10th May, 2001


The condition of the south douglas road has prompted me to write the following:-


It's owed to the back Douglas Road,
a coat of fresh tar, or just paint
after thirty long years of bad jolts
which shakes all your nuts and your bolts.

at Half Moon you bounce on to the bridge
with the help of a knoll and a ridge
at Trabeg there is such a big hole
that it surely must harbour a mole

At Nemo you must make a call
to avoid the deep pit, or the wall
the Cross roads provides no relief
the surface it begs disbelief

Rosebank takes you down in a dip
if the potholes you manage to skip
At Murphy's you've pulled quite a stoke
if your suspension and ball joints ain't broke

The Rathmores' are so aptly named
where the fairies could play fancy games
in the dips and the humps and the hollows
and the ruts and the cracks you must follow

Still Douglas awaits your arrival
Yet you think not of home, but survival
on a bike or a car or a bus
you hop and you bump and you cus

Our thanks to the Corpo and Caher,
who've dug since the time of ma athair
then digged it again, and again and again
'til you'd think it was gold they were after.

The Corpo can no longer linger,
get stuck in, and take out the finger
'cos it's owed to the Back Douglas Road
a coat of fresh tar, or just paint

Name & Address with editor


Mr O'Hanlon,

You mentioned being held up in Douglas Village, recently, by an inconsiderate works team operating beside the Credit Union premises.
How can this contractor leave the footpath in such a deplorable
state? They have ripped up the paving bricks and filled the holes with "lumps" of tarmac. The surface is now unsightly and dangerous.
How is a wheelchair or an elderly person expected to negotiate the path now it is so uneven? It seem to be the way, in Ireland, that such shoddy work is deemed acceptable. Can you please identify the contractor and get them to come back and make right their damage?

Yours sincerely,
Thomas Smith, Ballincolig.

“De Rigueur” for the fashionable?

I've lived in Canada during the 60's and in California since 1969 as an engineer, now retired. During all those years I've been shocked at the ignorance of Americans and Canadians in regards to Ireland and things Irish.
But there is one fact that is still true, sadly. Namely the drunken Irish.
For many years, reaching back into the early 1800's, this stigma has been a hugely negative item for the Irish throughout the world. As you may know, it provided fertile ground in stage-Irish plays and even in modern movies (sorry, pictures!) for portraying the typical Irishman. When they find out you are Irish, then you must be a heavy drinker, you must be poor and you must be priest-ridden.
Living always in your native land, you, yes you Michael O'Hanlon, have no idea how prevalent this concept is in foreign countries. You have travelled I'm sure to many places on vacations but you actually have to live abroad to fully comprehend how widespread this reputation is.
I've been to Douglas and Cork last year and of course there is a pub at every corner and often at mid-block. Drinking is "de rigueur" for the fashionable young professional as well as the aspiring plumber not to mention the ladies.
Yet, in America, drinking is frowned upon. That is not to say nobody drinks. Beer and hard liquor is readily available all over. But nobody would dare to come to work and say openly and routinely that he/she was out drinking last evening. And one would be careful not to be seen over-drinking at the office Xmas party or at any such event. Discretion rules. Heavy or regular drinking is regarded as a weakness, to be indulged in by such people as those ignorant and raucous Irish.
It saddens me that over all those years, no progress has been made in Ireland on improving your international reputation in this matter. Less than 5% of North Americans are aware of the economic miracle that has taken place in Ireland but they all can talk about the Irish and drink. If you don't believe me on this, come on over and live here for a year or two.
Don't forget that Los Angeles County has a greater population that all of Ireland and probably has a greater GNP.
Anyway, when you mentioned the Pioneer thing, it reminded me sadly of the lack of progress on drink. What is the use of such an organization when the young people are living in a culture of drink? Let's face it, it's fashionable to drink in Ireland. This indoctrination easily beats out the Pioneers. This is a situation where the Pioneers can't win.
Lastly, you have complained many times how the local authorities fail to have the litter cleaned up. Well, the real question here is: Why is there so much litter on the streets of Cork and Douglas in the first place? The answer is failure to educate the children. It's as simple as that. Make it shameful to throw litter any place except into the litter bin. Teach the teachers to teach the kids in school, at an early age. Introduce a serious national educational programme, in the schools, and in the media. Use propaganda, anything. The situation will not improve until there is education in place. Fines and sweeping are great but do something positive, educate the kids. Think of all the money that would be saved in less sweeping. And how refreshingly clean to tourists and locals alike! But first of all you have to teach the teachers. Start there. Educate the teachers.