The dog ate my laptop

That is among my excuses for being such a lazy blogger over the past few weeks. It has a ring of truth since my jack russell terrier knocked my laptop off the table and destoyed it, but truthfully things have been hectic over the past while. I last wrote on my return from Berlin, and since that I have also visited London, Laois and Lourdes. It wasn’t an intentional effort to visit ‘L’ places, but now that I see it in print it looks cute!

I travel to Lourdes every couple of years for no particular reason, although I frequently joke about going there to pray for a man. Proving God has a sense of humour, when I arrived this year I discovered Daniel O’Donnell was on the same pilgrimage as me, accompanying his mother. I have written about Daniel in the past, around the idea that such a seemingly ‘good’ guy gets such bad press. I think a lot of people have the idea that no-one can be as sweet or wholesome as Daniel. Having watched and photographed him shamelessly in Lourdes for a week, I can only say that he is one of the sweetest, most caring people I have ever come across.

The trip itself started off on a very difficult note with a 20 hour delay in Dublin airport. If anyone was to sit back and make a conscious decision about the worst group of people you could inconvenience in an airport, then a group with 105 invalids, many in wheelchairs or seriously disbaled had to be that group. The day after our arrival Daniel came to the hospital and spent as long as it took meeting and greeting the sick. The effect his visit had on some of the folk was amazing to see, and quite humbling. I was really struck at his patience and good humour. On one occasion, he stood in a line for communion just in front of me. A woman pulled on his sleeve and tried to ask him to attend a function for MS next year somewhere. He quietly asked if she could wait until after Mass, or at least until after communion. Sure enough, soon as he turned from the Priest, the woman took his sleeve again……… ‘As I was saying to you Daniel……’The price of fame is clearly way too high for my taste.

On the evening before we returned Daniel made a surprise appearance at the traditional ‘knees up’ for patients in the hospital. Now his music is not to my taste, but once again I was struck by his nature and kindness. He truly delighted people on the trip and there was nothing false or self serving about his appearance. He gets a lot of flack for his demeanour, but I think a lot of us have a lot to learn from this unassuming and generous Donegal man.

One final thought on this: I was talking late at night to to someone else on the trip and considering why we enjoy the trip so much. We decided that in our lives today we spend less and less time on contemplative matters. We are constantly surrounded by some kind of technology or connective communication device. How often any more do we ‘stop and stare?’ This kind of trip allows time out of daily life and as a ‘helper’ the additional privilege of using physical prowess to assist those who are not so endowed. Such feelings of being re-grounded or re-centred don’t last forever as you quickly return to the work and activities that make you burn out in the first place. None the less, its well worth while stopping and staring every now and again and re-evaluating the things in life that are precious and important.

  • Doctor Who

    I wasn´t feeling tired but yawn yawn.

    I must say Miss Fitz, your blogs are a cure for insomnia.


  • Mark

    Good to see you back. I thought you had taken the huffs after the Sunday World (or some other tabloid) nicked the story of Gerard Rice locking you in the cell without a credit.

    I loved the way they wouldn’t name you for ‘security reasons’ on a Kesh cell tale. LOL. Pity they don’t publish online.

    Chris also had a no credit story in the papers, Irish News this time, when Newton shameless nicked his Brookfield Mill piece almost verbatim without credit.

    Seems the Slugger ‘newbies’ have been creating the stealable stories recently.

  • Bill

    Professionals nicking stories from amateurs. We get the press we deserve.

  • Miss Fitz

    To be clear, the Sunday World didnt nick the story, I was aware it was being written, although not to the extent it ultimately appeared with the cartoon. I declined to be named in the story, so trust I didnt have any reason to take the huff.

    Dr Who, glad I could help. If it looks so easy, why dont you either write a blog yourself or make a coherent contribution from time to time.

  • mickhall

    Miss Fitz,

    Interesting post about Daniel, as it makes a nonsense of the current trend for celebs, even C list to surround themselves with minders etc, unless Dan came with the full set, or perhaps his good old mum filled this task 😉 A bit of a low blow but do you know if he paid for his trip.

    On your point about time for quiet contemplation, I agree completely, although I feel more people than you seem to think still do this, although they may combine it with a walk, a jog or when they are working out at the gym and the like.

    All the best.

  • Miss Fitz

    Hi Mick

    On the Daniel thing, he had no minders or any one else looking out for him. In the evenings, he sat with the crowds in the hotel bar and spoke to every single individual who wanted to talk to him no matter how long it took. As I said, I’m no fan of his music but he obviously brings huge joy to a lot of people, and it was truly striking to see how anmimated and excited some very ill people became through talking to him.

    As for comtemplation: I think you need to actually get away completely and dviorce yourself from any kind of activity to truly appreciate the healing that can be derived from contemplation and solitude. Lourdes is also the kind of place where there is a concentration of hope and trust, that makes it generate an energy of its own. We must all find the place that suits us to find and rediscover the peace we require to live our lives, and each of us to our own. Denying that we need that space is the more dangerous activity.

    Regards to yourself Mick!

  • Shuggie McSporran


    Did you hear? Daniel O’Donnell got a young girl into trouble recently.
    He told her da he saw her smoking.

  • Doctor Who

    Miss Fitz

    I never said it was easy, I just implied your blogs where dull and they are.

    Harsh maybe, but true.

  • Miss Fitz

    Dr Who
    You are more than entitled to your opinion, I just know that it’s not universal. As I think I have suggested to you in the past, dont read my contributions as we can now agree you dont understand me or my writings.

    Perhaps when you grow up…….

    Until then, play with your more familiar toys and refrain from insulting me or making ad hominem attacks

  • dalek

    Doctor Who

    I think you are being a trifle cruel to Miss Fitz. Maybe you are troubled by the fact that she is a female contributor. There are plenty of other dull bloggers on here and that does not imply that I think Fitz is dull..a retraction maybe from yourself?

  • Doctor Who

    Miss Fitz

    Can you go and get someone to place your toys back in your pram as it appears you have thrown them all out.

  • Miss Fitz

    No, Dr Who, I havent. I am just making the point that your juvenile and assinine comments have no place on my blog entry. If you find me dull, slide on and find your entertainment at some other level.

    I have been invited here to write about things that interest me, and human nature dictates that varies from person to person.

    My point is that there is no need to insult me because you lack a depth of understanding of some of the greater issues in life

  • circles

    Thats me seeing Daniel in a diferent light for a while anyway – although I still think that was dirty-joe to pull on Trimble by defecting to the DUP. I bet he has his eye on the FM seat and all, the sleekit, wee gat!

  • dalek

    Doctor Who…

    Exterminate Exterminate Exterminate!!!!!!!!!

  • Doctor Who

    Don´t take it personal Miss Fitz as you said earlier, I am entitled to my opionion.

    I don´t think thus far that I have insulted you either…but I will try to be more understanding, and less of the shallow “juvenile assinine individual” you think I am.

    Beunos Tardes

  • Miss Fitz

    No, just keep off the page that has ‘Miss Fitz’ at the bottom. And drink chamomile tea at bedtime for the insomnia

  • cyberman

    Miss Fitz

    Lighten up, are you on.

  • JR

    Dr. Who is entitled to his opinion. To backup his stance he could probably point to a more interesting piece of blog work he has done himself. I wait …..

  • Doctor Who

    Anyway congrats to Miss Fitz, this is the most posts she has had on one of her blogs for some time.

    Yes I know half of them are her own posts, but nevermind.

  • mickhall

    “We must all find the place that suits us to find and rediscover the peace we require to live our lives, and each of us to our own.”

    I like the above MF,

    When I was young, I was talking about something similar with some one who grew up with a well know Scottish poet, who was known for his heavy drinking and handing out abuse. When I mentioned this he replied it is true, but we should make allowances as difficult as it is, because the man with his words brings such happiness etc to people. He was generalizing not only about HM but artists of all kinds.

    He told me this in a far better way than I have written it here and to this day his words make a lot of sense to me. However it is doubly nice to know that DO not only brings joy to people through his music, but also in the way he interacts with his fans etc. [although like you it is not for me]

    Now about Madonna—-

  • SlugFest

    Miss Fitz,

    I quite enjoy your posts … and photo essays.

    As Johnny Rotten said, never mind the bollocks.

  • JR

    Dr. Who

    Still waiting…….

  • Doctor Who


    Grow up. Are you Miss Fitz Knight in a shiny apron.

  • JR

    Dr. Boo hoo

    I am nobody’s Knight in a shining apron but at least if I was going to put myself up as a critique I would back it up with examples. If only to show I knew what I was yapping about!!

  • Jamrag

    Boo hoo…censorship raises it´s ugly head once agin.

  • Donnacha

    Dr Who, I think you’ve made your point more than adequately. You don’t like Miss Fitz’s posts, fine and dandy there are others out here who do. Can you stop going on about them now?

  • fartrick2111
  • Nevin

    Miss Fitz, a few years ago a relative of mine attended a funeral service in a Portadown CoI church. The person singing behind him sounded familiar. It was Daniel; he was saying good-bye to one of his older fans. He placed a single rose on her coffin at the end of the service.

  • Animus

    Glad to see you back Miss Fitz – you’re nobody as a blogger until you get a proper slagging from someone so bored s/he spends time telling bloggers how boring you are, rather than spending their day constructively. Dr Who, can’t you at least give her some tips to become more exciting, maybe like yourself, rather than just whining?

    As for the contemplation, I understand why you appreciate going to Lourdes, but it seems rather indulgent to book a trip away to get that sort of contemplation. Isn’t is possible to look for this sort of thing slightly closer to home, as a personal journey, rather than with a group? I agree that contemplation is important, but I think it’s important to cultivate it regularly, as a part of one’s life, not a ‘break’ from one’s life.

  • I’m always amused to see people react in a certain manner when a celebrity acts normal. Just as a lot of people were conditioned to believe the Royal Family was different from us, and that we were somehow privelaged if one of them deigned to allow us to genuflect before them, so it is with the people we have replaced Royalty with, Celebrities, or “Slebs” if you will.
    Now, with most Slebs we get the usual cries of ooh, isn’t he/she wondefrul, they wipe their arses with toilet paper, just like us
    But with Daniel O’Donnel it takes on an even more surreal tone.
    One only has to take a single step backwards and give the situation a quick glance to realise that Daniel’s persona of nice boy, good to his mammy is his bread and butter. I’m not saying that he isn’t necessarily genuine in his approachability, but I also believe there is a calculatedness to it as well. Daniel, like all natural entertainers, loves to be the centre of attention, and I can only imagine what it must feel like to stroll Christ like, through Lourdes, with hordes of adoring fans simpering lightly and paitently waiting to touch the hem of your garment.
    Fair play to him, at the end of the day it seems to be a win win situation for all concerned.

    (By the way Miss Fitz, nice blog, makes a change from the endless variations on the same bloody argument we keep having. More please.)

  • Fanny

    My dear Miss Fitz,

    Were it not that Mick alluded to this post, I wouldn’t have seen it. Welcome back from your trip. Sounds to me like you had some truly fulfilling experiences.

    All that nastiness from certain posters here reminded me of that song lyric, “Why should the devil have all the good music?” I suppose for the reason that good news is rarely as exciting as bad, and it doesn’t get the boys’ adrenaline pumping as it should.

    But don’t let the buggers get you down, girl. I always enjoy your thoughtful and wonderfully even-handed posts. Me, I can fly off the handle very easily, and consequently admire someone like you who can show true grace under fire.

    Keep it up.

  • Nevin

    Miss Fitz, there is some ambiguity in your thread. The proximity of the image to the title might infer that Daniel was that dog!!

  • moochin photoman

    Great to see you back and creating a dialogue tho some of it not really that welcome but what the hell…you can please some of the people…..u know the rest.
    As for Daniel, i always think of Nice as a pretty bland descriptive word, and as such perfectly fitting for Daniel nice but bland!

  • I Wonder

    Miss Fitz

    You’re an interesting, thoughtful blogger, it’s not your fault some have no life. Look at the timing of that first post… 😉

  • mickhall


    I could not disagree more with you over the word ‘nice’. For me it is the ultimate compliment. The more so in todays world when daft undeserved compliments are scattered like confetti on silly celebs and worthless politicians to such an extent that the meaning of language is turned on its head.

    Thus the word nice is perfect to describe some one who is decent, polite, not over bearing, boastful or self serving and suffers fools gladly, instead of believing the opposite is admirable behavior, which in my eyes amounts to dam right ignorance and rudeness.