I know there are skeptics who think that this planet we call earth is the only one that has “life” as we know it, but then again, do we humans have a monopoly on the right to to exist ?
A former owner of Kilshannig House, near Rathcormac, was Paul Rose, of English descent. He would have grown up in dear old England surrounded by beautiful, quiet sports like cricket. croquet and lawn tennis. When he came to Bride Valley, he was a patron of what Oscar Wilde defined as “the unspeakable in pursuit of the unmissable,” the fox hunt.
In the 1950s, Paul was taken to see a local carnival hurling tournament – it could have been in Rathcormac, The Hill, Conna or Castlelyons.
At that time, local pride in winning carnival games was comparable to winning county championships or leagues today. The grass was often long and the temperaments often short.
Well, that particular match that marked the merry old Englishman’s introduction to the old Gael game was a tough deal. When you see a game’s story that says “no quarter was asked for or given,” that’s a nice way to say that skin and hair was flying.
That night it did, and Paul Rose, who had witnessed the action during WWII, was shocked. To paraphrase what he said: ‘Almighty God, it’s worse than the Somme, these will be guys killed here, let’s call the gendarmerie – or the undertaker.’ He fled the hurling field and was taken to a local inn, demanding copious double cognacs to ease his nerves after the “massacre” he had witnessed!
Paul Rose was just an Englishman and shocked at what he saw just across the sea from his birthplace, so imagine if “real” aliens came from afar they would. of our great old game.
The question of whether such beings have the ability to sort colors has come to my mind in recent days as a huge Club Hurling Finals weekend approaches in Leeside.
If a crowd were to come here from space or a place like it, you’d assume they’d have a satellite navigation system, or an interplanetary version of it anyway. Let’s just imagine there was an intergalactic sandstorm that deflected their trusty craft. The extra-fine sand globules could easily interfere with their tracking systems, so they would rely more on using old-fashioned glider wings to circle Cork before selecting a suitable landing point.
So if they arrived over Australia and through Poland and the Orkney Islands, and given the prevailing winds and the ripple effects of emissions from the Canary Islands volcano, they could head to East Cork. I calculated with a compass and an isosceles triangle that they were coming over Knockadoon Head just east of Ballymacoda.
Guys, they’d have a square scare if they did a little low-level flying to scout the area before they land. This is where the ability to recognize – or not depending on the case – different colors is called into question!
All the aliens coming to Ireland would have studied our history, and our coastal history in particular. In ancient times, when we were in danger of being overrun by Danes, Normans, Cromwellians, Tories and Puritans en route to America, the native Irish had a clever system for sending warning messages along on the side. An ingenious system of colored flags would be waved in a certain way in prominent places, conveying the necessary message.
These could be “Ships On The Sea”, “Dinner’s Ready”, “Man Overboard”, or “Fire the Cannon Now”.
This coded system of sending flag messages, known as omdyidy, was in use until the 1930s when it was used by the Blueshirts.
If the crowd on the ditch couldn’t see the flag, they would shout “Up” and that’s how the word “referee” came into effect!
Can you imagine what our alien friends would do with all the flags this weekend, flags everywhere. It is said that when beings from space come to colonize territories in the EU these days, they would like a good, decent strip of land – much like Cromwell and Walter Raleigh a long time ago. So we’ll say they will “watch” (from their aerial vehicle) about 25 miles inland from Knockadoon.
So first they would see red and green flags flying on each pole, from the Ring to Ballymacoda and from Kilcredan to Ladysbridge. Then suddenly more green and red, only red, big red flags from the village of Castlemartyr to Loughaderra and Ballintotis and to Mogeely.
Then, all of a sudden after the Two Mile Inn, the blood red disappears, and the alien scouts can only see black and white squares springing from trees, poles, signs and church steeples. Across the town of Midleton, the colors of the magpie can be seen.
On the road then to the ESB station. Shake the alien heads further when another change in hue is observed. No more black and white and instead it’s now blue and gold. This color trend covers Lisgoold, Ballincurrig, Top Cross, Leamlara, Dooneen and Templeboden.
Like Paul Rose at the carnival of the last century, the alien captain and vice-captain fail to comprehend this colorful riddle. Before landing in East Cork they download the official GAA guidebook (The Gael’s Bible) and of course on page 189 they see a list of “county colors” and that will surely solve the glaring mystery.
Red and Green is Mayo, Solid Red is Louth, Black and White is Sligo and Blue and Gold is Tipperary! Now they are in a worse situation than ever as their Circumnavigation Atlas had Mayo and Sligo in Connacht, Louth in Leinster and Tipperary next to Kilkenny, not far from Dublin!
Well, wasn’t it God’s luck that I, myself, was taking in the air of East Cork just as the extra-galactic water craft landed. From my research they knew I was handy in Question Time and the like, so using omdyidy they asked me to explain the flag frenzy that covered most of the former territory of ‘Imokilly.
I explained that Father O Neills (who beat us last Saturday) was meeting Kanturk in a final. Castlemartyr ‘the Reds’ take on Sarsfields in another decisive match.
The Midleton Magpies, I told them, are in ‘The Big One’ against the Glen while Lisgoold, like Castlemartyr trying to win two counties in a year, meets Kilbrittain.
The aliens are asking questions about this hurling game and its importance here – “It’s more than important,” I say, “that’s just all,” and so my story goes. Aliens are coming to the homeland of hurling – now I have to get tickets online for a lot of them, 700 each. They will have big celebrations this weekend with the East Cork hurling natives. Good luck to them all.