British Spies In The IRA, Myth Versus Reality

Just a quick heads-up for those who have access to the series “Twentieth Century British History” from the Oxford Journals. A recent edition features an article titled “The Influence of Informers and Agents on Provisional Irish Republican Army Military Strategy and British Counter-Insurgency Strategy, 1976–94” by Thomas Leahy of King’s College, London. In it the researcher pretty… Read More British Spies In The IRA, Myth Versus Reality

JK Rowling, In Defence Of Greater England

Sometimes an individual should simply stick to doing what he or she does best. In the case of the British author J.K. Rowling her “best” is continuing her spectacularly successful career of writing fantasy books for children; and not becoming an online agent provocateur for Greater England: a veritable troll-baiting champion of its hegemony over the island of… Read More JK Rowling, In Defence Of Greater England

Willard Price’s Adventure Series, With Hal And Roger Hunt

Oh happy days! Well not quite, but forgive a brief moment of satisfaction following the discovery of the name – and author – of a literary series that had been torturing my mind for years. Around the age of nine or ten my mother bought me several second-hand books recounting the adventures of two teenage brothers… Read More Willard Price’s Adventure Series, With Hal And Roger Hunt

Here Be Dragons, Book Images Of The Internet Archive On Flickr

Susceptible as I am to the marriage of history with technology, being the original antiquarian-technophile, my love affair with the Internet Archive (a digital library offering free access to a legion of books, movies and music, not to mention some four billion cached web pages) grows ever deeper. If you haven’t browsed its files you really need to… Read More Here Be Dragons, Book Images Of The Internet Archive On Flickr

No, Ireland Did Not Inspire Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings

I love Ireland. I love the Lord of the Rings and most of the other associated works in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth canon. However just because I admire both it does not mean that I can claim a creative relationship between them based upon the most tangential of proofs. Yet that is one of the modern and largely… Read More No, Ireland Did Not Inspire Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings

Google Ngram Viewer, Irish Republican Army, Fenian, Fenians

Judging by the positive reactions it seems that many of you have enjoyed my occasional posts highlighting the earliest occurrences of the term “Irish Republican Army” in the vast repositories of digitised and increasingly digital publications known as Google News and Google Books, so I thought I’d introduce you to another one of the online tools provided by the internet giant for would-be researchers. Using… Read More Google Ngram Viewer, Irish Republican Army, Fenian, Fenians

2000 AD and Judge Dredd Quality Comics’ Collection

The problem with being a hopeless Teicógach (or Irish Geek) is the habit of collecting one’s interests – or obsessions – with a near fanatical devotion. So down through the years I’ve managed to assemble a massive, if pleasingly eclectic, collection of Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror related materials. Of these the most problematic in terms of storage have… Read More 2000 AD and Judge Dredd Quality Comics’ Collection

Hugogate Or The Hugo Awards, Sad Puppies And Rabid Puppies

When I was growing up in Ireland during the 1980s and ’90s possessing a passion for Science-Fiction almost inevitably led one to holding Left or Centre-left beliefs. Before I became interested in politics proper (and I’ll admit to having been reared in a “political household”) the progressive ideas that permeated Sci-Fi strongly influenced my view of the world. Because of Isaac… Read More Hugogate Or The Hugo Awards, Sad Puppies And Rabid Puppies

Risking The Ire Of Outlander Fans

Scottish blogger Tocasaid has cast a cold eye over the Anglo-American television adaptation of the genre-defying Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon, and drawn the wrath of fans everywhere. Personally I like time-travelling tropes (Julian’s May quadrilogy, Saga of the Exiles, remains one of my favourite SF series) however what little I know of Outlander – the novel and TV show –… Read More Risking The Ire Of Outlander Fans

Celtic Cosmology, Perspectives from Ireland and Scotland

Over the last two decades relatively few studies have been published analysing the cosmological traditions of the Celtic-speaking peoples, at least by academic authors. There was a lot of interest in such matters in the 1980s and early ‘90s, coupled with tentative suggestions about the composition of native Irish or Welsh beliefs in the composition of the… Read More Celtic Cosmology, Perspectives from Ireland and Scotland

Translation Fail

Cautioning on the perils of machine translation, especially when expectations surpass achievable results, Michael Bauer on his Dear Developer blog posts a letter he has written to the Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser following the latter’s suggestion that Scottish (Scottish Gaelic) be added to the list of languages available on Google Translate: “I’m sure that this is a well-intentioned idea but in my professional opinion,… Read More Translation Fail

An Online Fenian Archive From ASF

  I’ve discussed my interest in utilising online resources for researching various historical topics a number of times on ASF, as can be seen in the two brief articles I wrote in 2011 and 2014 on the mainly American origins of the name “Irish Republican Army” (or “IRA”) where I used both newspaper and literary sources to uncover some of the earliest examples of it’s use.… Read More An Online Fenian Archive From ASF

The CIA’s 2009 High-Value Targeting Report From Wikileaks

“Making High-Value Targeting Operations an Effective Counterinsurgency Tool (C//NF)” is the latest confidential government document to be released through Wikileaks, the first for some while. It reveals that in 2009 some analysts for the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency or CIA were arguing for a more selective use of armed-drones in the US’ self-declared “War… Read More The CIA’s 2009 High-Value Targeting Report From Wikileaks

iGaeilge

In response to some comments yesterday I thought this business report from the BBC on the preference-through-necessity in Irish medium schools for technology-based education tools, including etexts and ebooks, might be of some interest: “Technology and education have a long, complicated and sometimes exaggerated relationship. Digital technology is associated with the classroom of the future.… Read More iGaeilge

Saltire: Ionnsaigh, The First Scottish Language Graphic Novel

A quick break away from politics with news of the release of Saltire: Ionnsaigh, the first graphic novel in the Scottish (Gaelic) language, which is due to be launched at the Edinburgh Book Festival in August. From a report by the Stornoway Gazette: “The first in a series centring round Scotland’s first comic book superhero, the dark… Read More Saltire: Ionnsaigh, The First Scottish Language Graphic Novel

The Forge In The Forest, Ian Miller

Ian Miller is a British artist whose distinctive, sometimes surreal style will be familiar to many readers of Fantasy and fantasy-tinged Science-fiction even if his name is not so much. Since the late 1970s his exquisite illustrations, executed most frequently in pen and ink, have graced the covers of countless publications, notably the Fighting Fantasy and… Read More The Forge In The Forest, Ian Miller