Write a new life story

Posted on: 20th January, 2015

Category: Music

Contributor: Mark Holland

What’s all this I’ve been hearing about people giving things up? It’s the middle of winter; we’ve already given up long sunny days, eating outdoors and going to the beach, and no doubt the weather is going to get worse before it gets better.

I know the Christmas break may feel like a month of Sundays, but that’s because it takes us a few weeks to get into the swing of it. Within reason, we should be doing more of the comfort indulgences, not less — hot stove, warming soup, cozy duvet, that kind of thing. Now, if you really feel the need to flay yourself with nettles, wear a hairy shirt and give out about the size of your bottom in order to purge a guilty conscience, go right ahead — just make sure you enjoy the experience — and no, there is absolutely no need to tell the rest of us about it.  However, personally I think all that cleansing and rejuvenating will keep fine until the spring is well and truly in the air and it all becomes so much easier.

Right now we should be adding things in, not taking them away — a hobby, a pastime; take the opportunity to try out something you’ve been meaning to but haven’t had the chance.

Last year I took up drum lessons. At 50 years of age, it’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was a teenager, but it didn’t happen; life moved on and I knew I’d grow out of it, but I didn’t and circumstances recently presented me with the opportunity. So far I’m only tipping the iceberg of what this journey has in store, but already, after only a little hard work (and no tears, yet), the rewards are immense. It went on for a few weeks — the whole sequence of not making much progress and then the feeling of going backwards, but with a little stamina and perseverance the breakthrough came…a sequence of rhythm, fleeting and (unfortunately) unrepeatable; I have a quick look left and right and then wonder ‘did I do that?’

There have been a few surprises along the way, I didn’t expect that reading music and breath control were part of a drummer’s development, but they are.  Reading music is part of the learning process so that you are not a free-style riot at the back of the ensemble and the other, breath control, prevents you from falling off your stool (throne) with a purple face and no dignity. But it’s the mental/physical gymnastics that are most rewarding and fascinating about the whole experience so far; re-training my mind to persuade my muscles to combine actions they are not used to; embedding muscle memory so that my body learns to re-act correctly to a new mental instruction; and, when it works, the joy of a new language, a new form of expression.

Whatever shape yours takes — banjo, piano, lifedrawing or knitting — make it your business to set that time aside for yourself and come up with a new story to tell the spring.

While there is still time to sit on the couch, the documentary/film ’20 Feet from Stardom’ has been very well received by many music enthusiasts, but if you haven’t already seen ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ stop wasting time and watch it now.

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Wave to Mary! 65-year-old Mary Nolan Hickey is running around the entire coast of the Island of Ireland to raise funds & awareness for the RNLI and is currently running the roads of West Cork.

Mary is the only woman to have completed every single Dublin Marathon (all 38 of them). She’s also completed the grueling Marathon des Sables in the Sahara Desert, known as the ‘toughest foot race on earth’.

To mark her 50th year involved in Athletics Mary is taking on her biggest challenge yet (even though she thought she’d already done that when completing the Dublin Marathon when she was over six months pregnant!) She wants to raise as much money as possible for the RNLI.

Mary started her epic journey in Arklow, Co. Wicklow, on New Year’s Day. She aims to cover up to 5000 kilometers, using coastal routes, over the next five months. She hopes to get back in time to get her first pension payment in June when she turns 66.

Mary will stop off at as many RNLI stations as possible, on her once in a lifetime adventure. As far as she knows no other woman has ever taken on this challenge.

Speaking about her journey Mary said:

“I wanted to prove that age not a barrier. Coming from a coastal town I have a deep affinity with our local RNLI station & volunteers and have huge admiration for the brave men and women who risk their lives to save lives at sea”.

Mary, who’s depending on the goodwill of communities along her route for accommodation, has been astounded by the response so far. “The support has been overwhelming,” she said. “I have met the most amazing and encouraging people along the way”.

To see more about Mary’s adventures, and to pinpoint her location today, check out her Facebook page - rnlilapofthemap2018.

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20th March, 2018  ·  


This Saturday the 10th March, will see some magically curious activity as local Bandon national schools compete in a Wizarding Harry Potter Quiz. The prize will be the beautiful Bandon Banshee Perpetual Cup.

As any Harry Potter enthusiast knows, Bandon has the unique honour of having a character named after the town. The Bandon Banshee, was referred to as the nemesis of Gilderoy Lockhart in the Chamber of Secrets. The book grossed €60 million in sales and was the 7th highest earning film of all time.

Locals, looking to enhance the town for young people, saw the quiz as an ideal way promote the connection. The universally absorbing book series brings young readers on a huge adventure of magic, adversity and triumph. It is also an exploration of loyalty and friendship, good and evil – so it is not only popular way to engage young people, it is a hugely positive connection.

Zoe Tennyson, one of the organisers said they were delighted with the response from schools who ran a qualifying quiz as part of World Book Day. On Saturday Bandon Town Hall will be transformed into Hogwarts Great Hall, with proceeds going Bandon Playground Group, and to cover costs of the event.

Bandon Books will be rewarding the winning team with vouchers to each of the five members. The Bandon Banshee, or Bean-sidhe na Bandaan Perpetual Cup will be hotly contested – but which school will the Banshee go to??

If you have any questions please call Marguerite McQuaid on 087 900 9494
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8th March, 2018  ·  

Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition 23 February 2018

The inaugural Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition will take place in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen this Friday 23rd February. As part of Engineers Week 2018, leaders and members of Ballineen Foróige Club have organised an exhibition which will showcase a diverse and exciting range of engineering projects that have been undertaken by members of the club over the last few weeks, with the aid of leaders and a number of local engineers.

With the aid of local pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, along with the support of STEAM Education, a UCC based company focused on promoting science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths subjects in primary schools, Ballineen Foróige has been engaging members and leaders in all things engineering over the last six weeks. From researching, designing, and prototyping a project based on local problems, to participating in various workshops on coding and careers in engineering, Ballineen Foróige have been extremely busy in preparation for the exhibition this coming Friday night.

On the night itself, Michael Loftus, Head of Engineering at CIT, Fintan Goold, Manager at Eli Lilly and All-Ireland Cork winning Footballer, along with Geraldine Coughlan of GCA Architects & Designers, a local business, will act as judges on the night, evaluating the different engineering projects and offering some advice to the members of the club. Also in attendance will be the CEO of Foróige Seán Campbell, along with a number of local councillors, TD’s and Senators.

Leading the team of Ballineen Foróige leaders organising the event, is Rebecca Dwyer, a bioprocess engineer at Eli Lilly. Rebecca recently became a leader in the club and says that Ballineen Foróige Young Engineer Exhibition 2018 “promises to be a fun, challenging and rewarding experience for all involved and we look forward to welcoming parents, relatives, friends and members of the public to the exhibition and film screening on the evening of Friday 23rd February.” Overall, there are twelve projects entered in the exhibition. One project, led by Cian Kennefick and Charlie Nolan, members of the starting out club, examines the possibility of installing speed ramps on the road near local primary school. Fourteen-year-old Charlie says he got involved in the project as it was something to do and it gets you thinking. Cian says the most exciting part of the project was the building of the prototypes.

Both Cian and Charlie, along with thirty other members of the club will display their projects this coming Friday 23 February in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen. Doors open at 8pm and the event runs until 10pm. All are welcome to attend, and admission is free. Catering, including tea and coffee, will be provided on the night.
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20th February, 2018  ·  

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Main course

17th February, 2018  ·  

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