Damien Dempsey: Vicar Street Concert

Review from http://www.Irishgigs.ie


There was a lot of love in the air at the Damien Dempsey concert in Vicar Street. I don’t mean romantic love, or a Christmas dizzying high, but rather Dempsey’s genuine goodwill and empathy for people. He is one of the great heroes of Irish music, gives a voice to the voiceless, a face to the faceless and he doesn’t do sugar coating. He implores us to question what is morally right and most importantly, to party on.


The Audience were Captivated

The man from Donaghmede drew an audience of every age, gender and personality. Reunions of families, gaggles of friends and scores of couples were all mesmerised by him. The crowd listened in awe to his powerful voice, polished lyrics and his passion for justice. We were the pupils of that rare teacher who inspires you to see life in a new light. With that winning combination of insight, empathy and clarity we were all enchanted.



The night opened with the first track of his album Shots. “Sing all your Cares Away” is an anthem celebrating ordinary people who overcome serious life struggles. The message of Dempsey’s music is that although life can be hard, our strength will let us emerge victorious. He shows us how ordinary people overcome extraordinary difficulties. He makes heroes of local people as he has great empathy for them.


Remember Our Roots

Dempsey proceeded to play many of his political and historical songs, such as “Colony” and “Massai”. I overheard a people in the crowd discuss the origin and significance of the Massai, knowledge of which we were taught by the album “To Hell or Barbados”. Damien Dempsey is responsible for most of my education in Irish history. Despite his wrist evidently paining him for the second half of the gig, he still did justice to his heart-felt ballads. It was like a metaphor as he played the guitar and fought through the pain.


Getting Deep

When I heard the song “Serious”, I wriggled my way to the front of the crowd to where the most ardent fans joined me in singing along. This song depicts a man at conflict with himself, on whether or not he should go down the line of drug abuse. Dempsey raises awareness of drug-related problems with peer pressure being just the beginning. His message makes a difference in the world because it is rooted in empathy and fuelled by hope for a good future.


Be Kind to Ourselves

Toward the end of the gig, the six foot balladeer declared to the audience: “Before you go to sleep tonight, look into the mirror… and give it a big kiss!” While I laughed initially, I realised that this was one of the best pieces of advice I had received all year. Dempsey advises that we give ourselves some kindness too, showing once more his compassion and humanity.


The Outro

Before we all said goodbye to this champion of the people, Damo gave us his rendition of a Bob Marley’s classic. He reassured us that “every little thing is gonna be alright”, and we felt the last waves of his positive message. Dempsey provides a message of hope in turbulent times. His positive vibes will keep us going in 2017. Music is our remedy, bringing hope for a bright future. With Damien Dempsey leading the way, Irish music has the best teacher at hand. And one thing is for sure, they don’t teach this in school.


How to get on board the friendship…

How do we create and sustain friendships? Like any relationship, friendships take some effort, but are well worth it. How can we invite the best friends into our life? And once we have established a group friends, how do we keep these people in our lives? How can we know who are the right people for us to be with? Here are some quick tips!


Be a Friend First

The late author, Maya Angelou, said “to have a friend, you have to be a friend first”. This is very good advice as if we want to invite new wonderful things into our lives, such as friends, or a new job or improved health, we must start with ourselves. We must open our hearts to life’s gifts and be ready for wonderful new people and things in our lives. We must be the person who we would like to be around.


Take a Look Around

The entrepreneur, Jim Rohn, said, “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Who are these people in your life? Are they family members, flatmates, partners, children or friends? Do they have a positive influence or a negative influence on you? This time next year, would you like to be surrounded by these same people or would you like to make some changes?


Choose Who to Befriend

With people, we have a choice who we wish to befriend. We can create our own social sphere to our own liking. One of our greatest freedoms is the ability to let go of people who bring us down and invite in people who we wish to be in our lives. We can choose the cast of people in our lives. As we grow as a person, we will naturally change the people who surround us.


Learn to Let Go

As we go through life, we grow as people. And as our personality develops, we change our likes and dislikes. This is a totally naturally process and means we are discovering more about ourselves. However, it can mean the end of some friendships. Sometimes a friend may say to us “You are not the person I thought I knew” or a relationship can come to an end. Even though the relationship was beautiful, if it feels right to end, then we must accept the loss of old relationships. We need to make way for new ones.


Go and Explore!

This is your chance to discover who you are, who you want to be with and who you want to become. Each person likes a different set of friends, perhaps a small number of close friends or a large number of acquaintances. Some people like to socialise daily and some prefer to meet once a month for a catch up. Find what works best for you!



Tea for One

We have teas for all occasions!

What type of tea do you like? Some teas are good for some of our health issues. There is even the right time to take each one. Do you know when to drink what kind of tea? If you are fond of a cuppa, here is a list of teas and their remedies.


Green Tea

The story goes that this drink was invented when leaves fell into a cup of hot water belonging to a monk. This was a happy accident to happen upon him as he found his mood were quite enhanced. This discovery showed us tea is full of antioxidants and caffeine which means it is good to boost energy and also has some medical properties. Green tea is best to take in the morning so that you can awaken your metabolism.


Black Tea

Strong in flavour and deeply comforting, this is a favourite tea of the Irish. This tea is highly oxidizing and kills bacteria in our mouths which cause cavities. Black tea is also revered for reducing cortisol levels in the body, meaning that it helps to reduce feelings of stress. It is important not to take too much black tea as it may keep us from sleeping if taken in too high amounts.


Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea is best taken before going to bed as part of our winding down time. This tea is made from the beautiful chamomile flower and has a wonderfully pleasing aroma. This tea is best taken with the full flowers immersed in water for aesthetic reasons! Chamomile tea has very relaxing effects similar to lavender. For this reason it can be used to help alleviate insomnia.


Ginger Tea

Ginger tea is a good option to take when we have stomach problems. Motion sickness and morning sickness can also be treated with this tea. Its healing properties have been known for thousands of years, making this a well-known and well-revered medicinal tea. Ginger can also be freshly grated into hot water and combined with lemon to maximise the taste and power of the ginger root.


Peppermint Tea

And finally, peppermint tea is also very effective for stomach pains. The sweet-smelling essential oils of peppermint tea make this a very pleasing tea to drink. Peppermint activates digestion in the stomach in a very gentle way and for that reason can be used to reduce stomach pains. It is ideal to take at any time of the day, and some people take it before going to bed to help to sleep better.


So for most health ailments of the body and mind, there is a natural remedy. Teas can be a great soothing or energising tonic depending on which kind we choose. It is definitely worthwhile using some of the ancient wisdom about the fruits of the earth to improve our health and well-being.

What is Meditation?

Someone asked me for my thoughts on meditation and it got me thinking… do I know anything about meditation? For me, meditation is so pure and simple that it is somehow complicated to put into words. Mindfulness/meditation is the art of doing nothing and letting go. It is going home to ourselves when we have left our senses. It is our natural way of being. It is feeling the power of relinquishing the need to control.

The Great Contradiction

Meditation to me is a kind of contradiction. By yielding to the present moment we overcome our situation. By giving in to what is happening, we are instantly rewarded with a better, more fulfilled feeling. By letting go, we gain so much. And all we have to do to have the most wonderful feeling in the world… is absolutely nothing.

Our Busy World.

With people so busy checking their phones, looking over their shoulders for competitors and some even building walls of fear and hate, we all need meditation to help us to find a sense of peace. In our current society, we have become too infatuated with speed, success and doing, that we have forgotten to refuel.

Recharge the Batteries!

Humans energy levels are similar to mobile phone batteries. Almost every day, we charge our mobile phones to make sure that it has enough energy. This is akin to people making sure to get a good nights sleep. We need around 8 hours every night to function well. But what happens during the waking hours of the day?

Take Many Breaks.

As we use up energy on our phone, for phone calls, internet and messaging, we demand a lot from our phones. By the same token, as we expel our own energy on our thoughts, our daily tasks and constant activity, we also deplete our own energy. We need to take moments during the day, simply to be. We need moments in which we do not give out too much energy. We can stop for a minute to refuel our batteries.

What Do the Experts Say?

Eckhart Tolle, the author of “The Power of Now” advises that adding a small moment now and then to our lives for a mindful breath or a short meditation can greatly improve our well-being. The length of the meditation is not important, rather he advises to inset periods of meditation on a regular basis. The duration of meditation will naturally extend as we implement our own practice.

I encourage everyone to practice a bit of meditation. In whatever way we invite peace and meditation into our lives, it is one of the healthiest choices to make. We can slow down. We can refuel. We can become healthier and happier. As we practice, moment by moment, we can recover from a lifetime of struggle.


What we Can Learn from Disney Heroines


I have many friends who dismiss Disney as childish, anti-women or cliched. However, I believe that children’s stories can reveal to us astute messages if we are willing to see them. Movies that are directed at children often have poignant moments which reveal great truths, the kind that are the most difficult to admit to ourselves. And I remain a huge fan of all things Disney, so here is my toast to the women who inspire the little girl in me.

  1. They did not have it easy in the beginning.

Most of the classic Disney ladies had it tough when they grew up. Belle was viewed as aloof by everyone who knew her, Cinderella had her awful step-sisters and Rapunzel was cooped up in a tower. It is inspiring that despite their difficult beginnings, the Disney princesses did not let their personal circumstances get in the way of their dreams and their destiny.

2. They stuck true to their beliefs of what is right and wrong.

The Disney women did not appease people they did not approve of. Snow White didn’t take any prisoners from the seven dwarfs. Belle turned down the egotistical Gaston who came chasing after her. Cinderella left behind her cruel family to live happily ever after. As the song says “I never bother with people I hate. That’s why the lady is a tramp”.

3. Their Princes fought for them.

The men who chose these Disney princesses were not after riches or status. The Princes fought dragons, went against their social differences and pursued their love interest until they could unite. They were daring, bold and brave. They could see how wonderful these Princesses were and were willing to fight fantastical and social challenges for them.

4. They appreciated the good things in life.

Pursuing true love, caring for nature, and being true to themselves, the Disney women are elegant ladies with social tact. Although life presented many issues, the Disney women would power through and life would bring them to the right place at the right time. They were able to flow with life and trust that all will work out well in the end.

5. They believed in the power to choose good or evil

There is a good deal of magic in Disney stories, which helps to change your life. But when you take out the metaphysical or witchcraft elements of the stories, what you are left with is a battle between pure humanity and wickedness, caused by envy or hurt. The Fairy Godmother gave the gesture of kindness and mercy by giving a helping hand in an hour of need. The Wicked Witch was simply to be pitied for harnessing so much hatred against Snow White. Fairy tales are of course fantastical, but they show us how people have a choice in how the choose to respond to life’s challenges.

I understand my friends who do not approve of Disney. But I hold steadfast in my beliefs. Despite what other people think, I believe in happy endings, I have faith in the goodness of people. Although I may not change the world, I will be the heroine of my own life… with a touch of magic!

From Flowing to Floating


via Daily Prompt: Float


Here is a little poem inspired by “Floating”


Flow when your friend is sick

And can’t make it to the gig

Twist the twist of fate and see

You have a choice suddenly

To do exactly as you choose.


Flow around the bumps and lumps

That life serves up

Dish yourself out something new.

Ask what’s next on the menu?


Float: when you

Cannot flow anymore,

Paralysed by too many options

like the donkey (long overdue)

between two bails of hay

could not choose and what did he do?


Float when you

cannot flow anymore

when the water won’t play by your rules.


Lie on your back

face up, look at the sky.


Put the flow back in floating.

Let life row you downstream to

Its source back where you

Came from… home.


Flow on to new adventures

when you have wind in your sails.

But when you are all blown out,

Remember to float

back home.


What will you do flow or float?