Thursday, April 25, 2024

GAA Championships: Experience the Unforgettable

One of my fondest memories as a young child was being brought to Croke Park for an All-Ireland final in 1964 by my grandfather PJ O'Loughlin. As his eldest grandson, many of my cousins have often asked me about him (he died in 1965) - but I have very few memories of him now. I have often told the story of my Croke Park experience with him of not remembering the journey to Dublin from Carnew, who was playing, whether it was hurling or football, who won, or what the score was. But I did remember him buying me an ice-cream after the match. Indeed this story was published in the Personal Histories section of the History Ireland website: "My Grandfather, Croke Park, Ice Cream, and Gay Byrne".

The GAA's new ad "Experience the Unforgettable" captures this feeling very well and brought back memories of my grandfather and my own unforgettable experience. It seems that I am not the only one who has shared experiences like this. Enjoy the ad!

Source: Video above is a link from YouTube.

Monday, April 22, 2024

Jury Service

A few weeks ago I was called for jury service at the Criminal Courts of Justice in Parkgate Street. It was the fifth time I had ever been called, but this was one I could not get out of. The first time I was a student and just did not show up. The second time I was still a student and claimed exemption. The third time I met an acquaintance from Carnew on the doors of the courts, he was a solicitor and happened to be in court that day - he got me off. The fourth time was while I was a lecturer and was for during term time - so I was again exempt. 

Image source: The Journal.

I was told to be available for two weeks. This turned out to be one week, which was shorter again as Good Friday fell on that week. I estimated that there was over 130 people called to the jury waiting area in the courts on the first day. We waited, and waited, and waited. Eventually names were called for one jury and after about two hours those that were not called out were told to go home. The same happened on the second and third days. On the fourth day after about half an hour we were told there would be no trials and that we were free to go. So I was not called - phew!

The only thing that made me think that the week was not a complete waste of time was the fact that I could have been fined for not showing up. With only three juries being selected during the week - most of us had to sit and wait until allowed to go. While I was able to leave quickly at the end, almost everyone else that was there queued up to get letters to give to employers to cover their absence from work (and get paid). I'm sure it was on everyone's mind that an awful lot of work days were lost for practically nothing.

The good news for me is that there won't be a sixth time, as I will be 65 later in the year and entitled to exemption. I'm quite happy (and selfish) to leave this shitty job to someone else. I hated being in the Courts building, I hated having my photo deliberately taken by a press photographer outside the main entrance, and I hated the waste of time.