George Hook's blog

It's been a tumultuous week within Fianna Fáil — George Hook sees a parallel between the current state of play for Micheál Martin's party and some Wilde ideas.

29/05/15 at 12:16 AM | 0 Comments

Most of us are familiar with the story of Oscar Wilde's 'The Devoted Friend.'

In it, Hans, a kind, warm-hearted man spends his summer days eagerly tending his garden, caring for his flowers and fruit and making what little money he can by selling his produce at market.

Every day, Hans’ most devoted friend, big Hugh the Miller, thinks nothing of swinging by and helping himself to the riches and beauties of Hans little garden. “Real friends should have everything in common,” the miller used to say, and Hans was proud that he had a friend with such noble ideas.

All summer long Hans would work hard in his garden, graciously allowing the Miller to take what he pleased, though the miller never offered anything in return, despite having hundreds of sacks of flour stored away in his mill, and six milk cows and a large stock of woolly sheep.

“Hanging on in quiet desperation” may be the English way, but George Hook says the Irish shy away from compliments and hubris. How are we to regard our place in the world in changing times?

21/05/15 at 11:08 PM | 0 Comments

Subjectivity is a common blanket over the question of what it means to be Irish.

Donning the green cap and pontificating grandly on the merits of an Irish passport isn't something that comes naturally to Irish citizens. The bashful rebuttal of compliments that is our 'second nature' means that we are often slow to consider the advantages of something that we had no hand, act or part in. It is — and always has been — the Irish way.

Ireland's history tells us a lot about the make–up behind our own unique personality, and though the finished product is garnished with a roguish charm and a devilish wit, the historical suffering under decades of colonisation and oppression that led to our inherent Irishness is the single biggest determining factor in our character today. Though most of us are loath to admit it, we have all suffered for our heritage.

Ireland is on track to be one of the fattest nations on the planet in just a few short years, but George Hook reminds us that there’s still time to change our habits before we become a nation of huffing, puffing fatties.

14/05/15 at 11:43 PM | 0 Comments

There is a sugar meteorite heading to Ireland with the capacity to cripple the population and bankrupt the country. Last week’s prediction by the World Health Organisation that Ireland will have an obesity epidemic on its hands within 15 years was a shocking and disturbing read.

The report puts Ireland on course to become the fattest country in Europe in just over a decade. On current trends, the report suggests that almost 90 percent of Irish adults will be overweight or obese by 2030 — a considerable rise from 74 percent in 2010.

Further still, the Irish Medical Organisation President Dr Ray Walley says that this is "the starkest health warning of an impending health crisis for Ireland that (I have) seen in 30 years of medicine".

George Hook has been there and done that, and has some advice for young people who are preparing to sit their exams

07/05/15 at 11:36 PM | 0 Comments

The warmer weather and the brighter evenings signal the onset of summer and the beginning of the Leaving Certificate.

For most, the thought of sitting through these end–of–year exams brings feelings of foreboding and anxiety, but it is important to remember that these exams are only a small part of the greater test that is life itself.

Nothing will be decided or determined on the back of these results that cannot be undone or amended later on.

So, for the thousands of Leaving Certificate students about to sit their final school exams, I offer the following life advice for the future:

“Desperation and ignorance” says George Hook about some of the tactics on the ‘No’ side of the equality referendum…

30/04/15 at 10:54 PM | 0 Comments

Here is an extract from a piece I wrote for the Cork News three years ago, in July 2012.

"For me, marriage is a commitment between two people. It is a promise that they will look after, protect and love one another for the rest of their lives. It has nothing to do with religion, race, belief or sexuality.

Marriage is a public declaration of love. It is a celebration of beauty, devotion and companionship and it should be available to everyone who chooses to celebrate its sanctity.

The world changes so quickly. We all grow and develop with those changes because it makes for a better and more understanding place in which to live. There was a time when scientists thought the world was flat.

Seventy years after the end of World War Two, George Hook explains why justice must still be served, and the lost must never be forgotten.

24/04/15 at 07:55 AM | 0 Comments

The train journey from the bustling Bavarian town of Ingolstadt to Dachau takes less than an hour. In just 48 minutes a person can be transported from the bright, lush landscape on the banks of the river Danube into a soulless grey gloom, where birds refuse to take flight.

The approach to Dachau is best served in silence. Idle conversation seems almost disrespectful.

It is difficult to pinpoint the exact moment when the greens and yellows of the beautiful Bavarian countryside transform to darker shades of grey and blue, but the realisation that it has happened is a stirring jolt to the system. It is as if Dachau appears out of thin air and sneaks into the consciousness like an enveloping mist.

Wasted on the young?

16/04/15 at 10:21 PM | 0 Comments

George Hook reflects on growing old, and whether some people are trying too hard to ignore the march of time…

There are a few unwritten rules and guidelines that should generally be adhered to if one wishes to grow old gracefully. This is not to suggest that yours truly is the perfect example of pension-hood, but even if my actions sometimes fall below the required gold standard, my intentions are usually well meaning.

Some of today's mid–life crises would make the ancestral equivalent of fifty years ago seem like a mild mood swing. Where once a new haircut and a pungent aftershave constituted a mid-forties freak out, now it’s a brand new sports car, a divorce, a twentysomething sex partner and a face lift. And that's just the men.

As the career of a sporting legend draws to a close, George Hook reflects on grit, determination, and the will to win

09/04/15 at 10:56 PM | 0 Comments

I am not myself when I'm hungry. I get grouchy and irritable and I find it difficult to focus on the most basic tasks. I am not the sort of person that can skip a meal and feel fine. In fact, I can safely say that if I didn't have my breakfast soon after waking up, I would be a foul–tempered sour puss before very long.

I will keep that in mind this Saturday afternoon when I sit down to watch the greatest jockey that ever lived saddle his horse in the Aintree Grand National for one final time.

It's highly likely that Anthony Peter McCoy hasn't been himself for over twenty years. The man hasn't had a decent breakfast in over two decades. In fact, most days he goes without breakfast altogether.

Reflecting on a case which captivated and horrified the nation, George Hook reminds us that ‘perfect murder’ doesn’t exist

03/04/15 at 10:12 AM | 0 Comments

The perfect murder: is there such a thing? The term in itself is a gargantuan oxymoron, for how can anything with roots in evil and depravity ever be described as 'perfect’?

Perfection is a newborn baby cradled in its mothers arms, or a summer heat eased by the lap of a gentle breeze. But murder? A perfect murder? It cannot exist, can it?

The answer to that would probably depend on the person answering the question. People rely on instinct and personal barriers which prevent them from encroaching a darker side, or straying from what they perceive to be their own sense of decency.

But evil or wicked deeds, though widely defined within the laws of society, are still subjective entities, subject to the whims and restraints of individual taste.

One person’s idea of depravity might not necessarily invoke the same feelings of horror in another.

As Ireland continues to bask in unprecedented rugby glory, George Hook warns of potential dark clouds on the horizon

27/03/15 at 06:31 AM | 0 Comments

The concept behind how a living organism is able to grow and mature is a relatively easy process to understand.

Take a tree as an example. If 10 trees are planted across a large area in a forest, it is reasonable to assume that each tree will grow at a different rate to the others. There are a number of variable factors as to why this is so.

Trees, like all other living things, respond to the circumstances of their environment. If one tree is allowed more sunlight and nutrients from the ground than the others, it is safe to assume that it will grow quicker and taller than the others during a given period of time.

Similarly, if a tree is denied sufficient levels of sunshine or is incapable of absorbing enough water due to the circumstances of its position in the ground, it stands to reason that its development will be stunted or drawn out over a longer period of time.

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