Around the world in 30 days part 4 By Fr. Liam Kelleher.

text my ex back free – One thing has changed no flight in the past week after 14 in 3 weeks what a relief that has been. I have had a most relaxing week in my favourite city in the world, Perth. It is reputed to be the most isolated city in the world, but certainly it has the best overall facilities in the world. I did a bit of research during the week and some of the statistics I came up with are incredible. I compare the great Perth area to the greater Dublin area, they have similar populations, but Perth is spread

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over a much wider area. Apart from having an ideal climate, there are the few days which can become almost unbearably hot like on Saturday when the temperatures hit 39 and it was one of the most active I had on holiday. I have been lucky during the week with the average temps around 30 during the day and cooling down to 20 most nights. There is very little humidity and that is a blessing. The mornings are very nice and by midday when the temperatures get up they are cooled down by the “Fremantle doctor” the wind that blows in from the Pacific and up from the beautiful city of Fremantle.

Perth and its surrounds is a sporting and recreational paradise, for all sorts of activity from the keenly competitive to the most low key activist. It would be impossible to describe all the facilities in detail but if statistics can tell a tale these do. The Perth bicycle network is amazing, there are 700 Kms of cycle paths and trails, provided by the State and local government in conjunction with the cycling organizations. For those without public transport it must also be the best served city. The Trans Pert rail system goes in all four directions to Fremantle in the south to Joondalup in the North. The trains run on time every time and are very clean, well policed at night by security guards, and they are cheap you can travel for the whole day for about 5 Euro. The buses are also of the same quality and if you are in a real hurry and need a taxi, they are inexpensive too. Speaking of expense everything is much cheaper here, particularly food for example on Sunday night we had dinner at the Irish Club in Subiaco and a huge steak cost the equivalent of 8 Euro, including all the trappings, you can’t get much better than that with music thrown in for good measure. The band playing on Sunday nights are from Co Louth, they took the place of “Sham” when they went to Ireland and indeed it was on a visit to the Irish club last year that I discovered “Sham” whose gigs in Cork raised 10,000 Euro for the Aidan Con O’Sullivan Trust fund. Sham is the only one back in Perth the rest are still in Ireland, but their year off is coming to a close.

Huge number of Parks

Under the heading of Parks, Ovals and recreational areas there are 1,500 listed in the directory, that speaks for itself The main parks in the centre of Perth are Kings park and Bold Park and each are nearly as big as the Phonieix Park in Dublin. There is a law that there must be a certain area of recreational ground attached to every housing estate and I don’t mean a little green, it could be anything up to 20 acres. We sadly lag way behind in Ireland in this area. Concrete jungles are becoming more and more part of the Celtic Tiger with the putting in of as many houses in the smallest area possible. When I look at some of the places in Ireland where this has happened including my own village of Grenagh I cringe with anger, when I see what is here. Planners seem to be obsessed in Ireland with the type of houses people can build is as little a space as possible, and give little or no attention to their recreational needs, which are left to voluntary bodies, many who go their own separate ways, instead of getting together and planning for the overall good of the community.

Another area I briefly mentioned last week was the attention paid to social housing when land is provided by the local authority for this purpose. In fairness we are becoming more conscious of this aspect of planning in Ireland, when people are becoming less and less inclined to look after their elderly. The parish of Conna is a great example of what I mean and not only have they provided for its community over the years they have a big programme of social housing now underway. Of course based on the river Swan and the Indian Ocean the area is a boating paradise, a surfers paradise, There are miles and miles of well kept beaches in fact this morning I saw a stretch of beach about half a mile long exclusively for walking dogs and with weather as it is, there are hundreds of people out at 6 am before work and school. If that is not enough there are about 60, 50 Meter pools listed. The pride of course is the Challenge Stadium at Perry Lakes where there are 3, two outdoor and one indoor a magnificent one where the world swimming championships have been have their own 50 m pools Golf courses There are about 50 golf courses and it is even then, difficult at that to a get free time on some courses. Louis Byrnes took me out on Saturday morning to the public golf course in Wembley and even though we had a booked in time of 8.30 it was after 9 before we got off and well after 10 before we reached the 2nd green after that things speded up and we got back in good time for the races.

There are enormous stadiums as well with the Oval in Subiaco and WACA the best know. Perth plays host city to many International events and at Subiaco the world cup hockey took place and Ireland have played there in rugby and they will play Australia there in June. Compromise Rules games have been played there also as well as Aussie Rules of course. Cricket is really big, as you would expect, so the WACA is the place for that. There are 2 greyhound tracks and 3 race tracks. In Perth itself they have the luxury of a winter track at Belmont and a Summer one at Ascot and only a few miles separate them. On Saturday I went to Ascot for a pretty ordinary meeting, beefed up by the appearance in what they call a barrier trail, for Australian wonder horse Northerly. Northerly was ranked 3rd in the world behind Aidan O’Briens and Alex Ferguson’s Rock of Gibraltar for 2002 and towards the end of the year, had a run of 5 group one successes including the Cox Cup and the Caulfield cup in Melbourne, amassing over 7 million Australian dollars in prize money. Connections were tempted to run him inthe Melbourne cup, but felt the distance was a little too long. This horse now a 6 year old has blossomed late and no longer has races of a high calibre on the West Coast so this week he moves to the East Coast for the more lucrative purses. Before moving on to Signapore where he will be challenged by some of the European greats, among others. The way he disposed of his 3 rivals in the trial pleased the trainer Fred Kersley although he was in very sombre mood after a week when saw his apprentice jockey Michael Molloy in a very serious condition at the Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital after a crashing fall. The last thing the area needs is another fatality, after Damien Olivers brother was killed in another riding accident the week of the Melbourne cup.

I did get 2 tricasts up in 3 races, but the dividend was poor but wins are wins anytime. Another feature of the day was the retirementl of race commentator Max Symmonds ,who was commenting on his last race, after 50 years of unbroken service the 2nd last race was named in his honour and he presented the trophies. To complete a very busy day it was off to the Perth Glory ground with Ronan Murphy to see them win 3 nil with 2 goals coming from Damian Mori who spent some time in the German League and is a Socceroo International. He will not be playing against England. That Aussie team will be made up of European based players. They had a gate of about 12,000 with the standard about 2nd division in England. There is great razzmatazz with a great build up and plenty of cheer leader action at half-time. That defeated Northern Spirit from Sydney to maintain a three point gap at the top after 24 games and with 5 to play they look like taking the title, Last year they finished 12 points ahead but with the competion unfairly decided with the top 4 they were beaten in the final and finished up with nothing for the 2nd year in a row. The top team gets the trophy this year. It was a milestone for Northern Spirits Alex Tobin who became the first player to make 500 League appearances, unfortunately it was not a winning one. Perth Glory will be moving to a new Stadium next year, the local council have granted them 6 Million they will borrow another 6 to contsruct a purpose built stadium which will also house Gaelic Football and Aussie rules and I saw that in the local West Australian Newspaper to-day.

Cliff Richard.

On Friday night I had the experience of seeing Cliff Richard, one of my boyhood idols perform live in the Burswood Dome in front of 8,000 delirious fans many of them surprisingly young. It was a brilliant show with a mixture of old and new finishing up with Millennium Hymn the Our Father. Then it was on to the famous Burswood casino but I resisted the temptation of gambling and returned to Subiaco to prepare for a busy day on the Saturday. I saw Martina Murphy formerly O’Riordan, from Lisgoold and who used to run with me in Midleton in the mid 70’s, she in fact went on a tour to Scotland in 1977 and ran her last track race there finishing 2nd in the 800m to Mary Fleming. Martina took up running again a few years ago and is now one of the top athletes in WA. She ran 3.04 in Dublin for the Marathon in October and ran her first track race since 1977 on Friday on grass finishing 4th overall in the State 5,000m in 18.58.3.

She now is building up to the Nationals in Perth in April and hopes to compete in the world vets championships. The rest of the week was spent, relaxing on the beach visiting many friends. Actually I met many of them on Monday night when Sean and Martina hosted a Barbecue. The Mayor of Subiaco Tony Costa attended as well as Fr. Pat Holmes a native of Feenagh in Limerick who was very good to me when I was hospitalized in Perth 2 years ago. His First Cousin Sr Martina in Chaleville had contacted him. The Barbecue lasted long into the night with Louis Veronica, and Brian from Scotland singing rebel songs.

More statistics.

Getting back to more statistics, there are over 50 lawn bowling clubs in Perth. There is one major Athletics Stadium at Perry lakes and that venue badly in need of an upgrade once hosted the Commonwealth games. On Saturday next the darling of Australia in 2,000, Cathy Freeman a good friend of mine, will launch her bid for the Athens Olympics, unfortunately I will be back home at that stage. There are 27 Bush fire Voluntary Fire brigades in the Area and this year was the worst ever for bush fires, but Perth escaped most of the huge devastation. There are 130 tennis clubs, 55 wineries, 90 libraries, 40 squash courts, 128 Catholic Churches and 3 prisons one for women. There are many cinemas and entertainment centers including the Perth Entertainment Center which has housed productions like the Bolshoi Ballet, Riverdance, Phantom of the Opera, Perth Concert hall and the Show grounds which housed a huge concert on Sunday. We had planned to go to Rottnest the island 22km off Perth, but a change in weather which saw a thunderstorm during the night give the first appreciate rainfall in more than 2 months and Sunday was cool dull and overcast, a welcome relief even for the natives.

We did make it as I told you to the Irish club and to-day I am going to visit Lisa Manning the former Rose of Tralee in her Perth shop. Things will be winding down now but the time has been great the company has been great the weather as been great apart from one glitch, the activity has been great all of which is good for body and soul and that is what a holiday is all about.

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