June 30, 2003

Middle Earth

I was back in the Sliabh Blooms again this weekend, by a twist of fate. This hill-walking lark will be the death of me. More specifically, it will be death by midges. The air was thick with the little hoors. I was using Thomas Joyce's "Bladhma - walks of discovery in Slieve Bloom" which is an excellent guide book (though no mention of midges). I walked the Ridge of Capard, from which one can see the the Wicklow mountains (unless my map-reading was off, I could see Lugnaquilla), the Blackstairs and unidentifed mountains in the west (it was too hazy to identify them clearly). We rose a couple of grouse and identifed some plants - Joyce's book contains a number of his sketches of flora and fauna.

On the way back, we stopped by Cathole Waterfall. Yes, that's what it's called - I'm not sure which cat its named after.

I can only presume that the water doesn't taste very good.

While Iwas on the way to the start of the walk, I passed this sign.

Spot the typo. Meanwhile, in a nearby field, these silage bales demonstrate a good example of the imperative tradition in the midland literary oeuvre.

Posted by monasset at 10:52 PM | Comments (0)

No axe to grind

When I was in school, I was taught that the Vikings introduced coinage, the fork and the comb to the native Irish, who hitherto were presumably wandering around looking like a bunch of freckle-faced Michael Bolton lookalikes, writing IOUs and eating with their fingers. For some reason, the Vikings weren't popular at first - it had something to do with the fact that they could never sail past a monastery they couldn't desecrate (Mind you, if they arrived at Dun Laoghaire today offering to lay waste to the Church, they might get a warmer welcome. But I digress).

In Athlone this week, the town will hold a Viking festival which will commemorate the memory of Olaf Scabbyhead, a Viking warrior who plundered along the Shannon a thousand years ago. The festival will also include events in Clonmacnoise (downstream of Athlone) which survived a number of Viking attacks. It's great that we Irish can let bygones be bygones and celebrate the memory and contribution of our former invaders. No doubt we can look forward to a joyful commemoration of Cromwell's tour of Ireland in around 2603. I don't know much about Olaf, but I'm guessing he wasn't the one who introduced the comb.

Posted by monasset at 10:20 PM | Comments (0)

Radio Ga-Ga

The people of the north-west are not happy and were out on the streets of Sligo protesting on Sunday (it was a sunny day) Their local radio station NWR (North West Radio) has lost their franchise. The new licensee, Ocean FM, happened to mention in their application that NWR's audience were old, conservative and of a lower social class (how this was relevant to the application is a mystery to me). The slogan on the Ocean webpage is "Local radio for local people". Clearly, not all local people.

There's nothing like a bit of Ubermensch and Untermensch to liven up a dull old application form. Maybe the new station will just play Wagner.

Posted by monasset at 10:18 PM | Comments (0)

June 26, 2003

Last call

Now is the time to book your tickets for the Galway Arts festival (now that I have booked mine, I can remind others). They have online booking on their website, so there is no excuse. The festival is still nearly a month away, but the good stuff tends to sell out early...

Posted by monasset at 11:35 PM


The Connacht Tribune report that the thorny issue of planning permission and fluency in Irish has arisen again. Galway County council have issued new planning guidelines (relating to how the new County Plan will be applied to the Gaeltacht areas), which include as a criterion the fluency in Irish of the applicant. Naturally, councillor Pól Ó Foighil is happy.

Posted by monasset at 11:09 PM | Comments (0)

It's better to give than to receive

As Noel Grealish, TD remarked on RTE this week, it is one of the few times that the Progressive Democrats and Sinn Fein are united on an issue. The Galway West TD was talking about the so-called scrappage scheme which is the compensation scheme to persuade members of the Dáil to give up their elected seats on local authorities.

Noel decided last week to give his twelve thousand euro (the amount depends on when they resign) to local charities. By a coincidence, so did Martin Ferris of Sinn Féin. Noel is following in a PD tradition; Des O'Malley and Bobby Molloy refused their state pensions while they were serving ministers (an example that no-one else followed). Noel's view is that the compensation is unnecessary - TD's earn enough already. Of course, it is not an entirely altruistic gesture (unless you subscribe to Richard Dawkin's view of altruism) - TDs are constantly called upon to support local causes, and having twelve grand to spread around the constituency won't do them any harm at all.

Posted by monasset at 11:06 PM | Comments (0)


I am always amused by the way local newspapers scatter photographs across their pages seemingly at random, without any apparent thought to the stories beside any of the images. A story like "Syphilis outbreak blamed on local trollop" could accompany the beaming image of some unsuspecting member of the local ICA, photographed on a night out. This week's Tribune has a few fine examples, such as "Youth jailed for vicious attack on passerby with broken bottle", under a picture of a happy chap who just been awarded a Phd in NUIG (and not for GBH). I shouldn't pick on the Tribune - all the local papers do the same. I wonder are they trying to give us a subliminal message. If so, the comely maiden pictured behind a headline relating to dangers in the dairy sector won't be too happy.

Posted by monasset at 11:04 PM | Comments (0)

Rambling Rose...

In a totally unrelated story, Miss Salthill has won the Galway Rose title, and very easy on the eye she is, too. Her aunt won the Rose of Tralee title in the Sixties, so it runs in the genes. I'd like to think that I'm not prone to exaggeration but I have to say that the Rose of Tralee festival has to be the greatest pile of sh*te I have ever endured.

In the late eighties, I worked for one of the Irish banks, in their headquarters (bringing the system down from within). Like almost every other company in Dublin at the time, it was staffed almost entirely by country folk. And you would not believe how many of them had booked a weeks holidays for the festival. You have to come down to Tralee, it's mad craic. And the women. Well, that sold it to me (I was young).

By the time the train from Dublin arrived in tralee (in roughly the same time it took the Apollo astronauts to reach the moon), the monsoon season had begun in Tralee. We were camping on the GAA pitch - they had cunningly tempted the tent people to spend their money in the clubhouse instead of going to town by setting the price of Guinness at 1.25 a pint (as I recall, the saving was somewhere in the heady regions of 5p a pint, but lets face it, if we were stingy enough to camp in a swamp for the weekend, even a penny would have kept us there). We sat in the clubhouse, drinking and steaming (we had got drenched running from the train to the shuttle bus and on to the clubhouse).

We had a dilemma. We could drink our heads off until closing time and hope the rain would have stopped by then. Of course, by then, we would be drunk, and tent-erecting might prove a tad challenging. Or we could put up the tent in the pouring rain and then return to the clubhouse with peace of mind. Which is what we did. To discover that the monsoon had finished for the weekend, and the sky was clear and full of stars. Bugger! While everyone else, worse for wear, struggled with their tents, we hopped inside. To find our clothes and sleeping bag sitting in a puddle. Our tent was waterproof, so all the water that had accumulated inside the tent while we assembled it could not escape (We would smell of stale cabbage for the weekend, and even today, when Das Boot is shown on TV, I get flashbacks to that miserable weekend). And things would only get worse…

Cloudtravel's excellent travel site has a far happier account of a trip to Kerry (and the West).

Posted by monasset at 11:03 PM | Comments (0)

June 25, 2003

Built towards Heaven

New gallery added, of Rosserk Friary, near Killala in Co. Mayo.

Posted by monasset at 11:49 PM | Comments (0)


monasset's first law of the summer states that the week you get a great deal on garden furniture is probably the last week that you'll need it for the summer. (There is a corollary to that law that states if you build a deck in your back garden in driving rain in May, you should probably save enough timber for a boat in august).
But enough cavilling. Tonight was a beautiful summer evening, and the aformentioned furniture and decking was put to full use for only the second barbie of the summer. A great success despite a stray piece of charcoal almost burning clear through the deck. Rain predicted by the weekend - enjoy the sun while you can.

Posted by monasset at 11:39 PM | Comments (0)

June 24, 2003

Much ado.....

The Sunday Tribune was flogging a dead horse yesterday with a story headlined" Ó Cuív attacked as 'elitist' over remarks about Irish language". Eamonn Ó Cuív, Minister for the Gaeltacht, is currently guiding the Official Languages Bill through the Dail. The bill will ensure that state and semi-state organizations will facilitate people who want to conduct business as Gaeilge (the Civil Service already provide this facility in most departments). At a speech in Spiddal, he apparently remarked that it was just as well that English-speakers did not know the full extent of the bill or they would have objected to it. Now, it just the sort of thing that a minister says to put a blas on a speech to the faithful.
Labour TD Brian O'Shea was having none of it.

What the minister appears to be saying is that it is a good and desirable thing that the majority of people in the state are not aware of the contents of an important piece of legislation passing through the Dáil.

That whooshing noise is Brian missing the point. If anyone is guilty of not knowing what's in the bill, it is the Opposition … including Brian. And if Brian and his colleagues couldn't understand what was in the bill, they could have asked for a translation - if they could be bothered...

UPDATE: Vincent Browne hosted a debate on the Offical Languages Bill on his radio show this evening (the audio will be posted here later tonight or tomorrow). Browne tried to pin down Ó Cuív on his speech in his usual style (i.e. by making a statement and asking Ó Cuív to justanswer yes or no to it). After a tiresome bit of jousting, the Minister repeated EXACTLY what he had said in the meeting - as Gaeilge. That left Vincent stumped.

Posted by monasset at 11:59 PM | Comments (0)


Galway is officially the filthiest city in Ireland (which calls the mind the grafitti on the back of a dirty van, "I wish my wife was this dirty"). A disgruntled Val Hanley, the current Mayor, said it was a wake-up call. Funnily enough, when RTE set up their camera to film the swirling litter around the Spanish Arch last week, after the announcement was made, a number of council workers magically appeared (some of whom looked like they had just received a wake-up call of their own), and began a frenzy of cleaning.

Posted by monasset at 11:56 PM | Comments (1)

Parity of Esteem

Last week, a group of travellers drinking in a pub in Ballymiles, Co. Mayo decided to smash up the place after they were asked to leave at closing time. Their demolition job came after they had terrorised the 71 year old owner and his 69 year old wife, as well as help themselves to drink behind the bar.

The reaction of the local travellers' support group? Ah yes. The travellers had clearly been provoked, because they had refused entry to pubs in Westport earlier in the day...

Acts of violence are happening every day. If travellers are involved or suspected of being involved it takes on some intangible, almost primal extra meaning and importance.
Travellers rights have been denied in so many ways over generations which has a huge impact on their lives, health, status and attitudes towards settled people and the state - when people are denied their rights, it can lead them in turn to denying the rights of members of the other community , often in an indiscriminate way.

Talk about calling a spade a spade! On Morning Ireland during the week, the representative from Pavee Point was in full Peace Process-speak. He travelled to Mayo to express empathy and suggested a Reconciliation commission to settle difference between travellers and settled people. Funnily enough, he didn't suggest that the publican should look for compensation at the Equality Agency….

Another reason that this story made headlines was the fact that the publican, Paddy O'Neill, called the Gardai just before closing time and asked for help to clear the bar. Three Gardai arrived in two cars, had a quick look around and departed, with the excuse that they were needed elsewhere. By the time that (other) Gardai arrived, the damage was done. A number of 999 calls made by Paddy (and his son) went unanswered (it's not clear if no answer at all was received or the local station didn't take the call once it was relayed). It's doubtful that the travellers would have smashed the place up with the Gardai present - the crime could have been avoided if they hadn't been so eager to get back into their patrol cars. The story is well summarised in the Irish Emigrant here.

Posted by monasset at 11:45 PM | Comments (0)

The Longest Day

So how did you spend the longest day of the year?

I found myself walking in the Sliabh Bloom mountains(ok, ok, hills) - the hills were covered with heather and bog-cotton and the walks in the forest were decorated with swathes of foxgloves and scented with honeysuckle.

I spotted a couple of fallow deer, and a stoat, but the highlight was two sightings (at opposite ends of the range) of a male hen harrier - I have never seen a male specimen before.

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

June 18, 2003

Reach for the sky

TG4 are looking for potential interviewees who are planning to climb Croagh Patrick next month. So if you splutter a cupla focail while gasping for breath, your 15 minutes of fame awaits. I'm planning to have a go again this year (see last years gallery on the left), but I hope to avoid the scalding I got last year.

Posted by monasset at 11:52 PM | Comments (0)

June 16, 2003

On the road

On the way to Clifden on Saturday, I happened upon a few parked cars on the road, on the brow of a hill. A Garda car was parked across the road, and there were some cars parked on the verge with their occupants gathered in a group nearby. It seemd like there had been a serious trafrfic accident. After waiting in the car for about 10 minutes (during which a large queue of cars gathered behind me), I decided to stroll up to the Garda on duty to see if it was worth turning around and trying an alternative route.
"No need, he said, it's just a funeral and the whole town will be walking behind the coffin. We'll have you on your way in a few minutes".

As I strolled back to my car, some of the other drivers asked me for an update, thinking there had been a crash. One elderly lady, when I told her, exclaimed"Thank God nobody's dead!" (I think I know what she meant). However, an English lady, when told, harrumphed,"I just can't believe it" (Yes - she actually harrumphed).

Talk about missing the wood for the trees. It is to the credit of any town or village that a deceased member of the community is accorded the respect of a procession from the church to the graveyard. And so what if it delays traffic for ten minutes - we'll still get there. This woman, who was probably a tourist, was in such a rush to get down to Clifden to start experiencing "Irish culture" in the West, threw a hissy fit without realizing that the cause of her delay was the culture that she was so anxious to find.

By the way, it was absolutely fabulous in Clifden and its environs on Saturday. But, by God, you'd need your gold card to buy lunch. Twenty euro for an open sandwich is a joke. Now that was cause for a hissy fit or two...

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

Let the Games begin

The participants for the Special Olympics have begun to arrive in Ireland - there's an event in Galway tonight. Louis Walsh, purveyor of asinine music everywhere, put his foot in it by slagging off the games last week. Actually, he claimed that the plain people of Ireland would not be bothered to watch it on telly (which may well be true). Alas, the newspapers blew it up, and the Sunday Independent went with a front page story about how Louis had 'insulted the games'.

Ah, the irony. A few years ago, the same paper landed itself in hot water when one of its columnists, Mary Ellen Synon, criticised the games in particularly crude language (the article, and the subsequent grovelling apologies by the newspaper, can be found on Paddy Doyle's site). Where is Mary Ellen now ?

Posted by monasset at 11:03 PM | Comments (2)

The Searchers

Google is not quite ready to take over the world yet. Every month, this site receives a bunch of hits from people who used Google to search for interior stairs. I doubt many of the potential DIYers were planning to recreate a 600 year old friary in Co. Clare, which appears on the first page of search results. Mind you, they probably were not looking for Castle of Count Zinzendorf at Berthelsdorf, Saxony, which appears even higher in the results.

For some reason, most of my photos do not show in Google - it doesn't seem to read the "title" tag in the image html code. It's a pity that there aren't some guidelines on how to have images detected properly. Of course, if google did publish such info, it would probably be roundly abused by porn merchants and other hucksters.

Posted by monasset at 10:34 PM | Comments (0)

June 15, 2003

Physical Graffiti

While I was on vacation in France, I spotted some graffiti of a topical nature (Monsieur Bove famously destroyed a McDonalds restaurant, and has waged a war against globalisation, usually by wrecking something).

Travelling in north Mayo a month ago, I came across the following graffiti that almost deserves to be preserved for posterity.

When I was growing up in the late Seventies and early Eighties, "No EEC", "Free Nicky Kelly" and "Up the IRA" were the most common slogans daubed on walls throughout Ireland (out in the countryside, anyway). A quarter of a century later, Ireland is an enthusiastic member of the EEC (now EU), Nicky Kelly has been freed, pardoned and is now a public representative, and the IRA are heading for retirement.

I'm not a huge fan of graffiti. Yes, it can be regarded as an art form, or as a form of political expression. But too often, it's just vandalism. I remember waiting for a train in Amsterdam and there was a young lad on the platform washing graffiti off of the walls, watched by his clearly irate mother. It's a policy that could well be adopted here.

Of course, graffiti, or rather murals have been a popular form of expression north of the border - they even have their own websites and you can even buy a poster. Presumably, if someone violates their copyright, they just send the lads around. Not everyone is happy.

Posted by monasset at 11:34 PM | Comments (0)

June 14, 2003

One Nation Tory

Land ahoy! RTE thought they had a great idea. Conviced that Ireland couldn't take its place among the nations of Europe without its own reality TV series, they decided that they would put a bunch of narcissistic attention seekers, sorry, contestants on a ship. They would be the crew and every week, viewers could phone in and vote one of them to walk the plank (alas, they fished them out afterwards).

Last night, the ship, called Cabin Fever, ran aground on Tory Island and sank. The crew are all beached on the island, and RTE have vowed that the show will go on. A pity, though that they are lining up a replacement ship to continue the voyage. I'd have much preferred a Lord of the Flies-type fight for survival on the island. Last man or woman standing wins the prize. And lives.
Presumably, the gobshite steering the ship yesterday is a good bet for eviction this week.

Posted by monasset at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

Shake the Tree

Diane Duane highlights the tale of the Fairy Tree in Clare, which has survived a recent attack from a chainsaw wielding vandal (more common in Clare than you'd think).

Posted by monasset at 09:46 AM | Comments (0)

June 11, 2003

Wishful thinking

The fountain in Uzès. Like the Trevi fountain in Rome, it has a legend. If you throw your wife over your shoulder into the water, it is said that you will return one day on your own.

Posted by monasset at 12:45 PM | Comments (0)

Long Day's journey into night

When is a connecting flight not a connecting flight? When it's a Ryanair connecting flight. Four of us had booked a villa for a week in the Languedoc/Provence region of France, about 25 kilometres west of Avignon. We booked flights from Shannon to Stansted (London), and from Stansted to St. Etienne in France. We were due to fly out last Tuesday, and return yesterday. Alas, a strike in France last week and this week coincided with our departure and return schedule.

Now, when you book a flight with Ryanair, it is always a point-to-point flight, with no linkage between the 'legs' of a flight. You must check in for each leg, and collect your bags after each leg. So if you are late getting into Stansted, too bad- they won't hold the flight for you. So, as I mentioned last week, Herself rang Ryanair last Monday to ask about the strike. Yes, confirmed the pleasant voice on the other end of the phone, there will be no flights from Stansted to any airport in France, but we could be re-booked on a flight for Wednesday for no extra charge. Fair enough, except that since Ireland and the UK were not on strike, so the offer did not cover our Shannon to Stansted flight for Tuesday morning. We had a choice, buy new flights for Wednesday morning, or take the Tuesday flight as booked and stay over in London for a night. We choose London.

The nice lady from Ryanair, who really was very helpful, had a little surprise in store for us. It seems that back in March, after we had made our booking, Ryanair changed their timetable for their flights to France. Ryanair noticed that it would mean that we would not make our 'connection' at Stansted (i.e. we would arrive from Shannon too late to catch the flight to St. Etienne). So they helpfully changed our Shannon to Stansted booking. And charged us 120 euro for the privilege. "Don't you have to inform us before you do that?", asked Herself, a tad incredulously. "Oh, you were sent an Email back in March", replied the lady from Ryanair. Damn the internet and it's infernal machinations! For no Email had been received…

We finally arrived in St. Quentin la Poterie, near the town of Uzès, for our holiday on midnight Wednesday and the holiday itself was great. The weather was fabulous, the scenery was breathtaking and the people were friendly, open and courteous (naturally, I'm not counting their driving habits). Alas, they were also planning to strike. On Friday, we phoned Ryanair about the return. At this stage, the strike was not confirmed but looked likely. Again, we could change our St. Etienne to Stansted booking to either Monday or Wednesday without any extra charge. The Stansted to Shannon flight would cost around 200euro (i.e. 4 X 45euro) to change. "I'll put a note in your booking, and we will call you on Sunday to confirm if the strike goes ahead". On Sunday morning, we rang Ryanair ourselves to confirm the booking. "No problem", said the voice on the phone," that'll be 485 euro to change the Stansted to Shannon leg". "WHAT ?" What happened to the 200 euro quote?". "Ah yes, I see that note in your booking" agreed the voice from Ryanair, a little too cheerfully, I thought. "That was the price then - 485 euro is the price now". Needless to say, if I had known then that the price quoted would not apply now, I would have booked then and not now.

After a quick phone around to every other airline, we returned to Ryanair and booked four seats from Stansted to Dublin for 330 euro. And yes, I had a car parked in Shannon airport. In every relationship, there is the screwed, and the screwer. I felt very screwed.

The original cost of the flights was 584 euro (for four seats). The outward flight change cost 120 euro, and the overnight stay in London around 280 euro. Add in the 330 euro that we spent returning home (it wasn't an option to stay longer) and the extra costs were almost the same as the cost of renting the villa and a mid-sized car for the week. Since we didn't use our Stansted to Shannon flights, presumably Ryanair were able to sell them again for full fare (probably another 500 euro). Actually, I resent the lost holidays as much as the extra cost. The holiday was cut short by two days, and we spent two half days ringing around to re-arrange things.

Last week, Ryanair announced record profits and a plan to become the largest airline in Europe. They have achieved this in part by focussing relentlessly on cost, such as hedging fuel costs, providing a no-frills service on board and using airports that allows them to get the maximum number of journeys from every plane. On each flight over the holiday, the plane arrived ahead of schedule. You can't do that in Heathrow - a plane arriving early will just orbit aimlessly over southern England until it's 'landing slot' becomes available. By controlling their environment (i.e. the airports), they reduce the risk of planes sitting in a queue on a runway, costing them money rather than earning it.

The other part of Ryanair's success is that it has transferred a large part of the overhead of travelling to its customers, by insisting on a point-to-point strategy. All of the major airlines allow you to book all the way through to your final destination - you can usually check in your luggage and not have to lug it about until you have arrived at your final destination. If there is a delay, the airline undertakes to book you on another flight, or even delay the connecting flight. Not so Ryanair - if you miss your flight, you can always buy another one (usually at a higher cost), and Ryanair will be able to sell on the flight that you missed. A win-win for them - a double bogey for you.

Would I book another flight with Ryanair ? Only if the price is right, and the French promise not to go on strike!!

PS. In keeping with the professionalism and care that I have come to expect from Air Rianta, the baggage handlers in Dublin airport managed to break one of the carefully wrapped bottle of wine in our suitcase, imbuing Herself's newly acquired French wardrobe with a truly Provençal colour and scent.

PPS. When we finally went to collect the car in Shannon today, it had a puncture. And it was raining.

PPPS.Michael O'Leary, who runs Ryanair, sold 4 million shares in the airline yesterday, and made about 24 million euro. I'm so happy for him.

Posted by monasset at 12:27 PM | Comments (4)

June 02, 2003

Merde Beaucoup

So there I was, slowing sinking into a bog while trying to take some pictures of bog-cotton, ragged-robin and furze. Nearby, reed buntings chirped from the tips of young spruce trees. The phone rang - the missus. "We're not going to France tomorrow". Well shite, n'est pas ?
Thanks to yet another strike by French workers, we will have an enforced stay in London that has pretty much doubled the cost of the holiday. And no guarantee that there won't be another strike when we're coming home next week.
And to cap it all, when I arrived home with a few ragged-robin to brighten up the kitchen table, I find that it is very bad luck to bring the flower indoors. I'll be lucky if the house is still standing after the holiday.

No blogging until next Wednesday (11th), strikes permitting.

Posted by monasset at 06:29 PM | Comments (0)

June 01, 2003

For a few dollars more

The MSNBC website has a paean to Irish Bed & Breakfasts , though the one mediocre B&B the writer encountered was in Salthill. Typical.

Mind you, not every visitor was slumming it in B&Bs.

PHILIP Ruddock [Australian Indigenous minister] has demanded an urgent explanation from ATSIC chairman Geoff Clark of his $31,000 taxpayer-funded trip to Ireland last year - to determine whether he should be sacked.

His comments came after The Weekend Australian revealed Mr and Mrs Clark spent just two nights at the week-long seminar that was the main justification for their trip. Mr Clark had given Mr Ruddock an agenda saying he would be attending the whole conference.

ATSIC papers, obtained under Freedom of Information, show the couple spent five of their seven nights at hotels in other parts of Ireland, rather than at the Irish Centre for Human Rights at the National University in Galway.

They also spent several days with few official duties in London and Singapore, almost all at public expense.

Being from Ireland, I didn't realize there were countries where you could be sacked for pulling the p*ss out of the public purse. I mentioned the expensive travels of our own boyos back in January.

Posted by monasset at 09:40 PM | Comments (0)

A cunning plan, Baldrick ?

There are clearly a lot of people in Tuam with time on their hands. One of the Big Brother contestants is Ray from Galway. His housemates in the real world are from Tuam and they have decided to mount a 'anyone but Ray' (i.e. to be turfed out) campaign. They hope that it will be more successful than their Mickey Harte Eurovision campaign. (In that case, their master plan was undone by virtue of being based in Tuam, thereby ensuring they were in the only country that couldn't vote for Mickey).

Posted by monasset at 09:37 PM | Comments (0)

Super Furry Animals

The Irish Times reported that around 20% of TB cases (in cattle) can be attributed to badgers. Which makes you wonder what causes the other 80%. The vast amounts of money that have been spent trying to eradicate TB in Ireland have benefited vets immensely but had little effect on the problem. Blaming badgers is all very well, but there are an equal number of badgers in the rest of Europe but the TB problem is much less. There is the small issue of cattle smuggling, illegal movements of animals, etc. Of course, all of these sneaky things were identified in the Beef Tribunal a decade ago that managed to conclude that absolutely no-one was to blame, and therefore nothing needed to be done.
The latest plan is to vaccinate all badgers against TB (which probably won't make any difference either). Maybe they should vaccinate the farmers instead.

Posted by monasset at 09:33 PM | Comments (2)

Shhmoke in the Water

One step down the evolutionary ladder from badgers are filthy, bearded (and that's just the women), cider-drinking, poo-in-your-front-garden concert goers. At least, I think that's why the Lisdoonvarna Festival (Slow Return) was refused permission by Clare County Council. Ah, how the people of Clare have prospered, when the thought of having 20, 000 or so youngsters who would happily pay through the nose for cider, dodgy burgers, a poo-in-your-front-garden, etc. cannot tempt them. Not to worry, the promoters have promised to relocate - presumably to somewhere that is already an open sewer!

PS When is The Clare Champion ever going to update their website ??

Posted by monasset at 09:27 PM | Comments (0)