Columns

 

September 24, 2014

Death is not an enemy. It is our destiny

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens’. Thus writes the author of Ecclesiastes 3, a passage so powerful it can move the hardest heart. For even if we spend our entire lives denying it, we all know …

 

September 17, 2014

Five years of friendships to inspire me

Today, this column celebrates its fifth anniversary. Although I have been writing for this newspaper since 2006, it was with the birth of Moral Matters in 2009 that I found my voice. It has been a remarkable experience, not least because of the contribution of my readers. What distinguishes a column from other genres is …

 

September 10, 2014

How I learned to live with imperfection

‘You have impossibly high standards and I don’t know how you can live by them’. It was a good friend who said that to me more than 20 years ago. At the time I was taken aback but now I know she was right. Good friends often tell you …

 

September 3, 2014

I have found salvation in my children

Tomorrow night I will travel to Terenure College to address parents of students in the junior school. The college is famous for its academic excellence, proud sporting legacy and strong Catholic ethos. However, the reason for my visit is to discuss the question of …

 

August 27, 2014

Sweet sound of laughter’s gone and the silence is deafening

Is there any sound more heartbreaking than the sobbing of a child? I don’t mean the screaming normally associated with children’s tantrums. I mean the deep soulful sob of genuine grief. Until yesterday, it was not a sound I was used to hearing in our home. All summer long, the sweet sound of laughter and joy filled each room. However, on Monday morning, …

 

August 20, 2014

Whispers of grace, poise and loyalty

Her name was Rhoda, a small black pony with white socks and face. I was seven years of age when, at Ballivor Horse Show in Co. Meath, we took third prize in a showing class. It was my first formal equestrian competition. At that time, I didn’t particulary like riding horses. My family was steeped in showjumping and my father was racing on the point-to-point circuit. Horses were everywhere and yet I much preferred …

 

August 13, 2014

On the farm, I recalled the worth of roots

On Friday, it was fitting that I found myself on my wife’s parents’ farm. Set in the pastureland of Westmeath, it is home to cattle, horses and all manner of wildlife. It testifies to what we stand to lose should people continue their flight from the land. I say ‘fitting’ because…

 

August 6, 2014

We’ve got our own Mrs Doubtfire

The most frightening thing about living with children is that you never know what to expect next. One moment there is a beautiful sense of calm and serenity. A second later, and the house is like a set from one of the Indiana Jones action films. This is especially so when…

 

July 30, 2014

Joy of seeing a friend take knight’s vows

It was as though I had been transported back to the Middle Ages. As I arrived, the procession was slowly winding its way into the church. It was led by the Prince and the Grand Master of the Knights of Malta, Matthew Festing. The occasion was of major historic significance. My friend Paul Caffrey was about to…

 

July 23, 2014

Summer time and even I’m living it easy

On Monday, we celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary. It was mid-morning before we remembered it was our special day. ‘Happy anniversary,’ exclaimed Mrs Dooley’s sister, following which we quickly embraced before responding to yet another minor calamity. You see, …

 

July 16, 2014

Now I can see the good side of Lord Vader

I don’t normally encourage our sons to emulate dictators. They know how strongly I despise despotism in all its forms. Yet…

 

July 9, 2014

Summer camp? No, we cherish days of Batman on the stairs

Their eyes could not conceal the terrified anticipation. It was as if they were about to be sentenced for a grievous crime they did not commit. Some looked so desperate you wanted to console them with a comforting embrace. And then …

 

July 2, 2014

The scribble that brought back my friend

Every day, you and I leave behind some carbon footprints. Most of us also leave behind a money trail that is often used to track the whereabouts of those who go missing. There is, however, another trail that tells the story of …