Thursday, June 11, 2009


11 Meitheamh 2009.


There are many things I do not understand. Flying is one of them. That’s not strictly true. I sort of a way understand birds flying. And insects. They are made to fly. They have wings. So if they beat their wings or flap them or do whatever it is that they do to get airborne there is some sort of logic in that. There is even a logic to angels flying. If you believe in angels. Or fairies. If you believe in fairies.

I also have some sort of an understanding about wind and air currents and such like. Nothing too profound or scientific but enough to appreciate that if you have a kite or even a glider that you can ride the warm thermals with it or in it. Sort of a way. There is some sort of logic in that as well. Even some seeds, like sycamore or dandelions, can do it. Though I must confess that I have never been in a glider and I’m not very successful with kites. But that’s not the point.

The point is that there is no logic whatsoever, as far as I can figure out, in planes flying. Think of it? A long metal tube with ‘wings’ sticking out either side – wings which don’t flap or beat – launched skywards and ‘flying’ from one place to another. A long metal tube filled with people. Kinda comic book stuff.

Only it’s for real. And nowadays many of us, excepting for isolated tribes of nomadic or jungle dwelling or island bound isolated peoples, take it for granted.

Except this blog. Which is not to say I dislike flying. Au contraire. I don’t mind flying. I just don’t understand it.

This blog flies a good wee bit. Well I don’t really fly. Not like a bird or an insect. Or even a fairy. Or an angel. At least not yet.

But you know what I mean.

I get into planes and strap myself in and the engines start and the plane flings itself skywards and some time later we lunge earthwards again and after a few scary minutes our long metal tube screeches and shudders to a halt on the ground and we all get out and go about our business as if it was the most natural thing in the world.

Even though it's not.

This blog is flying at the minute. At 33022 feet according to the monitor before me. That’s 33022 feet up in the air. At 326 miles per hour. There are 1230 miles to our destination. Which is New York. And we are 2080 from where we started. Which is Belfast. And we will do three days political business and be back again, God willing, in the emerald island before anyone misses us. Our flight for Irish freedom.

It’s amazing. Air travel allows us to cross the globe in double quick time. To meet friends and allies in the diaspora. To build contacts and alliances.

And I don’t understand it.

But then who does? Maybe Richard McAuley? Or maybe not?
Maybe if I asked him he would give me some text book explanation. Or maybe he would just make something up. But he wouldn’t fool me.

Flying? There is no logic to it.

I don’t care what Richard might say. It’s just not logical.


Linda Coleman said...

Gerry, remember the episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus where the tower block flats only keep standing if people believe in them? Plane flight works like that--it depends on everybody believing they can fly in a long metal tube with wings that don't flap. So push that doubt out of your mind right now! :)

I believe I'm going to be at your conference Saturday, even though it's looking doubtful. We're flying standby, and it's been raining torrents in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, which means people are getting bumped from their scheduled flights into the empty seats we were hoping to get. But I still believe...

Here's a song for you, Gerry, and everybody en route to the conference:
Don't Stop Believing (Journey)

Anonymous said...

Surely , Richard wouldnt make up stories... hes too honest for that.

Maybe its just magic. !!!!

Wee woo wee woo wee woo said...


Sure you don't have to ask Gerry if he remembers Monty Python! He was singing their songs before they were!

Daithí said...

An gcloisfear cúpla focal maidir le Foinse amárach, a Ghearóid?

Percy said...

Very moving,
You know if we can imagine Irish freedom, we've a chance of making it a reality.
What better metaphor than learning to fly.

Anonymous said...

You sound like a madman.

Anonymous said...

Gerry, now I know the election was bad, but have you lost the plot altogether?

Is Mary Lose along for the craic?

Whose buying the big steaks this time?

Micheal said...

Gerry, if, when you're in-flight on you're return journey, you hear a knock on the door, don't open it. It'll be the whirligig witch wanting to hijack the plane. ha ha.

Anonymous said...

Would that be a magic carpet fuelled by magic mushrooms Gerry. Weirdo

TImothy Dougherty said...

I must say Gerry , your so right I had just been flying about from California to Boston and on my way to Dublin . I had the strange event of having the eighth President of Ireland. Mary McAleese on the same Flight.Flying is a strange thing, was nice to fly into Dublin with the President of Ireland.

Anonymous said...

Engines provide thrust. Thrust moves plane forward. Shape of wing creates lower pressure above the wing than below it, creating a lifting force. Who understands it? Me. And probably anyone with a passing interest on aeronautical engineering. Further information: Google.

A man in a white coat said...

Cuckoo Cuckoo

Kate said...

Don't care how it does it stay in flight ....but in a matter of weeks I will be flying into Belfast, and calling it home.
See you on The Falls Gerry.

Ta ar la anois


Anonymous said...

Gerry a chara,

The election has obviously got to you!!

Anonymous said...

It's exactly the same principle as gliding with a wind - planes just generate their own wind by burning fuel and expelling it backwards, creating an equal and opposite force forwards.

Paul Doran said...

Gerry.Why have you lost 2 good Councillors.What is going on.

I would not be impressed with your Dublin Office in terms of organisation.They leave a lot to be desired.Many Activists say your Dublin HQ needs a shake up.You are either socialist or not.In Clondalkin your councillor lost because he was not doing the work I said this 3 years ago.Nice fella, but hence you lost the seat.gained one as well , but that is a different story.Stop talking about a a Ireland of equals,A Party of Socialiss is what Ireland needs,Working towards Unity as Cononlly said, the Nation United.