" A wealth of information..."

"1169 And Counting is a wealth of information on our Republican past and present , and demonstrates how the Irish political landscape , like that of any nation, will never be a black and white issue..."

(From the ‘e-Thursday’ section of the ‘Business Week’ supplement of the ‘Irish Independent’ , 21st August 2008.)



This blog was listed as one of the 'Finalists' in the '2016 current affairs/politics' category of the Littlewoods Ireland blog awards - but we didn't win the award. But not to worry -thanks to everyone involved for getting us to the final stage of the competition and sure we'll try again the next time!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

CABHAIR does it again for our Republican POW's : 25th December 2009 , Dublin.
Santa raises the National Flag over some of the CABHAIR swimmers!

Where to begin about this 4-hour CABHAIR Christmas Day marathon ? At 10AM , of course - because that was when the CABHAIR Christmas Crew arrived on site , having driven through freezing fog , on icy but otherwise deserted roads , in Minus 2-degree temperature. The various cars parked as best they could in the immediate vicinity and the work began : the fire material was laid in place , the two tables for the 'goodies' were set-up and the food and drink etc displayed on them , the National Flag and two banners were secured in place , the music system was assembled and tested - then the fire was lit and the CABHAIR Crew opened a can or two of 'soup' and had a brief rest , before the madness properly began....

....and it began at 10.50AM , when two Special Branch cars 'parked' at the entrances to the Swim site , blocking off both access points , as they always have done. They stayed where they were , making no attempt to venture up the twenty metres or so to where the CABHAIR Crew were having a 'private party' , with the fire blazing , the music blaring , and the freezing fog beginning to lift. Then the crowds started to appear - they came down from the opposite end of the Canal whilst others practically formed queues at both Naas Road access points , where the political police were doing their 'best' to harass them and turn them back home. But to absolutely no avail - the Mammies and Daddies , kids and teenagers, just kept coming in their dozens , the cars and trucks driving past on the near-by Naas Road sounded their car-horns loudly and repeatedly , the Rebel songs were pouring out at high decibels from the sound system and , in the sky above us , a weak watery sun was trying its best to shine on us !

CABHAIR had ten swimmers this year , all of whom took to the freezing water between the hours of 12 Noon and 1.30PM , some more than once or twice - all were watched eagerly by a core of at least 100 on-lookers , with about half that amount again coming and going over the duration of the 4-hour event. The swimmers are Joe Snr and Jnr , 'Rubber' , Stephen , Ciaran , Anto , Garry , Dougie , Jimmy and David - all of whom enjoyed a cup of warm 'soup' after they were finished swimming , and we all of us enjoyed a wee sup of that heart-warming brew , and mince pies , crisps , beer , ale , stout, lemonade and loads of chewy sweets 'and stuff'
(!) , all courtesy of CABHAIR and local suppliers. Towards the end of all this good-natured freezing-cold noisy madness and mayhem , a raffle was held, for which only the ten swimmers had tickets : the prizes , all of which were made in Portlaoise Prison in recent weeks , consisted of three items - a bodhron and two etched and framed mirrors . And, as expected (!) - we had three winners , who were thrilled to receive their prizes.

This, the 33rd consecutive such event, was one of the busiest , noisest and hectic CABHAIR Swims in recent years , and left the organisers exhausted by the time it had finally ended , at about 2PM - but in a 'good' way ! There were really only three 'downers' about the Swim :one of the swimmers cut his knee , not seriously , and was 'bandaged'-up on site , not a bother on him ! The other two 'downers' concern the presence of the political police - that they should be there
at all is a waste of tax-payers money , plus the manner in which they ambushed Santa : they took the four-inch brass bell from him , broke the 'chimer' in the centre of it , and gave it back to him , threatening him with arrest the next time they see him at the Swim site. He rightly replied with a 'Greeting' , which we won't repeat here....

Finally - Swim Pics ! We have posted a load of pics over on our 'Sister' site , here, and this link will take you to some pics that Paula took , and Oxana took these pics at the Swim site. As you'll see for yourself , we had one 'back-flipper' - and nine 'belly-floppers' ...;-)
And that's it for this year regarding the CABHAIR Christmas Swim : a hugely enjoyable , busy , hectic
craic- filled four hours , for which CABHAIR themselves are to be applauded , as are the ten swimmers and the approximate 150-200 people that joined-in and/or observed proceedings. And , of course - most important of all - our Republican prisoners , who are in our hearts throughout the year , every year , but more so over the Christmas period.
Thanks for reading!
Nollaig Shona agus Athbhliain faoi mhaise daoibh!
Sharon.