Writing

Dr. Conor has written book chapters, advice columns in magazines, newspapers, internationally accredited well-being, health and education courses and has blogged online since 2014.

In the past he has been requested to give his expert opinion on children and adolescent’s well-being, health, education and life matters in general. He has been successfully published in both the Woman’s Way magazine and the Pregnancy and Parenting magazine, where he wrote a regular Ask the Expert column.

Since 2016 he has blogged for Book Hub Publising services and in 2017 he began writing for the The Galway Eye Newspaper/ Magazine.

His range of expertise has expanded since then and in 2018 he will write other published articles and blogs.

In general  he will write on well-being, health and education as well as the social and behavioural issues that are present in modern society.

Conor wrote a chapter on Friendship in Modern Times in the book Mental Health for Millennials. The book is the first in a series of books targeted at those from the millennials age group. To purchase a copy visit: http://www.bookhubpublishing.com/product/mental-health-for-millennials

Published Blogs on Publishers’ Website

Friendship: An Inate Human Need 

http://www.bookhubpublishing.com/friendship-an-innate-human/

Scoliosis, The Dáíl and Twisted Logic

http://dissertationdoctorsclinic.com/scoliosis-the-dail-and-the-twisted-logic-of-the-hse/

http://www.bookhubpublishing.com/scoliosis-the-dail/

One Reason Why Not

http://www.bookhubpublishing.com/introductory/

What Does Not Kill Us Makes Us Stronger

http://dissertationdoctorsclinic.com/what-does-not-kill-us-will-make-us-stronger/ 

Sweet Harte, Bitter Society 

http://dissertationdoctorsclinic.com/sweet-harte-bitter-society-by-dr-conor-hogan/

Are We The Animal Of Our Own Mental Health?

http://www.bookhubpublishing.com/are-we-the-animal-of-our-own-mental-health/

Tiger Woods: A Golfing Great or a Talent not Fully Realised?

http://dissertationdoctorsclinic.com/tiger-woods-a-golfing-great-or-a-talent-not-fully-realised/

Bo Derek: Beauty is Skin Deep but Pain Goes to One’s Core

http://www.bookhubpublishing.com/bo-derek-beauty-is-skin-deep-but-pain-goes-to-ones-core/

 The  Eye Magazine

Since the birth of The Galway Eye (Galway’s first online Newspaper/Magazine) in 2017-2019, Conor has written many articles on a range of issues:

Please Note: The ‘Eye’.news is experiencing some technical difficulties and will be back online soon.

The Morning After The Clocks Went Back

Some woke up in a confused state on Sunday morning but it was nothing to do with their Saturday night shenanigans! Just as they woke and peered at their watch, clock or phone to establish what time it was, they were momentarily stupefied into a false sense of presence. The time showed they slept a lot longer than they planned, perhaps leading them to backtrack to the moment they fell asleep. Their bewilderment may well have triggered in them a feeling of fleeting anxiety.

Failing to remember changing the clock is understandable. There are only two times a year this happens and so it’s an anomaly of sorts. The reason behind changing time twice a year is curious.

Researchers and government officials are now looking at the continued benefit of daylight saving time. It dates back to the beginning of civilisation which allowed for the work day to be adjusted around the amount of sun light available. Then in 1784, Benjamin Franklin came to the conclusion that getting up earlier in the morning meant that people would save money on candlelight.

One hundred and one years later the New Zealand astronomer George Vernon Hudson broached the idea of a two-hour change in time. By 1907 the idea was adapted by William Willet who proposed advancing the clock in four separate steps – to give an overall augmentation of 80 minutes. During World War 1 and World War 2 daylight saving was put in place and this decreased the demand for certain products but, once the wars ceased, normal time frames were again restored. Presently, 40% of countries adopt daylight saving time, although a recent study in Ireland resulted in 63% of respondents reporting that the concept should no longer be continued.

Although daylight saving has good theoretical ideals for saving money, there is little actual proof that it works. From an economic perspective, a study in 2008 found that there was only a 1% rise in electrical usage within households. Even more alarming was the evidence that daylight saving disrupts people’s sleep patterns and increases the risk of heart attack!

Many people also suffer from symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) once Autumn kicks in, leaving them with feelings quite similar to depression. Another parallel with this time of year is the fact that one in four Irish people over 50 experience a deficiency in vitamin D.

Vitamin D allows for bone metabolism and improves non-skeletal health and muscle strength. With 17 absentee days occurring for each seasonal affective disorder sufferer across Ireland in the period 2002-2013, it may be worth researching how productive sufferers actually are in the workplace.  As illnesses and conditions such as these affect people’s health, then naturally they have an impact on an already pressurised Health Service Executive.

Given the fact that daylight saving was originally created to benefit economies, it’s questionable as to why it still exists – especially as the greatest asset to any business is its people. Perhaps if people were given sufficient opportunity to perform more optimally, productivity and the economy would benefit in turn.

With all that in mind, who knows, maybe the decision makers who instigated daylight saving time all those years ago were confused and SAD during their Saturday night shenanigans!?

The Incident of the Ballyragget Hurler Raises Some Women’s Rights Issues

In the days following his side’s victory in the Kilkenny county final against Graigue-Ballycallan a young  hurler was caught on camera dancing with two female escorts. The incident took place at his 21st birthday party in a local pub on the Tuesday following the victory and was unrelated to the hurling win apart from the fact that the cup (which the team was presented with following their victory) was still in the same pub from a few days before.

One of the two escorts (‘Fifi’) has since given an interview, saying the two girls agreed to appear at the 21st for €400. Pictures (and a video recording) highlighted the hurler’s actions and before long the young man’s behaviour was being labelled as sexually lewd, lacking empathy and quite simply, disgusting. There has even been a query from the charity that works with women affected by prostitution and sexual exploitation with regard to his behaviour being unlawful.

The entire incident has been depicted in some quarters as disrespecting women in general quite apart from giving advertisement to a profession that largely utilises the services of vulnerable women who typically come from impoverished backgrounds.

Regardless of the spurious connections with the GAA that have been part of the debate in recent days, the furore still serves as a reminder of other sporting organisations who have disrespected the fairer sex in more recent times.

Until a secret ballot of membership in 1996, the Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club in Dublin had maintained its status as an all-male association The Sandycove Bathers’ Association did not permit the famed Forty Foot swim spot in Dublin to be used by females for many years. Portmarnock Golf Club still disallows ladies to hold full membership of the club.

It is worth mentioning that one of the female escorts in the Ballyragget incident was reported as feeling happy with the fact that her activities were becoming known to the greater public. This meant that she would have more income from further customers following the exposure. It raises the question of whether these women have a choice at all in their actions?

With regard to prostitution, there are women in Ireland who disagree on whether the profession is something that degrades them but instead, is a choice that some women view as being an attractive occupation. Kate McGrew  a Director at Sex Workers Alliance Ireland believes that selling sex is a worthwhile profession and that prostitution ought to be decriminalised in Ireland.

One wonders if Brian Cody will be calling up the young Ballyragget hurler to play for his county? Doubtful, considering his lack of height and his limited footwork – well in the video anyway!”

Wanna go out tonight? Friends busy? There’s an app for that!

In 1991 two straight female friends in straight relationships were first viewed on-screen as they hopped into a car and took a trip to escape their mundane working-class American lives. The trip ping-ponged from joy to disaster throughout but was testament to a female friendship which deepened as the story unfolded. Their names were Thelma and Louise.

The movie had to contend with Bruce Willis’ Hudson Hawk and Ron Howard’s Backdraft, and although it initially lagged behind in early attendance figures (due in part to an initially weak marketing plan) it outshone the other two as audiences were inspired by the leading ladies played by Hollywood beauties Gena Davis (Thelma) and Susan Sarandon ( Louise).

Of course a lot has changed since 1991. Back then, when Louise rang Thelma to go on the trip, she did so by phone. Nowadays people are communicating differently and the way people seek information is evolving. Since Eircom entered the ISP business with Telecom Internet (Tinet) in 1997, Irish consumers have taken to social media and dating online as quickly as any other country worldwide. Some of the luckier ones among us can now even spend the whole week working from home!

Yet, still there is a hunger for people to get out and meet others of a like mind in the ‘real world’. True, there has been some success with online dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble, for the single female or male, but often people just want to broaden their circle of friends of the same gender in a non-sexualised manner.

This is a niche that three young Irish women are exploiting.  One of the co-founders of an app called GirlCrew. She originally noticed how she was struggling as a straight woman in her 30s to find a ‘wing woman’ to attend social gatherings with so, she decided to turn her personal plight into an enterprise.

Now living in Dublin, her idea has grown into a business venture that has taken the online world of female friendship by storm, so much so, that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg used her company  as a leading example of how females are now finding new friends. He subsequently invited the GirlCrew founders to meet with him in the USA!

The company has now spread to 46 cities internationally and has over 100,000 members. GirlCrew even won the overall top prize in the Irish leg of the international competition which rewards the efforts of social start ups.

Another of the co-founders, Áine Mulloy, happily offered a few words of business wisdom to me earlier today:

“Our team is female-led with three Irish female founders (hailing from Waterford, Mayo and Cork). I think that gives us a unique insight into the needs of our community as we our target audience. I actually started off as a member first before joining the founding team, and we’ve also hired two others from the network. It’s important to us, in building something that connects women, that we always have that ethos of supporting women, socially or professionally, at the forefront of what we do.”

Co-founders Elva, Áine and Pamela Newenham all felt there was such a need for the service that they quickly got to work developing the company to meet the needs of the market. Having firsthand experience of those needs is of vital importance to the ‘three wise women’, as Áine told me:

“We’ve all had those times in life when we’ve wanted to do something, be it a gig, a cinema trip, or a night out, but haven’t as we’ve had nobody to go with. We might have even gone so far as to get ready, buy a ticket, and then hesitated at the last minute. This is where GirlCrew comes in. We’re a platform for platonic friendship, an instant squad whenever you need it. As we get older it can be harder to co-ordinate schedules, but that doesn’t mean we should be stuck at home. Our platform is a space for women to come together, chat, share advice/recommendations and most importantly, connect with people in their local area, and all over the world.”

Like all start-ups though, questions will be asked as to how it is unique in its approach. Even though the GirlCrew app is free for users, how does it differ to many other apps considering that there is such saturation now online?

Áine explains that GirlCrew is different to other online apps:

“The internet is filled with dating apps and sites of that nature. We wanted to break away from the mould. We’re about women uplifting each other, and we’ve heard more than our fair share of disaster dating stories too! In fact, not that long ago one member used the group to escape a disaster date. She posted an SOS message into the group after her date went sour and another member met her outside the pub and whisked her off on a night on the town. Our members come from all walks of life, but the focus is on friendship.”
Not only is the app different, but it offers intelligent women an assortment of solutions in life, as Áine went on to explain:

“There are lots of things that make GirlCrew different, but the main one is the variety. Whether it’s a discussion about politics, a recommendation for a plumber, parking tips, a coffee up town in fifteen minutes or a sun holiday next year. You can find it all in the groups. This spontaneity and variety means that there is something for everyone. This is not like other websites that are delineated by content/who you know – this is a community, where all members are encouraged to take part, and all women are welcome.”

If Thelma and Louise were around today and used the likes of this app maybe they could seek out more female friends from the community vibe with which GirlCrew attempts to resonate. By doing so, both Thelma and Louise could have defended their honour against the overly aggressive masculine police force. Perhaps then they would not have chosen the end to the movie that they did!

Renmore’s Damian Browne to Row Solo Across Atlantic

After a sixteen year career battling on the rugby pitches of The Celtic League, English Premiership and French Top 14 Championship, injury forced his hand and he made the tough decision to retire.

During his down time from the intensity of professional sports, Damian indulged his passion for travel and adventure, visiting more than 50 countries on 6 continents and challenging himself in different ways with a 3 week expedition into the high altitude Pamir mountains in Afghanistan. He has also successfully summited Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Mont Blanc in France and Gran Paradiso in Italy!

Damian will soon take part in the 2017 Talisker Challenge as a solo competitor attempting to row 4,800km across the Atlantic Ocean. Three charities will benefit from the phenomenal fundraising Damian has undertaken in recent months. They are Médecins Sans Frontières Ireland,
Strong Roots Foundation, Rwanda and Madra.

This is Episode 1 of my recent interview with Damian. Episodes 2 and 3 will be broadcast over the next couple of weeks as Damian prepares to embark on what promises to be an adventure of epic proportions. Damian has also promised to keep me updated while he makes his way across the Atlantic. Needless to say, the tension is now well and truly starting to build for the off. D-Day is Tuesday, December 12th.

Listen here!: https://soundcloud.com/galwayeye/interview-with-damian-browne-episode-1

GALWAY 2020: A Light in the Dark

As we face in to the long winter nights, it’s possible some could become overwhelmed with a sense of doom and gloom but, we must consider how the ups always overcome the downs to give us some perspective in the coming months.

Galway’s hurlers had victories this year against Dublin, Offaly, Wexford, Tipperary and Waterford to win the All-Ireland title. For the first time in 29 years it was our turn to triumph against all-comers. Last year it was Galway’s cultural success that beat off competition from Limerick and Dublin to claim the European Capital of Culture title for 2020.

Bringing Liam McCarthy back across the Shannon was a rich and long-awaited sporting success for Galway but overcoming the stiffest of competition to host the European Capital of Culture not only puts Galway on the map as a leading cultural centre but also offers the hope of medium-term economic prosperity, quite apart from giving all Galwegians a great sense of pride of place.

It appears now that Irish rugby will fail in its attempt to host the coveted Rugby World Cup in 2023. The failure to grasp this coveted responsibility is fresh in our thoughts as the bid team battle against the odds to reap the reward.

Whether this will prove an omen for the Irish rugby team as they prepare for the November internationals and the 6 Nations is probably a spurious correlation to draw but, one thing is certain: Ireland may lose out on an unprecedented economic windfall in the wake of the failed bid.

Whether this will prove an omen for the Irish rugby team as they prepare for the November internationals and the 6 Nations is probably a spurious correlation to draw but, one thing is certain: Ireland may lose out on an unprecedented economic windfall in the wake of the failed bid.

The Irish bid team still remain hopeful of a positive outcome.

Following the technical judging phase, Ireland stand last of three bidders – South Africa and France being the others. On November 15<sup>th</sup> there will be a secret ballet of the World Rugby judging panel which will ultimately dictate who hosts the competition.

Ireland boasts more tourists per year than South Africa with 10.5 million people arriving annually. Rugby World Cup fans would add an additional €800 million to the country’s coffers. The potential economic windfall that hosting the World Cup in 2023 would bring is indisputably phenomenal.

Although Irish Rugby is in the midst of rethinking its bidding strategy in the final weeks before the judging panel makes its decision, it goes to show how fortunate Galway has been winning both the 2017 All-Ireland and the European Capital of Culture honour for 2020.

If we prepare for 2020 as well as this year’s hurling squad, we may be in for a real windfall.

Surely that gives us a twinkle of light as we head into the dark evenings of winter 2017?

From Clarinbridge to Africa via Croke Park

In the 1980s and 90s there was a quiz show on RTÉ known as Know Your Sport. Had the show been years later a question that could have tricky to answer would be:
What Senior All-Ireland winner has had higher success with more famous Irish athletes than any GAA manager in the history of the game?
Although the presenter George Hamilton and his right-hand man, the late great memory-man Jimmy McGee, were to the forefront of the regular show – they would have struggled with that one. Their show hosted ordinary people from ordinary parishes around Ireland – sharpening their pencils in an attempt to outwit each other for the coveted Know Your Sport umbrella. Back then, times were tight for the national broadcaster and giving an umbrella to team members labelled with the show’s logo was a big thing!

Of course, the answer to the above question is Galway’s Alan Kerins. Alan grew up in Clarinbridge during the Know Your Sport years. He thrived on sporting energy and when he began to get on the ball at a young age it was clear he had a dynamo engine and razor reflexes which saw him climb right to the top of his chosen sport. Although a talented golfer, Kerins had little time to waste by the time 2001 rolled around – when both the Galway footballers and hurlers reached their respective All-Ireland finals. He was selected on both teams! Fortunately for him, he was victorious with one. Unfortunately, he is still among the last men to win an All-Ireland football medal for Galway.

Around the turn of the millennium, Alan was working as a physiotherapist within the HSE. He took a trip to Africa to visit Irish missionaries and the rest as they say is history. After making a small promise to help out a kind nun before boarding his plane back to Ireland, his fate was sealed. Almost unwittingly, on the back of that promise to Sr. Cathy Crawford, Alan found himself organising big charity events so that those in dire need of help in Africa could help themselves.

Since then Kerins has teamed up with Gorta-Self Help Africa and has used his unrelenting energy to raise over €5 million, funds that have helped to end poverty and suffering for tens of thousands of people in rural Africa where <em>Know Your Sport </em>umbrellas might be used to shelter from the torrential rains or the incessant heat of the sun. Humidity too is problematic as the people suffer from the AIDS pandemic. Sexual exploitation of females is also rife. Unlike Ireland’s struggling economy from the time of Kerins’ boyhood, in this part of Africa ordinary people from ordinary parishes and townlands struggle to get an education as the cycle of misery repeats itself.

So, what is the context of the Know Your Sport question I opened with? Well, it refers to a hugely enjoyable and successful event Alan organised involving Irish sporting greats such as rugby-aces Shane Byrne, Eric Elwood, Mick Galwey, Peter Clohessy, former out-half rivals Tony Ward and Ollie Campbell and perhaps Ireland’s finest-ever track athlete Sonia O’Sullivan. They all came together to summit Ireland’s highest peak, Carrantuohill a couple of years ago. Legendary GAA commentator Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh was with them too and raised the Sam Maguire high above his head at the summit – to mark a successful expedition.

Playing in two All-Irelands in the same month in September, 2001 shows how good a player Alan was, but raising millions for the poor people of Africa shows just how great a person he continues to be.

The Galway Ball in the Galway Bay Hotel on November 17 next will raise funds for Alan’s work. Tickets for the ball and more information about the important work Alan and Gorta are doing in Africa can be found at: https://selfhelpafrica.org/ie/galway_ball_2017-2

 The Silver Lining on Apple’s Cloud

‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away,’ or so the old saying goes.

With all this talk about the Apple data centre in the past few weeks, there must be quite a few doctors checking their bank balances as the branding of the common fruit reminds people to stock up and make sure to get at least one of their five-a-day across the winter months.

One of Apple’s most profitable activities is data storage. In cloud computing, data owners host their information on cloud-based servers and users access the data from these cloud servers. Although most users of computers or smart phones understand this concept, not all users think seriously about the need for backing up their data. Data storage does what it says on the tin. It physically archives data in electromagnetic or other formats for use by electronic devices.

While reading this article you are obviously online in some shape or form. Regardless of whether you are using a laptop, PC, tablet or smart phone – somehow, somewhere the article you are reading has been stored and backed up in a data centre. The Galway Eye servers are hosted by Microsoft Azure in Dublin. This article is stored in the data centre you see in the photograph below – located at Grange Castle, near Clondalkin.

So, how important is online data to the Irish? In 2016, 87% of households had access to the Internet. That’s a jump of 10% in 7 years. The most regular activity Irish people partake of online is Email (83%) followed closely by Search (82%), Social Networking (70%) and Banking (64%). In fact, Ireland ranks second only to Malta in European usage of social media per capita!

With all that sedentary behaviour (we mostly use our devices while sitting down), maybe Ireland really does need an Apple but primarily for a spot of healthy eating, rather than a data centre.

Perhaps GPs up and down the land should be rubbing their hands together at the thought that Apple Inc. might not be coming to Athenry but there may still be a silver lining on this particular cloud?

 

Would You Like a Little Denim with that Hole?

There is a harmless old joke ‘Why do golfers carry an extra pair of socks?’ ‘In case they get a hole in one’ Fair enough, the joke isn’t going to make the Comedy Carnival any time soon, but it does conveniently open the door for me to opine on one particular fashion statement I have been observing of late. As the winter draws in we start thinking about a change of wardrobe. Even without the seasonal change, it’s noticeable when a distinct change in style appears from one season to the next or from year to year. Let’s focus on the old reliable – denim jeans.

Historically, trousers were worn to protect horse riders from experiencing an uncomfortable ride from one place to another. Wearing jeans is now a global fashion statement, symbolising the iconic youth within us. For females, wearing jeans was once symbolic in negating good taste and elegance in pursuit of looking young. The hippies of the 1960s showed, through their style of clothing, that they rejected the ruling policies. In the 1970s, the punks used their fashion sense to rebel. In the 80’s, Grunge clothing made a case for freedom.

At present having ripped jeans is all the go. The ripped jeans style has several motivations. One is to show an anti-corporative approach, another is to eliminate self expression and yet another reason is to discredit the social system and the systems in power.

Judging by the annual drop in Irish temperature each winter, its questionable if trousers, pants or jeans simply exist to be functional and warm or is it just for fashion?

Where once pants symbolised a person’s class and profession, denim jeans have, over time, demonstrated cultural and gender-related societal changes.

Whether it’s a style, a speak out against the controlling systems or just plain old practicality, the rips in the jeans seem to be getting bigger as the evenings get longer. Only the wearer truly knows!

 Interview with Renmore’s Damian Browne: Episode 2
https://soundcloud.com/galwayeye/interview-with-damian-browne-episode-2

 Interview with Renmore’s Damian Browne: Episode 3

Even Trump, Weinstein and Hook Should Be Heard

Donald Trump is a straight white male. Harvey Weinstein is a straight white male. Even George Hook is one. Much has been written and said about all of them. All three have something in common. They are in the public eye – involved in the entertainment of millions of people. The trio have all been castigated for their sinister behaviour against the fairer sex.

One wonders then about the straight white male nowadays. Trump, Weinstein and Hook have all voiced their opinions on many things over the years. Followers either voted, flocked or audibly admired them.

Trump, a business tycoon turned US president via the entertainment business won the majority of the democratic nation’s 323 million available electoral vote. Weinstein’s hundreds of movies were followed by many more multiples and Hook’s fans were once estimated to be well over 100,000 pairs of Irish ears.

Freedom of speech has been vital for all three straight white males and for the people that have admired their creations.

There are angry white men who feel they have lost their American honour, integrity and dignity but all the same, are empathised with by one who tells of their disdain in the face of Trump’s election victory and the resultant change in their society. Highly paid and admired people have publicly supported Weinstein and one of our nation’s former leading TV show presenters has rowed in behind George Hook following his recent regretful comments.

In keeping with the promotion of tolerance and acceptance of all diversities of people it’s important that all people, even Trump, Weinstein and Hook are heard.

So the wonder is: ‘Do all straight white males have a voice nowadays?’

It’s still a ponder…

Galway Christmas Market 2017

Who Shot JR?

Back in the 1980s, there was a television show called Dallas – featuring an oil tycoon J.R. and his multi-millionaire family of Ewings from Southfork ranch.  J.R. was loved and hated in equal measure by the adoring audience of the hit show. Greed and lust upped the ratings until suddenly 350 million people worldwide tuned in to find out ‘Who shot JR?’ Such was the show’s success back then that it was remade in more recent years to allow modern viewers gaze and amaze at the lavish family’s lifestyle.

Lately, in another Texas community called Sutherland Springs, a 26-year-old man by the name of Devin Patrick Kelley entered the local church armed with an assault rifle and opened fire, killing 26 innocent worshipers.

Mass shootings by seemingly unlikely individuals always result in the media questioning the motives behind these types of attacks. One of the theories is that the shooter is experiencing some form of mental illness and a psychiatric diagnosis would or should have been able to predict a tendency towards violent behaviour. Many believe that, even with the gun control policies that are in place, prevention of these types of acts is next to impossible. This opinion is commonplace among a perplexed public following such ordeals and their reactive opinions often intensify negative attitudes towards people suffering with serious mental illness.

So what are the effects on those that have a mental illness and witness these horrendous acts on television? They perceive that others’ attitudes toward them become more negative and this in turn reduces the likelihood they will engage with support services designed to help them recover or at least live with their condition. It also decreases their willingness to disclose their treatment at all. In this way it seems that the cycle of stigma will continue unabated.

Society needs to offer an ear to all in need of mental health support before the next reporter asks ‘Why was JR shot?’

Mickey Harte Praises GAA Club Initiative

Tyrone football manager, Mickey Harte spoke about the GAA’s <em>Healthy Clubs initiative at an event in The Loughrea Hotel & Spa last Tuesday, 14th November.

The evening was hosted by Baireori na Gaillimhe and also featuring Darren Frehill, Michael Donohue, Kevin Walsh, Mary Moloney, Laura Sheehan and Jeffrey Lynskey

I was at the event and recorded some of Micky’s poignant (and at times hilarious) speech – watch below…

The GAA recently awarded 58 exemplary clubs (at least one in each county) with Official ‘Healthy Club’ status. Over the last number of years these clubs have participated in the GAA’s flagship Healthy Clubs pilot programme which is backed by Irish Life and Healthy Ireland. This involved supporting clubs to make their club more health-enhancing through a variety of health and well-being initiatives including healthy eating, becoming a smoke-free club, physical activity for non-playing members, engaging older members of the community, emotional wellbeing, youth development, gambling, drug, and alcohol education and inclusion and integration.

The impact on the clubs has been transformative in terms of improvements in health promoting activities, better opportunity to link the local community with club activities, increased membership and opening up new funding avenues all the while enhancing the health of their communities and ensuring a healthier future for everyone who engages with their club.

The following clubs are among the first clubs in the association to receive official Healthy Club Recognition (2018- 2020) following successful completion in the GAA Healthy Club Project (HCP):

Ballinderreen GAA Club, Galway
Melvin Gaels GAA Club  Leitrim
Aghamore GAA Club  Mayo
Achill GAA Club  Mayo
St. Michael’s GAA Club  Sligo
Eastern Harps GAA Club  Sligo
St. Aidan’s GAA Club  Roscommon
Oran GAA Club  Roscommon

Mount Leinster Rangers GAA Club Carlow
Clara GAA Kilkenny
Dromard GAA Club  Longford
Castletown Liam Mellows GAA Club  Wexford
St. John’s Volunteers GAA Club  Wexford
St. Kevin’s GAA Club  Louth
Bray Emmets GAA Club  Wicklow
Annacurra GAA Club Wicklow
St. Loman’s Mullingar GAA Club  Westmeath
Ballynacargy GAA  Westmeath
Tubber GAA Club  Offaly
Clonad GAA Club  Laois
Kilmacud Crokes GAA Club Dublin
Raheny GAA Club  Dublin
Good Counsel GAA &amp; Camogie Club  Dublin
Craobh Chiaráin GAA Club  Dublin
Thomas Davis GAA Club  Dublin
Castlemitchell GFC  Kildare
Kiltale Hurling &amp; Camogie Club  Meath
St. Colmcille’s GAA Club  Meath

An Caisléan Glas Cumann Naoimh Padraig  Tyrone
Omagh, St. Enda’s GAA Club  Tyrone
Castleblayney Faughs GFC  Monaghan
Derrygonnelly Harps GFC  Fermanagh
Erne Gaels GAC  Fermanagh
Clonduff GAC  Down
St. Peter’s GAA Club Warrenpoint  Down
St. Johns GAA Club Drumnaquoile  Down
Michael Davitt GAC Swatragh  Derry
Killygarry GAA Club  Cavan
Cavan Gaels GAA Club  Cavan
St Joseph’s GAC Glenavy  Antrim
St. Mary’s GAC Rasharkin  Antrim
Naomh Mochua Doire Núis GAA Club  Armagh
Culloville Blues GAC  Armagh
St Mary’s GAA Club, Convoy  Donegal
CLG Naomh Muire, Íochtar Na Rossan  Donegal

Killeagh GAA Club  Cork
Castlehaven GAA Club  Cork
St. Finbarr’s National Hurling &amp; Football Club  Cork
Midleton Hurling &amp; Football Club  Cork
JK Bracken’s GAA Club  Tipperary
Fr. Sheehy’s GAA Club  Tipperary
Nenagh Éire Óg GAA Club  Tipperary
Na Piarsaigh GAA Club  Limerick
Mungret St. Paul’s GAA Club  Limerick
Parteen GAA Club  Clare
Tralee Parnell’s Hurling &amp; Camogie Club Kerry
Beaufort GAA Club  Kerry
Brickey Rangers GAA Club  Waterford

Retirement Age Heading Towards Seventy

Recently Irish comedian Tommy Tiernan appeared on the The Late Late Show. He had the audience in knots of laughter as he comically described how older people were causing western world public health systems to implode. As he explained how the advance in medicine has allowed older people to live richer and healthier lives than the generation that preceded them, he explained that health systems were also being pressured due to higher amounts of people visiting the accident and emergency departments.

But does Tommy Tiernan have a point?

The Health Service Executive is certainly not running as efficiently as it might and this is not news to anyone who has had the pain of being on a waiting list. This was defiantly verified only days after the comedian’s comments when a national headline stated that there were:
9,206 elderly people forced to wait over 24 hours in Emergency Departments

But the Health Service Executive is not the only public system that is under pressure to sustain its workload under current structures. Each of these systems is put in place to support the welfare of the populous within democratic countries like Ireland.

In Ireland anyone who became a permanent member of the Public Service before 2004 was given a retirement age of 65. Since 2013, the minimum retirement age for new entrants to the public service is 66.  By 2018 this is rise to the age of 68. Currently many of those retiring at 65 are not receiving a pension for a full year – which quite possibly leaves them in limbo for a means of income until the pension kicks in twelve months later. Judging by this rate of calculation, the current twenty something’s and some thirty something’s won’t be retiring until their seventies and they may not even get a pension when they do retire.

Some day we will all grow old and when we do, we will all want to be as healthy as we can so that we can enjoy the autumn of our lives. Although Tommy Tiernan was only having a laugh, perhaps he’s got a point, especially if we consider the economic structures that are now in place and how they will impact on all our futures when we get to be elderly. Who’ll be laughing then?

Dusty Road Donkey

With most of the Christmas shopping done and dusted by now,  it’s perhaps time to reflect on the real meaning of Christmas. Of course, Christmas was not always about hustle and bustle. The very first Christmas featured only one child, yet to be born.

The arrival of Jesus was met with hopeful parents, guided by a single star in the night sky. On the eve of his birth, they walked for a long time, faithful that they would reach their destination. Mary and Joseph sought many places to stay that their first-born be welcomed to the world safely and in comfort. Despite their efforts, their pleas were rejected, leaving them outside in the cold.

When his birth did occur the young child’s parents were thankful. Shepherds and kings brought guidance and gifts and although the people of the area shunted the new born child and his family, glory had come to earth and Jesus went on to devote his life to helping others, in spite of the constant rejection.

During the run up to Christmas, there has been a market in Eyre Square with a spectacular of lights and food, a big wheel and nick knacks to behold, igniting our imagination. Yet, this Christmas, as with every other, it is important to be thankful for our warm homes and for the good people around us. Only yards from the market this year, people lie in doorways feeling as if they are treated perhaps with less respect than the little donkey that carried Mary along the dusty road to the stable on that very first Christmas night.

With all the Christmas shopping being done and dusted by now,  it`s easy to perceive that maybe we`ve just looked beyond the real meaning of Christmas. As we sit and wait for the special day of celebration we muse on how that dust has been kicked up by more than we first intended.

Each year, when young children receive their gifts from Santa Claus quite early on the morning of the 25th of December their tiptoeing feet can speedily turn into wild horses such is their inquisitiveness to see what Father Christmas has left for them under the tree.

Of course Christmas was not always about hustle and bustle. The very first Christmas featured only one child. His feet were very small and in fact, they never touched the ground and so were unable to round the stairs’ bend and tear the carpet at a lightning fast turn of pace once the signal for Santa`s gifts became aroused. Rather, he was yet to be born.

His arrival was surrounded by hopeful parents who were blindly guided by a single star in the dark night sky. On the eve of his birth they walked for a long time with blind faith that they would reach their destination safe in their mind`s eye that he would be born in comfort. Mary and Joseph sought out many people to stay with for their imminent first born to be welcomed to the world. Despite their efforts many people rejected their pleas and instead left them outside in the cold.

When his birth did occur the young child`s parents were so thankful in him coming to this world. There were Sheppards and Kings who gave guidance and gifts and although the people of the area shunted the new born child and his family, glory had come to earth.

The child`s name was Jesus and he went on to devout his life to helping others, in spite of many people rejecting him when he most needed worldly help himself. Although he was born in a stable where horses, cows, sheep and other animals lay down, he was grateful of the rest bite inside.

In Galway during the run up to Christmas of 2017 there was a market which supplied the consumer with a plethora of commercial goods which gave us a spectacular of lights, food, a big wheel and tit bits of nick knacks to behold. In the run up to the big day, our imaginations have been ignited by a fantastic fare of goods to behold. Consumers must be proud and content with their choice of products on display as all rightly amazed at the Christmas market`s allure.

This Christmas it`s important to be thankful for our warm homes and for the good people around us too. For only metres from our wonderful Christmas market this year people lie in doorways in sub zero temperatures in a city which has one of the greatest horse racing festivals in the world and a country which prides itself on equine health and livestock.

It`s funny how Jesus knew that horse playing inspired the present day children to gallop like horses and ride roughly throughout their households in the form of excited children- hungry to jump over just about anything to get to that winning post of wrapping paper, yet people lie in doorways feeling as if they are treated less than the little donkey that carried Mary along the dusty road to the stable on that very first Christmas.

80% of New Years’ Resolutions Fail by February

The Romans dictated the design of the modern calendar. When the last few days of the year come around, social pressures are cast upon the ordinary person. People joke with their family and friends about whether or not they have a new year’s resolution. Some take it more seriously than others.

With the new year comes the obvious opportunity to wipe the slate clean and to start over again, giving us an immediate and encouraging opportunity to draw a line under our bad habits, rough experiences, lack of confidence and the injustices that have occurred in our lives, allowing us to grab the reins of the new year and direct it as we wish.

A new day, a new month and a new year can give us a new self.

Of course in theory it all makes perfect sense, but in reality, it usually fails to live up the promise of a better you. 80% of new year’s resolutions fail by February!

There are a variety of reasons why new year’s resolutions fail. These range from people choosing too lofty a resolution, not having the proper education and knowledge about how to sustain the desired annual challenge past the second month of the year,  our lack of will power, and even peer pressure, to name but a few.

Perhaps when we gather around in the few days after Christmas and listen to the chitter-chatter of homely conversations, maybe we can resolve that although the new calendar year is coming thick and fast, the numbers are just digits and don’t dictate out lives.  The changing of the dates through numerical symbols are man-made and dictated by the history of time.

So, in this new year, give yourself a break and remember that even Rome wasn’t built in a day!

The Origins of ‘Michael’

On late Tuesday January 2, 2018 I recall thinking how this drawn-out month was going to be mundane – but suddenly, it wasn’t!

Earlier that day I had felt that as the run up to Christmas, the day itself, and the new year celebrations were now over, the excitement was over too. January would bring humdrum and day in, day out ordinariness.

Within minutes, a radio broadcast was reporting how impending storm Eleanor was going to come much closer to Galway than was initially reported. A natural wariness occurred with recent memories of Hurricane Ophelia and Storm Brian.

I left the radio in the kitchen and sat on the armchair in the living room with my laptop. A small series of online videos were being rapidly shared across social media. People were tagging and liking friend’s posts of flooded streets in order to warn those who had yet to leave work at the end of their first day back in the New Year. Comments replied of gratitude for the information but also responses of people who had, unknown to themselves, ended up on flooded roads only to now realise that they would be fortunate to get home safely that evening.

As I snuggled in my warm sitting room watching the RTÉ news bulletins, it all seemed quite unbelievable how roads only a couple of kilometres from where I sat were making national headlines. Seeing the floods across Salthill promenade wasn’t new to me, but, as it occurs now more regularly, I still wondered at how far the seawater comes inland and how threatening it looks on the big screen. As the prom is (usually) a place of peace, watching the storm unfold proved the opposite of the tranquility that an easy ramble on a summer’s evening can bring.

When other footage showed Quay Street under water I was taken aback. Reports of businesses being threatened and premises under water added humanity to the story. Then, when the updated information alerted viewers that a further high tide would occur around 5:30am the following morning, alarm bells started ringing in my head. Despite my feelings of empathy towards the business owners who would have to do their best to clean up the soiled stock, I couldn’t help but wonder if some of the homeless knew that another high tide was on the way in only a few more hours.

As I was off work the following morning, I decided to go into the city once the winds died down to see if anyone needed help and perhaps to offer what I could during this sudden time of stress.

Soon after I met Michael, a homeless man, and we talked for a while. I was about to receive a lesson in life that I will never forget!

Michael – Part 1

 

Ireland`s Education System is Outdated

When a New Year dawns, all parts of life give re-birth to new awakening and hope. This breeds a feeling of freedom. Tomorrow the Irish schools return for their new year and the children bring with them hope and freedom of thought. But what does freedom mean to us in Ireland?

Historically the Republic of Ireland became known as the Free State. Yet by 1973 Ireland joined the now European Union (E.U). Twenty two years later, in 1995, Finland joined the E.U.

Member states of the E.U have common polices across a range of economic and social issues. For example, in general member states of the European Union have common rules on the likes of taxation and security; have free movement of goods, a common agricultural and fisheries policy, free movement of persons, services and capital, and freedom on security.

With all this mention of Irish freedom where does education stand in the mix?  Education wise, the EU attempts to encourage that member states to be co-operative educational matters but gives responsibility to each country in developing their individual teaching content and educational systems.

With all this talk of freedom from the EU it is worth knowing what the internationally renowned  great Brazilian educator Paulo Freire  once said of what education at its most fundamental is, when  he said that:

“ Education is freedom” .

With regard to this notion of ‘ freedom’ our sister state of Finland host a cohort of professional teachers that are amounts the respected professions  in their country. In Finland teachers are not underpaid. Their teachers have the opportunity to shape their curriculum based of own mini-laboratories and what they estimate to be the best educational research, they emphasise play and a lack of competitive learning at a young age disregarding homework in many instances. Further down the line, older children can enter into third level education with the knowledge that their education is not charged for.  In general it seems that the teachers in Finland and their children have a huge degree of free will and liberty and the results speak for themselves as quite often, Finland tops rankings of education systems internationally.

The Irish Primary Education system is based off the curriculum reform that was created in 1999. The 1999 curriculum concentrates on developing children`s language; mathematics; social, environmental and scientific education (SESE); Social, personal and health education (SPHE), arts education and physical education. The 1999 Curriculum visualised that education in Ireland ought take account of the uniqueness of a child, that children are part of a society (at home and with others in society) and that society influences the shaping of their development.

With all the problems within Irish society including rising obesity levels among children and adults, young teachers being paid much less than the majority of other professions,  schools who still have a lack of information technology equipment, and with teachers having to teach to a redesigned and pre- Celtic Tiger curriculum to children who are technologically more proficient that the children of that era, and with so much homelessness in existence one really wonders about freedom in Ireland.

Accepting Yourself in Self Development

As Valentine`s day approaches past memories about this time of the year come to mind. It doesn’t seem long since the Christmas tree was take down, not to mind put up. Still, we now find ourselves coming into the first big shopping fest of the year. Of course, there have been the January sales but that was really only a shop for what was best available on the rack at the lowest price.

As the special time of Valentine’s rolls around each year couples everywhere are shopping with real intent and the price tag doesn’t seem to matter as long as the adoring acceptance of traded gifts motivates the traditional signs of fondness. This affection inevitably summons the customary romantic evening meal and bottle of red.

Yet, that`s not a memory that came to mind some days ago as I tore off the scrap of white paper labelled the ‘31<sup>st</sup> of January’ from the quote calendar and found myself in  an immediate state of glee as I read ‘Lá Fhéile Bríde’ and the big number 2 in bold red lettering.

At that moment a flashback came to mind from a few years back. Perhaps it was the fact that January was still in mind that it bounced into my brain, but none the less, it`s worth a trip down memory lane considering only weeks ago I shared with you how 80% of New Year`s Resolutions fail by the beginning of the month of February.

Perhaps this little recall will emphasis why for many this is.

The conversation occurred when I received a phone call at the beginning of February inquiring about exercise classes that I was running within an up market exercise studio that I owned. The class that I had on, was and still is, unique to Ireland. It made ripples beyond the city and county and many peoples’ curiosity was whetted as they were eager to try it and seek it`s advertised benefits of well- being and overall physical fitness.

A female caller said:  Hi, I am just inquiring about your class?

I answered: Yes, there are places free, do you want to know the times and the prices or can I help you with any other information you`d like to know about it?

Female Caller: Yes, it`s just I heard it`s great for getting fit and losing weight, is this true?

I answered: Yes, it is a fantastic cardiovascular workout and many people have reported in losing lots of weight once they attend these classes regularly and make other alterations to their lifestyle also.

Female Caller:  Great, so will I drop a stone in weight by the 14<sup>th</sup> of February if I take the class?

I answered: I`m sorry I`ve never seen you, I don’t know your weight, your body type, or anything about you. I can’t guarantee this will happen within 2 weeks, but, if you attend the class intensely until then and eat sensibly I`m sure you will improve your physique in some ways

Female Caller:  You see, I have bought a dress and I want to fit into it for the night of the 14th.

The conversation petered out as I supplied her with the rudimentary information that anyone would give any enquirer to any type of health and fitness class, such as the class times, the prices, and so on.  She was a very pleasant person and we bid farewell as she decided that she needed something with a greater degree of certainty where she could be guaranteed her set goal of fitting into her new dress within the 2 weeks.

Although we are now into month number 2 of the year and perhaps for many of us our New Years’ Resolutions have been broken, that still doesn’t mean that we can’t pick today as being our day to change, or improve, any aspect of our life. That said, we need to be realistic with our goals and not expect unscientific, unhealthy or unbelievable things to happen all of the time. Once we realise that we are intent on changing for the better, we will. It`s just a matter of time.

Still, we need to accept parts of ourselves that may not change, but instead, endeavour to improve ourselves for our self over time. For the right things happen to us when we change what we can and in the same way, the right people are around us once they accept us for who we truly are.  If we choose to change because changing ourselves means fitting  into a smaller dress size, sure it may impress someone, but, unless we are happy in that smaller vision of our selves then it won`t be a change that will last or even make us happy inside.

Damian Browne’s Atlantic Diary #1

“‘Damian’, ‘Browne’, ‘Brownie’ or ‘Auld Stoc’ – call him what you want but he sure isn’t lazy! Tomorrow (12th December) he will set off on a solo row across the Atlantic that will last more than 3,000 miles.

Damian’s epic adventure will begin from San Sebastian in La Gomera, Canary Islands and take him west to Nelson’s Dockyard English Harbour in Antigua &amp; Barbuda. The race, entitled the Taliskar Atlantic Whisky Challenge, is an annual event that demands months, if not years of preparation in order to become physically and mentally conditioned for it.

Damian, who has amassed over 16 years of professional rugby experience has bounded into ‘retirement’ with other notable expeditions. Last April he ran the 257km Marathon del Sables in the Moroccan Sahara. This was a dream of his for 12 years and he completed it with a smile on his face – despite the gruelling conditions.

Now, he faces a 50-90 day solo row across the extremes of the Atlantic in a dream that originated 16 years ago.  Damian will spend at least 12 hours each day rowing.

Throughout the expedition The Galway Eye will be dovetailing with Damian and providing readers with regular updates on his progress. His brother and Connacht rugby player Andrew Browne says of Damian:
Once he gets something into his head, he just does it, no matter what!

Damian’s adventure is raising funds for three noteworthy charities which are close to his heart:

Médecins Sans Frontiéres Ireland  provide emergency medical aid to front-line disasters internationally.

Strong Roots Foundation is a school for children from 4 to 9 years of age in Rwanda.

Madra is an Irish volunteer-run organisation which seeks homes for neglected, abused and unwanted dogs.

When the high seas come a-crashing tomorrow  will be challenged by the animal that Damian Browne will undoubtedly summon from within.

Best of luck ‘Auld Stoc’ from  your old school chum!  see you on the other side!

Damian Browne’s Atlantic Diary #2

‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ song was written to teach Christians to have faith. By tomorrow on the first day of Christmas, whilst we are all tucking into our turkey, Damian Browne will have solo rowed 11 straight days  on the Atlantic Ocean.

For us the 12 days of Christmas will be filled with family, friends, good food and homely comforts. Damian will spend Christmas surrounded by the high seas with no family member, friend, or fancy food to enjoy nor any home comforts that we all relish at this time of year.

Since his departure from the La Gomera Marina (Tenerife)  on December 14th he has already had a rough ride. In the first few hours at sea Damian`s body reacted poorly and he was unable to eat properly as sea sickness took hold. His strength suffered and rowing was a chore as his progression in the water faltered. Although it was a physical struggle to rid his body of the sickness, his mind became agitated and his best laid plans over the past 18 months were being compromised. Still, he picked up the pieces and got into his stride over the next few days and began to get some good momentum going.

Within a week he was beginning to look like the fictional character Gulliver that he brands his mission on, as his beard thickened and his skin bronzed due to his all day exposure to the warm sun across the Atlantic Ocean. By his tenth day at sea more troubles were in store. Upon waking very early and setting out for his 14 hour daily row, Damian soon discovered that one of his oars had gone astray somewhere into the wide open blue ocean. If that was not bad enough, giant sea swells (a series of mechanical waves that circulate between water and air) made getting into a rowing rhythm extremely challenging. This was accompanied in him witnessing a wall of 3 metres of water upon his rowing deck immediately after he took a quick call of nature!

There’s no doubt that Damian is feeling the pressure on the high seas (despite his tip top preparation that one would expect from a former successful professional athlete and adventurer) but at the same time, he is reveling in it.  Having set out to row 4,800km alone for Médecins Sans Frontiéres Ireland (an emergency medical aid charity for conflicts and natural disasters), the Strong Roots Foundation in Rwanda (which teaches orphan children) and Madra (a charity for rescue of abandoned dogs)  he is, despite all the challenges, succeeding.

By this time tomorrow, although Damian won`t be home for Christmas, we will all have eaten our fill and can sit and wonder at the approach of Damian`s  day on the high seas. By then we will marvel at his adventurous actions and charitable ways and contemplate how he is teaching us Christians to continue to have faith over this Christmas period.

Damian Browne’s Atlantic Diary #3

People may wonder why I chose to write about Damian Browne and his Atlantic challenges. After all I never played rugby with him, I never went to secondary school with him and in many ways we really don’t have a lot in common. Most of his friends may only now know me to see simply because they are reading these updates from this online publication and probably wonder why I am putting pen to paper on a person that they reckon, I barely know.

Of rugby, my knowledge is pretty limited. I go to Connacht matches when I can and if I can’t,I’ll invariably have TG4 or Sky Sports on in the background when a winter fixture of my native province comes on the screen.  Allied to that, I just so happen to have been fortunate enough to have been neighbours with the very friendly legendary X-Connacht manager Pat Lam and his endearing wife Stefanie at the time of the Pro 12 success. Still my knowledge of rugby (at least from the playing end of things ) arises from the odd game of tag rugby when the weather is fine.

Of Damian Browne though my knowledge is stronger that one would think from the outset. Damian and I went to the same primary school and in fact were in 5th and 6th class together. I can clearly recall Damian during those school days.

Our school wore grey slacks and bright blue jumpers which covered a light blue shirt and awkward navy-blue tie. In the last couple of years in primary, I was one of the very sporty ones. I was on all the school teams and was the captain of the hurling team whereas, Damian was rather the opposite.

Instead of being the lively one, he was pretty much the big guy in the corner at times. I have this one particular memory of Damian on a day when we had just finished doing mathematics and were on a break in the classroom. I remember looking over at Damian and feeling very sorry for him as he seemed such a timid person who was physically bustling out of his all-too-tight uniform. Seeing as we had just done Mathematics that morning and the topic was Weight, I recall how we all had to hop on a weighing scales to check out our own particular weight. At that time, weight measurement had not long changed from pounds to kilograms so we were all eager to know who was the lightest and who was the heaviest in the class.  As Damian and I were the tallest in the class naturally, I was comparing my weight to him. I remember he was 60 kilograms which for a child in the upper 5 feet range was pretty big at that time. In old weight that’s around 10 stone. As we had just done the weigh-in, I glanced over at Damian and remember his shy face just staring at the vacant desk with no one else around. I suppose I had a moment, and I recall feeling sorry for him as he was not playing on the school teams and it seemed to our new-found education that he was well overweight for his height at that time.

That was 1992. This is 2018. It’s over a quarter of a century ago. Damian is now on the high seas for nearly three weeks. Like that moment he had back in school in 1992, he is alone. That day he had the scales under his feet to support his weight. Today on the Atlantic ocean his feet are now unaided. He has, since our last update, lost his foot steering and in so doing has put even more pressure on his upper body which now has to steer and oar at the same time. Since ’92 in comparison, I write in a warm room on a laptop supported by a comfy arm chair with a warm cup of tea beside me and rightly so, there are no followers to my attempts at athleticism, where as Damian’s noble adventure is gathering much deserved recognition by thousands of people internationally.

Over the course of a 14 hour day of rowing, this is going to wear his energy reserves much more as using our upper bodies is more stressful, especially for an x-professional athlete who would be used to using his lower body to produce cardio vascular exercise.

In these coming days, Damian will face even more challenges; of that there is no doubt. Although his latest setback doesn’t seem like a big one right now, it will as he has already said ‘<em>slow him down’. His proposed 50-90 day aim of finishing this adventure is unlikely now to materialize but, there is one thing for certain, like that quiet boy in the classroom corner who may have momentarily felt disappointed for not making the weight, his pensive thoughts will trigger him to grind it out and become the admired finisher that we all know he will be.

Damian, keep her lit, we may not be around for you in present company but, you have us in your memory, as we do you, for now until you cross that finish line – whenever that may be.

Michael Part 2:

A Storm Awakened

Late on Tuesday January  the 2nd I recall thinking how this drawn out month was going to be mundane- but suddenly, it wasn’t!

Earlier that day I had felt that as the run up to Christmas, the day itself, and the following week`s midnight celebrations were now over, that the excitement was over too. January would bring a bore of humdrum and expected day in, day out ordinariness…. (Continued)

Damian Browne’s Atlantic Diary #4

Damian Browne is spreading the love online. With 1,229 nautical miles in his solo row Atlantic challenge now safely completed, the burly traveler is now beginning to slightly mimic the fictional look of Heathcliff from the great romantic tale of Wuthering Heights by the much lauded Emily Bronte and he is attracting more social media love hearts liker’s than Heathcliff`s true love, that being the fictional Catherine Earnshaw.

Catherine’s loving ability was characterised by her wild, impetuous, and arrogant ways. Similarly, the Atlantic ocean has served up a wild impetuousness that exudes over confidence that only nature’s great ocean can hurl at a human being. Like Heathcliff having to deal with this force of nature in Catherine, Damian Browne has had to deal with his own love of the ocean and survive. Bruised and battered, not only in body, but with all his equipment failing him at times leaving only his athletically attuned physique and quite yet spirited energy to tackle the high seas of apathy.

His most recent communication today hints that Damian, as he put it is:
“Over  the half  way mark!”

for his entire Atlantic journey and this he posted with the most romantic of sunsets way out on the ocean.

Yet further comments right by this smashing sunset say that the picture is taken when it is:
“My favourite part of the day. The sea seems that little gentler and I’m more at peace with what I’ve done and what’s ahead”

Thus, giving the impression that perhaps he is only half way through the day in question of solo rowing.

Such is the wonderful encouragement and heartfelt inspiration from online commentary it seems that most of you believe he is indeed half through the overall adventure. Alas, unfortunately this is not so.

Although he is putting all his initial setbacks so admirably behind him, Damian has in fact 1, 419 nautical miles to go in order to complete his quest.

At his present rate he will land in Antigua &amp; Barbuda in the early hours right after many lovers will have celebrated Valentine`s Day.

With big Brownie spreading so much admiration online and love for his noble causes of charity, perhaps it will be fitting that he arrives on that day then you admirable online love heart sending followers will soften the man who is  still fighting the high seas in as vengeful a manner as the overly romanticised  Heathcliff did on the wild moors of England.

Damian Browne’s Atlantic Diary #5

Growing up in Galway city, Damian Browne would have been all too familiar with the Bon Jovi hair styles the late `80s punks that roamed the streets. Jon Bon Jovi and his band spent 4 weeks at no. 1 in the 1987 charts  and their hit song rang out

“Woah, we’re half way there, Woah, livin’ on a prayer”

Although a few days ago many online well wishers posted love heart likes and thumbs ups to celebrate what they felt was the half way stage for Damian it`s only now that he has actually passed the half way point.

Of course, setting off on such a magnificent expedition brings with it a certain level of anxiety that will last for family, friends and followers for the whole duration of the voyage but, when official milestones are met, it`s time for a wry smile. For at this stage, especially after all Damian`s setbacks, the whole journey becomes so real and believable that he can actually succeed in crossing the Atlantic completely alone and unaided.

Tens of thousands of people are now following Brownie`s exploits online and there is no doubt that he will be eager to meet all followers upon his arrival back home after his incredible adventure.

From here on in we can all be happy with Damian in reaching the half way stage in the Talisker Whiskey Challenge and for the fact that he is raising money for such worthy causes. Damian has brought people into conversation together online and loving rapport with well wishers.

For sure Médecins San Frontiéres Ireland, the Strong Roots Foundation, Rwanda and Madra will be happy with his efforts and maybe for now we should all just echo the lines of Bon Jovi who sang:

“…we’ve got to hold on to what we’ve got
It doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not
We’ve got each other and that’s a lot for love
We’ll give it a shot

Woah, we’re half way there
Woah, livin’ on a prayer”

Or maybe we should be a little more upbeat and continue to share and like all posts connected to Damian`s efforts which encourages the massive commitment that he has made over the past 22 months of training for this once in a lifetime adventure.

By doing so, Damian will be most happy as his charities will get more exposure and it will give him added motivation to continue with gusto.

Before long then,we may be actually completing the song with a mate in chanting:

“… take my hand, we’ll make it I swear
Woah, livin’ on a prayer!”

Damian Browne’s Atlantic Diary #6

American singer Don McClean had a hit about the famous artist Vincent Van Gough by singing:

“Stary, Stary Night,

Paint your palette blue and grey look out on a Summer`s day,
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul”

McClean was referring to Van Gough`s genius and how he could paint  people`s personal perceptions so accurately.

In a recent conversation with Damian Browne`s brother and Connacht rugby player Andrew this song came to mind. Andrew spoke of some of the truly unique experiences that Damian is having as he solo-rows across the Atlantic in aid of such worthy charities as Andrew told me:

“At night Damian relaxes on the boat and looks up at the sky and sees the most amazing stary night sky you`ll ever see”

That relaxation that Damian Browne experiences is a rare treat for him as he continues to row up to 14 hours a days to get to the finish line in Antigua.  At present Damian is just over 800 miles from the finish line  and  is still attempting to row 50 miles daily in order to reach his destination forecast to be around Valentine`s day. Although thankfully, there has been no mishaps or incidents of note in the past while which allows the big man to get into a routine of rowing, there are also disadvantages to this.

Being out in the open Atlantic ocean leaves such a small boat vulnerable to all types of weather and sometimes this weather can have  (as we learned in previous diary entry disastrous effects on the voyage. However, there are other times when the journey can become too mundane especially when the weather is too calm. Presently this is what Damian is experiencing. The sea is calm and this disallows for any wind to push him that bit faster along his course. By having more of a breeze behind him it would speed him up along the route and give  him that much needed push towards the finish line.

When Damian does arrive at the finish line he will have been successful during another magnificent adventure.

This time two years ago he was in the midst of preparation for  the Marathon des Sables which involved 6 grueling days of running in horrific heat. Of course that’s all in the past now but, when Brownie completes this Atlantic challenge in the coming weeks he`ll be painting a future for himself as bright as anything Vincent Van Gough created.

After all the awareness and money he`s earning for his worthwhile charities, Damian Browne sure does deserve that!

Damian Browne’s Atlantic Diary #7

A few years ago whilst Damian Browne was in the midst of his professional rugby career he read a book that changed his life. In the book he read about how the character raced across the Atlantic Ocean. Within in moments of being entertained by the epic tale,  a little ember began to burn in Damian`s mind. Before long a hunger was born. When the hunger begins for Brownie, he must eat.

Although Damian`s rugby career is now over, his brother Andrew is gradually working his way back to full fitness after a severe Achilles injury.  At this time of the rugby season with the final games on the horizon it`s tempting to become complacent, but Andrew is staying strong and has a goal in mind of when to return. Like his brother he is hungry.

Chatting recent with Damian`s brother Andrew, smiles and laughs were exchanged when Andrew recounted to me of one of the bog things he is missing from home.
We were chatting and I happened to mention that I had cooked some pork the night before after he inquired as to what I had to eat the night before. When he reliased what I had to eat, he wanted to know more.

” Are you serious?!…” said Damian. ” …and,  what else did you have with the pork?”

It really makes you think how now, after 40 odd days alone and suffering physical, mental and emotional challenges beyond what most people will experience in a life time,  Damian is still strong. Soon we will be entering into Lent and we will have to 40 days and nights to ask ourselves to give up one simple thing yet still, we will have all other home comforts at our disposal. Damian will have another 20 odd days on top of the lental fast and he will have given up and, almost lost, everything. By dedicating himself to this Atlantic crossing alone on a row boat Brownie will have  raised tens of thousands of euro for his chosen charities.

Before we go searching for our few cent for our Trocáire boxes perhaps we will share a few cent with Damian Browne`s charities and support this strong character`s efforts to put himself at the risk of the ocean for others’ benefits.

When Damian does row in for the final few strokes and eventually stands upright and steps on to dry land his hunger will have been enriched to new levels. Thankfully for him he will have a special meal delivered to him for him to devour within moments of his race finish as organisers treat all finishers with this lovely token once they have completed their mission.

Will Damian Browne eat when he finishes his sole row across the Atlantic ocean? Like a few years back when the hunger was  born in Brownie, he followed his purpose,channelled his motivation, took correct action and succeeded with his dream of attempting to solo row the Atlantic ocean.

For when the hunger begins for Brownie, he must eat.

Damian Browne’s Atlantic Diary #8

In the 1960`s there was a song entitled ‘Five Hundred Miles From Home’. The song was part of the folk revival and it`s singer Bobby Bare lamented how he was missing home. Even though it was on his mind that he was  longing to be back home he was, whilst singing it he realised that he was still ‘five hundred miles from home’.

In the past couple of days Damian Browne has just past the 500 miles from the finish line mark. He is blistered, sun battered, cramped and his muscle memory is rounding his broad shoulders  which were once were so prominent on the professional rugby fields across Europe. Still, he is in fine spirits and is going to finish this Tailisker Whisky Atlantic in aid of his preferred charities.

Before Damian left for his Atlantic challenge I had the pleasure of interviewing him at length. When it became apparent that Damian was attempting this Atlantic crossing of over 2,600 nautical miles alone without being able to swim, the dangers of what he was freely choosing to attempt became to the forefront. In reaction to this angle of conversation Damian retorted:

“ I don`t have a death wish!”

From chatting to him then and seeing his facial reaction to this comment I knew that I was chatting to a very lucid man. Rather than showing any signs of psychosis and having an ulterior motive in attempting this awesome challenge,  his positive intelligence came to the fore when his astute planning of the adventure became the renewed focus of the conversational mix.

Right now there is no doubt that Damian is feeling what Bobby Bare sang in the 1960`s:

“Away from home, away from home
Cold and tired and all alone
Yes, I’m five hundred miles
Away from home”

Yet when he hits dry land within the next couple of weeks I`m sure that this present adventure will go along way to cementing his place as an international adventurer. For when Bobby Bare became noted for his rendition of ‘Five Hundred Miles from Home’ he wasn’t long in adapting his career into other forms of musical performance such as the Euro vision and even film acting.

When Damian Browne finishes this race and recovers from his exploits within  months we`ll  probably begin to hear of his next quest that he has in mind.  By having months alone on the Atlantic ocean his healthy mind will have conjured up some dreams to conquer.

Considering what Damian has given to us followers so far in his life time, I’ve no doubt that in time to come his stories will be documented on the big screen for the world to amaze at his epitome of strength and endurance.
2

Damian Browne’s Atlantic Diary #9

Damian Browne is almost there. After over 60 days on the Atlantic Ocean alone raising money for much needed charities of Médecins San Frontiéres Ireland, the Strong Roots Foundation, Rwanda and Madra, he is nearing the finish line. In fact, in just over 100 nautical miles he will have successfully completed the Tailisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge.

Damian set out on this adventure much earlier than the 14th of December 2017 start time. In fact, his initial dream for this adventure happened many years ago when he was a professional rugby player who took time out to read of a fellow adventurer’s exploits on the high seas. Within Damian a fuse was lit and his 2017-18 hopes on the high seas were born.

Of course, much work and preparation had to go into that dream in order to make it a reality throughout the following years as Damian had got injured, retired from professional sport, re-planned his adult life and undertook some other worldwide adventures. Yet, still he kept the Atlantic Ocean in the forefront of his mind.

Away from Damian`s world throughout, there was a worldwide campaign of global awareness built on the principle of caring for global neighbours already underway called ‘100 People: A World Portrait’ which was prioritising the importance of education to all the diversities of the world in order to make it a better place. The campaign ‘100 People: A World Portrait’ concentrates on global issues that affect all people of the world. Issues such as food, education, transportation, economy, shelter, war and waste are dealt with and an effort is being made to try to improve the lives of the world population through this good cause.

When Damian Browne was organising his Tailisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge he needed to organise sponsors, and although many fine sponsors came on board, he still needed the help of individuals to back him, such was the cost of undertaking such an expedition. Thankfully, Brownie had many such supporters already and the initial 100 individuals that came to his aid were put into a group which he entitled ‘The 100 Club’. ‘The 100 Club’ were rewarded with giving their individual sponsorship by having their names printed on ‘Darian’, Damian`s rowing boat for the journey.

As Damian pulls through the last 100 miles or so of his challenge, he is indirectly and unbeknownst to himself, promoting an unknown global campaign of the a fore mentioned <em>‘100 People: A World Portrait’</em> which is championing the need for global issues to be educated to the masses of the world. Damian`s actions are showing people all around the world what can be done with a healthy mindset and energy being humanly fueled into transportation in one of our most valued, but soiled, natural resources- water. Co-incidentally, health, energy, transport and water are what the 100 People: A World Portrait’ prioritise also for a better world for all.

In these past 100 miles Brownie`s boat will have cameras a plenty capturing his Gulliver like image as he swings into the port, this is reward enough for each and every member of the ‘100 Club’, not to mention having successfully rowed the Atlantic Ocean!

Damian Browne Completes Sole Atlantic Row!

Damian Browne has just arrived in Nelsons Dockyard English Harbour, in Antigua &amp; Barbuda. The 6″5′ giant who normally weighs in at 120kgs has lost up to 20% of his body weight at this stage and although he is hungry for a normal meal, his appetite to challenge the high seas of the Atlantic Ocean has now been satisfied.

Before he went he was at pains to try and thank everyone that had helped sponsor him and began by compiling a list of names. He was so busy in the run up to this adventure that he never got to mention them during our initial interview, but I’m glad I kept the slip of paper he wrote on to show others how thankful and thoughtful he really was.

In the past couple of months of Damian’s lonely journey he has probably missed out on over 60 hot dinners, 100 warm showers, 120 hours of television, 200 hours of smart phone and internet use, and has been devoid of any form of social life that includes face to face interaction. He has failed to see green trees, green grass, view the first daffodils of Spring, have a Christmas celebration, go shopping, have a coffee or even take a spin in his car. He has also missed out on sitting back and relaxing with his beloved dog on a Winter’s evening.

Instead, he has committed himself to the challenge of the high seas and succeeded. He has done what he set out to do, despite having been in storms, narrowly avoiding being capsized into the ocean on a few occasions, having his vision impaired through an aggressive on board smack to his eye socket, lost his oars, had floods of water overpower his boat and many other challenges.

Damian did what Walt Disney advised:

First think. Second, dream. Third, believe. Finally, dare.

He took one step at a time from his initial fleeting fancy and, although there were ups and downs (even before he set sail), he believed in his initial concept and achieved.

Recently, as I was putting together the video attached which congratulates Damian on his once in a life time achievement I got in contact with a mutual childhood friend. He went on to say:

I met Damian just after he retired [from professional rugby]. He was out walking his dog. I asked him ‘What are you going to do now that you’re retired?’ He replied that he didn’t know. I never thought he’d be able to do this! [crossing the Atlantic alone on a rowing boat]

Still, he did it. We are proud of him, but then again, as Damian stated at the outset:

“Partially I am doing this to show people that anyone can do it.”

Not only can he walk the walk, but from here on in we should listen when he talks the talk.

Congratulations Damian, it’s been a true pleasure to chronicle your journey. Onward and upward!

And now a few words of congratulations from your friends and fans around the world 🙂

 

 

Tony Mangan ‘ Walk Around the World’ #1

Around the world in 80 Days</em> was a 1873 novel by the French writer Jules Verne.  In the novel the main character Phileas Fogg decided that he wanted to attempt to travel the globe in 80 days. Many doubted that he would actually be capable of circling the globe in that time frame – such was the complexity of travel in those days. In fact, another inventor decided to wage a bet that Fogg would be proven unsuccessful.

Although there are many more modern advancements in travel in the present day, to travel around the world is still quite an achievement and certainly not one that everyone has the pleasure of doing in their life time.

But this is exactly what Irish man Tony Mangan is doing!

Tony hails from Dublin and is an athlete and adventurer of  high regard. In the past, Tony has raised money for charity and seen lots of places of interest as his itchy feet flung on a pair of runners and succeeded in running around the world!

At present he is attempting to <strong>walk</strong> around the world.

Tony says:
“The hardest decision is to make the decision to do it, Don’t be limited in your mind!”

Tony has given exclusive access to me to chronicle his adventures as he approaches his 2nd year putting one foot in front of another – walking around the world.

Although Phileas Fogg attempted the feat in 80 days, it will take Tony a lot longer. As he progresses he will be giving his take on global tourism and informing The Galway Eye readers about all the places of interest and the best people to meet, things to do and ways to go about it when getting there.

 

Tony Mangan ‘ Walk Around the World’ #2

For almost two years now Tony Mangan has been walking around the world.  On his journey he has met many people from all walks of life. He has traveled to many places and experienced many different things, that most of us will never experience.

In the future we will be covering Tony’s travel and getting his feedback on all the wonderful spots that he stays in. Whilst he goes from place to place one thing that Tony is keen to mention is that:
<pre>No matter where you go in the world, there are mostly good people around the world!

He travels alone and lives a simple existence on his world trail pushing a cart that he has named Karma.

In 2016 Tony rambled along an unusual world route. Although he found himself in Europe, he was in a place that few Europeans realise exist, at least, not under the nationality that it does.

With his trusted cart loaded and his rubber soled runners strapped on, Tony got curious and entered Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania right on the Baltic Sea. As it is located by the sea and close to the western world,  it is also an important naval port for Russia.

During that Summer, Tony pushed his cart which was full to the brim with food, camping gear and all of his worldly belongings – well, at least all his necessities that he draws from for the years that he lives this nomadic existence away from his native Liberties in Dublin.

For all his world travelling, you would be forgiven in thinking that Tony is a multicultural man. In visiting such an unknown place as Kaliningrad, it`s obvious how it tweeked Tony’s curiosity as it is said that it’s inhabitants see themselves as citizens of Kaliningrad before being identified as European or even Russian citizens.

As Tony walks, he is spreading the great message of hope for the people of the world. Rather than seeking money or sponsorship along his way, his main prerogative is to make everyone he meets along his path aware of the ravages of cancer and to educate them that, despite it’s ugly existence in modern day life, there is hope. Tony insists that:

“Early screening of cancer can detect cancer”

It seems amazing in modern living that a person can live so humbly yet attempt to do so much for all walks of people in the world that we live in. Perhaps Tony deserves rewards for his insistent message and his noble cause of walking around the world.

Maybe, as Tony travels and represents Ireland internationally with his easy manner and soft Dublin brogue, he attracts better people than most, but then again, that really would be Karma.

 

Tony Mangan ‘ Walk Around the World’ #3

Have you ever asked yourself <em> ‘Am I afraid of the dark?’ well, this is a thing that Tony Mangan can never be accused of. After reaching his 2nd anniversary on his world walk Tony now finds himself walking somewhere  across Australia.

Every night he has a choice to make and often this choice means that he has only one real option of where to sleep. With his trusty cart which houses all his basic living equipment he unravels his tent and makes a home for the hours of darkness as he invariably sleeps outdoors quite regularly night after night, all over the world.

But, fortunately, another option often presents itself and that manifests itself following the goodness of random strangers.

This is when Tony is presented with a choice to make. As Tony is such an experienced world traveler it makes him attuned to the cultural differences throughout the world. Perhaps tempted at times by a potential indoor bed, his instincts need to be razor sharp for him to accept the kind offer of strangers to sleep in their home.

During this past week Irish man Tony hasn’t been thinking of darkness much, but more of native country as his sister continued to send him updates of the snow fall that covered most of Ireland. For all of us living in Ireland over the past few decades the recent snow fall seemed surreal, but, spare a thought for Tony, as he wanders alone across the lower half of the globe  after being constantly updated  last week with pictures of home under a veil of whiteness. Surely he had thoughts of his childhood remembering the show that was, and other thoughts of how the snow back home could sooth him as he sweated in the heat. When we were in the depths of snow he communicated to me saying:

“It’s over thirty one degrees here and having trouble sleeping in my tent!”

Fortunately for Tony he ran into some very good people in Scott and Noel in the Darling Downs region. Scott who wondered about Tony as he peered from his home (at the then stranger Tony) quickly made his mind up to kindly offer him a bed for the night. Then there was Noel who came across Tony as he walked and decided to stride it out for an hour with him in honour of his late father who had passed away due to cancer.

Although Tony was having a joke with his fellow Irish man  by quipping how it was nice to be away from last week’s snow fall, again within hours he had to ask himself  ‘Am I afraid of the dark? ‘as he was unsure of where he was to sleep the following night again.

Tony Mangan ‘ Walk Around the World’ #4

The Bible is the good book that tells us how best to live. Many scriptures and stories are contained in the bible. Characters from within these tales are comparable to people that exist in our everyday lives in the present day.

One of these characters is a man named Moses.

The story of Moses stated that the descendants of Jacob had lived in Egypt for over 450 years and then their people transformed into a nation. This nation was named Israel. However, the Egyptians started to see Israel as being a threat to their own nation and reacted by forcing them to become slaves. Due to Israel`s population increase, the Egyptians then decided to drown their babies in the River Nile. However, God came to Israel`s aid and sent them a leader who was called Moses.

As an infant, Moses’ mother had left him into a basket and let him flow down the River Nile as she believed that  God would look after him. Despite this random act, the baby Moses was rescued by a well off daughter of a Pharaoh and the baby was raised in a royal palace.

Like Moses’ mother, Tony Mangan leaves a lot to chance. Still, this chance is educated by his vast travelling experience. Although Moses travelled down the River Nile and was fortunate enough to be rescued by a Pharaoh`s daughter Tony too, has had the fortune of being aided on many occasions by generous people.  Each time Tony meets a new stranger and tells them of his world walk message of becoming aware of early Cancer screening, he is often given royal treatment by ordinary people.

Later in the biblical story of Moses things became more complicated.

Once Moses reached adulthood he rebelled against his upbringing and killed an Egyptian guard in honour of his native Israelites. As he attempted to avoid the reaction of the Pharaoh, he flied to the dessert where he was spoken to by God through a burning bush. This message from God is said to have given him special powers that were to eventually propel Moses to lead his people from slavery.

Like Moses, Tony is taking chances as he travels down under. Although he has not had the experience of being spoken to by God in the dessert, he is certainly raking up the miles in the Australian bush and continuing his story in leading others from the wrath of a cancerous death.

 

Tony Mangan ‘ Walk Around the World’ #5

God said to Noah:

“I am going to put an end to all the people because the earth is full of fighting because of them. I am going to destroy them and the earth.”

Noah was then given specific instruction on how he could build an arc to save those that he could from the almighty flood.

Once God had communicated this to Noah it is said that he then made a covenant with him, an agreement with a promise.

Before Tony Mangan’s mother passed away from cancer  she lived out one of her dreams in seeing her son finish his world run.  By then a deep motivation had begun in Tony. That motivation was to spread the urgent news regarding the importance of early cancer screening in order to  avoid the pains and struggles of the dreaded disease.

Recently Tony was experiencing another annoyance during his leg of a Queensland walk. As St. Patrick’s Day was looming Tony began to ponder how he, as an Irish man, felt coming up to the annual celebration. As an overseas ambassador of his beloved country, Tony began to recall the time he ran around the world some years previously. Rather than being near Australia, Tony was on the opposite side of the southern hemisphere and finishing a run through Mexico. As soon as he completed a 50km journey he was parched with the thirst and had to be led by police back to the police station. While he was being marshalled back by two Mexican officers, one of them stopped to take a call of nature. As he did his business he turned to Tony and said:

“Hey, you Irish you love to drink, don’t you?”

and proceeded to offer Tony a beer.  Much to the officers’ amazement Tony preferred to drink a Coke instead as he retorted:

“Nah, nah I`ll have a coke instead.”

The resultant body language and actions from those officers said it all for Tony. They continued to use their pistols to open two beers before driving off and this displayed how they were not prepared for an Irish man so fit and self disciplined, not fitting the stereotype of wanting to drink alcohol at every given opportunity.

In these past few days Tony has experienced Queensland in floods yet the weather is warm and welcoming. His insistence after travelling around the world and meeting many people from all places is that the Irish, when internationally compared, are only ‘mid table’  consumers of alcohol.  Thankfully for us Irish we won’t need a Queensland flood to water us down now that St. Patrick’s weekend has run it’s course, but for Tony, his international ramble by the waters of the world continues.

 

Tony Mangan ‘ Walk Around the World’ #6

Many would say that the modern man is a metro-sexual man. Being metro-sexual means that the man is particular about how he grooms himself and that he likes to spend time on his appearance – even more than many women. In comparison to men of yesteryear, these types of men are perceived by many as being more aware of their appearance as distinct from their fore fathers. Still, not every modern man is a metro-sexual. Some are just clean shaven, tidy, resourceful and just as hardy as those of their fore fathers.

One such man is Tony Mangan. His daily ritual of keeping clean, tidy and as presentable as any so called  ‘heterosexuals’ endear him to hoards of strangers all over the world. His charming way backs up his affable and clean cut lean frame as he is challenged by the high ways and by ways of the world.

Tony attracts all types of positive attention on his world walk. Thankfully for him, it’s predominately positive attention from people of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds. He seems to motivate kindness in people as he steps it out across the southern hemisphere.

About five years ago, when Tony was galloping along the road in Melbourne (with his crew member Michael), he bumped into a kind farmer and his wife. After the rapport was built up Tony and Michael were offered to stay on the farm for the night – to rest their weary limbs.  The banter was good and Michael and the farmer had a couple of drinks as Tony rested his weary muscles and had the chat with them. As the night wore on it was time for bed and Tony and Michael were summoned to sleep in the same room but on different sides of an ‘L’ shaped couch. As Michael had taken a few drinks he was falling asleep while Tony was just allowing the last few thoughts of the busy day flow through his mind as he lay relaxed on the couch.

Soon the inebriated farmer’s curiosity got the better of him and he hurried downstairs and jokingly approached Tony’s side of the couch before surrounding a prostate Tony and then eventually pinning him to the couch with his wrestler like build. As he lay over Tony with his muscular frame his drunken antics eventually uttered:
“Why the hell are you running around the world?”

Tony, although initially startled, stayed as cool as a breeze while his friend Michael was sniggering with entertainment on the other side of the couch. But Michael was still clever enough not to attract the drunken farmer’s comical advances! Within a moment both men’s shock was abated as the farmer’s wife  summoned her semi naked husband back to his bedroom.

Although Tony Mangan is not a metro-sexual he attracts a lot of attention. On that particular night he attracted a confused drunken farmer, but Tony’s cool instincts and appeal to the ladies is obvious as he continues to make his way through the trails of Australia.

Tony Mangan ‘ Walk Around the World’ #7

lthough Easter has just passed you would be forgiven that everyone has eaten their fill of Easter eggs and now find themselves looking back on the Winter with a huge degree of haste.

But not everyone feels the same. After all, we are all different.

For Tony Mangan on his world walk somewhere in Queensland, Australia Easter 2018 was not a time for a lot of personal celebration. For him the few days on the lead up to Easter were ones where he was introspective along his walk. Walking alone is one thing but walking around the world alone for years on end is a totally different matter. Even more challenging than that is being alone in the wilderness with only your memories as your sole companion and this can have an impact on a person.

 The closeness Tony has to Summer like nature as he walks

This past Easter has represented good and bad memories for Tony. His particular motivation for his website  comes from the memory of his mother’s passing. Tony’s close relationship with his mother is much like many Irish people and this is to be heralded. Yet,this past Easter was a tough few days of walking for Tony as he was recalling his mother’s third anniversary of her passing. She died of cancer and, unfortunately for her and Tony’s family and friends, things may have been different if she was screened for cancer earlier.

So, three years later, Tony finds himself on the road somewhere in the southern hemisphere putting one foot after another in aid of early cancer screening awareness.

Coincidentally, only last week on the day of Tony’s mother anniversary a study by the Irish Cancer Society was published where it stated that around 3,000 cancers are diagnosed annually in hospital emergency departments. According to the study, three out of four cases are at an advanced stage and involve people over the age of 65.

Being suddenly diagnosed like this when you are elderly is still shocking for many. On an earlier world run memory Tony was once shocked by an elderly person who showed him so much kindness and like him at time, was at peace with themselves.

It occurred in the Andes Mountains of South America. Here, as he ran, Tony noticed a trail by the high way. He continued for a couple of kilometres until he arrived in a little village that was well off the beaten track. There he met a very old woman named Violet who invited him, a total stranger, into her home. Within her home there were no electrical appliances. Despite this, and being in this very remote region away from everything civil the old lady put on fire made of twigs, boiled water for a cup of tea and coffee, fed him and gave him a bed.

Many who are over 65 in Ireland may be feeling as if they are entering into their Autumn years and that they can bask in the sunshine free of a life full of working pressures, but for thousands each year they are instead in the midst of winter and are only looking forward to a hasty cancer filled exit from earth.

Bitter sweet after taste of Easter for those hastily looking back on the winter of their lives

Thankfully for Ireland and the world there is a sensitive and determined man in Tony Mangan who will continue to put one foot after another to educate the masses.

Although the Easter has now gone the bitter sweet after taste of the importance of exercise and early cancer screening resides for those that are only now entering their dark winter despite the Spring that find ourselves now in.

Tony Mangan ‘ Walk Around the World’ #8

Tony has been keeping it very Irish this week. Despite St. Patrick’s day having passed, his memories of the emerald isle are sharper now than ever. Even though he is trouping around Queensland in mid-thirty degree Celsius heat, he still seeks something hotter!

Getting into hot water is not something that any tourist wants abroad and mingling with a nation’s police force is something all journeymen are supposed to avoid, but then there’s Tony Mangan, and he’s not an ordinary type of guy.

Recently, while bumping into a young Irish couple, Tony was greeted with a smile and for him it was good to touch base with an attractive fellow country man and woman

Even though he had the pleasure of meeting this couple, he is keen to remind us of a time when he entered <em>‘the land of smiles’</em> and his presence got them all hot around the collar, although this all happened a couple of years back under the Asian sunshine.

As a single man, Tony ran into the renowned and exhilarating city of Bangkok, Thailand. Soon, word spread that such a fit western gent was arriving and the local police chief got excited. His introduction to the capital city eventually caused quite a stir.

This flurry of excitement caused the chief of police to take the day off and go on a run with Tony as he made sure that his patrol cars were loaded up with water and food. Late in the day, Tony reached a local college where he got rousing appreciation. This assured Tony that he was being lauded for his athletic achievements and not just his other charms.

As Tony continues to trek it out, over the years it must amaze him how many people get drawn to his unique efforts to foot it out alone across the globe.

Though it’s tough for him at times (and so hot that it`s uncomfortable) it’s better to meet a police chief in Thailand and be admired than being <em>‘ Banged Up Abroad’</em> under the suspicions of a different type of heat altogether!

 

Tony Mangan ‘ Walk Around the World’ #9

There’s a wise old saying:

“If the mountain won’t come to Muhammad, Muhammad must go to the mountain”

According to the Oxford dictionary this generally means that if someone fails to do as you wish them to do or, if a particular situation does not suit you despite your perseverance to shape it in that manner, then you must accept it and change your plans accordingly.

Perseverance is something that Tony Mangan does well. In fact, his waking life depends on daily perseverance as he walks around the globe step after step.

This week Tony was keen to share his memory of when he was on a similar world tour 4 years ago. At that time in Iran he bumped into a man named Mohamed and his little family. Tony got to experience a culture of a different kind and he shared a lovely birthday experience with this man and his kind family.

As Tony foots it out across the southern half of Australia, he is continuing to bump into random characters that provide him (and us) all with entertainment. Tony, of course, greets them with his smile and shows his Irish charm whatever comes along.

Recently his openness around the world meant that he was followed by an uncomfortable amount of flies. This and the excessive heat have bothered Tony somewhat so he’s fortunate to have met a couple of ladies that have stuck to him as closely as those flies!

Two of these ladies are pet-named  by Tony as ‘Thelma’ and ‘Louise’ and  another was kind old Nola who volunteers to help revive drivers in the outback. As per usual, Tony used his gift of the gab to illicit some fun and mischief from the ladies along the way.

Although a couple of these lovely ladies were named after the famous movie that addressed how two women who bond can live without men in their lives, thankfully for Tony these two Aussie ladies were far more welcoming to him.

Then again, he was in the mood for a waltz with even a Matilda if she crossed his path. For Tony perseverance is one of  the traits that he knows too well since his journey from Asia to Australia and back again in the near future.

Perhaps in Asia he will be greeted by people just as glorious as the ladies he has met recently. If not,  ah well, you can be assured that he will be as open to receiving an approach as we all know now that with him:

If the mountain won’t come to Tony, Tony must go to the mountain!

 

Tony Mangan ‘ Walk Around the World’ #10

As the good old jokes go:

‘A man walks into a bar…’

For in a bar you are bound to meet the most interesting of characters.

This past week in Queensland, Australia Tony Mangan met men who were far from ‘queens’. In fact, they didn’t even seem like royalty.

Of course, Tony is used to being treated like royalty by many ordinary people along his world walk route, but then there are times when, despite him insisting that there are great people all around the world, it`s just not possible to bump into them.

When that happens getting from ‘A to B’ in a foreign country can be tough. In October 2011 Tony was going from Mexico to Guatemala. It was a dry and arid time, not unlike this past week in Australia. Tony was finding it tough as he walked. His usual economical journey was being interrupted by immigration on the Mexican border. There the guards insisted that he pay more money even though he had already forked out for the original visa fee on the other side of the border. He had to wait for over an hour while the man on the border emailed and liaised with officials about what must have seen to them at that time as being some form of a runaway border hopper. Tony though, used the waiting time to notice the surrounding landscape and weather. 

He noticed that the drivers were erratic and the roads weren’t much better either. Notable to him was how the roads had been worn down such was the power and regularity of the extreme downpours during the typical monsoon weather of that typical central American country. As he had been there before he wondered if the potholes were the same ones as the last time he had visited!

This past week for Tony has allowed him to meet nicer folk that the pertinacity of the border guard though they have spun a yarn or two to Tony along the way also. For him, these past few days have  been a case of forgetting about the ‘Queens’ land, as it`s been more like a deck of cards where the queens, kings, jacks have all been missing and a new jester has been crowned instead saying:
“Tony Mangan walked into a bar and met a pack of jokers “

Thankfully, for the local road users there are no dangerous crevices in the ground to make the drivers as crazy as Tony experienced in South America during 2011, although the ‘holes’ may be larger but are seated under the jokers right by the bar in Queensland, Australia.

 

Tony Mangan ‘ Walk Around the World’ #11

In Ireland, the Dublin football team were the team of the decade as they ended the decade with a 3-in- a-row.

 

Although fellow Dub Tony Mangan was celebrating his birthday recently he was not born back in the 1890s, but it being his birthday season, it seems only fitting to mention dates on this occasion.

Another time of note that occurred back then in 1895 was that the song <em>Waltzing Matilda</em> was written. Lately on  Tony`s birthday he was fortunate enough to spend it in the town where the song was first performed.

Such was the song`s popularity,  it became notorious for being Australia`s unofficial national anthem.

As the tune goes:
“Oh there once was a swagman camped in a billabong
Under the shade of a coolibah tree”

Over the past few years Tony has camped out in many a place and under many a tree and so the significance of Tony being compared to the character in this song is obvious.

But what is the real background behind the song?

The Waltzing Matilda song lyrics arose from the 1891 Shearers Strike which was one of Australia`s most prominent industrial disputes. Unionised and non- unionised wool workers fought violently and the outcome saw the formation of the Australian labour party coming to political power.

In Tony`s native land there is another Dubliner in political power and he has the overarching responsibility of many government departments including the bursting at the seams <em>Health Service Executive</em>. As Tony is walking around the world in aid of early cancer screening it seems apt now and then to wonder about the disease that he preaches about.

A recent study found that cancer patients who are physically active both prior to and following treatment are 40% more likely to survive in comparison to people who have cancer who are sedentary.

One thing is for certain that despite Tony having a couple of unusual rest days in this past week he is anything but a sedentary body as he moves around Australia meeting people here and there and spreading his message of early cancer screening. Of course, his two day break was due to his recent birthday and like anyone celebrating a break is well deserved. An Taoiseach, Ireland`s prime minister, is another who likes a ramble with his short pants on.

Of course, there is a possibility that Tony`s idealist early cancer screening is prevented for many due to the inefficiency of the health system that Irish people find themselves living in. Seeing as only last month there was record breaking 10,000 people on trolleys in hospitals across Ireland, perhaps it`s time for certain people in the HSE to do as Tony did some years ago and ‘go for a run…’

That run went all around the world for Tony and he continues to repeat the selfless feat for others who need it now.

As he has passed the famous Waltzing Matilda mark we still wonder what is a swagman?

Simply put a‘Swagman’is a  person holding a swag or bundle of belongings for a prolonged period, as they walk away.

As Tony Mangan walks on from another important date on the calendar and away from the fame of the 1890s famed Waltzing Matilda memory co-incidentally his native Dublin footballers are beginning  to start defending their present  3-in-a-row All-Ireland Football Championships  wins, yet  Tony`s  governmental leader Leo has his famous socks on and may be ready for a long walk of his own -if everyone figures out that he is the real ‘Swagman’ of Dublin.

Tony Mangan ‘ Walk Around the World’ #12

During this past week Tony Mangan has landed in Crocodile Dundee country. The 1986 hit movie chronicled the lifestyle of outback hunter gather Mick Dundee who had an often hilarious twist on things that he experienced.

There’s a scene from the movie ‘Crocodile Dundee 2’  in which Mick Dundee is walking leisurely through a fancy hotel like venue hand in hand with the female lead Sue Charlton.  The couple are greeted by a concierge who offers Dundee’s lady friend a menu of sorts while Mick`s outdoor instincts kick in once he sees, to the other side of him, a musician snake charming for entertainment. Dundee immediately reacts to the snake as it wriggles by his arm and grabs it with both hands before cracking it’s neck in a nonchalant manner. The snake wiggles no more and instead drops to the base of the basket where it once lived. All the while, Sue Charlton is unaware of Dundee’s flick of the wrist and they both walk on through the hotel.

Mick Dundee’s character can be summed up by a few quotes that he said throughout filming. One quote from him explained his theory on life when he began with:

“Of course it took me a week to crawl this far.
I thought I was a goner. I said to meself, 
‘ Mick old son, find yourself a nice comfortable spot
and lay down and die”

During these past weeks or so Tony can relate to this. As he has been walking through Australia over the past 10 days he has momentarily taken the outback and all it`s outdoor wonders of nature for granted.

Of late he was rambling with his trusted cart ‘Karma’ and was pensive about his late mother’s birthday which was on that very same day. Naturally, as Tony has dedicated his world walk to the need for early cancer screening (which was in part motivated by his mother’s passing from the dreaded disease) he could be forgiven for his lapse in concentration as he moved along his route.

As he rolled his cart forward upon the road it ran directly over a snake which wasn’t obvious to the eye at the time and, before Tony realised it, his momentum made him step right onto the reptile. By the time he figured out what had just occurred the snake had slithered for cover into the surrounding grass as Tony was left to wonder if the creature was venomous or not.

Thankfully, Tony has recovered and his world walk continues.

What of what Mick Dundee said earlier?

In reply to the quote by Dundee about he may have been killed one time his missus in the movie Sue Charlton said:

” Nah, I read the Bible once. You know God and Jesus and all them apostles? They were fishermen, just like me. Yeah, straight to heaven for Mick Dundee Yep, me and God, we`d be mates”

Now that Tony has learned from the outback warrior of Mick Dundee’s legacy he’ll never be afraid to die. He’ll face the coming weeks with bravery as the worst that can happen has happened and he has survived the incident with the snake and is still walking onward.

You can’t kill Tony Mangan, for he’s just got too much ‘snake charm’ in him.
During this past week Tony Mangan has landed in Crocodile Dundee country. The 1986 hit movie chronicled the lifestyle of outback hunter gather Mick Dundee who had an often hilarious twist on things that he experienced.

There`s a scene from the movie ‘ Crocodile Dundee 2’  in which Mick Dundee is walking leisurely through a fancy hotel like venue hand in hand with the female lead Sue Charlton.  The couple are greeted by a concierge who offers Dundee`s lady friend a menu of sorts while Mick`s outdoor instincts kick in once he sees, to the other side of him, a musician snake charming for entertainment. Dundee immediately reacts to the snake as it wriggles by his arm and grabs it with both hands before cracking it`s neck in a nonchalant manner. The snake wiggles no more and instead drops to the base of the basket where it once lived. All the while, Sue Charlton is unaware of Dundee`s flick of the wrist and they both walk on through the hotel.

Mick Dundee`s character can be summed up by a few quotes that he said throughout filming.

One quote from him explained his theory on life when he began with :

“Of course it took me a week to crawl this far. I thought I was a goner. I said to meself,  “ Mick old son, find yourself a nice comfortable spot and lay down and die”
During these past weeks or so Tony can relate to this.

As he has been walking through Australia over the past 10 days he has momentarily taken  the outback and all it`s outdoor wonders of nature for granted.

Of late he was rambling with his trusted cart ‘Karma’ and was pensive about his late mother`s birthday which was on that very same day. Naturally, as Tony has dedicated his world walk to the need for early cancer screening (which was in part motivated by his mother`s passing from the dreaded disease) he could be forgiven for his lapse in concentration as he moved along his route.

As he rolled his cart forward upon the road it ran directly over a snake which wasn’t obvious to the eye at the time and, before Tony realised it, his momentum made him step right onto the reptile. By the time he figured out what had just occurred the snake had slithered for cover into the surrounding grass as Tony was left to wonder if the creature was venomous or not.

Thankfully Tony has recovered and his world walk continues.

What of what Mick Dundee said earlier?

In reply to quote by Dundee about he may have been killed one time his missus in the movie Sue Charlon said:
“Weren`t you afraid?”

To which Mick replied:
“Of dying? Nah, I read the Bible once. You know God and Jesus and all them apostles? They were fishermen, just like me. Yeah, straight to heaven for Mick Dundee Yep, me and God, we`d be mates”

Now that Tony has learned from the outback warrior of Mick Dundee`s legacy he`ll never be afraid to die. He`ll face the coming weeks with bravery as the worst that can happen has happened and he has survived the snake bite and is still walking onward.

For you can`t kill Tony Mangan, for he`s just got too much ‘snake charm’ in him.

Tony Mangan ‘ Walk Around the World’ #13

Maewyn Succat was a boy born to Roman parents, kidnapped as a teenager and sent into slavery in Ireland to tend on sheep in county Antrim. That was a long time ago and few, if any, will recall what happened with the youngster next in life, as his name is not exactly etched in folklore.

Being a fluent Irish speaker was next on the list for the brave Maewyn and then priest hood followed.

Although poor Maewyn became ultra religious and was credited with changing the Irish to beign Christians as well as banishing the country of snakes before later being given the name of St. Patrick, history still states that he was forced into Ireland rather than being there of choice.

Tony Mangan is no saint. Nor is he a sheep herder. Still though, he does cover the amount of ground on foot as a sheep herder would have attempted back in the days prior to automation.

In November 2013 Tony`s feet found him in Myanmar and Burma in the eastern part of the world. Here he was welcomed by Buddist monks and although the area was a latent to the democratic process Tony was fed well, allowed to run unhindered and felt the joys of being warmly cherished as anywhere he had experienced and even the best of places in the world. Although at that time he understood  why his entering into this country may offend some of his international followers (due to it being a country that was only new to democracy) his experience there rebuffed any claims of the people being unfair or anything but open to his arrival.

As said, Tony is a layman and this disqualifies him from his likeness with St. Patrick or the monks. Unlike St. Patrick, Tony, in this past week or so, choose to enter into his latest city of Mount Isa in the Gulf Country region of Queensland, Australia.

In he strolled and before he knew it he was swarmed by many Irish people which were a very welcome diversion from the long lonely road that he is now so used to after over two years stepping it out around the world.
Although Tony Mangan is no saint, his personality will have surely banished any sneaky behaviour from Mount Isa as his open and expanding travel blogging and vloging brings light to another town who showed him a céad míle fáilte and a truly Christian welcome.

 

Tony Mangan ‘ Walk Around the World’ #14

Back in the 1970s Tony Mangan attended school in Dublin. Often, back then, young girls wore skirts and young boys wore short pants as they attended even the foremost  Irish educational schools of the land. At the end of each day they skipped home and diligently attempted a couple of hours of  home work that was designed to make them more worldly  in their actions in the years ahead.

In the north side and other parts of Dublin city a lot was happening.

In Ballymun the infamous flats were built and motions were made to establish a Gael Scoil in the area.

In Foley Street the corporation place flats known as ‘The Cage’ which had a plethora of social problem meant that there was a high failure rate for those that sought out  educational attainment. There was even an official experiment by the Department of Education which paid attention to the Bernard Van Leer Foundation in Holland of having a bright and informal school surrounding designed for 3-5 year olds in order to irradiate the social problems that were so prevalent in inner city Dublin.

In those times, glass milk bottles were used by the schools children and Aran sweaters were seen a plenty ,not to mention, the child in the duffle coat who crossed the street with the lollipop lady for safety.

It was different times in Irish schools and far from the computerised classrooms of the modern day.

In that same decade attention was given to the old Irish Industrial schools. A the beginning of the decade the Kennedy Report found that the residential care system, as it was, should be abolished and replaced by group homes in a kinder effort towards the children of those centres.

By 1972 the Marlborough House in Dublin was closed down along with Galway`s Letterfrack and the Daingean Industrial School in Offaly also ceased their operations.

Although there was a lot of changes for Irish schools back then it wasn`t all bad either.

School children were a lot fitter and mobile than what a lot of the current school goers appear to be as present day obesity levels in Irish schools are at a high. Street games for children were very popular, where as now, there is often a reluctance by parents to let their children play outdoors such is the changing views by many of how things should be done.

Other Changes were a plenty in that decade too. For those a little bit older  than the child were known for their stylish twist on things as they wore  the flared trousers as a fashionable attire.

Still, that was a time when Tony Mangan was a little bit younger and from then until now he remains unchanged in so many noble ways.

Then he was a fit young boy, now he is a fit man.

Then, when he wasn`t playing street games for entertainment and exercise with the other children he book learned the geography of the world. Now,  he continues  his unique walk the world with a message to educate around the globe  that ‘ Life is Precious, Early Cancer Screening Saves Lives’.

Yet the young boy is still there in Tony as he continues to wear his short trousers and visit schools around the globe to tell them of his remarkable feat of helping other people. That`s  his work right now.

Tony Mangan ‘ Walk Around the World’ #15

Cathy Freeman is an Australian field athlete. She is also an Aboriginal woman. In fact, not only is she both, but she is the first Aborigine to earn a medal in an individual Olympic event which occurred in Atlanta in 1996.

In later years Freeman won gold herself in the 1997 and 1999 world championships and when the Olympic games was hosted by her native Australia in 2000 she proudly carried her country`s flag in the opening ceremony in Sydney and then didn`t disappoint her country folk as she went on to run to victory in the 400 metre final.

Like Freeman, Tony Mangan is a field Athlete and after spending over a year trotting the roads of Australia he is now in Aboriginal country where he is being warmly greeted by those in the Northern Territory of Australia.

Once, there were hundreds of thousands of Aboriginal people living in the Northern Territory even well before European settlement.  These people spoke hundreds of different languages. For example, the Yolngu came from Arnhem Land and Arrernet, Pijjantatjara and Warlpiri originated in central Australia.

Back a couple of hundred years ago, the aboriginals in the Northern Territory began trading with Makassan who were from Indonesia. The Indonesians came to Australia in order to harvest sea cucumbers.

In the present day Northern Territory the Larrakia also known as the ‘Saltwalter people’ exist. They find themselves as being the custodians of water and land around Darwin. Even now, over 80 Aboriginal languages are being spoken in this territory with half of the land there being owned by these residents. This even includes national parks like Uluru-Kata Tjuta and Kakadu.

European people began to settle in the Northern Terriotory in 1824 but found it difficult due to its limited supplies, harsh conditions and isolation. The results meant that people were often starved, ill or simply failed to live in the area.

<

Eventually in 1960 a place named Darwin was established successfully.  It was actually named after the famous Charles Darwin. Captain John Lort Stokes founded and on the back of it`s promise Alice Springs originated in 1871. Within another few years gold was discovered close by and subsequent findings and mining of tin, copper, manganese, mica, wolfram, bauxite, uranium, oil and gas.

By 1911 the Northern Territory became a part of the Commonwealth of Australia and separated from South Australia.

In this past week or so, Tony Mangan has been walking briskly through the Northern Territory and has been rewarded by many the kind stranger who has brought him water and placed other bottles of water further along his route for when he really needs it. In spite of it  getting hotter for Tony up there, there are those in Aboriginal country who are treating him well due to the originality of his achievements which are similar to that of their own hero Cathy Freeman.

Although Tony is not seeking to break any records in this athletic attempt this man is the salt of the earth and is making Irish people everywhere proud as he continues to fly his country`s flag during his travels with his message of  ‘ Early Cancer Screen Saves Lives’.

Tony Mangan is the golden one and like all aboriginals who eventually became heard on the world stage, his message needs to be listened to loud and clear.

ound the World’ #16

In 1976 Cadburys, the famous chocolate company, devised a very clever marketing campaign concentrating on some of their main ingredients that were contained in their chocolate. As they used fruit and nuts in many of their recipes they used the line ‘Everyone`s a fruit and nut case’ to highlight their brand.

In this past week Tony Mangan has been using fruit as a way to re-hydrate and replenish his low energy reserves as he pounds the pavements.

His renewed energy reminded him of this time in 2012 when, like this past week, the Champions league final had just finished. Back then Tony was footing it across Peru in South America. There he met a respected man by the name of Clemente.

Clemente was a guy who loved to see travellers visit his way. He even had three guest books that date back 30 years now. Similar to Tony`s walk in Peru, Clemente told him of two other walkers namely French Canadian Jean Believue who walked around the globe for 11 years and Karls Bushby who went around the world without any particular transport to guide his way. For Tony in Peru that time meeting Clemente and seeing his guess books gave him a great laugh as he saw how Karl Bushby demonstrated (with the aid of the guest book )where in the world the most beautiful women resided.

Although Tony is not rating the women in the towns he passes through he certainly is benefiting from their sustenance and care as they, along with other people, feed and water him along the way.

Over the past 3 months of covering Tony Mangan`s world walk it`s becoming obvious that Tony opens himself out in a truly colourful way. His personality shines through where all colours of the spectrum are greeting each new person in each new destination with brightness. As he walks and soaks in the rays of the sun many would think that he was de-motivating but with Tony it seems the power of the sun and the abundance of water that he so kindly receives along the way is making him grow like the assortment of fruits and vegetables  that he passes day by day on the road side.

As Tony`s healthy and fresh outlook resembles the fruits of the earth that he trod`s upon, it is gratifying that with each step he is trampling the fear of cancer for each and every follower of his world walk and showing that positivity and people`s interconnection along his world path can help bring about long term cancer relief in the coming years.

Tony Mangan is leading the way with cancer awareness as he continues to chant his message that:

” Early Cancer screening Saves Lives”

Tony`s message will need to be loud in the coming months as the big ‘ C ‘ continues to rear it`s head around the developed world.

Ironically, if everyone in the developed world were to intake the proper amount of nutrients that Tony is so careful to take on a daily basis , perhaps there would not be so many cases of cancer?! But then again, like fruits in a basket there are all types of  people who should be making proper dietary choices.

If it was all as simple as having world full of Tony Mangans there wouldn’t be so many interesting places for Tony to visit and Cadbury`s wouldn’t have to continue to be as blatantly honest with their advertising when they, well before their time, made it known that their sugar filled products were so good that they aid a healthy diet and also help all types of personalities, how ever strange some may be!

It s a mad world, but then again

“Everyone`s a fruit and nut case”

Tony Mangan ‘ Walk Around the World’ #17

When an article is written for a publication there is particular sequence of events. Firstly, there must be communication between the writer and the subject that is to be written about. Then the subject (or the person to be written about) must communicate their information as accurately as they can. They may also say of any limitations or considerations that they have with the information they are imparting simply because they are aware that the content within the article is essentially coming from their own source. 

Once the information is told to the writer they must then assess the credibility of the information and go through a series of questions with the subject in order to elicit the correct information and the most pertinent for the audience of the article. Naturally then they have to get creative and put a certain sequence to the information or a twist of interest, so to speak.

Readers like to read interesting stuff and this is the job of the writer. Lastly, there is one more person that manages all of this communication. That person is the editor. The editor has a very responsible position. He or she must read through the finished article and adjust it’s contents with not just the audience in mind but also, the set of rules and principles that their publication is governed by in order to be considered a credible source or publication that is respected  in literary terms.

The whole process takes time. The whole process takes people. This time is spent between three people. They communicate between the three of them to make the best outcome for all of them. This three way communication is there to give satisfaction to each individual involved and to bring joy at the outcome of the sum of the parts.

This past week Tony Mangan has communicated with his article writer and in turn the editor. He has told of his information and in doing so the writer has checked his source. Then the editor has proof read the findings and considered it’s appeal. In conclusion this is the completion of the three way activity.

Co-incidentally in this past week Tony has entered in a threeway. This Threeway is in Australia where his world walk is continuing.

So, as Tony Mangan recovers from his time in Threeway he hits the road again. He is thankful that his dealings with his article writer have been distant and professional and that he can have open verbal and written communication with the article`s editor also.

Leaving a threeway can be tricky as it can sap your energy. Thankfully for Tony, the article writer and the editor are all heterosexual men who just want to talk to one another, otherwise Tony Mangan would be re-starting his running career and sprinting as far away from any future male communication in the next random town that he comes into.

 

Tony Mangan ‘ Walk Around the World’ #18

Back in 1990 there was an old song which rang out with the chant
‘Ole, Ole, Ole, we`re all part of Jackie`s Army, we`re all off to It-al-y’

Ireland was in the midst of economic deprivation with many school leavers hopping on the boat to the UK in search of what seemed would be a lifetime of exile. Back then being in the World Cup was completely surreal for us Irish. In fact, it was the first time that we had qualified for  competition. Two years earlier we had qualified for our first major senior mens’ soccer tournament and had scored a famous win against our most  fiercest rival England when Ray Houghton headed the winner over a hapless Peter Shilton.

The chorus that was ringing in every Irish person`s ears during the Italian World Cup referred to the old English football hero Jack Charlton who had the Midas touch in turning around the fortunes and success of the Irish soccer.

Charlton was a no- nonsense type of individual. He didn’t do finesse. He even ignored much of the talent at his disposal when he took over the Irish job and instead concentrated on planning his game play around a laboured style of forceful attach that was epitomised by a  swash buckling ‘ no surrender’ characteristic. Those that had the silky balls skills were left on the sideline as the team ethic was but to the foremost in order for the Irish flag to sail high in the international skies.

At that time Tony Mangan was still enjoying the odd game of football. Although in the midst of his ultra running career, his fitness leant to his ability on the ball. In spite of Tony`s athleticism and the extreme time commitments that he had to give to the preparation to his powerful exploits he still found the odd moment with mates to have a kick about.

Such was the lingo at that time that Tony would be undressing as would another member of the other team in order to design the make shift pitch most probably somewhere at the end of a Dublin street or a green patch not too far from a track. Then the terminology of using ‘ jumpers for goalposts’ was popular and Tony would have raised a smile or two as he jinked in and out of the action mimicking the Irish World Cup heroes of Bonnar,  Moran, McGrath, Whelan, Houghton, Sheedy and Cascarino.

Of course that was then and this is now. At present Tony is walking in aid of cancer awareness all around the world. He hasn`t time for a kick about and as he wanders the roads he is constantly wondering about the latest result in the 2018 World Cup whilst manys the feet of millions around the world are escalated onto sofas and following each camera angle of this over paid millionaires on a football pitch when their millions could do so much more for people like Tony and all that he stand for.

It may not be 1990 anymore but it is World Cup time. Perhaps its time to start a new chant to get more people on Tony`s side. It may go something like this
 ‘Ole, Ole, Ole, we`re all part of Tony`s Army, we`re all off to Asia soon!’

Tony Mangan ‘ Walk Around the World’ #19

“All they found of him was a muddy set of prison clothes, a bar of soap, and an old rock-hammer damn near worn down to the nub. I remember thinking it would take a man six hundred years to tunnel through a wall with it. Old Andy did it in less than twenty.” 

Back in the 1995 there was a wonderful movie about how the life of single and successful white male was thrown upside down when he was wrongfully imprisoned for the murder of his wife`s lover. That man  was a clever man, a man who was highly thought of in the outside world and most of all a man who exuded the ability to think under pressure and remain solemn and patient in his execution of the finest of deeds.

His name was Andy Dufresne. Andy was cool and calculated. Anyone who really knew him on the inside and the outside world knew that he was pensive within his own thoughts and was a man that  persevered in spite of the odds being against him. Such was his perseverance that he eventually broke out of the Shawshank state prison and eventually lived out his life as a rightfully free man.

Another such man who calculates things in a cool and calm manner  and allows his raw ability to lead the way in spite of all the odds stacked against him is Tony Mangan. Although he has not been imprisoned, but in fact lives quite the opposite of lifestyles to old Andy in being free to stride the high ways and by-ways of the globe, he none the less shares many other attributes with the award winning movie character.

Tony has done nothing wrong to get where he is in life. In fact in his former occupation as an ultra-distance runner he has achieved the lofty heights of success in a similar manner to Andy`s outside the prison walls success. Like Andy though, Tony`s commitment to his cause has fractured his possibility to have a long term relationship, yet his attraction to the ladies is ever growing.  For him, who knows what freedom on his world walk will bring him into contact with next. For soon he will be going the Asian route and his resilience and chirpy disposition will be welcomed in many the place including the likes of the land of smiles.

When Tony`s World Walk is done and dusted, we will all look back and wonder if we got our predictions correct in how long it took him to complete the journey.
Tony himself will count back on the number of pairs of walking shoes that he has popped his feet into and ponder on how he ever got this far in the first place.

In him showing this admirable resolve it`s no wonder that his current soles of shoes are fading away. Like an old rock hammer worn down to the nub, Tony will be able to smile and look back over his time on his worldly feet and take a relieved breath and say quietly to himself how he has reached his personal paradise of achievement in the same as old Andy Dufresne found peace by the ocean at the end of his much lauded story of life.

Tony Mangan ‘ Walk Around the World’ #20:

There was a cool cat in the 1980s and 1990s who sang of friendship and entertained millions. His name was Garfield. Garfield sang:

“When You Feel Like You’re Ready To Flip 
When You Got The World On Your Shoulders 
Friends Are There To Give You A Tip 
Friends Are There When You Need Them 
Their Even There When You Don’t 
For A Walk In The Park, For A Shot In The Dark 
Friends Are There. Garfield: “I Don’t Care” 
But Friends Will Care For You-u-u-u-u-u-u! “

In this past week Tony Mangan has showed his coolness in spite of all the heat in the past few months in Australia. He has achieved part of what he has set out to do. After nearly 1 year walking Australia he has calmly reached the ocean`s edge where he now peers out over the ocean to another continent. That`s some movement, some walking.

Tony`s completion of Australia comes after months of adventures and meeting of many kind strangers. He has been burned, scorched, slept rough, been offered barns, homes and hotels. He has met poor people, rich people, bar flies, water boys, beautiful women and country guides. Along the way Tony has mixed with many the type of Aussie and got on with the all. No one has complained about his fleeting presence in their communities and many have championed his efforts for raising much needed early Cancer care screening. With minimal expectation and an old cart for company he has wandered and become worn at times. Yet still he has moved to a higher point and soon his fan base will grow as others in Asia begin to find out of his extra-ordinary ambitions and achievements so far.

Tony has missed many home comforts in these past years travelling the globe but one of them that he became recently reacquainted with was his old friend who came to celebrate with him as he finished his Australian leg of his world walk. It shows how genuine a person Tony is that this kind act of friendship meant so much to him when he could have chosen to have other home comforts instead. Of course he had some Barry`s tea and a Tayto sandwich but this was with his long term mate as a way to celebrate. As Tony hits Asia he will need more human support. He will meet more friends but this time there will be a language barrier and perhaps restrictions to his internet coverage at times. as the old Garfield song said:

“Friends Are There When You Need Them 
Their Even There When You Don’t 
For A Walk In The Park, For A Shot In The Dark 
Friends Are There. Garfield: “I Don’t Care” 
But Friends Will Care For You-u-u-u-u-u-u!”

If you`ve been reading Tony`s travels and been seeing his videos on line count yourself his friend because he will need your support in the coming months of his journey. So, be a needed friend, and support Tony in what is anything but a ‘walk in the park!’

 

Tony Mangan ‘ Walk Around the World’ #21

Donny Hathaway wrote and strongly sang:
“The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows where.”

Tony Mangan is not a song writer or singer but he is strong.

Although Tony Mangan has left Australia and is pushing his Karma cart around the wilds of Asia right now, he still has things on his mind. Just over a week ago when he left Australia and celebrated this with a very close friend and marvelled at seeing the ocean for the first time in about a year, even then there was something aching away at him.

Being the guy he is, it never held him back. On the contrary, Tony decided to overshadow his remarkable achievement of walking around Australia by thinking of another.

This time it was his late brother Brian. Around the time of when Tony`s solo walk was being completed at the edge of this blue ocean, he was poignantly dedicating  this part of the walk to Brian`s birthday. Around the time Tony reached this point in his world walk Brian would have turned 60 years of age had he been alive.

Earlier in our chronicle of Tony`s  world walk we heard of his initial motivation to solo stride through the world for a second time in honour of his late mother who passed away due to the horrors of cancer.  

When you consider that Tony is a single man and that he rarely spends more a night in any one place in the world, its extremely motivational to consider that he still smiles at all he meets.

Now that he is finally in the land of smiles and that he has gone through an emotional rollercoaster of late lets hope that he will prosper with the people that lead with a grin and are pleasent to all they meet.

This is the least that Tony desearves. Then again, if he doesn’t receive this typical Thai welcome he`ll soldier on through because there`s one thing for sure with Tony Mangan he`s a tough guy underneath the softness he has for people.  As Donny Hathaway wrote:

“But I am strong enough to carry him
He ain’t heavy..”

That’s Tony for you, not a song writer or singer, but he is strong.

 

Tony Mangan ‘ Walk Around the World’ #22

Like everyone else, you want to learn the way to win, but never to accept the way to lose, to accept defeat, to learn to die is to be liberated from it. So when tomorrow comes, you must free your ambitious mind, and learn the art of dying.
Bruce Lee was a famous American martial artiste of Asian decent who moved with grace and energy. Although he moved with intense purpose through the air at high speed we always knew he was central to our movie screens whenever there was action from Asia.

At the beginning of this series of articles some months ago there was a video accompanying  each piece of writing which often asked the opening question by yours truly each week by wondering ‘Where`s Tony?’

Not long into each small video clip it was clear that Tony Mangan of MyWorldWalk.com was somewhere new of note having fun and frolicking with the natives deep in the southern hemisphere.  Once Tony got to Asia some weeks back it became apparent that he had  little internet band width and  communicating with him has been quite difficult at times.

So, in these past couple of weeks I  have really wondered to myself 

‘Where is Tony? ‘What has he been doing?’ Last night Tony and I eventually got chatting and as I suddenly enquired as to his whereabouts and queried how he was getting along , he  speedily replied back (all be it in a very brief manner) that his  location was in Laos and that the  people are:
 ‘…smiling in spite of the big flood that the country had just experienced’.
If you are reading this and wondering  where is Laos? then, allow me to fill you in very briefly.

Laos is located in South East Asia in-between five countries namely China, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Burma.

As a former French colony from 1893, it was first recognized in the history of humans over 10, 000 years ago.  Then, stone tools and skulls were unearthed.  Over the next couple of centuries humans settled in Laos and the capital became located in Xiengthong.  Now known as Luang Prabang, the capital and the country of Laos was granted it`s own independence in 1953 after world war 2 had caused much a rumpus for the natives.

Still, that was not the last of the wars that they were to experience. In 1964 the USA bombed North Vietnamese troops who were in eastern Laos and this saw the outbreak of a conflict between the royalist Vientiane government and the communist Pathet Lao.

As a result eventually the Pathet Lao took control of their misfortune and created the Democratic Republic in 1975. Over twenty years later in 1997, Laos had matured so much as a market economy that developed a thriving tourist economy and joined hands with neighbours to become members of Asean.

Lately there was a major dam collapse there and reports said that there were 20 dead and over 100 missing as well as having nearly 7000 people being made homeless.

As Tony Mangan is known to us all as a resilient sort by trotting  around the globe it seems that he is at home for now in South East Asia. As we have seen his smiling face on many a video screen up until now then ‘for sure ‘he is meeting his match in the unfortunate but resilient people of Laos in spite of all their battles and losses and their smiles in face of what fellow Asian representative Bruce Lee said was the ‘… art of dying’.

 

Tony Mangan ‘ Walk Around the World’ #23

Tony Mangan knows all about the bush. For a year or so he spent so much time walking the highways and byways of Australia and there he past many  the rural place and met strange, wild, funny and welcoming characters all surrounded by acres of bush land.

Then there`s a different kind of bush. One of a more personal sort and that`s the name ” Bush”.  Although Tony does not know Terry Bush, Terry`s words are likened to Tony`s travels at times:

“There’s a voice that keeps on calling me
Down the road, that’s where I’ll always be.
Every stop I make, I make a new friend,
Can’t stay for long, just turn around I’m gone again”

Back in the  1980s when Tony was a younger man exercising (and was still 20 or so years away from ultra running)  he was making us beginning to make us feel as underachievers as we lay on the sofa and watched RTÉ`s popular

‘ The Littlest Hobo’. Still as we lazed about after school, the Hobo dog was rambling from town to town and finding new friends everywhere he went. There he seemed to have an uncanny knack of meeting new people who needed his advances and who benefited from his short visit, before ( by the end of each weekly episode) he moved onto the next town.

Knowing that there are helpful creatures in life that can just pop into our mundane day to day existences is really assuring especially if they are travelling about for a greater cause that our own, or indeed their own lives. That`s what Tony Mangan is continuing to do as he marches through Asia in aid of early Cancer screening.

Thankfully Tony is fit and well and is feeling more than cheerful this past while. His smiling and singing demeanour is motivated by what he sees is the first four of a potentially record making five-in-a-row of All-Ireland Senior Championship victories by his native Dublin. Since last Sunday week Tony is brimming in his blue of<em> The Dubs</em> and happy to notify all that care to listen of how the capital team are heading towards record breaking territory in the next 12 months.

Still, there have been 3 other Senior football counties who have tried for the five-in-a-row and have been beaten in the fifth year. Wexford in 1919 were the first and two Kerry teams also failed at the fifth hurdle. The most recent of those teams, Kerry in 1982 were embarrassed when their famous five-in-a-row chant was ended by an unfavoured Offaly side.

In 12 months it`s hard to know where The Dubs will be, but for sure Tony Mangan will be continuing to move as he suspects he will be somewhere state side by then.

As that man Terry Bush wrote so fittingly  and indirectly of Tony Mangan`s travels, perhaps he has a point though when he said:

“Maybe tomorrow, I’ll want to settle down,
Until tomorrow, I’ll just keep moving on.”

Tony Mangan ‘ Walk Around the World’ #24

As the old song goes:
“And because time was on his side”
Time is certainly on Tony Mangan`s side. Although three score years old and rambling the world like a child at Christmas, he walks with ease and a smile to all he meets. He has time for everyone he encounters. Everywhere he visits he has a natural sense of wonder for. That`s Tony Mangan for you and that`s how he lives his life.

Right now  Tony is wandering around Vietnam and not too far from China. There it is dry and arid. The people smile simply because they can. It`s a far cry from where Tony was not long after the recession hit us and he embarked on his trails running the world some years ago. Then when he eventually set off on his world run (after allowing it to ruminate in him mind for the previous twenty years or so) he fleet footed his way from Dublin to west Kerry on his first leg of the almighty ambition. As the rain and Irish weather was overpowering all that chanced standing out in it for too long, Tony was different and he just kept running along unfretted by it’s unwelcoming vibe.

Locals in the south west were perhaps indoors watching re-runs of the great Kerry teams of the 1970s on finer Summer days as they clobbered the Dubs in Croke Park, yet one Dub was pounding the pavements outside and unrelenting to the Kerry ills of climatic punishment. In went As Tony sought a brief refreshment in a local store, there he was greeted with the typical Kerry ‘shoot from the hip ‘style of banter from the lady behind the counter when she said:
“What has you out on a day like today?”

But a quick reply by Tony was:
“I’m running around the world!”

Having an ambition like Mangan`s is something we can all have, but fulfilling it is quite another thing. Tony is doing so for a second time.

There`s that word again ‘Time’. As Tony`s old songster Bob Dylan continued to sing:
“…Now your dancing child with his Chinese suit he
Spoke to me,

I took his flute No,

 I wasn’t very cute to him, was I?
But I did it, because he lied and
Because he took you for a ride…”

Soon Tony will be in China. He will have met thousands of folk from all around the yet he will always remember that Kerry woman who retorted in reply to his audacious admittance of ‘I’m running around the world’ with a sharp reply that it was simply ‘ a bad day’  to begin such an attempt.

Had she looked at Tony in the eye and gasped at his manly and outrageous ambition, she may have been better to have jumped the counter and hoped on the back of a Dub that is definitely going somewhere and can sing the old Bod Dylan number to any lady who`ll perk her ear to his charming ways of worldly wonder.

Tony Mangan ‘ Walk Around the World’ #25

In 1986 thee was a movie released starring the famous Eddie Murphy who had to travel away from his easy breezy single life in the US  all the way to Tibet, somewhere in Asia. There, Murphy (who played the character of Chandell Jarrell) was a  private detective specialising who specialised in missing children was summoned to save a special child. During the adventure that he went through Jarrell was directed by Kala the dragon lady who briefed him on why he was the one to save this very important child.

Chandler Jarrell: Tell me about the Golden Child.
Kala: Every thousand generations, a perfect child is born, a Golden Child. He has come to rescue us.
Chandler Jarrell: Rescue us from what?
Kala: From ourselves.
Chandler Jarrell: Ah.
Kala: He is the bringer of compassion. If he dies, compassion will die with him.
Chandler Jarrell: So, if something happens to the kid, the whole world goes to hell?
Kala: The world will become hell.

Tony Mangan is not a  Chandler Jarrell though he has some similarities to him. After all, like Jarrell, he has left his native country for the good of a greater need for mankind in spreading his  word that early cancer screen is necessary for all. Not just that, he is also a single man.

Lately, as he stooped to get  some pockets sown into his walking shirt he encountered a nice  female dressmaker. Although she was quite helpful she soon began to show signs of incredible affection for Tony when she said things like:

‘Are you married?’ and ‘Why are you not married because you are very handsome!’ and this was followed by ‘I have no husband’ and ‘What about me?’ and ‘Will you marry me Tony?’

Still Tony being the gentleman that he was politely declined the kind lady`s broken English advances. That`s not to say that he didn`t appreciate the compliments but Tony is catch in anyone`s mind and something more than a quick proposal is required to settle him down. After all he has plenty more mileage to go to complete his world walk.

For now, somewhere in Asia, he strides out one foot after another. Tony Mangan is no Chandler Jarrell, but due to his compassion and ability to spread his noble message he will save many from the torture of their own personal hell when suffering from cancer. He is one in a thousand generations. Maybe, like the golden child, that female dressmaker saw that there is special child like quality within him.

Tony Mangan ‘ Walk Around the World’ #26

Tony Mangan was born in Dublin in 1958. He was an innocent and harmless little boy lived in a simple Ireland. He was an obedient and active child.

Now he  is entering China. When he does his passport will be checked. There the Chinese officials will be understood for being surprised at the amount of stamps that have been placed on his passport in aid of preventing cancer and instead heralding attention for early cancer screening.

For the Chinese to be wary of such an immigrant is not unusual for them. For it was more than 2,300 years that the Long Wall of China was built. It was built in different areas by a variety of dynasties throughout their history to protect different territorial borders.

It was this time of the year in Autumn ( and partly in Spring) that the first part of the wall was built. Then the eastern and central region of the country consisted of many small princedoms. It is thought that the earliest part was built between the states of Lu and Qi around 650BC.

From 247- 221 BC Qin Shihuang became emperor of China and he ordered that the northern part of the wall built by Qin, Zhao and Yan be all joined together. This all took 9 years to complete. By this time the wall was in excess of 5,000 kilometers.

Then, after Qin died, the Han dynasty took over.  Orders to strengthen and lengthen the wall were obliged and the wall grew from the North Korea coast near Pyongyang in the east to Jade Gate Pass in the west .

Though a short leadership of China the Northen Qi dynasty ( 550-577) still further built up the wall and even constructed an ‘Inner Great Wall’ before the Sui Dynasty (581–618)  fortified things further in their time.

The Song Dynasty (960–1279) and the The Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) continued to fortify the wall before eventually in sixty one years ago it was opened to the public as a tourist attraction.

Throughout all of these Chinese dynasties the wonder is ‘why was the great wall of China built in the first place?

In reality, China wanted to be defended from intruders and invasion. Yet not, the wall comprising of  21,196.18 km in length allows people to walk it.

Oddly, as Tony Mangan is in his sixty first year on earth and was born around the time the wall was opened to the public and as he has a habit of walking thousands of kilometers, he now enters China with perhaps, another strip of a walk to wander to add to his World Walk.

With all those royal dynasties of Chinese people you would think that they would have seen the intrusion of Tony Mangan as being unwelcome and continued to build the wall so that he could not come in to their country.

Then again, Tony was always an  innocent and harmless little boy who came from  simple Ireland. His obedience and active childlike qualities should walk throughout China with little fuss.

Still, let`s hope  his presence in China does not throw off the centuries of leadership and motivate the Chinese to begin building a wall in order stop us all from wondering at the awe of both their and Tony’s achievements.

Tony Mangan ‘ Walk Around the World’ #27

Tony Mangan is no Forrest Gump.

Although the classic movie featured a man, who at one stage of his adult life decided to react to his romantic ups and downs by hitting the road on foot and running for as long as he felt like it, Tony is very different.

Sure, Tony has run the world, but he has done so with true athleticism and precision of timing. Gump, on the other hand, was unsure of his timing and just let one foot fall after another as he aimlessly found flight from the fright of his romantic defeat.

Another way is which you could not begin to compare Tony with Forrest is the fact that Tony, unlike Forrest, has a knack with the ladies. After all, he is a happy person as  the fairer gender tends to be more emotional,  let`s face it, if you encounter a positive person like Tony Mangan then you`re emotions are bound to make you feel better.

Still on Tony`s recent a challenge he has met what seems like a more realistic comparison to Forrest Gump himself.

Forrest not only ran himself from one end of the country to the other but in one of his many other achievements became a member of the All America ping pong Army team who were the first team to visit China in what he stated was:
The first team visit] in something like a million years… or something like that!

In meeting his friend Kevin in China of late Tony has met a man whose skill with the small ping pong ball compares with Gump`s natural steady hand reactions and visual concentration and a man who would probably defeat the talented character played by Tom Hanks if given the opportunity in the 1994 movie classic.

Seeing as Tony glided into welcoming China without a fuss a couple of week`s back and he has made so many friends already it`s fair to say he`s as opposite as Gump as can be.

Kevin, his Chinese friend, though could represent China with skill and aplomb that would make Forrest call for more Americans to back him up such is Kevin`s steely  concentration that many Chinese athletes exude when calling upon their  competitive instincts.

So in meeting Kevin and becoming friendly with his majestic skill it`s clear  Tony Mangan could never be compared with Forrest Gump. In fact, if you were to compare him with Gump you`d be right to the accused of being quite silly. Why? well,  as the great character of the same entitled movie Forrest Gump once repeatedly uttered the wise words of his mother when saying:


” Stupid is as stupid does”

Tony Mangan ‘ Walk Around the World’ #28

Communism is:
” a form of socialism—a higher and more advanced form, according to its advocates”

It is system of social organisation where one`s property is owned by the community.

Historically back in 1949 communist revolutionaries led by Mao Zedong seized control of China. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) came into formation in 1921 after being inspired by the Russian revolution. Chinese economic and political turmoil in the 1930s as well as Japan’s invasion of northern China, allowed Mao and the CCP to increase support and work towards a revolution. A CCP victory in China carved a way for a huge dynamic change in global affairs there after. As the most populous nation on Earth with 540 million people China was soon to be ruled by communism that gave way to an Asian Cold War. The people of China,though living in a country that was undergoing modernisation and industrial growth were under authoritarian leadership, rigid social control and eventual mass starvation.

In the more modern day this was seen when Beijing hosted the 2008 Olympic Games.

The Olympic flag has five coloured rings on it.These rings are interwoven representing unity of the five continents of Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Australia.  Each colour represents each nations flag colours who partake in the competition every four years.

Yet in the past decades China’s human rights record has been the known for being far from suitable. By it hosting the Olympics in 2008  China was set to receive boycotts from Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

Tony Mangan is not a political figure. Nor is he one who preaches to masses to states on how they should govern their fiscal or economic policies. Rather, Tony has one defined but more international message which dictates to have ‘ Early Cancer Screening’. His message is one from experience of living  a loved one and his passion is to preach to all in his path the importance of living well and being healthy.


Is Tony  Mangan a communist? as Communism wishes for people to have shared ownership of their property you could say that Tony is one as he is caring and open to share his good word. Is he a communist if he shares his little push cart, or is there really someone who wants to push it with him? who knows!
One thing is for certain though, Tony may not have run in the Olympics but his international appeal is growing and he is uniting all continents as he crosses the main colours that they posses. 

As the Olympic motto says:  “Faster, Higher, Stronger”  Tony Mangan exudes these qualities bringing people together and spreading good cheer throughout welcoming China as he trots along his way.

 

Tony Mangan ‘ Walk Around the World’ #29

Eddie Huang is s an Chinese-American chef, restaurateur, food personality, producer, and attorney. His life also inspires the hit TV series Fresh off the Boat. He is also well known in America for his famous foods from home.

Tony Mangan is becoming well known and well liked in China too. His round the world stories are being told to all he meets and many are finding his tales of globe trotting as being extremely entertaining. Yet Tony still walks alone. Every time he has to stop, it is either for a night`s rest or for a meal that his tiring body must absorb in order to keep his strength up as he hits the author, highways and byways of the east.

Being able to chat to the locals is a welcome distraction for a person so long on the road and having the appetite to eat when he stops along his way is welcomed. That hungry is satisfied by the delectable dishes that he absorbs along the way.

As Eddie Huang is now becoming famed in his adopted land of America, Tony Mangan is becoming adored in his visiting land of Huang`s parents’ homeland of China.

Still, that`s not the only similarity both men have. In fact both have a liking for books. Not many people know that although Tony Mangan is a storyteller of sorts as he walks through China in each town that he visits. he also puts these stories on paper. Tony, like Eddie Huang, is also an author of books.

Eddie Huang created his memoir of his  time growing up in America as one of three sons to Taiwanese immigrants. He documented how he struggled with his identity growing up, his affection for hip hop and African American culture and his experience with racism.

Tony Mangan, on the other hand, has no stories of his hip hop days, his kinship with African American culture as he grew up in a largely Irish Catholic culture in North Dublin, or of any ups and downs relating to racism.

Yet, like Huang,  he has stories that are worth reading about in book format. Who knows, but soon Tony Mangan may have his own movie and considering all his worldly travels and his current time in China he may consider calling it Fresh off the Boat!

 

Tony Mangan ‘ Walk Around the World’ #30

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a Dublin ‘Jackeen’ as  a


“Contemptuous designation for a self-assertive worthless fellow”


The term dates back to the time of the potato famine in Ireland around 1840. Other reports say that a Jackeen is  a ‘fellow who does very little for a living and wants to do less.’ So, is Dublin’s Tony Mangan that Jackeen?

The term ‘Jackeen’ was used by ‘The Kerry Examiner’ back in February 1854 to refer to those in Dublin who  contributed more than their quota to the ranks of the British army and military records and that these were great soldiers from the Irish capital.

Yet Tony was not thinking that recently as he was busy walking through Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is an autonomous territory. It was once even a British colony. Located in the southeastern part of China, it is reported to be a densely populated location that has vibrancy at it’s core. As a major financial hub, Hong Kong boasts sky scrapers that almost nudge the sky as one peers up through the powerful night lights.

As a central business district it features architectural landmarks such as I.M. Pei’s Bank of China Tower. Due to its buzz filled with people, it is a major shopping destination, famous for its bespoke tailors and Temple Street Night Market.

It’s funny why references to ‘Dubs’ being said to be lazy, without work, or related to the British army can turn our eyes toward that one Dub Tony Mangan. After all, he lives quite a different life than all of that. Tony walks through his life and, though a short-sighted person may note that he no longer clocks in and out for a day’s wages, others may notice that his occupation is so unique that it does the work of many agencies, organisations and associations in the way he modestly markets the need for greater early Cancer screening on an international scale.

The fact that he has been through the  boastful business-wise territory of Hong Kong (which has such strong links with Great Britain) can almost provide a bit of worry to many, especially with Brexit around the corner.

In comparing ‘Jackeen’ Mangan to such derogatory and hopeless terms is futile, as his actions of positivity speak for themselves.

For Tony Mangan is no bumbling Brit, rather he is a true soldier of Irish freedom.

 

Tony Mangan ‘ Walk Around the World’ #31

Recently Tony Mangan`s website noted that Tony had now walked over 27,400 kilometres. That translates to  well over 16,000 miles in old money. All that has been achieved in around 800 road days, or almost three years since he began this quest. It`s some mammoth effort of human movement and shows that Mangan is well on his way to achieve his world walk in the coming years. It makes you wonder about really long distances and what humans can achieve over such milestones. What Tony won`t brag about though is that the World Runners Association (WRA) minimum distance required for his walk to be legitimate is a distance of only 26,232/km but of course, for man as humble and giving as Tony it’s not always about going for records.

Of late, when Mangan arrived in China his feet hit the turf on solid ground when others from the country were doing the opposite in leaving their country and hopping into their cars for a long ride across a bridge that had been newly opened to connect mainland China to Hong Kong and Macau.

Marketed as the  “world’s longest sea bridge,”  and with a $20 billion price tag the project took nine years of construction and with it came a lot of  controversy. Those that supported the bridge believed that it was a worthwhile project as it would massively reduce the time it takes to travel between the three a fore mentioned places. This gives a reduced time journey from three hours down to only 30 minuets instead.

However, there have been critics of the build too. Criticisms that are not just criticisms of the bridge`s impact that it`s construction  had on it`s surrounding habitat but that it meant there were tragedies as people lost their lives during it`s creation. In all, nine worker on the bridge have died and even 200 workers were injured during it`s years long project. Further problems results when it was discovered that subcontractors were endangering their workers as safety on the bridge was questioned. At one stage prior to the bridge opening there were photos of the bridge made public showing how concrete blocks were floating away from it highlighting that not all may not be as it should be throughout the build. 

In it`s entirety though  the task was considered an achievement. Once it was finished it totalled 55 kilometres in length, that`s 34 miles in older translations.

A marvellous achievement by the Chinese designers, architects,  contractors, and builders.

Still, they are no Tony Mangan. For he is but one man who will walk much longer than one bridge. In time, he will walk the whole world and instead of their being injuries or deaths his noble message for cancer awareness will help save many instead.