My 2021 list and the Unity Conversation


Manage episode 281464829 series 2711022
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Singing and climbing in 2021
A Chairde, a very happy 2021 to you all. Here are ten personal things I want to do in this bright new year.

· Survive the pandemic. Stay alive and stay healthy. That means following the health advice and getting the vaccine as soon as I can.

· Climb Errigal again. I used to do that regularly but the pandemic and travel restrictions intruded. Ewan McColl wrote ‘The Joy Of Living’, a very fine song when he realised that he could not hill walk or climb as he used to because of his age. I never really knew what he meant until my last ascent up Errigal. But as I panted slowly heavenwards I discovered the secret. Take your time. It’s not a race. So I will keep going upwards for as long and as slowly as I can. And as soon as possible in 2021.

· Publish my new book of short stories. The Witness Tree has also fallen foul of the pandemic but hopefully mid summer will see O’Brien Press launching this collection.

· Keep producing the Léargas series, in partnership with the incredible R G McAuley. This not for profit project is about women and men I came to know, or know of, along lifes journey. Kathleen Thompson, nee Largey, nee McCready, the singer and activist, is the subject of our next tribute. Hopefully to be published before Easter. Then we intend to do one about The Armagh Women in time for the Hungerstrike Anniversary.

· Get to more games. The standard of hurling, camogie and football at underage, and all other levels, is rising in Belfast as a result of the work of many dedicated local GAA volunteers, parents and mentors and club stalwarts. Spectating is a great way to support Gaelic games. Commenting on the state of play and shouting loudly about the referee’s shortcomings from the safety of the ditch, is a great way to entertain those around you. And to get rid of stress. And self-respect.

· Learn an entire song. It is a little known fact that I gave up a promising singing career in order to concentrate on the cause of Irish freedom. I have recently realised that I know a few lines of hundreds of songs but if I was called on to sing I could not sing an entire song. I hope to rectify that by learning all the words of I Wish I Had Someone To Love Me and Mo Ghille Mear.

· Get called to sing.

· Improve my knowledge and use of the Irish language.

· Give up Twitter.

· Have a few very pleasant ordinary social outings with family and/or friends.

· Intensify my involvement in the cause of Irish freedom so that I can enjoy being a citizen in a free Ireland as soon as possible.

· Relaunch my singing career.


We have two dogs. Truth to tell we have had two dogs for a very long time. Once we had three. Three times or four times when puppies arrived we had a dozen or so. But that was only for a wee while. I wouldn't be without a dog. Since I was about six or so, when my uncle went to Canada and left his dog with me, there has always been a mutt in my life...

While Brexit and the Coronavirus dominated the political agenda for much of 2020 nonetheless the debate on the proposal in the Good Friday Agreement for a unity referendum and the value, form and nature of such a referendum, have all gathered momentum... So, if you believe in a new Ireland – a shared Ireland – based on fairness, equality and mutual respect join the conversation in 2021 for a United Ireland.

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