From Castlebar - County Mayo -

Local Papers Commentary
The Connaught Telegraph - 1st October 2003
By The Jaundiced Eye
4, Oct 2003 - 14:01

"Mayo Ladies to wear AZZURI jerseys" says Managing Director

In a strong worded statement last night the Managing Director of Azzurri, the Waterford based manufacturing company, and kit sponsors of the Mayo Ladies senior football team, said that we was confident that the Mayo Ladies would be wearing their jerseys in next Sunday’s All-Ireland final against Dublin in Croke Park. A major row between Azzurri and Ladies GAA Hierarchy in Dublin, had developed over what kit the Mayo Ladies would wear in their recent semi-final clash with Galway. It transpires that the jerseys worn in this encounter came from another long established company, O’Neills.

This kind of commercial argument seems to attend every successful team nowadays. The fact that the commercial sponsors are even interested in the Ladies gear says something about the popularity of Ladies Football. Let’s hope that the fuss doesn’t upset the performance of the Mayo team on Sunday when they line out to claim another All Ireland title!

Town’s award-winning features ‘not up to scratch’

Castlebar’s national award-winning features, the Mall and Market Square, are not up to scratch, according to members of the local Town Council. A number of councillors inspected the Mall some months ago to draw up a snag-list of outstanding works that needed to be ironed out in respect of the refurbishment scheme. But to date, the works have not been attended to, Mr Shane McDonnell, the town engineer, revealed.

Reading between the lines it didn’t seem like the large headline across the top of the page matched the scale of the problems being referred to. Various complaints were made – the Mall is liable to flooding, the bollards are not right and the contractors put down timber rather than kerbing. Cllr Mee said that in spite of the problems the Mall was a gem and Cllr Crowley stated that he felt the Market Square looked very well in spite of the initial controversies.

Castlebar Library Book Club

This month the Castlebar Book Club will look at that of creatures the Irish Male, or even worse the Irish male who thinks he has it made. The Very Man by Chris Binchy is a tale of a narcissistic wheeler-dealer who finally falls on his knees – or on his back in a drunken haze. […] The Book Clubs second choice I Brick Land by Monica Ali which is an exploration of a Bangladeshi community in East London. This was the book club choice for August but was so popular that it has been retained for this month.

Book clubs are becoming more and more popular. Marion Finucance has one, just like Oprah, and I think Rattlebag the radio arts show has a book club too. Traditionally Ireland is supposed to read more books per capita than other English speaking countries but sometimes I’m not so sure – we buy books but do we read them? How many unfinished books are there on your bookshelves – or completely unread even? In contrast we are also told that we have a very high proportion of people suffering from functional illiteracy – where form filling, etc. is hard work and no doubt reading books is a chore. I’m struck sometimes too by homes that do not appear to have any bookshelves in them. No books lying around either – so who is reading all the books?

But perhaps with the Harry Potter phenomenon readings has taken off again? The major publishers like Penguin are opening offices in Ireland in order to cater specifically for Irish fiction writers. We certainly have a strong writing tradition and it seems to be stronger than ever. Our use of English spiced up by our Irish language roots gives our writers a certain advantage it seems.

Whether or not we are reading more or less than in previous generations, the Castlebar library book club meets once a month – next meeting 21st October at 8pm. You can borrow the two books mentioned at the library or purchase them in the Castle Street Bookshop.


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