Negationists Ahoy!

So that tired old spy/informer/traitor of yore, Seán O’Callaghan, is back peddling his same tired old “analyses” of political and military events in Ireland. Or more specifically the bit of Ireland still occupied by our neighbours over yonder (and with himself at the centre of the story as always). It’s hard to know what to say about … Continue reading

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Gabriel Rosenstock, Margadh Na Míol In Valparaíso

Would I be right in suggesting that Gabriel Rosenstock and Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill are probably the two greatest living Irish poets? There are many contenders for that title but when looks at the breadth of their works it is hard to imagine a more deserving rival than those two doyens of Ireland’s literary scene. Sometimes I prefer Rosenstock, … Continue reading

Cultus Obscuram – Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze

The old cliché “…so bad it’s good” springs to mind when one watches the 1975 cinematic release “Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze”. Based upon the eponymous 1930s’ pulp magazine character primarily written by Lester Dent the film was intended to be the first in a series of purposefully old-fashioned adventure movies by legendary Sci-Fi entertainment … Continue reading

Even A Fanboy Has His Limits

Is it just me or is there now a dearth of thoughtful and well-informed websites and blogs on the genre worlds of Sci-Fi and Fantasy literature? Oh yes, the banner-heavy, paragraph-light sites that focus on the latest Marvel or DC movie franchises are in plentiful supply. However most of these flash-happy affairs have as much … Continue reading

The Randomers

I’ve been asked to highlight a recently released independent Irish movie, “The Randomers”, the fourth feature-length film from writer-director Graham Jones. The free-to-view drama focuses on a love affair sparked by the actions of a young woman living on the west coast of Ireland who places an advertisement seeking a man for a relationship “without speaking”. What follows … Continue reading

Fight The Power! An Interview With The Authors

In the 18th and 19th centuries one of the more popular forms of protest against authoritarian governments or regimes was through the publication of satirical illustrations or short picture stories frequently created with both literate and semi-literate audiences in mind. Using familiar or reoccurring images, symbols and caricatures political dissent or contrary opinions could be … Continue reading

A Stranger In Olondria By Sofia Samatar

I don’t get much time to read works of fiction these days which somewhat pains me since some books have been a more faithful companion through life’s myriad rises and falls than many an erstwhile friend or partner. However reading a vivid opening paragraph like this makes me want to return to my former page-turning … Continue reading

To Phone Or Not To Phone

I’m normally one of those fevered device-swapping, early-adopting geeks eager to get his or her hands on the next tech device before the present one has barely accrued a layer of dust or a film of fingerprints. However my current mobile phone has served me an unprecedented 3 years simply because I selected a near … Continue reading

Tower Of Strength, The Mission

One of my favourite songs from the early 1990s is The Mission’s “Tower of Strength”, a drum and guitar heavy rock anthem from the British band that showed off Wayne Hussey’s vocal talents at their best. If not entirely typical of the group’s output it was very typical of the effect “dance music” was having … Continue reading

JRR Tolkien, The Hobbit And An Sionnach Fionn

The 2013 issue of Tolkien Studies, an academic journal dedicated to the works of the English Fantasy author J.R.R. Tolkien, includes a few references to An Sionnach Fionn and the discussion we had with Michael Everson, the publisher of An Hobad or the Irish language version of The Hobbit. Check it out on the “Book … Continue reading

Cultus Obscuram – Knightriders

In the oft-played Geek game of “Cultus Obscuram” I’ve yet to be beaten, whether it is in the arena of movies, TV programmes, books or comics. Undoubtedly my winning hand when it comes to contesting a knowledge of cult films is the truly obscure 1981 George A. Romero effort “Knightriders” (note the plural) notable for … Continue reading

The Lenovo IdeaCentre Q190 – A Proper HTPC

While many consumers have bought into the commercial push for so-called Smart TVs the majority of the products on the Irish market are far from smart (yet). Very few have true internet browsers at the level of Chrome or Internet Explorer and most are limited to dedicated applications for specific services such as YouTube and Facebook … Continue reading

Scottish Mythology And Folklore

Some of the most popular (and visited) pages on An Sionnach Fionn are dedicated to the core elements of the Seanchas or indigenous mythology and folklore of Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. I have several lengthy articles discussing the likes of the Tuatha Dé Danann and the Fomhóraigh (not to mention the Lucharacháin … Continue reading

Truth Is The First Casualty Of War

Last Monday I watched the second part of TV3’s drama-documentary series, “In the Name of the Republic”, where once again Eunan O’Halpin claimed to offer an analysis of the alleged actions of the Irish Republican Army during the Revolution of 1916-1923. Despite a few days of thinking it over and trying to see some historical value in the whole exercise it is hard to escape … Continue reading

In The Name Of History

I’ve just finished watching a history-documentary (and I use that term advisedly) on Ireland’s British-owned private television channel, TV3, called “In The Name of the Republic”. Presented by Eunan O’Halpin it set out to investigate the alleged “disappearance” of some 200 Irish people during the Irish Revolution, supposedly executed by the Irish Republican Army as part of its struggle against the British Occupation Forces from 1918-1923. … Continue reading

The McGurk Bar Massacre – British Bombers In Irish Cities

Two reviews of the ground-breaking investigative book “The McGurk’s Bar Bombing: Collusion, Cover-Up and a Campaign for Truth” by the Irish author and campaigner Ciarán Mac Airt. The first is from the news and current affairs blog Its A Political World and the second is from the journalist and screenwriter Viv Young in The New York Journal of Books. For more on the … Continue reading

Terry Pratchett – New Interview

The British fantasy writer and humorous Terry Pratchett is one of those author’s whose publications I want to like, indeed ought to like, but somehow don’t. I read the first three of his satirical Discworld novels back in the 1990s and while I really, really (really) wanted to join with my friends in their fannish … Continue reading

Gráinne Holland – Teanga na nGael

In a shameless rip-off of the Cedar Lounge Revolution here is my own “Something For The Weekend“. Belfast’s Gráinne Holland is one of Ireland’s most talented new musical artists. Her innovative 2011 album Teanga na nGael (“Language of the Gael”) combines traditional Irish music with a European sound that echoes elements of pop, jazz and several other influences. It say’s much … Continue reading

Pádraig Mac Piarais – The New Study In Review

I’ve been meaning to write a review of the new biography of Pádraig Mac Piarais, “Patrick Pearse: the making of a revolutionary“ by the Dutch historian Joost Augusteijn, for several months but something has always got in the way. Now Philip Ferguson has penned an excellent examination of his own over on the Irish Revolution. The French blog Liberation Irlande carries a translation … Continue reading

Britain’s Irish Civil War

In my 2011 review of historian Liz Gillis’ new Irish Civil War study “The Fall of Dublin” from Mercier Press I wrote that: “…one of the accusations made by some Republicans in the aftermath of the Fall of Dublin was the use of British troops  in the assaults on the Republican forces entrenched in the city. … Continue reading

Some New Arrivals

In recent months I have been somewhat remiss in posting no new book reviews on An Sionnach Fionn. This is not for a lack of book purchases but rather a lack of time. The chill winds of recession have well and truly caught up with me and they are cold indeed. Like most people in Ireland … Continue reading

Not So Much Revising History, As Rewriting It…

Following on from my post examining the controversy raging around “Terror in Ireland 1916-1923” , the collection of historical essays on the Irish Revolution edited by David Fitzpatrick, the website Spinwatch carries an introduction by the writer Niall Meehan and two statements from John Young, whose father Edward Young was an eye-witness participant in the … Continue reading

The Curse Of Peter Hart Strikes Again

A few weeks ago I linked to a review by the historian John M. Regan on the new publication “Terror in Ireland 1916-1923”, a collection of essays on various aspects of the Irish Revolution edited by David Fitzpatrick, where Dr. Regan expressed some concern at the number of inaccuracies or misinterpretations contained in the book. … Continue reading

Reading The Irish Revolution

Two lengthy but informative articles for you, both from the Dublin Review of Books (or DRB), examining aspects of the Irish Revolution. The first is a review by the historian John Borgonovo: “I cannot precisely explain what convinced my fellow Americans that a “Black and Tan” is a popular drink in Ireland. The half pint … Continue reading

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 “” 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 … Continue reading

Mícheál Ó hAirtnéide

A quick post to mark a review by Theo Dorgan in the Irish Times of a new biography of the Irish poet Mícheál Ó hAirtnéide (Michael Hartnett), who also happens to be one of my favourite wordsmiths, not least for his legendary description of the English language from his collection “A Farewell to English”: “The road is not new. I am not a maker of … Continue reading

Jeremy Brett – The Quintessential Sherlock Holmes

I’ve always been a bit of a Sherlock Homes fan (or the much more impressive Irish form, Searbhlach de Hoilm!), especially since he was born of the imagination and pen of an Irish-Scots writer, one Artúr Iognáid Conán Ó Dúill or Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle. Doyle’s relationship with his ancestral homeland was problematic, to say the … Continue reading

History And Counter-History In Ireland – Confronting The Apologist Historians

Just a quick post to highlight Protestant Cork 1911-1926, one of the best resources I’ve seen so far on the issue of the alleged decline in the numbers of Protestants living in the region of Cork City and County in the closing years and aftermath of the Irish Revolution. The reason this issue is so important is because of the claims made in relation to it by apologist historians and journalists on behalf of British rule in Ireland (the … Continue reading

Alice Milligan – An Fíorghael

A national newspaper in Ireland carrying an article praising an Irish Republican and Revolutionary hero? Or in this case, a heroine. Whatever next? But then again – what a heroine! Professor Declan Kiberd reviews the biography “Alice Milligan and the Irish Cultural Revival” by Catherine Morris in the Irish Times, a study of the only woman to … Continue reading

The Provisional IRA: From Insurrection to Parliament

Irish journalist Jason Walsh reviews new book The Provisional IRA: From Insurrection to Parliament by veteran Republican Tommy McKearney over at Spiked Online. Well worth reading, both the review and book. I’ll post my own review soon.

Forget David Starkey – Lets Talk About The Daily Mail And ‘Monkey Language’

As Britain England deals with the outcry over professor David Starkey’s controversial comments on the days of civil unrest that recently blighted several English cities, with some condemning and some supporting the well-known historian, an equally controversial, and arguably more unambiguously racist, article has appeared in the Daily Mail newspaper. In reviewing a newly published book by the … Continue reading

Irish In America

Anti-Irish (or more specifically anti-Irish Catholic) bigotry is a current which runs deep in American history, from the late 17th to mid-20th centuries (and arguably still survives in some right wing, Protestant fundamentalist quarters today). It is one of Protestant England’s and Britain’s many cultural legacies to the United States, a legacy of Old World enmities transported … Continue reading

It’s Sci-Fi – Irish Sci-Fi!

I’ve written several articles about the long tradition of Irish language authors working in the Science-Fiction, Fantasy and Horror genres and will post them here soon. In the meantime here is some interesting essays which touch on the subject from the Celtic Cultural Studies journal. Interesting question: when does Mythology and Folklore cross over into literary … Continue reading

The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels, and Indian Allies

  An edited version of my review of historian Alan Taylor’s ‘The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels, and Indian Allies’, an excellent account of the War of 1812 between the United States and Britain, is featuring now on the Wild Geese website. Apologies for the photo!

Barbarella… The ’60s Meet Sci-Fi – And Jane Fonda!

Jane Fonda stripping in Zero-G? Reviewing ‘Barbarella’ on!

  • 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