Sunday 29 May 2005, Schipol Airport, Amsterdam
I hated rugby once, you know. In first year at secondary school, we hauled our bags up to the top of St. Patrick’s Hill every Monday afternoon, to run around in the freezing muck.
I had hoped to enjoy this, but in the end it was a little meh. Maybe because I hadn’t seen any of the rugby from the Tour, Sky Sports keeping it all for their viewers. Or maybe because New Zealand were so dominant. Or maybe because I’m not a Woodward fan. Or maybe because the style of writing was only meh-worthy.
Michael Collins is frequently cited as the originator of modern urban terrorism. The British characterised his Squad as ‘the murder gang’ and had they knowingly captured members of of the Squad they would almost certainly have exectued them.
Irish history is full of revolutionaries and failed rebellions, of informers giving information to the English, and spies infiltrating Irish organisations. Michael Collins recognised the importance of the intelligence network and so in 1919 he formulated a plan to blind the eyes of Dublin Castle by ensuring that the police force were as terrorised and demoralised as possible.
When you are a child, and you’re poor, and you live next to other people who are poor, you never think of yourself as being poor.
Around a month ago I read an entry on Omaniblog about this book, up until then I hadn’t even known that George Hook had a book out. But that post caught my attention. George Hook is probably best known in Ireland for his rugby punditry. Together with Brent Pope and Tom McGurk, he analyses rugby for RTE in an entertaining, honest, blunt manner. He also has a radio show, but I’m not big on the radio so haven’t heard him enough to comment on that. In many ways I suppose he is the Eamonn Dunphy of the rugby world.
But I know him primarily from his rugby comments, and his constant promises that Munster will lose, and that the likes of Stringer shouldn’t be playing. I disagree with him, but am well aware that he is very knowledgeable about the game. And in an entertaining way.
Although the word ‘sport’ was used commonly in Ireland long before the period that is covered by any of the essays in this collection, it normally referred to hunting, fishing and other such activities enjoyed by the Irish gentleman. In addition were the games played by ‘ordinary’ people and rumoured to have their origins in Ireland’s historic and mythic past.
Another book that I picked up at work, although this is much more readable than the last. That was on the film industry in Ireland, and I didn’t finish it because of its overly academic wordiness. Despite being a sociological look at sport in Ireland, this book, Sport and the Irish doesn’t suffer from that problem.