MARTYRDOM IN DUBLIN: 431 YEARS AGO

Entrance to St Kevin's Park, Dublin Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Entrance to St Kevin’s Park, Dublin Photo: © Michael Fisher

Visiting a hidden-away part of Dublin city centre earlier this month near Aungier Street, I came across a little-known story about a significant event in the history of the Irish Catholic church 431 years ago on this day. By coincidence, June 20th 1584 was also a Saturday. Walking along Camden Row off Wexford Street, I came across a small green area behind a wall, with an interesting arch and gate at the entrance: Saint Kevin’s Park. I decided to take a look. There is a very helpful information board at the entrance, provided by the Parks Division of Dublin Corporation (now Dublin City Council).

Entrance to St Kevin's Park, Dublin Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Entrance to St Kevin’s Park, Dublin Photo: © Michael Fisher

This is the story of one of the Irish Catholic Martyrs during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. On 27th September 1992, he was beatified by Pope John Paul II, alongside sixteen other Irish martyrs, who share this feastday. Another martyr, Saint Oliver Plunkett, was beatified in 1920 and canonised in 1975.

Ruins of St Kevin's Church in St Kevin's Park, Dublin Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Ruins of St Kevin’s Church in St Kevin’s Park, Dublin Photo: © Michael Fisher

Inside the park you can see the ruins of Saint Kevin’s church. Beside the wall at the south-eastern corner, there is a stone memorial resembling a pulpit, with the bishop’s coat of arms on the front and on top, a bronze plaque with a dedication to Archbishop O’Hurley.

Memorial to Archbishop of Cashel Dr Dermot O'Hurley in St Kevin's Park, Dublin Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Memorial to Archbishop of Cashel Dr Dermot O’Hurley in St Kevin’s Park, Dublin Photo: © Michael Fisher

BLESSED DERMOT O’HURLEY ARCHBISHOP OF CASHEL 1531-1584

Memorial plaque with story of Archbishop Dermot O'Hurley in St Kevin's Park, Dublin Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Memorial plaque with story of Archbishop Dermot O’Hurley in St Kevin’s Park, Dublin Photo: © Michael Fisher

Dr Dermot O’Hurley was born at, or near, Emly, Co. Tipperary, about 1530. His family were well off by the standards of the time and as a young man Dermot was sent abroad to study law at the University of Louvain, where he graduated with an M.A. in 1551. In 1581 Pope Gregory XIII asked Dermot O’Hurley, still a layman, to become the new Archbishop of Cashel and he accepted. He was ordained on 13th August 1581 and on 11th September that year was appointed Archbishop of Cashel. O’Hurley was aware that his appointment would mean life as a fugitive, ministering where possible, in dangerous conditions. In the summer of 1583 he arrived in Ireland. He never reached Cashel. While sheltering at Slane Castle he was recognised. By October he had been arrested and imprisoned in Dublin Castle. Believing that he was actively participating in a plot to overthrow the English rule in Ireland, Dermot O’Hurley was repeatedly interrogated and tortured. This included roasting the Archbishop’s legs in two boots filled with boiling pitch and oil. Throughout the torture he persistently

Memorial plaque with story of Archbishop Dermot O'Hurley in St Kevin's Park, Dublin Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Memorial plaque with story of Archbishop Dermot O’Hurley in St Kevin’s Park, Dublin Photo: © Michael Fisher

protested that his mission was one of peace and that he had no information to give to his captors. The authorities also resorted to bribery. This proved to be equally fruitless and an order for his execution was received from England on Saturday 20th June, 1584. Dermot O’Hurley was taken, very early on a midsummer morning from his cell in Ship Street, to Hoggin Green, near St Stephen’s Green, (then a swampy area with wildfowl) to be hanged. He got an opportunity to speak a few words to people who were in the Green that morning.  

‘I am a priest anointed and also a Bishop, although unworthy of so sacred dignities, and no cause could they find against me that might in the least degree deserve the pains of death, but merely my function of priesthood wherein they have proceeded against me in all points cruelly contrary to their own laws’. 

The Very Rev. Dean (Thomas H.) Kinane P.P., V.G. in his book “The Life of Dr O’Hurley Archbishop of Cashel” published in 1893 states ‘Mr William Fitzsimmons a citizen of Dublin (let his name be emblazoned in gold and held up to

Memorial plaque with story of Archbishop Dermot O'Hurley in St Kevin's Park, Dublin Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Memorial plaque with story of Archbishop Dermot O’Hurley in St Kevin’s Park, Dublin Photo: © Michael Fisher

the admiration of posterity) got private possession of the holy relic of the body of the martyr, lovingly and reverentially encased in a wooden urn, the best that could be procured under the circumstances and consigned it to it’s (sic.) mother earth in the ruinous church of St Kevin’. The Catholic Bishop of Ossory, David Rothe, in ‘Analecta Hibernia’ written about 1609 and published in Cologne in 1717, relates that the church was rebuilt ‘in view of the throng of pilgrims to the grave “in vicino oratorio” (in the vicinity of the oratory) of Saint Kevin and the remarkable occurrances (sic.) there’.  Rev. S. O Muirthuile  S.J. in ‘A Martyred Archbishop of Cashel’ (1935) writes ‘we may be sure that this holy place played its part in strengthening the faith of the Catholic people of Anglo-Irish Dublin during the glorious history of persecution. It was a strange disposition of God’s providence that he who had been consecrated to spend his life in the apostolate of Cashel became in death a most eloquent apostle of Dublin’. 

Memorial plaque with story of Archbishop Dermot O'Hurley in St Kevin's Park, Dublin Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Memorial plaque with story of Archbishop Dermot O’Hurley in St Kevin’s Park, Dublin Photo: © Michael Fisher

The above reference to Slane Castle caught my attention and I decided to investigate it further. The Castle referred to is not the present building, the home of the Conyngham family since 1703. The Castle was for many years the seat of the Flemings, an Anglo-Catholic family. The tenth Baron Slane Thomas Fleming (died 1601) was a member of the Parliament of Ireland of 1585. He was the son of James Fleming, a grandson of James Fleming, 7th Baron Slane.

An entrance to the current Slane Castle, Co. Meath Photo:  © Michael Fisher

An entrance to the current Slane Castle, Co. Meath Photo: © Michael Fisher

His mother was Ismay Dillon, daughter of Sir Bartholomew Dillon, Lord Chief Justice of Ireland. He succeeded to the barony after the death of his cousin James Fleming, 9th Baron Slane. He was the only noble to serve with Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex against Turlough Luineach O’Neill, the ruler of Ulster, in March 1574. He was one of the leaders of the opposition to the policies of Sir John Perrot, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, in the 1580s. His relative the thirteenth Baron Slane was (Catholic) Archbishop of Dublin, a Franciscan priest who, like O’Hurley, had studied at Louvain.

Coat of arms of Archbishop Dermot O'Hurley of Cashel on memorial in St Kevin's Park, Dublin Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Coat of arms of Archbishop Dermot O’Hurley of Cashel on memorial in St Kevin’s Park, Dublin Photo: © Michael Fisher

The episcopal motto for Archbishop O’Hurley was “Ardente Fide” (burning, or ardent faith) and the coat of arms forms part of the memorial in the park. So on this anniversary let us remember him and the other Irish martyrs who died for their faith. Semper et ubique fidelis, in the words of our school motto in Dublin.

Advertisements

CHRISTINA RELAXES AT HOME

Michael Fisher interviewing Christina McMahon at her  home in Carrickmacross  Photo: Pat Byrne

Michael Fisher interviewing Christina McMahon at her home in Carrickmacross Photo: Pat Byrne

CHAMPION CHRISTINA RELAXES AT HOME 

Michael Fisher  Northern Standard  Thursday 14th May: with photos by Pat Byrne

“You are absolutely inspirational”, the Saturday Night Show host Brendan O’Connor told Christina McMahon from Carrickmacross as she finished her live interview on RTE1 in front of a studio audience at Donnybrook that included her coach and husband Frick and her parents. Christina is now resting after her tough ten rounds fight in Zambia to win the interim WBC bantamweight world title. The belt, the only one of its kind in Ireland at the moment, was with her as she explained to her interviewer how she had taken up boxing on a professional basis when she turned 35, having won a world title for kick-boxing. Now aged 40, she had been up against a much younger opponent in Lusaka, 22 year-old Catherine Phiri, who was strongly fancied to win by the home crowd.

Even before the fight, however, Christina and had come successfully through the psychological battle that saw the promoter favour Phiri and try to make things awkward for the Irish boxer. Christina spent an hour being interviewed on local radio and by the time she had finished, she had won the hearts and minds of many of the locals. It was yet another sign of her great determination. “I never gave up on my dream”, she told Brendan O’Connor and now, after a good rest, she will be prepared to go after the full title. The current WBC bantamweight title holder is Yazmin Rivas from Mexico, who won it last June.

Taking part in the RTE Saturday Night Show made her feel like a celebrity, she said. She had to get her hair done and also required special attention from make-up to ensure that the black eye she received in the fight did not show.

Now relaxing at home in Magheross, Christina says she does not need a national media focus after being under the radar for so long. She was delighted to receive a civic reception on her return to Carrickmacross last week. It was a lovely surprise, she told me. She also thanked the organisers, the Carrickmacross Festival Committee, for ensuring it went so smoothly. She expressed her thanks for the three gifts that were presented to her on the night.

Monaghan County Council. Cathaoirleach Padraig McNally gave Christina a gift of an Irish Crystal bowl. The Cathaoirleach of Carrickmacross-Castlebleyney Municipal District Cllr Jackie Crowe presented her with a framed gift of Carrickmacross lace. The Festival Committee presented the boxer with a clock to mark the occasion.

Christina is a former pupil at St Louis Secondary School, where a welcome home banner had been displayed. She studied sport and leisure management at Inchicore College of Further Education in Dublin. She told me she was delighted that after her victory, some of her former college friends were able to renew contact with her. She also received a message from a family for whom she used to babysit.

On Sunday evening a crowd gathered at the Shirley Arms Hotel to watch a replay of the fight and to celebrate with Christina and her husband. Hopefully there will be one more big celebration still to come in the next twelve months or so.

COUNCILLORS OPPOSE GAMING OUTLETS

Ground floor unit in Carrickmacross proposed for conversion into a private members gaming club Photo: © Michael Fisher

Ground floor unit in Carrickmacross proposed for conversion into a private members gaming club Photo: © Michael Fisher

COUNCILLORS CONTINUE TO OPPOSE GAMBLING OUTLETS 

Michael Fisher

All six Councillors in the Carrickmacross-Castleblayney Municipal District have again highlighted their opposition to a proposed private members gaming club in Carrickmacross. A fortnight ago planners in Monaghan County Council put on hold an application by Carrick Gold Mine Ltd to set up a private gaming club in a vacant commercial unit off Main Street, beside the car park at the rear of the Shopping Centre at Drummond Etra.

Carrickmacross-Castleblayney MD Councillors PJ O'Hanlon, Aidan Campbell, Colm Carthy and Padraig McNally Photo © Michael Fisher

Carrickmacross-Castleblayney MD Councillors PJ O’Hanlon, Aidan Campbell, Colm Carthy and Padraig McNally Photo © Michael Fisher

The applicants said the proposed use of the premises would be for a professionally managed Private Members Gaming Club. It would provide card games like Baccarat and other games like Texas Holdem etc “for groups of dedicated card players”. It would the Club’s intention to have weekly Poker tournaments, some of which would be for local sports teams and associations, according to the letter. The club’s facilities would be open to members only, who must be over eighteen.

Planning officials have requested additional information about a number of aspects and have given the applicants six months to reply to the Council.

Cllr Jackie Crowe (SF), Cathaoirleach Carrickmacross=Castleblayney Municipal District Council  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Cllr Jackie Crowe (SF), Cathaoirleach Carrickmacross-Castleblayney Municipal District Council Photo: © Michael Fisher

The March meeting of the Municipal District Council held in Carrickmacross and chaired by Cllr Jackie Crowe heard from District Co-Ordinator Cathal Flynn that because of a loophole in current legislation, there was nothing the District Council could do to prevent the operation of such a club, if the application was approved. Councillor Padraig McNally asked for Standing Orders to be suspended so that he could ask a question seeking additional information, following last month’s decision to write to the Minister for Justice, asking for local authorities to be able to introduce bye-laws that would prohibit gaming facilities, including gaming clubs. He was told that the Council had received a letter from the office of the Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald T.D., last week. It informed Councillors that the government had approved the general scheme of the Gambling Control Bill in July 2013. The scheme was currently with the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel, awaiting legal drafting. A copy has been made available on the Department’s website. The letter, signed by the Minister’s Private Secretary, said that upon enactment of this proposed legislation, the Minister would assume the sole regulatory function as relates to all forms of gambling, with the exception of the National Lottery. It was not possible to indicate at this point when the Bill is likely to be published, according to the Minister’s Office.

Cllr Padraig McNally (FF) Photo © Michael Fisher

Cllr Padraig McNally (FF) Photo © Michael Fisher

Councillor McNally said this letter should be circulated to local Deputies and they should be asked to help speed up the process of bringing the Bill through the Dáil, so as to ensure this planning application would come under the remit of any new gambling legislation.

Cllr PJ O'Hanlon (FF) Photo: © Michael Fisher

Cllr PJ O’Hanlon (FF) Photo: © Michael Fisher

His party colleague Councillor PJ O’Hanlon said they would do everything in their power through the Council to stop such private members clubs. As public representatives they had a role and a function to represent the views of people on the ground.

Cllr Colm Carthy  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Cllr Colm Carthy Photo: © Michael Fisher

Councillor Colm Carthy said a number of local businesses and residents in Carrickmacross had already been in contact with Oireachtas members and they would push the issue to try to get it resolved. Councillor Noel Keelan said their aim should be to try to close the planning loophole concerning private members gaming clubs. Councillor McNally proposed and Councillor O’Hanlon seconded a motion, which was passed unanimously:

“That this Authority writes to our local TDs to ensure the speedy passage of legislation in Dáil Éireann and to seek their support for measures to stop such gambling outlets from receiving consent for planning authorities and court services”.

Cllr Noel Keelan  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Cllr Noel Keelan Photo: © Michael Fisher

The Northern Standard

                  The Northern Standard

WPFG: CLOSING CEREMONY

Red Arrows over Titanic Quarter Photo: © Michael Fisher

Red Arrows over Titanic Quarter Photo: © Michael Fisher

The Red Arrows having just taken part in an air show in Newcastle, County Down, flew low over the Titanic Quarter in Belfast leaving behind a trail of red, white and blue smoke in a spectacular start to the closing ceremony of the 2013 World Police and Fire Games. In the background the cruise ship Silver Cloud was berthed on a one-day stopover.

Lord Mayor of Belfast  Máirtín Ó Muilleoir with WPFG President Mike Graham and NI Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín Photo: © Michael Fisher

Lord Mayor of Belfast Máirtín Ó Muilleoir with WPFG President Mike Graham and NI Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín Photo: © Michael Fisher

This year’s event in Northern Ireland has been hailed as the friendliest and best games ever, taking place in 41 venues with nearly 7000 competitors from 67 countries. WPFG Federation President Mike Graham said “the organisation and professionalism of the WPFG delivery team has been exemplary, the warmth and welcome of the many thousand volunteers has been outstanding, the support of the local people has been second to none and even the weather has been fabulous. The WPFG Federation is absolutely delighted with what has been the pinnacle of our games to date and we are indebted to Belfast and Northern Ireland for making it happen.” Mind you, there was a heavy shower of rain just before the ceremony got underway!

NIFRS aerial ladder platform at Titanic slipway

NIFRS aerial ladder platform at Titanic slipway Photo: © Michael Fisher

Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín said the games had brought a significant boost to business and tourism. The Minister said the closing ceremony had officially lowered the curtain on a remarkable ten days in the North. “It is appropriate to look back on an event, the likes of which we have never seen before,” she said. “That we could host the World Police and Fire Games might have been unimaginable a few years ago. Yet we have confidently welcomed thousands of competitors from across the globe to join in a sporting spectacular. The games have further opened the eyes of the world to the north, they have come and experienced the best of what we have to offer”, she added.

The closing ceremony featured music from the Open Arts Choir, the PSNI Pipe Band and the Northern Virginia Firefighters Emerald Society Pipe Band.

PSNI Pipe Band & Northern Virginia Firefighters Emerald Society Pipe Band

PSNI Pipe Band & Northern Virginia Firefighters Emerald Society Pipe Band Photo: © Michael Fisher

A special tribute was paid to the 3,500 volunteers known as the ‘spirit of the games’ for their friendly and enthusiastic contribution.

The spirit of the volunteers is evident as a double rainbow appears

The spirit of the volunteers is evident as a double rainbow appears Photo: © Michael Fisher

The formalities included a parade of flags from the participating countries, the handing over of the WPFG flag to next host city, Fairfax, and the final journey of the Flame of Hope.

Sandy Row Falcons cheerleaders: a touch of US razzmatazz Photo: © Michael Fisher

Sandy Row Falcons cheerleaders: a touch of US razzmatazz Photo: © Michael Fisher

PSNI Deputy Chief Constable and Chair of the 2013 WPFG Board, Judith Gillespie, said the games were a prime example of why Northern Ireland was “renowned for its warm and friendly welcome”. “I feel very proud, of all of our serving and retired colleagues as they stood shoulder to shoulder with fire service and prison service colleagues in Team Northern Ireland. But I am also extremely proud to have been part of this wonderful event that has brought such colour, vibrancy and enjoyment to so many and which I hope will leave a lasting legacy for Northern Ireland for many years to come”, she added.

Confetti cannons explode and the games flame is shrouded in colour Photo: © Michael Fisher

Confetti cannons explode and the games flame is shrouded in colour Photo: © Michael Fisher

WPFG: FINAL DAY

Last of the WPFG Medals: Table Tennis Photo: © Michael Fisher

Last of the WPFG Medals: Table Tennis Photo: © Michael Fisher

For the competitors at this month’s world police and fire games in Northern Ireland, this was what it was all about: the prospect of a gold, silver or bronze medal. For many though, the joy came in competing against fellow police, emergency or fire and prison service members and the result did not matter. These medals were the last to be presented and were for the table tennis.

Volunteer team rehearse medal presentation Photo: © Michael Fisher

Volunteer team rehearse medal presentation Photo: © Michael Fisher

At each medal ceremony a team of volunteers was ready to help. They appeared at the Odyssey for the first medals in the novice section of the ice hockey on Tuesday 30th July, two days before the official start of the games. Then a team turned up at the Valley Leisure Centre in Newtownabbey for the table tennis medals presentations, two on Friday and two yesterday. Newtownabbey Mayor Fraser Agnew and Alastair Ross MLA were the guests on Friday. Yesterday the first ceremony at lunchtime featured the deputy Mayor Dineen Walker and for the last presentation we were joined by the Justice Minister David Ford MLA.

Womens Doubles bronze medallist Garda Louise Long & NI Justice Minister David Ford

Womens Doubles bronze medallist Garda Louise Long & NI Justice Minister David Ford Photo: © Michael Fisher

Although the USA topped the medals table (well they had the most competitors, over 900 of them), Norn Iron in eighth position (120 medals) performed quite well considering the number of participants from the PSNI. NIFRS and Prison Service of NI. Team Ireland did one better, finishing seventh and going home with 137 medals (40 gold 44 silver and 43 bronze). Four of them came in table tennis, thanks to Garda Louise long (a native of Cork, now based at Blackrock in County Dublin) taking bronze in the womens doubles with Susanne Eckholdt from Germany and also in the mixed doubles with a partner from the Fire Department in New York. Sergeant Adrian Flynn from Sligo, who assured me he most definitely had not yet reached the big 50 took a bronze in the mens singles DIVISION II yesterday, then partnered a policeman from Yorkshire to win the silver in the mens doubles DIVISION B.

Garda Louise Long & Susanne Eckholdt (bronze medallists)

Garda Louise Long & Susanne Eckholdt (bronze medallists) Photo: © Michael Fisher

Northern Ireland had a gold medal success thanks to jay McAllister (NIFRS) who partnered a player from Kazakhstan Vladimir Markin (Almaty FTHS) in the Grand Master doubles final.

Grand Master gold medallists Jay McAllister (NIFRS) & Vladimir Markin, Kazakhstan Photo: Michael Fisher

Grand Master gold medallists Jay McAllister (NIFRS) & Vladimir Markin, Kazakhstan Photo:© Michael Fisher

WPFG: TABLE TENNIS

WPFG Games Patron Dame Mary Peters at the Valley Leisure Centre

WPFG Games Patron Dame Mary Peters at the Valley Leisure Centre

WPFG Games Patron Mary Peters has proved to be a wonderful ambassador for the games. As Patron, she has been here, there and everywhere during the past fortnight and has visited most of the 40+ venues. I welcomed her to the Odyssey Arena at the start of the Ice Hockey on July 25th.

Games Patron Dame Mary Peters with table tennis officials

Games Patron Dame Mary Peters with table tennis officials

Today (Friday 9th) she was in Newtownabbey, watching the men’s singles in the table tennis at the Valley Leisure Centre. She met volunteers and officials, and also posed for photographs with members of the public who had come to watch the competition.

WPFG Patron Dame Mary Peters with Games Ambassadors

WPFG Patron Dame Mary Peters with Games Ambassadors

This morning Ireland won a bronze medal when Garda Sergeant Adrian Flynn from Sligo competed in the men’s singles Division II (apologies Adrian for putting you down as 50+, much to the amusement of your Garda colleagues!!).

Gardaí Adrian Flynn (Sligo) & Louise Long (Blackrock)

Gardaí Adrian Flynn (Sligo) & Louise Long (Blackrock)

Garda Louise Long from Celbridge, County Kildare who is based at Blackrock, Co.Dublin was playing in the women’s singles. She is an Ireland national coach and has been in the Gardaí for over seven years. But her opponents especially the Chinese proved too strong for her.

Garda Louise Long in action

Garda Louise Long in action

The results in the women’s singles were: Bronze Susanne Eckholdt (Germany); Silver Wan Ling and Gold Mei Yang (China). Now I had better get some sleep otherwise Susanne and her three German colleagues I am collecting in the morning will not get their lift from the Malone Road to Newtownabbey! I gave them a lift back to Belfast as there was still some trouble in the city centre and then I headed for Newforge where a party was in full swing!

Women's singles medals presented by East Antrim MLA Alastair Ross

Women’s singles medals presented by East Antrim MLA Alastair Ross

WPFG: OPENING CEREMONY

First Minister Peter Robinson & deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness show their support for the NI competitors

First Minister Peter Robinson & deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness show their support for the NI competitors: Photo © Michael Fisher

Some medals have already been awarded and some of the competitors from the novice section of the ice hockey have already gone home. But this was the day set aside for the official opening ceremony of the 2013 World Police and Fire Games. It was a fantastic occasion at the King’s Hall complex in Belfast, with over 10,000 people (mainly competitors and their friends and family) crowding into a specially constructed arena dominated by a large stage.

Here come the Mounties (RCMP) !!

Here come the Mounties (RCMP) !! Photo © Michael Fisher

The evening ended with the lighting of the games torch, the raising of the WPFG flag and a performance by Brian Kennedy and other stars.

WPFG opening ceremony: Photo  © Michael Fisher

WPFG opening ceremony: Photo © Michael Fisher

Today I saw the way the Waterfront Hall had been turned into a welcome centre for all the athletes and their supporters. Met some of the volunteers there who were very helpful. When I returned to my car at St George’s Market found two competitors, both from the USA, wondering how to get out to the Mary Peters track to take a look around (one of them will be competing there, the other is taking part in the golf competition).

PSNI Chief Constable (and Crystal Palace fan) Matt Baggott

PSNI Chief Constable (and Crystal Palace fan) Matt Baggott Photo © Michael Fisher

I was wearing my official identification so I immediately offered to bring them to the track and gave them a guided tour of South Belfast (University Road and Malone Road, including the turnoff for Newforge) along the way. When we arrived, both were impressed with the track and I pointed out the new stand, which I was seeing for the first time. Looks well, as do the QUB facilities at The Dub beside the House of Sport.

Team Ireland

Members of Team Ireland Photo © Michael Fisher

Note: for those who think I have mixed up this photo with the Ivory Coast (who are not represented at the games) take a look at where the hook is on the green section for attaching the tricolour to a flagpole. I insisted on carrying the national flag this way once in Belgium, to the consternation of some of my colleagues! The rest of the Garda/fire/prison service team preferred to carry the Irish flag in what might seem the ‘normal’ way, i.e. green, white and orange. Anyone who wishes to clarify the correct protocol should let me know.

Among the visitors to the ceremony was the President of the Ulster Council of the GAA, Martin McAviney from Ballybay. He will be heading for Croke Park on Saturday to join his fellow county-man Paraic Duffy (Castleblayney and Scotstown),  Ard Stiúrthoir Cumann Lúthchleas Gael. No doubt both of  them will find it difficult to remain entirely neutral when the Farney army meet Tyrone in the All-Ireland quarter-final! Gaelic football is one of the sports at WPFG 2013.

Plenty of colour at the opening ceremony WPFG 2013

Plenty of colour at the opening ceremony WPFG 2013 Photo © Michael Fisher

Northern Ireland Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín watches the pageant

Northern Ireland Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín watches the pageant: Photo © Michael Fisher