I had the great pleasure of being invited to the Kerry ETB Training Centre’s Student Awards night last week and the special guest on the night was the ever engaging Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh. I’ve heard Mícheál speak at numerous events down through the years and he never fails to deliver. Speaking in his usual way of telling stories about the past and bobbing and weaving in and out of Irish and English, he had us eating out of the palm of his hand. He told us, “Muna bhfuil agat ach pocán gabhair, bí i lár an aonaigh leis“ which means “If you only have a buck-goat, be in the middle of the fair with it”, in other words, whatever talents you have be sure to use them. This really resonated in a room full of people who had just been awarded for taking a chance to learn a new talent and hopefully create a new chapter in their lives. Talk about nailing your audience!
After the ceremony, I was wandering around the room when I overheard two men talking about Mícheál… “Jesus wasn’t he great?” said one guy and the other lad replied “I’ll tell you now, there isn’t many can do what he does… A total pro”. But it was the next line from them that really stuck with me “England have their Stephen Fry’s and what not but Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh, he’s our national treasure” and they were bloody right! The man is a legend and should be held in the highest esteem.
But this also got me thinking and I want to throw this out to you… Of all the well-known people in Ireland who would you consider to be National Treasures??
I’ll start it off with two, Jimmy Magee and Michael D Higgins…
Who would you add?