ballyshannon, donegal, irish newspapers online, ireland, irish history, irish literature, irish famine - Linking Canada and Ireland - Linking Canada and Ireland

An historic photograph of a history-making team.

Front row: John "The Dodger" McDermott; Mick Slevin (captain), "Red Jack" Gallagher.
Second row: Seamus Kane, Seamus Slevin, P. J. Goan, Dan Doherty, Paddy O'Neill (Frank's nephew), Sean McGettigan, the brother of Pat and Dan.
Standing: John McGarrigle, Sean Slevin, Liam Slevin, Mick Melly, fullback and anchor of the
defence; Hugh McGuinness, "Big Bob" Gallagher.
Back row: Mickey Murray, Johnny McGuinness, James Daly.

October 25, 1996.

Over fifty years after my father took this photograph of a local football team, in the little town of Ballyshannon, in Donegal, Ireland, today that photograph has been launched into cyberspace, accessible to any one of over 40 million people who use the World Wide Web on the Internet. Until the advent of the Web within the past four years, that photograph lay in obscurity, the story behind it known only to a small circle of people, most of whom had already departed this earthly "vale of tears". Of the few still alive, it is doubtful if scarcely a couple will learn of its reclamation and publication to a potential world-wide audience. What, then, is its significance?

It is significant because its obscurity is exploded. Someone in Peru, in Hong Kong, in Finland, in Italy, in Canada, the U.S.A., Australia, or Korea can, with the tap of a finger, capture it on a computer screen and, with the aid of a laser printer, reproduce it in hard copy.

The global insignificance of the event commemorated in the actual photograph is overshadowed, eclipsed, by the impact of its computerized presentation to a potential global audience five decades ahead.

There is a lesson in this. No matter how obscure, how local or parochial a happening, the recording of it, in text or by camera, can become a perpetual record. Nothing is too small, too trivial, too inconsequential, to warrant its erasure from human consciousness. And we, in this generation, have the technology to ensure its survival and transmission to future generations.

Newspapers, television networks, museums, art galleries, now have an invaluable adjunct in the community, family, and individual records of humankind, capable of preservation and distribution through the medium of the Internet. Those in command of the popular media, press, television, radio, no longer have a monopoly. We, the people, have the power to reach audiences that span continents, free from any diktat of media moguls and monopolists.

One photograph on the World Wide Web can reach an audience no newspaper or television network could dream of attaining. Heady stuff, but, all in all, the stuff of true democracy.

Postscript: Lest any reader think the author of this Home Page believes 40 million people on the Web are slavering to follow its weekly numbers, and view the photograph mentioned, let it be known that if only 1,000 surfers visit this site each week, they are 1,000 people who were unaware of the event commemorated by it. And each one is the repository of a story which was on the point of being lost to human memory. Thus, the story remains in the continuum of human consciousness. Enjoy!

A Story with a Sting
See also
Sailing the Internet Sea

©John Ward 1997

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