2024 TG4 All-Ireland Finals tickets

Around the world in 30 days part 5 - the saga ends! - and more By Fr. Liam Kelleher.

In the early 70’s I went on a camping trip with Paul Mullholand, Liam
O’Brien and Donal Kerins from Midleton. I took my car and we travelled from
Dublin on the Ferry and from there to Newcastle and across to Denmark on
another ferry.. I clearly remember visiting Odense the birth place of Hans
Christian Anderson, of fairy tale story telling fame. A plaque on the wall
took my eye. It was one of the writers quotes “The world is like a book
and he who stays in his own country reads only one page.” That trip carried
us to Denmark, Germany, Belgium, Holland, France then back to England and Wales
and home. But truly the travel bug had bit long before then.
My first excursion outside Ireland was to England in 1966 where a group of us from
Carlow College were invited by Canon Jim Galvin to help out in his parish in
Aylesbury near London. The 10 days spent there were wonderful. We stayed
with parishioners and went off like the disciples in the gospel visiting
houses 2 by 2 and doing a census of the parish and also inviting those
lapsed back to the church. Canon Jim was wonderful to us and it was with great
delight in 2002 a week after returning from my first trip to Australia to be
invited to Northhampton, to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of his
ordination. Jim was a man big in heart and big in stature and had a
profound influence on my life, the fact that I ministered in later years in
his native parish of Dromina cemented that friendship and he still
remains as bright and positive as ever. After that visit to Aylesbury, I
attended my first major sporting event in Wembley, the 1966 world cup, I saw
a few prelim games and I was there on that infamous day when England
defeated Argentina in the quarter final by a goal to nil.
The Argentinean capt Rattin was sent off and his dismissal had a big influence on the
ultimate outcome. In fact I think that game was a prelude to the Falklands
war, because the English Manager, Alf Ramsey described the Argentineans as
animals. After the matches I did another stint of Parish work when i went
with the Legion of Mary in the parish of Kingstanding in Birmingham.That was much
tougher than the work in Aylesbury but it was a great experience and one I never forgot.
Off to the US.
The following year I was off again this time to the US for more than 2
months against the advice of parents, they were worried I might not come
back. There was no money forthcoming so I sold a greyhound I had for £60
that paid for the flight which was £59 and I borrowed another £60 from my
brother Denis, I bought a Greyhound bus ticket with that and it gave
unlimited travel for 90 days. I had a great friend and roommate in Carlow,
Liam Minogue and you may remember in my first episode of this year’s travels
that he collected me at Newark Airport. Well he was brilliant to me, in
1967 he had a sister Bridie, God be good to her, living in New Jersey and she
kept up for the summer. We did travel on our own to visit Washington and
after that she brought us to friends of her husband, theMannings in Boston.
They had a summer house in Marshfield near Cape Cod and I can assure you
we spent the greatest time of our life, with that family on the beach.
We were brought to the great landmarks of the Kennedy clan in Boston and other
sights and if ever I came close to staying anywhere, it wasthere. I seriously
considered not coming back. Then I went off on my own forthe last 2 weeks.
I hopped on a Greyhound bus in Boston and travelled bynight, to save expenses
and arrived at Buffalo at 7am in the morning. I remember to this day having a
splitting headache but while I did take inthe awe and beauty of the Niagara Falls
and particularly the Canadian Mounties I thought I was going to die, not used to
roughing it at that stage, but I soon recovered.
My next port of call was Toronto where my brother Denis gave me the contact
of his classmate, Dan Lynch from Rylane a fellow engineer, whose brother Oliver
was a classmate and minder of mine from 1957 to 1962 during my time at St
Colman’s. A neighbour Liam Helan gave methe contact of his brother in law Tim
Murphy, so I was set.
Expo ’67
From there I went to Expo “67 in Montreal. This was the biggest world Fair
ever held and it was simply awesome. Most countries in theworld had a pavilion
and I visited most of them which accelerated my desire to visit as many countries
as I could. During my visit earlier to Washington I saw one of the space capsules at
the Smithsonian Institute, well there were 3 more on display at the American pavilion
at expo. Lookingback now they looked no more that a giant barrel and I wonder how
men were sent to space, in such a contraption.
My interest in Track and field was also heightened in Montreal. There was a match
between the Americas and therest of the world and there I saw the first 17 foot pole
vaulter in the world, he was from Greece, Papaniccalaou by name. I also collected my
first autographs most notably Bob Beamon who the following year set the
sensational world long jump record in the Mexico City Olympics and there too was
Wyomia Tyus, the greatest female sprinter of the time.
I just recall all this off the top of my head and looking back my head had to be in a
spin from all of this, but eventually I retuned home for my final year in Carlow and was
ordained in my own church in Donoughmore on the 9th of June 1968. I got my first car
as a present, and my first long trip was to bring my family to Glengariff and Garnish Island.
When we returned form the Island I could not reverse the car, so I had to ask the boatman
to do it for me.
In August I went on loan to Cardiff where I was stationed there for more than a year before
returning to Midleton in 1970. There was no drive on Ferry that time the car was hoisted on
to the boat by crane in Cork and I had good experience indriving by then, but I was completely
taken aback when I got to a roundabout at Havorfordwest in Wales, what was I to do? I had
never seen a roundabout before but I soon figured it out. I returned to Ireland early in 1970
and that year it was off again to the Passion Play in Oberamergau in Germany with my brother
John and the late John A Walsh. I got very much involved in Sport and took 50 athlete to
Donegal and the west of Ireland for 10 days and that cost them the princely sum of £6 each
all inclusive.
That year I attended the first of my 7 Olympics and that would take a huge space to recount.
Thirty years on I returned to Munich last year for the European Championships. I could go on
and on but I must finish the story of my latest escapade although I just recollected another
marathon tour to the US in 1973. Many of my class were ministering in the US, so I decided to
visit as many as possible. I bought an Eastern Airline ticket for $99 which gaveunlimited travel
for 4 weeks. When I arrived in New York I had to go to the World Trade Centre where their
head office was. I recollect it was failry near the top and the view was awesome of course I
went to the top as well. I gave the schedule of my plans to the girl in the office and she
said it was virtually impossible to achieve in a month ,it meant cris crossing the States 3 or 4
times ,with their base in Atlanta, the nub of their activities. She said you know that 18,000
miles but I will issue the tickets anyway and if you do not use them no problem but you cannot
add to them, there and then I added a few more just to be safe and in the end I fulfilled
everyone of them. I went to the Jumbo Elliot Meet at Villanova, the US Collegiate championships
in Baton Rouge in Louisiana, Los Angeles,San Francisco, Atlanta about 6 times and many more
places in the end I felt I had conjured space. So the 32,000 miles on my recent trip was a piece
of cake!
Not much to relate.
From my last 3 days in Perth I have very little to relate, it was spent
mostly visiting friends and relaxing on the beach, visiting Mary Burke and
her family and meeting up with the many friends I now have in this great
city. I called to see Lisa Manning the former Rose of Tralee, you may
remember I brought that big story last year that she had resigned from her
job as Manager of one the Mollini stores, because they would not give her 3
weeks of work to visit Ireland for St Patrick’s Day. Lisa is now working in
an exclusive shoe shop in the centre of Perth, called Zomp’s. We had a great
chat and she told me she is waiting on a job, which will see her back as
manageress of another major store in the next couple of weeks. The night
before I left, after we had a fine meal in a fish restaurant with the
Murphys, I called down to the Irish club to say my good byes but I caught up
in the rehearsals for the C Y Murray play which was being staged at the
club the following week, I would have loved to been there for the real thing,
but time is time and home is home. The following morning I was up at 5am
and headed off to the airport to be in good time for my 7.45 flight to
Singapore, thankfully no mishaps this time. The 4 hour flight to Singapore
was routine and when we arrived there we were met by a deluge and very
clammy heat, par for the course during the rainy season.
My next flight would not be until midnight so as transit passengers we were
given a 2 hour tour of Singnaore, free by the tourist board. I missed the
first tour, so went off on the 3pm tour and it was fascinating, we got a
great rundown on the city and the country which is really very small. It is
known as the Lion city and has the tallest buildings in the world. Land is
at such a premium that everything has to be built upwards. The rain cleared
off and we got a birds eye view of the city from the old wooden riverboat.
We were deposited back at the airport at 5, I did a quick turnaround and
was back in the City centre on the train, by 5.30. the shopping Malls are
something else, with more underground than above ground.
About 70% of the population are Chinese and the majority of the
remainder are Indian so a visit to Chinatown was a must. It was still awash
with colour with the Chinese New Year having been celebrated the previous
week-end. I love good Chinese food and I came across Maxwells food emporium,
which had about 60 stalls serving Chinese cuisine. The place was packed and
the food was instant. You just went to one of the booths and ordered what you
wanted. I got a huge plate of beautiful food, for about 6 Singapore
dollars the equivalent of less than 4 Euro, and that was the best value in
food since I was in Moscow in 1991, when I got caught up in the great coup
and a dinner cost me about 10 cents there. By the way as far as food prices
are concerned I have found Ireland and England to be the dearest places in
the world by a long way. After the meal I walked for about 2 hours along
the beautiful river banks, with its many restaurants, packed to capacity I
stumbled across an Irish pub, Molly Malones and I was so fascinated by
the whole city that I had just enough time to have a shower in the transit
hotel and make my way to the boarding area for the gruelling 13 hour flight to
So many planes take off at that time that we had to wait for an hour
to take to the sky. That was the only time apart from the first flight from
London to New Jersey that a flight was delayed and indeed most of the 17
flights i was on during the 30 days arrived at their destination ahead of
schedule. I slept a bit, saw a few films and arrived in London at 6am local
time on Thursday morning.
From there I made my way by bus to Oxford to visit my sister Monica whose
husband Nigel sadly passed away 2 years ago, my niece Demelza collected
me and brought me to Abingdon a lovely town on the banks of the Thames.
I spent the day relaxing no sleep though, and at 5, I was of again to the
airport, caught the 7-45 flight which left at 8.15 and arrived back in Cork
predictably half an hour late, where Jerome andMary Byrne were on hand to
collect me. I assure you I got a good nights sleep no trace of jet lag I don’t
know what it is and it was off in themorning visiting the house bound for the
first Friday Calls. It was difficult to believe that so much could have happened
in the 30 days since I visited them in January.
That’s life, I say lets enjoy the world why we have it, lets enjoy the good and
kind people that do their best to make it a better place to live in and hope the
sceptre of war will pass us by because as the words of the song Desiderata puts
it “It is still a beautiful world”.
Let me add it still has beautiful people, open hearted, generous, kind
and considerate, friendly and helpful, positive and outgoing. I love people
like that and I met so many of them during that 3 day trip. Thanks for the
good times thanks for the memories which are recorded for ever on a 4 hour
video tape which anyone can have, including the Cliff Richard concert and
perhaps his rendition of his millennium prayer song, the Our Father, at the
end of his concert, where he paid tribute to God Our Father which we must never
abandon ,as so many in our little country appear to have.
Trend must be stopped
This trend must be stopped and I believe it will but it will take a huge
amount of effort after real soul searching, we are nothing without God, but
unfortunately many people seem to have forgotten that. In one of my reports
I mentioned that everywhere I went, the one question that was asked by
people who have visited Ireland in the past 2 years is what has gone wrong
in Ireland. In particular Peter Egan who worked in health care in New
Orleons and he was in Tralee with his daughter, the New Orleons Rose, during
the summer and he said he could not be gone out of the place soon enough,
for the sake of his children. In all his travels and in an all his
experiences, he has never in his life come across such a high level of
intoxication among people and so many in the 14-18 bracket. He has not seen
the likes in the toughest ghettos of New Orleons. It is indeed a sad comment on
our society and while it is disgusting to see this behaviour, it begs the
question, why is it happening?
First of all they must have the money for drink and so many people can earn
money as early as 14 years and sometimes younger. One of the biggest ways of
money earning for many of this age group is babysitting and that too is an
indictment of our society. Parents and guardians must take the majority of the
blame squarely and fairly for creating the type of youth and society we have.
There was a time when religion had a place in society where values and morals
were treasured and these should be valued and treasured irrespective of faith.
As I have said many times the Sacrament of Confirmation seems to be the exit
Sacrament from the church for so many. A high percentage of teens value their
friends more than their parents, and many parents feel threatened and blackmailed
so that, the easiest thing for them is, to give in to the demands of their
The level of bad manners is appalling, far higher now than I have
come across in any country I have travelled to. I was virtually teaching
full time in Secondary schools for 15 years I would dread to have to do so
now. I would be fearful and feel threatened and I know that there are many
teachers who share my views. What is the solution? Just before concluding
this article I called to see a good friend of mine on my way back from a
funeral in Tullylease, he has raised 3 excellent mannerly children, which
proves it can be done and he too is appalled at the level we have slipped to
and he blames a lot of our ills on the lack of practice of faith. He thinks
that we will not return to our senses until their is a catastrophe like
famine or something like it. He says people live for what they get not for
what they can give. He has great sympathy for parents who make a committed
effort which he equates to about half and questions the fitness of the
remainder to rear their children and give them decent standards.
We have come to a situation where it virtually impossible to organise functions
like discos, for out youth, I tolerated it because most of the children I
know are good decent folk and come from decent homes, but when outsiders
arrive, there is little control, the standard of dress is appalling and
invites trouble and at the most recent disco in Grenagh in my absence, was
virtually a running battle all night. Good decent people who are trying
their best in the community should now have to put up with this behaviour.
There is an urgent need for the education of parents as well as children.
There is a urgent need for representatives of families, the clergy,
teachers, social workers, the medical profession and the gardai to sit
down together examine what is happening and come up with standards and
guidelines, that will put a stop to the way things are going.
One of the happiest times in my life was when I was in Tullylease where they
were lovely people with lovely families. It was as country an area as you could get. I
have been told things have changed so much. Things got so bad last year when
elderly people were being terrorised that the Gardai imposed a curfew on
certain individuals not to be seen out after a certain hour. That worked for
a bit, and they went somewhere else.
Violent TV programmes and videos do not help the situation There was a time
when censorship limited this, but now with modern technology of Satellite TV
and the Internet there is no censorship. I have also said that we must change
our whole attitude towards religious education. It might sound radical but it
would be better if religious education was taken out of the schools and the Sunday school
method like they have in the States was introduced, then at least you would
know what parents and children were really committed. We are now in many
cases the victims of society that see the major Sacraments of First Holy
Communion and Confirmation as purely social sacraments an excuse for a good
day out with little or no follow up. That’s the reason why respect for life
is diminishing, thats the reason why it is not safe to walk our cities and
towns, thats the reason why there is a murder nearly every day, the day of
conscience has gone. My friends in The US were, hearing confessions for
hours at Christmas. I heard 4 confessions on Christmas eve, there was a
time when I heard confessions for 5 hours on Christmas eve. The sense of
being sorry for doing something wrong has also diminished. So all these
things I have mentioned and other contributory factors have created a huge
amount of insecurity and I would say unhappiness among the Irish populace.
But we must not give up hope, we must encourage people to go back to the
sacraments, to Sunday mass and the practice of their faith, that I belive in
the long run, is the only answer.

Fr. Liam Kelleher 021-4886128 mob 087-8516984.

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