Thank you

Posted on: 8th June, 2015

Category: A West Cork Life

Contributor: Tina Pisco

May 2015 was a rollercoaster ride. For the record, I had no apparent stake in the Marriage Equality Referendum. I’m not Irish, so I can’t vote in national/presidential elections, or in any referendum. Though I’ll happily engage in political discussions socially, I very rarely get actively involved in any campaigning. It’s the main reason that I’m considering applying for Irish citizenship. I’ve lived in and have fiercely loved this country for over twenty years but I don’t think it’s my place to tell its citizens how to vote. I’ve always cringed when blow-ins here (or in Spain, or Italy, or in whatever country the blow-in has chosen to live a ‘better life’) get on their high pulpit and start preaching to the natives. However, that does mean that I am indifferent.

As the referendum campaign got under way, it was impossible not to get caught up in the waves of emotion that were sweeping the land. I was amazed, and very proud, of the local, door-to-door, canvassing that was organised at the grass roots level. They went out in all weather, to knock on doors, walk into cafes and businesses and tell their stories. ‘The personal is political’ has never been more brilliantly demonstrated. It takes some guts to knock on a door and hand out a leaflet, but it takes magnificent bravery, heroic valour, to stand on your neighbours’ doorsteps with a big gay campaign button on and watch their eyes to see if they now think less of you. It’s one thing to parade in a big anonymous crowd in an urban area, and a totally different thing to ‘come out’ to people who have known you and your family forever.

As a friend of mine put it: “It was like coming out, over, and over again.”  And it was wonderful to see that, with a few exceptions (one friend in Galway was chased away by a man brandishing a bottle of Holy water!) most canvassers were met with respect and kindness. Conversations were had with strangers that would have been unthinkable twenty-five years ago. They ranged from the sublime: Like the Dublin taxi driver who said he said he was voting No, and then noticed a friend of mine crying in the back seat. He pulled over to comfort her and said: Jaysus! I don’t want to hurt anyone. I never thought voting No would make a lovely girl like you cry; to the comical: as when a concerned senior citizen asked: “When were you diagnosed?”

There were also more intimate conversations, with friends and family. ‘The love that cannot speak its name’ was spoken about in homes around the country. It was like a tsunami of truth sweeping out the last flotsam and jetsam of hypocrisy, secrets and fear out to sea. I cried when I read Ursula Halligan’s article in The Irish Times, but before that very public pronouncement, Ms Halligan (who is 54) had to have a very private, and I’m sure, painful conversation with her mother, friends and family. Like so many in the past few weeks, her courage and humanity was welcomed with love and support.

In the last 24 hours before the vote, I started to feel anxious, then scared. I realised that I did have a stake in the outcome: A very personal, gut wrenching stake. I was optimistic that the Yes vote would prevail, but the dread of what would happen if it failed started to rear its ugly head. I thought of all my gay friends and family. I thought of how rejected they would feel. I thought of all my Irish straight friends and family, who believed that Ireland is a better place than when I moved here in 1992 — when divorce and homosexuality were both still illegal. I thought of how ashamed they would feel.  I thought of all my friends and family abroad and what they would think of this little island I call home. I remembered that in 1996 Cork South West voted 61 per cent No to divorce. I thought about whether I could stay, if it voted No again, even if the referendum passed. I wondered if all those things I love about the Irish people and their big hearts, were just a load of Blarney.

And then something wonderful happened…Someone posted a picture of Dublin airport on Thursday night. It was jammers. Soon pictures and videos of people on boats, trains and aeroplanes started appearing. People were coming home. Floods of happy people, travelling home to vote on equality is a sight I will never forget. It lifted my heart in a way few images ever had. These guys and gals were walking the walk, not just talking the talk, and I knew that their friends, family and neighbours would be doing the same. It made me proud to live here. It made me proud to fiercely love this place and these people. It made me want to be an Irish citizen.

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13th April, 2018  ·  

An evening on the 'Balance of Feeling Good' by Clonakilty Gaa Club Health and Wellbeing Committee followed by Guest Speaker, Cork GAA Chairperson, Tracey Kennedy.

Paddy Duggan, former Principal of Clonakilty Community College, will be MC on the night, facilitating a discussion on getting the balance of feeling good.
Contributors on the night are Colm Sheehy, Conor Murray, David Lowney, Denis Murphy, Eoghan Deasy, Sean McEvoy, Thomas Clancy and Treasa O'Brien.
Topics covered will range from awareness and responsibility to yourself and others to the benefits of exercise and nutrition.
The evening is suitable for everyone aged 16 and over from players, members of the community, parents of young and adolescent children, etc.

This is a public event, free of charge and everyone is invited and very welcome to attend.
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12th April, 2018  ·  

The Cast of Harold Pinter’s ‘No Man’s Land’ are on their way to the All-Ireland finals, having won 26 awards, including five best of Festivals, at the Amateur Drama League of Ireland annual three act festivals. The play ‘No Man’s Land, by Harold Pinter, the Nobel Prize Winning Author is directed by Jennifer Williams.

One last opportunity to view this multi award winning play at Skibbereen Town Hall, on Saturday 14th of April, before the finals.

Having met by chance in a pub, two aging writers continue a long night of drinking and reminiscing in a stately London home. As the night wears on, their conversation wanders through memories long forgotten or invented. Is their encounter real or a delusion? Are they strangers or do they share a past history? When unexpected guests intrude upon an increasingly surreal evening, the atmosphere quickly changes from friendly to threatening, and the encounter becomes a game of survival.

Tickets may be purchased at the door or in advance by emailing schulldramagroup@gmail.com

For more information please contact hilary.mccarthy6@gmail.com
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