The Rotary Club, Dublin

Founded 22nd February 1911

The Dubliner

All the news that's fit to print

President: Mariandy Lennon

Hon. Sec.: Tony Keegan

Telephone 087 244 2818 

Volume 26 Issue 34 

20 April 2020


Alan Harrison

Frank Bannister

David Booth

Delma Sweeney

Dermot Knight

Today ‘s speaker is our own member, John Costello who will talk on spirituality.


Forthcoming Speakers and Events

27th Apr           Niamh Clowry from Toastmasters

1st May             Public Holiday – no meeting

8th-10th May     Leonardo da Vinci weekend in Vienna. CANCELLED.

10th May          Rotary Club Dublin Book Club meeting online. Contact Rotarian Delma Sweeney.

23rd May          Please note that Masquerade Ball has also been deferred until later in year.

1st June           Public Holiday – no meeting


Rotary Rangers Walks

All walks are cancelled until further notice due to COVID 19 restrictions and guidelines.


If interested, members and friends should contact Past President Brian George or Honorary Secretary Tony Keegan for further details about time and place to meet for any of the walks, when they resume.



There was no meeting last week, it being a bank holiday.


From the Editors

Apart from the occasional witty aside, it has never been the practice for there to be any editorial comment in the Dubliner, however we are going to break slightly with tradition this week. It is our plan to produce and publish the Dubliner every week as normally as we can during the Covid-19 crisis. As part of our thinking about this, we have initiated a weekly conference call meeting of the editors to discuss future issues and to discuss new ideas for content. One of the latter is to have profiles of members. Last week we profiled our Honorary member, Alice Leahy. We hope to be able to do this for other (willing) members in the coming months.


As always, we would like to hear news about or from members, including interesting things that people have gotten up to – like ice diving (see below!).


In this issue, fellow editor, Dermot Knight, has provided a short introduction to our new web site. If you have not yet looked at this you should put it at the top of your to-do list. PP Mark Doyle has written the first part of a description of the joys of ice diving.


We are also trying out an occasional section called “Inspiring Stories” in which we invite members to send us in stories or (small) news items that will inspire, entertain or amuse our readers. This week we have two of these. We would welcome more so please write in tell us something that will lift our sprits or make us laugh.


We are looking at many ideas for new content that we have collectively brainstormed, but are open to more. So if you think that there is something that we could or should be putting in the Dubliner, particularly at this time, do let us know. Feedback is always welcome.


Sandwiches for The Mater

In the current Covid 19 emergency the support of our frontline healthcare staff is essential. Your Council considered this matter at an emergency meeting last Wednesday and discussed how our Club might play its part.


Since the beginning of March Doyle’s Corner in Phibsboro has been supplying sandwiches on a daily basis to staff at the nearby Mater Hospital. Initially they funded this initiative themselves and then other groups stepped in to sponsor this worthwhile cause. The Manager of Doyle’s Corner is a former employee of the Grand Canal Hotel and knows our Club and its work in the community quite well.


Your Council has decided to sponsor the sandwich delivery to the Mater Hospital for the week starting Monday April 27th 2020 at a cost of €2,500. Members who would like to contribute to this worthwhile project will be enabled to do so. Hon. Sect. Tony Keegan will be sending an e-mail in due course to all Members and Friends detailing how this can be done.


Inspiring Stories

Two stories from members this week to lift the spirits:


  • PP Paul Martin tells us that he has lost 20 kgs over the past five months.

  • Tony McCourt’s wife Mary, obviously a seamstress of formidable skills, has availed of being cocooned to take scrap materials that she found in their house and turn them into 100 face masks.


Anybody with a similar story please send it to one of the Editors or to Hon Sec. Tony Keegan.

Rotary and The World Health Organization

The World Health Organization (WHO) has been in the news a lot recently. Members may be interested in the graphic on the left which shows who contributes what to the organisation. The USA is (for now) by far the biggest contributor, but Rotary International comes in 7th. 


Rotary is, after the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest charitable contributor. Rotary donates more than the EU or the World Bank and significantly more than most countries including China and France. This is another example (alongside PolioPlus) where we need to draw more attention to the work that Rotary does and the contribution that it makes to world health.


The money for this contribution comes from members’ donations to Rotary Foundation that, of course, includes contributions by members of our club.


A truncated version of this graph (but still including Rotary International) was published in the Financial Times last Saturday.


Ice Diving- PP Mark Doyle describes an unusual hobby

One afternoon in January, a little hut on the strand in St. Lucia selling an Open Water Diving course started me on my underwater adventures.  I signed up on the spot and that afternoon I was underwater. Four days later Pam walked down the same beach carrying a beer on a tray congratulating me on becoming a qualified PADI open water diver.


Since then I have gone on to qualify as an Open Water Professional Association of Diving Instructors Instructor.


It has also being my good fortune to dive all over the world from the Great Barrier Reef to the Red Sea and of course Dublin Bay, but it was in the Galapagos that I met two Americans who told me about ice diving and how completely different it is to any other form of diving whether it be diving on and through wrecks or cave diving in Cenotes.


Ocean Divers dive club first went ice diving in 2012 and I hankered about going on one their trips. Every two years a group headed off to the Arctic Circle to a place south of Murmansk near a town called Chupa, on the White Sea. For a variety of reasons, mostly lame excuses I said next time. So, when they announced in January 2019 that in March 2020 they were going to head off again I signed up. To gain some experience I went back to the Caribbean in January to dive in waters of 28 C and also to remind and reassure myself that diving was a nice pleasurable thing to do. But on my return reality set it and I was summoned to Portroe Quarry in Tipperary to get into my Dry Suit and experience temperatures of 6C. That is a story in itself.


On Saturday 6thMarch I flew to Moscow my dive buddies having flown through St Petersburg on the Friday. From Moscow then to Murmansk and a five and half hour road trip to the dive centre ‘ACDC’.  Monday morning was spent in the classroom – a lot of form filling also. In the afternoon out on the ice where I was introduced to my tea pot! We were broken into small groups and each group was given their own wooden hut which was our home on the ice for the next 5 days. There was a very crude, but welcome heating system that kept the hut around 35c. Our gear was stored there overnight which made the commute there and back much easier. Beside each hut there an acute triangular hole called a Minai cut in the ice. In the centre of the hole on the bottom sat a tea pot. Two people to each Minai, roped together with a 40-meter tether in and down we went.


(to be continued…)               


Club Website

As the lockdown continues, and the desire for variation builds, the time has never been better to try out your Member account on our new website  


The concept of creating member accounts arose from membership feedback after the live demo of the website. This is a part of the site that only members of our club are able to access and aims to provide a reference point to all members that is easy to use, up to date and readily accessible. Covid-19 has further underlined the usefulness of being able to interact virtually, and this can also make Club administration easier.


At present your account will enable you to do 4 things:


Create your profile: Choosing what you would like to share with other members (part of the feedback was that the website should facilitate a way to put names to faces and allows us all to keep up to date with new members etc.);


Find members: A simple way to search for other members;


Noticeboard: Access announcements & Club documents;


Link to other Rotary sites – other Rotary links all in one place.


This is the starting point, and as we progress there are other services we can consider adding, depending on feedback.


To ensure only members can sign up, you will need to enter a unique access code (called a RCD number) the first time you sign up. Dermot will send members their individual codes by email. Once you have received this, you will be able sign up by clicking on the Member section of the website.


The website is still growing, there is more to do and more we can get from it. Please feel free to send on any ideas or feedback. We want to ensure the site not only continues to develop, but that it does so in a way that enriches the Rotary experience. 


A Poem for The Times

Over Easter, Udo Reulbach recently sent your duty editor an inspiring poem entitled “When” by John O’Donnell. I thought that this was something worth sharing so I wrote to John O’Donnell and asked his permission to reprint it which he generously gave.  Here it is in full:


And when this ends we will emerge, shyly

and then all at once, dazed, longhaired as we embrace

loved ones the shadow spared, and weep for those

it gathered in its shroud. A kind of rapture, this longed-for

laying on of hands, high cries as we nuzzle, leaning in

to kiss, and whisper that now things will be different,

although a time will come when we’ll forget

the curve’s approaching wave, the hiss and sigh

of ventilators, the crowded, makeshift morgues;

a time when we may even miss the old-world

arm’s-length courtesy, small kindnesses left on doorsteps,

the drifting, idle days, and nights when we flung open

all the windows to arias in the darkness, our voices

reaching out, holding each other till this passes.


First published in the Irish Times.


John O’Donnell’s collection of short stories “Almost the Same Blue” will be published by Doire Press in May. Dedalus Press published his poetry collection “Sunlight: New and Collected Poems” in 2018.

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