Is 270 Vol 19
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Ireland’s Big Issue
Letter to my
Younger Self –
Queen of Rockabilly,
Imelda May writes a
letter to her 16 year old
Connor from South
Belfast speaks to us
about being homeless at
Christmas in Camden,
whilst battling mental
health issues after
becoming a victim of
“My Most Favourite
Time of the Year.”
on his new
and what he
hopes Santa puts
under his tree
Sam McMurdock has
a chat with adventurer
Simon Reeve about
the mental health
problems that plagued
him as a young man,
how he learned to
be confident and
the ‘flop’ book that
became a New York
Home Alone: It’s That Time
Shaun Anthony takes a look
back at the 1990’s classic movie
Home Alone; a film that never
Ian Bailey In his Own Words
Ian Bailey’s final article on his
experience after the death of
Sophie Toscan du Plantier.
Fancy winning a £200 voucher or
maybe you’d like a hand-carved
Donegal pen...So much to choose
from. Get entering!
Kate Tyrrell: The
First irish Woman to
be a Ship’s Captain
Liz Scales looks at
the life of trailblazing
Wicklow woman, Kate
Tyrrell who fought
the patriarchy and an
antiquated law to be
recognised as a ship’s captain.
23/24/25– Photo World
36/37 – Screen Scene
40/41 - Book reviews
Wishing all a Happy Christmas and Peaceful New Year
Micheál Martin T.D.
An Taoiseach & Leader of Fianna Fáil
On behalf of myself and
everyone at Fianna Fáil,
I would like to wish the
readers and supporters
of the Big Issue a Happy
Christmas and peaceful
New Year. It is important to
keep supporting the vital
work and services offered
to the homeless all over
Ireland by everyone at
the Big Issue.
Another year has passed, its incredible to realise how
fast time flies and yet we seem to have stood still.
Two years ago we were all going on our merry little way,
oblivious to what was to come; picture back to that time
and its like another world. In a way, everyday since has
seemed like Groundhog Day.
Time moves on however, even if perceptibly slowly,
but perhaps there is good in that. We have been
given time to reflect, to see things, not in the narrow
perspective of our own lives but looking outward at
the world we live in and have, to some degree created.
Something that is patently obvious to us all now is, there
is no hiding the reality that we live in a fragile world
where all actions have consequences. Government or
individuals, whatever we do, good or bad affects our little
world and the greater world we live in.
It is no longer viable for us to say it’s not
my responsibility. It IS our
responsibility. Like it or not,
our actions or inactions have
contributed to where we are
now, our imperfect world.
There is no hiding the fact we are living in a time
of unprecedented challenges, war, Covid, climate
change, famine, human trafficking, racism, poverty and
homelessness. If you leave out Covid and climate change
there is nothing new in this, but those two items at least
make us focus and realise we can no longer stand idly by
and all will be okay. It won’t - and we must bear our share
What can we do ?
Nobody has all the answers, governments don’t,
although its convenient to have someone to vent our
anger on. Perhaps we should look at ourselves first before
critisising those in power.
The world is full of moaners and whingers, social
media is full of these people who blame everyone for
everything but do nothing positive themselves.
People are very quick to point out their entitlements,
but never ask the question,
Why am I entitled ?
Change is gradual, and change
begins with your mindset. Being
positive is a start.
Or, what am I doing that is positive and not self-centred?
If the answer is nothing, then maybe its time to take a
good look, to re-evaluate, realising it is only a matter of
luck and geography that we enjoy and take for granted
the freedom and comforts many like those recently
drowned in the frigid waters of the English channel were
Change does not happen overnight,
despite what power seekers say.
Change is gradual, and change
begins with your mindset.
Being positive is a start.
Lets start by doing something
small, in our own world,
whatever it may be, it’s the accumulation of small steps
that leads to major change. We all have it within us to be
more caring, appreciative and generous, but it is up to
each individual to find a way of doing this and bring a
bit of Christmas cheer to our wounded world.
Although we are not able to sell the magazine on the
streets due to Covid uncertainty, I would ask people,
especially those who use cards for payment to put some
spare cash in your pocket this Christmas, so you never
have to pass a person on the street who is in need, it is a
terrible feeling to see someone in need and be unable to
help them in some small way.
On behalf of Ireland’s Big Issue magazine I’d like to
wish you all a Happy Christmas and Peaceful New
Wishing all a Happy Christmas and Peaceful New Year
Cllr Joe Costello
Nollaig Shona agus athbhliain faoi
mhaise daoibh go léir
4 Commerce House
Letter to my Younger Self -
Each issue we ask a well-known face to write a letter to their 16-year-old self. This issue, singersongwriter
Imelda May (46) from The Liberties, Dublin takes on the challenge. Imelda has just
published her much anticipated debut poetry collection, “ A Lick and a Promise.”
I know you won’t
want a long drawn
out letter as
you’re busy and
up to your eyes
So here are some
Listen to Mam
They know more
than you think.
trying to fit in.
Don’t be swayed
Do stay strong
willed. It’ll stand
Your friends going
without you will
But you’ll get over it and travel the world
Don’t kiss the guy at Fiéle who says
he’ll leave you alone if you do.
Trust your instincts.
They’re usually right.
Its your key to freedom.
Your feet will thank you.
Call Mam when you’re staying out.
It’s going to be a crazy ride.
to gigs and
Even if you
must go alone
Learn to say
Don’t be afraid
to say it!
Use the face
you. She was
Buy the good
Homeless at Christmas
Connor (26) from an affluent area of Belfast tells his story of living rough
in Camden, London after a bullying incident in the workplace left him
crippled with anxiety and clinical depression and eventually, homeless.
There’s a common misconception that homeless
people come from a bad family, lack motivation,
brought it on themselves or must be addicts. None of
to write his
own, firsthand account of what it was like to be alone
in a strange town, sleeping rough, leading up to
Christmas, this time five years ago.
I was twenty, I had a good career
ahead of me at an independent
insurance company. My
parents wanted me to go to
university but I wanted to start
earning at eighteen. I got a good job in the
underwriting department because I have an A* in
both Maths and Further Maths at A-Level and had
been tutoring GCSE maths students as part of a
buddy system whilst studying for three A-Levels:
Maths, Further Maths and Computer Science.
My school principal wrote one of my references - his
brother Alan owned the company. When I started
“I increasingly noticed I
was being isolated ....”
working there Alan popped in one day that week and
joked with the office manager, Maggie that I was his
big brother’s protégé so she’d better treat me right. I
didn’t realise that
this would have
At first I thought
I was being
oversensitive, but I
I was being isolated;
five of us worked in
the office and I was
that I was never
addressed. I tried to
but they would
answer in an offhand
continue interacting with each other.
Maggie was particularly cruel and would leave
twenty files, demanding they were checked, signed
off and logged in the database by
lunchtime (I later discovered
that 20 was the target for the
whole day - not lunchtime).
Understandably, because I was
under pressure (she would walk behind
me clicking a pen and sighing disapprovingly.) I
started to make the occasional error. Maggie made a
comment more than once about nepotism, another
time she told me,
“I don’t offer special favours, no matter who you are.”
I had no idea what she was implying. Suffice to say, I
became obsessed with avoiding this woman’s wrath at
Things came to a head one icy morning in
December. I went out to
get into my car and took
a sharp pain in my chest.
I couldn’t breathe but all I
could think of was getting
to work on time; Maggie
had implied more than
once that she’d no respect
for “personal days” so I
feared calling in sick. That
morning, for the first time
ever, I was late. Maggie
casually shouted, “Good
afternoon.” It was 9.30am. I
sat down. She walked over
”I see you’re struggling
with the workload ….
its not for everybody….”
This was news to me as
Alan had told me just
days before when we were
having a coffee in the
canteen that they were
really pleased with my
work ethic. I was going
to inform her of that but
thought better of it.
I was at breaking point. I
noticed that Maggie was
Queen Bee - the other
employees were constantly
to her. There’d been
veiled comments about
my weight, there wasn’t
an hour went past that
I hadn’t been ridiculed,
taunted or singled out
in some way by her. I was also pretty sure that a
rumour currently circulating that
I (a straight man) was in a
romantic relationship with
the (straight & happily
married) owner had
been orchestrated by
Maggie. On top of all this,
my grandmother passed
away unexpectedly. We were
exceptionally close. My body was shaking, I
had a lump in my throat that made eating almost
“That Christmas Eve I will
never ever forget. I was sleeping in
impossible and the overwhelming sadness, feelings
me. I had nothing left
My parents were
really proud of me, I
didn’t know how to
tell them I’d walked
out of my job.
I filled a duffle bag
and got a plane to
visit my sister. Six
months later I still
hadn’t gone to see
her and by now I’d
used almost all my
savings on eating
out, hostels and the
occasional B&B. My
parents thought I was
in Lyon on a career
break, visiting an old
high school friend
but I was in Camden,
struggling to see
each day through -
battling against every
proclivity to end it all.
That Christmas Eve I
will never ever forget.
I had £23 left in the
bank, I was sleeping
in the park and I felt
hollow. I needed a
£10 top-up for my
phone but I needed a bottle of booze more. I couldn’t
face my thoughts, my feelings. I went for a
walk to take my mind off things, and to
warm up and I saw a mum and dad
with two children walking between
them. The girl reminded me of my
sister. She had a single, long dark
plait down her back and she was
laughing. I was overwhelmed with
sorrow and didn’t realise I was crying until
I felt the tickle of a tear, then a torrent of them fall
from my chin.
There were Christmas lights everywhere, there was
excitement in the air but I felt invisible, like I was
an alien observing something new I didn’t quite
understand or have
the human capacity
to enjoy. I walked a
bit more and caught
my reflection in a
mirror in a shop
window. I had to look
again. This time I
studied my image. I
didn’t know myself.
I knew I was dirty - I
could smell myself
and I knew I had a
beard and my hair
was unkempt but I
looked different. My
eyes were sunken.
My usual round,
plumpish face was hollow. I had dents under my
I was starving but aware I needed to top-up to call
my parents. I started to worry about what I’d
do, I literally had one day’s money
left. What was left for me? I
feared this day - the day
when I might have to beg.
I headed back towards the
park, I hated it there but on
the few nights I’d slept near
the bus station I felt vulnerable
and I’d seen girls who looked like
zombies nearby - I knew they were on hard drugs
and I was terrified I’d ever be tempted, if only to get
out of my own head for a couple of hours.
As I was walking back I was approached by a man
and woman in the shop as I bought a top-up voucher.
They bought me a flapjack and tea from the machine
and asked where I was from. I hadn’t had a caring
interaction like this in months. I broke down. They
were from a street homeless team in association with
Camden Council. They encouraged me to ‘phone
my sister and admit where I was. Ironically, she was
only 19 miles away in Bromley but I’d continued the
facade I was in Lyon.
When my sister came for me I can’t remember
saying a word to her that night. I woke up the next
“There were Christmas lights
everywhere, there was excitement in
the air but I felt invisible...”
morning - Christmas Day and she was sitting on my
bed.“You’re going to be okay … it doesn’t seem that
way but I promise, it will.”
I found it really hard to
believe her. But I wanted
to desperately. Although
this was a very sad time,
I’ll never forget that
Christmas. I think deep
down I knew the only
way was up - and when
my parents cried on the
‘phone and said they
couldn’t care less about
the job, it’s me they love
- I felt this overwhelming
burden lifted from my
shoulders. I had my
family’s love. As my sister
handed me a hot cup of
tea, I wrapped my hands
around it and smiled. I actually smiled. That was
my perfect Christmas gift - the best one I’ve ever
Remember, no matter how bad things are, there’s
hope. Now that I’m in a better frame of
mind I can see how ridiculous it
was that I didn’t tell my parents or
confide in a friend ..... remember,
when you keep a problem bottled
up, it magnifies. It looks worse
than it is. My advice to anyone out
there on the streets is, make that ‘phone
call. Talk. If a street team want to get you
help - take it. Don’t view your poor mental health as
something to be ashamed of and certainly, never be
embarrassed to tell a friend that you’re struggling.
That might be a male thing but I really want anyone
out there to know - you CAN get better - there IS a
better life out there for you.”
* Connor - not real name was diagnosed with
Clinical Depression and Generalised Anxiety
Disorder. After speaking with his employer &
HR manager, Maggie was approached with the
allegations of bullying (ironically another employee
from the same office also came forward - with a
detailed diary of abuse). Maggie handed in her
notice. Connor worked part-time from home until
he was well enough to return to work full-time just
over a year later.
Wishing all a Happy Christmas and Peaceful New Year
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147 Hampton Cove
“My Most Favourite Time of the Year”
André Rieu on his new show Christmas with André and what he hopes Santa will
put under his tree this year.
Welcome back. What makes Christmas so
special for you?
What can audiences expect from this
special Christmas Event?
by far my most
of the year;
still is very
the end of
spend my time
with my small
family (my wife,
our sons with
their wives and
- of course - our
grand children). I say deliberately small family, because
my big family are the lovely people with whom I travel
around the world: my orchestra and crew members!
Since many years, our sons make Christmas dinner;
nowadays, they’re being helped by
their wives and their children. All
I have to do is sit back and relax.
There is another tradition: I take
home a Christmas decoration for
our Christmas tree every year, and I give
it to my wife Marjorie who collects these. So, we have a
very international tree! Last but not least, I started a new
tradition in my hometown Maastricht in 2019: Christmas
concerts! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to organise them
last year because of the covid-pandemic, but I have good
hope for upcoming December!
to see, to
a winter wonderland. Chandeliers, snow, everything
you need for a delicious Yule Time in front of a gigantic
screen. You’ll have a once in a lifetime experience,
there is a backstage tour, I’ll tell
you things you’ve never
heard before. My beloved
Johann Strauss Orchestra
can be seen, but also the
lovely sopranos Anna Majchrzak
and Donij van Doorn, the fantastic Platin Tenors, the
Golden Voices of Gospel, the Maastricht Dance and Ice
Skate Company... too much to mention!
Before you know
it, the cinema is
turned into a winter
How long has this special event been in
the making and what makes it different
from the others?
Since a couple
of years, I’ve
tradition in my
be a chance
reach the same
years ago, my
dream came true (like Walt Disney already said: “If you
can dream it, you can do it!”). It is very special, because it
is in my ‘own’ Maastricht; I don’t have to travel far to go
to the stage and enjoy every day there!
What are you hoping to get from Santa?
Maastricht Kerstconcert foremost,
meant to be
a feast for the
when you ask
me: I hope
to receive the
green light for
all my concerts
in 2022! I can’t
wait to perform
again for all my
(just like me) far
too long for our
concerts. In case this ‘gift’ is too much to ask for, I’m also
happy with a nice novel or Christmas presents made by
Of all the beautiful Christmas songs, which is
your favourite and why?
There are so many outstanding Christmas songs,
that I simply can’t choose just one. Just to mention a
few: “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”, “I’m
Dreaming Of A White Christmas,” “Oh Holy Night”,
“Walking In The Air” and “Jingle Bells” because it is so
happy... Alright, there is one song which incorporates all
feelings together: “Jerusalem, The Holy City”! There is
joy, hope, togetherness! And I’d like to record “Slumber
my darling” one day.
Are you doing anything special for
Christmas this year?
Being at home and enjoy spending time with my wife,
children and grand children; hopefully there will be snow,
so we can make a nice walk all together on the St. Pieters
Mountain next to my house. In the evening, there will be
gifts and may be a wonderful movie like “The Sound Of
Music” or “Mary Poppins”.
Christmas with André in
cinemas 4 & 5 December
“Human beings are the most extraordinary creatures - they’re capable of
Documentary filmmaker, TV presenter, journalist, author and adventurer Simon
Reeve recently spoke to Samantha McMurdock about the depression that almost
ended in suicide as a teenager, how a series of small steps helped him gain the
confidence to take on life’s challenges and the ‘flop’ that became a New York Times
You left school with
yet have been
successful. Do you
think we need to
purely on exam
I think it’s still one
metric for sensing
a person’s academic
capabilities to a
degree, but its also
such a small aspect of
Simon has travelled the world
a human being, but on the other hand, although I’ve been
reasonably successful - I’ve been incredibly lucky and
I’ve met maybe 100,000 people over the years who could
do what I do, but I’ve just been the lucky s*d
who’s got the gig. I don’t deserve it. I
never thought it would be my life.
It’s been a weird series of events
that have got me here. More
useful than qualifications, I think,
is having the ability to work hard
and having opportunities that allow your
confidence to grow.
Because, to be fair, you were a bit of a naughty
boy with behaviour problems that resulted in
you starting fires and setting off explosives.
[Laughs] Yes, when I started work [as a post boy at The
Sunday Times], this became my school, my college, my
university combined and it was an environment that
allowed me to grow a little bit more each day
“I lived with really dark emotions
in confidence, and as I
started becoming a bit
more confident, they
gave me more and more
and with those
responsibilities, I could
grow further. Not
everybody gets that
opportunity in life or
and that’s why I say that I’m
very lucky. Qualifications
do have their place, for
those who want to be
academic but they’ve done
bu**er all for me [laughs].
As for the behavioural issues … you’re right, I was very
naughty, but I never stabbed anybody, nobody died at my
hands … I’m not saying that flippantly, because
I grew up on the edge of inner-city
London. It wasn’t a conflict zone,
although it sometimes felt like it.
That past, particularly at the start
of my teens really started to indicate
that my problems stemmed from
a complete lack of confidence. I suffered
a lot with teenage angst, I found it very difficult to be
a teenager and I lived with really dark emotions and
How did you deal with that?
Not very well. I sank. I wasn’t someone who didn’t have
love around me. I had a family, and although we had a
lot of trouble at home, there was still love there. I wasn’t
growing up in the middle of a war zone or terrible
suffering, yet I somehow could not find my way - my little
path. I think we’re very bad in our society at channeling
youngsters, particularly young guys and finding a path for
them, especially when it’s not obvious.
If someone isn’t university-bound, many
teachers, and even some parents simply lose
you or get
you don’t fit
I had to find
my own way.
you do that?
A lot of luck. Hitting rock bottom and deciding that
ending my life was not the thing to do.
You considered suicide?
Yes. Yes, I did.
How did you elevate yourself
out of such a dark
It was a very physical act,
the act of just putting one
foot in front of the other
and going on a little bit of
an adventure to Scotland on my
own and finding myself - physical selfconfidence,
and that gave me emotional confidence and
the outlook to start applying for jobs after being on the
dole for quite a while.
How did you progress from post boy to
Publicity image from ‘The Americas. with Simon
I think we’re very bad in our
society at channeling youngsters,
particularly young guys and finding a
path for them, especially when it’s
investigative journalist? The Sunday Times must
have noticed a great talent within you.
Honestly, I don’t think so. I think they just gave me
opportunities and I took them. It’s massively important
that I remember that I lived in London and I was able to
stay with friends and family whilst working as a post boy,
whereas if I’d been living in Hull or Inverness it would
have been much harder for me as I had no contacts in the
media, nobody in my family has ever gone to university,
I don’t come from
family, so it was
I think you’re
the job as post
only the tasks
Well, that’s the
thing. I worked
hard, I volunteered,
I said yes, I approached the job as a blank canvas, I
didn’t think anybody owed me anything and as a result I
think the staff were more willing to take chances on me
and allow me to try things. When you’re starting at the
bottom, like I did, you must be open to possibilities and
put yourself out there. I quite quickly realised that.
That must have been difficult considering your
mental health issues when you started the
Yes, every morning I struggled to get
there. I would throw up in the mornings,
I couldn’t eat when I was there … I was
riddled with nerves, but quickly, on the
job, things started to change, my confidence
started to lift, things started to get easier.
That’s a very uplighting story that I’m sure will
help many who are struggling.
Well, human beings are the most extraordinary creatures
- they’re capable of astonishing transformations. Anyone
who is in a dark place, they have to know that they CAN
come through that. I’m not saying they will, but they can
- any human being
is capable of almost
anything in my view.
At just 18 years
of age, your job
was to follow a
Airport. Was that
all, you weren’t
much more than a
That was a random
example of the
weird things I was
doing. I’d been at
The Sunday Times a
year when I did that.
I don’t remember
By the time I was
and following arms
dealers and working
on investigations I
was tense because
there was a stress,
but my confidence
had grown so
quickly that I felt
more than capable.
confidence in kids is very important to you.
Yes, I’ve seen first-hand how children, even if they don’t
come from a supportive background
or they feel they’re cut off from
people - when you start to widen
their horizons and give them
opportunities - they can blossom
and flower. I had those chances
and I grew with them. I want
opportunities for children - every
child has the right to build confidence.
You wrote a New York Times best-seller at 21
and became a media expert in terrorism. Is
terrorism a topic that’s always interested you
and how did you feel about the reception to the
…every morning I struggled
to get there. I would throw up in the
mornings, I couldn’t eat when I was
there … I was riddled with nerves…
It has always interested me in the sense that, although I
was living on the edge of inner-city London, I didn’t feel
connected to the
Filming in Columbia.
Image: Simon Reeve/Twitter
bigger world at
all. I didn’t go on
holidays as a child,
I’d never been
on a plane until I
was an adult and
I didn’t feel that
connection, if that
makes sense, with
the rest of planet
earth, but I was
still very interested
in listening to the
radio and watching
the news - more
so the sharpest
possible end of
global events, and
terrorism was right
at that point. I’d
by terrorism since
I’d met two South
terrorists on the
run in the UK
when I was 18 -
and this was my
big break in many
ways. I knew I was
a pathetic kid but
I could see that
they were too. I
how they could
have so much power politically and over life and death,
so that appalled and fascinated me. I started investigating
the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 the
same day that happened and carried on
investigating long after everyone had
lost interest. I started researching my
book at the age of 20 and it came
out when I was 26. It became a
New York Times best-seller after
9/11. The reception was initially very
depressing as nobody took any notice
of my book. The conclusion of the book
was that we were entering a new era of terrorism
where terrorists wanted to launch apocalyptic attacks -
very different from the Provisionals for instance who had
political aims. The new breed of terrorists wanted to blow
up the negotiating table and everyone around it. Nobody
took any notice of the book. My parents went around
ook shops moving it from the dusty shelves at the back
to the front. Hardly anyone bought it and I went off and
worked on others stuff - stewing with bitterness how my
book had not been listened to. I was like every other who
thinks their book is important but not being taken notice
of. I’m telling anyone out there - never ever write a book
- never! Unless you’ve time on your hands and loads of
money, don’t write it - then again, sometimes you can’t
stop yourself and I fell into that category.
Your advice for anyone struggling out there?
You’ve got to believe in yourself, have a plan and pursue
Sounds like my favourite Dolly Parton quote,
“Figure our who you are, then do it on purpose.”
Exactly [laughs]. But we can’t underplay the value of luck
- where would I be without luck?
Highly recommended: Journeys to Impossible
Places: In Life and Every Adventure by Simon
Reeve is out now. Published by Hodder &
Home Alone -
It's That Time of Year
Shaun Anthony takes a look back at the 1990 Christmas classic Home Alone;
a film that never gets old!
Home Alone is one of the greatest Christmas
films of all time. No
matter how many times
you see it, there’s
always something you
haven’t noticed before.
Its a film you can easily
watch and enjoy every
Home Alone was
written by John Hughes
(who captured comingof-age
movies like The
Breakfast Club and
Sixteen Candles) and
starred the naturally
gifted child actor
Macaulay Culkin as
the boy who defends
his house from burglars
when his family
accidentally leave him at home in Chicago as
they holiday in Paris.
Home Alone’s Genesis
John Hughes actually thought up the idea for
the film when he was making preparations
for a holiday and was plagued by a recurring
nightmare that he’d left his children at home.
The dream was becoming so frequent that
he jokingly wrote, ‘Don’t forget the kids’ on
his holiday to-do
list, which made him
ponder the notion of
what would happen
if he actually left the
kids home alone; this
seed of inspiration
led to him penning
eight A4 pages,
morphed into a film
Secret Talks with
Warner Bros said
they would finance
and distribute the
movie but threw
in the towel when
they realised it would require a much
larger budget than anticipated. Hughes had
promised that he could make the film for
under $10 million, considerably less than
most feature film production budgets of
that era. Concerned his project would most
probably exceed that amount, Hughes met
secretly with 20th Century Fox, before
production to see if they would fund the
project if Warner proved unaccommodating.
Executive producer Scott Rosenfelt said
a copy of the script was “clandestinely”
delivered to Fox, bypassing the legal
restrictions that would have otherwise
prevented Fox from seeing it until the project
he was contracted to Spaced Invaders and
Hughes couldn’t wait for him to complete so
he turned to Christopher Columbus, who’d
just walked out of National Lampoon’s
Christmas Vacation after
he and the star, Chevy
Chase had a massive
felt that Chase was
unworkable and was
treating the cast and crew “like dirt”
(of course, Chase was later exposed as being
near impossible to work with and hated
in Hollywood circles by actors, producers
and directors alike). Hughes, aware of the
Chevy Chase issue gave Chris the scripts for
both Home Alone and Reach the Rock and
Columbus chose to direct Home Alone, as
he found it funnier and liked the Christmas
theme. Columbus did an uncredited rewrite
of the script, which included the character
Old Man Marley (played by Roberts
Blossom). He added the
a copy of the script was
“clandestinely” delivered to Fox,
bypassing the legal restrictions that
would have otherwise prevented Fox
from seeing it…
character to give the story a more serious
layer, as well as a more emotional ending.
Culkin a Favourite from Day One
he would bring authenticity to the role but
director Christopher Columbus stated that
the proper audition process must be followed
and hundreds of kids from around the U.S.
were auditioned in person
and via tape. Eventually
that Hughes was right
- Macaulay Culkin was
Hughes really wanted Robert De Niro to play
Harry, the short and hot-headed thief who
targets the McCallisters’ home with his mate
Marv but Robert had no interest. Next Jon
Lovitz, but again, he didn’t enjoy the script.
Eventually, the script made it into the hands
of Joe Pesci who accepted it, Pesci, who
swears incessantly in real life found himself
accidentally swearing during the rough and
tumble of physical scenes and so he actually
made up new child-friendly swear words
which made their way into the final cut.
For the role of
idiot burglar Marv
Stern was cast but
started, he was told
that the production
schedule had been
extended from six
weeks to eight with no
extra pay. Stern said
he would drop out Culkin with Pesci & Stern
unless his salary was
increased pro rata and
so they brought in Daniel Roebuck to replace
him. Just days later Columbus
felt that Roebuck was
lacking chemistry with
Pesci and brought back
John Candy is paid just $414!
John Candy had only one free day the year
Home Alone was being made and Hughes
seized it. Candy and Hughes were very close
friends and John said he’d shoot his scenes
for scale, if he was allowed to “just feel” the
script “and improvise” (which ended up
taking 23 hours). Candy actually earned less
than the actor who played the pizza delivery
guy in the film, earning $414.
A Family Affair
When Macauley heard Columbus saying he
needed another young boy for the film on
short notice, the 9-year-old asked them to
give his brother Kieran an audition. Kieran
dazzled Columbus and he was cast as Fuller,
Pesci made up new childfriendly
swear words which made
their way into the final cut….
the bed-wetter. Ironically, whilst Macaulay
has shunned Hollywood and celebrity,
Kieran has forged an impressive acting
career for himself,
most notably as
Roman Roy in the
monster hit show,
Terrified of Pesci
Columbus felt they
needed to keep
Macaulay away from the robbers Pesci and
Stern to amp up the child’s natural
fear. In fact, prior to the
scene where Marv and
Harry finally catch
up to Kevin, hang him
by the jumper from a coat
hook and Harry threatens to bite off
one of the boy’s fingers Joe Pesci actually
bit one of Culkin’s fingers, breaking the
skin and leaving him with a permanent
scar! Culkin was terrified of both men and
Hughes ensured that this spilled over into his
Filming was completed in 83 (very long)
days. The house exterior scenes were filmed
in Winnetka, Illinois. Cinematographer Julio
recalled that Pesci was more difficult to work
with than Culkin, believing some dialogue
was not of a quality commensurate with his
acting ability. Pesci also resented the early
calls, since they prevented him from starting
his day with nine holes of golf as he
preferred to do. After he took the assistant
director by the collar to complain, daily call
times were moved back from 7 to 9 a.m.
to accommodate his rounds. The crew had
limited time to film the many night-time
scenes, since Culkin could not work any later
than 10 p.m. due to his age.
as tall as a
Stunts were originally prepared with safety
harnesses, but because of their visibility
on camera, the film’s final stunts were
performed without them. Columbus said, “
We’d watch it, and I would just pray that the
guys were alive.”
Despite Stern’s fear, that was actually a real
tarantula that walked over his face!
actually earned less than the actor who
played the pizza delivery guy in the film…
Home Alone grossed $476.7 million
worldwide, against a production budget of
$18 million and was number one for twelve
consecutive weeks (remaining in the top ten
until 26th April). The film became the
third highest grossing film of all worldwide
(behind Star Wars and ET).
Culkin Becomes Impossible to Pay
Macaulay Culkin, thanks to his cuteness and
natural screen charm was now a bonafide
Hollywood heavyweight who commanded
$4.5m per movie post
Home Alone. When his
parents divorced mid-
90s there was a bitter
custody battle and a
fight for control
of Macaulay’s trust.
Culkin’s father Kit
wanted bigger and
bigger paydays for
his son - but bearing
in mind that Home
Alone 2 alone brought
in $350m - it does
seem that $4.5 was
not a lot to ask for the
star. Sadly Kit would
destroy Macaulay’s career, angering studio
executives and producers. His personal
agenda was to usurp creative control
of Macaulay’s movies and get his other
children noticed but power is a delicate
commodity in Tinsel Town.
Still, to this day, Culkin, despite staying
out of the industry, is a multi-millionaire
thanks to Home Alone and has a net worth
of $18m. As the film finds itself a whole
new generation of Home Alone fans every
few years, its fair to say it will remain a firm
favourite for decades to come.
Wishing all a Happy Christmas and Peaceful New Year
Wishing all A Happy
Christmas and peaceful
Over the next few issues we’ll be attempting to increase your word power. Have a look at the words
below and afterwards see if you know their meaning.
1. Myrrh Mur
2. Yuletide Youl-tide
3. Poinsettia Poyn-sett-e-ah
4. Wassail Waus-ayl
5. Sugarplum Shu-gar-plum
6. Epiphany Ep-if-an-ee
7. Magi May-jie
8. Advent Add-vent
9. Ceremonious Sair-im-ohn-eus
12. Tidings Tie-dings
How did YOU score?
10 or more – Perfection!6-9
3-5 Well done.
0-2 Must do better.
1. A sticky substance with a sweet smell that comes from trees
and is used to make perfume and incense.
2. The period around Christmas Day.
3. Plant with large red or pink leaves that grow to look like
flowers, often grown indoors in pots.
4. To enjoy yourself by drinking alcohol with others.
5. A small round sweet.
6. A Christian festival, held on the 6 January, in memory of the
time when the Magi came to see the baby Jesus in Bethlehem.
7. The three wise men from the East who brought presents to
the baby Jesus.
8. The advent of something/somebody the coming of an
important event, person, invention, etc.
9. Behaving or performed in an extremely formal way.
10. Kind, generous and forgiving.
11. Caring about the needs and happiness of other people.
12. News, i.e. bringing glad tidings.
Old Ireland in Colour
Have you every wanted to walk down memory lane? Dwell a while in a place and time from years
gone by? A new book from Merrion Press might just be the perfect gift for you this Christmas.
We all hearken back to those salad days when life was
simpler, and a new book, Old Ireland in Colour 2
transports us there! This beautiful hardback, which
is the eagerly anticipated sequel to John Breslin and
of the year
of CNN) is
out now and
we were so
that we just
had to bring
you a small
the pages of
Colour 2, the authors have delved even deeper into our
historical archives to uncover captivating photographic
gems to bring to life using cutting-edge technology,
historical research and expert colourisation. The book
further celebrates the rich history of Ireland and the
Irish people, from all walks of life, with all 32 counties
represented. With over 150 superb images, the book is
the perfect portrait of life in Ireland throughout 19th
is a fiddler
and while it
looks at first
sight to be a
would be one
of the earliest
such a thing,
The image is
part of the
other images with great facts can be viewed in the new
book and over the next two pages we’re bringing you a
sample of what’s on offer.
c.1900, Glencar, Co. Leitrim
LARKIN: This iconic
photograph of labour leader
James ( Jim) Larkin shows
him addressing a crowd on
Sackville (O’Connell) Street.
SWEET TREATS. 24 June 1916,
Grafton Street c 1880-1890
In his own words: Part IV
This Christmas marks the 25th anniversary of one of
Ireland’s most infamous and unsolved murders. On
Monday 23rd December 1996 West Cork became
the subject of international media interest as news of
the savage slaying of a French national Md. Sophie
du Plantier, nee Bounoil, as she was locally known,
broke on the world
As an accredited
stringer, or freelance
was called upon
to cover the crime
initially by the Cork
Examiner. I followed
and began to report
on the murder for
Irish, British and
media. I remember
the life changing
events of that
midwinter very well.
At home on The Prairy it was a busy time. We were
to have a full cottage that Christmas. My now former
partners’ three daughters Saffron, Virginia
and the youngest Fennella were
all there and the middle girl
“Ginny” had invited an Italian
girlfriend called Ariana down
...after 24 years of
interference, abuse and false accusation,
2021 was going to become the most
traumatic and testing period of my
On Sunday 22nd there were jobs
to be done. We decided to save a few pounds on a
Christmas tree by slicing the top off a Sitka Spruce
at the nearby Studio House and there were three
fattened turkeys to dispatch. One for our own table
one for our then good friends Pol and and Marie
Colman and one for the Ballydehob butcher
On Sunday afternoon I dispatched the seasonal
fowl and in the process got a slight scratch to
my head from one of
the kicking talons. The
was, I would do the dirty
deed; Saffron would do the
de-feathering and Jules the
Later on Saffron and myself
went down to the Studio
House where I climbed
up through a 30 odd feet
Spruce and sawed a five foot
length off the top. In the
process of doing that I got
some light none bloodied
scratches on my arms.
We then dragged the tree
top back up to the Prairy
Cottage about two hundred yards and Jules and the
girls then dressed the tree complete with crackers,
chocolate oranges, walnut whips and a fairy on the
It was beginning to feel a little
bit like Christmas. In the
evening, we all but Fennella
who said she was feeling a bit
unwell, went out for a drink,
music and a bit of craic. I took my
bodhrán with me.
We initially went to Dennis Quinlan’s Courtyard
Bar and from there on to David and Venita Galvin’s
Galley Bar where a group of visiting traditional
musicians were gathering. Later at their invitation I
joined them on the drum and threw in a couple of
We did not stay that
late and drove back
West over Hunt’s Hill
where you could see
Bay all the little
lights of Kilchrohane
and the Sheep’s Head
On the Monday Jules
and myself had been
intending to go to
Skibbereen to do our
last minute Christmas
food shop. But shortly before we departed at 1.40 the
phone rang. Fenella, the youngest who was then 13,
took the call.
In October of 2020 the Dublin High Court once and
hopefully for all time rejected the perfidious French
request for rendition. Anybody observing from a
distance might well have assumed my fortunes were
on the up.
On my return to West Cork
things were not as I might
of expected. I thought that
Jules would have been
relieved that I had finally
defeated the possibility
of enforced separation by
extradition. The reception I
got was rather cool.
The night after I got back
I felt very strange and at
some point I went into the
yard and had what I guess
was a blackout. I remember
coming too on the gravel in
the yard. I managed to get
up and put the incident down to the huge long and
exhausting pressure I had been subjected to over a
long length of time.
She came into the kitchen and said it was somebody
after me. It was from the Cork Examiner’s
West Cork staffer, Eddie Cassidy
in Clonakilty informing me
of a crime and giving me
details of the scene. Three
or so miles from The
I listened to the 2 o’clock news,
which confirmed the incident. I told Jules to get
her camera and then headed off to investigate.
Little could I have known or guessed at what was
subsequently to befall us.
Within 6 weeks I went from being the lead reporter
on the case to being wrongly accused of the crime
and branded “prime suspect” by the media thus
began a 25-year form of torture.
His false statement was
exposed by the fact that when I had
obtained a schedule of items taken from
The Prairy on the first arrest, the first item
listed was my long black coat.
The detailed trials and tribulation of those years will
have to wait for the full autobiography. But, suffice to
say, none of them prepared me for what was about to
happen to me in the course of this year.
At the end of the day we are human and I had often
felt I was being tested to the edge of my coping
abilities. Something has to give at some
point and I had managed various
panic and anxiety attacks over the
The Christmas of 2020 was lonely.
Jules went off to be with her family
in Cork and I was on my own most of the
time. I went through the motions of trying to have a
bit of seasonal cheer I even roasted a turkey crown,
which I chewed, alone.
Maybe I should have sensed what was subsequently
going to happen. Little was I to know that after 24
years of interference, abuse and false accusation, that
2021 was going to become the most traumatic and
testing period of my life and what should have been
an annus mirabilis was to turn into annus horribilis.
In January I started planting seeds for the subsequent
growing season. I set tomatoes, sweet corn, broad
beans and a few other plants which as it turned out I
was never going to plant out eat or sell.
Between 1997 and 2020 I had been subjected to two
domestic arrests and detentions and three abusive
arrests under the European Arrest Warrant (EAW)
In March a letter arrived hand addressed to me.
I remember Jules putting it down on the kitchen
table. I did not recognise the writing and opened
it wondering who it was from and what message it
What I read sent a deep emotional shock through
me...it was written by a third party at Jules behest
informing me that she wanted me out of her life and
out of the house. Our journey was at an end.
The shock was profound. What Jules had done was to
get another person to write a good-bye letter, which,
with the benefit of hindsight I guess she had not had
the courage to write herself.
chapter in a life
was about to
more on that
years I had been
six times Oscar
had agreed to
give him pretty
myself and my
extensive historical archive on the case.
During those years I facilitated various filming
sessions with Jim’s men and women who included
the amazing one man camera crew Dublin Colm
Quinn, the redoubtable Cork freelance Niamh
Riley and from time to time the “Boy Wonder”
investigative journalist and Professor of Criminology
In July 2016 Jim approached the BBC Special
documentary unit Storyville using footage of
interviews with me to pitch the idea for a 90-minute
documentary. The Commissioning Editor was a
lady called Kate Townsend and she expressed great
interest in what Jim was exclusively offering to
deliver for a televisual coup. The story just cried out
to be told in drama documentary format.
In 2016, I remember getting an excited call from Jim
in London. He told me that Townsend liked his idea.
Both Jules and myself were happy with the prospect
of our torturous story being told to a wider audience
and as British citizens the BBC was the perfect media
to shine a light into our darkness.
What was to happen next, in my opinion, was a
disgraceful act of betrayal. What Jim did not know
was that Townsend was about to jump ship having
been offered the job of chief commissioning editor
for the US based private company called NETFLIX.
With director Jim Sheridan
It appears instead
of furthering the
project idea for
Jim, Ms. Townsend,
it appears had
contacted a close
friend, one Mr.
Simon Chinn MD
of London based
and told him about
Jim’s project. As far
as I know the first
Jim heard about
it was when Ms
my solicitor Frank
Buttimer to ask for
despite the fact
that she should
have known I
had an exclusive
arrangement with Jim who had been working on
it for four years. The production team at Lightbox
insinuated that Jim was a first time documentary
director which was untrue but that was the reason
they gave as to why Ms Townsend could not use him
despite the fact that she had offered to commission
him in glowing terms while at the BBC.
With Townsend having migrated to Netflix she
proceeded, it appears, to green light a multi-million
dollar project for Chinn. The Sheridan Project,
as I christened it, was severely disadvantaged by
Townsend’s move from the BBC to a corporate
global giant. People might not be aware, as I am as
an international intellectual property lawyer that
it is impossible to protect an idea by copyright.
In a phone call in late 2018 Chinn rang me from
London trying to persuade me to in effect to jump
ship. I explained my relationship with Jim and left
the solicitor Buttimer to deal with him. Chinn as
producer brought in a Scottish director, John Dower
who then wrote to me seeking my cooperation in
the Netflix production. I went on to meet him and
explained to Dower the situation. I did however
allow him some limited access to me in the market
places of Skibbereen and Schull.
I had also rather naively had given two trusted
journalists some limited access to me on The Prairy
in May 2018. This was to finish up in the hands of the
Netflix production and was used to make it appear
as if Dower had conducted the interview, in the
three part faux documentary Sophie: A Murder in
West Cork. The original journalists were never even
credited. It occurred to me that my existence and
continued persistence was feeding a small industry.
I even made light of it by joking that I was no more
than a bone to be chewed by various animals. Some
of them friendly like Jim’s
team others like
the Netflix team,
I knew that
the Netflix so-called
documentary was going to be a piece
of self-serving abusive propaganda that would
perpetuate the false narrative and I was right.
The Sheridan Project, as I christened
it, was severely disadvantaged by a disgraceful
act of betrayal
At a certain point in early 2021 there was a race on
between Jim’s objective project, a five parter which
was to air on Rupert Murdoch’s Sky network and
Netflix’s project. I had been bracing myself for the
releases. I was also reeling from the emotional fall
out of Jules’ decision to call time. I had contacted
Cork County Council to apply for a council house
and had a rake of paperwork to complete.
I was about to embark on the craziest and most
testing time of my life. I had started to gather my
possessions and bunch things I wanted to retain
into the shed, which for several years had been my
creative sanctuary where I would spend my time
between writing and wood carving.
Jim’s project went to air in early May. I had a go at
watching the first two episodes with Fenella’s fine
young son Theo, but had found it upsetting. It nearly
brought me to tears. I was upset for the victim, upset
for Jules and almost upset for myself. I took the
decision that I was too emotionally fragile to watch
Two weeks later the Netflix project came out and I
was inundated with media calls asking me for my
reaction and to comment.
Although I did not watch Netflix production I
was made aware of certain passages which most
shockingly contained a number of downright
falsehoods. The ones that stood out referred to my
long black coat which I had worn at the Christmas
Day swim in Schull and two totally false statements
the first made by the retired Chief Superintendent,
the Kerry born Dermot Jerimiah Dwyer. Dwyer
wasn’t telling the truth when he said I had burned
the coat in a fire on St. Stephen’s Day at the Studio
House. His false statement was exposed by the fact
that when I had obtained a schedule of items taken
from The Prairy on the first arrest in February 1997
the first item listed was my long black coat. The
second untruth had come from Ginny’s Christmas
guest the Italian Ariana Boarina. She claims, for
whatever reason I do not know, that
while a guest in the cottage,
she remembers seeing
my dark coat soaking in
a bucket in the bathroom.
(However, in her statement to
Gardaí, she had said she saw clothes being cleaned
in the bath). This is a total fabrication. Ms. Boarina’s
statement is a blatant untruth, which still has to be
explained. What makes this untruth all the more
damaging is that John Dower the director sets up a
sequence in which a black coat is soaking in a bucket.
These two untruths conveniently gave Director
Dower & Netflix the perfect hook to hang their story
and distort the narrative. At the time of writing
lawyers in the US are considering whether I have a
case against Netflix and Chinn for deformation. The
problem is money, it costs a fortune to sue in the US
and as everybody knows I am financially one of the
poorest people in Ireland although rich in so many
I note the head of Netflix, Ted Sarandos has claimed
that no film they have distributed has had real life
negative effects on their subjects…Well let me tell
you Mr Sarandos, the release of your demonising,
biased and defamatory film ultimately had
catastrophic real life effects on me.I lost my partner,
my home, and was subjected to real life death threats
and social media abuse.
The release of the two projects coincided
coincidentally with my deciding to lose my Social
Media virginity. I went from no SM presence to
Facebook, Instagram and within a very short time
found I was well de-flowered. I currently have 3,000
plus friends, fans and followers on FB and 6,000 on
Twitter and Instagram.
I started receiving enormous support from
thousands of people, the vast majority of whom I
had never met. At
the same time on
Twitter I became
the subject of a
small number of
trolls. The trolls,
who of course
to be acting in
some form of
Their language was
crude and it was
apparent they were
not very bright
by hatred. Their
Sineád O’Connor and I
offensive remarks, far from upsetting me, rather
perversely amused me and I took to taunting them. I
even managed to deduce the true identity of some of
them. My response was to report the more obscene
twatterers as I christened them, to Zuckerberg’s
organs. A couple I reported to the Guardians of Our
Freedoms, AGS, for what it was worth.
Amazingly a small army of supporters sprang up,
many from the North, to challenge the imbecilic
idiots and really put them to the word sword. The
rantings of the trolls did not upset me, on the
contrary, but what did was the way they would
viciously go after anybody who was brave enough to
In June I took a phone call from none other than
the National Treasure who was formally known as
Sineád O’Connor telling me she had a new job as a
reporter for the Sunday Independent and that she
wanted to talk to me about my poetry and to write
I agreed to meet her and gave her four hours of
interview. I trusted her, she seemed to be not
too unreasonable although as a seasoned senior
journalist I found her interview technique of
throwing up to twenty different questions into one
a wee bit irritating. I gave this cub reporter some
learned professional critical feedback.
Somehow, I suppose because our initial meeting was
in semi-public the media not only got to hear of our
meeting but photographed it as well. The following
morning I had the first of a
series of seriously abusive
communications from Ms.
After the first ranting
telephone call I took no
more calls but was then
to receive a series of
incoherent ranting texts,
12 in all (of which I have
The last one was sent on
the Saturday night before
her first ever article was
to appear. It suggested I
was mad, bad and needed
help. She suggested I
was an alcoholic and
should get myself to rehab.
Somehow the communication was leaked to the Irish
Sun whose following Monday edition carried the
“Sineád tells Ian he needs to go to Rehab...He said
No, No, No”.
This marks the end or my series of articles ‘In My
Own Words’ for Ireland’s Big Issue magazine. I am
grateful to have been given the opportunity to have
my say, as all too often I have been the subject of false
As an undertaking to the editor I have agreed to
answer any questions he wants to put to me in
relation to events as described in the 4 articles, I have
nothing to hide, never had. Hopefully the truth will
come out and the killer of Ms Sophie du Plantier will
be found, giving some solace to her family.
In the next edition of Irelands Big Issue I will answer
Ian Bailey In His Own Words: Part IV
All words and photographs Copyright Ian K. Bailey
Wishing all a Happy Christmas and Peaceful New Year
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& Sports Centre, Ballybough, Dublin 3.
Sports & Fitness Ballyfermot, Le
Fanu Pk. Ballyfermot, D10. (01) 2228580
Sports & Fitness Ballymun, Main St
Ballymun, D9. (01) 2228240
Cabra Parkside Community & Sports Complex, Ratoath Rd, Cabra,
D7. (01) 2227559
Clogher Road Sports Hall, Clogher Rd, Crumlin, D12. (01) 2228594
Clontarf All Weather Pitches, Alfie Byrne Road, Clontarf, D3. (01)
Sports & Fitness Finglas, Mellowes Rd. Finglas, D11 (01) 2228620
Glin Road Sports Hall, Coolock, D17. (01) 8478177
Inchicore Community Sports Hall, St. Michael’s Estate, Off Bulfin
Inchicore, D8. (01) 2228562
Sports & Fitness Irishtown, Irishtown, D4. (01) 2223801
Sports & Fitness Markievicz, Townsend Street, D2. (01) 2226130
Poppintree Sport & Community Facility, Balbutcher Lane, Poppintree,
D11. (01) 2223985
St. Catherine’s Sports Centre, Marrowbone Lane, D8. (01) 2227542
Coolock Swimming Pool, Northside Shopping Centre, Coolock, D17. (01)
Crumlin Swimming Pool, Pearse Pk, Windmill Rd, Crumlin, D12. (01)
East Wall Water Sports Centre, Alfie Byrne Rd, D3. (01) 2225579
Municipal Rowing Club, Longmeadows, Islandbridge, D8. (01) 6779746
Fancy getting your hands on one of our great
CHRISTMAS PRIZES? Simply email
firstname.lastname@example.org & type
Competition in subject line. Remember to include
your name, address & daytime ‘phone number
(this will not be stored on file or used for
marketing purposes). Closing date 20th December.
Fancy some new trainers?
Like a £60 Gola voucher? Are trainers
worn on the head or feet?
Handmade Beauty Products
To win a box of goodies from this
Co. Meath company. Where’s The
Handmade Soap Company based?
Unwind in the Kitchen?
To win a €50 giftcard. from Caulfield
Country Boards? Where’s this business
based? Kells or Letterkenny.
Write your memoirs?
Two Handmade Pens from Donegal Pens
To win one of two pens. Does a pen use ink or
To win a €20 BOOK VOUCHER for Kenny’s bookshop.
Is fiction true or false? www.kennys.ie
Thank you everyone!
We wish you all lots of
luck and may we take this
time to thank you for your
support and encouraging
words. We appreciate your
it enormously as it allows
us to continue highlighting
and continue to bring you
Your contribution via our
website (you can also PayPal
helps us to continue helping
the marginalised through
the power of sport. Your
support is greatly valued.
To win a giftbox of
When was BareEssential
NutraCheck WEIGHT TRACKING App. We have 5 yearly
subscriptions to give away.
When do people mostly start their diet: Christmas Day
or in January?
To win a boxset of gorgeous COOKING SAUCES.
Did the wok originate in China or Wales?
To win a year’s supply of BARRY’S TEA.
(25 boxes of their Gold Blend 80s teabags). What
kind of cube sweetens tea? www.barrystea.ie
TOMMY FLEMING 30th Anniversary Tour - PAIR OF
TICKETS to one of his shows (he’s touring the country
until 24th March) and a CD & DVD. For locations, see
How many years has Tommy been
touring? 10 or 30?
For £200 to spend online at
CLOTHING STORE Cabbages & Roses:
Is a maxi dress long or short?
To win one of 10 Frankincense
Massage/Bath/Body Oils :
‘A deeply relaxing blend for
both men and women rsp
€14.25’, from Co. Wicklow
answer the following question.
How much does the above
product retail for?
To be in with a chance of winning
a BOXSET OF BEAUTY PRODUCTS.
Where is lip balm usually applied?
For a chance to win a Mini Mani (mini manicure)
- what part of the body is gel polish applied?
Is it nails or hair?
Nunaïa’s award winning 100% natural FACIAL
To win their Nourishing Radiance Serum (priced
€75). What do you do with serum? Apply it to face
or eat it?
To win a LIMITED EDITION TRAVEL-THEMED
BOARDGAME (aim, to make it to airport before
lockdown).Does a traditional dice have numbers or
The First Irish Woman to be a Ship’s Captain
County Wicklow’s Kate Tyrrell was the first woman in Ireland to be a ship’s sea
captain. Kate would fight the patriarchy and an antiquated law tirelessly for over
a decade to be recognised for what she was - a ship’s captain! Liz Scales reports.
Trailblazer, Kate Tyrrell was born into a naval family in
Arklow, Co. Wicklow in 1863, the second of four girls
born to Elizabeth and
Edward Tyrrell. From
early childhood Kate
had a dream to live an
exciting life on the highseas
and had interest
in nothing else beyond
boats and all things
Edward owned a
importing and exporting
goods such as coal,
bricks, iron ore and
textiles between Ireland
and Wales and from very
early childhood, Kate,
unlike other girls of the
time had no interest in
dolls and domesticity
- she spent all her free time at the shipyard where she
watched the men at work, asking endless questions and
taking mental notes. Edward soon realised that Kate
would be his successor as she knew just about everything
that happened at the shipyard, not
to mention keeping up-to-date
with shipping information
that affected the company.
She also had a great mind for
figures and was a fantastic business
The men may not always
have liked her but they admired and
respected her enormously.
and judgement completely and she would carry out many
tasks as his assistant, including filling out the shipping
journals and monitoring the
finances. Edward would
often stop what he was doing
and marvel at his daughter’s
great mind and admirable
“You can do absolutely
anything Kate … in fact, one
day you’ll own your own ship.
You wait and see.”
Kate would smile, hoping
his words were prophetic -
because she wanted nothing
else in the whole world but
When Kate was 19, her
younger sister died from TB
and her mother sank into
deep, clinical depression. Kate, did what she could to
keep the family home ticking over but domesticity was
bringing her down and she knew, in order to save her
own sanity, she needed to be back in the shipyard and
sailing. It was a difficult decision but she
found herself lacking any zest for
life when she wasn’t near a ship
and the hustle and bustle of the
shipyard goings on.
Kate gets her own ship - kind of.
Kate becomes her father’s right-hand woman.
By the age of 12, Edward trusted his daughter’s abilities
In 1885 Edward bought a 62-ton schooner called the
‘Denbighshire Lass’ from Wales and registered it in Kate’s
name. Kate successfully captained the ship back home to
Arklow. Locals started to talk. Who was this wayward,
boisterous woman daring to call herself Captain? Taking
charge of a vessel like that. Shouldn’t she be at home and
doing what other respectable women were doing? Wasn’t
she aware it was illegal to be female and the listed owner
of a ship? Kate, never one to look for the recognition or
approval of others couldn’t
have cared less what people
thought or said. She fought
the rules deemed to keep
her out of men’s business
over and over - but was
unsuccessful each time.
Angrily she vowed that
this would not stop her
fulfilling her dream.
unheard of in those days. The community started to
talk - in fact the news was a scandal in wider society and
people started all sorts of rumours.
Kate had The Denbighshire Lass registered under her new
husband’s name but continued to fight the legal system
to have her own name on the
documents. The couple had
two children, James born in
1900 and Elizabeth born in
1905 but shortly after her
daughter’s birth, Kate’s health
started to deteriorate and
she became broken-hearted
at being less able to travel as
frequently aboard her ship.
The less time she spent at sea,
the worse she became.
At the age of 23, Kate’s
father passed away from
a heart attack and his
took over the business.
She immediately began a
decluttering of sorts, selling
off quite a few ships and
became the sole owner of
the ‘Denbighshire Lass’.
Although she owned
the ship, she still wasn’t
allowed her name on
the vessel’s official paperwork so she asked a trusted
male colleague, Lawrence Brennan to sign his name
on the documents and she continued carrying out all
the business operations as usual, examining repairs,
commanding the crew and maintaining a successful
Tyrrell was very proficient at
running the business and this
enabled her to spend most
of her time captaining her
ship, which led to her becoming a
respected expert at navigation - in fact,
all aspects of sailing. Of course she wasn’t always popular.
She was known for being a very strict enforcer of rules
and order on board the ‘Denbighshire Lass’ and refused
to put up with any drunken crew members or tomfoolery.
The men may not always have liked her but they admired
and respected her enormously.
At the age of 33 Kate married her childhood best friend,
John Fitzpatrick but kept her own surname - something
Kate wed childhood best friend, John Fitzpatrick
Lass continued to sail
throughout World War I, navigating
landmines in the Irish Sea without
incident, despite having no
Success against the
After over a decade of
fighting the authorities to
be called Captain, Kate was
officially recognised as the
owner of the Denbighshire
Lass in 1899, at the age of 36.
Despite being in ill-health,
Tyrrell celebrated - she’d
achieved her goal - she’d
made an impact. She knew her father would be very
proud and he was the only person she’d ever truly enjoyed
The first ship to fly the new Irish
tricolour flag at a foreign port.
The Denbighshire Lass continued
to sail throughout World War I,
navigating landmines in the Irish
Sea without incident, despite having no
insurance! It was the first ship to fly the new Irish
tricolour flag at a foreign port.
Kate Tyrell died in 1921 aged 57. Kate was a remarkable,
pioneering woman. Even faced with outdated, sexist laws,
she pursued her dream to be called Captain and nothing
would stop her.
Male or female we could all learn a thing or two from the
legacy this County Wicklow woman left behind.
Red Notice ***
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds
Run Time: 115 mins
Streaming on: Netflix
Available to stream from: 12 November
The Unforgivable ****
Starring: Sandra Bullock
Streaming on: Netflix
Run Time: 113 mins
Available to stream from: 10 December
When an Interpol-issued Red Notice — the highest level warrant
to hunt and capture the world’s most wanted— goes out, the
FBI’s top profiler John Hartley (Dwayne Johnson) is on the case.
His global pursuit finds him smack dab in the middle of a daring
heist where he’s forced to partner with the world’s greatest art
thief Nolan Booth (Ryan Reynolds) in order to catch the world’s
most wanted art thief, “The Bishop” (Gal Gadot). The high-flying
adventure that ensues takes the trio around the world, across the
dance floor, trapped in a
secluded prison, into the
jungle and, worst of all
for them, constantly into
each other’s company.
The all star cast is
joined by Ritu Arya and
Directed and written
by Rawson Marshall
and produced by
Hiram Garcia, Dwayne
Johnson and Dany
Garcia of Seven Bucks
Productions, Beau Flynn’s
Flynn Picture Co. and
Thurber’s Bad Version,
Inc., Red Notice is a
game of cat-and-mouse
Based on the British miniseries, Unforgiven,
The Unforgivable stars Sandra Bullock,
playing the role of a woman just released from
prison after serving a sentence for a violent
crime but facing major struggles to move
forward in life when society refuses to forgive
her past. Bullock, of course is no stranger
to Netflix Originals, having starred in Bird
Box recently, but in the role of Ruth Slater,
a woman attempting to seek redemption
through finding the little sister she left behind,
we see a whole new side of Bullock. Great
actress - superb performance.
Streaming: TG4 Player
Run Time: 2 x 30 mins
Available to stream: Now
Robin Robin ***
Starring: Gillian Anderson, Richard E. Grant
Run Time: 32 mins
Available to watch: From 24 November
Ireland has always been a lonely place for
Whistleblowers. Those who stand up and speak out have
historically suffered as a result of their disclosures. The
2014 Protected Disclosures Act exists to offer protection
to those willing to speak out. But what of those who
spoke out before any protection existed? How does one
cope when your world is turned upside down and you
become the target for doing the right thing?These are the
stories of those who stood up against wrongdoing in the
workplace and found their lives almost destroyed forever
because they refused to stay silent.
A stop-motion Christmas musical special with
Aardman. When her egg fortuitously rolls into
a rubbish dump, Robin is raised by a loving
family of mice. As she grows up, her differences
become more apparent. Robin sets off on the
heist to end all heists to prove to her family that
she can be a really good mouse - but ends up
discovering who she really is. Beautiful film for
all the family.
Starring: Hugh Grant, Martine McCutcheon
Run Time: 129 mins.
We’ve watched it a million times and still somehow haven’t
tired of it. Starring Hugh Grant and Martine McCutcheon,
this 2003 (yes, it really is that old) this British rom-com
has gone down in history as one of the most famous festive
flicks and feel good Christmas movies to come out of the
noughties - and with good reason! The movie follows
the complicated lives of multiple London couples as they
navigate their personal and professional worlds in the five
weeks leading up to the ever-emotional festive season,
culminating in an epic ending we promise not to spoil
here. Prepare for laughter, tears, and a hearty helping of
‘aww’ moments. Hands down one of the best Christmas
movies on Amazon Prime this year.
Tell us what you’re binge
watching this Christmas? Let us
know on Twitter @BigIssueIreland
Irish Homeless Street Leagues
(IHSL) Keep Going Despite
Despite the restrictions imposed by the Covid pandemic our Homeless Street Leagues
continued in limited fashion during the year with league programmes in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway
while our ladies team participated in a challenge tournament in Belfast.
It has been a difficult year,
especially with no Homeless
World Cup in 2021 but
despite the obstacles, we have
managed to start a new League
in Hardwicke Street on the
northside of Dublin and we are
also endeavouring to start a new
league in Drogheda.
Obviously Covid makes
restrictions necessary but the
important thing is to keep going
so our players have time and
space where they can meet,
communicate, and play the sport
they love. ‘A ball can change
a life’, that is our motto and
we know from experience that
participation in sport has a
positive effect and does change
Hopefully Covid will be on the
back burner come the New Year
and we can look forward to better
times and the return of The
Homeless World Cup in 2022.
From all the players
and volunteers at IHSL,
thank you for your kind
A Happy Christmas and
Fruitful New Year to all.
Captain of our (IHSL) lnternational Team in the World Cup, Norway 2017, Tara
McNeill meets Ireland Senior International Katie McCabe at team hotel prior to their
recent International match against Georgia.
It was with great sorrow and shock that we learned of the passing of Christine Geoghegan in November.
Christine was a member of our ladies team who represented Ireland in the Homeless World Cup in Oslo in
It is hard to believe that she is gone, she had been ill but it appeared she had overcome her illness like she had
overcome many obstacles in life. Meeting her recently, she looked so well and was the picture of happiness;
it was inspirational just catching up with her that day. Sadly, after seemingly overcoming cancer, it returned
recently and she passed away after a short illness.
From all at the Street league family our sincere condolences to her wife chloe, family, friends and teammates
she will always have a place in our hearts.
Issues: New Book Releases
Patricia Scanlan was born in Dublin, where she still lives. She is a #1
bestselling author and has sold millions of books worldwide. Her books
are translated in many languages.
Patricia is the series editor and a contributing author to the award winning Open Door
This issue, Patricia brings her favourite books of the moment.
Fight or Flight - My Life My Life, My Choices – Keith Earls (Reach PLC)
Keith Earls has maintained a low profile throughout his rugby career. A native of Limerick
city, Earls grew up in one of its most socially disadvantaged housing estates. Moyross was
blighted by crime and violence and he did not escape unscathed. For the first time he talks
in depth and at length about the inner turmoil that went unseen by teammates, friends and
fans. A confessional, intimate and courageous story of the pain that was a constant companion
to the glory.
Journey to the Well -– Mary Kennedy and Deirdre Ní Chinnéide
For sisters Mary Kennedy and Deirdre Ní Chinnéide, spirituality has been at the centre
of their lives since childhood. Their home in St Brigid’s Road in Clondalkin, Dublin,
was around the corner from a holy well, a place that signalled family, community, and
divine ritual. Drawing on Celtic spirituality – a key focus in Deirdre’s work as a psychotherapist,
retreat leader and singer, and a long-held area of interest for much-loved
broadcaster and author, Mary – in Journey to the Well, the sisters share a voyage, as
they invite us to journey with them through the Celtic seasons of Samhain, Imbolc,
Bealtaine, and Lughnasa. Journey to the Well is a book of connection that celebrates
the divine within each of us.
Aisling and the City - Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen
With BallyGoBrunch flying and the door firmly closed on her relationship with John, Aisling accepts an
unexpected job offer and boards a business-class flight to New York in her best wrap dress and heels. As she
finds her feet in the Big Apple, she throws herself into the dating game, grapples with ‘always-on’ work culture,
forges and fights for new friendships and brings her good wedges to a party in the Hamptons, much to
Sadhbh’s dismay. But catching up with family and friends on WhatsApp and email is not the same as sitting
in Maguire’s putting the world to rights over mini bottles of Pinot Greej and a shared bag of Taytos. And yet
New York has so much to offer, not least in the ridey fireman department. Will Aisling forget her roots?
Normal Sheeple - Ross O’Carroll-Kelly (Sandycove)
From the day I was born, I was brought up to believe that Gaelic games were invented for people too
stupid to understand the laws of rugby. Little did I know that one day I would become a legend of Kerry
football. But then my life has taken a lot of unexpected twists and turns. My old man is, like, the Taoiseach
of the country. My wife is an actual Minister in his Government. And my suddenly teenage daughter
is heading for the Jailtacht - and her very first rugby boyfriend. And then there’s Marianne. Of course,
I was too busy becoming a Gaelic football stor to realise that my family - like the entire country - was
being pushed towards a cliff edge. And I was the only man capable of saving Ireland’s democracy. Which
is just like, ‘Fooooooock!’
Old Ireland In Colour 2 – John G. Breslin
In Old Ireland in Colour 2, the much-anticipated sequel to their beloved bestseller, John Breslin
and Sarah-Anne Buckley have dug even deeper into Ireland’s historical archives to uncover
captivating photographic gems to bring to life using a unique blend of cutting-edge technology,
historical research and expert colourisation. Old Ireland in Colour 2 celebrates more of the rich
history of Ireland and the Irish from all walks of life and from all four provinces, as well as the
Irish abroad, throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries...
A Lick and a Promise - Imelda May (Faber Music)
A Lick and a Promise is the debut poetry collection of one of Ireland’s most famed female musicians,
Following the release of her first poetry EP Slip Of The Tongue in 2020, this collection contains
100 poems, including two each from both her father and young daughter. Using the themes of
Breast, Below, Blood, Eyes, Tongue and Temple, the poems are written in May’s absorbing, visceral
style and encapsulate heartbreak, sex, nature and womanhood. Included in the collection
is ‘You Don’t Get to be Racist and Irish’, the powerful poem which was written in support of the
Black Lives Matter movement and was recently used by Rethink Ireland campaign.
Noni and the Great Chawwwklit Mystery – Dermot Whelan (Gill Books)
Meet Noni: hard shell, soft centre – just like the treats she sells from her pram outside Thomond
Park. She’s a law-dodging, pram-wielding, chocolate-selling, wickedly funny woman who likes
nothing more than a sticky situation. In her very first adventure, Noni and her young sidekicks
Emma and Seán must find out who’s tampered with the chocolate supply before the whole town
Will Noni solve the mystery and save her beloved business? Will Noni’s pet raven, Francis, ever
find enlightenment? Will anyone ever teach Noni to say the word ‘chocolate’ properly?
A Hug For You –David King –Sandycove
Nothing warms us up quite like a hug, but what can we do when we can’t be together? This is
the story of a new hug’s adventure and the boy who shared it with the world.
This picture book, inspired by true events, tells the story of one little boy with a big idea that
came straight from the heart. The virtual hug makes its way onto mugs, postage stamps and
even all the way to outer space, spreading warmth and connection to people all over the world.
Wishing all a Happy Christmas and Peaceful New Year
The Origin of our Favourite Christmas Traditions
The Christmas Tree
In 16th-century Germany fir trees were decorated,
both indoors and out, with apples, roses, gilded
candies, and colored paper. In the Middle Ages, a
popular religious play depicted the story of Adam
and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden. A fir
tree hung with apples was used to symbolize the
Garden of Eden -- the Paradise
Tree. The play ended with the
prophecy of a saviour coming,
and so was often performed
during the Advent season.
It is held that Protestant
reformer Martin Luther first
adorned trees with light. While
coming home one December
evening, the beauty of the stars
shining through the branches
of a fir inspired him to recreate
the effect by placing candles on
the branches of a small fir tree
inside his home
The Christmas Tree was brought to England by
Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert from
his native Germany. The famous Illustrated News
etching in 1848, featuring the Royal Family of
Victoria, Albert and their children gathered around
a Christmas tree in Windsor Castle, popularized
the tree throughout Victorian England. Brought
to America by the Pennsylvania Germans, the
Christmas tree became by the late 19th century.
The Christmas Card
A form of Christmas card began in England first
when young boys practiced their writing skills by
creating Christmas greetings for their parents, but
it is Sir Henry Cole who is credited with creating
the first real Christmas card. The first director of
London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, Sir Henry
found himself too busy in the Christmas season of
1843 to compose individual Christmas greetings for
his friends. He commissioned artist John Calcott
Horsley for the illustration. The card featured three
panels, with the centre panel depicting a family
enjoying Christmas festivities and the card was
inscribed with the message “A Merry Christmas and
a Happy New Year to You.”
Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer
The Chicago-based Montgomery Ward company,
department store operators, had been purchasing
and distributing children’s coloring books as
Christmas gifts for their customers for several years.
In 1939, Montgomery Ward tapped one of their own
employees to create a book for them, thus saving
money. 34-year old copywriter Robert
L. May wrote the story of Rudolph
the Red-nosed Reindeer in 1939, and
2.4 million copies were handed out
that year. Despite the wartime paper
shortage, over 6 million copies had
been distributed by 1946.
May drew in part on the story “The
Ugly Duckling” and in part from his
own experiences as an often taunted,
small, frail youth to create the story of
the misfit reindeer. Though Rollo and
Reginald were considered, May settled
on Rudolph as his reindeer’s name.
Writing in verse as a series of rhyming couplets, May
tested the story as he went along on his 4-year old
daughter Barbara, who loved the story
Sadly, Robert Mays wife died around the time he was
creating Rudolph, leaving Mays deeply in debt due
to medical bills. However, he was able to persuade
Sewell Avery, Montgomery Ward’s corporate
president, to turn the copyright over to him in
January 1947, thus ensuring May’s financial security.
May’s story “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was
printed commercially in 1947 and in 1948 a nineminute
cartoon of the story was shown in theaters.
When May’s brother-in-law, songwriter Johnny
Marks, wrote the lyrics and melody for the song
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, the Rudolph
phenomenon was born. Turned down by many
musical artists afraid to contend with the legend of
Santa Claus, the song was recorded by Gene Autry
in 1949 at the urging of Autry’s wife. The song sold
two million copies that year, going on to become one
of the best-selling songs of all time, second only to
Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas”. The 1964 television
special about Rudolph, narrated by Burl Ives,
remains a holiday favourite to this day and Rudolph
himself has become a much-loved Christmas icon.
Because laughter is
the best medicine!
The Santa Claus at the shopping
centre was very surprised when
Emily, a young lady aged about 20
walked up and sat on his lap. Now,
we all know that Santa doesn’t
usually take requests from adults,
but she smiled very nicely at him,
so he asked her, ‘What do you
want for Christmas?’ ‘Something
for my mother, please,’ replied
Emily sweetly. ‘Something for your
mother? Well, that’s very loving and
thoughtful of you,’ smiled Santa.
‘What would you like me to bring
her?’ Without turning a hair Emily
answered quickly, ‘A son-in-law.’
Jennifer was a pretty 18 year old girl.
In the week before Christmas she
sauntered up to the curtain counter,
and was trying to decide which of
the many types of tinsel she would
buy. Finally, she made her choice
and asked the spotty youth who was
manning the fabric section. ‘How
much is this gold tinsel garland’. The
spotty youth pointed to the Christmas
mistletoe above the counter and
said, ‘This week we have a special
offer, just one kiss per metre’. ‘Wow,
that’s great’, said Jennifer, ‘I’ll take
12 metres’. With expectation and
anticipation written all over his face,
the boy measured out the tinsel,
wrapped up the garland, and gave it
to Jennifer. She then called to an old
man who had been browsing through
the Christmas trees and said, ‘My
Grandpa will settle the bill.’
It was Christmas Eve in at the meat
counter and a woman was anxiously
picking over the last few remaining
turkeys in the hope of finding a large
one. In desperation she called over a
shop assistant and said, ‘Excuse me.
Do these turkeys get any bigger?’
‘No, madam, ‘he replied, ‘they’re all
Danny had recently passed his
driving test and decided to ask his
clergyman father if there was any
chance of him getting a car for
Christmas, which was yet some
months away. ‘Okay.’ said his
father ‘I tell you what I’ll do. If
you can get your A-Level grades
up to A’s and B’s, study your
Bible and get your hair cut, I’ll
consider the matter very seriously.’
A couple of months later Danny
went back to his father who said
‘I’m really impressed by your
commitment to your studies. Your
grades are excellent and the work you
have put into your Bible studies is
very encouraging. However, I have
to say I’m very disappointed that
you haven’t had your hair cut yet.
Danny was a smart young man who
was never lost for an answer. ‘Look
dad. In the course of my Bible studies
I’ve noticed in the illustrations that
Moses, John the Baptist, Samson
and even Jesus had long hair.’
‘Yes. I’m aware of that...’ replied his
father ‘... but did you also notice they
walked wherever they went?
Every Christmas morning, when
my kids were little, I read them the
Nativity Story out of the big family
When my son was old enough to talk,
he asked me what a stable was.
I thought for a moment how to
explain it to him in terms he could
understand, then told him, “It’s
Something like your sister’s room,
but without a stereo.”
The 4 stages of life:
1. You believe in Santa Claus
2. You don’t believe in Santa Claus
3. You dress up as Santa Claus
4. You look like Santa Claus
How come you never hear anything
about the 10th reindeer “Olive”?
Yeah, you know, “Olive the other
reindeer, used to laugh and call him
What did Santa sing when he went
down the chimney?
“Chestnuts roasting on an open
Available in Health Food Shops Nationwide
An Independent Irish Company Est. 1984 www.atlanticaromatics.com
Is í ár dteanga féin í.
It’s our language.
BAILE ÁTHA CLIATH · BÉAL FEIRSTE · RÁTH CHAIRN · DÚN SEACHLAINN · GAOTH DOBHAIR