Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Christmas Memory

A Christmas Memory

As I awoke on Christmas morn
snow was falling softly to the ground
Evergreens had turned white over night
and Santa had called to my delight
On the road outside a donkey lay
belly bloated hooves in the air
a cross upon it's back
And where it lay the snow turned red
The source a gaping wound in it's head
It was then I realised that he was dead
Hit by a car perhaps
or maybe a truck?.
Michael '' The Sheriff '' Sheils

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Dancers

Have you ever seen the Irish dance?
Have you ever been held in a trance?
They are disciplined and neat
Raising the nations heartbeat
With the sound of their feet.
Have you ever seen the Irish dance?
Have you ever been smitten with romance?
With their amazing steps and graceful movements
They'll stir the passion in you
And your heart will beat to the sound of their feet
Have you ever seen the Irish dance?
Have you ever been to River Dance?
If the answer's yes then you'll have felt the power of dance
They land gracefuly on their feet and finish with a graceful pose
While your heart still beats to the lingering sound of their feet.
Michael "The Sheriff " Sheils

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ata Alla-God's gift

Photos taken on the Trim, Atbboy Road, opposite Lidl, Sunday 28 September 2008 the day the O'Mahony's beat Summerhill in the Keegan Cup. Although it was a dull day I just couldn't pass without taking a photo.
Ships of the desert.
The Bedouin used to say about these ungainly creatures. Ata Alla- God's gift. Evolution has bred them to survive in the harshest of enviroments, and while they do not have the same turn of speed as their more elegant rival the horse, they can maintain a hefty pace for a far greater distance.

Domesticated thousands of years ago by frankincense traders, who trained the gangly cud-chewer to make the long and arduous journey from Arabia to the northern regions of the Middle East, the camel went on to become the desert dweller's primary source of transport, shade, milk, meat, wool and hides.

In technologically-advanced Saudi Arabia, even the Bedouin are not as dependent on the camel as they once were. These days, camels are valued more as thoroughbred racing animals and sentimental images of the past than as the mainstay of transportation. But in many parts of Africa and Asia today, camels still pull ploughs, turn waterwheels and transport people and goods to market along desert routes unpassable by wheeled vehicles.

To appreciate the unique contribution that the Arabian camel has made to the people and history of desert lands, heres a comprehensive fact-pack on the special characteristics body structure and behaviour patterns of this amazing creature.

Body temperature

Camels do not pant, and they perspire very little. Humans start to sweat when the outside temperature rises above the normal body temperature of 37ic but the camel has a unique thermostat. It can raise it's body temperature tolerance level as much as 6ic before perspiring, thereby conserving body fluids and avoiding unnecessary water loss. No other mammal can do this. Because the camel's temperature is often lower than air temperature, a group of resting camels will even avoid excessive heat by pressing against each other.


Camels come in shades of brown, from cream to almost black.


Unpredictable at best. Camels the reputation of being bad-tempered and obstinate creatures who spit and kick. In reality they tend to be good-tempered, patient and inteligent. The moaning and bawling sound they make when they're loaded up and have to rise to their feet is like the grunting and heavy breathing of a weight-lifter in action, not a sign of displeasure at having to do some work.

Fully grown camels measure to a height of 7 foot from their toes to the tops of their humps. Camels have a reputation of being bad tempered and obstinate creatures who spit and kick. In reality they tend to be good-tempered, patient and intelegent. The moans and bawling sound they make when they're loaded up and have to rise to their feet is like the grunting and heavy breathing of a weight-lifter in action, not a sign of displeasure at having to do some work.


camels have small ears but their hearing is acute-even if, like the donkey or Basket hound, it chooses to pay no attention when given a command! A camels ears are lined with fur to filter out sand and dust blowing into the ear canal.


A camel's eyes are large, with a soft, doe-like expression. They are protected by a double row of long curly eye lashes that also keep out sand and dust, while thick bushy eyebrows shield the eyes from the desert sun.


Camels have broad, flat leathery pads with two toes on each foot. When the camel places it's foot on the ground the pads spread, preventing the foot from sinking into the sand. When walking, the moves both feet on one side of it's body, then both feet on the other. The gait suggests the rolling motion of a boat, explaining the camels " Ship of the Desert " nickname.


A camel can go 5-7 with little or no food and water, and loose a quarter of it's body weight without impairing it's normal functions. These days, camels rely on man for their preferred food of dates, grass and grains such as wheat and oats, but a working camel travelling across an area where food is scarce can easly survive on thorny scrub or what ever it can find: bones, seeds,dried leaves, or even it's owner's tent!


All camels moult in spring and have grown a new coat by autumn. Camel hair is sought after world-wide for high-quality coats,garments and artists' brushes, as well as being used to make traditional Bedouin rugs and tents. A camel can shed as much as 2.25kilos/5lbs of hair at each moult

Hard skin

Thick callus-like bare spots of dry skin appear on a camel's chest and knee joints when the animal reaches five months of age. These leathery patches help support the animals body weight when kneeling, resting and rising.


A fully grown adult camel stands 1.65mm/6feet at the shoulder and 2.15m/7feet at the hump.


Scientists believe that ancesters of the modern camel lived in North Africa at least 40 million years ago, wandering across the Alaskan " land bridge " to Asia and eventually to Africa. In Asia two groups separated to become the two chief types of camel known today: the dromedary and the two-humped, shorter-legged Bactrian camel.


Contrary to popular belief, a camel does not store water in it's hump. It is in fact a mound of fatty tissue from which the animal draws energy when food is hard to find. When a camel uses it's hump fat for sustenance, the mound becomes flabby and shrinks. If a draws too much fat the small remaining hump will flop from it's upright position and hang down the camel's side. Food and a few days rest will return the hump to it's normal firm condition.


A camel's long, thin legs have powerful muscles which allow the animal to carry heavy loads over long distances. A camel can carry as much as 450kg/990lbs, but a usual and more comfortable cargo weight is 150kgs/330lbs. It is usual for a camel to work as a beast of burden for only six to eight months of the year; the remainder of the time it needs to rest and recuperate.

Life span

After a gestation periods of 13 months, a camel cow usually bears a single calf, and occasionally twins. The calves walk within hours of birth, but remain close to their mothers until they reach maturity at five years, of age. The normal life span of a camel is 40 years, although a working camel retires from active duty at 25.


The best camel meat comes from young male camels. It is regarded as a delicacy in the Arabian diet, and is gaining popularity in arid lands where it is difficult to herd sheep, cattle and goats. Although it makes for tough chewing, the taste is not unlike beef.


Camel's milk is much more nutritious than that from a cow. It is lower in fat and lactose, and higher in potassium, iron and Vitamin C. It is normally drunk fresh, and the warm frothy liquid, heavy and sweet, is usually an acquired taste for the Western palate. Most Saudi Arabian camels are females reared for their milk in dairy herds.


The camel has a large mouth, with 34 sharp teeth. They enable the animal to eat rough thorny bushes without damaging the lining of it's mouth, and can be used as biting weapons against predators if need be. A camel gulps down it's food without chewing it first, later regurgitating the undigested food and chewing it in cud form.


A camels nasal passages are protected by large muscular nostrils that can be opened and closed at will. When a camel twitches it's nose, it is cooling the incoming air and condensing moisture from it's outgoing breath.
Normal "amble speed " for a walking camel is 5kph/3mph; a working camel will typically cover 40km/25miles a day. Racing camels can reach 20kph/12miles at the gallop.
A fully grown camel can weigh up to 700kg/1542lbs.


A camels rope-like tail is over50cm/19" long.


Camels need very little water if their regular diet good moisture-rich pasture. Although camels can withstand severe dehydration, a large animal can drink as much as 100 litres/21gallons in ten minutes. Such an amount would kill another mammal, but the camel's unique metabolism enables the animal to store the water in it's bloodstream.

The camels capabilities have been well documented over the centuries, and it's niche in the history of mankind is assured. But as the camel's contribution to desert life today dwindles as the mechanical age continues to advance, it is up to us and to future generations to ensure that this wonderful animal retains a special place in the heart of tomorrows world.

Source Wikipedia free encyclopedia

Thursday, October 9, 2008


A book of 47 poems ranging from traditional to modern, titled " EXCURSIONS " by Frank Murphy, Author of " The Marginal Line " and member of the Meath Writers Circle, will be launched in " Fergies " of Kilmessan by Trim Author and Poet and leader of the Meath Writers Circle Mr. Tommy Murray, on 23rd October 2008. Come early limited supply on the night and readings from members of the Meath Writers Circle.

Pictured above left Frank Murphy with his new book, center "Excursions" and right Frank's first book "The Marginal Line".

Below is a thought provoking poem from Frank's Excursions.
A House in the Fields
The crumbling walls and faded dreams
Memories of what might have been
The twilight world that lives within
Where daylight ends and night begins.
A curtain through a broken pane
An invalid's supporting frame
The laughter sadness joy and tears
A gate that hangs on broken piers.
Along a winding track that leads
Down to a garden overgrown with weeds
And apple trees all gone to seed
With no one left to tend their needs.
And rooks that earn their daily bread
As sentinels that guard it's dead
It's empty rooms and rusted tin
A house in the fields
Too scared to go in.

Franks book " EXCURSIONS " can be bought in shops in: Kilmessan, Antonia's Trim,the Post Office Trim, Bookwise Medges Lane Navan and Easons Navan Shopping Center- price €10

Monday, October 6, 2008

Try Talking

Second February 2002 I saw you.
A young girl no more than twelve I'd say
happily dancing in snow.
The first snow of Winter they said.
I wanted to reach out and join in your happiness
but couldn't.
You were after all thousands of miles away
in the land of Mohammed.
Graveyard of empires.
And yet there you were in my sitting room via the television.
For weeks I had been watching the news
the unrelenting bombing of Tora Bora.
Operation Enduring Freedom
they called it.
I watched in awe at this beautiful scene
of a young girl dancing in snow.
A brilliant white the sign of peace
falling from High Heaven.
What a contrast from B52's belching out their cargo of death
in the sure knowledge that their enemies can not reach them.
They say love can move mountains.
I say bombs will only distort them
and strengthen the peoples resolve.
History can and does repeat itself.
Might is not always right.
Try talking!.
Michael " The Sheriff " Sheils.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Elderly gentleman, well in to his eighties, sitting quietly in the bar of the Royal Meath enjoying a nice pint. Group of young men standing at bar talking about women. One of them who thought he knew it all winked at his mates and said to the old man, " Pat at what age does a man start loosing interest in women? "
" You'll have to ask an older man than me ", replied Pat with a twinkle in his eye.

Photos taken 28/Sept 2008.
I notice they have changed the name by dropping the word Meath

Click top photo to enlarge and you will see the name
( Royal Meath Bar ) in center of window.
I returned on the second of October and the name was gone from the window.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Best wishes to Anton McCabe in his campaign to become a member of the Navan Town Council on behalf of the Labour Party.

Anto will certainly get my No 1

Michael Sheils

Anton McCabe has been selected to contest the local elections in June 2009 on behalf of the Labour Party for Navan Town Council. Anton lives in Woodlands Navan and is President of SIPTU Meath Branch. Anton is a qualified lay tutor and is the recipient of two National Diversity Awards. His work as a community leader in Navan is well respected as is his commitment to the provision of better services and amenities for the people of Navan.
" I strongly believe that local Government must be about building sustainable and safe communities. Navan Town needs a strong Labour voice to ensure that the wishes and needs of our community are taken into account when decisions are made by NavanTown Council. I look forward to meeting you over the next few months and listening to your concerns and ideas to make Navan a better place to live in ".
Ph: 0866093288 E:

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fulham's Bar

I will arise and go now
And go to Fulham's Bar.
For I hear the Navan Whistle calling me
And I shall have a good pint there
For honky fills them with great care.
It's there I'll hear the Squib sing
Didily a yi di di, didily a yi di di
Hulligan: Brulligan, Mulligan, and the bold O'Donohue.
With Sossy on the bodhran
Red ken and Brillo on guitar
Patrice on the bongo
And Eddie Who too
Kinky in the corner, is right!, is right!!, is right!!!
Young Whitey in the background
With his sidekick Soldier Booth
storing the sh.. as usual
Patsy in the lounge defending Bertie
Tucker on the high stool using a mobile phone
Sophie and her master enjoying a pint or two
Matchine in the bar hugging the radiator
The cold creature
With Gint by his side humming a tune
And Paddy the Red Gibney singing Eileen
Barney in the back room planning his next bar be
Kinky in the corner, is right!, is right!! is right!!!
And I shall have some fun there
For fun comes dropping slow
Dropping from the tap behind the counter
With Honky in control
And the sound of the Navan Whistle will surely set Squib off again
Didily a yi di di, didily a yi di di
Hulligan: Brulligan, Mulligan and the bold O'Donohue
Come on the O' Mahony's, shouts Henry the fastest milkman on the east coast
Kinky in the corner, is right!, is right!!, is right!!!
And I shall have some comfort there
The comfort and the crack
The heat from the fire
The beat of the town
The stories of it's people
Is right!!!
Beloved echoes from the past are often heard there
If you're driving home make sure you have a car
Good morning Reverend Mother old son
What ever you're having yourself.
The welcoming bar man with a pint of Black Wisdom
Yes!!, it's all there in Fulham's Bar
Is right!!!.
Michael " The Sheriff " Sheils.      

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Councillor Andy Brennan Park and Ramparts Navan

21 July 2008 I went for a stroll down the Ramparts Navan and on
the way back i walked through Councillor Andy Brennan Park.

Here's a few images I captured on the way.

Below are three plaques on Summervill Bridge with year of construction and years in which alterations were carried out.

Click photos to read.

Councillor Andy Brennan Park and right viewed from the Dublin Road.

Summervill Bridge viewed from the Ramparts.

Ruxton's bridge and lock

Summervill Bridge viewed from Andy Brennan Park

Rowley's Bridge and opposite with the ruins of the lock keeper's cottage. Just above right/left Rowley's Lock redundant and overgrown. Rowley's Lock is both a lock and beautiful arched bridge to allow for access. The locks were a means of lifting boats from a lower water level to a higher level.


Saturday, July 5, 2008


Congratulations to John Farrell on the publication of his book ( The Wormdigger's Daughter)

One night in the early '50s when John was a young man returning home to his mothers house, he came across a man and woman sitting on the roadside. They engaged him in conversation and he soon realised that they were living in a tent behind the ditch.

They began to relate to him a tragic story, a story that was to bring John back to their tent a number of times.

Their story begins in the 1920s. Molly and her husband Frank worked on a large country estate . They had four children but hardship had already claimed the lives of three of their children whose names were: Frank, Peter, Jim and the little girl who survived her name was Angel Marie.

One day when Angel was 12 years old Molly had to go on an errand she told Angel to open the gate if visitors called. When Molly returned a short while later she noticed two men on horseback friends of the master of the estate talking to Angel. Unknown to the men Molly observes one of them give a half crown to the little girl and hears him say " I'm going to ask the master if I can have her to work in my place isn't that something to look forward to ". Molly was alarmed and feared for her daughter's safety. She tells her husband Frank about her fears for Angel. Some time later when the master and most of his household go to England on business Molly and Frank flee from the estate with their daughter Angel. After they flee they are falsely accused of stealing from the estate and they become fugitives.

Branded as criminals, they disguise Angel as a boy to avoid being identified as the thieves who fled the estate. They travel the length and breath of Ireland living on the roads. At times they blended in with the travelling community who were sympathetic to their plight and helped them to avoid detection. They were also helped by sympathetic farmers they met along the way. They lived in fear of what would happen to their daughter if they were caught. Their only hope of escape lies with the " Brotherhood " and some influential Americans who befriend them, offering the possibility of escape, but at a terrible price.

Published by Mercier Press,

John's book can be bought in Book Wise Medges Lane Navan Co. Meath and in Easons Navan Shopping Center