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Author’s ‘Irish Bitches Be Crazy’ grabbing attention

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Galway author Emma Comerford shines a provocative and entertaining light on the sometimes erratic psyche of the modern-day Irish woman in her just-published book, ‘Irish Bitches Be Crazy’.

A guaranteed laugh-out-loud read, the book is comprised of astute wit and razor-sharp observation, as well as colloquial use of self-deprecation and satire.

Emma, a native of Luimnagh, on the shores of Lough Corrib in Corrandulla is daughter to a published author, playwright and retired solicitor Henry Comerford. Books, she says, were an integral part of her childhood. “I come from a real literary family. So from the age of dot, if you expressed an interest in anything – there were like ten books beside your bed.”

A colourful character by nature, Emma is friendly, personable and well travelled. But writing didn’t come instantaneously for the Galway girl who gained experience and insight working as a motorbike courier, fruit-picker, welder and building surveyor in different locations all over the world before settling down in the IT industry. The experience of travel would later prove a valuable source of inspiration for the fledgling author.

Emma observed behavioural differences as distinctly Irish on a backpacking trip, mingling with backpackers from various countries. Commenting on the demeanour of the Irish abroad she says: “We had to befriend everybody in the bar, buy them all drinks, give them cigarettes (we were backpackers, we had no money), then bring them all back to the hostel and do the Siege of Ennis”.

Cognisant of ritual practices, a moment of self-realization ensued. “None of the Italian girls did this, it was just the Irish girls – we’re just that little bit different.”

The inspiration to write first came to Emma after reading Caitlin Moran’s ‘How to Be a Woman’. “After reading it I was going – somebody should write a book like that about Irish women”.  Ideas, she said, presented themselves “almost like sketches”.

“When I started writing, there was loads of material. I think because I travelled a lot and lived in different countries – there was loads to write about and compare to”.

Emma took the plunge to write her first few pages. “I wrote four pages and sent it to Conor Montague [Galway playwright of Who Needs Enemies?]. Conor came back with eight pages of commentary. The first line was “This is really good; you should keep going with this”. That was really encouraging” she says.

Her debut book, ‘Irish Bitches Be Crazy’ is described as a part Exposé, part how-to guide, which pledges to impart information to the reader on:

■ How to perform the ‘walk of shame’ with utmost dignity and deal with the ensuing catholic guilt
■ How many people you can tell when you are sworn to secrecy
■ Coping with the consequences of an out-of-control hen party
■ Acquiring assertive school gate etiquette
■ Overcoming your zumba/pilates/book club antagonists
■ How alcohol-dependent you and your friends really are
Satire is used in exploring common traits amongst Irish women.The book suggests mná na hÉireann have a genetic aversion to compliments and will react in one of three ways:
■ Rebuff the compliment by belittling the item under discussion, e.g. ‘Oh, this old rag? I’ve had it for years’ or ‘Thanks, Penneys’ best’.
■ Immediately draw attention to a perceived failing: ‘Yes but have you seen the size of my arse?’ or ‘Look! I have psoriasis all over my elbows’.
■ Parry the compliment with a return compliment, thereby making them feel uncomfortable. Better still, introduce a bit of paranoia into the equation.

It is said the Irish will forgive a great many things, but having no sense of humour is considered a “cardinal sin”. Irish women love to laugh and admire people who make them laugh.

Other topics tackled in the book include: Obsession with death; Catholic Guilt; Begrudgery; Superstitions; the desire to maintain a savage level of craic; and Gossiping.

Irish Bitches Be Crazy puts forth the notion that Irish women are unique due to combined psychological, environmental and sociological factors. “Catholic guilt, heavy drinking and sewing classes produce a definitive type of girl,” it reads.

‘Irish Bitches Be Crazy’ depicts “The journey of Irish women from Peig Sayers to Miriam O Callaghan” presenting a satirical account on the evolution from genetically challenged (due to “years of inbreeding”) basket weavers of yesteryear to the newfound glamazons (with “paid-for-good-looks”) of today.

Says Emma: “I found that most of the traits attributed to Irish females are, in fact, true. Rather than debunking the myths, I have extended them . . . xpounding many of the old chestnuts and proposing some new theories”.

The attention-grabbing title ‘Irish Bitches Be Crazy’ was inspired by a young male work colleague of Emma’s who used to utter the phrase ‘Bitches Be Crazy’, which has crept into modern vernacular.

Feminist theory will argue it is offensive to women on two accounts; firstly the use of the word “bitch” and secondly the use of the word “crazy”.

But Emma – an Irish woman who considers herself a feminist – insists it is not intended to be offensive.

The aforementioned traits and clichéd stereotypes are an exaggeration in jest and not to be mistaken as a character assassination on all Irish women, she says. “It’s not meant to be offensive, it’s meant to be light hearted . . . I’m laughing at myself,” she pointedly remarks.

The brash title has worked in her favour thus far, grabbing the attention of Commissioning Editor for New Island – the publishing house who ultimately published her book.

Overall, ‘Irish Bitches Be Crazy’ endeavours to make people laugh. And in keeping with The Galway Comedy Festival which runs this week, the book launch will took place on Wednesday, in Massimo.

■ ‘Irish Bitches Be Crazy’ is available to purchase now at €9.99.

Connacht Tribune

Locals in fundraising drive to protect some of Connemara’s finest beauty spots

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The world-famous beaches Gurteen Bay and Dogs Bay will disappear unless work is carried out immediately to save them for the next generation.
A local conservation committee has been set up which is fundraising to carry out the work in September. They plan to remove the old fencing from the headland, which is dangerous for people and animals.
They will also want to install new fencing on the headland to keep animals off the sand dunes and to have clear access pathways to people to enjoy the dunes without causing them damage.
Sustainable chestnut fencing is then needed to re-establish the sand dunes and to save them from further collapse.
Finally the hope to replant marram grass to further stabalise the dunes.
Kieran Mullen, owner of the Gurteen Bay caravan and camping park, explained that the work was so urgent that they cannot wait another year to carry it out.
“Atlantic storms are becoming more frequent and powerful. If they find a weakness in the dunes a one metre gap is created. The next storm that widens to two and three metres and soon they’re gone forever,” he remarked.
“I know people might say I’m doing this because they’re part of my livelihood but these beaches are key to the bigger economy of Connemara. Everyone’s tied into tourism here – the shops, the builders. It only takes one influencer to post a picture on Instagram and the next week the place is packed.”
His father Pat, along with James Conneely and Joe Rafferty, undertook extensive projects such as planting marram grass, erecting fencing and stone gabions along one section of Dogs Bay beach back in the 1990s. They managed to protect and regenerate part of a highly degraded dune system.
“If it wasn’t for the huge amount of work they did back then, the beaches wouldn’t be here today. There was an Italian electrical company who came in and took away 50 tonnes of sand and my father stopped them at the gate and made them drop it off.
“They filmed Into The West here and the film donated some money to the beach and that’s how they paid for a lot of the work.”
The committee is meeting with planners to secure an exemption on planning for the work.
“Time is not on our side so that’s why we’ve gone ahead to raise the money and hope to get it done in September when the place is quieter.”
Both beaches, located outside Roundstone, regularly make the list of top 100 beaches of the world by travel guides.

To make a donation, visit GoFundMe page.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Mercury hit 30°C for Galway City’s hottest day in 45 years

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune –

Wednesday was the hottest day in the city over the past 45 years when with a high of 30.1 Celsius being recorded at the NUI Galway Weather Station.

The highest temperature ever recorded in the city dates back to June 30, 1976, when the late Frank Gaffney had a reading of 30.5° Celsius at his weather station in Newcastle.

Pharmacists and doctors have reported a surge in people seeking treatment for sunburn.

A Status Yellow ‘high temperature warning’ from Met Éireann – issued on Tuesday – remains in place for Galway and the rest of the country until 9am on Saturday morning.

It will be even hotter in the North Midlands, where a Status Orange temperature warning is in place.

One of the more uncomfortable aspects of our current heatwave has been the above average night-time temperatures and the high humidity levels – presenting sleeping difficulties for a lot of people.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Property Tax hike voted down in Galway City

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A proposal to boost Galway City Council coffers by half a million euro every year by increasing Local Property Tax (LPT) did not receive the support of city councillors.

Councillor Peter Keane (FF) failed to get a seconder at this week’s local authority meeting for his motion to increase the LPT payable on Galway City houses by 5%.

Cllr Keane said that the increase would net the Council €500,000 every year, which could be spent evenly on services across all three electoral wards.

It would be used to fund services and projects city councillors are always looking for, including a proposal by his colleague Cllr Imelda Byrne for the local authority to hire additional staff for city parks.

The cost to the taxpayer – or property owner – would be minimal, he insisted.

“It would mean that 90% of households would pay 37 cent extra per week,” he said.

Not one of the 17 other elected members, including four party colleagues, would second his motion and so it fell.

Another motion recommending no change in the current rate of LPT in 2022 was passed by a majority.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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