Law at Last

Personal Statement
Padraig Daly
Law BCL (Hons) CK301

It’s amazing how one simple decision can change the course of your life and leave you wondering if the choices you make along the road of your life are the right ones.
One big regret of my academic life is that I did not pursue a degree in Law and even though I have had the experience of a Diploma in Electronics from CIT and over 16 years experience in the manufacturing industry, I still feel a calling to the faculty of law in UCC. To be able to change the course of your life again after so many years is a frightening prospect but now I know that I have the life experience to rise to the challenge. There will always be niggling doubts at the back of your mind trying to hold you back from your dream but I find that the best way to rise to any challenge is by taking a deep breath and diving in without fear or malice. This has worked for me in the past and hopefully it will be the driving force of new decisions presented to me in the future.
Growing up in a working class family of five siblings I was always proud of my heritage and there was always a sense of the difference between right and wrong instilled in us as children. My mother always defended us as any mother would have done and never backed down when it came to defending her children, be it from school teachers or bullies outside of school. She was our lawyer and counsel in those early years. This instilled in me throughout my life the need to recognise when people have wronged you or others and to always defend your corner. I suppose it’s part of any childs upbringing but my memories of my mother’s legacy are even more poignant as she died of Hodgkin’s lymphoma 4 years after my Leaving Cert. Maybe she had a long kept dream of me receiving a degree in UCC for Law. As a child I clearly remember helping her in her part time cleaning job for Powells Solicitors on the Grand Parade, dusting the large heavily bound books in their library smelling the distinct leather on the shelves. There has always been a fascination for me with the world of law and how it is the one profession in which you have the power to have a lasting affect on individuals.
Why do I want to take this challenge on at 41 years of age? I have pondered this question for quite some time and have not come up with one definitive answer. All I know is that it has been a dream of mine to gain an understanding of a discipline that can cover so much in our lives. Who knows where this fork in the road will lead me. I know that now it is within my grasp due to the fact that I now have a wiser and more knowledgable head on my shoulders which was not present as a 17 years old leaving cert student.
I have always preached to those around me that it is never too late to pursue your dream and if part of that dream involves a college education, then so be it. The question always arises as to why shouldn’t you reach out and grab hold of a future that is waiting for you. There will always be obstacles put in your way, be it financial or personal, but now I feel that my time is right to reach out and take hold of my dream. I look forward to being in an environment that will challenge me each day and resurrect my longing of the study of Law. To be surrounded by like minded individuals who have also chosen this path will put me in a position that I have longed for over the years. For years I have brought my two girls through the grounds of UCC and showed them around the different landmarks, indicating that maybe one day they will be studying here. As we sit in the Lewis Glucksham cafe eating cookies and milk I imagine that somehow these little forays through the grounds will inspire them and I have a vision of them as teenagers watching their father receive his degree in Law.
I know in my heart that one day I will achieve my dream and maybe I will look back on this personal statement with a successful career behind me as a result of all my hard work and a proud realisation that it was worth taking those first few steps to change the course of my life.

Splish Splash

Here is a post I forgot to publish about Eabha:


“My tummy is full of butterflies…I’m so nervous!!”…Her tension was visible from a distance as she waited her turn in the relay….her fellow classmates willing them all to win. 4 girls swimming their hearts out. As I watched them from the gallery I felt a joy for life that had slowly been extinguished over time resurrect again as if from the ashes. The group huddle…the nervous dance and singing of chants…the waves to their families….it felt like the Olympics..a rite of passage. It easy to become complacent with old age and dismiss new experiences with a “Been there…done that!!”….Do you remember that feeling of the new…a overwhelming sense of fear of the unexpected.

Èabha has always had that fear of the unknown…a worried look of pained expression before the leap followed by a smile of relief at her conquest. This was very evident at the swimming gala last thursday but she always comes up trumps. There have been moments when there will be a get out clause. Her escape hatch phrase will always be “I have a pain in my tummy…..”…said with a whimpering voice that wasn’t there seconds before but with an expression of someone who has mistakenly stepped into the most quickening of quick sands. The expectation from her will be that you must grab a ladder…if not a ladder a piece of rope…if not a rope..there must be a branch to hand….for Gods sake you must find some other bodies to aid you….but at all costs get me out of the “QUICKSAND”!!

The vision of her slowly sinking unable to move her limbs…powerless and dependent on you to make that split decision to aid her in her moment of need. This happened on one occasion when my wife dropped her at a party for one of her many acquaintances from her short life so far.. ..the circumstances were not to her satisfaction…just as Niamh was exiting the housing estate of the birthday girl, she got a call from the mother of the child with Èabha in the background shouting out the codeword “QUICKSAND”….Sometimes the codeword must be ignored and it is imperative to carry on through the desert without her!! It can get to the stage where the codeword is used for any dodgy encounter that she feels may interfere with her day. The majority of the time the fear is swallowed with a gulp of air and she bounds away with gusto….

Restoration Man

Gerry is one of those guys you don’t meet every day. He’s unique in a good exceptional kind of way. He’ll never jump on the stage coach heading for the big city ….6 horses blazing through the canyon…dust billowing up to be seen for miles…the crack of the whip from the stage coach rider, his trusty sidekick sitting next to him with a loaded rifle to ward off bandits!!

No No NO …Gerry will be riding along on his pack pony with a mule carrying all his essentials…food and supplies…cooking utensils and ammo…a warm blanket and clean socks just in case!!! He is an understated man of the world who can be surprised or surprise you with his accomplishments. Just as Jimmy Stewart famous guise as a hangman in “Bandalero!” all those years ago…he can fool you into thinking he is a simple man but the opposite is the fact….there will always be a project waiting to be completed to high precision and accuracy. Take for example his 1987 Peugeot 5 speed bicycle that he purchased when he was 15 years old…..

…the bike had been neglected for years and was nearly for the scrap heap. The word scrap or heap are words that Gerry neglected to learn at school. These are words that were not used in the 80’s …The late 80’s in Ireland saw a resurrection of the cycling phenomena thanks to Sean Kelly and Stephen Roche…and like many young teenagers of the time Gerry craved a bike like the Irish heroes of Le Tour De France 1987…we all wanted to be zipping around the roads on our racing bikes. Money was hard to come by in those days and the purchase of a racing bike was a rare occurrence in many households. For Gerry the day had finally arrived……the long awaited journey home from the bike shop in Tuam…Gerry in the trailer holding onto the first real tangible new gift he ever really cherished so far in his life….the wind gently blowing through his hair…knuckles gripping the Peugeot 5 speed for dear life…the anticipation of showing this magnificent piece of engineering off to his family, friends and neighbors.

Every teenager needed to have a bike to enable them to escape at a moments notice…it’s like a golden ticket to get away from the drudgery of life for the 1st time. A bike can satisfy your need to show off your skills to prospective females and wow them with your speed and bravado. Like all teenagers of the time…if you didn’t have a bike you couldn’t join the gang….you were left at home while your comrades zipped off into the blue yonder like “The Magnificent Seven” but the sound of horses hooves were substituted by the swift changing of gears and squeak of dry breaks. At last you were free….

The youth of today take for granted these simple pleasures but my friend Gerry cherished his new gift like no other. He commented to me with a reflective glaze in his eye “Apart from my 1987 Lytron FM/AM/LW stereo tape recorder

…….the Peugeot five speed was the single most cherished thing in my life at the time..” It is a testament to how much he loved them that they still hold pride of place in his home. Why would he throw something out if it still works perfectly well? It was over 20 years later in 2008 that he rediscovered the bicycle in his shed awaiting its resurrection. The years had paid its toll and it was up to Gerry to rescue it from oblivion. When a restoration job needs to be done it needs to be carried out with high precision…nothing must get in your way…all avenues must be explored to seek out the little details to succeed in your task. Gerry needed to respray his old bike…replace the old stickers and re tape the handle bars as per 1987 standards..the list was endless. Difficult tasks indeed when the old ways of manufacture had given way to newer methods which were not a scratch(pardon the pun) on the older ways of manufacturing. The older Peugeot bikes were of a stronger more classic design and even though 21 years had passed …in bike terms this was a new era which had forgotten and shunned the older …some would say …better way of doing things!!

This was to prove the most challenging task that Gerry was ever to carry out in his life!! Why did he take this unenviable route of repair? Why not buy a new bike instead? The answer he gave me was..”Even though the 5 speed itself was not worth much at the time…I am of the belief that you can make even shit things look good and what else would I be doing?”..

And so began a 4 month journey of tracking down decal stickers and getting advice on how to remove rusting bolts from forums of like minded individuals….anything can be sourced on the Internet and eventually Gerry tracked down a guy in California who had exactly what he needed for the finished decal stickers on the bike ….the unmistakable Peugeot brand colors and trademark design reminiscent of the late 80’s. The wait for these stickers was unbearable as the reclusive Californian was slow to respond but when they arrived the bike could finally be finished with lacquer and reassembled to its former glory. I asked Gerry how often would he take the bike out now…”Never really….the odd time I might cycle to the local shop but not very often…I’m afraid it might get scratched so I keep it in a safe place at home…pump the tyres now and again..thats enough for me!!”…..the bike has its own kick stand for fear of leaving it against a wall might get it scratched….Gerry’s journey is a testament to an era that has long since passed on…but thankfully there are those pockets of people who will restore to former glory even the most insignificant of objects..He has so many projects on the go that I would love to tell you all about but for now the tale above should suffice…

Maybe I should start a chronicle of Gerry’s adventures throughout his life… this space!!


Lost Video Tape of Sir Henry’s

There is a renewed interest in the phenomena that t was Sir Henry’s and now there will be an exhibition detailing the special years inside the walls and outside in UCC this Summer. Here is a post I sent to their website

…oohh the memories…..

sir henrys photo

As I read the memories of past pupils of the Henry’s school….my own ones come flooding back to the surface.

My brother worked as a glass collector in the Grand Parade in the late 80’s prior to the Sweat nights(they called him “Feathers” back then)and one night after a drunken night out he happened to recover a years supply of Friday night passes for Henry’s which I commandeered for myself. This was 1990 and even though it was only a fiver in(free before 10 for the dedicated) I used that extra fiver for the 3 pints of Beamish beforehand to stretch out my limbs for the night ahead.

So began a beautiful relationship….friday nights were a musical education in itself…one must remember that not every Friday night was a capacity night…more often than not it was dead in the water but when it hit the spot the atmosphere was something to behold. I was repeating my leaving cert at the time so all week was a campaign for the class to meet up in Henry’s and when the call

was answered…anything could happen!!!
Sure, we were all on a voyage of discovery at a seminal moment in history when multiple trends were on the up and the overall mix created, produced some great music and memories. Henry’s catered for the kind of people in search for a different kind of tune and the ‘laissez faire’ attitude within created the legend that we all remember. I had no allegiance to the place whatsoever….sometimes I couldn’t bare it but in the beginning of my journey it was the only place to go without hearing the dreaded pop music of the day.
As Henry’s expanded into the backbar things got more exciting….I never forget seeing Eddie Butt down the back bar setting up his decks… playing his record collection for the first time. Donkeyman on a Saturday night playing some 2tone Ska for the 1st time with a load of bomber jacketed skinheads hopping about the place….this was knocked on the head fairly lively due to fears of a fatal collision or worse still the floor collapsing. For anyone walking through those doors for the first time on a Saturday night…visiting the back bar and slowly moving towards the main room was a seminal experience…the sounds …the smells…the people….the music…nothing like this had happened before it and the ordinary people who went there regularly knew it. From late 1990 to 1992 was a voyage of discovery for all concerned….
This was all pre mobile smart phones so there are no proper records of any goings on within the place which probably adds to the mystique…however I do remember one Saturday night when Sean O Neill was filming us nutters from the DJ Booth. I have it on good authority that his sister(Deirdre) apprehended this video tape because her husband Ian was my brothers best man(small world in Cork). He commented to me one day years later that he had a video tape of me acting the eejit in front of Sean back in the day. You couldn’t miss me with my big curly mop of hair…some people referred to me as ‘Sideshow Bob’ …an uncanny resemblance!!
The search continues for this piece of history…my history….
I have countless memories of those hallowed halls but as others have said …I can also lay claim to DJing in the back bar on 2 occasions…thanks to the 1st hit the decks competition which enabled myself and my cousin along with Stevie G amongst others to have our day in front of a grateful crowd down the back bar..

I could go on forever and probably will….


Flying down the hills of Deerpark with the wind in my hair and my duffel coat flapping behind me as a young child….I was invincible…I was the living Action Man…I was Superman…Nothing could stop me!!! More often than not I usually got away with a scraped knee or a ripped pocket off my jeans. Back then there was no such thing as a fully intact jeans. Everyone I knew had some form of ripped jeans. There was no other choice. But when we immersed ourselves in whichever role was popular on the day, appropriate attire was the last thing on our minds…..our costume became whatever we had at hand….a lance took the form of a branch…our chariots were the broken toys that we would batter up and down the streets of our town… our fair maidens were nowhere to be seen…probably locked in a hidden tower waiting to be rescued.

In our minds we were heros who could rescue on a whim or kill the dragon with a flourish of a branch. The heros of our minds were heavily influenced by the TV of the time….the latest action hero or cool dude to hit the screens was adapted on the streets to suit our needs for world domination. This is what we needed to help us along in our little old worlds and boy were we happy. As we grew older our heros were replaced with a different form…musicians or bands for some…soccer or football for others.

I’ve come to realise with age that there is always some form of a search for a hero figure for all of us. We all seek an influence of some kind no matter how small…that small, sometimes insignificant spur that could change your life…a new perspective given light where once there was darkness. Thats how its been for me throughout my life and even though some of those “heros” may not be strictly heros in the true sense of the word…they have given me true inspiration at critical points in my life!!!

There will always be people who pass through your life…some good…some bad…but they all will have some semblance of input to your attitudes to life. I’ve written so many lines on these pages and one of  the main reasons for my presence here is due to my sister-in -law Roisin…living and working out in Saudi Arabia…I wanted to keep her in the loop as to whats happening in our lives and from those humble beginnings it has developed into what it is today. “Return of Absent Friends” on blogspot was my first foray…a kind of shout out to the ones we love who may not always be around to bear witness. Roisin was the one I knew would appreciate my little ramblings…she had no other choice really!!

Yesterday was Roisins 41st birthday…her birthday coincides with my own and is always a reminder of the upcoming event for me….the passing years a constant reminder of our meagre existence. Last year was the toughest year anyone could imagine for her as she was diagnosed with breast cancer on her 40th birthday…some news to get on your birthday!! Roisin is a tough cookie and can be very hard to crumble. News like that could break the best of us but she shook herself off and got on with the business at hand… A series of operations, scans, chemo, radiotherapy, hair loss…the kind of stuff that would scare the shit out of me but she tackled them all head on. Thats the kind of girl she is and always was…independent and strongminded…

I’m sure there were moments when she felt defeated and worn out and cried aloud “Why me?”…….sitting alone with her thoughts analysing her life and questioning the meaning of it all…I know thats what I’d be doing….Life can really throw you a curveball and Roisin leapt up to grab it with both hands. You must remember that she was in a far off land with no family support…skype is no substitute for a hug or a hot cup of tea when you can’t lift your head from the pillow. A mothers whisper in your ear to say “it’ll be alright…I’m here for you..”…this is what you need when your spirits are low but she had no other choice in the matter….her close friends gathered the chariots of support for her and helped her through…the daily contact from Ireland with tears held back helped her to face the onslaught of chemo and its affects.

I will never forget the moment Roisin returned home to Ireland for a few weeks between chemo seesions. Her return flights were always an occasion but this was super special for us all as we wanted to show her how much we cared for her….a family gathered around to give her a boost of morale. Waiting at the arrival gates for her to arrive we realised how difficult it was for all of us…how much heartbreak we felt for her and her dillemma. As she walked through the automatic doors with her outstretched hands for the kids to give her a hug, there was the sudden realisation of all that she had been through over the last few months. Tears were shed by all and hugs for all her family after a long journey….I realised it must have been equally difficult for her to step off that plane and to lay herself bare to all around her…her life had been thrown upside down…interrupted by this terrible disease!!! Now she was home and after a full Irish fryup and a decent cup of tea..we were glad to have her back amongst us again!! It was our turn now to be there for her….

Thinking back to the days when we were younger going out on the town living life to it’s fullest…nothing could keep us from our hopes and dreams. God we had some good times back in the day…..Roisin has had her calvary and has come out the other side as if from a dream. Each time I think of her ordeal…it fills me with a respect of a woman that somehow I knew would come out grinning or guffawing as she does….. smoke rising beneath her feet as if on a dancefloor…suddenly the music starts to play and theres no stopping you…..just like the old days!!

If there ever was a hero to behold at this moment in my life it would be you Roisin….standing proud with the Hero badge pinned to your best dress….celebrating all the way !!!

Happy Birthday Rosy!!


I was just reviewing my output over the last few months to realise that there has been no presence by me at all really. There was a time but that has passed. This venture always needed to be nurtured on a regular basis to achieve a sense of worth. I look to others for inspiration and with a gung ho attitude I have wonderful intentions but the transfer to the keyboard never seems to happen. It might be the fact that my laptop is kaput at the moment and I can only rely on my work PC with peering eyes  wondering what your up to.

Lately I have been using an apple mini ipad that Santa got for the kids at Christmas which is a fine piece of equipment. Can you imagine that he brought it all the way from the North Pole all wrapped up with millions of other Apple products. There must be an Apple manufacturing plant up there…..brrrr!! Previous to the Apple mini we had a Nexus 7 which has battery issue…needs new battery…so we made the leap!! Posts can be written on tablets but a keyboard is always better for flow of words and thoughts.

Can I let you all in on a secret… June we are going on holidays to sunny France…down south near the border is a little town called Argeles sur Mer which will be our destination for 2 lovely weeks. This has been a long time coming people….Even though Ireland can be a lovely holiday destination….my recent holidays over the last few years have been peppered with shocking weather and this year I am not spending my designated 2 weeks off putting my hand out to feel for drops of rain. The only drops I want to feel is the sweat running down my back as I wait for a drink at the bar. We have been to the South of France before but not so near the French /Spanish border.

I was thinking of the last time we were away with the kids and they were only toddlers. They can’t really remember…they were too young really. Sure, I can barely remember myself…it seems so long ago!! But I’ll never forget that warm fuzzy feeling of hot sun and relaxation…seeing new places…listening to different languages…seeing how others holiday.

Do you remember the time when people could smoke on planes. In my past life I was a smoker and recently I was chatting with colleagues about this. Down the back of the plane a cloud of smoke with a crowd of people puffing away thousands of miles above the earth…amazing now when you consider it…..crazy really!! Myself and my brother smoked ourselves all the way to the states…not a bother!!! To do it now would be lunacy!! A pack of cigarettes in Ireland is coming up to 10 Euros…daft!! There have been moments …fleeting…that I might get a whiff of fresh smoke in passing and it would envelop  you and get a hold….the smell would tickle your nostrils and creep to the back of your throat!! With this sudden attack comes a longing for the day when you used to flick a match against the flint of the match box and bringing it slowly up to your face …to light the stick of tobacco clenched between your lips……the first drag of the smoke into your lungs filling you with a release like no other!!! MMmmmmm….You remove the cigarrette to check if its lighting correctly and roll it between your fingers sometimes admiring the chemical reaction of the burning paper and tobacco combined to give a perfect white smoke like no other.

Hold me down people before I rush out the door to the local tobacconist to jump over the counter….searching for my favourite brand ….nothing will get in my way of the release that only tobacco can give me…..tobacco has the key and its rattling it right in front of my face…taunting me with its pleasure. Then…just as quick as the secondhand smoke enters my body I snap back to reality and carry on with my penance!!

The first time we went to France, Niamh and I were like walking chimneys….we smoked our way through that holiday…the cigarettes were so cheap that we always bought 2 boxes….just in case! The amount of tobacco we consumed would be embarrassing today!!! We just ate them!!! It amazes me how we ever kicked the habit…but looking back now I remember that we both had come to a specific moment … of those ‘it’s now or never moments’ when we just had to do it…give them up , that is!! It can take months of persuasion to come to that point when you know its right and then one day you just stop.

Thats when the voices start….voices you may have never heard before….it can take you on a discovery of your mind that you may have never gone on or experienced before. It’s like going on holidays to a foreign land!!! These voices can be very persuasive…arguments and trickery that can twist your mind…playing havoc with your decision making process. The minute you overcome and win the first argument with ‘you’…thats when there is a gradual decrease in the power of the remaining suitors who come smiling with suitcases to the doors of your mind choc full of cigarettes just waiting to be tasted. You will eventually learn to ignore the knock and carry on with your life…Simple!!

Everybody smoked years ago…it was de rigeur…”Are you going for a fag?”…”Sure , I might as well…I’m only just after one but another one won’t kill me!!” …And you could smoke anywhere you wanted to….there was always a designated smoking area for those who obeyed the rules!!! The smoke in the pubs used to be overpowering, especially as the night wore on…with more drink taken there was more fags smoked…a cloud of smoke hovering over your head…waking up the next morning with the stink of smoke permeating your every pore…How did we put up with it for so long??

When your abroad…smoking takes on a whole new meaning, especially if your in Spain, they just love their fags. There is a whole culture surrounding Le Cigarette abroad. Picture a coffe shop…enter a tall dark man in a trenchcoat…walks casually up to the counter saluting in the foreign way…reaching the counter..”Expresso…por favor!!”…he stands with his back to the counter and in one swift movement he lights a cigarette with a shiny silver zippo…turning slowly back to the counter to reach for the fresh expresso and nodding in gratitude he holds it for a brief few moments aloft to let the smoke disappear. With 2 puffs and 2 quick swigs and 2 more long drags he stubs the cigarette and exits…no hanging around for compliments or small talk…just in and out like a stealth bomber. Thats the way they do it in far off lands…just like the movies!!

I’ll leave with a picture of the ultimate smoker……Jah Rastafari….

Listening to Boards of Canada has been a revelation for me over the last couple of months and I seem to get lost in their back catalog of music. It’s not to everyones taste but for me it’s like the cream on the cake, the sugar in the tea, the next person to be called!!!