Tag: Ireland

Which strange creature, once upon a time…

Saturday, 17 August, 2019

… passed this way? This way was established tens of millions of years before the Ice Age, and the Alien-like results can be seen today in the Mitchelstown Caves.

Mitchelstown Caves


Choose your picture framers carefully

Wednesday, 31 July, 2019

Fermoy


Reek Sunday

Sunday, 28 July, 2019

Thousands of people, young and old, some in their bare feet, made the arduous climb of the 764-metre Croagh Patrick in County Mayo today. According to local belief, Saint Patrick fasted for forty days and nights on the summit during Lent in the year 441 AD, and on the last Sunday in July every year (“Reek Sunday”), pilgrims from near and far climb the mountain in honour of Saint Patrick. Ireland’s holiest mountain is five miles from the town of Westport and overlooks Clew Bay.

The great Magnum photographer Josef Koudelka climbed Croagh Patrick in 1972 and captured the quintessence of rural Irish Catholicism in one iconic image. The kneeling pilgrims pictured are, from left to right, Sean Pheat Mannion, Paddy Kenny and Martin Mannion from Connemara. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a n-anam.

Croagh Patrick


The miracle stone of Labamalogga

Thursday, 11 July, 2019

The small monastic site of Labbamologga on the Limerick/Cork border was founded in the 7th century by Saint Molaige, and the name Labbamologga is an Anglicized form of the original Irish, Leaba Molaige (the bed of Molaige or Molaige’s resting place). Locals say that if you pick up a stone from the ruins of the second church on the site and apply it to an area of the body that is being affected by illness, while simultaneously praying or wishing for a cure, miraculous things can happen. You may carry away your “miracle stone” from Labbamologga but it must be returned at some point. On that, there is universal agreement.

Labamalogga stone


Yay, Team America! From China and Ireland via Apple

Wednesday, 10 July, 2019

Apple celebrated the Women’s World Cup win by the USA with an all-female red, white and blue graphic. How very woke and patriotic. Up to a point. The same Apple announced at the end of June that its new Mac Pro will be assembled in China, not the USA, and the very same Apple uses Ireland as a haven to pay minimal taxes on the profits it makes on those Mac Pros. So much for patriotic bit. As regards the wokeness, the company’s Inclusion & Diversity page shows that 67 percent of Apple’s workforce self-identifies as “not women”, which allows lots of women lots of time to hone their dribbling skills in the run up to the 2023 Women’s World Cup. Think different indeed.

Apple wokeness


The Gloaming: Meáchan Rudaí

Friday, 8 March, 2019

Traditional Irish music mixed with jazz, chamber, minimalist and elements of classical is what The Gloaming does for a living. Their third studio album, which has just been released, was recorded at Reservoir Studios in New York City. The opening track is Meáchan Rudaí (The Weight of Things) and the lyrics are from an Irish language poem by the late Liam Ó Muirthile. The English translation is by Gabriel Rosenstock.

Mo mheáchan i do bhaclainn sa phictiúr dínn beirt i Fitzgerald’s Park, agus mise in aois a trí. Ár meáchan araon. Ár gcómheáchan. Meáchan do hata anuas ar do gháirí. Mo mheáchan is tú dom iompar ar feadh naoi mí. Meáchan suí agus luí agus éirí. Do mheáchan féin nár ardaíos riamh ó thalamh ach chun tú a chur i dtalamh. Do mheáchan beo. Do mheáchan marbh. Meáchan na bhfocal ag éirí is ag titim eadrainn mar a bheadh sciatháin scuaine ealaí. Trom-mheáchan urnaí. Cleitemheáchan daidh-didil-dí. Meáchanlár fáinne fí na gcuimhní.

The weight of me in your arms. A photo of the two of us in Fitzgerald’s Park. Three years of age I was. The weight of the pair of us. Our weight together. The weight of your hat shading your laughter. My weight as you bore me for nine months. The weight of sitting, getting up, lying down. Your weight that I never lifted from the ground – before burying you in the ground. Your living weight. Your dead weight. The weight of words rising and falling between us, the wingbeat of swans. The heavy weight of prayers. The feather weight of lilting. The middle weight of memory, ancient spiral.


“If gold rusts, what then can iron do?”

Saturday, 19 January, 2019

Geoffrey Chaucer’s philosophical question from The Canterbury Tales was posed during the early morning rain in Glenaree, above Glenbrohane, County Limerick, Ireland.

Gate


Brexit and backstop, Britain and Ireland

Tuesday, 15 January, 2019

“The misunderstandings are too many,” noted the Irish writer Frank O’Connor, and he was convinced of where the blame lay. “Ultimately, perhaps, all the misunderstandings can be traced to sixty miles of salt water which stretches between Britain and Ireland.”

O’Connor was writing in in Cork in 1940 and, one hundred years earlier, Mr and Mrs Samuel Hall embarked upon their three-volume opus Ireland, its Scenery, Character, etc. Their journey, as we say today, began with a purgatorial crossing to Cork, and their thoughts pre-echoed those of O’Connor:

“It was not alone the miserable paucity of accommodation and utter indifference to the comfort of the passengers that made the voyage an intolerable evil. It was once our lot to pass a month between the ports of Bristol and Cork; putting back, every now and then, to the wretched village of Pill, and not daring to leave it even for an hour, lest the wind should change and the packet weigh anchor.

Under such circumstances, it is not surprising that comparatively little intercourse existed between the two countries or that England and Ireland were almost as much strangers to each other as if the channel that divided them had been actually impassable.”

The “wretched village of Pill” mentioned by the Halls there is actually Pillgwenlly, which is now a parish in the Welsh city of Newport. And Wales, as we know, voted for Brexit. The misunderstandings are too many.


William Trevor: Last Stories

Monday, 14 January, 2019

January is a series of long nights and it’s an ideal month for reading some of those Christmas-present books. First up, from the house of the Donnellys, is William Trevor: Last Stories. The first of the last is titled The Piano Teacher’s Pupil and it contains all the wistfulness that marked Trevor’s storytelling. Snippet:

“Miss Nightingale’s other pupils came and went also, but among them only the boy never requested a different day, a different time. No note was ever brought by him, no excuse ever trotted out, no nuisance unrecognized for what it was. Graham talked about his pets to delay his unpractised piece. Diana wept. Corin’s fingers hurt, Angela gave up.”

The life of the lonely Miss Nightingale is coloured by loss and regret, but she loved and was loved once, and one great pupil compensates for so many disappointments.

The late William Trevor was born in 1928 in Mitchelstown, County Cork, Ireland, and his home could do with a decent coat of paint in 2019.

William Trevor


Whiting with turnip and carrot

Saturday, 5 January, 2019

The turnip (Brassica rapa) is a root vegetable grown in temperate climates worldwide and Ireland’s damp weather is ideal for it. The word turnip, by the way, comprises tur- as in turned/rounded on a lathe and neep, derived from Latin napus, the word for the plant. In Scotland, the turnip is often called a neep, while in North America turnip (or neep) usually refers to rutabaga, a yellow root vegetable in the same genus (Brassica) and also known in England as a swede (from “Swedish turnip”). Interestingly, the term rutabaga comes from the Swedish word “rotabagge.”

In Irish cuisine, boiled turnip is a popular side dish with a bacon dinner. Today, mixed with carrot, it accompanied whiting. Delicious, delightful, delectable.

Turnip and whiting


The fifth post of pre-Christmas 2018: May

Monday, 17 December, 2018

Our review of the year has reached that month the Romans called Maius in honour of the Greek Goddess Maia, who was associated with the Roman era goddess of fertility, Bona Dea. Anyway, the day dawned bright on 26 May, but by the time the three alpinisti, as they say in Italy, had reached the peak, it was shrouded in a fog that was both numinous and perilous. Still, we lived to tell the tale.

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The translation of the Gaelic Seán Sa Cheo means “John in the Fog” and it’s the title of a famous reel. The John here is John O’Rourke and, along with Tom Breen, he summited Galtymore today. Despite the fog, the hikers returned safely to base.

Seán Sa Cheo

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Tomorrow, here, the sixth post of pre-Christmas 2018 is from June and it’s all about the consequences of Joachim Löw’s fateful decision to exclude Leroy Sané from the German World Cup squad.