Dunmanway to the moon. We can do it

We must raise our ambitions in memory of the West Cork man
Dunmanway to the moon. We can do it

Michael Collins, left, with his fellow Apollo 11 moon landing astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin: Collins' grandfather emigrated from Dunmanway in the 1860s.

Saddened as I was to hear the news that astronaut Michael Collins had died, it came as no surprise to learn he had Dunmanway connections.

The late astronaut’s grandfather emigrated from Dunmanway to Cincinnati back in the 1860s.

No surprise, as I say, for here in West Cork, we have always been blessed with a decent sprinkle of ‘the right stuff’.

The only surprise I have is that a man with Dunmanway connections hadn’t flown to the moon a lot sooner than he did.

It’s a sad reflection on life nowadays, that our fun is had not by those who risk life and limb to land on the moon, but by an announcement that a hair salon will re-open soon.

In the words of the football fan who found George Best in bed with Miss World, “Where did it all go wrong, George?”

We, the Irish, used to be such a lively bunch. We used to be the toast of the world.

Do you remember when we used to have the craic?

And I don’t mean having a pint in ‘Coppers’.

I mean having 30 pints at Puck Fair, or more porter than you thought possible at the Ballabuidhe Horse Fair in Dunmanway.

Is Puck going ahead in 2021?

Did any reporter pose this question to our political leaders on Thursday night?

They did not. And I’ll tell you why. Because most wouldn’t know Puck if it hit them from behind.

We have become a boring people, who ask boring question to dullards who are more boing again.

No wonder President Biden cannot be bothered coming to Ireland this summer.

Why would he want to visit us now?

A po-faced people who will do nothing more than place a pint in front of him, encourage him to sip from it and then wonder why he isn’t stumbling around the place.

Is this the best we can offer a superstar President?

This country has become boring. It’s as boring as a Sunday drive in the back seat of your parents' car. It’s as boring as watching a dripping tap.

In fact a malfunctioning tap is more exciting now, because at least it’s doing something.

For me, this ‘new boring’ was completely laid bare at last week’s Covid press conference, when a joke about a drink in a Dublin bar was the best that could be pulled from the wreckage.

If I was Taoiseach, or indeed Tánaiste, I’d have listed the various shops, sporting and social outlets that are going to be allowed reopen in about 30 seconds, then I’d get on to the exciting stuff.

I’d announce that we plan to go to the moon. Not because it’s easy, but because it’s hard. The moon no less, in honour of the great Irish astronaut Michael Collins. President Kennedy made his announcement back in ‘62. Why didn’t Micheál do the same last week?

Announce to the world that we plan to have another Irish man on the moon by the end of the decade and if we don’t, somebody will die trying.

And not only that, but the rocket will be launched from the Collins Space Centre based up in Coolmountain.

A spot just outside Dunmanway which has always been closer to the moon than most places.

That’s the kind of announcement we needed. Not the boring variety. That’s the kind of announcement that would have Biden tripping over himself to get here.

We need to get back on track. We need to have some fun, and we can start by promising the world that we will get another Irish man, or woman, onto the surface of the moon.

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