Archive for Golf

The Storm in Ireland

Posted in Covid-19, Politics with tags , , , on August 25, 2020 by telescoper

I’m sitting in my office eating a sandwich and listening to the rain. Last night Storm Francis arrived – the picture above was what I saw on the weather app on my phone just before I went to bed, with the storm approaching from the I was very tired so went straight to sleep and fortunately wasn’t woken up by the storm. It probably wasn’t as windy as Storm Ellen but there’s been a heck of a lot of rain, and it’s still coming down.

Storm Francis isn’t the biggest storm going on in Ireland at the moment, though. Last week a quite different tempest brewed up, a political one, the consequences of which have already been quite severe for certain members of the Government. There’s now even a Wikipedia page about the Oireachtas Golf Society Scandal, known colloquially as Golfgate, which means I don’t have to explain too much about it. The story in a nutshell that 81 people, including a number of prominent politicians, attended a golf club dinner that violated Covid-19 restrictions. It has already caused two politicians to resign from their main offices, and a host of apologies have been made, but I don’t think it’s over yet. People are justifiably furious about politicians and other public figures behaving as if they are above the law while others are enduring lockdown conditions. There are definite shades of Dominic Cummings and his trip to Barnard Castle.

One outstanding issue is the conduct of EU Trade Commissioner, Phil Hogan, who not only attended the dinner but also travelled to Kildare (which is under special restrictions) on the way there and, it subsequently emerged, was stopped by Gardaí for talking on his mobile phone will driving. He has been asked to account for his actions by his boss, Ursula von der Leyen, to whom he has handed over a `20-page dossier’ explaining his movements. One wonders what else is in that document that we don’t yet know about.

Update: 26th August. Phil Hogan resigned.

In my opinion, Hogan should be sacked if he won’t resign but there is an issue about how to prevent this sort of thing happening in future. The answer to me is obvious: an interest in golf is clearly an indication of poor judgement so anyone who plays golf, or is interested in golf in any way, should be barred from holding any form of public office.

I rest my case.

Golf and other Hazards

Posted in History, Maynooth, Sport with tags , , , , , on August 27, 2018 by telescoper

Back in the office with a few minutes to go before a meeting starts I thought I’d give a little insight into life in the throbbing metropolis that is Maynooth, County Kildare. This week sees the start of the World Amateur Team Golf Championships, which is being held at Carton House (above) which is a short walk from downtown Maynooth. Some of the competitors will be staying on Maynooth University campus for the duration, which will no doubt provide welcome revenue.

Now the game of golf is obviously of no conceivable interest to anyone, but the venue – Carton House – is quite fascinating. The current house was built on the Carton Estate in the 18th Century to accommodate the Earl of Kildare, when their fortunes had slowly recovered after Thomas Fitzgerald (`Silken Thomas’) the 10th Earl of Kildare was executed, along with several others of the Fitzgerald family, by Henry VIII for plotting a rebellion against the English. If you have been paying attention you will know that it was the Fitzgeralds who built the stone castle in Maynooth that was destroyed in the 16th Century. Carton House is at the other end of town, and is approached by a very pleasant tree-lined avenue. The extensive grounds are also surrounded by a wall. The latter-day Fitzgeralds obviously wanted to keep the hoi polloi at arm’s length.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, Carton House fell into disrepair in the second half of the 20th Century and was eventually sold off and turned into a hotel and spa resort, with two golf courses.

In the meantime, among many other things, Carton House and it its grounds were used as one of the locations for Stanley Kubrick’s (1975) film Barry Lyndon. That was of course before the beautiful landscaped gardens were destroyed and turned into golf courses. I went for a pleasant walk in the grounds earlier this summer, during the heatwave, but the path runs alongside a small lake beside one of the fairways where a group of people were openly committing acts of golf. A not-very-competent member of this group sent several balls into the water before finally managing to hit dry land with a tee shot. For a while I wished I’d brought a tin hat with me.