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The Patience of Job

(Submittted by Margaret Maher - February 2024)

Obituary for John Farrell

(Submitted by George Carter - December 2023)

In Praise of the Ukulele

(Kieran Coyle - November 2023)

On Getting through the Pandemic

(Peggy Connolly - October 2023)


On Getting through the Pandemic............Peggy Connolly (October 2023)

Looking back on those 2 years I wonder how we got through them. Of course I had great plans to clear cupboards, wardrobes and paperwork. Sadly none of this happened and I just don't know where all the time went. One of the many good things about Covid was it made us more aware of friends and neighbours.I did catch up on letter writing, knitting and card making. Unfortunately lots of shops, cafes,restaurants etc did not reopen due to loss of revenue and a lot of the staff did not return to work. While the dreaded virus is still with us it is not as fearsome as it was and we are all protected with vaccines, I have just had my 7th jab and I intend to have as many as is deemed necessary. 

Keep safe and God Bless

Peggy Connolly

In Praise of the Ukulele............Kieran Coyle (November 2023)

Like many people in Ireland, I started learning to play the ukulele during Covid, and indeed like many, I am still learning. (I suppose you could say it is a long term symptom.). The ukulele is a wonderful little instrument that can trace its origins back to Hawaii, influenced by the stringed instruments brought to the Islands by Portuguese immigrants and the rest, as they say, is history.

As an instrument, the Uke has many advantages.

1) It is relatively inexpensive to buy. €60.00 should buy a fairly decent soprano (the smallest sized) ukulele. While it is possible to buy one for as little as €30.00 these go out of tune very quickly and are really not worth the money. There are a number of sizes one can chose from,i.e. the Soprano,  the Concert  the Tenor, and the largest one,  the Baritone, varying in price but a serviceable model in any size shouldn’t break the bank. 


2) It is small, light and easily transported form place to place, or, if you play a lot, from venue to venue. 

3) It is not difficult to learn, but it does require some dedication. While it has only four strings, it can be tricky enough to master the instrument. However, an investment of about 10 minutes a day for a month will give one sufficient mastery of the instrument to be able to switch between 4 basic chords and once these chords are mastered, there are countless tunes that can be played. An Australian group, “The Axis of Awesome” demonstrate the usefulness of these four chords on YouTube (see  Indeed Ed Sheeran did something similar on late night TV a number of years ago ( when he claimed he could play all the songs in the charts using four chords. So a little perseverance with four chords pays huge dividends.


4) Ukulele players are very social. Many Ukulele groups have sprung up around the country and welcome members and visitors to sing and jam along with them. Ukulele Tuesday in the Stags Head on Tuesday evening is probably the biggest (and craziest). Mind you, Ukulele Tuesday play everything in the original key so some of their songs are difficult to play. But like many other groups, they don’t care if you can play well, badly, or at all. In fact they will hand out ukuleles and encourage you to strum any way you want  (See for their rendition of Psycho Killer)


5) There are ukulele festivals around the country each year. The biggest and oldest is Dun Laoghaire’s Ukulele Hooley that takes place at the end of August each year. There is one in Skerries, Sligo, Cork and Galway to mention a few. These festivals have formal concerts, guest appearances, lessons and open sessions where anyone can play along.


6) There are many ukulele songbooks available online.  Dun Laoghaire’s Ukulele Hooley publishes a songbook with words and ukulele chords for each festival. Ukulele Tuesday updates its songbook almost weekly (with special songbooks for Halloween Christmas etc.) The  Kent Ukulele & Banjulele Appreciation Society (KUBAS) has in addition to its “normal” songbook a nice Beatles songbook,  And other groups also publish their own songbooks. 


7) There are many resources online. A good starting point is “Bernadette Teaches Music and especially, her 30 day beginner challenge. If you want to play along, there are many groups who record some of their songs and you can play along with them. One I particularly like is the Austin Ukulele Society (on YouTube) who play many well know tunes that are easy to play along with, and more importantly they show the chords being played on screen to help. 


So what are you waiting for?  Grab your Uke, waken the cat, annoy the neighbours and strum like you never strummed before!


Postscript: The four basic chords mentioned above are C, A minor, F and G

Kieran Coyle

 Obituary for John Farrell

It is with sadness that we all learned of the recent death of John Farrell. John was a stalwart worker for his community and if Ard-na-Gréine has been described as a housing estate that wants to be a garden it is surely due to the community spirit of which he was such an outstanding example.

I got to know John well when he was the chairman of the residents’ association and I was the secretary. It was a time when the estate was going through a difficult patch and herculean efforts were required to badger Dublin City County into replacing vandalised trees, and maintaining green spaces. He excelled at badgering.

John believed in doing and not just talking and was often to be seen setting the example - out street sweeping, or picking up litter, and never without a smile and a sense of humour. He organised countless cleanup days and also managed to invest them with a sense of fun.He was also the perfect Santa Claus to many of our children and grandchildren.

When it came to party time we saw yet another John, the professional singer and entertainer. Someone who added life and merriment to an occasion - the engaging and witty master of ceremonies - a man of many parts.

Ard-na-Gréine was one of the first participants in Neighbourhood watch and I well recall the meetings we attended together in Coolock Garda Station at a time when some were giving up hope for the estate - but John was never one of them.

I admired his commitment and how he instilled the confidence that helped build up what is probably one of the most active residents’ associations in Dublin, if not in all Ireland.

May he rest in peace.

(submitted by George Carter)

The Patience of Job

(Submitted by Margaret Maher - February 2024)
When I first made reference to Job I didn’t really give him a second thought. I was referring to Kieran
Coyle's patience during his task of photocopying issues of The Echo and Ayrwaves, for the purpose of
displaying them on our website. That was until I listened to the first reading from the book of Job
while attending Mass in St. Paul’s Church recently.
A reading from the book of Job (Job 7: 1-4. 6-7)

Job began to speak:
"Is not man’s life on earth nothing more than pressed service, his time no better than hired drudgery.
Like the slave, sighing for the shade, or the workman, with no thought but his wages, months of
delusion I have assigned to me, nothing for my own but nights of grief. Lying in bed I wonder, ’When
will it be day?’ Risen I think, ‘How slowly evening comes! Restlessly I fret till twilight falls. Swifter
than a weaver’s shuttle my days have passed, and vanished, leaving no hope behind. Remember that
my life is but a breath, and that my eyes will never again see joy."

Now I’m no expert on the Liturgy of the Word, but I’d like to share Fr. Donal Neary’s, S.J
interpretation of the reading:

Pastors Desk entitled Darkness and Light.
The first reading is tough to hear, and we admire Job. We talk of ‘the patience of Job’. Job is the
example and the hero of depression. He just had it bad. All had gone wrong, and he felt no good, no
hope, no meaning. His family collapsed, his wealth disappeared, and he cursed the day he was born.
He went through all the depressions people have, but somehow kept that glimmer of light alive. He
never totally lost God, and God never lost him.
Depression is a huge illness. Many suffer; many are affected. Treatment can be of help, and the
listening times of friends as well as therapy is healing. A great priest wrote: "At the worst of the
burn out I couldn't  say mass, never mind preach. Dry, empty, without light or life. Thanks again for
the card you sent. It means a lot to me now. Funny, in the worst of my anxiety, nothing, no
compliment, and no reassurance meant anything to me"
There are many helps on the human level. There is the help also of faith and prayer at times. And the
help of someone who, listens, sympathises, doesn’t judge nor give easy cures. Love from God never
ends even though it may not appear near just now. This is the Jesus of the gospel – bringing the
grace of healing, of freeing from any evil, of constant love.
Imagine a time of darkness in life; picture it in its colour and imagine the bright light of Jesus
penetrate that darkness. Ask for help and give thanks for help. Give light, Good Lord, to all who live in
the valley of darkness and the shadow of doubt.
Fr Donal Neary S.J

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