In celebration of the Féile Lúghnasa, a climb to the summit of Binn Éadair (Howth) ‘The Summit of Éadar’, and the Suí Finn ‘Seat of Fionn’, one of the elevated sites where Fionn mac Cumhaill and Na Fianna kept watch in days of yore (if you believe the Fiannaíocht and Dinnsheanchas). A ritual climb to a hill or mountain… Read More Binn Éadair – Lúghnasa, 2011
Well its that time of the year again and the important Celtic Irish holiday of Lúghnasa, the Feast of Lúgh, is upon us. Beginning from sunset today until sunset tomorrow it is the ancient harvest celebration in the native Irish calendar, and this year RTÉ is miraculously (!) marking it with a series of TV programmes, headlined by Lúghnasa Live:… Read More Féile Lúghnasa
Well it would seem that David Norris has more or less destroyed his own Presidential chances after a series of revelations over his private views, and private actions, have left supporters dropping away left, right and centre. As RTÉ reports: ‘Senator David Norris has said he will continue to seek a Presidential nomination, but has admitted his… Read More David Norris And A Series Of Unfortunate Events
One of my favourite architects is also one of Europe’s least known, Hungary’s Imre Makovecz, a proponent of organic architecture who has created some of the most distinctive, beautiful and humanistic buildings to be found anywhere in the world. An article in the Guardian from 2004 gives an excellent summation: ‘Makovecz, born in 1935 and educated in Budapest, was himself imprisoned at the time of… Read More Imre Makovecz And The Wonders of Organic Architecture
For some intellectualising on the SNP MP Pete Wishart and his what ‘Britishness’ could mean in an independent Scotland there’s none better than the Lallands Peat Worrier to supply it.
WalesHome carries an interesting article on language apartheid in the nation (which originally appeared here): ‘WE OFTEN hear that Wales is too divided as a country. This could be said to be true – The Gogs, the Hwntws, the Cardis and the Valleys folk – but are we truly divided on language? Many often purposely… Read More An Bhreatain Bheag – Little Britain
Some good news from Scotland for our fellow Gaels as the Scottish government announces further funding for Scottish language film production: ‘First Minister Alex Salmond has announced funding of almost £40,000 to help train entrants to the 12-to-17-year-old category in this year’s FilmG competition. FilmG is MG ALBA’s short film competition, which aims to uncover… Read More Gaelic Scotland And Anglo Ireland
News from the Irish Independent on former An Taoiseach na Chófra, Bertie Ahern, and his flourishing new career out of office (and Ireland): ‘FORMER Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is charging American companies a fortune to present a new lecture — about how he transformed our economy in the Celtic Tiger boom. The man targeted by many as the architect of our crippling recession,… Read More Bertie Ahern: Grotesque, Unbelievable, Bizarre, Unprecedented
Occasional, but always excellent, Irish blogger Splintered Sunrise (whose real identity is known to many) tackles the thorny subject of disgraced British journalist Johann Hari again, and in his usual inimitable style: ‘To summarise, what Johann Hari has admitted to, and apologised for, is that in a handful of his long-form interviews, he’s occasionally used a quote… Read More Splintered Hari
The Guardian holds an excellent Q&A with comics’ writer Alan Moore, one of the modern doyens of the genre, focusing in particular on his series of comics and graphic novels beginning with The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and how he views the third volume in the saga: ‘When we started the third volume of League, we got a vague idea… Read More Alan Moore And The League In 1969
A good article over on Better Nation discussing the security (for which read, military) future of an independent Scotland: ‘One of the few strong attractions of independence for me is the chance to backpedal on our island’s collective delusions of grandeur and to better reflect Scottish thinking in our policies – that we don’t rule… Read More The Defence Forces of Scotland
Interesting article in the Scotsman on the electoral troubles of the Liberal Democrats in Scotland (that I previously discussed here) and one possible solution from journalist Brian Monteith: ‘I wrote before the May election that the Liberal Democrats should launch their manifesto using the name Liberal Party so that they could call upon their fine tradition as a… Read More An IKEA Britain?
My review of ‘The Fall of Dublin’ by Liz Gillis, a new edition in the Mercier Press series ‘Military History of the Irish Civil War’.
In this 2002 article British Fantasy author China Miéville, l’enfant terrible of the so-called New Weird generation of writers, rallies against the orthodoxy of the field with an examination of the man who helped define its modern form: J.R.R. Tolkien. ‘In 1954 and 1955 a professor of English at Oxford University published a long, rambling fairy story… Read More China Miéville: Le Roi Est Mort, Vive Le Roi!
It has been reported that at least 100 British Unionist rioters were involved in overnight clashes in the contested town of Portadown, as they attempted to attack the homes of the local Irish Nationalist community. Using the excuse of the removal of British flags by local families with the agreement of the PSNI (the paramilitary police force) in an effort to ease communal tensions, British militants gathered… Read More British Unionists Target Irish And Immigrant Families In Portadown
John Carter of Mars holds a special place in the history of Science-Fiction. The hero of Edgar Rice Burroughs‘ series of Barsoom novels he is one of the archetypal figures of the genre, a character who has been reimagined numerous times and under numerous guises in the works of other authors. So it was with more than a… Read More John Carter Of Mars Gets The Disney Treatment… Cry Now, Or Later?
The Guardian features a piece on legendary Science-Fiction artist Chris Foss, whose work illustrated some of the best SF book covers of the 1970s and ’80s (most of which are still dotted around my bookshelves). Here is a link to the fantastic official site too.
Some time ago I predicted the virtual demise of the British Liberal Democrat Party in Scotland following the poor results it recorded in the recent Scottish parliamentary elections, and it seems the mainstream British media has finally caught up with me. Well, the Huffington Post (UK Ltd!), which I suppose is sort of British – and media.… Read More Where I Go The HuffPost Follows
After electoral humiliation in Scotland and the breaking of a decades’ long political hegemony it seems that the British Labour Party is determined not to see a repeat performance in Wales. Despite being the nation’s largest party Labour is determined to change the voting system for the Senedd (the Welsh Assembly) to the archaic first-past-the-post… Read More British Labour Party To Rig Welsh Elections?
Well a relatively peaceful night has passed in the North of Ireland, with violence down to what we might almost describe as ‘peace-time levels’. This is in contrast to the events of Wednesday night when widespread street clashes were still occurring (albeit mostly confined to Irish Nationalist communities) involving confrontations between local youths and the PSNI (the British paramilitary police in Ireland). Though on a smaller… Read More We’re Alright Paddy, To Hell With You
Over the past two days I visited the oldest buildings in Dublin – that is Christchurch Cathedral, St Patricks Cathedral and St Audeons Church. While I get through the queue of articles I need to write check out this video tour of the crypt in Christchurch cathedral, the oldest structure in Dublin dating from at… Read More Video tour of Christchurch Cathedral Crypt (via Irish History Podcast)
One of my favourite poets is the Scottish writer Somhairle Mac Giolla Eoin (Somhairle MacGill-Eain / Sorley MacLean) so its nice to see this tribute and discussion over at Alison Ní Dhorchaidhe’s blog.