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Irish Eyes

By Mattie Lennon

Stories and Songs from Two Famous Kerrymen

Michael Healy-Rae is one of our most colourful and hard-working politicians.

When his first book Time to Talk, which is neither political nor a memoir was published at the end of October he told a press reporter, “I can’t talk about it. But I can give you the number for someone who works for the publisher.”

Healy-Rae’s debut is available for €16.99 on pre-order from Amazon and in all good bookshops.

And his brother Deputy Danny Healy-Rae was kept in the dark about the book too. Another reporter phoned him to get his reaction only to be told, “I know nothing about it. Is this Michael my brother? I heard nothing to be honest.”

Michael eventually said, “I have filled this book with various incidents that occurred throughout my family’s lives- some humorous, some poignant, some heart-breaking- but each one of them is the God’s honest truth. I hope the stories in this book will entertain you and distract you from your troubles for a bit.”

This book certainly “does what it says on the tin.” Michael proves how the power of talk will make permanent human connections entertain us and help us through tough times. He follows in the true tradition of the great Kerry storytellers like Eamon Kelly and John B. Keane. This collection truly captures all emotions at the heart of rural Ireland.

We are introduced to almost all facets of rural life. From Brain Surgery carried out in a Kilgarvan pub to how his father, the famous Jackie, turned a hackney car into a make-shift hearse by carrying a coffin complete with corpse on its roof. And then he had six grandmothers!

When he was ten year old his mother took him and his sister to visit cousins. They stayed with his mother’s cousin, Claire whose husband Bob was a very rich businessman. Bob offered to keep Michael in New York, pay for his education and bring him to work in his company. Michaels reply was, “Thank you very much Bob, but I’ll go home with my mother.” What would have happened if he had taken up Bob's offer and remained in New York? "I could have ended up somewhere in side in the White House, instead of inside in the Dail."

And he doesn’t shy away from sharing with the reader the biggest regret of his life. It was a time he didn't talk when somebody needed him the most. After that, he vowed to never stop talking, listening and trying to really hear what people were saying. You won't find a boring line in the 249 pages of Time to Talk. The story of Patrick Sean, a neighbor, cutting the colourful politician's toenails with a sheep-shears is a tonic. Start your 2019 reading with Time to Talk.

* * * * *

Fifty years ago Glenside published an LP, John B. Keane sings Songs from his Musicals & Plays. It consists of fourteen tracks of the famous John B. introducing and singing his own songs. These included the theme songs from Sive, Many Young Men of Twenty and twelve others. After half a century isn’t it time that somebody had it re-mastered and brought out on CD. Or . . . in this age of vinyl revival why not publish it once again as an LP?

* * * * *

A friend sent me a list of “New Year’s Resolutions You Can Actually Keep.” ( well, maybe he’s not a friend!)

  • Read less.
  • I want to gain weight.
  • Put on at least 30 pounds.
  • I will start buying lottery tickets at a luckier store.
  • Stop exercising. Waste of time.
  • Watch more TV. I've been missing some good stuff.
  • Watch less T.V. in standard definition Gain enough weight to get on The Biggest Loser.
  • Watch more movie remakes.
  • Start washing my hands after I use the restroom.
  • Procrastinate more.
  • I will do less laundry and use more deodorant.
  • I will become a vegan for a day and subsequently learn that it was a missed steak.
  • I will no longer waste my time relieving the past, instead I will spend it worrying about the future. Stop buying worthless junk on Ebay, because QVC has better specials.
  • Spend more time at work.
  • Stop bringing lunch from home: I should eat out more.

* * * * *


See you in February.

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