Live Aid 1985

Live Aid 1985

One of my memories from 1985 was the Live Aid concerts from London and Philadelphia on Sat July 13th 1985, 32 years ago today. The concert was a culmination of the pop music world coming together to raise money for famine in Ethiopia. 

It all started with a news report about the famine on BBC News in late 1984 and this report led Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to get together and get all the top stars at the time to record Band Aids Do They Know it Christmas in Dec 1984, after that the idea of a concert in London started to become a reality. American pop stars came on board and a simultaneous concert in Philadelphia was also planned. 

And what a day it was, the top stars playing their hits to 2 full stadiums on either side of the Atlantic and both broadcast live on TV. Add in Bob Geldof swearing life on TV a lot to get people to donate it was a spectacle that will probably never be beaten. 

Watching Phil Collins play on stage in London and then a few hours later watching as he played on stage in Philadelphia was a glimpse into how small our world was becoming.  

With a slogan of Feed the World, Live Aid spawned further fundraising initiatives, like Sport Aids Run the World. I remember joining thousands of others in Dublins Phoenix Park in May 1986 to run 10k and help raise money for famine relief. 

Over the course of those few years, 1984 to 1986, Irish people embraced the charities and the famine relief effort and probable donated more per capita than any other country and this may be because we remembered our own famine back in 1847 and wanted to try make sure it didn’t happen to someone else. Of course most people my age will always remember the ‘penny for the black babies’ (not a racist term in Ireland in the 1970s) and even today the Trocaire box is still seen in houses around Ireland in the run up to Easter, if not as much now though as it was in the 1970s or 80s. 

Keep an eye out for more trips down my memory lane as I approach my 50th birthday. 

Milestone Birthday 

Milestone Birthday 

I reach a milestone birthday in a couple of weeks, and even though I have always embraced what age I am this is a big one, I reach have a century. The big 50 is approaching fast. 

So what shall I do besides have a party with lots of friends, a few beers, probably a game of football and a trip to New York in September. These are the ‘what’s happening’ but turning 50 soon has made me look back on my life and remember some things. So over the next couple of weeks I hope to be able to share some of these memories with you here on my blog. 

Some will be sport related, some family, some friends, some professional/career and some personal. I have had a motto the last 10 or 15 years….. Growing old is Mandatory, Growing up is Optional. You can remain young at heart but still be a responsible adult and enjoy life. As my life has changed over the last 15 years I have tried to live to that motto as the years have gone by.   

So keep in touch and over the next few weeks I will take a trip down my memory lane and share some highlights and probably some low ones too. 

July 4th 1776 – Independence Day

July 4th 1776 – Independence Day

Happy Independence Day to all my friends here in America and  Americans all over the globe, especially those in Ireland 

I am about to embark on a whole new chapter of my life here, so learning about the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights will be on my to do list. Over the next few years, all going well I will be able to apply for a US citizenship and will need to know these documents fairly well. 

Declaration of Independence

But today is all about American Independence day, July 4th. This is my second July here in the USA and this year will be different from last year for a couple of reasons. The main one is that my son Robert is not here this year, choosing to stay in Ireland but travel here for Christmas instead. The second reason is the flu, not me but my darling wife isn’t well so there won’t be any tennis, lying beside the pool or fireworks. 

But as usual I start of to talk about one thing and end up rambling about something else. I read an interesting post on Irish Central about Irish signatories to the Declaration of Independence and I have included a link here Irish Central – Irish who signed Declaration of Independence. It’s little articles like the one linked that I love finding and reading. The link between Ireland and America goes back to the formation of the USA. 

And now for another ramble, I love history, especially Irish history, and am slowly learning a lot more about the Irish in America because of sites like Irish Central and a magazine I receive Irish America. Like my post on social media posts and politics, I like to read as many differing opinions as long as they have the facts correct. 

And now back to where I started this post, I will be expanding my knowledge of American history beyond what I already know with lots more reading, researching and listening to various opinions. 

So have a great July 4th, be safe around fireworks, and have lots of fun but remember what the day signifies. July 4th 1776, the day America declared itseof am independent nation.  

As a footnote I have added images of both the American Declaration of Independence and the Irish Proclamation of 1916. If you read the Irish Proclamation you will notice that it mentions America, thus cementing a link between the 2 countries that had existed for over a century already.  

Irish Proclamation 1916
American Declaration of Independence 1776

Posts of different types

Posts of different types

I am always keen to discuss politics, current affairs and just general stuff of interest so I can not only broaden my knowledge but educate myself on different opinions. I do try keep these discussions friendly and open and I wish everyone else would. As an Irishman living here in an America having huge political issues I try to thread a careful line of engaging in discussion but also avoiding any discussion that could cause friction. So today’s post is a little Public Service Announcement on my behalf about various social media posts.

So let’s start with the ‘Political Post’

Political Posts on Social Media

So people feel obliged to post political stuff on FB etc, politicans feel they are above normal rules of decency when posting and most posts end in an argument because people have differing views and opinions. Get over it, it’s social media and if you don’t like the post or get offended, just scroll past. Of course normal rules of manners and respect should apply but they usually don’t.

Now onto the religious posts, and as there are a multitude of religions or people who call themselves Christians etc this is a minefield.

Religious Posts on Social Media

Well let’s try be nice on this one. Everyone is entitled to their own religious beliefs and to practice their religion. But if their religion invokes hatred, sexism, racism or any other extremeism then it needs to be challenged, but social media like FB isn’t the place and it won’t end well, again people getting offended by the slightest thing. Get over it people, and be nice.

And finally those random posts that someone puts out to get a reaction, distract from what’s important or just plain put there to incite.

Random Post on Social Media

Some of these posts are just downright horrible but the ones used to incite a reaction, cause discourse, divide society are probably the worst. As a society we have forgotten normal rules of conversation when online. I always try to read a lot, especially different groups opinions and social media is my ‘go to’ place as well as normal media outlets from all sides of the spectrum and the Atlantic.

So whats the point of today’s post? A lot is being posted on social media, it is influencing opinions without facts, it’s also dividing society, causing divisions that don’t really exist other than people having differing opinions and beliefs but still being normal members of society instead of being polarized by opinions.

Britain is going through huge political turmoil with Brexit, America is a nation divided politically since the presidental election and Ireland is entering a unknown phase due to not only Brexit but calls for a united Ireland growing louder. How will all this turn out? I don’t know but I do know social media will play a huge roll but people need to use it respectfully and that goes for everyone, from the junior member of society to the leaders of the world.

Back to the beginning

Back to the beginning

Today marks 18 months since I married my sweetheart here in Atlanta and so much has happened in that time. So maybe now is a a good time to go back to the beginning and update what has happened over the last 18 months and some plans for the future. This blog has been charting my life here in Atlanta since I moved from Ireland in November 2015 as well as just being a place for me to ramble about stuff in general. I do try to avoid politics, religions or anything that can lead to controversy but sometimes I will mention these topics. 

Anyway, let’s take a step back in time to what led me to leave the country of my birth after 48 years. Well to put it simply, the love of a great woman. A relationship that had simmered as friendship since 2001 turned romantic as we found ourselves in the same place emotionally at the same time, it was kine everything g just aligned at the correct time so we could be together. We still had a K1 Visa process to sort out and after a few months of waiting and a little help we were approved in July 2015 and out wedding date was set, December 20th 2015, 18 months ago today, happy 18 month anniversary honey! 

Married life has been fun, exciting and sometimes challenging. We had to learn how to live together, with me also learning a while new culture here in the USA. We have a great support network of friends here in Atlanta as well as family on both sides of the ocean. We have had some really good moments, Robert visiting has to be a highlight, as well as some low moments, Leanne’s grandmother passing away and my Dad passing away last July. But we got to go to Leanne’s grandmother’s funeral in Michigan, which marked the first time we traveled on a plane together, and in December 2016 we got to travel back to Ireland to be with my Mam for here first Christmas without my Dad. The visit to Ireland led to another highlight, travelling to Rome for a few days to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. Our sending anniversary will be a little different, my Mam and my son, Robert, will be arriving in Atlanta to spend Christmas with us that day. 

Recently we moved into a house that we both picked and is now ‘our’ home. When I moved over here we lived in the house that Leanne had owned for nearly 14 years and even though we had no intention of moving, once we seen this house we both knew it was the house we wanted to call ‘our’ home together. 

We have some exciting plans for the remainder of 2017 and onward as soon we will be looking into adopting a young child. We both feel we can give something special and bring joy to a young child  who otherwise may not get the chance. It will bring challenges but nothing we can’t overcome together as we start to build a family. 

So just to end up for now, it has been a whirlwind 18 months of marriage, 19 months of living in the USA and life is good. I couldnt be happier and I look forward to the future and whatever it may hold for us. 

State Exams! 

State Exams! 

Well today marks a very important day back home in Ireland, the state Exams start. Traditionally this was a day that the weather was always lovely, sun shining and clear blue skies would bless Ireland for a week or so as the students in secondary (high school equivalent) schools suffered through their exams. The Junior cert, for students half way through secondary school, is just a stepping stone exam to the Leaving cert two years later. 

Now the Leaving Cert is a whole different kettle of fish. It decides your college placement, if that is the route you choose and most do go that direction, but I don’t think it is the be all and end all that it is made out to be. Yes, kids should study and try to do the best they can, but the stress put on some kids is unreal. 

Back in the time when I sat the Leaving Cert, college wasn’t an option, unemployment was quite high among school leavers and immigration was a huge option for lots. I was lucky and got a job straight from school and worked constantly till I retired from the Defence Forces 25 years later. Did I have a brilliant Leaving, not a chance as myself and school never really seen eye to eye. I done what I had to do to get through it and get out the far side. I passed the exams with the minimum requirements and it was done. It would be a little over 20 years later that I would return to education and go to college. 

So the question is, did the leaving cert help? Of course it did, it gave me basic learning skills, reading, writing etc, it gave me discipline to get up every morning and go do something, it taught me how to behave and it gave me friends I still keep in touch with now. 

And back to today, my son sits his Leaving for the 2nd time, making a decision last August to give it another shot rather than go to college and do a course he may not have been happy in or liked or just take a year out altogether. I admire him for making that decision and it couldn’t have been easy. But he is now a year older, a year wiser and knows what to expect from the 2 weeks of exams. 

I will finish by wishing everyone doing exams the best of luck and just do your best. It isn’t a life defining time but give it your best and see what transpires at results time in August. 

Hitting the reset button

Hitting the reset button

When I started this blog a little over a year ago, the aim was to chart my life here in the USA as well as telling the story of how I got here and how myself and Leanne became a couple, eventually married and our lives together. I also wanted to show America through the eyes of an Irish man who emigrated late in life to start all over again, hitting the reset button. 

Well the blog morphed into something else while still sort of holding true to what my aim was at the start. What it morphed into I am not to sure but it seems to be a good thing as I go through life here. But I find myself asking is it time to go back to the blogs roots and just tell the story of my life, hitting the reset button. 

It’s only been a little over 2 years, Feb 2015 to be exact, when we decided we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. I have charted that journey in lots of previous posts on the blog so won’t go into all over again. 17 months ago we got married and it has been a wonderful journey of love and discovery as our lives are now joined and not separated by the Atlantic Ocean. Once I moved here in November 2015 it was kine a whole new beginning, leaving home after 47 years, learning how things are done in the USA, talking slower, entertaining at home, making lots of new friends and being happily married in December 2015, just like I hit life’s reset button. 

I don’t get to post on the blog as often as I would like to but I am happy in how my life has turned out, happy to be sharing this journey with Leanne, happy to have met some wonderful new friends, happy to have new family here, happy to be able to keep in touch with back home and happy to be working in a job which may lead to something else further down the road. Maybe it’s time not to hit the reset button but just continue on this road and see where the journey takes me. 

Slán go fóill