Yes is Always More

Last week, I did VHI-Mini-Marathonsomething a little different. I took part in what is widely (and wrongfully) regarded as being a costly form of torture: a charity run.

The event was the VHI Mini Marathon, an annual 10K walk/run/jog specifically for women. Some men join in, but are obligated to slip into their finest little black dress and 6 inch heels for the occasion.

My sister and I decided to raise money for RehabCare (all one word), a deserving Irish charity which offers support to people with disabilities and their families, children and the elderly. The organisation assists more than 3,000 people across Ireland each year, providing them with an invaluable quality of life. Many of the people RehabCare support are themselves heavily involved in community projects, proving that the only disability in life is a bad attitude. You can find out more about this phenomenal organisation by visiting their…

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7 things to expect at an Irish wake

A lady I boundlessly loved recently passed away. She was kind and subversive and utterly gorgeous. She was given a traditional wake in our home so that people could say their last goodbyes. If you’re due to play host, here are a few thinks to expect:

1. Sandwiches

Sinfully stacked and occasionally soggy, sandwiches are vital. Ham, cheese, ham and cheese, ham and coleslaw, egg mayonnaise (if you’re daring) – the possibilities are only limited by your imagination.


2. Tea

Hot, strong and several times a minute. Despite being grief-stricken, you will feel obligated to serve every fifth cousin, curious neighbour and dextrous County Councillor a cup of the good stuff. Truthfully, it’s a strangely comforting practice. There will come a point, however, when some cheeky city-dwelling rogue will request a cup of coffee and your body will legitimately shut down.


3. The Holy Souls

They’ll sit quietly next to the casket, occasionally uttering a word or two of Latin. They’re kind and sincere and hold your hand warmly when offering their condolences. They rarely laugh and seem to have a penchant for shawls.


4. The Popular Priest

He’s everything you have ever needed in a human being. This is a guy you can natter comfortably with about the football or Emmerdale or the state of the local roads. He listens to Ben Howard and loves a sneaky pint. He performs like the prodigal son of Meryl Streep and Winston Churchill. A true gem, it must be said.


5. Politicians

When someone dies, politicians momentarily desist from feeding on the life essence of living creatures and bravely step into the light of day. Their handshakes are always limp and cold. They’ll ask you about your life but struggle to maintain eye contact. Some are pleasant and engaging, but most are not.

Peep Show

6. The Inappropriate Relative

You love your uncle Michael, but he dropped Madeira crumbs all over poor Nanny Phyllis and he has atrocious personal hygiene. The crack of his ass is always showing. His ringtone is a continuous, drawn out farting sound. He’s unabashed, wickedly funny and gives incredible hugs.

Move on

7. Pints

Bizarrely, you will consume a copious amount of alcohol. A hot whiskey in the evening will ease you into three days of sadness-driven drinking. Truth be told, you won’t actually drink that much. Someone will though. Someone always drinks half a bottle of wine and cleans off a plate of Bourbon biscuits.


So there you have it. You may be parting with someone dear to you, but at least there’ll be tea and a few Custard Creams.

Thai Commercial Shows the Beauty of Kindness

“The best portion of a good man’s life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.” – William Wordsworth

If you need to combat early morning blues, this stunningly shot commercial will have you brimming with happiness. Sure, you may be weeping in the fetal position, but you’ll be wiping away the sweetest of tears.

At this point in the semester, everyone’s beginning to feel a little bit tired and emotional. As hard as we try, we struggle to be kind to ourselves let alone those around us. Brains feel cluttered, eyes begin to strain and before long, our bodies legitimately shut down. This commercial reveals how sincerity is never wasted and how we gain from choosing to express our love for one another through simple gestures of kindness.

999 Emergency (Radio Documentary) – #8

999 Emergency – Newstalk

Interviewer: Unknown

Duration: 00:22:52


In this radio documentary by Newstalk, we are given a vivid insight into the life of a paramedic.

The subdued drama is created by the incorporation of atmospheric sounds which invite the listener into the ever-changing environment of paramedics.

Sia’s ‘Breathe Me’ sets a somber mood as the paramedics speak about the realities and scenes they’re faced with on a regular basis.

They get a call out to assist a woman in the later stages of labour. The doors slam and the sirens blare. As the recorder is set down, we hear a crescendo of screams coming from the woman as she gives birth. The paramedics offer reassurance, comfort and above all else, an invaluable service to she and her partner as their baby is delivered.

This is, as the paramedic says himself, an example of when things so well. There’s no grief or horror as people would expect from a paramedic call out.

The interviewer and the paramedics go through the lifesaving equipment they’re provided with to enable them to do their job, a lot of which is used in the cases of drug overdoses and alcohol poisoning.

One of the serviceman speaks of an incident where they were helping a woman with terminal cancer and the fear that was burning in her eyes as she made what would end up being her final journey.

The paramedics appear to all have one crucial and common characteristic – they’re all mature. They’re in no way disillusioned or naïve. I feel that this, more than anything, is vital for a paramedic when performing his or her service.

The documentary sheds a deservingly respectful light on the difficulties and triumphs of paramedics. I feel that the interviewer provided the listener with an interesting, emotive, thought-provoking and really engaging piece on this essential service that provides for us all.

Ann’s Showbiz Swipe on Today FM – #6

Ann’s Showbiz Swipe – #6

Host: Ann Gleeson

Show: The KC Show

Duration: 00:05:00


I’ve always liked Ann Gleeson’s Showbiz Swipe not only because I’m shamefully well-informed on pop matters (emphasis being on the ‘matters’ of course), but she and the rest of the KC team succeed in making a bit of a mockery out of pampered, fringe-flicking celebrities.

They discuss how Paul Mc Carthy has graciously offered to do a pub gig … for one million pounds!

The money, however, will go to Children in Need and not into Paul’s back pocket.

The KC kids then chat about One Direction, phone bills and Gwyneth Paltrow ‘s Vanity Fair drama.

Gwyneth has apparently warned friends not to talk to Vanity Fair saying, “If you are asked for quotes or comments, please decline.”

Vanity Fair’s editor has insisted that regardless of Paltrow’s thoughts on the not-so-flattering article, they will go on to run the story.

I like Gleeson’s approach to showbiz issues, no matter how ridiculous they may seem.

She and the rest of the KC Show hosts have genuine charisma and provide actual entertainment, making them rare gems in Irish radio broadcasting.

Positive Psychology and Resilience – #5

Positive Psychology on Today FM

Host: Conall Ó Móráin

Interviewee: Jolanta Burke

Show: Sunday Business Show on Today FM

Duration: 00:06.00


Resilience and the ability to “bounce back” are the topics of discussion on Today FM’s Sunday Business Show.

Conall Ó Móráin speaks with PhD researcher and Trinity College Dublin positive psychology lecturer, Jolanta Burke, on optimism.

Particularly in the work environment, maintaining a positive outlook and attitude can be difficult to maintain.

Before her academic career, Jolanta worked in business and made significant observations on the benefits of promoting optimism as opposed to positivity.

According to Burke, encouraging people to look on the bright side and be resilient actually causes their well-being to moderately drop.

In this radio segment, Burke proposes that companies alternatively promote optimism among their employees.

I particularly liked how Ó Móráin was able to offer an input and how, in turn, it wasn’t a one-sided discussion.

The topic of work morale may not appear to relate to all listeners but the information and advice Burke offers in applicable in life as well as work.

In its entirety, I found this podcast to be compelling and well-constructed.

Proposed version of Sarah’s Law in Ireland – #4

Discussion of Sarah’s Law in Ireland – Newstalk

Host: Pat Kenny

Interviewee: Denis Naughton

Show: The Pat Kenny Show

Time slot: 10AM – 12:30PM

Duration: 00:07:45


Minister of Justice Alan Shatter is to introduce legislation to ensure that parents of young children can be made aware of sex offenders living in their areas.

Gardaí will now be permitted to release certain information about sex offenders who have completed their sentences.

In this radio segment, Pat Kenny and Reform Alliance TD Denis Naughton discuss the proposed law prior to its implementation.

Naughton firstly compares Megan’s Law in the US and Sarah’s Law in the UK and details what will be drawn from these legislative bills to form an Irish version for child protection.

Megan’s Law was introduced in the US in 2004 after seven-year-old Megan Kanka was raped and murdered by convicted sex offender, Jesse Timmendequas, who had been living on the same street as her in New Jersey.

The legislation requires police to make information about registered sex offenders public.

Details released usually include the convict’s photograph, address and the nature of the crime. The information is often passed around neighbourhoods through pamphlets or newspapers.

Similar legislation was called for in the UK following the brutal murder of seven-year old Sarah Payne in July 2000.

Sarah’s Law was implemented on a trial basis in four different areas of Wales and England in 2008 and was brought in fully in the spring of this year.

Naughten’s bill proposes to establish the Information on Child Sex Offenders Scheme which would enable parents or guardians to find out whether a person coming into contact with their child or vulnerable adult has been convicted of a sexual offence or poses a danger to them.

The legislation will not go as far as Megan’s Law, which has been criticised for leading to vigilante violence against the convicted sex offenders.

I think that Naughton’s concise detailing of his proposed bill successfully eliminates any queries about the release of confidential information, and emphasises that details about sex offenders will only be disclosed in exceptional circumstances.

I found this interview, in its totality, to be informative, thought-provoking and well-conducted. The topic is relevant to all people and is importantly being addressed in a respectful and intelligent fashion by both Pat Kenny and Naughton.

Capitol Hill shooting, US Government shutdown and Obamacare – #3

Newstalk – Capitol Hill shooting, US Government shutdown and Obamacare

Host: Jonathan Healy

Interviewee: Kevin Cullen

Show: Lunchtime on Newstalk

Duration: 00:09:55


On October 3rd of this year, an unarmed woman was shot and killed by authorities following a car chase in Washington, D.C.

Miriam Carey, a 34 year old dental hygienist, had her one-year old daughter in the back seat when she reportedly tried to breach security barriers using her car at the White House and the Capitol.

In what was an intense and emotionally charged situation, the Secret Service and Capitol Police made critical decisions based on instinct and training.

When the mother of one refused to follow their commands, officers fired 17 shots over several minutes before one round killed the driver on the northeast side of the Capitol.

Of course, the officers couldn’t have known that Casey had been diagnosed with postpartum depression with psychosis and that her understanding of their initial orders may have been clouded by confusion and misjudgment.

Distinguishing people who are defiant because of bad intent from people who don’t understand or aren’t able to process commands is crucial in order to prevent needless deaths. In this radio segment from Newstalk, Kevin Cullen of the Boston Globe briefly discusses this tragic incident before talking about the US government shutdown.

There are numerous things wrong with this podcast.

It abruptly opens with the interviewee, Mr Cullen, whose sympathies clearly lie with the trigger-happy police forces.

One of the main issues I had with this discussion is that Cullen claims that Mrs Casey “had run over people”, a detail which is factually incorrect.

Giving false information is simply unacceptable in journalism and for the Newstalk interviewer to remain completely oblivious shows that he too was ill-informed.

As the interview seeps into the issue of the US Government shutdown, Cullen mentions an incident where a member of Congress, Randy Neugebauer, confronted a U.S. Park Service Ranger over access to a closed World War II memorial.

The Republican Congressman’s belligerent comments were caught on camera as he said that she, along with other Park Rangers, “ought to be ashamed”.

Cullen wittily mentions the American flag jutting out of Neugebauer’s pocket, his blatant hypocrisy and the delicious irony of a Congressman telling someone that they should be ashamed of doing their job.

He says how there’s an internal battle within the Republican Party and that, currently, the prevalent voice is of the Tea Party conservatives.

I felt that it was important for him to mention this detail as there appears to be widespread confusion about the contributing factors to the shutdown.

One of the main issues of the shutdown is the provision of Obamacare and the Tea Party politicians’ disregard of the needs of American citizens.

As it stands presently, children are removed from health insurance policies as soon as they turn twenty-one, hence the reason why over 60 million Americans are uninsured.

If Obamacare is fully implemented, right-wing Conservatives and unscrupulous employers will be obliged to provide health care for workers and their families.

Although Cullen’s casual dialogue is easy to listen to, I thought that the topics were too heavy for witticisms and general indifference. Particularly for political analysis, the questions need to be clear and concise and the responses must be factually-based, well-rounded and comprehensible. All in all, I found the podcast to be quite muddled but reasonably interesting.

Ian Dempsey and Eliza Doolittle – #2




Ian Dempsey interviews Eliza Doolittle on Today FM

Ian Dempsey kicked off his Breakfast Show on Today FM with a lively chat with singer/songwriter, Eliza Doolittle.

The pair discusses the release of her new album, ‘In Your Hands’, and her ever-evolving and maturing sound.

Ian also mentions how Gary Barlow tweeted in admiration of Eliza’s new material, offering his own flawless impersonation.

I liked the casual conversation shared between the two and Ian’s genuine interest in Eliza and her music.

The brief promotional work is followed by a chat about football and family and a live studio performance of Eliza’s single, ‘Let it Rain’.

The reason why I like Ian Dempsey as a radio host and interviewer is that he exudes sincerity.

There’s little to no pretense and although his show, like all others, is timed down to the final second and scripted, it’s not at all evident to the listener.

The CEO of the Rape Crisis Centre on Child Protection – Assignment 1

Pat Kenny and the CEO of the Rape Crisis Centre discuss Child Protection

In this radio podcast, Pat Kenny of Newstalk speaks to Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop, CEO of the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, on what parents and guardians can do to best protect their children from ‘stranger danger’.

Following the brutal sexual assault of two young girls in Athlone, aged six and nine, large crowds protested outside the Athlone Garda station in fear and outrage at what had happened.

How is it that two children could be lured away in broad daylight by a stranger? What can parents and guardians do to prevent such hideous attacks? In what are such emotionally-fuelled circumstances, are parents right to be fearful?

In this segment, Kenny and O’Malley-Dunlop sensitively discuss the issue of child abuse and protection. They begin by instilling a sense of calm in their listeners by emphasising that in most sexual assault cases, a stranger is rarely involved. In fact, the perpetrator is usually known and trusted by the child. This, I feel, is a vital detail when discussing child abuse. It not only stresses that incidents similar to the Athlone case are extremely rare, but cautions parents about the likelier possibility that threats to their children’s welfare may come from close family members and friends.

Ellen O’Malley-Dunlop later goes on to express her admiration of the two young girls and their outstanding bravery. She importantly mentions that they were not only listened to but believed, something which many sexual abuse victims sadly don’t experience. These children are now, thankfully, receiving suitable treatment to enable them to recover.

I think that the mentioning of school programmes was massively important as early education about sexual abuse has often been criticized as a means to generate fear and paranoia. However, in this case, the girls’ ability to identify the form of abuse they suffered was hugely significant in the process of prosecution.

After listening to this podcast, it’s evident to me as a listener that we need to continuously develop our treatment centres and ensure that we, as parents and adults, can answer our children’s questions whilst still preserving their innocence.