Irish town erects fake shop fronts for G8 summit


 
I shit you not. Apparently the G8 leaders and their entourages are such delicate flowers that they can’t bear to see the effect of the global recession on the towns they drive through, such as upcoming host Enniskillen in Northern Ireland.

Via RTÉ, the Irish national broadcaster:

Local councils in Northern Ireland have painted fake shop fronts and covered derelict buildings with huge billboards to hide the economic hardship being felt in towns and villages near the golf resort where G8 leaders will meet this month.

Northern Ireland’s government has spent £2m (€2.3m) tackling dereliction over the past two years, the environment department said. Some buildings have been demolished and others have been given a facelift in an attempt to make areas more attractive.

Almost a quarter of “dereliction funds” were freed up for local councillors in Co Fermanagh in anticipation of Britain hosting the annual Group of Eight leaders’ summit there on 17-18 June. More than 100 properties have been spruced up. In the one-street town of Belcoo, the changes are merely cosmetic.

At a former butcher’s shop, stickers applied to the windows show a packed meat counter and give the impression that business is booming. Across the street, another empty unit has been given a makeover to look like a thriving office supply shop.

Locals are unimpressed. “The shop fronts are cosmetic surgery for serious wounds. They are looking after the banks instead of saving good businesses,” said Kevin Maguire, 62, an unemployed man who has lived all his life in Belcoo.

Full story here.

Written by Niall O'Conghaile | Discussion
‘Supermigration’: A career-defining album from Solar Bears

11sraebralosoiduts.jpg
 
It’s been worth the wait.

Three years after their excellent debut She Was Coloured In in 2010, Solar Bears are about to release a career-defining album, Supermigration.

Solar Bears is the band name for talented duo John Kowalski and Rian Trench, who have spent the past 18-months at studios in Wicklow, Ireland, working on Supermigration. It’s a long way from their debut recording in a bedroom in Dublin.

The difference is not just in the recording but in the quality and diversity of tracks. The interest in Science-Fiction is still apparent, but rather than the outward urge of space travel, Supermigration is more concerned with inner space and hints at dark, personal narratives that are often analogous with the genre.

I contacted John and Rian with some questions about the new album, Supermigration, and they started-off by explaining the influences on their recording:

John: We were listening to a lot of Eno and forgotten soundtracks which we had discovered on vinyl. Sampling these led to unusual routes for some of the finished songs on the record. It is largely dependent on what happens during a day session or a night session. The seasons played a part also. Often cases it can be something as simple as a string sound.

Rian: Its never a conscious effort to work in a set style, so in a lot of ways, the direction is determined by whatever riff, bassline, drum pattern, texture we start out with. New things definitely filtered through this time. We’d often have Al Green on in the kitchen in between sessions. We researched a lot of recording techniques. Steely Dan records were a constant reference.

Dangerous Minds: What was it like to spend so long in the studio and what was a typical recording day like?

John: It was really positive for me. One thing that did affect the recordings was getting our hands on new gear like a Korg MS-10 which a friend lent us. There were no typical days as I came down to the studio with either an idea intact or nothing at all. Rian had ideas dating back years so we concentrated on them for some of the tracks on the album.

Rian: Typically we’d bring something to the table, and just approach it in our different ways. Usually took a day to write the song, and then several days of tweaking. It was a great experience to be able to think about the tracks for long periods out of the studio. Writing time was interspersed between touring in Europe, so we had the advantage of talking about song structures and sounds etc while away.

Dangerous MInds: What is the back story with the title, Supermigration?

Rian: We were initially considering it as a track title, but then realized it kind of summed up the experiences and process surrounding the record. Its marries the journey the album takes itself. We always want to go somewhere we haven’t been before.

There is a pattern we discovered after the writing process that hadn’t been considered. We tried to vary the style and execution as much as possible, and then try to shape a very abstract narrative gluing it all together. If the composition is ready in our minds, it should allow you to invent your own story.
 

Cosmic Runner’—Solar Bears, from ‘Supermigration’
 
John: It is far more about inner space than anything external. The name itself was the only thing that made sense with the collection of songs we created together. We traveled a lot during the making of the record, seeing all that foreign scenery fed into the expansive sound of the LP somehow. My main ambition is to become more skilled as a music maker.

Looking back on the song titles there emerged a kind of science fiction psychedelic short story, starting with “Stasis” and ending with “Rainbow Collision”. We feel very unproven, that’s why we continue to work as hard as possible. Taking any of this for granted would be incredibly foolish. The label believed in us again and we love to work with all of them. Their advice and experience is invaluable to our group.

DM: What are the film references to Supermigration? And would you like to write a film score?

John: The White Ribbon, La Jetee, Gandahar and The Fountain. There is a little known Buddhist fable from Korea called Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring that has a unique soundtrack. It contains acoustics and electronics and has a very glacial sound to it. That would be one that I would like to re-score.

Rian: One of the things we want to do next is write a film score. We would love to work closely with a director on their project, try to elevate the images. Sometimes we feel that we are already scoring when writing together.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Solar Bears: Soundtrack to the Future


 
More from Solar Bears, plus a film on the making of ‘Supermigration’, after the jump…
 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Exclusive Premiere: Ships release new song ‘Places’

ships_simon_sorca
 
After a couple of years of “hanging out, sizing up, and rigorous sound/soul searching” musicians and artists Simon Cullen and Sorca McGrath have brought their talents together to form Ships, a collaborative synth project, which is winning considerable attention at home, in Ireland, and across the water.

Cullen is a former member of Les Bien, the core of Lasertom and The Blast Crew, and a pivotal member of the arts/music/film/video collective Synth Eastwood. McGrath is a singer/songwriter formerly with Palomine. Having established themselves as independent artists and performers, McGrath and Cullen brought their shared interest in Fleetwood Mac, Prince and Moloko (together with “honorary” member Cian Murphy of I Am The Cosmos), to create their upbeat, emotive and fruitful collaboration Ships. They have already released 2 singles, “You’re Gonna Feel It” (which was part of a release with I Am The Cosmos) and “Two Hearts”.

Now, here is Dangerous Minds’ exclusive premiere of Ships’ latest track “Places”.
 

 
Bonus tracks from Ships, after the jump…
 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

I Am The Cosmos: Exclusive premiere of track ‘Lost Rhythm’


 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Samuel Beckett: Reads from his novel ‘Watt’
10.12.2012
01:25 pm

Topics:
Books
Literature

Tags:
France
Samuel Beckett
Ireland
Watt

samuel_beckett_reads
 
I have never heard Samuel Beckett’s voice, so I do hope that this is genuine. If it is, then it is a very rare recording indeed, as Beckett was averse to having himself filmed or recorded.

In this short clip (uploaded by Oranj Telor Theatre) Beckett reads an extract from his difficult and complex second novel, Watt, which was written “just an exercise”, while on the run from the Gestapo during the Second World War. “No symbols where none intended.”
 

 
An even shorter Q & A with Beckett, after the jump…
 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
I Am The Cosmos: EXCLUSIVE premiere of their album track ‘Lost Rhythm’

I_Am_The_Cosmos_by_Dorje_de_Burgh
 
Ireland has produced some of the best music recently. There is the King of Disco and Performer Extraordinaire, The Niallist (DM’s very own Niall O’Conghaile); the beautiful and brilliant Solar Bears; and now a wonderful duo called I Am The Cosmos.

Since their launch over a year ago, I Am The Cosmos duo Ross Turner and Cian Murphy have been producing their very own distinctive brand of fabulous, soulful, electronic music. They have performed a series of live shows, which brought them considerable interest from BBC radio’s Across The Line music show, and enthusiastic reviews from the music blogs No Fear of Pop, 20JazzFunkGreats and Nialler9.

Recently, Ross and Cian have been putting the finishing touches to their highly anticipated debut album, from which Dangerous Minds are proud to present an Exclusive Premier of the track “Lost Rhythm” by I Am The Cosmos. 

Going by this and their previous single “Yves Klein Blue” Ross and Cian are definitely on to a winner.

I Am The Cosmos photograph by Dorje de Burgh.

Follow I Am The Cosmos on twitter, on Facebook and Soundcloud.
 


I Am The Cosmos - “Lost Rhythm”
 
Bonus tracks plus video clip of I Am The Cosmos, after the jump…
 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Exclusive Premiere: Solar Bears remix ‘California Poppy’ by David Douglas

david_douglas_solar_bears_remix
 
Dangerous Minds exclusively premieres the Solar Bears’ superb remix of David Douglas’ “California Poppy”.

Since their stunningly brilliant debut She Was Coloured In, John Kowalski and Rian Trench, aka Solar Bears, have been exceedingly busy, as John told DM:

‘Rian has been recording other bands for the past year including I Am The Cosmos and we have been travelling a great deal.

‘Most recently, we have recorded our second album called Supermigration at Rian’s studio in Wicklow. It features 13 brand new songs and is more hard hitting than our debut, mainly because of playing live more. We have been experimenting with new styles and treatments.

What’s next?

‘Getting a release date and continuing to write to see what else we can come up with. You can hear tracks off the second lp in our recent Boiler Room set.

Here’s the premiere of Solar Bears remix for David Douglas’ “California Poppy”. Douglas released Royal Horticultural Society an ‘impeccably, produced and arranged’ EP last month, with the ‘hazy sun-drenched’ “California Poppy” as opener. David Douglas shares his name with the 19th century Scottish horticulturist, who traveled across North America collecting and itemizing seeds from plants and trees. This is superb music for the head, inspired by the famed botanist, and brilliantly remixed by Solar Bears, and will be available from September.

Check here for music by David Douglas and here for Solar Bears.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Soundtrack to the Future: The wonderful world of Solar Bears


 
Video for David Douglas’ ‘California Poppy’ and bonus Solar Bears track, after the jump…
 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Brendan Behan’s Dublin from 1966

Brendan_Behan
 
The idea of Brendan Behan eventually became greater than the man himself. No one knew this better than the Roaring Boy, who played up to the image of “a drinker with a writing problem”. By the early sixties Behan was the toast of the West End, the toast of Broadway, the toast of every-effing-where, but his best works, The Quare Fellow, The Hostage, and his biography Borstal Boy, were all behind him, and his confidence had been battered through working with the firebrand director, Joan Littlewood, who had turned the English version of The Hostage into a “Knees Up Mrs Brown”. Unable to stay focussed long enough to put pen to paper, Behan was forced to record his last works (rambling travelogs of New York and Dublin, the play Richard’s Cork Leg) onto tape-recorder for others to transcribe. It was a terrible waste, and of course there’ll be those who’ll say a lesson of sorts, but so what, as his fall form grace didn’t stop the great man’s legend form soaring.

Two years after the Behan’s death, Irish producer / director Norman Cohen (later best known the film version of Spike Milligan‘s Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall and the Confessions of…. comedy porn series) made Brendan Behan’s Dublin, a travelog of the Irish capital based on the playwright’s memoirs, anecdotes and writing of the city by Carolyn Swift, and narrated by Ray McAnally as Behan. The Dubliners supplied the soundtrack.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Key Writers: Photos of writers and their typewriters


 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Bono and ‘The Hypocrisy of the Filthy Rich’


Bono ‘Twat’ t-shirt by publicgriefjunkie

I really dislike Bono. Not for the usual reasons - he’s not cool, he’s not sexy, he’s not funny, etc - no, it’s none of those. Well, it’s a little of those…  No, this excellent article from today’s Independent newspaper by James Bloodworth, should go some way towards explaining why I, and a fairly large chunk of the population of Ireland, hate this guy:

Another type among the super-rich, however – some would say the dominant type – is the wealthy individual who very publically gives generously with one hand while ruthlessly seeking to minimise what they pay in tax with the other. The moralising hypocrite, you might call this lot.

Perhaps the most well-known figure in this mould is Bono, the lead singer of U2. As well as being the frontman of one of the world’s biggest rock bands, Bono fancies himself as something of an anti-poverty activist, and can often be heard urging people to give generously to a number of causes. Bono has even been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize several times for his charity work.

In 2006, however, on the back of the massive Live 8 concert the year before – which U2 played a large part in organising and which was supposed to “make poverty history” – Bono’s band moved part of their tax liability from Ireland to the Netherlands. The move came after Ireland scrapped tax breaks that allowed musicians and artists to avoid paying taxes on royalties. When asked about the decision, U2’s lead guitarist David Evans, aka “The Edge”, said that of course the band were trying to be tax-efficient, because “who doesn’t want to be tax-efficient?”

The answer, at a guess, would be those who spend a great deal of time moralising about the world’s poor. Away from the self-congratulatory press conferences where Bono smugly demanded we send our money to the dispossessed, U2 were simultaneously cutting the feet from under their own government’s ability to help the world’s most desperate people– the same people Bono was proclaiming such grave concern for.

This makes for a great read - it’s not all about Bono, mind you, some of it’s about Princess Di - and you can read it all here.

Thanks to Helén Thomas!

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
U Pay Your Tax 2’

Written by Niall O'Conghaile | Discussion
Sinéad O’Connor is looking for love
08.29.2011
05:44 am

Topics:
Current Events
Music

Tags:
Ireland
Lonely Hearts
Sin

image
 
Sinéad O’Connor wants a man, according Ireland’s Sunday Independent, in which the singer wrote an article in search of Mr Right.

So, if nothing compares to you and you’re over 44 years of age, based in Ireland and are “very snuggly” and “not wham-bam” (though occasionally “wham bam”), then this may be of interest:

The man who runs my site will protectively suggest I may want to visit the bathroom for a few intimate moments and a subsequent cold shower before deciding to post this on the site but I will of course ignore him as it’s too late now and the her-moans are having the best of me.

I recently read of a woman in America who married and regularly humps her truck. I don’t yet own a truck but I’m beginning to understand her head space. And am worried I too may be so desperate for sex that within days I might run up the road and hump Bray Cabs’ whole fleet of cars in one hour. Forty quid clear-up afterward. Can’t say fairer than that. Except maybe a photo for their website. Which’d be fine.

My situation sexually/affectionately speaking is so dire that inanimate objects are starting to look good, as are inappropriate and/or unavailable men and/or inappropriate and/or unavailable fruits and vegetables. I tell you, yams are looking like the winners. I actually do know

a woman who is a performance artist from America. I have a photo of her being escorted arm-in-arm by two UK policemen on to a plane back home cuz she humped a yam in the middle of her show. I just know that’s going to happen to me if I don’t take drastic action.

Needless to say what I do for a living makes it hard for me to find men that only want me cuz they like my (legendary) arse. Yet I am in the peak of my sexual prime and way too lovely to be living like a nun, and it’s VERY depressing.

So I’ve been pondering on whether or not I should join some Irish dating agencies. Of course if I did it would end up in papers

so I may as well save myself the registration fees. Besides which, a friend of mine uses dating agencies

and half the men actually have wives.

Am in desperate need of a very sweet sex-starved man. He must be no younger than 44.

Must be living in Ireland but I don’t care if he is from the planet Zog.

Must not be named Brian or Nigel.

Must be blind enough to think I’m gorgeous.

Has to be employed. Am not fussy in what capacity generally but vehicle clampers need not apply.

Leather trouser-wearing gardai, fire-men, rugby players, farmers and Robert Downey Jnr will be given special consideration. As will literally anyone who applies.

I like me a hairy man, so buffed and/or waxed need not apply.

No hair gel.

No hair dryer use.

No hair dye.

Stubble is a non-negotiable must. Any removal of stubble would be upsetting for me.

No aftershave.

Must be very ‘snuggly’. Not just wham-bam.

Must be wham-bam.

Has to like his mother.

Has to like his ex and/or mother/s of his children.

Has to live in own place.

Countless rumours have it that opera singers are recommended to have sex half an hour before each show. So by even applying you are part of my artistic advancement.

Interested parties can apply at (for real): vampyahslayah at yahoo dot com

 
Via Ireland’s Sunday Independent
 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
500 Million Debt-Serfs: The European Union Is a Neo-Feudal Kleptocracy


 
A guest essay from Charles Hugh Smith, cross-posted from his Of Two Minds blog. His latest book is titled An Unconventional Guide to Investing in Troubled Times and is available in the Kindle format. You do not need a Kindle Reader to read it, just download the free Kindle app and read it on virtually any device. Get the links, read the Intro, Table of Contents and Chapter One, and buy the ebook of An Unconventional Guide to Investing in Troubled Times on the info page. For Dangerous Minds readers the ebook is discounted 30% ($6.85) through this Friday, July 29, 2011.

The banks of Europe are the new Feudal Manors and Masters. All Europeans now serve them as debt-serfs in one way or another.

If we knock down all the flimsy screens of artifice and obscuring complexity, what we see in Europe is a continent of debt-serfs, indentured to the banks under the whip of the European Union and its secular religion, the euro.

I know this isn’t the pretty picture presented by the EU Overlords, of a prosperity built not just on debt, but on resolving the problem of debt with more debt, but it is the reality behind the eurozone’s phony facade of economic “freedom.”

What else can we call the stark domination of the big banks other than Neo-Feudalism? In one way or another, every one of the 27-member nations’ citizens are indentured to the big international banks at risk in Europe, most of which are based in Europe.

Amidst the confusing overlay of voices and agendas, there is really only one agenda item: save the big European banks. Everything else is just mechanics. The banks are the new feudal manor houses, the bankers are the new feudal lords, and the politicians of the EU and its influential member nations are the servile vassals who enforce the “rule of law” on the serfs.

Here is the fundamental fact: there are trillions of euros of debt which can never be paid back. In a non-feudal system, one in which the banks were not the Masters, then this fact would be recognized and acted upon: something like 50% of the debt would be written off in one fell swoop, all the banks whose assets had just been wiped out would be declared insolvent and liquidated, the remaining debt would be sized to the economic surplus of each debtor nation, and a new, decentralized banking sector of dozens of strictly limited, smaller banks would be established.

To the degree that is “impossible,” Europe is nothing but a Neo-Feudal Kleptocracy serving its Banker Lords.

The Greek worker whose pay has been slashed in the “austerity” demanded by the banks serves the Banker Lords, as does the German worker who will be paying higher taxes to bail out Germany and France’s Banker Lords. Though the German is constantly told he is bailing out Greece, the truth is Greece is just the conduit: he’s actually bailing out the EU’s Banker Lords.

We can clear up much of the purposeful obfuscation by asking: exactly what tragedy befalls Europe if all the sovereign debt in the EU was wiped off the books? The one and only “tragedy” would be the destruction of the “too big to fail” banks, not just in Europe but around the world. As the big European banks imploded, then their inability to service their counterparty obligations on various derivatives to other big banks would topple those lenders.

While the political vassals call that possibility a catastrophe, it would actually spell freedom for Europe’s 500 million debt serfs. From the lofty heights of the Manor House, then the loss of enormously concentrated power and wealth is indeed a catastrophe for the Lords and their political lackeys. But for the debt-serfs facing generations of servitude for nothing, then the destruction of the banks would be the glorious lifting of tyranny.

Just as a refresher, here is a definition of kleptocracy:

Kleptocracy, alternatively cleptocracy or kleptarchy, from the Ancient Greek for “thief” and “rule,” is a term applied to a government subject to control fraud that takes advantage of governmental corruption to extend the personal wealth and political power of government officials and the ruling class (collectively, kleptocrats), via the embezzlement of state funds at the expense of the wider population, sometimes without even the pretense of honest service. The term means “rule by thieves”.

Extracting the wealth of 500 million people via the EU’s central governance machinery to serve a handful of big banks is definitely a form of systemic embezzlement. As for corruption: where are the politicians who speak to the enormous benefits of writing off these debts and destroying the power of the big banks, utterly and completely, as the only way to free the people from debt-serfdom?

While the European Central Bank (ECB) and the vassals’ favorite form of oppression, the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), print or borrow more euros into existence to fund the illusion of solvency, the cold reality is that the only way to service these trillions in impaired debt is to skim the surplus from the labor of the debt-serfs.

Since the political vassals control the means of taxation, then it is their job to squeeze hundreds of billions of euros out of the labor of their nation’s debt-serfs.

There is a fatal weakness in the Grand Scheme of European Neo-Feudalism, and the lackeys in the EU are desperately trying to fix it under the banner of “integration.”

The fatal flaw is that the political union of the EU vassal states did not include fiscal union in which the EU could impose and control taxation within all member states.

This flaw means that the Banker Lords lack the necessary means to impose serfdom directly through the “laws” of the EU itself; instead, they must coerce the vassal political class within each member state to impose debt-serfdom on its citizenry.

This has proven cumbersome, as some nation’s debt-serfs are threatening to refuse to submit to serfdom. Such a rebellion would of course bring down the entire house of cards that is Neo-Feudal Europe, and so the lackeys in Brussels and elsewhere are frantically trying to sell “fiscal integration” as the “necessary step” to centralizing the power of the banker Lords over the citizenry of all 27 EU member states.

The euro was intended to be the enforcement mechanism, but alas, voluntary agreement is not a solid foundation for neo-feudalism. At its heart, the euro currency was ultimately a Grand Arbitrage for the big European banks: they could loan essentially unlimited sums to citizens and sovereign member-states in a stable currency, and be guaranteed that they would be repaid in that same currency regardless of the weaknesses of the debtors.

That was a very sweet deal, an essentially risk-free license to generate monumental profits, all backstopped/guaranteed by the EU and ECB.

In the old, horribly risky system of independent states and currencies, any bank foolish enough to loan vast sums to weak states and its citizenry would soon find the currency in which their loans were paid would weaken to the point that even if the loans were repaid in full, their losses would be crushing.

For example, say a bank loaned Greece 1 billion drachma when the drachma was equal in value to the U.S. dollar. The loan would thus be worth $1 billion. But let’s say that by the time the loan was repaid, the drachma had fallen to 50 cents. Measured in dollars, the bank suffered a loss of 50%, even when the loan was paid in full.

The euro removed all that nasty risk, and created a massive vassal class of EU bureaucrats to enforce the rules and make good any defaulted debt via the European Central Bank (ECB), the supra-national lender that served the big banks as guarantor. Ultimately, the ECB was funded by the member states’ taxpayers, which spread the costs of the arbitrage over such a large number of citizens that it seemed impossible that the guarantee could be broken.

But the Banker Lords got greedy, and they overshot the carrying capacity of the EU’s economy by a trillion euros; the debt loads are now so enormous that the surplus skimmed from the debt-serfs isn’t enough.

That is the core dilemma of the Banker Lords and their political vassals. Since the Banker Lords lack the legal mechanism to impose new taxes via the EU itself, they must rely on the cumbersome processes of illusion and propaganda, of “extend and pretend” extensions of debt and harsh “austerity” to skim as much cream as possible.

The cloak has been removed, and the bloodied whip is now visibly in hand. In a household analogy: your mortgage has been rolled over into a new form of servitude, and your wages have been cut even as your taxes have been raised to service your debt to the Banker Lords. The vassals are bowing and scraping before their Lords, promising deeper cuts and higher taxes; yes, Master, we will obey.

But this isn’t enough, of course; the Lords are demanding the rings off the fingers of the debt-serfs, and the rights to sovereign assets; they are casting a covetous eye on the comely daughter as well, and we can fully expect a discreet demand to exercise droit du seigneur, a right befitting the Lords of the new Feudalism.

Charles Hugh Smith’s latest book is titled An Unconventional Guide to Investing in Troubled Times and is available in the Kindle format. You do not need a Kindle Reader to read it, just download the free Kindle app and read it on virtually any device. Get the links, read the Intro, Table of Contents and Chapter One, and buy the ebook of An Unconventional Guide to Investing in Troubled Times on the info page. For Dangerous Minds readers the ebook is discounted 30% ($6.85) through this Friday, July 29, 2011.

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Awaiting Rapturization…


 
Just thought I would check in and report on how it’s going on the other side of the world on this momentous day. And I just LOVE this “Prairie-Dog Rapture” pic! Well, so far so good… unless you are a fundie, I guess. No sign of any earthquakes or bodies being mysteriously sucked up into the sky. Yet. There’s still two hours to go ‘til the official kick-off time so you never know, it might happen, but reports from the expanses of the planet that have already hit that 6pm deadline report nothing unusual. Oh, wait, there WERE a couple of earthquakes in the Pacific, but they were small (3-4 on the Richter scale, surely not God bothering size?) and apparently there tends to be a small earthquake somewhere in the Pacific every day anyway.

I am in Ireland at the moment and interestingly (for such a predominantly Catholic country) no one seems too fussed by this whole rapture malarky. Maybe the populace have had other things to think about. This week has seen a royal visit by Queen Elizabeth, the first visit to this isle of a British monarch since Ireland fought for, and won, independence way back in 1922. Now THAT is a momentous occasion. People who would normally be described as “patriots” and who within their own lifetimes have seen periods of real animosity against the British were seen cooing and ahhing at the British monarch’s presence. There were protests, of course, but the turnouts were small, estimated at around the 200 mark. This is what they looked like from the inside:
 

 
By all accounts the visit was a roaring success. Liz had a tour of ghostly Dublin, where roads were blocked off to keep people away from her highness. She was brought to Croke Park, the 80,000+ capacity sports arena that has a very special significance in the history of Irish nationalism. Bought by the Gaelic Athletics Association in 1913, it was used to encourage the playing of indigenous sports hurling and Gaelic football (at a time when the country was under strict British rule) and was seen as a hotbed of anti-British conspiracy by the then powers-that-be. It was at Croke Park that the infamous original Bloody Sunday occurred in 1921 when, in retaliation for a number of assassinations by the IRA, the British army and the Royal Irish Constabulary indiscriminately shot into the crowd during a Dublin-Tipperary football match killing 13 spectators and the Tipperary football captain. It was this incident that turned the tide of the war of independence against the British and ultimately led to the withdrawal of British troops from most of the island. The fact that the Queen visited this specific arena says a lot about how far relations between the Irish and the English have come in the resulting ninety years. 

Her Madge also stopped off at the Coolmore Stud, the world’s largest breeding centre for thoroughbred horses, and in Cork city made a visit to its famous English Market. That bit was of particular significance to me, as my mother’s family have had a fruit and vegetable stall there for over 100 years. The English Market is a beautiful, hidden treasure in the vastly under-rated city (Cork is MUCH nicer than Dublin!) and could dearly use a boost in visits and trade in this era of multinationalization.
 

The English Market - the white haired man is my uncle.

Even more excitingly though, for me and a lot of people other people anyway, on Monday we will be being graced by a visit from President of the United States and the First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama. It’s only a flying visit really, as he is on his way to the UK for 4 days, but while here he will be travelling to County Offaly to look up some of his ancestors, and giving a public address on College Green in Dublin city centre. I expect the turn out for this to be very strong, and even though there will be a stepped up security presence, I really don’t think he has anything to worry about. In fact I think he will be greeted by a very warm Irish welcome, something that eluded President Bush a few years back. I won’t be here then, unfortunately, but the Irish media will be supplying day-long rolling coverage of his visit if you are interested in watching. I expect there to be protests too, but they will most likely be Queen-sized.

Anyway, so where was I… oh yes! The Rapture. Hmm, well there’s still a bit of time to kill before believers get hoovered up (or not). If there is any breaking news on this side of the pond I will dutifully report it. Or I might not actually, preferring to spend that time with my family. But for some reason or other all day I just haven’t been able to get this bloody song out of my mind. Any ideas why? Answers in a comment to the usual address…
 

 

Written by Niall O'Conghaile | Discussion
Catholic Church Covered up Child Sexual Abuse for 30 Years
11.27.2009
12:27 pm

Topics:
Belief

Tags:
Ireland
Catholic Church
Sexual Abuse

image


An Irish Church investigation has come to absolutely damning findings that the Church actively covered up institutionalized sexual abuse for thirty years. Via the Irish Times:

The Commission of Investigation into Dublin?

Written by Jason Louv | Discussion
10,000 faithful disappointed as Virgin Mary fails to show
11.02.2009
08:03 am

Topics:
Belief
Current Events

Tags:
Ireland
The Virgin Mary

imageMore than 10,000 people were left disappointed in Ireland Saturday as the Virgin Mary failed to appear as predicted at Knock Basilica.

By 3 p.m. Irish time (10 a.m. EST) about 7,000 people had crammed into the Basilica with a further 3,000 people outside.

Dubliner Joe Coleman, the man who had predicted the apparition left the Basilica at about 4 p.m. saying he had seen Our Lady as anticipated.

Coleman, who says he is ?

Written by Tara McGinley | Discussion