending we promise not to spoil

here. Prepare for laughter, tears, and a hearty helping of

‘aww’ moments. Hands down one of the best Christmas

movies on Amazon Prime this year.

Love Actually

Tell us what you’re binge

watching this Christmas? Let us

know on Twitter @BigIssueIreland

37


Irish Homeless Street Leagues

(IHSL) Keep Going Despite

Covid

Despite the restrictions imposed by the Covid pandemic our Homeless Street Leagues

continued in limited fashion during the year with league programmes in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway

while our ladies team participated in a challenge tournament in Belfast.

It has been a difficult year,

especially with no Homeless

World Cup in 2021 but

despite the obstacles, we have

managed to start a new League

in Hardwicke Street on the

northside of Dublin and we are

also endeavouring to start a new

league in Drogheda.

Obviously Covid makes

restrictions necessary but the

important thing is to keep going

so our players have time and

space where they can meet,

communicate, and play the sport

they love. ‘A ball can change

a life’, that is our motto and

we know from experience that

participation in sport has a

positive effect and does change

lives.

Hopefully Covid will be on the

back burner come the New Year

and we can look forward to better

times and the return of The

Homeless World Cup in 2022.

From all the players

and volunteers at IHSL,

thank you for your kind

support.

A Happy Christmas and

Fruitful New Year to all.

Captain of our (IHSL) lnternational Team in the World Cup, Norway 2017, Tara

McNeill meets Ireland Senior International Katie McCabe at team hotel prior to their

recent International match against Georgia.

38


Obituary

Christine Geoghegan

1992-2021

It was with great sorrow and shock that we learned of the passing of Christine Geoghegan in November.

Christine was a member of our ladies team who represented Ireland in the Homeless World Cup in Oslo in

2017.

It is hard to believe that she is gone, she had been ill but it appeared she had overcome her illness like she had

overcome many obstacles in life. Meeting her recently, she looked so well and was the picture of happiness;

it was inspirational just catching up with her that day. Sadly, after seemingly overcoming cancer, it returned

recently and she passed away after a short illness.

From all at the Street league family our sincere condolences to her wife chloe, family, friends and teammates

she will always have a place in our hearts.

RIP Christine

39


Issues: New Book Releases

Patricia Scanlan’s

Book Club

Patricia Scanlan was born in Dublin, where she still lives. She is a #1

bestselling author and has sold millions of books worldwide. Her books

are translated in many languages.

Patricia is the series editor and a contributing author to the award winning Open Door

This issue, Patricia brings her favourite books of the moment.

Fight or Flight - My Life My Life, My Choices – Keith Earls (Reach PLC)

Keith Earls has maintained a low profile throughout his rugby career. A native of Limerick

city, Earls grew up in one of its most socially disadvantaged housing estates. Moyross was

blighted by crime and violence and he did not escape unscathed. For the first time he talks

in depth and at length about the inner turmoil that went unseen by teammates, friends and

fans. A confessional, intimate and courageous story of the pain that was a constant companion

to the glory.

Journey to the Well -– Mary Kennedy and Deirdre Ní Chinnéide

(Hachette Ireland)

For sisters Mary Kennedy and Deirdre Ní Chinnéide, spirituality has been at the centre

of their lives since childhood. Their home in St Brigid’s Road in Clondalkin, Dublin,

was around the corner from a holy well, a place that signalled family, community, and

divine ritual. Drawing on Celtic spirituality – a key focus in Deirdre’s work as a psychotherapist,

retreat leader and singer, and a long-held area of interest for much-loved

broadcaster and author, Mary – in Journey to the Well, the sisters share a voyage, as

they invite us to journey with them through the Celtic seasons of Samhain, Imbolc,

Bealtaine, and Lughnasa. Journey to the Well is a book of connection that celebrates

the divine within each of us.

Aisling and the City - Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen

(Gill Books)

With BallyGoBrunch flying and the door firmly closed on her relationship with John, Aisling accepts an

unexpected job offer and boards a business-class flight to New York in her best wrap dress and heels. As she

finds her feet in the Big Apple, she throws herself into the dating game, grapples with ‘always-on’ work culture,

forges and fights for new friendships and brings her good wedges to a party in the Hamptons, much to

Sadhbh’s dismay. But catching up with family and friends on WhatsApp and email is not the same as sitting

in Maguire’s putting the world to rights over mini bottles of Pinot Greej and a shared bag of Taytos. And yet

New York has so much to offer, not least in the ridey fireman department. Will Aisling forget her roots?

40


Normal Sheeple - Ross O’Carroll-Kelly (Sandycove)

From the day I was born, I was brought up to believe that Gaelic games were invented for people too

stupid to understand the laws of rugby. Little did I know that one day I would become a legend of Kerry

football. But then my life has taken a lot of unexpected twists and turns. My old man is, like, the Taoiseach

of the country. My wife is an actual Minister in his Government. And my suddenly teenage daughter

is heading for the Jailtacht - and her very first rugby boyfriend. And then there’s Marianne. Of course,

I was too busy becoming a Gaelic football stor to realise that my family - like the entire country - was

being pushed towards a cliff edge. And I was the only man capable of saving Ireland’s democracy. Which

is just like, ‘Fooooooock!’

Old Ireland In Colour 2 – John G. Breslin

(Merrion Press)

In Old Ireland in Colour 2, the much-anticipated sequel to their beloved bestseller, John Breslin

and Sarah-Anne Buckley have dug even deeper into Ireland’s historical archives to uncover

captivating photographic gems to bring to life using a unique blend of cutting-edge technology,

historical research and expert colourisation. Old Ireland in Colour 2 celebrates more of the rich

history of Ireland and the Irish from all walks of life and from all four provinces, as well as the

Irish abroad, throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries...

A Lick and a Promise - Imelda May (Faber Music)

A Lick and a Promise is the debut poetry collection of one of Ireland’s most famed female musicians,

Imelda May.

Following the release of her first poetry EP Slip Of The Tongue in 2020, this collection contains

100 poems, including two each from both her father and young daughter. Using the themes of

Breast, Below, Blood, Eyes, Tongue and Temple, the poems are written in May’s absorbing, visceral

style and encapsulate heartbreak, sex, nature and womanhood. Included in the collection

is ‘You Don’t Get to be Racist and Irish’, the powerful poem which was written in support of the

Black Lives Matter movement and was recently used by Rethink Ireland campaign.

Noni and the Great Chawwwklit Mystery – Dermot Whelan (Gill Books)

Meet Noni: hard shell, soft centre – just like the treats she sells from her pram outside Thomond

Park. She’s a law-dodging, pram-wielding, chocolate-selling, wickedly funny woman who likes

nothing more than a sticky situation. In her very first adventure, Noni and her young sidekicks

Emma and Seán must find out who’s tampered with the chocolate supply before the whole town

is poisoned.

Will Noni solve the mystery and save her beloved business? Will Noni’s pet raven, Francis, ever

find enlightenment? Will anyone ever teach Noni to say the word ‘chocolate’ properly?

A Hug For You –David King –Sandycove

Nothing warms us up quite like a hug, but what can we do when we can’t be together? This is

the story of a new hug’s adventure and the boy who shared it with the world.

This picture book, inspired by true events, tells the story of one little boy with a big idea that

came straight from the heart. The virtual hug makes its way onto mugs, postage stamps and

even all the way to outer space, spreading warmth and connection to people all over the world.

41


Wishing all a Happy Christmas and Peaceful New Year

42


The Origin of our Favourite Christmas Traditions

The Christmas Tree

In 16th-century Germany fir trees were decorated,

both indoors and out, with apples, roses, gilded

candies, and colored paper. In the Middle Ages, a

popular religious play depicted the story of Adam

and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden. A fir

tree hung with apples was used to symbolize the

Garden of Eden -- the Paradise

Tree. The play ended with the

prophecy of a saviour coming,

and so was often performed

during the Advent season.

It is held that Protestant

reformer Martin Luther first

adorned trees with light. While

coming home one December

evening, the beauty of the stars

shining through the branches

of a fir inspired him to recreate

the effect by placing candles on

the branches of a small fir tree

inside his home

The Christmas Tree was brought to England by

Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert from

his native Germany. The famous Illustrated News

etching in 1848, featuring the Royal Family of

Victoria, Albert and their children gathered around

a Christmas tree in Windsor Castle, popularized

the tree throughout Victorian England. Brought

to America by the Pennsylvania Germans, the

Christmas tree became by the late 19th century.

The Christmas Card

A form of Christmas card began in England first

when young boys practiced their writing skills by

creating Christmas greetings for their parents, but

it is Sir Henry Cole who is credited with creating

the first real Christmas card. The first director of

London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, Sir Henry

found himself too busy in the Christmas season of

1843 to compose individual Christmas greetings for

his friends. He commissioned artist John Calcott

Horsley for the illustration. The card featured three

panels, with the centre panel depicting a family

enjoying Christmas festivities and the card was

inscribed with the message “A Merry Christmas and

a Happy New Year to You.”

Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer

The Chicago-based Montgomery Ward company,

department store operators, had been purchasing

and distributing children’s coloring books as

Christmas gifts for their customers for several years.

In 1939, Montgomery Ward tapped one of their own

employees to create a book for them, thus saving

money. 34-year old copywriter Robert

L. May wrote the story of Rudolph

the Red-nosed Reindeer in 1939, and

2.4 million copies were handed out

that year. Despite the wartime paper

shortage, over 6 million copies had

been distributed by 1946.

May drew in part on the story “The

Ugly Duckling” and in part from his

own experiences as an often taunted,

small, frail youth to create the story of

the misfit reindeer. Though Rollo and

Reginald were considered, May settled

on Rudolph as his reindeer’s name.

Writing in verse as a series of rhyming couplets, May

tested the story as he went along on his 4-year old

daughter Barbara, who loved the story

Sadly, Robert Mays wife died around the time he was

creating Rudolph, leaving Mays deeply in debt due

to medical bills. However, he was able to persuade

Sewell Avery, Montgomery Ward’s corporate

president, to turn the copyright over to him in

January 1947, thus ensuring May’s financial security.

May’s story “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was

printed commercially in 1947 and in 1948 a nineminute

cartoon of the story was shown in theaters.

When May’s brother-in-law, songwriter Johnny

Marks, wrote the lyrics and melody for the song

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, the Rudolph

phenomenon was born. Turned down by many

musical artists afraid to contend with the legend of

Santa Claus, the song was recorded by Gene Autry

in 1949 at the urging of Autry’s wife. The song sold

two million copies that year, going on to become one

of the best-selling songs of all time, second only to

Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas”. The 1964 television

special about Rudolph, narrated by Burl Ives,

remains a holiday favourite to this day and Rudolph

himself has become a much-loved Christmas icon.

43


Jokes

Because laughter is

the best medicine!

The Santa Claus at the shopping

centre was very surprised when

Emily, a young lady aged about 20

walked up and sat on his lap. Now,

we all know that Santa doesn’t

usually take requests from adults,

but she smiled very nicely at him,

so he asked her, ‘What do you

want for Christmas?’ ‘Something

for my mother, please,’ replied

Emily sweetly. ‘Something for your

mother? Well, that’s very loving and

thoughtful of you,’ smiled Santa.

‘What would you like me to bring

her?’ Without turning a hair Emily

answered quickly, ‘A son-in-law.’

Jennifer was a pretty 18 year old girl.

In the week before Christmas she

sauntered up to the curtain counter,

and was trying to decide which of

the many types of tinsel she would

buy. Finally, she made her choice

and asked the spotty youth who was

manning the fabric section. ‘How

much is this gold tinsel garland’. The

spotty youth pointed to the Christmas

mistletoe above the counter and

said, ‘This week we have a special

offer, just one kiss per metre’. ‘Wow,

that’s great’, said Jennifer, ‘I’ll take

12 metres’. With expectation and

anticipation written all over his face,

the boy measured out the tinsel,

wrapped up the garland, and gave it

to Jennifer. She then called to an old

man who had been browsing through

the Christmas trees and said, ‘My

Grandpa will settle the bill.’

It was Christmas Eve in at the meat

counter and a woman was anxiously

picking over the last few remaining

turkeys in the hope of finding a large

one. In desperation she called over a

shop assistant and said, ‘Excuse me.

Do these turkeys get any bigger?’

‘No, madam, ‘he replied, ‘they’re all

dead.’

Danny had recently passed his

driving test and decided to ask his

clergyman father if there was any

chance of him getting a car for

Christmas, which was yet some

months away. ‘Okay.’ said his

father ‘I tell you what I’ll do. If

you can get your A-Level grades

up to A’s and B’s, study your

Bible and get your hair cut, I’ll

consider the matter very seriously.’

A couple of months later Danny

went back to his father who said

‘I’m really impressed by your

commitment to your studies. Your

grades are excellent and the work you

have put into your Bible studies is

very encouraging. However, I have

to say I’m very disappointed that

you haven’t had your hair cut yet.

Danny was a smart young man who

was never lost for an answer. ‘Look

dad. In the course of my Bible studies

I’ve noticed in the illustrations that

Moses, John the Baptist, Samson

and even Jesus had long hair.’

‘Yes. I’m aware of that...’ replied his

father ‘... but did you also notice they

walked wherever they went?

44

Every Christmas morning, when

my kids were little, I read them the

Nativity Story out of the big family

Bible.

When my son was old enough to talk,

he asked me what a stable was.

I thought for a moment how to

explain it to him in terms he could

understand, then told him, “It’s

Something like your sister’s room,

but without a stereo.”

The 4 stages of life:

1. You believe in Santa Claus

2. You don’t believe in Santa Claus

3. You dress up as Santa Claus

4. You look like Santa Claus

How come you never hear anything

about the 10th reindeer “Olive”?

Olive?

Yeah, you know, “Olive the other

reindeer, used to laugh and call him

names”

.

What did Santa sing when he went

down the chimney?

“Chestnuts roasting on an open

fire...”


RRP €4.50

Discount Corner

Available in Health Food Shops Nationwide

An Independent Irish Company Est. 1984 www.atlanticaromatics.com

45


@

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It’s our language.

BAILE ÁTHA CLIATH · BÉAL FEIRSTE · RÁTH CHAIRN · DÚN SEACHLAINN · GAOTH DOBHAIR

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