Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Just a Drop of a West Cork Story ..

September 3, 2020

Old Head KInsale

We were in the car all five of us on a Saturday morning, the last one of August, the last one of summer (I know it’s autumn, but I always consider August to be part of summer) taking a trip around West Cork.

The five of us was Dee and I, the two dogs Honey and Bert who have started to enjoy our summer excursions and Ayla, from New Zealand, my son’s girlfriend (he’s busy filming for Failte Ireland at the moment).

From a chat we had a few nights earlier we reckoned she hadn’t really experienced that wonderful part of Ireland, so this plan was hatched.

As usual, we totally underestimated the amount of time it would take to explore but we did manage to take in the Old Head of Kinsale and then a scenic coastal drive that included Harbour View beach, Timoleague, Courtmacsherry and Clonakilty via Ring.

The sun was shining and Clonakilty town was buzzing and we strolled through the town with our two four legged buddies, enviously looking at the patrons enjoying the selection of cafes and restaurants that were calling to us.

Eventually, the pangs of hunger and the gentle waft of a chipper called to us and we grabbed two bags of “proper” chips with some mouth watering, juicy, succulent chicken goujons from an immaculate place called the ‘Chunky Chip‘ and enjoyed those sitting on the grass on the green near Emmet Square.

Emmet Square, Clonakilty

Walking off those chips was a must so we headed on to Red Strand and then onto Long Strand at Owenahincha and went for a fabulous walk meandering through the sand dunes that go on forever and then onto the beach.

Owenincha

The dogs enjoyed the water, but did realise it wasn’t for drinking and we managed to sit for a few moments to enjoy a glass of white wine (Dee is always prepared!) looking out at the ocean, taking in all of it’s beauty and bidding farewell to this very strange summer.

Driving back home (there was a Liverpool match to get back for..) we were chatting about all sorts of everything including “wouldn’t it be great to live near the sea” which seemed to be the recurring topic of the day.

Throughout the journey we had the music playing with a mix of all our tastes along with the selection that the Spotify algorithm throws you and before we knew it we were listing to a fantastic song by one of my favourite bands, The 4 of Us, called “Just A Drop“.

I was able to tell Ayla and Dee (and the two dogs!) the story of the song, which not only brought it to life but it also gave them an insight into the character of the band and something that they could carry with them and tell others.

The reason I knew the story was because they told it to me via email.

Every week during “lockdown” the band have been sending an email featuring a different song, whereby they tell the story behind the song and they leave you with the gift of a free download.

This is the fantastic story behind the song in their own words:

Just A Drop. The story behind the song…

Dad was a big Johnny Cash fan and suggested, on more than one occasion, that our songs could benefit from a bit of the boom-chicka-boom rhythm that characterised Cash’s early recordings.

We eventually took up his suggestion, writing Just A Drop, for the Sugar Island album, as a tribute to him and his love for the Man in Black.

Before we recorded it, we headed home to Newry to play it for him.

“You are finally going to love a 4 Of Us song,” we told him.

To make sure he was in a suitably receptive mood, we bought some insurance – a bottle of his favourite whiskey.

He sipped a glass of it, relaxing in his favourite armchair as we played him the song.

Three minutes later, we waited to hear his opinion. He paused.

Then he looked up at us and said just two words:

“More whiskey.”

We insisted on playing it to him again, assuring him that sometimes it takes a while for a song to grow on you.

After three more performances – and three more whiskeys – he started getting into it.

So, if you don’t think our performance in the video below sounds anything like Johnny Cash, we understand.

But can we recommend that you combine it with a glass or two of Black Bush?

Brendan and Declan ❤

(you can watch the song on YouTube at the bottom of this post)

It’s such a very clever thing to do.

At a time when they can’t do gigs, they are still talking to us and what’s more, they are building a special bond and a connection that brings us closer to them and one that works when it comes to selling their music and their gigs.

It was nice to get an unexpected lesson in marketing from an unexpected source..

Are you taking the time to tell your interesting story?

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

HR – A story of two very different team philosophies

April 27, 2020

HR in a crisis

We all know the story .. on the 12th March, the country was effectively shut down except for essential services.

It was a time when each and every single employer in the country had to figure out really quickly what they needed to do to protect the business during this uncertain shut down period – how long would it go on for, how many bills do I have, how much money do I have in the kitty, how much do I need to survive?

All huge questions and with no simple answers and no playbook to refer to.

What we did next reflects who we are, who the business is, our values, our ethos.

A week later, I checked in on a good friend of mine who worked as a baker in a coffee shop (part of a  small but well known chain) around the corner from our office, just to make sure that he was OK.

What he shared with me was a tale of two very different HR philosophies and two very different approaches to their employees.

On exactly the same day he was given notice by his employer and his partner who manages a creche was also told that her place of business was closing because of the “lock-down”.

However, there was a huge difference between both.

In his case he was “left go”, unceremoniously with no guidance towards where he should go to for supports and no word as to what his status would be when this “pause” was over. Effectively it was a P45.

In her case, she was also left go temporarily, but with absolute clarity that her role would still be there when things returned to normal, she was guided towards the supports she needed and the employer set up a WhatsApp group so that the team could stay in touch during the lock-down.

While both of these scenarios were identical, they couldn’t be any further apart.

I have sadly heard of so many cases where loyal employees were just cast away on the 12th March, with virtually no concern as to how they would put food on their tables next week.

Your team are your business, and how you treat them will absolutely determine how successful your business will be and how deep your team will dig for you when needed.

When the lights come back on, I know of a great guy and all of his colleagues who will be looking for a new opportunity, and I know of a great gal and all of her colleagues who be delighted to get back to work and will dig deep for their employer when the chips are down.

What type of employer are you?

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Les Martin and the mission to detect rare diseases

March 3, 2020

 

Les Martin - Rare Diseases

Les…never in your wildest dreams did you think you would end up on stage talking to a room full of women in Wicklow on a Friday afternoon as part of the International Women’s Day celebrations organised by Network Ireland.

I was the only other brave man there but for very different reasons.

When your son Cathal was born, I’m sure you and your wife Lynda were excited beyond belief, but then life threw him the ultimate unlucky straw and he was faced with a short life with a debilitating condition, which could have been treated if only extensive tests were done at birth, as they do routinely in Italy.

This dad never planned on standing in front of this group of women on this Friday, appealing for help and telling a personal story to hopefully help other babies to avoid the cruel path that their family has endured.

Les stood on stage, he shared his family photos, he showed us some charts to explain how this problem could be solved in Ireland, he showed us some more photos and he took us though some of the very painful steps that they have been though together.

He wasn’t a polished speaker, he didn’t have a polished presentation, he was just a dad who stood there and bravely opened his heart and asked for our attention, so that life might be better for someone else down the line.

Les had every woman on their feet when he finished his talk and there were tears in every single eye in the house, including mine.

Les Martin, brave dad, I salute you and I’m sorry that this had to be your Friday….

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Les is campaigning for more extensive testing to be done on babies when they are born. The Irish ‘Heel’ test is done for 9 conditions – in Italy they test for 40 conditions which can help teh early detection and treatment of rare diseases. 

 

Waiting for your “Purpose” to reveal itself

February 16, 2020

Greg Canty - Sense of Purpose

Once again you find yourself having this conversation quietly in your head.

I want to make a huge difference on this earth, I want to live a life with Real Purpose” but…..

…you have absolutely no idea what that purpose is !!

Well, instead of getting yourself all frustrated, how about channelling these thoughts and that positive intent in a very different and very achievable way.

How about choosing a number of people in your life who may be in need of help, a boost, a little support, some encouragement and quietly make them your purpose and without saying a word, give them exactly that.

Maybe it’s a family member, a buddy, a work colleague, or a neighbour who is struggling, who has gone off track for whatever reason and needs something from someone to make this time a little easier.

You can be that someone, and you might just be able to get them back on track.

While you are waiting to find your purpose how about being there for that other person so they might be better able to find theirs.

And if your “purpose” never knocks on your door, then maybe it’s not so bad as you have helped a lot of people along the way just when they needed it …. isn’t that a pretty good purpose to have?

Who are you going to help today?

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

Dad – Moments in time

January 15, 2020

This beautiful picture of my dad, Michael, splashing in a pool and having fun with his grand kids, Alex and Ciara (my brother’s kids) captures his very special spirit and the incredible connection he had with young people, us, my friends, my kids and the grand kids and even the kids in the neighbourhood who used call to him to play football on the green!

He got sick shortly after this, which was the beginning of a very dark and sad part of his life, so every time I see it, it warms me but it also makes me feel terribly sad.

Dad, we miss you terribly but thank you for being so fantastic.

Greg

We have two lives & the second one begins when you realise you only have one!

June 4, 2019

Mario de Andrade

This beautiful poem written by Mario de Andrade (San Paolo 1893-1945), a poet, novelist, essayist and musicologist who was one of the founders of Brazilian modernism, was shared with me by my great friend Fr. John Ahern.

*MY SOUL HAS A HAT*

I counted my years
& realised that I have
Less time to live by,
Than I have lived so far.

I feel like a child who won a pack of candies: at first he ate them with pleasure,
But when he realised that there was little left, he began to taste them intensely.

I have no time for endless meetings where the statutes, rules, procedures & internal regulations are discussed,
knowing that nothing will be done.

I no longer have the patience
To stand absurd people who,
despite their chronological age,
have not grown up.

My time is too short:
I want the essence,
my spirit is in a hurry.
I do not have much candy
In the package anymore.

I want to live next to humans,
very realistic people who know
How to laugh at their mistakes,
Who are not inflated by their own triumphs
& who take responsibility for their actions.
In this way, human dignity is defended
and we live in truth and honesty.

It is the essentials that make life useful.
I want to surround myself with people
who know how to touch the hearts of those whom hard strokes of life
have learned to grow, with sweet touches of the soul.

Yes, I’m in a hurry.
I’m in a hurry to live with the intensity that only maturity can give.
I do not intend to waste any of the remaining desserts.

I am sure they will be exquisite,
much more than those eaten so far.
My goal is to reach the end satisfied
and at peace with my loved ones and my conscience.

We have two lives
& the second begins when you realise you only have one.

Send this to all of your middle aged friends!!

…It is forbidden to keep it

More beautiful music please..

May 14, 2019

Cork Youth Orchestra

It was another magical night in Cork as we watched the superb Cork Youth Orchestra perform with Altan and the Lee Singers at the majestic City Hall.

The performance by the orchestra was just spell bounding as we watched 128 talented young musicians play together, powerfully and passionately conducted by Tomás McCarthy.

It was moving, watching the different sections of the orchestra playing together, creating powerful, beautiful, uplifting music and I was reflecting on the huge feat that we were witnessing, the seamless coordination of so many young talented musicians.

Cork Youth Orchestra

There is huge credit to the conductor, the musicians and the proud parents who all played their role and while we just turned up to experience the special performance on the night, I can only imagine the amount of hard work and countless hours that must have gone into what we were witnessing.

You could feel the huge sense of togetherness on the night and you knew this was the magic ingredient, because without this togetherness the uplifting performance would not have happened.

It made me think about how much we can create and how much we can achieve when we come together with a beautiful, common goal.

I took a photo during the performance and at the interval I opened up Twitter to tweet about the magical evening.

As I was about to post I spotted a jarring tweet about a bombing in Pakistan, where gunmen had forced their way into a hotel and started shooting indiscriminately, leaving four hotel employees and a Pakistan Navy soldier dead. Six others were injured.

How can we come together and achieve such beautiful things and how can we be consumed by so much hatred that we can kill others?

More music please…

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Sad times and amazing mums

January 21, 2019

This week last year was a tough week, probably one of the toughest.

Dad was at Marymount Hospice and visibly getting worse with each passing day and there was a relay of family members sitting by his bedside 24/7 holding his hand and trying to keep him as comfortable as possible under the circumstances.

The visitors came and went, all coming to spend some last time with him and he tried his very best to be attentive and at a minimum give them a customary thumbs up as they left.

Laura, my sis was terrific and barely left his side, my brother Colin (who had to come from the States) was a star and the grandkids showed their true colours and my own Ellen also had a path worn to that place, where we all hate to even contemplate, but one where dignity and care are delivered with an abundance of compassion and kindness.

I tried my best to play my part, visiting for hours each day and yes I did do a few overnights but I must admit I struggled with that caring part, that minding, nursing instinct – it felt strange for me as this was my strong dad, the one that cared for us and not the other way around.

I think in a funny way, that he would have realised he was in serious trouble if I was by his side helping him with his food, or drinks as that was all he was able for at that stage.

On the night of the 25th January, 2018 my dad, Michael Canty peacefully slipped away with us all by his side.

I deliberately haven’t mentioned my mum yet, but on this night she insisted that we all said a Rosary, not one decade but the full shebang!

I whispered to my daughter, Ellen that this might finish him off – humour can be a great way to lighten the pain at such times and dad would have been the very first one to say something funny to cheer you up or take your mind off something bad.

I spoke too soon and literally with the very last words of the Rosary, with us all sitting in a circle holding his and each others  hands he took his very last breath and left us.

Mum is a colossal tower of strength and was incredible with dad during his sickness, minding both him and us. During those last weeks she barely left his side and while she was losing the love of her life she still was so conscious of how all of us were coping at this awful time.

Since then mum has been incredible. It’s nearly a full year on and in particular the last few weeks have been really tough for her.

We all know dad took a bad turn on Christmas Day, we know the day he left the house for the Bon Secours and never came home again, we know where he was on New Years; Eve, we know the day he was told he was going to Marymount (that was heart breaking “I thought I was getting better, now I’m really worried” he said) and we can pretty much relive each calendar day until the 25th and the funeral.

Mum has been so positive, organising the funeral, responding to all the letters and cards, getting out as much as she can, she goes to mass each day and visits the cemetery, she comes over for dinner regularly, she meets the neighbours, she visits dad’s sister, and she warmly greets the procession of visitors who all enjoy her fantastic company. If she’s not up to visiting she tells us, and that’s ok too.

Of course she is in mourning and of course she is deeply upset and she does have her teary moments but she has been a warm, brilliant, caring and strong person for the rest of us.

Dad was lucky, we are all so lucky.

So, on this tough week I wanted to acknowledge and salute one of the very best people that I know on this planet, my mum, Ann Canty.

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

Missing the simple chit chat

December 9, 2018

 

Mum called me this morning.

She had been to mass (as she does each morning) and she wanted to share a little moment with me.

The gospel that morning had been about the two blind men that Jesus had cured in Galilee by touching their eyes.

Mum told me that when she heard this she had to do everything in her power to keep the laughter in, as she instead was thinking of the rhyme that dad used always share with us and all the grand kids.

He used deliver this rhyme with actions and funny gestures and in some ways it summed up everything that this gorgeous man was all about. He had a great sense of humour, he adored children and would do anything to make them laugh.

One fine day in the middle of the night,

Two blind men got up to fight,

Back to back they faced each other,

Drew their swords and shot each other,

One was blind and the other couldn’t, see

So they chose a dummy for a referee.

A blind man went to see fair play,

A dumb man went to shout “hooray!”

A paralysed donkey passing by, kicked the blind man in the eye,

Knocked him through a nine inch wall,

Into a dry ditch and drowned them all,

A deaf policeman heard the noise,

And came to arrest the two dead boys,

If you don’t believe this story’s true,

Ask the blind man he saw it too!

This was a tall tale that has been passed down from generation to generation and everyone seems to have a slightly different version.

Mum thought of dad as she does all of the time and she couldn’t stop laughing.

She missed him and misses him every day. She misses the simple chit chat the most and of course, his humour.

He wasn’t there with her, as he always had been but of course he was, he always is.

Mum misses him, we all do

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

Staying bright in a dark world – Eleanor O’Kelly Lynch

May 12, 2018

Eleanor O'Kelly Lynch with her daughter Lauren, CdLS awareness day

When you meet Eleanor you just have to be struck by the “brightness” around her.

Every time she walks into a room, every time you bump into her on the street you notice the bright clothes that she wears, the warm smile and the positive, happy glow that will always leave you feeling a little better about yourself.

Eleanor O’Kelly Lynch runs a successful company called Golden Apple Training, which specialises in Sales and Customer Service training.

I met her for coffee one day, prompted by something really nice that she had commented on a blog post that I had written about my dad who passed away in January of this year.

Other than the “brightness” and the training company I knew very little about Eleanor and this quick coffee turned into the most revealing of conversations.

I learnt about a fantastic, proactive career but I was also staggered to hear about a rare, debilitating and very cruel disease that her daughter, Lauren has called CdLS. (about 40 people suffer from this in Ireland)

I’ll be honest with you and admit that I fought back the tears hearing about the life struggle that Eleanor has had in coping with Lauren, who she adores.

I wondered how could you cope a single day with this life challenge and how could you cope for 25 years and still manage to have the brightest disposition ever?

We (Fuzion Communications) were more than happy to give Eleanor and the CdLS organisation in Ireland a small hand promoting their National CdLS Awareness Day (12th May) but I also asked her to sit down with me to do a podcast.

I wanted to figure out the secret to being so bright and positive when life is just unbelievably cruel and challenging each and every single day.

Listen to the latest episode of the Fuzion Win Happy podcast to discover her secret….

Fuzion Win Happy PodcastGreg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Marketing, PR and Graphic Design services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland