Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Beannactaí na Nollag!

Apologies for not keeping up my blogs. The latter half of this year has been quite difficult for me and I've been slow to do any writing at all. Hopefully that will change in the new year. Meanwhile, I am busy with Christmas preparations. By way of a Yuletide card, here is a beautiful photograph sent to me by a Finnish artist I met during the summer. (Photo credit: Sirpa Pyykko)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Skellig Michael

A boat took us from Valentia Island to Skellig Michael. How to describe such an incredible experience? Transcendant. Hundreds of stone steps lead up a sharp incline to the stone monastery hanging on the side of a cliff on an island in the Atlantic. To think of the monks living here over a thousand years ago, praying, chanting, ekeing out a living - fish, puffins, gannets, and whatever they could grow. As well as the monastic magic, it was nesting season for the puffins. No longer hunted, they walk around happily. The cutest things! And after the visit to the island (several hours of bliss on a beautiful sunny day), the boat took us around Skellig Beag (Little Skellig) which homes the second largest gannet colony in the world - 25,000 mating pairs! White birds with golden heads, an island that no human sets foot on: the Palace of the Birds, ringing with song. I'll post some more shots later.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Irish Craic

This cannot be missed. It is so funny. Three lads doing Irish dancing all around the world. You can't beat the Irish for hilarious humour.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Happy Ballybunnions!

I'm going a bit video mad at the moment but this is great craic as we say in Ireland. A lot of white Irish rhythm but there are those who can dance, T.G. The garda (policewoman), the drummer and the Supervalu staff are my favourites but they are all brilliant. This will definitely put a smile on your face.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Growing Old Hilariously

Knackered after dancing all night at a friend's 60th party in the newly-renovated loft of the Harbour Bar near the sea front. I knew a lot of his friends as we are part of a hill-walking group that heads into the Wicklow Mountains once a month (see earlier posts with pics). What a hoot. He brought in gourmet pizzas - YUM - and had a heart-attack playlist for dancing guaranteed to sort out the girls from the boys (you know what I mean). We were seriously whooping it up. The manager - who looked about 12 - complained about the music being too loud. WAY TO GROW OLD. PISS OFF THE YOUNG ONES, YEAH.

Saturday, April 12, 2014


This is a scream. If your GPS was like your Irish mother, lol. Great young comedienne. Love all her videos. My other favourite is her return from Australia. Who says women aren't funny?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Drop Some Lead on 'em!

Finn came home from sea for a few days, before heading back to college in Cork, so we decided to finally have a go at the great Christmas present her boyfriend gave me: Battleship with chocolate pieces! (Inspired.) He knew I loved the film but didn't know I had also played the game as an Officer Cadet wayyyy back in the 1970s in the Gunroom of the HMCS Cape Breton, fondly called "the Fred," docked in Esquimalt, B.C. (Note: Wardroom for senior officers, Gunroom for midshipmen/officer cadets). At first I was really pounding Finn, getting those chocolates fast as I took her battleships, cruisers, patrol boats and aircraft carriers. I had cleverly figured out that she was calling out spaces for me which were, in fact, near her own positions. But once she copped that, I was back to guessing. Suddenly she took off, nailing my positions and blasting me out of the water. Ship after ship sank like a stone. And I couldn't fathom how I was missing her. There were huge areas of empty sea on her side. When my last ship was lost with all hands on board, she revealed her strategies, my brilliant daughter. Firstly, she had set up her fleet in periwinkle formation, the majority clumped together in one spot with just a few random vessels here and there to keep me from realising that the bulk of the fleet was together. Ingenious evil marine scientist thinking. And how did she get me? She assumed I had gone for "random" placement - which I had - and she knew this meant I would avoid straight lines and place my pieces diagonally. Apparently and crazily this is what people think is random. Once she got a hit, she struck out diagonally and I was creamed. Evil scientist daughter.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

St Patrick's Day 2014

Belated Happy St Patrick's Day. LA FEILE NAOMH PHADRAIG SHONA DHUIBH! My little cat-daughter Emma died yesterday so I wasn't in the mood for posting. Will put up a photo and memoriam later for those pet lovers who understand. Meanwhile, this is a video posted by Fáilte Ireland (the tourist board) to celebrate our national saint's day. Enjoy!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Anniversary of 1959 Tibetan Uprising

Went into Dublin today to help hand out leaflets about the March 10 uprising in Tibet in 1959 against the Chinese invasion and occupation of that country. That was the year the Dalai Lama had to flee for his life. Thousands of Tibetans were murdered, thousands imprisoned and tortured; and the oppression and torment continue to this day. The West will not stand against China as they all do business with the Chinese. Money takes precedence over morality. We were happy with the response on the street, especially from young people who came up to ask us what it was about. A 21 year old girl said, "so you are asking that we be aware of what is going on there and that we not forget the Tibetans?" Exactly. For more information you can go here:

Tibetan flag and Dublin Spire, O'Connell Street (Photo credits: O.R. Melling)

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

My Daughter, the Marine Scientist

I'm sorry, I can't help myself, being a proud mother. Finn (appropriate name for a marine scientist, eh? short for Findabhair of course) is setting sail tomorrow on this amazing research vessel, the Celtic Explorer, Ireland's finest, for two weeks work on cold water coral. She's doing her Masters of Science in NUI Cork after getting her B.Sc. Honours in NUI Galway. There have been some rough weather warnings, so she may be in for big swells, but she is her mother's daughter and has sea legs and stomach. We were talking about the day the two of us took a small ferry from Inisheer after eating big fries for breakfast at 7:00 am. When things got hairy on the ferry, with Spanish students throwing up over the sides, we were fine. A bit green, but otherwise fine. (What on earth were we thinking? A 'big fry' in Ireland means bacon, egg, sausage, mushrooms and tomatoes. Sometimes blood pudding and beans but we didn't go there.) Fair winds and following seas, m'girl!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Big Wave Surfers

I was in Jampa Ling last weekend for the bi-annual Work Weekend that had us preparing the organic garden for spring planting. The head gardener was thrilled with us as we completed the weekend's work in the first day and carried on regardless! Beds were cleared and manured, weeds pulled, stones removed, and shed cleaned. The speed of our work was entirely due to the Herculean labours of three young men from the west of Ireland (two originally from Cornwall but now living in Co. Clare). Aside from being great craic, with tremendous enthusiasm and work ethic, they turned out to be professional surfers of the big waves. Here's a fabulous website that covers some of what they do: (One of them is also a sailor.) I'm as green as the sea at the life they live! But I don't begrudge them. This gorgeous photo is from their site and I assume was taken by the amazing Mickey Smith, surfer, photographer, and film-maker.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Three Generations Stepping Out!

This is my mum, me and my daughter walking along the Quinnsboro Road in Bray after Finn's 24th birthday luncheon in a great Chinese restaurant. Photo taken by Finn's boyfriend, Shane. The hilarious thing of course is that we are all 5 foot nothing and a bit while he's 6 foot 4 (or is it 5)??? And my mum is 90, how great is that?

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Upcoming Irish Referendum on Gay Marriage

An Irish drag queen took the Noble Call at the Abbey Theatre (well done Abbey) to make a brilliant speech about homophobia. This, after RTE - our national broadcaster - in an act of yellow-bellied cowardice (in line with Ireland's insane libel laws which protect the guilty) shamefully paid out an enormous sum of money to certain individuals whom Panti Bliss had called 'homophobic' for their public stands against gay marriage. Apparently, it is NOT homophobic to argue in favour of discrimination against gays and therefore gays have no right to use this term when "debating the issue." Breda O'Brien and John Waters are the two Irish journalists who object to being called homophobic while using "reasoned debate" to explain why they are in favour of discriminating against gays by not allowing them to marry; also, the Catholic think tank Iona Institute. As Panti Bliss (Rory O'Neill) points out, we find ourselves in Orwellian newspeak territory when the two journalists (along with several of their fellows, but not the amazing Gene Kerrigan) and the right-wing Catholics insist that "reasoned debate is being narrowed" if Panti Bliss is allowed to use the word "homophobia"; while, of course, debate is not being narrowed by the threat of lawsuit against the use of a word. IRELAND WAKE UP. THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES.    

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Petition to Support Irish Ballet

Here is a photo of the elegant Monica Loughman, Ireland's prima ballerina, who has established a national ballet company in this country so other young girls will not have to leave their home - as she did (for Russia!) - to learn classical ballet. In light of the fact that Irish contemporary dance receives an outrageously higher amount of funding than classical ballet - 25 million to 1 million! - she has drawn up a petition to the Minister of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Here is the website with all you need to support this worthy cause: And do please pass the information on.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Blue Jasmine and The Wolf of Wall Street

I watched Blue Jasmine and The Wolf of Wall Street in the same week and was stunned by the similarity. Great writing, great filmmaking and powerhouse performances by two brilliant actors to serve what? A presentation of the vacuous pathetic lives of two utterly useless human beings who not only add nothing to humanity but, in fact, detract from it by robbing others blind. It has been argued that the filmmmakers - Woody Allen and Scorsese - are indicting the behaviour of their characters while presenting searing satires of society. Really? Neither film shows any hope of redemption, any alternative to the aggressive desire for wealth, or even a glimmer of interest in such a thing. There is no indictment of their behaviour, only a morbid fascination with their fall. The Wolf of Wall Street presents the main character as a hilariously flawed 'hero' and the FBI man who captures him as a loser. At the end of the film, the latter rides the subway with other 'sheep', i,e, ordinary non-criminals, while the wolf, still rich, blooms on the talk circuit after a comfortable 3 year stay in prison. In Blue Jasmine, the non-rich are mindless happy-in-their-pig-ignorance boobs. Allen has obviously had no contact whatsoever with classes below the wealthy for some time. (Listen to real life American working men in Searching for Sugar Man for contrast.) Both films have no moral centre. I would suggest that the filmmakers themselves, like their characters, lack both moral compass and redemptive imagination. Unadulterated cynicism. Who needs it?