25th August 2002
It's only three months since the General election, and it looks like most of the Government's election promises have evaporated in the face of, well, reality. Not everyone took the candidates promises at face value...
Now thats what I call a miracle....................................................Thursday 22nd August 2002
Last month on Achill Island, there was a sighting of the Virgin Mary. Yesterday, someone from the island won over 5 million Euro in the lottery. I wonder if the winner was a believer .
Parity of esteem
Loyalists in Northern Ireland
decided to do their bit for international football
yesterday by issuing death threats against team captain
Neil Lennon, who also has the temerity to be (a) a Roman
Catholic and (b) a Glasgow Celtic player. Lennon has decided to retire from international football.
Loyalists have an established track record for targeting Catholic sportsmen, as this article about a GAA club in the Guardian shows.
Its not the only Columbian connection. While Loyalists are content to emulate Columbian gangsters, the IRA (the group that are supposed to be on cease-fire) have allegedly been busy in Colombia too, supposedly helping the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia Peoples Army (FARC) to design bombs and mortars. Currently, three Irishmen are awaiting trial in Columbia, charged with assisting FARC. Richard Haas, US envoy to Northern Ireland stated that he believed that three IRA suspects detained in Colombia last month were "not just on their holidays".
Tuesday, August 13, 2002
A Hard rain's gonna fall................................................................Tuesday 13th August 2002
Well, its official.
According to an article in the Guardian yesterday,
the reason we have no summer is because of El Nino.
Whats more, we havent seen the worst of it
"The first six months of 2002 have been
the northern hemisphere's warmest in recorded history,
Britain has had one of the wettest summers ever, and the
Pacific ocean is yet again building up to another season
of climatic trouble making - the dreaded El Nino.
Lucid as ever, Slate explains how El Nino works in this article
The resulting weather is the sort
of scenario that would have Noah heading for the nearest
hill with an armful or two of marine plywood.
Here is a partial list of events that El Niño can be blamed for (at least partially): the ongoing drought in Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea; forest fires in Indonesia; famine in North Korea; the appearance of hurricanes along the Pacific coast of the United States; the disappearance of hurricanes along the Atlantic Coast of the United States; a mild winter in the Northeast, a harsh winter in the Southeast, the failure of the fish harvest in South America. El Niño seems to determine the corn production of Zimbabwe, the coffee production of Sumatra, and the cocoa production of the Ivory Coast.
Compared to that litany of suffering, complaining about the poor summer in Ireland seems a little crass. If a lack of strawberries and a shortage of turnips are the worst of the suffering, then we will have escaped lightly.
Across Europe , flooding has killed around 70 people so far, and tonight, the centre of Prague is under water.
According to Met Eireann's website, Ireland has been getting steadily wetter for the last 15 years, though it does not offer an explanation for this phenomonem.
Treasure Island...............................................................................Sunday 11th August 2002
These days, its hard to
spend more than half an hour watching or listening to an RTE programme without being reminded (by RTE)
of how much value for money that, we the licence-paying
public, are getting. The unspoken corollary is that we
should be paying more. RTE are currently claiming that
unless they get a hefty increase in the licence fee, they
will not be able to fulfil their public service remit,
and all sorts of beloved programmes will be scrapped to
be replaced by American and British imports. Now, that
doesnt sound like too much hardship to me, since I
pay for cable access precisely for those programmes and
so that I wont be subjected to non-stop RTE.
The latest RTE offering is Treasure Island, an adventure show that takes 12
contestants to a desert island, divides them into 2 teams
that must complete a task every week. Each week, the team
that wins the task chooses a person to be sent home
that person gets to eliminate someone from the
losing team. All the while, cameras show the teams in
action, and the various bitching and complaining of the
Now, if RTE had taken 15 or 20
whinging self-obsessive gits to a distant island and just
left them there, that would be a public service. Alas, we
should be so lucky.
First of all, only in Ireland
could a bunch of people volunteer for an adventure show
set in Fiji and then decide (after a week or two) that
they were homesick. Every week, there was a row over who
didnt get picked to go home, somewhat negating the
point of the game. One woman decided after a week or so
that she missed her kids too much and wanted to go home
[I would have thought most parents would have endured a
gulag for a week to get a break from their teenage
Did she think Fiji was near
Secondly, the viewers at home have
endured probably one or the worst winters, sorry, summers
on record. So the prospect of watching a bunch of people
cavorting on a tropical island, paid for by their licence
fees, and not showing an ounce of gratitude was just a
bit too much.
In the end, the last tow
contestants had to find a buried chest containing 50,000
euro. A Cork farmer, probably the least annoying of all
the contestants, won it (Corkmen would have a bit of
practise digging up hidden stashes of cash (Communion
money, Confirmation money
Thursday, August 08, 2002
Unbelievable ! An inch of rain has
fallen yesterday in the West of Ireland. The weather
forecasters should be warning people about sunburn
instead, they are giving flood warnings.
Island last week, it was
claimed that the Virgin Mary was going to appear. RTE
claimed that thousands of people were flocking to the
Mayo island, though the TV pictures seem to put the crowd
at a couple of hundred. It wouldnt be the first
time that the Mother of God has visited Mayo she
is supposed to have appeared in the village of Knock in
1879. The site is marked today by a large basilica
and some of the tackiest
souvenir shops in Europe. It was visited in 1979 by Pope
John Paul II.
There was speculation that the
latest apparition would lead to a resurgence of the
Moving Statues phenomenon of the Eighties,
when hordes of people turned up at crossroads around the
country to stare at religious statues. Some people saw
them move, but most people (including anyone carrying a
camera) did not. An account of this era can be found in
Colm Toibins book (Seeing is Believing) a far less respectful, and funnier
account of the religious foibles of the Irish can be
found in Liam Fays Beyond Belief.
has an international airport , which is not bad for a village in the
middle of a bog. The building of the airport was due
primarily to the persistence of the local priest,
Monsignor James Horan, who decided in 1980 that Mayo
would prosper if only it had an international airport. He
managed to get the government of the time (led by the
inimitable Charles J. Haughey) to put up some cash and
raised the rest via donations. A Government review of the
airport is available here and a
disgruntled travellers review can be found here.
Incidentally, Achill island was
the location of the holiday home of Charles Cunningham Boycott , who was a land agent in Co. Mayo during
the 1870s. He managed to annoy the locals so much (mainly
by trying to evict them all) that they ostracised him in
1879 and thus introduced the word boycott into the
English language. He left Ireland with a flea in his ear
the following year, returning to England to cheer up the
farmers of Suffolk with his sunny disposition.
Thursday, August 01, 2002
Tuesday, July 30, 2002
On the last Sunday of July every year (i.e. last Sunday), thousands of people climb Croagh Patrick in Co. Mayo. Many do it as an act of pilgrimage and more do it for the enjoyment of a day out. The tradition began to commemorate St. Patrick, who was supposed to have spent 40 days and 40 nights on top of the mountain. This year, it rained heavily and the going was soft. Last year was warm and sunny, as this gallery shows.
Tuesday, July 23, 2002
The Galway Arts Festival is in full swing, which means the pubs will
be fuller and the traffic will be crazier. For some,
their only brush with culture will be the
roughntumble of SuperMacs in Eyre Square at
2 am. Others will actually be able to see some of the
events. RattleBag, RTE Radios arts programme have
devoted a lot of airtime to the various events, which can
be found in RTEs excellent on-line archive here, here and here .
|(c) north atlantic skyline 2002|
|The blog is updated once a week, usually
at the weekend. More often if the cows are milked early.