November snow at Glencree

Monday, November 15, 2010

Peace Awards, BIG tips and the Women's programme

First things first... a warning about tipping when you are exhausted... don't!

A short story about going out to the famous Johnny Fox's (at least here in Ireland) and listening to the local singer Ben Murphy.  Ben is a nice older man who sings tradition Irish songs on Monday & Wednesday nights.  He chats with the customers and generally makes people feel welcome.  After listening to Ben and having a nice time with Ranjan & his Norwegian family who were visiting I thought I would tip the singer - always good to do in harder economic times.

Some background required: Ranjan is another volunteer and we put our 25 euros a week food money together to make it stretch.  This particular evening Ranjan was holding the money.
So I asked Ranjan for a bit of money to buy a CD from Ben and give him a "wee tip".  Ranjan gave me the money; first a 10 and then a 5.  I promptly put the money in my pocket as not to lose it.  When we went to leave  I went up to Ben and thank him for the fun music and banter, asked to buy a CD and placed the money on his CD table.  He thanked me and then our band of merry makers left the building for Glencree.

Two days later when Ranjan's family had left and he and I were discussing grocery shopping, I told Ranjan he didn't have to wait for me as he had the food money and he could go if he had the opportunity. We usually shop together.  Ranjan then informed me that I had the money.  Here's the exchange;  Me, "No - you have the money". Ranjan, "No, I gave you the 50 euros at Johnny Fox". Me, "please tell me that was a five not a fifty, because I gave that bill to Ben Murphy".  Yep... I gave our entire food allotment for the week to Ben as a tip.  Murphy's law - pun intended.  Important safety tips:  1 - DO NOT handle money when you are tired and 2- Look at the bills when someone hands you money.

On the upside I know Ben must have gone home to his wife and said "someone really likes my music".  Good Karma, out of a costly evening.  See Ranjan I told you I would share the story in my blog!

US Ambassador Rooney & his wife 
November 11th Glencree hosted it's annual Peace Awards at the Four Seasons Hotel in Dublin.  This is a big event for Glencree honoring a person or people who continue working for Peace.  This years recipients were First Minister Peter Robinson and Duty First Minister Martin MCGuinness from Northern Ireland.  

These were controversial choices but hold great significance to the work being done to move forward after the conflict. I was asked to be the official photographer for this black tie event. As you can imagine there were dignitaries from several Embassy's there and many people from the business sector who support the on-going work of Glencree. Security was high but everything went off without a hitch.
That was last Thursday night and Friday - The Women's Programme participants arrive.

I love the women programme but it is a non-stop 3 day adventure.  This weekends group were from Ballybean and the Shankhill areas of Belfast. Strong women who have been through s much but have not been tainted or become bitter by they trials... just the opposite.  These are some of the most generous women I have ever met.  It is always a pleasure to work with them and - as the Irish say - always good Craic.

There was also a birthday party for one of the gals on Saturday night.  I have never seen party decorations set up so quickly (balloon hats and all) and the food... delish!  Love these women!

My balloon tiara they made for me

Sunday as we were finishing up the women weekend the German Remembrance Event was being.  I was the photographer again and the women all came to the event before heading back to Belfast.  Glencree has a large connection to the German people and was the home for Operation Shamrock after WWII; housing children left injured, starving and abandoned. There is also the German Cemetery at Glencree for soldiers who lost their lives and came to rest on Irelands shores, even though Ireland was not involve in the war.  It is a somber event but also one filled with hope as we talk about the fall of the Berlin wall and the unification of German.   The remembrance begins at the small St Mary's church then walk to the Graveyard to lay wreaths, followed by a reception and seminar.  Always celebrating peace... it's a good thing!   


  1. oh, Les, you can't help but be a generous supporter of the arts.... miss you, lady!

  2. If only I was lucky enough to be tipping people in Ireland. Granted, I'd rather not tip them fifty euros.

    But, still, it's Ireland...