Blag (Blog)

In-Training

 

Damn good question!

On the list of occasional workplace chores that HR departments and managerial teams feel the need to inflict upon their employees surely the two worse offenders are the team-building day (an oxymoron if ever there was one) and those buy-in training courses that confine you to an anodyne hotel conference room with people you probably don’t like for two or three days at a time. I loathe them with a passion. One must be strive for civility while thinking all sorts of uncivil thoughts about the others in the room, especially the “characters”. Oh, there are always the characters; the “Big Talkers”: I am man, hear me roar! If I have to watch two more middle-aged, middle-management wannabes shaking their cocks at each other to see who can dominate the boardroom arena I will quite possibly move into the castration business. Puffed-chest poltroons parading their wares before mewling harridans from elsewhere on the managerial food-chain. I wouldn’t mind if you could get a decent meal out of these places but it is the typical fare: rubber-chicken smothered in a brown paste or a feeble green salad visibly wilting as you eat (why would you serve food reeking with garlic to ten people confined to a space barely big enough to swing an oxygen mask in?). When I was a child I was the non-conformist rebel at the back of the class who asked all the wrong questions and scoffed at the social self-compartmentalisation of others. It seems as an adult I am still that same person, only now with jets on (or to use the description of a former teacher, “Aren’t you the cynical wee shite!“)

All of which is by way of an explanation for my occasional absences over the last few weeks (and onward). I’m off now to wrap myself in a geen belt while chewing on a fishbone from a smorgasbord of lean six sigma…

 

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Ní Neart Go Cur Le Chéile

Have an opinion? Passionate about politics or current affairs? What to let others know about it?

An Sionnach Fionn is a grain of sand on the shifting beach that is the world wide web. However all things are relative and this particular grain has accumulated quite a following over the last three years. So if you fancy contributing an article or two please feel free to do so. The email address is on the homepage and all suggestions are welcome. The political stance of the website is, I believe, fairly obvious. Left-of-centre, social-democratic, liberal and progressive Irish Republicanism. However anyone on the broad Left to Centre-Right of politics is certainly welcome. Of course fixating on the news is not to everyone’s taste so any submissions focusing on historical, cultural or artistic matters are most welcome. Indeed I would be very happy to see some articles examining mythological or genre themes. The very areas of interest ASF was originally intended to promote.

So some suggestions for articles, long or short, would be:

Politics, news and current affairs.

History and archaeology.

Environmental matters.

Art and archaeology.

Science and technology.

Science-fiction and Fantasy (please!).

I’d also love to hear from people outside of Ireland. Especially folk living in the Celtic Nations, as well as places like Catalonia, the Basque Country and Québec. All backgrounds and cultures interest me, everyone has a tale to tell, so please don’t hesitate to contact me if you want to tell yours. There are no restrictions on language so write in the tongue you feel comfortable or fluent in. On a particular note I would like to invite members of the British Unionist community in Ireland to consider contributing something as well (or several somethings if possible). Blogger friend Bangordub has established a fine tradition of publishing contrary views on his blog, We In Coming Days, and it is something that I strongly believe in. You will not be edited or restricted in your opinions however forcefully made.

The open door is there for anyone who wishes to use it :-)

Tá Brón Orm

An Sionnach Fionn enjoys a momentary respite from the travails of life - or something...

An Sionnach Fionn enjoys a momentary respite from the travails of life – or something… (Íomhá: Bellyache Press)

Apologies to all those who have contacted me in the last couple of weeks and who are still waiting for a reply. You are not being ignored, I am simply flat-out in my non-ASF job (the one that keeps the wolf from the door). I will try and reply when I can. Lots to say, lots of links and suggestions (for which I am very grateful), lots of other people’s posts and articles to commend. Thanks for your continued support…  ;-)

Nollaig Shona Daoibh, A Chairde

nollaig-shona-duit-ó-shionnach-fionn

Nollaig shona duit ó Shionnach Fionn (Íomhá: Catwolf, deviantart)

A very happy Christmas to all my readers, both near and far.

Drool Cars

A beautiful example of southern California's car culture

A beautiful example of southern California’s car culture (Íomhá: http://www.digitaldtour.com)

As I face up to the troubling fact that wanting a certain type of car is not the same as being able to afford a certain type of car, along comes Digital D-Tour with these Californian specimens of automotive beauty. Sigh…

Another example of southern California's car culture

Another example of southern California’s car culture (Íomhá: http://www.digitaldtour.com)

An Sionnach Fionn – 400,000 And Rising

What An Sionnach Fionn stands against - censorship, the corruption of democracy and the dissemination of propaganda as fact

What An Sionnach Fionn stands against – censorship, the corruption of democracy and the dissemination of propaganda as fact (Íomhá: Indy Media Ireland)

A quick post to note that after two-and-a-half years of existence An Sionnach Fionn has now passed 400,000 views, the majority achieved in the last eighteen months. For a website expressing progressive Republican views on an island nation where such opinions are regarded as strictly verboten by much of the media establishment I am quite pleased with that modest number. The three most popular articles so far have been 2012’s Lets Speak The Truth: Those Who Hate Irish Speakers Do So Because They Are Racists… and 2013’s The 1969 Truthers and Death Squad Britain – The Past That Won’t Stay Hidden (with nearly a thousand “shares” each on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social media). So can I just thank everyone who has helped make this possible through their support, media sharing, comments, emails, messages, tips and links (especially the latter two).

And for your consideration flexible democrat and British apologist-in-chief Eoghan Harris venting as only he can in the Sunday Independent newspaper:

“… it seems clear to me that one of the main causes is the manipulation of the internet by the agents of atavistic nationalism.

Increasingly, internet political sites are infiltrated by a band of anonymous fanatical nationalists.

But it won’t be long ironed out if IRA apologists are able to have a free run on the internet…”

And again here as he issues a call to arms on behalf of the Neo-Unionist group-think:

“…there is no sign that the State, the national broadcasters or civic leaders have enough interest acting in loco parentis on the moral side, particularly when it comes to protecting young Irish people from the propaganda of the Recurring IRA which is peddled on the internet.

Right now most Irish adolescents receive their historical education from the internet. By and large, it is dominated by a toxic nationalist lobby, preaching the grisly gospels of Anglophobia and anti-Unionism.”

Does he mean us? I think he does ;-)

Blog Awards Ireland 2013 Nominee

The Blog Awards Ireland 2013

The Blog Awards Ireland 2013

Just to let you know that An Sionnach Fionn has been nominated for two categories in this year’s Blog Awards Ireland 2013: “Best Politics Blog” and “Best Personal Blog”. Thanks to all those who nominated me and to everyone who reads, comments and links to An Sionnach Fionn. Go raibh maith agat, a charide.

Discussing Irish Politics – Or The Lack Thereof

Proclamation of the Irish Republic Dublin Ireland 24th April 1916

A copy of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic being read by Dr. Edward McWeeney, Dublin, Ireland, 24th April 1916

Some interesting views expressed underneath a post by WorldByStorm over on the Cedar Lounge Revolution: Do Irish people instinctively understand that Irish unity, independence and sovereignty is in their vital interest? The answer of course is how could they when so much of the Dublin media establishment actively promotes a disdain for all of the above? And whether we like it or not public opinion in Ireland, both about ourselves and about the world, is filtered through that self-censoring and self-interested prism. Even in this (still early) age of the internet.

(Also check out this related discussion, Left Activism… A Paradox)

KAT Kill All Taigs and FAP Fuck All Papists

British Nationalism: KAT “Kill All Taigs” (Irish Roman Catholics), FAP “Fuck All Papists” (Roman Catholics) (Íomhá: Moochin Photoman)

Bangordub casts a cold eye on some aspects of the British Unionist tradition in the north-east of the country over on We In Coming Days. Ireland is in the lead-up to the Glorious Twelfth and soon the bonfires will be burning for Eleventh Night – and with them plenty of Irish national flags and quite a few effigies. But what does it mean?

Talking of Unionism Fitzjames Horse offers a caustic view of that darling of the pro-Union media in Ireland and Britain, Naomi Long MP of the Alliance Party. He draws attention to the rarely discussed main financial backer of Belfast’s Unionist-lite party, the British-based Rowntree Trust, the mere mention of which is enough to send the average AP member into full-on Scientology mode.

Two Years Of An Sionnach Fionn

An Sionnach Fionn, “The White Fox”, was set up on the first of May 2011 as a personal blog where I hoped to express my various interests online. I intended it to record my years of study into Irish and Celtic literature, mythology and folklore. My interlinked passions for history, archaeology, architecture, art, photography, technology, (fast) cars, Science-Fiction, Fantasy Fiction and other aspects of Geek Chic culture were going to fill its posts and pages (did I mention Steampunk?).

That at least was the plan.

However my first proper post on the 15th of May 2011 was devoted to another passion – politics. The old Phoenix Flame simply burned too bright to be ignored. And that pretty much was that. 760 posts, 123 Pages, 1877 Comments, 627 Followers, 4130 Shares, 270,000 views and two years later the politics still dominates.

So a big thank you to everyone who visits, comments, emails, messages, links and shares. I am equally grateful to the old friends and acquaintances who followed me here and the many new friends and acquaintances I have made since. My modest success would never have occurred without you.

And just to clear up a mystery. The title An Sionnach Fionn comes from two sources. One is my Medieval ancestor Tadhgh an Sionnach Fionn Ó Catharnaigh, king of Teathbha of the Cinéal Mhaine of the Uí Néill Theas : the original An Sionnach Fionn. The other is from my childhood hero Fionn mac Cumhaill and the Fianníocht or stories of the Fenian Cycle. Indeed, I am perhaps ideologically more of a Fenian (in the oldest sense of the word) than a Republican. Perhaps a Gaelic Republican?

Athbhliain Faoi Mhaise Daoibh Go Léir

An Sionnach Fionn - 2012 Map For Views By Country

An Sionnach Fionn – 2012 Map For Views By Country

Well another year has all but passed for An Sionnach Fionn, which has now seen some 20 months of existence. My very first post went up on the 15th of May, 2011, and there have been 644 posts and articles since then, not to mention 121 permanent pages of reviews, studies and other resources. I have had 1239 Comments from readers, the vast majority of them from a community of regular contributors for which I am extremely grateful.

There were 2018 “shares” of posts and pages via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, StumbleUpon and other social network services in the first six months of the blog before I switched over to the so-called “official” share buttons in October 2011 (e.g. the Facebook “Like/Share” icon). Unfortunately reposts to social media are now no longer recorded but they have certainly surpassed the 5000 mark. Traffic, or the number of people visiting the website, has substantially jumped in the last six months thanks to the publication of regular posts and articles (not to mention all those shares). Not easy when one works under a round-the-clock schedule for a major IT corporation ;-)

In twenty months there have been nearly 190,000 views of An Sionnach Fionn, an amazing statistic for a one-man blog, with 2115 on the busiest day. The majority of visitors have come from Ireland, of course, though closely followed by the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, France and Germany. Again, let me express my deep gratitude to all those who visit and those of you who so kindly share my articles around the internet. You are the ones who are making this website such a success. As of today An Sionnach Fionn has 517 followers who subscribe to regular updates via email and other notifications.

When I first started blogging, over a year and a half ago now, there were very few independent Irish Republican or Nationalist bloggers out there. The internet, like all media, has its trends, and blogging had faded into obscurity after a long period of popularity amongst Republicans and their supporters across the globe. Back in the mid-1990s and early 2000s there was a plethora of Irish Republican websites, so many in fact that most formed themselves into webrings (ask your granddad). With the Peace Process and Belfast Agreement many sites stagnated or disappeared. Some were victims of a concerted effort by the British government, and sympathetic authorities, to censor the widescale dissemination of Republican views via the world wide web. Others were simply left to lapse as their owners focused on other goals or areas of their life.

Most contemporary online Republican activity now takes place inside open or secure message-boards, such as Republican.ie, the Republican Socialist Forum or the Irish Republican Bulletin Board. A handful of blogs and websites offer individual viewpoints like The Singing Flame, 1169 And Counting, Ardoyne Republican, Fiannaíochta, Peter DalyThe 1916 Societies or Independent Republican News but many are party-affiliated. The majority of Irish Republican political parties or organisations also favour their official, and tightly controlled, websites (like Sinn Féin, IRSP or éirigí) supplemented by local party sites.

However over the last two years blogging has seen something of a resurgence amongst those with an independent or unaffiliated Irish Republican view. There are now several bloggers from an Irish Nationalist background publishing on a regular basis. Since May 2012 there has been Bangordub with his analytical statistics-based site We In Coming Days May Be, while from September 2012 Footballcliches has contributed several lengthy pieces on politics and society in the North of Ireland. These have joined five regular Republican bloggers, the independent Hoboroad’s Political Highway (a prodigious poster on his site since 2011), Keeping An Eye On The Czar Of Russia (a veteran if independently-minded former member of the SDLP, whose blog has been active since 2011), irregular blogger Endgame In Ulster (publishing since 2010) and author and journalist Jude Collins (who has been publishing his forthright views online since 2009).

I could also mention overseas bloggers like the Irish-Scottish 107 Cowgate, the New Zealand based Irish Revolution, the Italian Five Demands and Les Enfats Terribles or the Spanish El Norte de Irlanda and Innisfree. The Irish Republican cybersphere is more active now than it has been for many years with a host of different views being offered. Long may this continue.

From An Sionnach Fionn a very happy New Year to all.

Rénard an Sionnach - Reynard the Fox

Rénard an Sionnach – Reynard the Fox

An Sionnach Fionn Now On Google Currents

Google Currents

Some good news (for some of you!). An Sionnach Fionn is now available on “Google Currents“, the hassle-free Android and iOS application for tablet computers and smartphones that features magazine-style editions of websites like the Guardian, New York Times, Slate, Mashable and a host of others. This app version of An Sionnach Fionn will feature up-to-date posts from the blog and YouTube channel in a swipeable, easy-to-read magazine format.

Installing Currents is simplicity itself. Open the Play Store on your smartphone or tablet, search for “Google Currents” and install the app. You can also install Google Currents via Google Play, or scan this code with your Android phone or tablet:

You can find the blog on Google Currents under the name “An Sionnach Fionn” or using the catalogue tags “Éire Ghaelach” and “Éire Shaor”. Or use “Add more” in the app itself and find via the “Search” option in the top bar.

Its early days, so the content will be limited to the last week and onwards but watch this space (or that space). An Sionnach Fionn is also available on TwitterFacebookGoogle+Linkedin and YouTube for you completists (or masochists!). There is also the RSS Feed if you rock it old school.

Haigh!

Well, to paraphrase someone else, I haven’t gone away y’know ;-)

A bout of illness, a bit of R’n’R, and a job that pays the bills have kept me away from An Sionnach Fionn for a few days but I’m back. A thank you to regular readers for all the messages and queries. It’s good to know that so many people appreciate the blog.

Talking of which you might have noticed a few changes here recently. In response to increased traffic, especially from the United States and some non-English speaking countries, I’ve been tweaking with the layout of An Sionnach Fionn in an effort to make it more user-friendly (especially for handheld devices like smartphones and tablets). I’ve experimented with various different WordPress “themes” (blog styles), both in preview and “live” on the site. Thanks to those who have commented or offered their opinions. Much appreciated.

Another reason for the changes has been the acceptance of An Sionnach Fionn to WordPress’ beta advertising program, WordAds. Over the last week you will have probably noticed discreet advertising appearing on the site, usually underneath individual posts. These ads are region-specific so different visitors in different countries will be seeing advertising tailored to them. I’ve tried to adopt a theme and layout that keeps these ads as unobtrusive as possible. In terms of revenue they will hopefully contribute towards the upkeep of the site (though not by much).

The present layout of the blog will remain for the foreseeable future (though expect a few minor changes). I’m working on a (new) logo and some other bits an’ pieces that will appear in the next while. Otherwise, sin é!

An Sionnach Fionn – An Anniversary Of Sorts

 

Well my first ever Post on An Sionnach Fionn went up on the 15th of May 2011 (back when it was still a “.wordpress.com” site). Since then there have been 464 more, along with quite a few permanent Pages. At the end of May we passed the 100,000 Views mark, so to celebrate this modest milestone a big thanks to one and all: the causal readers and the regulars. Special thanks in particular to all those who Comment, email, tweet or otherwise message. It is much appreciated, as are the re-postings to other blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, StumbleUpon, Digg, Redditt, Tumblr, Pinterest and all the rest.

It’s you who drive this site, idiosyncratic Gaelic Republican, Übergeek, amalgam that it is. And without you and your contributions it would be a far lesser, and far less fun, venture.

Go raibh míle maith agat…

Séamas Ó Sionnaigh (An Sionnach Fionn)