A face for radio

January 22nd was an interesting day for those of us striking outside my school.  We got a heads up on the 21st that there would be a journo from the Irish Examiner (Niall Murray) there, as well as Paschal Sheehy along with an RTE camera.

I arrived in school about 11 AM to find the Journalist there already along with an examiner photographer and the RTE cameraman.  All very exciting, and a little bit nerve wracking.

The whole process is actually very interesting.  Niall Murray went around to all the staff who were happy to talk to him, and did his interview thing, using shorthand.   Really, I have never seen anyone using shorthand for real.  A little bit of witchcraft right there.

Along with Niall Murray was Denis Minihane, the Examiner photographer for the day.  He took hundreds of photographs.

And lets not forget RTE.  Their camera man took around about 45 minutes of footage, including one interview with yours truly.

So.  What did all this lead?

Niall Murray distilled his 8 or 9 interviews down to this article.  Quite a skill to take thousands of words and summarise the main ideas you’re after.

Denis Minihane’s photographs?  One of them ended up in this article.  That strikes me as a hard way to earn a living.  He also gave a few of us a chance to give a little speech on video, and some of that is in the first article linked.

And RTE?  Paschal Sheehy impressed us with his ability to interview in two languages.  The Irish language interviews were aired on TG4 and Nuacht.  But as for the English language interviews?  Not on the RTE news.  There was a 5 second clip of us picketing the school gate, but no interview.  That was saved for the Radio news.  So there you have it.  Even RTE thinks I have a face for radio.



Last Friday night we had a retirement party for a number of the staff in my school.  We had a great time, and I’m not going putting up photos here!

Except for this one.



This is Soraya, one of our SNAs.  She kindly gave permission to publish this photo.

The Retreat


Sometimes it’s good to take time out.  I had a chance to do just that last week at the lovely St. Dominic’s retreat centre in Ennismore in Cork.

I went with 14 other school chaplains and the retreat was focused mainly on meditation.

Suffice to say I was very, very relaxed by the end of the day.  I can’t remember (or describe) too much of what was said, but some things stick out in the memory.

Our facilitator used a gong to sound out intervals, and the sound of the Tibetan Gong was, soulful, it was touching, it was special, and it looked like this:

One session involved us using a mantra for meditation.  We had a choice, and at 5 minute intervals the facilitator would sound his gong.  I was a bit worried as I thought ‘this could be a long 20 minutes’.  I was actually amazed at how fast the time went to the first, then second and subsequent gongs.

If you ever get a chance to take a retreat, go for it.  The time spent looking after yourself is well worth it, and the peace, the sense of self that is reached is something we rarely touch in our daily lives.

Another thing that stands out about the day is just how beautiful the grounds of ennismore are.  Here’s a few shots I got there

Some Photos from Fota Wildlife Park


Fota is a great place to visit with a family.

Actually, it’s a great place to visit anyway.  The animals are happy, with plenty of space, the place is well kept, and they always seem to be be developing some new area there.

Here’s a few pictures I got there on Sunday.


One of the things I said in my New Year’s Resolution was that I’d take more photos.  And Just a few weeks ago I got a new camera and have been experimenting with it.

This got me thinking about the different cameras I’ve had, so here’s a quick tour through them.

I got my first camera in 1986.  Ahem.  I was in 5th year in secondary school, and one of the teachers set up a photography club.  We had a darkroom and learned how to develop black and white photos.  I loved seeing the image materialise on the photographic paper, and the whole process of converting negatives into positive images.

My first camera was a Zenit 11.

Zenit 11

It was a heavy machine.  And a really, really basic camera.  The light meter was external and gave the result on  a dial at the left of the camera.  You then had to set the camera to whatever film speed you had loaded and adjust shutter and aperture to match.

In other words, totally manual and a great, great teacher in how to photograph.

Such a pity that it was stolen from me on the Tube in London one day!


My second camera was from Vivitar


This, for me, was dead posh.  I had received a backdated bonus in work and splashed out on a camera with an external flash, a zoom lens and <gasp> through-the-lens (TTL) light metering.  You still had to set the film speed but the lenses were good, and I managed to get some lovely photos with this camera.

Finally, old-age got to this one and the shutter started to fail in 2006.  Just about the time that film photography went out.


Next up was my Fujifilm 9600



My first child, Andrea, was born in 2007, and I got this camera a few weeks before her birth.  I figured I’d be taking a lot of photos!  And yes, I have taken A LOT of photos with this one.  The lens is very versatile.  It’s my first digital camera, and has been a great workhorse.  If you look at other pages in this blog, then the photos are probably taken with this camera.

The downside is that the processor is now getting slow, and the lens quality is not as good as something from Canon or Nikon.  So I’ve been itching to get something new, and have saved up for my fourth camera.

And the latest… The Canon EOS 600D



This is my first proper DSLR and the nicest camera I’ve ever had.  I really like the speed of it for shooting, the clarity of the lens and the fact that I still have to learn so much in order to use it right.

So.  Instead of me writing about education all the time, I’m going to start posting more photos about places and themes.

Maybe for the first time in 40 years I’m actually going to follow through on a New Year’s Resolution!