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Blog by Liam O Donnell

I am still hanging on hopefully to the third level goal of achieving at a professional study target.

But what is the target, or goal. The doctor told my mother that– — — — -“Study is out from now on– -“

So– — — — — — — -what , instead? Something meaningful. The Beatles seemed to have an answer.

“We can work it out”.


I am still as confused as ever.– — — — — — — Third level? — — — -Yes/No?

My scenario in Flannan’s College, when I was doing well, and doing Latin/ Greek, for my

Inter. Cert., was in the Church at night. The Lonely student at night, I called it.

At sixteen, I applied myself to Latin,– — — -Gallic War(Caesar), and did well.

Then, I began to go off the rails.


I began to become less perfectionistic with the Latin professor, a priest, in my fourth year.

Transition year, that is. I eased up on the perfection, with the priest who taught us History

and Geography, for the Leaving. I began to take my foot off the pedal, very much, in History

and Geography. The Maths. And Physics were way too much for me. I began to let things slide.

Very much.


My previous very good goals began to become less important, and my achievements became

less, and less. I just let things go. A guilty conscience began to raise its ugly head. My previous

brilliant student role became less, and less.


If only! I began to compare myself unfavourably with others. I generally lost interest in achieving

academically. There was nothing I could do to arrest the downward slide.


I began to compare myself unfavorably with my brother, who, at this stage, had gone on to

University. I was , meantime, in the teacher training college, in Drumcondra, and not doing so well.

At this stage, I had been diagnosed, labelled, and incarcerated, not to mention the medication.

I began to lower my expectations in life, and moderated my goals. I began to change my thinking.

I never got on well with third level professors in the Irish Universities. I began to look across the

water, at the U.K. I found the syllabus of International Correspondence Schools, London, and

completed a course in Storekeeping. I succeeded in obtaining a job, as a library assistant, in

Newbridge, Co. Kildare. My late father (God rest him) put it very well, when he said,”The

library is a kind of store”.


But, I did not value the job well enough, and abandoned a promising career with Kildare Co.

Council. I left the library without telling the boss, and hopped on a bus to Dublin. It must have

looked like I was irresponsible , and I paid the price. I thought it was easy to get a job

but I found , to my cost, that such was not the case. My boss in the library refused to

take me back. I spent a few days in Gardiner Street, in a bed and breakfast , in Dublin,

and searched around the locality, hoping to find anything in the nature of a job.

But, all to no avail!


I travelled back home to West Clare to my parents’ house. My mother

was disappointed to see me back home again. This was compounded by the fact that I had

purchased a yellow satin bellbottoms trousers, and a loud yellow jacket. The hit records of the

time were Gilbert O Sullivan’s “Nothing Rhymed”, and George Harrison’s, “My sweet Lord”.

Also , another hit record was Tony Kenny, singing,”Hey girl, what you doing down there”?

And, Neil Diamond, singing,”I am, I said”.


I remember songs from Red Hurley, such as,”Bring back the good times”, and I loved to hear

Red on the radio. Neil Sedaka hit the charts with his,”Happy Birthday, sweet sixteen”.

I was a regular purchaser of the “New Spotlight” magazine, with all the very latest news

on the Showbands.


Being at home, once again, kind of eased the pressure on me, but I still was ambitious to get

a job. My father offered me a job as a meter-reader, with the E.S.B. He was the local E.S. B.

Boss. It suited me better, as I was at home, and felt better. I was on medication. And could

go to all the local dances, and lived with my parents. My brother was doing accountancy

at this time, in Dublin. I settled into the role of the local meter-reader. I also became involved

with the local Fianna Fail cumann. We held church gate collections, and fundraised with socials

in the local hall. I also attended Ard Fheishes, and Youth Conferences. We also canvassed for local

politicians, at election time. The year was 1971/2.