Monday 18 December 2017

MOD on Monday: Eamonn goes the extra mile to share his insight on gay marriage

Eamonn Coghlan
Eamonn Coghlan
Sarah Bolger
Brendan O'Connor Noel Gallagher

Like many people, I have previously admired Senator Eamonn Coghlan chiefly as an athlete.

Agonisingly close to winning an Olympic medal on two occasions, he did win gold in the 5000m at the 1983 World Championships and remains one of our greatest runners.

Not only that, in 1994 Coghlan became the first man over 40 years of age to ever to run a four-minute mile, a remarkable testament to the fitness which he's retained, and helping him look considerably younger than his 62 years.

In a nation beset by obesity and laziness, Coghlan is a model of how to look after yourselves. But as of last week, he is much more than that. Because speaking at a meeting about the forthcoming marriage equality Referendum, Eamonn revealed his reaction to discovering that his own son, Michael, was gay. And it's not what you'd expect.

"When I discovered my son Michael was gay I was devastated. I cried for weeks. The hopes and dreams I had for my son were shattered. I felt guilty, almost as if I was to blame for him being gay," he said.

It's a remarkably frank, indeed shocking, admission from someone, not because of the feelings involved, but because Coghlan has been so public about admitting them. While many parents are not phased when a child comes out, for many other adults it does come as not just a surprise, but a disappointment.

Many parents grow up with an idea of attending their child's wedding, and having grand children to play with when they are more elderly and retired, a chance that may have eluded them due to pressures of work when their own children were young.

Statistically, there is an overwhelmingly greater chance that the child will grow up heterosexual, so the feeling of surprise that they turn out to be gay is a perfectly natural one for a parent.

Coghlan, unusually however, takes this one step further, extrapolating surprise into disappointment. And it takes courage to admit to these feelings, weak and self-absorbed as they are, a fact which Coghlan himself acknowledges. "I tried to cover up my disappointment." he admitted. "While I hugged him, told him I loved him, I had to come to terms that, it was not about me, but about him and his life ahead."

Coghlan's admission shines a light on the fact that there is nothing wrong with a parent having these feelings, that while it is outwardly correct to immediately support and embrace their child's sexuality, it is often inwardly difficult to do so.

It's a tad ironic that Coghlan, a man best known for his speed, should be relatively tardy in coming out with his confession, but his admission is hugely important in relation to the marriage referendum.

"I was lucky enough to marry the woman of my dreams. Who are we as a nation to deny our sons and daughters the basic right of marrying the person they love?" he said.

And with those words, Eamonn Coghlan has revealed himself to be in public life exactly what he was on the track.

A class act.


Sarah shows off hidden talents in photoshoot for men's mag

Perhaps it is related to the atmospheric conditions in the west coast of America, but there is something about LA which seems to result in Irish models slash actresses, upon alighting in the city of angels, mysteriously finding their clothes falling off.

And while this may not come as a surprise when the would-be starlet in question is an Irish bikini model, it is slightly incongruous to discover that the latest person to fall foul of this phenomenon is actress Sarah Bolger.

Having gained rave reviews for her performance in Jim Sheridan's In American when she was just 12 years old, a stellar, Saoirse Ronan-esque career seemed to beckon for Sarah. However, after appearing in The Spiderwick Chronicles in 2008, her career has drifted, and aside from her role in the TV series The Tudors - which ended five years ago - little has been heard of her. So it should come as a welcome relief to find her making headlines again.

A lead part in a forthcoming movie, you ask? A major role in a much-anticipated HBO drama? Well, not quite.

Because in the time-honoured tradition of her illustrious predecessors, Sarah has taken her clothes off. Admittedly, it is all done in the best possible taste, and indeed it is for respected magazine Esquire, but one cannot but view her decision with more than an degree of cynicism.

"Now based in Los Angeles," said a newspaper, "the 24-year-old has Hollywood producers eating from the palm of her hand, thanks to her vivacious personality, stunning features and acting prowess."

Which is, of course, what she was showing off by stripping down to her knickers for a men's mag.

Brendan dresses to impress... Noel

It was quite a coup for Brendan O'Connor to get Noel Gallagher to appear on his show recently, though, of course, Noel had refused to perform live.

Brendan revealed the extent to which he went to try and convince Noel to sing. "I wanted to show him I was a real fan," said Brendan. "I did a fierce number on him. I even brought one of the children to soften him up.

What Brendan didn't mention is that he actually went even further - as this picture shows, he actually went to the trouble of dressing exactly like Noel - an unusual degree of commitment to the cause by a chat show host.

Personally, I can't wait till the next time he has to ingratiate himself with Panti Bliss...

No accounting for taste in food guide

John and Sally McKenna have produced their annual guide to the 100 Best Restaurants in Ireland.

A shack on a beach, a mobile food truck and a pizza joint all make the list, and as ever, what is commonly considered to be the best restaurant in Ireland - Patrick Guilbaud's.

"I would be no respecter of Michelin Stars," said Peter McKenna, "it's not what I'm interested in and it's not what the people who buy our books are interested in."

Despite his comments, people will continue going to Guilbaud's, for one simple reason. They serve the best food in Ireland, and that's what the people who go there are interested in.

Patrick Guilbaud in his restaurant, and inset, John and Sally McKenna

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