A Place for your thoughts, your ideas, and your plans, post and pre COVID
1930 - 2023
(see obituary below)
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
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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pidokakU4I Indeed Ed Sheeran did something similar on late night TV a number of years ago (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQKZfvet2mc) 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 https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=559870084154184 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, http://www.kubas.co.uk/Songs/Songbook_Beatles_KUBAS_PDF/1_Songbook_Beatles_Rev1_KUBAS.pdf. 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
Obituary for Bill Galgey............Margaret Maher (November 2023)
On behalf of the Ayrwaves Team, I would like to extend our deepest sympathy to the Galgey family on the death of their father Bill.
When I was informed of the passing of Bill by text message from his daughter Claire, my first thought was “another lovely neighbour, a true gentleman, a family man and a pillar of this community has gone to his eternal reward”.
Bill was born in Waterford and educated in Mount Sion. He left school at the tender age of sixteen. He began his public service career in the Department of Post and Telegraphs.
During Bill’s long and varied career, he worked in a number of government departments and in 1988 after taking early retirement, he began a new career in Ayrfield Credit Union.
Education was very important to Bill and in 2016 he graduated from University College Cork at the ripe old age of eighty-six.
I first encountered Bill during his involvement with A.C.R.A back in 1983. He was a member of a sub-committee of Rathvale Residents Association, which was set up to enable residents to buy out their ground rent.
Bill gave unstinted service to parish activities, both spiritual and temporal from the foundation of this parish. He was a member of the church choir “The Three Tenors” and was a dedicated outdoor collector for St. Paul’s Church and assisted in the weekly count.
I remember on one occasion, when all the choirs of the parish came together, which was a bit of a miracle, the closing hymn chosen was “This little light of mine”. Bill nearly had a canary during rehearsal saying, “sure that’s not a hymn at all”. At the time I could not agree or disagree as I didn’t know myself back then. My good friend Google tells me that this hymn was written in the early 20th century, inspired by the quotation from the bible “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” John 8:12
The hymns chosen for Bill’s Funeral Mass were a mixture of familiar Irish and English ones, beautifully sung by Bill’s daughter Claire.
Ni imithe uainn ach imithe romhainn atá sé.