Forgotten heroes and the truth that does not speak its name. Irish involvement in World War I.

J.D. Gallagher:

A great article on the involvement of Irish in World War One.

Originally posted on Arran Q Henderson:

In August and September 1914, John Redmond, leader of the Irish Party, and its MPs at Westminster, made speeches, notably the speech at Maryborough, now Port Laois, where he exhorted party members, and specifically members present from the 150,000-strong Irish Volunteer movement, to join the Allied and British war effort, effectively to volunteer for military service fighting for Britain.

Redmond argued from a position of strength, not weakness.  The Irish Party stood at an historic crossroads, having earlier that year attained what both Daniel O’Connell and (their own former leader) Charles Stuart Parnell had failed to achieve, the Holy Grail of Home Rule for Ireland, a large measure of autonomy with an Irish Parliament, governing Ireland, from Dublin.

They’d now finally it after an intense, almost epic political struggle of over 30 years, after two previous Home Rule Bills defeated (1886, and 1893) and in the face of endless opposition…

View original 3,311 more words




Just after Christmas, as part of an Irish Heritage Studies assignment, I had to go to a museum, pick out an object and compile a report.

This will be a pain in the arse, I thought to myself as the very lengthy and detailed assignment was read out. It was one, single spaced, A4 page and had lots of specific information on what the lecturer wanted.

Usually the assignments or essay titles are about two sentences long; Robert Frost Uses A Lot Of Nature As Symbols For Human Angst, Do You Are or Disagree? Something like that I usually offered up, nice and simple so it can be swallowed without chewing.

I don’t mind Heritage Studies as such, or going to the museum, but the course I am doing is tight when it comes to the timetable, it goes a little like this, lecture, lecture, lecture, lecture, lecture, EXAM. Lecture, lecture, lecture, lecture, lecture, ESSAY. And so on and on and on.

They are trying to finish it by mid-March. I don’t see that happening with the lectures that were cancelled because half the city was under water.

It is starting to show too, there were a little over 80 people at the start of the course and now there appears to be a little under 30 people, though since Christmas, the weather has been shit so a lot of people could not show up. Maybe they are following via online notes and lectures. I don’t know, or care.

So I went to the museum, I picked an Early Bronze Age funerary pot, it was a Tripartite Bowl Food vessel which was found in a grave in Mitchelstown, County Cork, Ireland, basically these pots or vases were found in pre-historic graves in Ireland.

Food was often put in them, perhaps a belief that the dead needed food on their journey or maybe the deity they believed in accepted food as an offering, it’s anyone’s guess.

There are no written records from this period in history, so all we have are the pots and things they made.

As I was looking at this funerary pot, examining the grooves, the cracks and the little dents that somebody had made with their bare hands thousands of years previously. Some man or woman. (I think it was a woman. It was a very sexy pot. I mean just look at it) spent hours making this and decorating it, and most likely they were making it in a time of grief. Someone had died, and they made this for them around 2,500 B.C.

And there I stood in the year 2014, in a museum, taking photographs on my mobile phone in the No Photographs section of the museum, thinking; my ancestors made that. There it stood in front of me like a handshake across thousands of years.

Strange Literary Facts

1. None of the three most famous tales of the ‘Arabian Nights’ actually comes from the Arabian Nights. The stories of Aladdin, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, and the Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor were all later additions to the original corpus of bona fide Arabic ’1001 Nights.’

2. Nathanael West’s 1939 novel The Day of the Locustfeatures a character called Homer Simpson.

3. Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451, was a descendant of one of the Salem witches. Bradbury was descended from Mary Perkins Bradbury, who was sentenced to be hanged in 1692 but managed to escape before her execution could take place.

4. Ernest Hemingway once took home the urinal from his favorite bar, arguing he’d ‘pissed away’ so much of his money into it that he owned it.

5. Sting wrote the song ‘Every Breath You Take’ at the same desk which Ian Fleming used to write his James Bond novels. Specifically, this was at the ‘Fleming Villa’ at GoldenEye on the island of Jamaica.

6. In Russia in 2009, Winnie-the-Pooh was banned because a senior official was found to own a picture of Pooh wearing swastika-covered clothes. Now we know how to sort out the Ukraine scuffle without firing a single bullet.

7. The earliest recorded use of ‘wicked’ to mean ‘cool, good’ is from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s first novel, This Side of Paradise.

8. D. H. Lawrence liked to climb mulberry trees in the nude to stimulate his imagination.

9. Before he was famous, author of Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut, managed America’s first Saab dealership. It failed within a year.

10. As a schoolboy, Roald Dahl was a taste-tester for Cadbury’s chocolate, it is not known if this was the inspiration that led him to write Charlie and the Chocolate Factory


J.D. Gallagher:

This is a great post and a brilliant video by John Cleese on the subject of creativity. Well worth a watch.

Originally posted on lindaghill:

How can we all be more creative? How can we be inspired?

I came across this really great Youtube video today. It’s John Cleese, talking about where our creativity comes from and, not surprisingly, humour.

I can’t stress how fantastic this video is. If you’ve ever been stuck on what to write and how to go about finding the tools within yourself to spark your creativity, you MUST watch this.

View original

David Foster Wallace

1. “The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day. That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.”
- This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life (2009)

2. “True heroism is minutes, hours, weeks, year upon year of the quiet, precise, judicious exercise of probity and care—with no one there to see or cheer. This is the world.” – The Pale King (2011)

3. “The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you.”
- Infinite Jest (1996)

4. “What goes on inside is just too fast and huge and all interconnected for words to do more than barely sketch the outlines of at most one tiny little part of it at any given instant.” – Oblivion (2004)

5. “Am I a good person? Deep down, do I even really want to be a good person, or do I only want to seem like a good person so that people (including myself) will approve of me? Is there a difference? How do I ever actually know whether I’m bullshitting myself, morally speaking?” – Consider the Lobster and Other Essays (2005)

6. “Because here’s something else that’s weird but true: in the day-to day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.
- This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life (2009)

7. “What passes for hip cynical transcendence of sentiment is really some kind of fear of being really human, since to be really human [...] is probably to be unavoidably sentimental and naïve and goo-prone and generally pathetic.”
- Infinite Jest (1996)

8. “Fiction is one of the few experiences where loneliness can be both confronted and relieved. Drugs, movies where stuff blows up, loud parties — all these chase away loneliness by making me forget my name’s Dave and I live in a one-by-one box of bone no other party can penetrate or know. Fiction, poetry, music, really deep serious sex, and, in various ways, religion — these are the places (for me) where loneliness is countenanced, stared down, transfigured, treated.”

9. “To be, in a word, unborable…. It is the key to modern life. If you are immune to boredom, there is literally nothing you cannot accomplish” – The Pale King (2011)
10. “’Mario, what do you get when you cross an insomniac, an unwilling agnostic and a dyslexic?’

‘I give.’

‘You get someone who stays up all night torturing himself mentally over the question of whether or not there’s a dog.’”
- Infinite Jest (1996)

11. “You will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do.” – Infinite Jest (1996

12. “I do things like get in a taxi and say, ‘The library, and step on it.’”
- Infinite Jest (1996)

13. “Everything takes time. Bees have to move very fast to stay still.” – Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (1999)

14. “A U. S. of modern A. where the State is not a team or a code, but a sort of sloppy intersection of desires and fears, where the only public consensus a boy must surrender to is the acknowledged primacy of straight-line pursuing this flat and short-sighted idea of personal happiness.” – Infinite Jest (1996)

15. “If you are bored and disgusted by politics and don’t bother to vote, you are in effect voting for the entrenched Establishments of the two major parties, who please rest assured are not dumb, and who are keenly aware that it is in their interests to keep you disgusted and bored and cynical and to give you every possible reason to stay at home doing one-hitters and watching MTV on primary day. By all means stay home if you want, but don’t bullshit yourself that you’re not voting. In reality, there is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard’s vote.”
- “Up, Simba!” in Rolling Stone (2000)


Number 15 is my favourite, it just sums up how I feel about voting.

Honest University Commercial

I like this. The bit about learning things that have absolutely nothing to do with the subjects you went to university/college for is so true. You go to study English and History but you also have to study philosophy, psychology, IT, gender studies and a whole lot of other subjects. I guess it keeps some assholes professors in a job. And keeps students on the poverty line.