Oppenheimer, the film

What a coincidence that I went to see the Film Oppenheimer today, 6th August, the 78th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing.

Cillian Murphy as J Robert Oppenheimer. Photograph: Melinda Sue Gordon/Universal Pictures

The film tells the story of physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, played by Cillian Murphy, who, during WW2, was appointed to work on the top-secret Manhattan Project. Oppenheimer and a team of scientists spent years developing and designing the atomic bomb. Their work came to fruition on July 16, 1945 with the world’s first nuclear explosion in Hiroshima, an event that forever changed the course of history.

There are two storylines and the film moves back and forth between the two. One is in colour and tells the story of Oppenheilmer’s early life, his work in the Manhattan project and the loss of his security clearance because of early communist connections but probably more so because of his opposition to the development of the H-Bomb. His name was never cleared fully until 2022, around the time the trailer of this film was released

The second story is shown in black and white and follows the confirmation of Lewis Straus to the Senate. It unfolds that Strauss was almost single-handedly responsible for the stripping of Oppenheimer’s security clearance.

I was most impressed with the portrayal of Oppenheimer’s torment in the wake of the bombing in Japan. I read somewhere that after witnessing the destructive power of the bomb he had designed, he quoted Hindu scripture: “Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds”.

I think it’s also worth remembering on this day, Paul Tibbits who captained the aircraft, Enola Gay (named after his mother) that dropped the bomb. He did not share Oppenheimer’s regrets at the events of August 6th, believing instead that it was the only way to win te war. Furthermore, to dissuade anti-nuclear protests when he died,  he asked that there would be no funeral rites and no grave; that his ashes be scattered over the English Channel.



The Boys are Back in Town 2023


“When the Dubs go up to lift the Sam Maguire we’ll be there” – pre match, we sing it with such hope, but doubts always niggling.  And when the final whistle blows and we’re victorious, it’s as if this is how we always pictured it….. . and Sinead O’Connor again, this time with a soulful rendition of Molly Malone.





Cork poet Theo Dorgan captures the excitment  of All-Ireland Sunday – losses as well as victories.


We stand for the anthem, buoyant and tribal, heart beating with heart,
our colours brave, our faces turned towards the uncertain sun.
The man beside me takes my hand: good luck to yours, he says;
I squeeze his calloused palm and then – he’s gone.
A shadow socket where he was, the one beside him vanishes
and another before me; all around Croke Park
one by one we wink out of existence: tens, hundreds, then
thousands, the great arena emptying out, the wind curling in
from the open world to gather us all away. Each single one of us.
I could feel myself fail at the end, but then maybe everyone thought that,
each single one of us the last to go. The whistle blew and we all
came back with a roar, everything brighter and louder, desperate and vivid.
I held his hand a moment longer, I wished his team all the luck in the world.

We had the years of programme selling – early meetings to sell our allocation as quickly as possible and get in to sit on the steps of the Cusack for the game.
We had the years of the Dubls – wins and losses, going back to The Barn Owl in Thomas Street (now part of the Luas line) or the Shakespeare on Parnell Street to disect  what had gone right/ wrong, a congrats to the opposition always ending up on a positive note with “Next year”. We never knew where Jim sourced so many tickets but we all enjoyed the get together and the analysis after.
We still source a lot of tickets. The Annesley house is our new analysis/celebration centre. And  Sinead O’ Connor sings and we all join in “Nothing Compares

Avondale House with Active Retirement Group

May 2023

Avondale House, Co Wicklow

It was great to revisit Avondale with the Active Retirement Group in May. It brought back fond memories of our family trips across the Wicklow Gap, down through Laragh and Rathdrum, passing Avondale and on to Aughrim. On these trips we heard the stories of Charles Stuart Parnell, the nineteenth century Irish nationalist politician, Protestant landowner and leader of the Irish Land League was born at Avondale House in 1846. We also sang the song Avondale, written by the late Dominic Behan in praise of Parnell

Oh have you been to Avondale,

And lingered in its lovely vale,

Where tall trees whisper and know the tale,

Of Avondale’s proud eagle.                                          

Where pride and ancient glory fade,

So was the land where he was laid,

Like Christ was thirty pieces paid,

For Avondale’s proud eagle,

Long years that green and lovely vale,

Has nursed Parnell, her proudest Gael,

And cursed the land that has betrayed,

Fair Avondale’s proud eagle.

Entrance Hall
The Bossi Fireplace in the Drawing Room  
The Dining Room

On this recent trip our group toured Parnell’s family home looking at all its beautiful artefacts and discovering how Avondale became the birthplace of Irish Forestry.

Avondale House from the canopy walk

After lunch, we showed just how active we were as we took the 1.4 km treetop walk through the tree canopy culminating at the spectacular viewing tower. The panoramic view of the Wicklow Mountains, the Vale of Avoca and the Avonmore River was amazing.

Looking over the Wicklow countryside from the tower

To complete this innovative experience, many of the group whizzed down to the base of the tower on a 90m spiral slide. My new knees are still too precious for me to risk them so I returned to base on foot.