January 24, 2013
by Emmett Devlin
Dave Gallaher: The Original All Black Captain. Matt Elliott. HarperCollins 2012. 259pp.
Any Kiwi with an interest in rugby and connections with Ireland will enjoy this biography of one of New Zealand’s most famous sportsmen and one of the great – if not the all-time greatest – All Blacks.
The book begins with Gallaher’s birth in 1873 into a shop-owning middle class family in a tiny seaside village in Donegal called Ramelton. His father James was 62 and his mother Anna Maria Hardy McCloskie, James’ second wife, was just 29. Dave was James and Anna Maria’s seventh child, born seven years after they married. Three of their children had died in infancy. Three more were born in Ramelton after Dave. Read the rest of this entry »
June 25, 2012
Plenty about Ireland has come our way lately – the O’Kiwi lads have been following the Irish rugby team again; a Dunedin writer on days spent in Dublin; an Irish comedy and the sad state of our free-to-air television; a Kiwi girl on current Irish literature; and a book that analyses corruption in Irish politics.
O’Kiwi lads back on tour
The O’Kiwi lads were back on the road for the All Blacks v Irish test in Auckland, on a tour that probably enjoyed more success than the Irish rugby team.
Later, in the aftermath of the 60-0 hiding dished out by the All Blacks in the third test, Irish fans were calling for the head of coach Declan Kidney. ‘A kidney transplant is required,’ said one fan. ‘A full organ transplant is required,’ responded another.
O’Kiwi On Tour: Jack relaxes in the campervan – it’s a hard life on the road.
Many wondered how a team full of players from Leinster and Ulster, the two provinces that recently contested the European rugby championship in the Heineken Cup final, could fail so completely when playing for Ireland. A similar criticism has for years been levelled at the English soccer team – their outstanding club competition fails to translate into a winning national side. Read the rest of this entry »
March 23, 2012
Joanne Doherty, or ‘Jewarne’ as her Dublin friends used to say
St Paddy’s Day brought back memories of exuberant Irish fans at an All Blacks v Ireland game in Dublin, writes Joanne Doherty.
St Patrick’s Day this year was very different – it was quiet! The cicadas in the green bush of our Wairarapa cottage at Waiohine provided the music, the Irish flag was flying at the gate and a friend arrived carrying a basket of green cupcakes with small orange marigold petals on the icing.
The music, the dancing and the craic from our daughter Alice’s marriage to Ben at Waiohine four weeks earlier was still in the air. I think the Doherty family had ‘peaked too early’. Read the rest of this entry »
November 20, 2011
Good books on Celtic history, Shane MacGowan, and what the Irish world was like when our ancestors emigrated.
The Sea Kingdoms: The History of Celtic Britain and Ireland. Alistair Moffat. Harper Collins, 2002. 316pp.
I was intrigued out on Kapiti Island a few years ago when a friend explained why the island was such a great stronghold for the Maori chief Te Rauparaha. Kapiti commanded quick and easy access from Taranaki in a huge arc down the Wanganui and Horowhenua coasts, across the top of the Marlborough Sounds to the western end of Golden Bay. With the land so densely forested the sea was not a barrier but a highway for a seafaring people such as the Maori.
Scot Alistair Moffat, in a brilliant history of Celtic Britain and Ireland, looks at his part of the world in the same way. ‘So that the dynamic of Celtic culture can be better understood,’ he writes, ‘this story needs to be seen from a vantage point not on the land, looking out to sea, but from the sea, looking towards the land.’ Read the rest of this entry »