Close to home
At the packed funeral in her home town of Dalkey there was no long-winded eulogy, just plenty of good humour, fine music and a simple arrangement of roses from her beloved husband, Gordon Snell. Typical Maeve.
PHOTOGRAPH: MATT KAVANAGH
After years of preparation and a months-long advertising campaign fronted by Gay Byrne, Ryan Tubridy and other television luminaries, the analogue signal which beamed RTÉ into Irish homes for five decades was finally confined to the dustbin of television history, alongside Wanderly Wagon and Mart and Market.
Miriam O’Callaghan, helped by an RTÉ engineer hunched over a laptop, in a cramped office in Montrose, was the executioner.
With a click of a mouse, she booked her spot on Reeling in the Years 2012 and condemned the 100,000 Irish households who had yet to make the switch by the time the deadline came to a lifetime of white noise and snow – at least until they got their Soarview box sorted.
Gabriel Byrne let the cat out of the bag when he announced on Matt Cooper’s radio programme on Today FM that the Gathering was a bit of a scam aimed a shaking down our American cousins. While we all knew it was true, we didn’t want him to say it. What next Gabriel? Will you be telling our American cousins there are no leprechauns in Ireland and we don’t all ride around on asses, comfy in our aran jumpers, pulling on pipes and saying, “Top o’ the morning to ya?” Sheesh.
PHOTOGRAPH : MATT KAVANAGH
No ordinary handshake
“She was very nice,” is how Sinn Fein’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness summed up his meeting with Queen Elizabeth in June, when the pair shared an historic handshake at Belfast’s Lyric theatre.
According to at least one eagle-eyed body-language expert, it was clear from the video of the encounter that the Queen, who pretty much shakes hands for a living, wanted to keep the handshake typically “short and sweet”.
For his part, McGuinness, deeply aware of the potent symbolism of the encounter for both unionists and nationalists, appeared to clasp on to the royal hand for a few moments longer than others in the line-up, including First Minister Peter Robinson. While there was no audio allowed it was reported that McGuinness used the opportunity to wish the Queen “slán agus beanacht” which he translated for her to mean “goodbye and Godspeed”. Afterwards McGuinness declared with a smile: “I’m still a republican.”
PHOTOGRAPH: PAUL FAITH/WPA POOL/GETTY
Well, oil be
In October, Providence Resources were granted a licence to drill an exploratory oil well off the coast of Dalkey (they’re also involved with the extensive Barryroe Oil field off the coast of Cork). So, soon that most genteel of suburbs will be a rough mining town filled with brawling miners, saloons (rather than salons) and petticoat-wearing good-time girls. Understandably many are displeased, at the environmental implications, the fact prospecting companies get tax breaks but are under no obligation to sell their findings to the State and the general lack of clarity about what it’s all going to involve.