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Dergvale Hotel worthy of a special place in GAA history

Voice Of EU



One of the disadvantages of the convenient and spacious media centre in Croke Park is that there’s no need to return to the office after matches in the stadium. That walk used to bring us past the Dergvale Hotel in Gardiner Place and temptation beyond breaking point frequently meant quick pints to gather ourselves.

The premises has a big place in GAA history so it always felt appropriate that it should also have a place in the first draft of that history, which would be rattled out later in the afternoon.

This was admittedly a long time ago, pre-internet and when such work practices didn’t sound as outdated as sticking hot pokers into pots of ale.

Owners Gerry and Nancy Nolan could be forgiven for confining their interest in the GAA to the big match-day experiences, which have previously been compared to re-enactments of Rorke’s Drift, as waves of spectators fall on the premises but they have also proved conscientious curators of the hotel’s history.

For a couple of years in the late 19th century, 4 Gardiner Place was home to GAA founder Michael Cusack’s family and his academy, a school specialising in gearing candidates for the Victorian civil service examinations.

In this he was particularly successful. On January 5th 1884, The Irishman published the results of those attending his academy and stated, “Mr Cusack is the only grinder in Dublin who secured a pass at any of these examinations”. He was reported to be earning £1,500 per annum during the heyday of his school.

A plaque marking the site of the academy was unveiled on the weekend of the Centenary All-Ireland hurling final in 1984 – ironically the last time an All-Ireland wasn’t played at nearby Croke Park – but its significance goes beyond that.

Brother Seán MacNamara is the most zealous keeper of this flame. Happily still with us after his 94th birthday last month, he published The Man from Carron 15 years ago on the centenary of Cusack’s death and has lectured widely on the subject.

His research turned up, amongst other things, an original diary. The twin emphases of this work are to reinforce the central importance of Cusack to the both the GAA, which he founded, and the cause of Irish nationhood as well as to convert everyone to the view that the GAA’s birthplace was not Hayes’s in Thurles but another hotel, the Dergvale.

In 2010 the Dergvale unveiled a memorial to its famous previous occupant and screened a DVD, which was scripted and presented by Brother MacNamara. He pointed out that the letters inviting people to attend the inaugural meeting in Thurles on 1st November 1884, were sent from Gardiner Place on October 27th.

Croke Park is the most visible symbol of the GAA but in MacNamara’s view the stadium, rather than one of its stands, should have been named after Cusack but he has accepted that this is not going to happen at this stage. Since the centenary of the founder’s death, his presence has been amplified by the installation of Paul Ferriter’s fine sculpture just outside the GAA Museum.

November is the month for these reminiscences. Last Monday was the 137th anniversary of the GAA’s foundation in Thurles or its formal establishment to give Brother MacNamara’s case its due. Later this month will be the 114th anniversary of Cusack’s death.

Another less remarked on November event is the erection of a memorial in Dublin’s Deansgrange cemetery in the GAA’s 125th anniversary year of 2009. It was to commemorate Thomas St George McCarthy, a former rugby international and policeman, who was also one of those who attended the meeting in Hayes’s Hotel.

McCarthy is also remembered in the eponymous trophy presented for an annual match between the Garda Síochána and the PSNI. Largely forgotten up until the 125th celebrations, his cause was taken up by former Armagh captain Jarlath Burns.

Former teacher

“I was part of the Eames Bradley consultative group in the North, and as part of that we visited the RUC memorial garden, where Jim McDonald (formerly of the Police Authority of Northern Ireland) asked me had I ever heard of Thomas St George McCarthy. And I told him that I hadn’t,” said Burns in an interview at the time with this newspaper.

He was a hero for one year and then he was demonised after a few years. And a lot of us can identify with that

“Jim told me McCarthy was a founding member of the GAA and that he served in the RIC, but that had never been acknowledged by the GAA despite various attempts by the RUC to get the GAA to recognise him. So I said I would do something about that.”

McCarthy had met Cusack in the academy, according to The Man from Carron. The tutelage got the pupil into the RIC, which he joined in 1882, and he was stationed at Templemore two years later when his friendship with his former teacher brought him to Hayes’s Hotel.

Although Cusack later fell out with the GAA, there was a reconciliation before his death and for all his reputation for hot-headedness, his drive and ambition helped to establish the fledgling association.

On the centenary dedication of a the commemorative centre in Caron in 2006, former Clare manager Ger Loughnane spoke.

“What impressed me most was his tactical approach,” he said. “It was not ad hoc; it was a calculated approach. He brought in the three biggest forces as patrons. So he had Parnell, Davitt and Dr Croke onside. And how could it fail?

“It went on really well for two years and then in typical GAA fashion, there was a split. He was a hero for one year and then he was demonised after a few years. And a lot of us can identify with that.”

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Census 2022 – what difference does it make?

Voice Of EU



Next Sunday, April 3rd, is Census night. Millions of people in homes countrywide will fill in page after page of questions, some of which are deeply personal and many of which might be unfamiliar.

But what it is it all about?

At a basic level, Census 2022 will be used to inform planning of public policy and services in the years ahead, according to the Central Statistics Office.

The questions will cover a range of environmental, employment and lifestyle issues, including the use of renewable energy sources in homes.

The questions will help inform policy development in the areas of energy and climate action, and the prevalence of internet access, to understand the availability of and need for internet connections and range of devices used to access the internet.

Questions also focus on changes in work patterns and will include the trend of working from home and childcare issues, while questions are also asked about the times individuals usually leave work, education or childcare, to help identify and plan for transport pattern needs locally and nationally.

Other topics covered include volunteering and the type of organisations volunteers choose to support, tobacco usage and the prevalence of smoke alarms in the home.

And of course there is a time capsule – the chance to write something which will be sealed for the next 100 years.

In this episode of In The News, the head of census administration Eileen Murphy and statistician Kevin Cunningham about what it all means for us.

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Oscars 2022: Will Smith makes Oscar history after slapping Chris Rock over joke about wife Jada Pinkett Smith | Culture

Voice Of EU



Will Smith took the Oscar for Best Actor at last night’s 94th Academy Awards, but he also became the protagonist of the ceremony for other reasons. The night was following the script, until Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock on the stage after the latter made a joke about the shaved head of the former’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Rock had quipped that he was “looking forward to GI Jane 2,” in reference to her look. Pinkett Smith has revealed publicly that she has alopecia. It looked as if the moment had been planned, until Smith went back to his seat and shouted: “Get my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.”

The moment, which immediately became Oscar history but for all the wrong reasons, left the attendees with frozen smiles, and asking themselves whether it was possible that a veteran such as Smith could have lost his cool in front of tens of millions of people. After taking the prize for Best Actor, the superstar actor made a tearful apology, saying that he hoped the Academy “will invite me back.” Later on, actor Anthony Hopkins called for “peace and love,” but it was already too late. The incident overshadowed the success of CODA, which took the Oscar for Best Picture. Just like the time when Warren Beatty mistakenly named La La Land as the big winner of the night, no one will speak about anything else from last night’s awards.

At first sight, Smith’s actions looked as if they were scripted. When he first heard Rock’s joke, he laughed. But his wife was seen on camera rolling her eyes, and it was then that the actor got up onto the stage and hit Rock. When he returned to his seat he raised his voice twice to shout “Get my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth,” sending a wave of unease and shock through the attending audience. The fact that he used the f-word, which is prohibited on US television, set alarm bells ringing that this was real and not a planned moment. In fact, the curse word was censored by the broadcaster, ABC, in the United States.

During a break, Smith’s PR manager approached him to speak. In the press room, which the actor skipped after collecting his prize, instructions were given to the journalists not to ask questions about the incident, Luis Pablo Beauregard reports. The next presenter, Sean “Diddy” Combs, tried to calm the situation. “Will and Chris, we’re going to solve this – but right now we’re moving on with love,” the rapper said.

When Smith took to the stage to collect his Best Actor award for his role as Richard Williams – the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena – in King Richard, he referred to the character as “a fierce defender of his family.” He continued: “I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people. I know to do what we do you’ve got to be able to take abuse, and have people talk crazy about you and have people disrespecting you and you’ve got to smile and pretend it’s OK.”

He explained that fellow actor Denzel Washington, who also spoke to Smith during a break, had told him: “At your highest moment, be careful, that’s when the devil comes for you.”

“I want to be a vessel for love,” Smith continued. “I want to be an ambassador of that kind of love and care and concern. I want to apologize to the Academy and all my fellow nominees. […] I look like the crazy father just like they said about Richard Williams, but love will make you do crazy things,” he said. He then joked about his mother, who had not wanted to come to the ceremony because she had a date with her crochet group.

The Los Angeles Police Department released a statement last night saying that Chris Rock would not be filing any charges for assault against Smith. “LAPD investigative entities are aware of an incident between two individuals during the Academy Awards program,” the statement read. “The incident involved one individual slapping another. The individual involved has declined to file a police report. If the involved party desires a police report at a later date, LAPD will be available to complete an investigative report.”

On December 28, Pinkett Smith spoke on social media about her problems with alopecia. She stated that she would be keeping her head shaved and would be dealing with the condition with humor. “Me and this alopecia are going to be friends… Period!” she wrote on Instagram.

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House-price inflation set to stay double digit for much of 2022

Voice Of EU



House-price inflation is expected to remain at double-digit levels for much of 2022 as the mismatch between what is for sale and what buyers want continues.

Two new reports on the housing market paint a picture of a sector under strain due to a lack of supply and increased demand driven by Covid-related factors such as remote working.

The two quarterly reports, one each from rival property websites and, suggest asking prices accelerated again in the first quarter of 2022 as the stock of homes available for sale slumped to a new record low.

Myhome, which is owned by The Irish Times, said annual asking-price inflation was now running at 12.3 per cent.


This put the median or typical asking price for a home nationally at €295,000, and at €385,000 in Dublin.

MyHome said the number of available properties for sale on its website fell to a record low of 11,200 in March, down from a pre-pandemic level of 19,000. The squeeze on supply, it said, was most acute outside Dublin, with the number of properties listed for sale down almost 50 per cent compared with pre-pandemic levels.

It said impaired supply and robust demand meant double-digit inflation is likely until at least mid-2022.

“Housing market conditions have continued to tighten,” said author of the myhome report, Davy chief economist Conall Mac Coille.

“The broad picture of the market in early 2022 remains similar to last year: impaired supply coupled with robust demand due to Ireland’s strong labour market,” he said.


“One chink of light is that new instructions to sell of 7,500 in the first 11 weeks of 2022 are well up from 4,800 in 2021, albeit still below the 9,250 in 2019. The flow of new properties therefore remains impaired,” said Mr Mac Coille.

“Whatever new supply is emerging is being met by more than ample demand. Hence, transaction volumes in January and February were up 13 per cent on the year but pushed the market into ever tighter territory,” he said.

He said Davy was now predicting property-price inflation to average 7 per cent this year, up from a previous forecast of 4.5 per cent, buoyed strong employment growth.


Daft, meanwhile, said house asking prices indicated the average listed price nationwide in the first quarter of 2022 was €299,093, up 8.4 per cent on the same period in 2021 and and just 19 per cent below the Celtic Tiger peak, while noting increases remain smaller in urban areas, compared to rural.

Just 10,000 homes were listed for sale on its website as of March 1st, an all-time low. In Dublin, Cork and Galway cities, prices in the first quarter of 2022 were roughly 4 per cent higher on average than a year previously, while in Limerick and Waterford cities the increases were 7.6 per cent and 9.3 per cent respectively.

The report’s author, Trinity College Dublin economist Ronan Lyons, said: “Inflation in housing prices remains stubbornly high – with Covid-19 disturbing an equilibrium of sorts that had emerged, with prices largely stable in 2019 but increasing since.

“As has been the case consistently over the last decade, increasing prices – initially in Dublin and then elsewhere – reflect a combination of strong demand and very weak supply.”

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