Sure a great day to be Irish


Just watching the Pathe news reel and, be the hockey laddies, what a week to be Irish in America. Never has the Septic Isle's stock been so high, never has the poor litthle counthry whistled a happier tune.

In Washington, the planes spit out lobby loads of our glum politicians with acres of foliage on their chests, duty free under the oxters and nothing but bad news to report from the peace process. People still pretend to be pleased to see the pitiful craturs again. Now that's political correctness.

In New York, the Paddy's Day Parade is the usual festival of dreariness and spite. Hillary Clinton is whistled and booed because, depending on who you talk to, she is not a native New Yorker and therefore not truly Irish and/or she walked in the gay parade the previous weekend - the official plod being famously restricted to straights and repressed types only. Nothing reflects the Septic Isle's passion for diversity like the Paddy's Day Parade in New York.

And as if our goblet of good luck weren't overflowing already, some goombahs from Limerick were organising a book burning in the hope of showcasing their city in a whole new light. All this and Michael Flatley is still at large.

Folks, we are just an inbred banjo player short of taking our place among the nations of the earth. As such, we should catch the tide and start grasping whatever brass we can take out of this. As a sports lover, I have been giving thought to cultural endeavours which might showcase our nation's love of sports in ways which would be appealing to outsiders with cash.

Feature Film: The Clare Witch Project

The pace and horror of our national game. Three young hurling selectors, Tony, Mike and Sean, disappear in the woods near Feakle. We are presented with the aftermath, and through the use of nervy, hand-held shots the torment of an entire community is conveyed.

Filmed in both black and white, The Clare Witch Project touches on many issues which better films have feared to approach. The cloning scenes in which the metabolically well-endowed Louis Mulqueen is cloned over and over again until he appears to be everywhere are truly frightening, and the eery, red helmet motif which runs through the movie represents a deepseated fear common to us all and is all the more remarkable given that the movie is, of course, in black and white.

Documentary: Sleepy Hollow

Groundbreaking documentary covering 48 hours in the life of a GAA Congress. ingeniously shot to give the feel of moving in real time, although running length is just over an hour. The dreamy, almost underwater feel of the piece is scored by an inventive soundtrack featuring samples of speeches by Frank "Puff Daddy" Murphy. Visually very frightening, the characters come towards us with pinched, powder-dry faces and bad haircuts and repeat tracts of dialogue from previous congresses. "I am club man! Hear me roar!"

Ultimately we feel ourselves losing interest as the film fails to resolve the very issues which it has raised, but that perhaps is the point. Features brief nudity, medieval banqueting and light musical numbers.


A website standing as an open invitation to IOC members to come to the Septic Isle and study our impressive "Can-do-but-it-will-cost-you-and-it-mightn't-be-ready-on-time-cos-we've-another-job-on" culture.

Site includes an online tour of our cultural triumphs. We lean over O'Connell Bridge and point to the spot just there in the Liffey where we had the Millennium Countdown Clock. A honeyed voiceover explains that we put it in a shed sometime in 1998 and all agreed never to speak of it again. Speaking of the millennium, we cut to some footage recording the Irish national broadcaster's celebration of that landmark. It may look like some beaten dockets from Planet Lite Entertainment being held captive by Shi'ite militia, but to us it is culture.

We proceed up O'Connell Street, our majestic main thoroughfare, our gateway to the northside, sampling the cosmopolitan feel of our capital city. Many of the major hamburger restaurants in the world have chosen O'Connell Street as the site for flagship retailing of meaty comestibles, as has one of the leading names in the adult toys and sexy knickers business.

We pause outside the state-of-the-art video arcade to consider the spot where we were to erect a large stainless steel spike to show how arty we are but...

Onwards to where we might successfully have held the World Equestrian Championships had we not made fools of ourselves. Moving in real time, we spend 25 minutes getting onto the M50 where we plan to build two empty, isolated stadiums eloquently refuting the trend towards vibrant, living, downtown developments. Later we get a tantalising glimpse of the Stadium of Light.

We finish perhaps with warm, online testimonies from refugees who opine that their compatriots are very likely to run faster than ever when they visit Dublin.

Television: Who Wants to Own an Umbrella? Time perhaps for an RTE sports quiz programme to ride the wave of television's future? Need to feel witty, well-rounded and attractive? These contestants will restore your sense of self-worth.

Who Wants to Own an Umbrella? combines the sense of high-stakes glamour normally associated with smuggling a book through Limerick with the pace, timing and taste of RTE's much admired winter solstice coverage. In a departure from RTE's less is more approach to sports coverage, expenditure on prizes will run to rainwear and umbrellas. Use of footage and humour will be avoided at all times. Irony and practitioners of the same will be weeded out during the vetting process.

Print: The Greatest Anthology of Irish Sporting Denial In the World Ever

They Were Out to Get Her...Yes, But He's No Racist...I Blame the Media...I Don't Believe Any of Our Players Want to be Paid for What They Do...We Need a Stadium to Call Our Own...There Wasn't a Dirty Blow Struck...Sure Aren't They All at It...Passion is What Wins Rugby Games...I Hadn't a Good View of the Incident - and so on and so on. All your favourites between two covers for the first time.