August 29, 2003


An ash tree, or is it two ?

On a very overcast day last month, I was tramping through a field near the village of Moylough, Co. Roscommon to look at a ruined castle, when I came across this ash tree. I'm not sure whether it is two trees that grew up side by side, or a single tree that split below the ground. It is quite symmetrical and the gap is big enough to walk through (if you are as svelte as myself, anyway).

For some artifically-created tree shapes, this article on Metafilter provides some great links (some of which are in the comments).

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This is the weekend of the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking festival, where, as the organizers claim, it is never too late to find love. Mind you, find true love after you've married someone else would be considered a bit tardy. It goes on for a month (or a lifetime if you get hitched) - Tús maith is leath an oibre.

It is normally confined to bachelors and (ahem) maidens, but I was thinking of heading down there to see if they accepted trade-ins.

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August 28, 2003


Statue of Admiral William Brown in Buenos Aires

Foxford are getting ready to welcome some visitors - sailors from the Argentine navy. While this is no doubt causing great excitement among the maidens in the town, the sailors are on a serious mission - to honour the founder of the Argentine Navy - Admiral William Brown, who was born in the Mayo town in 1777. The people of Foxford are planning to open a memorial park in his honour - it has not been without it's problems.

Back in 1996, they asked the Argentine Navy for some nautical gear to decorate the proposed memorial park. The Argentines obliged, and gathered two containers of chains, anchors and other stuff and sent it off to Dublin. The memorial committee had asked Enda Kenny for some financial assistance with the shipping - Enda was the minister for Tourism a the time, and more importantly, a Mayo man. He said that "he'd sort them out" if they could get the stuff ( a phrase you often hear in Mayo). Alas, by the time the containers arrived in Dublin, there was a change of government - the new minister was Síle De Valera. One can imagine the steely glint in her eye when asked to fund the project of an opposition TD in a nearby constituency (and a Blueshirt at that!) - she said no. Now, the amount that they were looking for in 1997 was around three thousand pounds. The current bill to retrieve these containers (which have sat in a Dublin dock ever since) is around 18,000 euros. I'm not sure how Sile's gesture squares with her vow on her webpage:-

Representing a west of Ireland constituency, I am very mindful of government policies encouraging measures and mechanisms to dial (sic) with peripheries and in ensuring that such measures will have a positive effect on local communities.

The excavation of the park is about to start (the town was promised a 250,000 euros grant to help with that, but it fell through too) so they made a public appeal this morning on The Pat Kenny Show for the present tourism minister, John O'Donaghue to help them pay the customs bill. They could be waiting awhile…

Recoleta cemetery in Buenos aires. Thegraves seem more luxurious than the surrounding apartments, and are certainly more expensive

There are plenty of memorials to Brown in Argentina - he's buried in the Recoleta cemetary, which is the Buenos Aires graveyard of the rich and famous (Eva Peron is also buried there).

UPDATE:Account of the sailors visit here.

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August 27, 2003


Picture scanned from a 'zine found on the ground in Christiania circa 1997.

Christiania is about to be assimilated (via Boing Boing). Christiania is a former military base in Copenhagen that was 'occupied' by hippies in the early Seventies, who first built houses and later an entire community. It is a little slice of anarchy in the middle of the city, albeit in an organised, Scandinavian way (aerial picture here).

It is also very easy to buy drugs there. When I was there, yes, there were loads of people living in their timber houses and taking their responsibilites to the community very seriously. But there were also a lot of shaven-headed thugs in leather jackets selling hash and probably other, stronger items. I also saw two kids, no more than 10, puffing on joints. Disneyland, it ain't. Anyway, it seems the government intend to return the commune to the rest of the city - there's a protest march at the end of the month.

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August 25, 2003

Dr. Doolittle

So there we were, in the kitchen of the family home, sweltering in the heat, when a small bird fluttered in through the open window and landed on the cuckoo clock. It struck a pose on the clock as if it was the missing cuckoo (the original had fallen off a few years ago) before taking off and flying further into the house.

I went looking for it and found a wren clinging to a curtain in a bedroom. Very gently, I unclamped its tiny talons from the cloth of the curtain and brought it outside. I opened my hand but it didn't move. In fact, I thought it might die of stress in my hand - it was gasping and blinking very slowly, as if it's life was drifting away despite itself. I was afraid to leave it down because of the cat (who fetched up on the doorstep a few years ago, claimed asylum and is the ultimate feline welfare dodger - and does it repay such generosity with even a flicker of affection ? No it bloody doesn't. It will however kill anything cute or furry that it can lay it's claws upon).

I waited awhile. My dad handed me my crappy digital camera so that I could take a snap, and slowly, life returned to the eyes of the bird. Then my mother arrived, with her camera. Unobtrusive, she was not. Backing practically into the next field to get the shot (how far back to you have to go to fit a wren into the viewfinder?) and roaring instructions at yours truly, it was all too much for the wren. A wren is most identifiable by their upright tail, and this fellow's perked up for the first time since he had arrived. He glanced up at me, pooped on my hand and flew off. My mother got a great shot of my newly decorated hand.

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Plum tuckered out

Kids will sleep anywhere. This lil' guy was full of energy for the first hour, and then crashed (unlike the plane, thankfully). As you can see, not much room to manouvre, but to their credit, the stewardesses stepped over him with a smile...

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August 23, 2003


Bellacorrick (and the whole Erris area) is eager to embrace new forms of energy - witness the plan to add to the existing windfarm, which will make it the largest in Europe. There is a tradition of electricity production in the area - there has been a peat-powered electricity station for years, though its future is uncertain.

They hope to make some form of heritage centre from the station if it closed down, which is probably better than just demolishing it like they did in Ferbane. In London, they made a modern art museum of a disused power station, but there's probably not the same drawing power in north Mayo or the Bog of Allen.

Apart from the ecological benefits of windpower, and the abundance of winds blowing in off the Atlantic, there are also generous grant aid from the EU (no surprise there). In Denmark, farmers have taken to this incentive in large numbers - they form co-ops to buy and erect the wind turbines.

Windfarm off the west coast of Denmark

In Ireland, the ESB must purchase any power produced from independent power providers, and 'green' power commands a premium. A couple of weeks ago, there was some controversy in Kerry, where plans by a farmers group was held up by a study to see of the wind turbines would endanger hen harriers who were breeding in the area. The study concluded that there would not be a danger, but not before some farmers had threatened to kill all the birds they could find. Which shows there is no shortage of fools in Kerry. No such nastiness occurred during the planning process in Mayo, and I glimpsed what looked like a harrier not so far from Bellacorrick a few weeks ago.

Bellacorrick also has a musical bridge, though the last time I drove over it, all I heard was a rattling exhaustpipe. Apparently, if you skip a stone along the bridge, you heard a melodic sound.

I suspect that the fact that the 'musical' bridge is beside a pub (The Musical Bridge Inn) is not unconnected.

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Two fugitives are still on the loose. In Antrim, a puma has evaded capture all week and has now been blamed for killing a sheep. It's probably only a matter of time before it's blamed for lots of other stuff too; pipe bombs, diesel laundering, etc… It's surely conclusive proof of the demilitarisation of the North that a large moggy can wander about unmolested, despite the best efforts of the security forces, who have vowed to permanently decommission it. Maybe it's hiding in an arms dump, since we all know that nobody ever visits them anymore…

Meanwhile, with much less publicity, it looks like the runaway pot-bellied pig in Ennis is still on the lam. Maybe he's lying low to avoid the sun

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Bare necessities

The Connacht Tribune listed some nudist beaches along the west coast recommended by the Irish Naturist Association. Bit late in the year for that. Apparently, Silver Strand, Roundstone, Westport and Achill are the places to go. Maybe that's where the pig is hiding - who'd notice?

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Ná lig sinn i gcathú

One hundred and twenty four years ago, there was a miraculous appearance at Knock, Co. Mayo, and the church and basilica marks the spot in the village where the Virgin Mary was seen by locals. Last weekend, at the annual celebrations, the locals were complaining about a more modern apparition.

Bemused locals and visitors could only watch in astonishment as dozens of scantily-clad women strutted around the Marian village as if they were attending a rock concert. The arrival of such a large contingent of travellers from all parts of Ireland was certainly the main talking point amongst many of the 100,000 pilgrims who attended the annual Novena on Friday afternoon amidst glorious sunshine. - Mayo News

Womenfolk in traveller communities don't get that many opportunities to strut their stuff, but when they do, they don't hold back. I watched a bunch of traveller girls set off to climb Croagh Patrick two years ago in high heels and belly tops.

These people are entitled to come to Knock and pray the same as anyone else but I think they should show some respect by dressing appropriately,” one pilgrim told the Mayo News. “The annual Novena is about prayer, it’s not about walking around Knock semi-naked. I know the weather was warm but I think these women could have dressed properly for the occasion. They looked like they were on their way to a disco, not a Novena.

I don't what the locals in Knock are complaining about. If you've ever walked through the village, the sheer volume of tat, sorry religious souvenirs on sale is astonishing, and not the least bit appropriate for a religious shrine. As for feeling hot and bothered by the sights, I'm sure it's nothing that a few decades of the rosary couldn't cure.

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The Dublin-Galway motorway building programme has resumed. Landowners in Ballinasloe still don't know how much they will receive for their land, though the Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) are about to be served. Recently, Minister Eamonn O Cuív was left speechless when he was asked why it was possible to design and build a freeway across 26 miles of swamp in Louisiana and yet, the roads in Connemara look..well.. like the rest of Connemara. Maybe he thought it was a rhetorical question.

Having driven across Louisiana, I think the main difference is that the Americans build bridges over the swamps, whereas in Ireland, we just slap a bit of tarmac over the existing terrain that is not that smooth to begin with. Taking into account that half of Connemara is a bog, building a road on top of it is literally a case of throwing money into a black hole.

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August 18, 2003


Light dancing on water - sunset in Galway

O commemorate me where there is water,
O commemorate me with no hero courageous tomb,
Just a seat for the passer-by.
Patrick Kavanagh

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August 17, 2003

River's Edge

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Big Air

Did you hear the one about the Jesuit and Ian Paisley ? Fr. Diarmuid O Péicín is the founder of the Island Trust, which campaigns for better support and infrastructure for the island communities of Ireland. Rathlin Island is the only island under Northern Irish jurisdiction, and is in Rev. Ian Paisley's constituency. Inspired by Fr. O Péicín's campaign for better support for Tory island in Donegal, Rev. Paisley successfully lobbied for funds for thre wind turbines which supply the island with its own electricity. They are named after the children of Lir. As Fr. O Péicín said at the opening

Together we can generate a lot more than hot air.

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Meanwhile, on Inishbiggle the plan to run a cablecar from the island to Achill island ) is getting closer (Inisbiggle is the small island of the north of Achill, in Blacksod bay. On Derek Davis' radio show last week, it was mentioned that tendering contracts are nearly ready. This plan has had a chequered history. This story from 1996 confidently predicted that the project would be completed the following year, at a cost of 176,000 quid (remember the punt?).

After some planning permission issues (and what project would be complete without them), the Western People reported 17 months ago that the project was about to start. And it still is. In this year's budget estimates, Mayo County Council have put the cost of the project at 3 million euro (though they will only pay 190,000 euro, with the Department of the Gaeltacht kicking in the rest. Given that the Spanish reckon they could build the Luas for a fration of what the Irish are spending, maybe we should let them build the cablecar.

A cablecar between the islands would be a tourist attraction in itself, though I wouldn't fancy using it on a winter's day, with the west wind howling in from the Atlantic. Still, it's better than rowing across.

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August 15, 2003


General Ludlow once complained of the Burren that it was...

A country where there is not enough water to drown a man, wood enough to hang him, nor earth enough to bury him which last is so scarce that the inhabitants steal it from each other.

Clearly, he wasn't there for the hillwalking. His boss, to whom he made the comment, was Oliver Cromwell, himself no fan of the west ("To Hell or to Connacht"). Cromwell arrived in Ringsend 354 years ago on this day (see, nothing good comes out of Dublin except the N4).

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August 14, 2003

The Job Done

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It's all happening in Clifden. Last week, a 14metre long sperm whale was washed ashore. A local fisherman obligingly towed it out to sea again, and the next day, the tide obligingly washed it ashore again. The photograph in the Connacht Tribune shows a 47 foot long slab of shapeless blubber. I'd be careful of the fishburgers in the chipshops in Clifden for the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, a radio controlled model aircraft touched down on Mannín Beach after crossing the Atlantic. It set off from Newfoundland 39 hours earlier - the original plan was to land on the same spot as Alcock & Brown when they crash-landed in 1919, but given that that landing site is a boghole, it was figured that the plane might survive a beach landing better. The plane was designed by Maynard Hill (despite the fact that he is legally blind) - the plan was guided by remote-control until it reached 500 feet, and was then switched to autopilot until it reached the west coast f Ireland, where it was guided down by one of Hill's colleagues. Eighteen hundred miles in thirty nine hours - it takes nearly that long for a train to cross this country…

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Warning:Smoking can seriously damage your backbone

Martin Cullen's outburst on the proposed smoking ban in pubs and restaurants has provoked a response. The Minister for the Environment (and what sort of environment does he really want ?) bemoaned American political correctness as the reason for the forthcoming ban (from January 1st 2004). Martin knows damn well that is actually another American habit (litigation, and the fear of it) that is the real cause. The Minister for Health has more than enough people hassling him without feeling the need to look for more trouble. But, an expert group has reported on the effects of passive smoking, and if the Government ignores the report, they are open to litigation. Hence the move. The country has already spent 300 million euros compensating soldiers who apparently didn't realize that they should have been wearing earplugs when shooting or firing artillery (see under easily parted, fools, money). No, Martin is just getting his retaliation in early, though I think TDs might find that there are at least as many voters who support the move as oppose it.

The fact that it annoys smokers is only a bonus to a non-smoker such as myself, given my own experience has been that most smokers couldn't give a shit about who breathes their smoke. Of course, given the contempt that most non-smoking areas in restaurants are treated, I'm not too hopeful.

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In the village of Neale, (on the road from Ballinrobe to Cong), there is a pyramid in a field, built in the latter part of of the 18th century. I asked a local about it, who said that a local landlord built it as a monument to his brother George Browne.

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I finally got around to putting up the gallery for Glebe stone circles (left).

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August 12, 2003

Glorious 12th

Almost is the Glorious 12th, and no, it has nothing to do with walking the Queen's highway. Today is the first day of the grouse hunting season. While I have no truck with those who kill creatures for fun and their Johnny Cash - I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die - attitude to fauna, I have no problem with eating wildlife (and it seems like only good manners to kill them first).

It is damn near impossible to breed grouse in captivity, and though you may not believe it, their natural bogland habitat is fast disappearing. Grouse require very long heather in which to breed, and there isn't as much of it as you'd think. I've encountered them in a few places in Ireland, though never in the West. The trials and tribulations of a short-arse with a twelve-bore are recounted here, but you'd get a much cooler reception with these guys if you strolled in with a brace over your shoulder. Of course, it will be at least a week before the birds should appear in restaurants - they should be left to hang for a while (like Liam Lawlor). But isn't it cruel ? Look, if they had evolved faster, they'd be hunting us. So enjoy your anthropological advantage while you can. And keep an eye on the dolphins.

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Men at Work

Road sign at Ballycroy, Co. Mayo, Ireland.

Near Blacksod Bay, between the Belmullet peninsula and the shadow of Sliabh Mór on Achill Island, lies the village of Ballycroy. I don't think anything gets done too quickly there, but on a sunny August day, they have the right attitude.

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Ar dheis Dé……


Behind the quay at Ross Point, overlooking Broad Haven (on the north Mayo coastline) is a plaque. It marks a old graveyard for unbaptised children (their actual burial spots are marked by flat stones, of which few remain). It’s hard to believe now that stillborn children, or those who died before they were baptised) were denied a Christian burial by the Catholic church. The children were buried here as it it were an act of shame, sometimes at night, with no prayers, no congregation or gestures of support. Only the rhythmic sound of the North Atlantic, washing against the sandy inlet of Broad Haven, hastened their journey to the afterlife. According to the Church, an unbaptised child spent eternity in limbo, which was not quite purgatory, not quite hell, but certainly not heaven; the punishment for not living long enough to be baptised. The relatives left behind suffered their own kind of purgatory.

The Dooncarton stone circle (from pre-Christian times) overlooks the grave and the bay. It represented a culture with very simple beliefs; the rising of the sun and the fall of the tide encompassed the belief system of the circle- builders; just like the tide and the sun, there is a continuous cycle of birth, death and renewal. Perhaps they too considered the stillborn as somehow undead. Perhaps they saw them as merely dead.

Grave for unbaptized children, Ross Point at Broad Haven, Co. Mayo

GRave for unbaptised children at Ross Point, Broad Haven, Co. Mayo. A couple of flat stones in the foreground mark actual graves. Sruwaddacon Bay, which leads into Broad Haven, is in the background.

The plaque on the grave at least represents some progress – an acknowledgement by the Chrch of life, death and suffering that was previously ignored. But the quote on the plaque is a searing indictment of those who would claim to speak for the author of those words. It speaks of a simple love of children, a love that was too-often forgotten by the Church. The suffering of children at the hands of clerics is well-recorded. Even in Ireland, the full truth is still a distant hill to be climbed. The children in the graveyard died young, and were punished for it. Many other children who lived longer suffered from the misdeeds of clerics, who, for the most part, were protected by the Church. Even as I write this, the Pope has launched yet another moral jihad, this time against gay marriages. You’d think he had resolved all the issues relating to child abuse. But no. I guess his priorities are just different.

Perhaps by the time that the plaque on the grave is as old as the stone circle that overlooks it, such attitudes of the Church towards all its flock will seem as antique as the monuments. Assuming there still is a flock….

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Grave of WWI Irish soldier who died 85 years ago; buried in Loughrea, Co.Galway

The old Church of Ireland chapel in Loughrea, Co. Galway has been converted to the town library. It is also a handy place to park if you're in a hurry, passing through. I parked there (just for a few minutes, honest!) on Saturday, and noticed this gravestone, of a soldier who died exactly 85 years ago, probably on a nice sunny day just like the one last weekend.

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August 11, 2003

Banjaxed, Pt. 3

I'm unable to post any pictures at present, due to ongoing ISP difficulties. Hopefully, normal service will be resumed by the end of the week (or at least before I reach the end of my tether).

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High Society

Herself was not pleased. After our trials and tribulations of our holiday earlier this year (gory details here), she decided to book a weekend in London for some retail therapy. Alas, she picked Friday to travel. Yes, the Friday that began with a very fog-bound Dublin airport and from where some tourists only left yesterday after two days hanging around the terminal. Herself made it out late Friday afternoon, after a mere five hours staring out the departure terminal windows at the blazing sunshine outside. However, the consequences were severe – her shopping expedition was curtailed (so I think I can call it quits with Michael O’Leary now). Others benefited too – some of the wedding party for Georgina Aherne and Nicky Byrne’s wedding in France were also stranded, and were forced to buy Aer Lingus tickets when their Ryanair flight was cancelled (I feel your pain, guys, but at least I wasn’t travelling in the knowledge that I would have to listen to Ronan Keating singing the next day). It’s not easy being the jet set.

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When intervention subsidies attack!

Is it a sign of the coming apocalypse when the animal kingdom turn against their human masters ? (Of course, I predicted the same when Donie Cassidy was elected to the Dail, so go figure). In Ennis, Co. Clare, a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig has terrorised locals, whose natural instinct was to ‘load and load’ and blast it into oblivion. However, a local vet is trying for a more peaceful resolution. He is using a loudspeaker to broadcast the mating calls of a pot-bellied sow (now, now, no inapropriate suggestions as to where he would get such a tape in Clare) hoping to lure the fugitive in from the wild. As long as he doesn’t play the tape on a Saturday night – he might trap more than he bargained for. Meanwhile, in Kilcolgan, the wild bulls that have been shagging every heifer in East Galway have been rounded up – much to the chagrin of the heifers. The bulls , who escaped from a farm that lacked proper control, face a bleak and very short future. And in Northern Ireland, the police are warning locals to stay away from an escaped puma – superfluous advice, I would have thought.

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There wasn’t much in the Sunday Independent today apart from a tribute to Kylie Minogue’s arse and about a hundred pages devoted to how uninterested the paper was in the wedding in France. Eoghan Harris bitched about RTE again (their failure to hang the US flag behind the newsreader during news bulletins being yet another example of the national broadcaster’s rampant anti-Americanism) and observed that he disliked anyone with three names and an arrogant air. He was thinking of RTE’s Philip Boucher Hayes, but he might have some explaining to do the next time he shares an elevator with fellow columnist Conor Cruise O’Brien.

He makes the point that RTE should be less Dublin-centric and reflect the opinion of people around the country. Fair enough, but he might give the same advice to some of his fellow writers on his own paper. John Drennan’s speculative piece on a cabinet reshuffle betrays the usual insulated Dublin bias.

No one knows what Eamonn O Cuiv does or if he even exists. If O Cuiv or his ministry are not a figment of our imagination, it’s time for this egotistical windbag to go.

I.e. Drennan has no idea what he does, couldn’t be bothered find out, ergo: he can’t be any good. His suggestion?

… Mary Coughlan could slot quite nicely into something ‘nice’ but challenging like Arts, Culture, RTE and the Gaeltacht – plenty of grants there for her Donegal constituency.

Ah yes, nothing like a patronising load of tripe – he doesn’t even bother with agriculture (doesn’t affect Dubliners except when the farmers drive their tractors through the city). Given the choice between the Independent’s pre-occupation with cultural analysis of Kylie’s bottom, Eamon Dunphy’s drinking habits, Michael Flatley’s lovelife and the social inequities of a Hello! Magazine exclusive, 150 euro a year to RTE for a TV licence doesn’t seem quite such bad value after all (Gerry Ryan notwithstanding).

None of the media complain at all about TV3 because, let’s face it, what’s the point. I remember when TV3 was about to be launched. One of the founders enthused about how they would shake things up. He gave the example of the weather forecast – RTE’s forecasters were like the guys on those old Open University maths programmes - TV3’s will be so different, he promised. And, boy was he right. A juggling monkey on a unicycle would have more credibility (and be infinitely more watchable) than Martin King (I’m mad, me!) who thinks that, by reading out requests during the forecast (e.g. Hi Bobo, I think you’re a ride and I’ll deffo give you one after the disco next Saturday, luv Jackie) , it somehow makes the weather more interesting. For f*ck sake, if I wanted that sort of meaningless drivel, I could just turn to Sky One. Just last night, they had a news item on the Ploughing Championship in Tullamore, on the grounds of Charleville Castle. The reporter announced that they were in fact in Kinnity Castle, which is about 20 miles away. It was probably a Freudian slip – it’s a favourite weekend retreat of Dubs who think that paying over the odds for a room in a big house in Offaly for the weekend somehow makes them country squires. Mar dea.

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August 08, 2003

Banjaxed, Pt. 2

Eircom blamed lightning for my phone outage;it was probably just a coincidence that there had been lightning last week. They could have just as easily blamed a plague of locusts, for all they knew. This week, either my ISP or hosting service is on the blink (haven't figured out which, yet). It never rains but it pours... Only metaphorically, though. In real life, it is still a scorcher (Apart from Malin Head, which yesterday recorded a temperature only 3 degrees warmer than Iceland). Tuam managed to buck the trend by suffering from flash floods (clean the feckin' drains, lads), but elsewhere, the sun shone, and the temperature neared thirty degrees.

I trudged all the way to the promontory fort above Portacloy in North Mayo yesterday to have a good look at the Stags of Broad Haven. Alas, the haze was against me. I did however get bitten by midges, flying ants and a particulary sneaky horsefly (it waited until I was about to take a photo, and landed on my shutter finger as I clicked). And of course, I got roasted. Be sure to make the most of the weather this weekend. We'll be looking at the rain for long enough.

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August 05, 2003


Heatwave! And what better place to enjoy the sunshine than at a traditional spot for sun-worshippers - Glebe stone circle.

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Call me the Breeze

Off-shore oil won't be the only source of energy in Mayo. Permission has been granted for a huge windfarm at Bellacorick that will be one of the biggest land-based farm in Europe, with the potential to supply about 7% of the country's energy needs.

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Tuning In

A collection of archive photographs of the old Marconi wireless station outside Clifden, which was destroyed during the Civil War.

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It's never a good sign when the country's assistant pathologist complains that she is spending too much time in the fields around your area. Working.

Recently, it seems like Limerick is trying to take up the slack, now that things have quietened down a bit in Northern Ireland. The Central Criminal Court has decamped to Limerick to clear the backlog of murders, and the Emergency Response Unit of the Gardai has been deployed to prevent even more gangland murders. All in all, not good for a town trying to market itself to tourists (or even as a nice place to live). And while there was a bit of controversy recently when the Sinn Fein website was advertising a T-shirt featuring a"Sniper at Work" logo (of the sort that used to be nailed up on posts around Crossmaglen), there was much less notice taken of a bit of fuss in Limerick, where a jeweller's shop was displaying gold pennants, with an AK-47 as a centerpiece.

Hmmm...I wonder how many people would fork out 460 euro on a solid gold chain studded with semi-precious stones and shaped like a AK-47, but unless your name was Ice-T or Puff Daddy, you're probably the sort of person that could probably help the Gardai with their enquiries. And with that sort of fashion sense, you shouldn't be too hard to spot.

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Back on line. I guess the lesson is not to have a problem with your phone line just before a long weekend.

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August 04, 2003


Blogging temporarily halted due to Eircom. Phone line has been 'off-line' since Friday morning. Their promise that engineers 'are looking into it' conjures up a picture of a bunch of lads clutching mugs of tea, staring into a hole in the ground, and not doing much else. Enjoy the sunshine, it's meant to be a hot week.

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