On the Futility of Comparative Analyses of Different Intangible Heritages … or … My Sport Is Better Than Yours

On the Futility of Comparative Analyses of Different Intangible Heritages … or … My Sport Is Better Than Yours

So.

Hurling and camogie have been granted special status by the United Nations cultural body. I like the name of the list that UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) uses: the Intangible Heritage List.

I would have thought hurling and camogie tangible enough, if you were given the task of being marked (pun intended) by a Catherine Foley or Daithí Burke for 60 or 70 minutes of championship fare. But I get what they mean – as distinct from buildings and objects and so on. In a way, describing sports as intangible is a good idea, because it’s the feelings we have about sports that matter, not their physical presence or essence – or importance. Continue reading “On the Futility of Comparative Analyses of Different Intangible Heritages … or … My Sport Is Better Than Yours”

Some Articles and Reviews

Some Articles and Reviews

I’ve been neglecting my blog lately.

Instead, I’ve been finishing off a crime novel. Honestly.

I’ve also been writing some book reviews and sport-related pieces for The Irish Examiner.

Here’s the proof (I haven’t been slacking), in reverse chronological order. Continue reading “Some Articles and Reviews”

Fógra: A Message from the PRO

Fógra: A Message from the PRO

A chairde, welcome to the August 24th, 2018 meeting of the Committee. The Rúnaí can’t be here tonight, he’s asked me to deputise on his behalf.

First item on the agenda. The PRO wants to pass on the following information, though the chair:

 

Tadhg Coakley’s novel in stories, The First Sunday in September, was shortlisted for the Mercier Press Fiction Prize, 2017 and was published by Mercier Press in August 2018. It tells the story of a fictional All-Ireland Hurling Final Sunday, from the points of view of several recurring characters, exploring recurring themes. Continue reading “Fógra: A Message from the PRO”

What I Feel when I’m on The Pilgrim Path to Croke Park

What I Feel when I’m on The Pilgrim Path to Croke Park

All of the 71,000 souls who took the pilgrim path to Croke Park yesterday to live the moment in Limerick’s exquisite win over Cork experienced a scatter of emotions. Not just those who travelled, either – but hundreds of thousands of others who watched or listened in. Here are some of mine before the game.

A sense of intention, of purpose, when I wake in the holiday home five minutes before 6am. Up and at ‘em. Here we go, here we go, here we go, and all that. Mount Brandon is stretching itself up into clouds, as it usually does. The gate leaves a creaky grumble when I free the latch. The water on Smerwick Harbour is a slate grey, waves flecking the surface. Continue reading “What I Feel when I’m on The Pilgrim Path to Croke Park”

To Win Just Once – The Game Is On

To Win Just Once – The Game Is On

So, anyway, I wrote this book. I got down off the ditch and into the game. Great view from the ditch, you can hold forth in high judgement and you can hide there, in the crowd. Not easy being inside the white lines, against tough opposition, making a show of yourself with everybody looking at you. Nowhere to hide. But I did it, anyway. Continue reading “To Win Just Once – The Game Is On”

Admiration, Wonder, Joy.

Admiration, Wonder, Joy.

Sport is about emotion. I’ve said this before. Other things too, but mostly emotion. And sometimes the emotions aren’t good but we seek them out anyway. We make ourselves vulnerable to them, we put ourselves out there. We let ourselves be open and exposed. Not a common stance for men. We stick our unprotected heads above the parapet in the full knowledge we could get our blocks knocked off. Continue reading “Admiration, Wonder, Joy.”

Who I’m Cheering For in World Cup 2018

Who I’m Cheering For in World Cup 2018

Karl Ove Knausgaard, in his book Home and Away: Writing the Beautiful Game, shares a series of letters with his friend Fredrik Ekelund about the 2014 World Cup. In his first letter he says that he will always cheer on Argentina and Italy in such competitions. And he does this because both teams are traditionally cynical, they never do ‘anything beautiful for the sake of beautiful, only if there is some outcome.’ And the fact that they can do so, but hold back, appeals to something deep in side him. Continue reading “Who I’m Cheering For in World Cup 2018”