While reading, I was transported to a particularly windy evening about 40 years ago.
My parents decided it would be a good idea to ship me off to Inis Oírr for three weeks to learn Irish – with a group of complete strangers, a couple of cattle, donkeys, and no such thing as a mobile phone.
The crossing was turbulent, everyone was sick, and a nun marched around the decks ordering us not to dare puke in English.
About half a mile from the island, the captain told us that it was way too rough to dock on the pier and they were sending the currach men out to collect us to bring us onto the beach.
The vision of them appearing out of the waves was like a scene from Saving Private Ryan.
We only had about half an hour of dusk left and one by one, like 13-year-old penguins (with backpacks) we had to quickly jump from a height into these little boats, and lie down immediately.
All the rowing men had caps on their heads and cigarettes hanging off their lips, as they bawled urgently at us – and incredibly, their cigarettes never fell from their mouths.
When we got to the beach, the moonlight had started to shine on the shore. I remember kissing the sand.
Today, that story would be all over TikTok and would either become an Ultimate Hell Week Series for Teens, or lead to trips to the Gaeltacht being cancelled completely.
David O’Reilly, Eyre Square, Galway
I feel for our basketball women – Israel is trying to weaponise all criticism
One can only have sympathy for the noble Irish women’s basketball team in their accursed predicament this past while.
The saddest thing is that they were pushed to fulfil their fixture.
The ‘victimised’ position touted by the Israeli side is becoming such a common ploy dished out to anyone who dares protest against Israeli’s indiscriminate offensive in Gaza.
Any opposition to the carnage is distorted to mean ‘antisemitic’, whereas such protests are against the reckless policies of the Israeli government – not Judaism.
It’s such an easy victimhood to draw on when others identify and expose the incredulous inhumanity of the relentless Israeli actions ongoing without reprieve.
Yes, for sure, Israel was gravely sinned against, but does that give it carte blanche to commit a thousand more sins of death and destruction?
But, oh so sadly, it’s US election year and the Blinken-Biden dodgy axis of duplicity won’t budge an inch on Israel for fear of running foul of its constituency support when push comes to shove.
Jim Cosgrove , Lismore, Co Waterford
If military leaders could see the love they destroy they’d down weapons
The robust phrase of ‘Hamas is using Palestinians as human shields’ does not justify killing.
If it were Israelis and not Gazans who were shielding the target – surely the executors would be more hesitant.
Indiscriminate killing of people destroys not just lives, but it ends all paths, past and future, that have led to a person’s existence.
All the love, all the birthdays, childhood memories, religious and civil celebrations, weddings, parental love, human tragedies and personal triumphs – the entire majesty of human life of the past generations that led to today.
It seems so often in our past, and now again, such military affairs are seen only through the cold, narrow eye-piece of tactics and analytical technical lenses.
What is grossly absent is any compassion, love and deep care for those human hearts that will be broken.
This ongoing killing is wrong on many human and religious grounds.
Perhaps if the military and its subjects would experience the weight of love that their actions will destroy, peace would weigh more heavily in their hearts and they would stop the bloody killing.
Surely what the world wants to witness now is an altogether more beautiful, lasting, blossoming peace.
Eoin O’Sullivan, Athenry, Co Galway
Irish who sympathise with Hamas should know it wants a Muslim world
Congratulations to Tim Stanley for noting that there is a deep and lively debate in Israel about the present war, and while lively, the local debate is not so deep (‘For Israel’s sake if nothing else, prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu must go now,’ Irish Independent, February 12).
What is striking is the way the Irish see in Palestine themselves under British rule, without acknowledging the Irish people do well out of British power. In contrast, the Israelis see an imperial Arab world that uncompromisingly wants from the river to the sea – if not Spain, India and the Balkans as well – and throws sand in the eyes of the world over the inference that if Israel and Ireland are not to be independent then who is?
Hamas, also known as the Muslim Brothers, and Iran certainly wish to beat the world into being Muslim.
Just read their charters and speeches.
Frank Adam, Prestwich, England
Netanyahu, Bush and Blair should face charges for their wars
Following on from the letters of Fintan Lane and Zoe Lawlor (Irish Independent, February 12) the British and Irish governments should: A) recognise a Palestinian state; B) sever diplomatic relations with Israel; and C) ensure Benjamin Netanyahu is indicted for crimes against humanity.
George W Bush and Tony Blair should also be charged in relation to the illegal 2003 Iraq War.
Dominic Shelmerdine, London
I’m sure everyone is just buzzing to commemorate Saint Valentine properly
As I sip my skinny latte in an Italian coffee shop on Kew Road, Richmond, London, scrolling through the Sunday Independent on my phone, I am reminded of the commercialism of Valentine’s Day.
It at least gave everyone a 72-hour countdown to our most romantic day of the year. Saint Valentine is the patron saint for beekeepers, so good luck to everyone buzzing around frantically choosing bouquets of flowers from 24-hour filling stations.