Back to the Past in Beara

The accepted view is that you can never go back to the past and of course, to a degree, that’s true. Personal experiences aren’t something you can really replicate, particularly the more intense ones, the formative ones that influence or create the core of your character and make you who you are. I managed to… Read more »

Father Ted and Me- Twenty Years

I learned this morning that Dermot Morgan (the Irish actor who played Father Ted) died twenty years ago today. Back in the late 90’s I used to let my young kids watch Father Ted with me as a way to familiarise them with Irish humour, something that was a bit of a challenge as we’d… Read more »

The Mystery of the Bare-ass Dolmen Dancers

Back in the eighties in Ireland there was a famous ad going around from the Irish Development Authority (IDA), a government agency responsible for developing enterprise and attracting foreign investment. A component of one of their marketing campaigns, it consisted of a series of photos taken around some of our more famous prehistoric monuments (stone… Read more »

Self-Beauty in Glendalough

This year, I managed to sneak a quick visit to one of my favourite sites back in Ireland, the beautiful valley of Gleann Dá Loch (Valley of Two lakes), anglicized as Glendalough. The valley’s always been inhabited although, given the spiel at the local visitor centres and tourist offices, you’d be forgiven for thinking life… Read more »

Strange Days in Barcelona

People are weird. Three days ago, a bunch of mindless individuals, mostly kids between the age of 17 and 22, attacked the city of Barcelona. Zealous and driven, it’s obvious their chains were being yanked by some manipulative figure in the shadows, nevertheless, one of them mounted a van onto the pedestrian walkway at La… Read more »

Father Ted’s Alive and Unwell

During my visit home this week, I found myself in a surreal situation when I was shoulder-twisted into an extended family social occasion and ended up being cornered (literally) by a subgroup of religious zealots. Just for context, you probably need to understand that religion in Ireland has suffered a huge decline over the past… Read more »

Earthquakes and Irony on the Shaky Isles

A bit hectic this week and people have been asking so I figured I’d give some information/ context on what we’re dealing with here – at least from a personal perspective. Even after many years in New Zealand, coming from one of the most stable pieces of land on the planet (the good ole conservative… Read more »

What If New Zealand Maori Colonised England?

Few things get my blood curdling but one was a media announcement in New Zealand yesterday when an individual by the name of Don Brash introduced a lobby group of ‘like-minded individuals’ vowing to vanquish radial separatism of the New Zealand political landscape (i.e. suppress the uppity indigenous people). [Pic: Maori woman warrior wielding ‘patu’… Read more »

Broody Days in the Galway Gaeltacht

Broody days in the Galway Gaeltacht under skies like a mottled bruise. I’m travelling around Ireland at the moment, catching up with old friends and family and doing a lot of research. Some of my travels took me up through the Galway Gaeltacht – a place I haven’t been in a long time. I couldn’t… Read more »

Sentinels in An Irish Doorway

It’s always the little things that get you. Wandering in from the yard back in Cork yesterday, this cluster of wooden sentinels triggered a twinge of emotion as I recalled playing hurling myself as a kid. I was never a particularly gifted player but there really is no sport like it in the world (in… Read more »

Homesick Dreams and a Place to Stand

Years ago when I was living in France, I experienced a series of amazingly detailed dreams of West-Cork, mostly involving travels around the Beara peninsula, Schull or Glandore.  Although I knew where I was in the dream, the odd thing was that I kept ending up on side roads I didn’t recognise, following twisting botharín to sights and views… Read more »