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Every year large numbers of migratory geese gather at the Inch Island Waterfowl Sanctuary in County Donegal
A Video Postcard from Ramelton, County Donegal
The swans have been on the river since about the first of February. Whatever triggers their migration back here from where ever they spend the winter is known only to themselves. Spring is colloquially said to begin on the first of March, or when the crocuses emerge, or something. Scientifically spring begins with the vernal equinox on the 21st of March. The swans don’t seem to mind about any of that. They accept a bit of territorial harassment from the sea gulls in silent dignity until the gulls grow tired of it then they get on with the business of being swans.
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Where do you find soul? Is it in the flashing lights, the suspended stages, the angel wings and golden thrones? Or maybe it’s in the police-escorted, window-darkened limousines or in the throngs of screaming, crying teenage fans who wait for … Continue reading
One of a series of videos that we made for a supplement that The Irish Independent published for The Gathering. The supplement was a glossy magazine but also an interactive online edition.
The Henry McCullough Band Live at The Bridge Bar. 14 April 2012
In a couple of months I will turn 60, but I have another significant milestone coming up before that. The end of this month marks the 20th anniversary of my retirement from the Navy. A couple of months short of age 20 I joined the Navy and a couple of months short of 40 I took retirement and soon I will have been “out” as long as I was “in”.
This brings to mind the way we compartmentalize the various phases of our lives, or not, how we move into the next phase or remain stuck in the past, how we characterize ourselves and others based on what we are doing now or have done in the past.
As a young man putting in my time in the service of my country I thought the only thing I had to look forward to was the end of my enlistment. I looked around at the “lifers” and thought I could never see myself doing that. By the time my first enlistment ended circumstances had changed and I re-enlisted, still not committed to a career but willing to stick with it a while longer. I am not sure exactly when it became a career choice but at some stage getting out before I had done my 20 was no longer a viable option. It just made no sense to not stick around for the retirement.
Throughout my Navy career I never fully defined myself as a “Navy Man”. I never referred to floors as decks or walls as bulkheads when I was off duty and I always felt like the uniform was a bit of a costume. I remember on one occasion I was sent to a civilian run school to learn a particular skill. Myself and a shipmate went to this school and we were the only military personnel in the class, the others were all civilians sent to the school by their employers. One guy in the class was an engineer for General Electric, he worked in the division of GE that built nuclear reactors. In the course of casual conversation he mentioned that he had been in the Marine Corps. From that moment on my “shipmate” Dave always referred to this guy as “that ex-Marine”, here was a man, probably in his late forties or early fifties who had in all probability joined the Corps right out of high school, got out after two years and used the G.I. Bill to go to university and eventually become a nuclear engineer and was at the peak of his career with one of the largest companies in the world but to Dave he was an ex-Marine. Dave was a “Navy Man”.