May 29, 2003

We demand a recount

Trust RTE to make a bollix of it. Tatu, the Russian pop duo who came third in the Eurovision Song contest, are claiming that they were robbed of the title. Why? In Ireland, the idea was that people would be allowed phone in for five minutes at the end of the contest to vote for the songs. Unfortunately, the votes were not counted in time, so RTE used a back-up set of votes, from a nameless jury. Luckily, since it is the Eurovision, no one actually cares. Pravda show little sympathy for their own entry, summed up in the quote

Reporter Sergey Sosedov said that you have to learn how to sing in a duet.

Posted by monasset at 11:37 PM | Comments (0)

The Long Journey Home

The BBC are running a season of nature programmes highlighting the various aspects of nature in Britain. It is up to the usual high standards of BBC Wildlife filming, despite being hosted by Bill Oddie (I still haven't forgiven him for The Goodies). According to Bill, England is experiencing a shortage of house sparrows. Well, they can have some of the hordes living in my back garden.

They can also have the pair of swallows that are busy trying to build a nest on the front of my house.
While I marvel at the feat of these little birds to fly all the way from Ireland to Africa, crossing the Sahara and back, I'd prefer they didn't build just over the front door. Next door looks much better.

Meanwhile, be sure to get out for a walk this month. The fields are covered with flowers at the moment, particularly buttercups.

UPDATE 30th May. It seems I'm not the only one marvelling at the fields of flowers...

Posted by monasset at 11:17 PM | Comments (0)

May 27, 2003


As we all know, France became a republic when the people took to the streets and overthrew the old regime. The French like to remind its government of the strength of people power by going on strike. Every bloody day. Normally, I could not care less but I plan to spend next week there on vacation. Which may entail swimming there due to strike action by transport workers.

The number of tourists flying to France from Ireland next week.

Worst still, I'm flying with Ryanair, the "Low Fares but-tough-shit-if-there's-a-cancellation Airline". It seemed like a bargain at the time.

Mona Lisait, well-known bookstore in Paris.

Posted by monasset at 11:13 PM | Comments (0)

May 25, 2003

For Crying Out Loud

A number of circumstances meant that I spent Saturday night babysitting the whirlwind that is my 20 month old niece (after which I'm amazed Lilymom has time to read a blog, let alone write one). I mention this only to explain why I happened to see some of the Eurovision song contest.

If you were to choose a group of people to represent your country, who would you choose. Politicians ? Artist ? Sportsmen and women? How about your Eurovision entry? Or what about the people who are sad enough to watch the whole thing, and then rush to the phone to vote for one of the songs?

The Eurovision was set up as an experiment by the European Broadcasting Union (not to be confused with these guys), who wanted to show that the various national broadcasters could overcome the technical challenges required to organise a multinational, simultaneous, live broadcast (Hey, that was a big deal back in the Sixties).

Now, I'm sure that the engineers of Europe had a high-minded purpose in mind when planning this broadcast the first time. In case of emergency, vital information could be broadcast right across Europe. Imagine if the Russians had invaded, or Martians landed?

Imagine how useful this broadcasting capability would be. Alas, no such reason ever presented itself. Instead, they were reduced to having a song contest, just to show how erm….useful…and necessary… their system was. It's a bit like the third generation mobile phones, which can provide portable broadcast right across the world. Except that there's only one use for that. Broadcasting sport and porn in a manner that you could probably hide from your wife.

It has become de rigeur for Irish and UK to cover the Eurovision with a "we're above all this", "aren't the rest of Europe bonkers?" air. There is only one flaw with this approach. Picking Marty Whelan and Terry Wogan respectively as commentators, who themselves are beyond parody. Stitch them together with the same wig, I say.

That is not to say that the Eurovision is undeserving of derision. The joke is already on Ireland since RTE spent the whole year picking first the entrant and then the song (which was still shit).Our licence fee at work. Alas, Mickey Joe Harte was beaten into eleventh place, though as Marty breathlessly informed us, that was enough to ensure that Ireland would qualify to compete next year. Listening to the Eurodrivel on offer, you wouldn't think that there are countries every year that aren't allowed compete due to even less talent.

Every year, there is at least one entrant that is so bad, so unbelievably embarrassing that the real question is why the border police in the home country didn't stop him or her leaving, just to stop them mortifying their fellow citizens. This year was a vintage year. The Polish entry featured a man with purple hair who decided to sing his dirge in Polish, German, Russian and maybe Esperanto. It would have been shit in even one language. Hang on a minute, I thought the Poles had spent the last century struggling to ensure they didn't have to speak German or Russian any more?

The Ukrainians went one better, by deciding to have a performing contortionist in a blue leotard on a turntable beside the band. And no, she didn't sing. As the lead singer reached the emotional crescendo of the song, I doubt if I was the only one distracted by watching the blue-clad young lady unfurl her legs from behind her ears.

The United Kingdom adopted a unique approach. The rather sexy young Kylie lookalike sang the first verse of her song completely off key and was rewarded by the population of Europe by scoring nul point (Sky News ran a survey this morning -was this the worst Eurovision performance ever ?). By the way, the mystery of what Leisure Suit Larry did after he escaped from the land of Lounge Lizards was solved last night - he was performing the Cyprus entry.

In a nail-biting finish, a bunch of Turkish belly-dancers won. Marty was holding out for a Russian win in the last round (the faux teenage lesbians Tatu trying their hand, as it were), blithely ignoring the fact that there was only 12 points left to score and Tatu were 15 points behind.

One mystery remains unsolved. During the scoring process, the broadcast would cut to an announcer in each participant country, who was usually super-imposed in front of a picture from the city from which they were broadcasting. When the Israeli presenter announced her country's votes in front of a non-descript scene, I thought, "Fair enough, they probably wanted to pick a non-controversial view". By the time they had eliminated anything that would annoy Jews, Christians, Muslims and anyone else, all they were left was a street lamp and an office building. But then it was the same for Greece (hmm, where could one find a nice backdrop in Athens?) and a number of other countries. Then I began to wonder. Maybe the Engineers were choosing pictures of the buildings from which they were broadcasting. Dear God. They must be stopped.

Posted by monasset at 11:38 PM | Comments (1)


TV3 showed Snake Eyes as their Sunday night movie tonight. The first ten minutes features a boxing match that is essential to the rest of the story - TV3 edited it out completely, presumably to spare their viewers sensitivities (or maybe to confuse them completely, since a key part of the plot resolution hinges on the fight).

TG4 had no such qualms with their Sunday night documentary. It was about organic pig-farming in Gaeltacht areas. It followed the fortunes of one German family who were lovingly rearing by hand three chubby and mischievous looking piggies. If there's one thing I've learned from Warlord comics and war movies, it's that if someone hunts you out of a building, shouting "Raus, swein, raus!!" in a guttural voice, it will not end well for you. Now, here's a hint for any farmyard animal. If this should happens, run, and don't look back.

Alas, these three little piggies went to the abattoir, and they weren't coming home. First they were duped into a trailer, by a trail of oats. The farmer, still smiling, explained that if the pigs became stressed, it would affect the quality of the meat (something to do with adrenaline retention) Once in the trailer, they were fed poitín, just to chill them out further. Once they got to the abattoir, they shuffled out, grinning (since they were pissed).

Now, in most documentaries, there is usually a quick cut to the aftermath. Not in this one. The man in the abattoir casually clamped a set of electrodes over cute piggy #1, who dropped like a stone. While it was still twitching, abattoir man hooked its leg to a pulley, hoisted the pig up, and ripped a huge gash in its throat. A huge gush of blood covered the floor. (At this point, any townies watching the programme had probably switched back to ER - less blood, and the cute ones live.). For maximum gross-out value, we got to see the piggies washed in scalding water, plucked clean of hair and then blow-torched. A final scene showed a line of ghostly white pigs heads on hooks in the factory, as they proceeded up the production line.

By way of contrast, the programme interspersed the scenes of the slaughter with scenes from an old RTE documentary showing how pigs were killed in the old days. Difference number one - not much concern over the pigs stress levels. The pig in question was chased around the field squealing in terror until it was (literally) hog-tied, spread-eagled upside down across a trailer- the end was the same, and just as bloody.

If I had one criticism of the programme it is that I do not know how you can do a documentary on pig-farming without mentioning the smell of pig shit. (And I haven't even mentioned the part where the little old lady sat by the fire reminiscing about how she used to pull out the teeth of the new born piglets by hand. Out of earshot of the sow. Something about keeping the stress levels low).
The programme finished with (another) smiling German butcher, with the sort of moustache built for twirling, happily feeding pork mince (i.e. the three little piggies) into a sausage maker.

Babe, it wasn't.

Posted by monasset at 11:36 PM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2003

Speaking in tongues

The Vagina Monologues is (are?) coming to the Town Hall Theatre in Galway next week. I can only imagine the pleasure of the sub-editor of the Connacht Tribune who quoted one of the 'stars' of the show, Carrie Crowley in the headline that it…

isn't just talking about our fannies all night.

Hardly worth going, then.

Posted by monasset at 04:19 PM | Comments (0)

The High Note

Say what you like about Ronan Keating (and many of us do), but give him credit where it's due. Ronan is currently walking around Ireland to raise money and awareness for his Breast Cancer charity, which he founded after his mother died from the disease. It does seem a shame that he managed to pick the worst weather of the year so far. He's walking, or rather wading, through the West at the moment.
This is a win-win situation. Obviously, his charity work is to be applauded. Even better, while he's walking, he's not recording. So if you see Ronan struggling through the rain and gales, invite him for a cup of tea. Or two. Or even make him stay for a week or two. Just don’t let him finish the walk. And if he is in your house, keep the karaoke machine hidden.

Posted by monasset at 04:16 PM | Comments (0)

May 20, 2003


Daid Havelin rightly sings the praises of the Irish TV series, Hands, which is being repeated on RTE 1 on Tuesdays. Last night's programme was about the skill of making hurleys in Kilkenny. The programme was made in 1982 and featured a very young Brian Cody selecting a hurley for the all-Ireland final. I need something that will crack the thickest head, since we are meeting Cork in the final. Ok, he didn't ACTUALLY say that but the twinkle in his eye as he tested the strength of a hurley stick indicated what he was thinking.

While the documentaries are excellent (with a beguiling lack of self-conciousness on the part of the participants), I wish that RTE would append a "where are they now" coda to each documentary. Many of the professions shown in the documentaries, such as basket-weavers, blacksmiths, thatchers, have become much scarcer in the last two decades since the programmes were made. It would be interesting to see how many families were still following the tradition.

Posted by monasset at 11:07 PM | Comments (0)

Oh the humanity

TV stations in Texas decided not to air a two-part miniseries on Hitler, in case it encouraged the locals (link via The Minor Fall, The Major Lift). I noticed that Peter O'Toole played the part of Paul von Hindenburg, the last German president before WWII. Maybe it's just me but I couldn't help thinking that his extravagant acting ability would be better suited to play the Hindenburg airship.

Posted by monasset at 10:57 PM | Comments (0)

Let's stay together

Ah, so the Progressive Democrats are closer to Berlin than Boston after all. When Minister for Education Noel Dempsey floated the idea of reintroducing tuition fees for third-level education, the PDs threw a wobbler. Michael McDowell, PD Minister for Justice, said he was against it (and why hadn't he heard about it earlier, dammit), and this morning, Senator John Minahin (who ?) stamped his foot, trembled his lip and declared that the PDs were against the move 'in principle'. The principle, that rare beast in Irish politics, is that third-level education is a basic right, and part of the 'infrastructure' that encourages industry to come to Ireland. All very well, but hardly a free-market principle and much more in keeping with our European neighbours than the US. Minahin stated that , as far as the PDs were concerned, third-level funding would come from general tax revenues, conveniently overlooking the fact that our continental neighbours pay more tax precisely to provide this sort of benefit. And we all know the PDs hate high taxes.

Of course, there is some wiggle room. The proposal will only apply to wealthy individuals. Now, you would think that that would include lots of people. The sort of people who own this year's BMW or Merc, or one of those 1 million euro houses without a mortgage. You think ? Bertie, our esteemed leader, struggled to think of what would constitute a man of means. Being a man of the people himself, he doesn't consider himself wealthy, nor indeed do any of his colleagues. So only people who earn three or four hundred thousand euro are being considered (though Bertie's brother, Noel, scared the horses by suggesting a figure of just somewhere north of seventy thousand euro. Dear God, man, a government minister earns more than that, and they can hardly make ends meet!). By the looks of things, only tribunal lawyers, Joe Dolan and Bono would be eligible. And Joe is a bachelor.

Now, a more cynical chap than myself might surmise that Bertie (who has backed Dempsey in his usual lukewarm, noncommittal way) might be using the issue to 'put manners on' the PDs. The Fianna Fail backbenchers are constantly moaning that the PD tail is wagging the FF mutt. Given the unpopularity of the Government, no-one wants an election, but Bertie knows that he could easily form an alternative government with a bunch of independents. Mary Harney is well aware that the opposition benches would be a cold place for her party for the next four years, and she could hardly attack the government for policies she had helped to formulate. So perhaps Bertie is testing their resolve, to see how far they would push their 'principles'.

But maybe there is a simpler explanation. Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats are the Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor of Irish political marriages. They bicker constantly when they are together but when they are with other partners, they are still wistfully thinking of the good times together.

Posted by monasset at 10:40 PM | Comments (0)

And justice for all.

RTE reported today that a man had been arrested in connection with a vicious assault on two women tourists in Dublin city centre by a male assailant over the weekend. On Sunday, the This Week radio show featured Gráinne Walsh who described how she and her sister were also the victim of an unprovoked and repeated attack, after being bundled into a van and later in a room where she had her hed slammed against a wall. This was happening while Gardai stood watching. Why ? Because the assailant was a Garda.

After five years of denial, and attempts to portray Gráinne and her sister as criminals, the Gardai apologised and paid the two women substantial compensation. As for the assailant, she occasionally sees him on duty around Dublin.
I don't know what was worse; hearing her account or listening to Socialist Party TD Joe Costello's mealy-mouthed criticism of the Gardai. Joe seemed content to express a desire for more information, and wonder about the delay in compensation, rather than ask the obvious question; why isn't the Garda in question in jail ?

Her account is online here.

Posted by monasset at 10:38 PM | Comments (0)

May 18, 2003

Flower power

The recent heavy rain and high winds have played havoc with the flowers that bloomed early because of the unusually warm April. It's not much fun for the humans either. The bad weather wasn't enough to stop Galway beating Roscommon either today.

Rhododendrons don't flower long even when the weather is good - this year, the weather has broken just as they are blooming. Not good. I visited the deserted ruins of a stately home at Marble Hill where the remains of a formal garden means there are giant rhododendron trees of various colours. Alas, driving rain has meant that the blooms are nearly gone, and I didn't stay too long either. (see gallery for Knockdrumore for more pictures of the area).

I haven't managed to visit a woodland with bluebells at all this year, though now is the right time, though hopefully in the next week or two, I can manage it.

Posted by monasset at 11:55 PM | Comments (0)

Gone but not forgotten

RTE showed an affectionate tribute to Dermot Morgan on Tuesday night as part of their "True Lives" series (thanks to RTE's bizarrely organised website, I can't find a link to it). It was fairly balanced, and yet another reminder of just how are poor the current crop of Irish comedians.

One question I had (that was not answered by the programme) was why RTE chose to schedule their hottest radio show (Scrap Saturday) at a time when most people were asleep (early on Saturday morning). Even worse, they repeated the programme early on Sunday mornings, just to be sure less people would hear it.

One fan's tribute to Dermot Morgan, photographed in Donegal two years ago.

Posted by monasset at 11:30 PM | Comments (0)

May 13, 2003


Posted by monasset at 10:13 PM | Comments (1)

Shining Lights

The recent Mercury 'flypast' was a washout. The planet passed in front of the sun - warnings about the dangers of staring at the sun turned out to be superfluous. Low-level cloud meant that nowt was visible. On Thursday, there will be a lunar eclipse, though it's a bit early.

Speaking of heavenly bodies, the nurses are having a conference in Galway this week. Last week, it was the turn of the Gardai. If they had coordinated their schedules, they could have had a right old hooley.

Posted by monasset at 10:09 PM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2003

The Decisive Moment

Henri Cartier-Bresson is still alive. He has given up photography completely, which is a pity, because he wasn't too bad at it.
He took up painting, his first love, thirty years ago. Now 94, there is an exhibition of his photographs on show in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. I once queued for an hour outside this building thinking that I was queuing for an exhibition of Surrealists in the George Pompidou (where there was a three hour queue). Laugh ? I nearly cried.

Posted by monasset at 10:04 PM | Comments (1)

Hey Hey My My

Well, Neil was brilliant - as I write this, he's probably wowing another audience (he is playing three dates in Vicar St., last night, tonight and tomorrow night). The show, billed as solo and acoustic, consists of Neil with a stack of guitars, two pianos and an organ. The purpose of the tour is to debut his latest album - a concept album, called Greendale. The concept is the life and times of an eccentric family living in the eponymous fictional town on the north east coast of the US. The songs are very very good and very entertaining - the style of the album is wry, folksy, sardonic and sweet (pretty much what you'd expect from Old Shaky).

What really adds to the enjoyment is how he sets the scene for each song. Preceding each song is a yarn that describes the characters we're going to hear about, told so well that by the time he begins the intro, we're dying to hear more. In fact, the night is as much an evening of storytelling as singing.

He arrived on stage just after 8pm and performed every song off the album which takes about two hours. Then he took a 15 minute break and then did an hour of old favourites (set list of the tour here). The only drawback was the long haul home - I didn't leave Dublin until 11.30pm and it was well into Monday morning before I got home. Still, it was well worth the 105 euro, and when I reclaim the missus from the pawnshop, I'm sure she'll agree.

I do need to mention one thing. If you are going to spend a lot of money to see your hero, you'd hope not to make a complete dick of yourself. Not as easy as you'd think. A quartet of North Americans let down their entire sub-continent with their performance. Two of them were warned for shouting even before the gig began (a beefy chap with an ear-piece did a lot of finger-wagging and pointing to the door). That quietened them for a while but they perked up again all too soon. One of them would shout out every so often "Neil, you rawk my world", You're awesome", and even "Neil, I love your shoes, man".

Oh, did I mention that they were in the front row. Actually, it wasn't so bad, because Neil swatted them down a couple of times, to applause. One audience member did raise a laugh from everyone, Neil included. Neil has a big songbook that contains all his songs. In the middle of the set, he decided to play a song that he hadn't played in a long time. He began searching in the book but couldn't find it. A wag in the audience called out that "maybe Stills took it". You had to be there. We never did find out what song he was looking for.

A review of his gig in Hamburg can be found here.

Posted by monasset at 09:40 PM | Comments (1)

May 11, 2003

The Credit Card and the Damage Done

There was good article in the Guardian about the early days of Radiohead. I saw Radiohead back in 1995 when they played Gino's in Stockholm (which is about the same size as Whelan's in Dublin). Brilliant gig, though I could not persuade anyone to come with me at the time. Tonight, I'm going to see Neil Young playing in Vicar Street (about the same size as Whelan's). A friend got two tickets and when I was offered one, there was no question but to take it. Yes, the price (105 euro) is steep, so if you see the wife in a pawnshop window for the next couple of weeks, you'll know why...all reasonable offers considered....

Posted by monasset at 03:38 PM | Comments (0)

Unsettled weather

The weather of the last week (wet & windy) is really April's weather arriving late. It's caught a few boaters by surprise - a few anglers spent a night on an island in Lough Corrib because of bad weather. This photo, of fields overlooking Lough Corrib was taken at Easter, in glorious spring sunshine.

Posted by monasset at 03:27 PM | Comments (0)

Natural Gas

There's plenty of coverage in the Mayo papers, though not much analysis, regarding the decision by An Bord Pleanala to reject Enterprise Oil's plan to build a gas terminal on the North Mayo coast. The Western People covers both side of the argument here and here, while the Mayo News highlights some local scepticism that the plan would yield much sustained local prosperity.

Posted by monasset at 02:42 PM | Comments (0)

May 08, 2003

In bloom

The countryside is at it's most beautiful in May, finally shaking free of Winter's grip and bursting into vibrant, verdant life.

I nearly blundered right into a row of beehives that were located at the edge of this field. No shortage of pollen for those bees. It is a field of rape (Brassica napus), planted to produce vegetable oil. Note the bog in the background - it's also the time of year for turf-cutting. But we'll talk about that misery another time.
Photographed near Cloghan, East Galway, May 2nd, 2003

Posted by monasset at 09:50 PM | Comments (3)

May 07, 2003

Not like it used to be

The New York Times reports that the Irish Famine memorial has been closed for repairs, a year after opening.

The New York Times reports that the Irish Famine memorial has been closed for repairs, a year after opening. The memorial represents an Irish peasant homestead, consisting of an old Mayo cottage and a small potato field., surrounded by stone walls. All the material was shipped over from Ireland.

It seems that the modern materials used to reassemble the diorama were at fault - the wear and tear of visitors played its part too. It's ironic that the farmhouse stood neglected but intact for well over a century when it was in Ireland, and the stone walls had probably stood for hundreds of years.....

Posted by monasset at 08:49 AM | Comments (0)


I've added a few more galleries to the site, mainly of historical sites. The picture above is of Kilconnell Friary - the photograph was taken on Holy Thursday, April 17th, 2003.

Posted by monasset at 12:19 AM | Comments (2)

May 06, 2003

Lights, Camera, Galway

Aahh, Hollywood. Anjelica Huston hosted a fundraiser in Los Angeles in aid of NUI Galway's School of Media and Digital Media, which is dedicated to her father, the director John Huston. The Galway connection is that John Huston used to a house in East Galway (near Craughwell) that is now a hotel and restaurant called St. Cleran's. I had dinner there once a couple of years ago and it was simply superb. It was pricey but worth every penny (unlike half the restaurants in Galway that are merely pricey). The fundraiser was held in Merv Griffin's Beverly Hills hotel - Merv, who now owns St. Cleran's, is quite a character. He invented the game show Wheel of Fortune (and promptly made one), owns a stack of hotels, and, at the age of 77, has just written a second autobiography (that's nearly as many as Geri Haliwell).

Speaking of tenuous Galway - Hollywood links, belated congratulations to Galway-born Peter O'Toole on his honorary Oscar. Rumours that the gold statuette was in the shape of a giant ham, or indeed Kenneth Brannagh, are entirely unfounded, and typical of the sort of begrudgery that is beneath this blog.

Posted by monasset at 11:50 PM | Comments (0)


It seems like the entire staff of the Sunday Independent are auditioning for a Daily Telegraph writing gig. Eilis O'Hanlon is the latest 'voice of reason'. Commenting on the fact that two out of five Traveller marriages are between cousins, she asks

What next? Are we going to legitimise sex with farm animals too on the grounds that it is an essential part of rural culture… …Or sex between fathers and daughters, mothers and sons, grandparents and grandchildren? If everything is relative and depends only on one's culture or opinion, then surely nothing is wrong, anything goes?

Ah yes, the oldest trick in the book, and the most cynical. Mention something you don't like in the same sentence as something that appals everyone, and hope that enough people make an association. Of course she is being facetiousness, but there's nothing like sneaking bestiality and incest into the discussion. Funnily enough, a Senator the US who tried a similar tactic (by mentioning homosexuality in the same sentence as bestiality and incest) got a roasting in the media there.

O'Hanlon's tactics cannot hide the paucity of her argument. Travellers suffer from many health problems and a scandalously low life expectancy, based on their living standards, but there is no evidence that intermarrying has anything to do with it. The fact that cousins marrying was a fairly normal part of rural life for settled people in Ireland until the latter half of the 20th century seems to have escaped Eilis completely. No surprise there.

There is an issue in the Travelling Community that doesn't get the attention it deserves; that of domestic violence. It will take a better journalist that Ms O'Hanlon to cover it.

By coincidence, an article on incest that actually looks like it was written by a journalist could be found in another newspaper last Sunday, in the Observer.

Posted by monasset at 11:40 PM | Comments (0)

don't look back

When I was young, I was fascinated by news items that described a crime and mentioned that someone was helping police with their enquiries. I had a vision of public-spirited individuals volunteering to search for missing people or hunt for clues. Shows where reading the Famous Five will get you. Seems I was not alone. There is a website called I used to believe that enables people to share their youthful misconceptions with others. I thought that's what drinking sessions were for.

Posted by monasset at 11:38 PM | Comments (0)

Stone Cold Mad

TodayFM have been running a competition to send two people to Sweden to stay in the Ice Hotel in Kiruna for a weekend. Now, as long as I lived in Sweden, I could never see the point of a hotel where the beds are basically blocks of ice, and you have to swaddle yourself in sleeping bags to sleep on them. The rest of the hotel is made of ice too, so a quiet drink at the bar is an evening of sitting on a pile of ice in layers of Goretex, listening to your fellow-drinkers ordering a drink and saying, No ice, please, as if they were the first to think of it. Hilaaaarious, No.

I know it's a question of making a virtue of necessity, but imagine if there was a hotel in Roundstone called the Rain Hotel, that was essentially a large boghole, and you got to sleep in a muddy puddle. Shite, anyone ? Actually, now that I think of it………

I am reminded of the adventure of an acquaintance, who, while trudging home to his apartment in Stockholm one night, was inspired by the large pile of snow that had been deposited in the courtyard of his building by a snowplough. He decided to build an igloo, and after an hour or so, had tunnelled right into the centre of the pile (which was about 8 feet high). Proud of his achievement, he was going to sleep there but though better of it. Not because of the danger of hypothermia but because he had run out of whiskey. Oh, did I mention that he had a bottle of Jameson, which he used to scoop out the snow (between swigs), as well as, and I am just guessing here, having some part in inspiring him in the first place.

Posted by monasset at 11:36 PM | Comments (0)

May 04, 2003

Road to Damascus

It was only a matter of time ......
This morning, on Radio 1's Sunday Show, Eamonn Dunphy complained that there was too much coverage of Engish football on Irish television and that there was a danger that it might damage Irish culture. Eamonn came to this conclusion sitting in a pub yesterday watching football - he wasn't aware that there were people in the country doing something else. Eamonn's real gripe seems to be that he hasn't got any work from Sky Sport (the Death Star of football coverage), which is maybe not so surprising considering the number of gobshites that they already employ.

This is the same Eamonn Dunphy that makes a healthy living commenting on the Premiership for newspapers, radio and television as well as writing three football books.

If he wanted to reduce the saturation coverage, he could just shut up. Not much chance of that.

Posted by monasset at 08:22 PM | Comments (0)

Troubled Waters

An Bord Pleanala turned down Enterprise Oil's plan to build a natural gas terminal near Belmullet, Co. Mayo. It's unlikely that they will just up sticks and leave - they have a twenty-year lease from the Irish government to exploit millions of tons of natural gas sitting in the Corrib Field in the north Atlantic.

But what about the extra cost of building an off-shore terminal ? Enterprise are owned by Shell, whose advertisements constantly play up their environmental awareness. Time to put their money where their mouth is. If it means that Enterprise only makes merely gigantic profits as apposed to astronomical profits with an onshore terminal, well so be it.

Posted by monasset at 08:17 PM | Comments (0)