Binn Éadair – Lúghnasa, 2011

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 … Continue reading

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Féile Lúghnasa

  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: … Continue reading

David Norris And A Series Of Unfortunate Events

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 … Continue reading

Imre Makovecz And The Wonders of Organic Architecture

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 … Continue reading

Scottish And British, Like Swedish And Scandinavian?

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.

An Bhreatain Bheag – Little Britain

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 … Continue reading

Gaelic Scotland And Anglo Ireland

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 … Continue reading

Bertie Ahern: Grotesque, Unbelievable, Bizarre, Unprecedented

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, … Continue reading

Splintered Hari

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 … Continue reading

Alan Moore And The League In 1969

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 … Continue reading

The Defence Forces of Scotland

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 … Continue reading

An IKEA Britain?

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 … Continue reading

My Review Of ‘The Fall Of Dublin’ By Liz Gillis, From The Mercier Press

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’.

China Miéville: Le Roi Est Mort, Vive Le Roi!

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 … Continue reading

British Unionists Target Irish And Immigrant Families In Portadown

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 … Continue reading

John Carter Of Mars Gets The Disney Treatment… Cry Now, Or Later?

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 … Continue reading

Chris Foss

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.

Where I Go The HuffPost Follows

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. … Continue reading

British Labour Party To Rig Welsh Elections?

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 … Continue reading

We’re Alright Paddy, To Hell With You

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 … Continue reading

Video tour of Christchurch Cathedral Crypt (via Irish History Podcast)

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 … Continue reading

Somhairle Mac Giolla Eoin

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.

TG4 Launches Scéal, The Short Film Scheme

News from the IFTN that TG4 has launched a new short film scheme: ‘Scéal is a development scheme that offers talented new Irish-speaking writers/directors an opportunity to adapt a well-known story from Irish language literature or folklore towards a half hour short film. The scheme is following from the success of previous schemes ‘Síol’ and … Continue reading

The Alphabet Of The Incas?

The Slate carries a great story on the possible identification of an ancient Inca alphabet: ‘When the Yale University history lecturer Hiram Bingham III encountered the ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru 100 years ago, on July 24, 1911, archaeologists and explorers around the world (including Bingham himself) were stunned, having never come across a written reference … Continue reading

Canada And The First Nations – Progress To Equality?

Some interesting, and welcome, news from Canada on the shifting relationships between the Confederation and the First Nations, the Native American peoples of Canada. According to the Globe and Mail: ‘The hundreds of ongoing treaty discussions demonstrate the desire of first nations to significantly change the terms of their relationship with the federal government, says the head … Continue reading

A Tale Of Two Irelands

A depressing report in the Irish Times: ‘THE LONG-RUNNING controversy over what to call the popular Co Kerry tourist destination known variously as “Dingle”, “An Daingean” and “Daingean Uí Chúis” looks set to be finally resolved through legislation. Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan has signalled his intention to propose an amendment to the Environment Miscellaneous Provisions … Continue reading

Ireland – The First And Last Of The Pax Britannica

It has been said that for the British Ireland was too close to to be ignored but too far away to be absorbed, which not only sums up much of Britain’s unwanted intrusion into our island nation but British attitudes to the present day. The people of Britain (for which read England) only pay attention to what … Continue reading

Progressive Nationalism, Secularism And Québec

Some interesting views in an article from the Canadian Globe and Mail on the relationship between progressive nationalism and secularism as it is being played out in the politics of La Belle Province: ‘Québec stands on the verge of an explosive debate about multiculturalism. And its sparks could be enough to reignite a seemingly moribund sovereigntist movement. … Continue reading

One Step At A Time – The Belfast Agreement And Beyond

Now that the dust has settled an examination of the news reports issued over the last three days reveals just how widespread the violence in the North of Ireland was, in reaction to marches by the Orange Order (the Protestant fundamentalist organisation based in the British Unionist community in Ireland). Street clashes between protestors and … Continue reading

Ireland Unfree Shall Never Be At Peace?

Well, apologies to all those who’ve contacted me over the last few days in relation to the street clashes in and around the ‘Glorious Twelfth’ marches staged by the Orange Order, the British Protestant fundamentalist organisation in Ireland, ‘celebrating’  British colonial power in Ireland. Thanks to everyone for all the updates but as you can … Continue reading

FG Says No To Pat Cox – Along With The Rest Of Ireland

Some fairly good news today as Fine Gael plumps for Gay Mitchell as their favoured presidential candidate over arch-Europhile and Eurocrat par excellence Pat Cox. As reported in the Irish Times: ‘Gay Mitchell has this afternoon been chosen as Fine Gael’s candidate for the presidential election in October. An estimated 500 Fine Gael delegates gathered at a North Dublin hotel … Continue reading

News of the World Goes Down – Dragging News International With It?

Great discussion over on the Guardian’s Media Talk page, with a podcast featuring Alan Rusbridger, Nick Davies, Roy Greenslade and Janine Gibson, including: ‘* Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, who discussed with Downing Street officials David Cameron‘s employment of former News of the World editor Andy Coulson at No 10; * Nick Davies, the Guardian reporter who broke the phone-hacking … Continue reading

No Room For The Irish At The American Tea Party

I recently wrote about the new forms of anti-Irish propaganda circulating amongst right wing circles in the United States which have begun to filter from the fringe into mainstream American politics and journalism. Though the cutting edge of this campaign of misinformation has centred on Ireland’s alleged role as the chief ‘anti-Israeli’ state of the … Continue reading

Senator Dave, Deputy Mick, And The Native Tongue

With some interesting results in recent polls on the likely candidates for the Presidential election, I again return to the subject of would-be independent runner, Senator David Norris. Though the bould Senator seemed to have well and truly scuppered his election chances with some inopportune ‘wondering aloud’ (to be charitable) or ‘questionable views’ (to be … Continue reading

Named And Shamed – Discrimination In Ireland

In a highly unusual move a number of breaches of the Official Languages Act of 2003 by two state bodies have been reported to the Houses of the Oireachtas by An Coimisinéir Teanga (the Language Commissioner) Seán Ó Cuirreáin. Both the Health Service Executive West (HSE West) and the National Museum of Ireland have been charged with failing to … Continue reading

  • blog awards ireland Nominated: Best Politics Blog 2013, Best Personal Blog 2013, Best Blog Post 2013
  • blog awards ireland

    Nominated: Best News/Current Affairs/Political Blog 2014, Best Mobile Blog 2014, Best Blog Post 2014