Sometimes the Irish people do things that make me want to bite a cushion and hide behind the sofa. Like, when someone speaks with an Oxford accent and is heard with respect, while if the same views were delivered in a Belfast accent they’d be shouted down. Or the way we believe in one of our own when London tells us it’s OK to do so. Terry Wogan, Bob Geldof, Seamus Heaney, Brian Friel: we wait for the Brits to give a thumbs-up, then we start believing. But most buttock-clenching of all is our habit of apeing shop-soiled ideas from British TV. They’ve got ‘East Enders’? Right, we’ll devise a programme called ‘Fair City’. They’ve got ‘X Factor’? Let’s do the same thing but call it ‘You’re A Star’. They’ve got ‘Children In Need’? We’ll have ‘People In Need’.
Last night at Silverbridge GAC, we got a local version of the same sad thing. In a charity event called ‘Strictly My Armagh’, embarrassed-looking Gaelic footballers like Steven McDonnell paired up with high-heeled and leggy camogie players like Michelle Rafferty and twirled around to a packed house. Just a bit of crack? Raising money in a good cause? Yes and Yes. But if we have to make eejits of ourselves for charity (and will people really not stump up if we present ourselves as half-intelligent?) let’s be idiotic in a way that at least is original, rather than a hopelessly slavish steal from what was tacky, Brucie, Saturday-night garbage to start with.
In 1927 at their Annual Conference, the Clare GAA put forward a motion:
"That any member of a Football or Hurling Club in the County Clare promoting or encouraging by his presence thereat, the holding of foreign dances (i.e. Caledonians, Quadrilles, Lancers, Plain Set, Half Set, Waltzes, One Step, Two Step, Fox Trot, Charleston, Black Bottom, and any dances of foreign origin not herein enumerated, shall thereby be automatically suspended from the G.A.A. for a period of six months from the date of the first offence’.
Dear sweet forgiving God. Is it possible the Claremen might have had a point?