Wednesday, 1st August 2012
With all the doom and gloom going about and not even the weather giving some sort of respite, it’s good that we are having a period of time where the emphasis is not, for once, on the bad or the negative but on the good and the positive. Summer is always a time when normal rules don't really apply. Schools and colleges are out and most people are thinking of what they will do with the couple of weeks free that they will have from work. Now is one of those times when you can take a break from the usual run of things. Also, one good thing about the Dail being in recess is that there are no politicians running about like Baby Jane's mugging to every available camera panting at the thought of dropping their pearls of wisdom to the rest of us. Last week we had the opening of the Olympics and, if there was one thing it showed, it is that with a lot of imagination and clever ideas you can go far. Alright, they did have a budget of £27 million but what they managed to achieve was nothing short of spectacular. It really showed that you could achieve an awful lot with a lot of imagination and not a little good humour. Before the ceremony there were a lot of naysayers, people who thought that the Oscar winner director, Danny Boyle, would not be able to pull it off. But he did. He and his team did. And with an audience of 27 million in Britain alone that worked out at about £1 a head. Not a bad return at all. This week and much closer to home we are going to have the Spraoi weekend in Waterford. Spraoi has grown year by year to be one of the biggest and best free festivals in the country and the group behind it all is in great demand. It is not hard to see why. Simply put, they put on a great show that consistently delivers. Not only do they have great home grown talent but they bring the best of what the rest of the world has to offer home here to Waterford so that the rest of us can experience it. We have already been lucky with the Tall Ships Festival but the Spraoi Weekend is really our own. It allows us all to take a break and indulge our sillier sides. Of course it does take a lot of money to put on and the Spraoi Gimme 5 campaign is really a good one, and anyone seeing the collectors should contribute. It’s very little for something that gives so much. One of the best thing about Spraoi is that it gives everyone a time out, allowing us to detach from the day to day realities of life and experience something new, fun and different for a change. And that is something that all of us needs from time to time. There is so much that is going on on a daily basis that it sometimes feels that you are moving to one crisis after another until it gets to the stage that they all seem to melt into one. Naturally enough the media plays a part in this but then again it is an accurate reflection of the times that we are living in. Recessions and austerity are not by definition fun and happy times. But that does not mean to say that we all don't need a break from reality every now and again and, to quote the playwright, Tennessee Williams, "Don't give me reality, I want fantasy." Well we all can't live in a fantasy world, not all the time at least, but we all certainly do need a break from reality every now and again. It’s great that we've got something like the Olympics to lighten the load as it were and it would be wonderful if Ireland were to bring home some medals. But if ever there was a country that can get a lot of pleasure out of the taking part alone then it is Ireland. The weight of expectation is less here and just having athletes who are in with a chance is great. Everything else is a bonus. Spraoi, however, is a thoroughly Waterford experience and there is no one who has experienced it and not had a great time. No matter what the weather, although good weather would be great, Spraoi is there to be enjoyed by young and old. It's a much needed and highly enjoyable time out, and who doesn't need one of them every now and then?
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Not so GR8 G8With world attention on Fermanagh as the meeting place of the latest G8 Summit it is no wonder that locals are basking in the reflected spotlight. We have all been told, if we haven't already experienced at first hand, the beauty of the location. We know about the exclusiveness of the hotels that the various leaders are going to be staying as well as some of their security detail. We know about the menus from which they will be choosing from. There is little about summit meeting that the …
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