I was in the Barn, a local restaurant, the other night talking about the Irish Open (that's golf).
In the room were a crowd of people from the Mercy Hospital - that's a big old hospital in Cork. They were going on about the golf.
I could hear them chatting about the weather & how that would affect the players. Birdies, eagles & albatrosses were mentioned.
"Are you all twitchers?" I wondered.
(In case you've never sucked an egg from a bird's nest, twitchers are bird watchers - and I haven't met any since I came back to Ireland.)
"Indeed, we are not, twitchers, or whatever you call them. We're fundraising for the Mercy."
"So what's with the birdies?"
"For every birdie Rory McIlroy shoots - we'll get money for the hospital."
"And I suppose you'll get more if he has a albatross around Fota?"
"Of course. But when's the last time anyone had an albatross in Ireland, let alone around Fota?"
I didn't have Frank my caddy with me. He's a walking encyclopedia when it comes to golf miracles. [In case you're wondering, an "albatross" is three under par - and no normal human being could ever have one of them.]
So the Mercy are praying it'll be good weather during the Irish Open.
"What sort of fundraising is this?" - I was curious.
She didn't look like she'd ever played golf.
"The players pay money for every birdie, eagle & albatross they score - into a fund. Then Barry's Tea will match the total - and the people of Cork who need the hospital are all the better."
(I forgot to ask her what happens if someone gets a hole-in-one. That should be worth something.)
I've used the Mercy Hospital
- I've been an outpatient there. It's right down on the river, on the edge on the island - leaning towards the north side of Cork city. I think it's a sort of northside place - (as opposed to the Cork University Hospital [CUH] which is definitely southside.)
"Do you need much money?" I asked her for want of something to say.
There was a flock of smiles around the table.
"Ok, I get the message."
I suppose I used to think hospitals were all paid for out of general taxation - never thought they'd be off raising money from golfers. But I suppose golfers need hospitals too. All that bending down to pick balls out of holes, and digging themselves out of bunkers.
I hope McIlroy will bring his best game to Cork - for the sake of our Mercy Hospital at least. And if Rory's off his game, there are plenty of others capable of fundraising too. They better score a few "eagles" I suppose.
(Ideally we want a load of fellas breaking the course record at Fota.)
Sometimes corporate sponsorship can be fun and make a meaningful contribution to the local community - eh?
Your job today is to answer these two little questions: