Archive for February, 2006

Is Bertie the greatest taoiseach of the all?

A few years back, when divorce became legal in Ireland, I was talking to a big lawyer guy. I was saying how great it would be if Bertie (Ahern, Taoiseach, prime minister of Ireland) was to get a divorce. I know many sepertate persons who had being living in a relationship limbo, of unrecognized long term, second relationships. I thought Bertie’s infulence would inspire them as being no longer social outcasts. The lawyer guy, just laughed and said Bertie would never get a divorce from his long seperated wife. The Finna Failers would never vote for a divorced man. Now that seems hyprocitically to me but I have been considering his postion at Taoiseach and have begun to wonder is he the greatest one of them all?

I was looking at the picture of him courtin’ the latest love of his life on the front page of the Star paper yesterday. And thought maybe he’s not being a hyprocite but just living up to the full, historical role of Taoiseach, elected leader of clann Ireland. According to the ancient Brehon laws that were set by the File (judges/poets of Celtic Irelland) and man was entitled to many concubines who ranked in lesser degree to his wife. These concubines were called Cumals, and intrestingly enough were a unit currency and test of a man’s wealth. One culmal was equlivent to the land needed to raise one milche cow with I suppose the cumal as a sort of cowmaid/concubine.

Now I am not calling Mrs Boggle or Ms Larkin, cows but simply using the term cumal to discribe their relationship with Mr Ahern, Taosieach as his concubines as he still remains married to Mrs Ahern.

Charlie Haughey a former Taoiseach and no stranger to having the odd cumal or two but in the shadows, once referred to Bertie as the most cunning and devious of them all. Perhaps he’s right but should we also call him the greatest Taoiseach of them all too as he lives his life so openly according the the ancient Brehon laws. His wealth is measured in cumals. Proof indeed that the sacred cows of Ireland have ancient roots and so a married man stays married for the good of the country according tradition.

Dublin Commuting Nightmare

For anyone who lives in Dublin, or who has spent any time in and around the city, they will know that the city is plagued by traffic problems, and that Irish people love to complain (quite rightly) about the nightmare that is commuting around the city! I’m not going to gripe (yet) about the failings of the M50 toll road, the ever delayed Dublin Port Tunnel (due to take thousands of trucks out of the city centre every week, and due for completion 2 years ago) or the sorry (though improving) state of our public transport infrastructure.

Nope, I’m going to let off steam about what has become probably the worst part of my daily commute of 40 or so miles, and which involves driving, getting a train, and a walk of about 12 minutes from the train station to the office in Temple Bar. Starting about three months ago, a new phenomenon has begun…that of the free morning newspaper. Until this week, there were two main papers competing for commuters attention. There has been intense competition between them, which has resulted in the entrances and exits to every train station, every street corner, and every footpath being swamped with employees of each of these news organisations, armed with satchels overloaded with their product, trying to literally force them into your hand.

Now, getting a freebie on the way into work was always a nice treat, be it the latest fruit drink / snack / deodrant, but, now these people are clogging up all the major commuter walkways, exits to train stations etc, and generally being a nuisance to people rushing to get to work. Add to that the fact that the streets and trains etc are now littered with discarded free newspapers, I really hope this is only a passing trend that will soon expire!

I did also say that until this week there were two ‘free’ daily’s competing, I have been completely baffled to see that another newspaper has joined the masses this week in blocking up our streets, but, this time they are trying to sell (!!) their newspaper to the passing public! Aside from anything else, that just doesn’t make sense to me!

Drinking With The Dead…

Good spot for a beer at the weekend might be the new John M Keating pub on Jervis Street. Would put up photos I took but I’m damned if I can get the photo uplink thingy to work luddite that I am… Actually now that I look it’s told me the photo I want to upload is too large… Arse.

Have a couple up on mine from a while back HERE

Was there for a coffee a couple of weeks ago and it’s just stunning inside; a church organ at one end, a huge stained glass window at the other. All state of the art and yet with the elements of the St Mary’s Church that it used to be quite tastefully retained. It’s a bar/restaurant/cafe so something for everyone depending on the time of day.

Can only speak for the cappucino (pretty decent) but it definitely looks like a worthwhile spot to try in an otherwise pretty quiet part of town nightlife-wise…

Top gig of the weekend should be The Marshals in Whelan’s on Saturday night. Had them in on the radio show on Wednesday and they do a mean acoustic Folsom Prison Blues…

R

Must Blog Harder… Must Blog Harder…

It was only this evening when I looked back and realised that I’ve only posted twice here so far that I realised my duty to the city is being left untended :-(

To be fair my list of priorities has been fairly full this week – a sick daughter, son on mid-term, a beautiful and demanding wife(!), radio show to produce and present every night, couple of hundred e-mails to the show every day, my own blog, a myspace page, listening to the new Streets single and Josh Ritter album (both very tasty – will have the Streets tonight and Josh album tracks on Monday on my show… Am I allowed plug my show here…? Will soon find out…) and then there’s the small matter of the inaugural Irish Blog Awards.

Probably should have mentioned it earlier as the voting finishes tomorrow but it’s the first time the Irish blogging community has put something like this together, will be a top night for all concerned…

I mentioned it previously over in my corner of the blogsphere but, conscious that there are many, many surfers from all over the world checking here for the first time this week I thought I might give you a taste of what Ireland is really like.

You might have heard of the small matter of cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed that have caused corners of the world to go up in flames in recent weeks. In places as far apart as London and Jakarta, Muslim communities took to the streets, many of them in violent protest that usually involved burning the produce of the now booming Danish flag industry…

In Dublin there was a protest too.

Our Muslim brothers took to the streets witth such inflamatory placards as:

“Islam means peace”

“Freedom of speech should be responsible”

“Caricatures are violations of human rights”

and my personal favourite:

“Respect all religions”

We do things slightly differently here…

R

Cocaine found in Irish Parliment

One of the Irish tabloid newspapers today is running with a story that traces of cocaine have been found on a toilet seat in the Irish House of Parliment, Leinster House. The toilet itself is located in a bar that sits right beside the chamer of power, the Dail.

Traces of cocaine have been found in numerous media investigations in various Dublin pubs and clubs (as I’m sure would be the case in pretty much every city in the world), but, to have them in a private section of Parliment appears to be causing quite a stir at the moment!

My favorite things about Dublin

Mam and Dad, grandparents graves, Catherine, Aideen and Mary, Peter and Marcella, old lovers, new lovers, lovers to come.

When the sun shines, when the rain falls, in the foggy dew.

The dark Liffey, Blessington basin, St Ann’s rose garden, DunLaoghaire pier, Howth head, a pint outside the Summit in the summer where U2 played their farewell gig before going to England to make it big, they came home live here and play Croke park better that any Artane boys band.

Batch bread or turnover from the Earl bakery on North Earl street, sausges, soup in Conways and a pint, soup in the Colbalt cafe and a sandwich, filtered coffee from the West Coast coffe shop on the quay, the Irish Times sometimes, John Kelly on the radio, the Ambassador as a gig, the Gate, Andrews lane, not a bad seat in the Abbey, free museums, free art galleries, wise-arsed cracks, soft accents.

The light on the Liffey, clouds, the Dublin mountains, the ting, ting of the LUAS, the view from the DART coming though Killiney tunnel, the bay, Dollymount strand, the wodden bridge, Brian Brou and the Battle of Clontarf. The Dubs winning, Ireland winning anything, the GPO and all it’s history, Moore street, Merrion square, Stephen’s green, the ducks the swans in the Grand Canel basin, blackbird on my balcony, goldfinches at a feeder, city foxes and roosters hiding in the parks, the Pheonix park, the Zoo.

Writers galore, home to four winners of the Nobel prize for literature, Joyce and Wilde who didn’t, Roddy Doyle, Killester, Clarinda Park, gardens.

When I am feeling blue, I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don’t feel so bad.

And we’re live

Hello all, welcome to Dublin, we hope you enjoy! A quick introduction to us all can be found here! Hope to see you around! :)

Nizlopi to play Whelans

By now, if you’re living in Ireland, or the UK, you have no doubt heard about Nizlopi, the band who had a hit just before Christmas with the JCB Song. If you have not yet heard the JCB Song, I suggest you check out the video here, which A) is a very cool song, and B) has some really amazing animation worth checking out for teh eye candy alone.

Anyways, Nizlopi have announced that they are going to be playing their first proper gig in Ireland since their new famed success in Whelans on Wexford Street this coming March 6th. I hope to make it along and suggest that if you’re about you make it along, should be a great gig.

A real Bartender

Don’t give me your DIT diploma bartender. The “this is done the classical way”, overtrained, under experienced bartender that populates the Dublin pubs at the moment. Give me the sinners, people who like their drink, know their customers, hang with the crowd, grumpy as fuck bartenter. Not the bland, blend with the back, black grarbed bartender. No personality must show, just pump the pints, factory line, server who is afraid to speak. It’s a public house for godsake, make me feel at home.

Of course, I can’t really blame the bartenders, they’re just the workers but it’s the owners. The corporate no face seem, pull a profit type who have turned Temple Bar into an alcoholic Disneyland. It’s not fun.

I like the bartenders at Sin E. Real bartenders. Wild childs one and all. Sinners. It’s a rockin’ spot at night but I prefer the daytime. I admit, I am more of your Saturday afternoon person. Getting old I guess but you can’t beat mullin’ over a pint. Reading the paper. Enjoying the craic. Getting a laugh out of the young ones that roll in from partying all night at Traffic, in Abbey street, then onto the early house of the White Horse and then to the mellow, chill of Sin E’s on Ormond Quay.

There we hang. There we chat, in one of the few good inner city public houses. Check it out. You’ll like it, I know. And say Hi to the bartenders, they answer back. It’s fun.

Faith Healing

When live theatre is bad, nothing can be more irritating — there you are, stuck in the middle of a row, unable to escape, forced to endure until the interval or end (unless you really want to make a statement and flounce out of the place, stepping on toes and tripping over handbags as you inch toward the freedom-giving aisle).

But when theatre is good, especially when theatre is very very good, it is truly an out of body experience. You go somewhere entirely other. It is an experience like no other, far superior to anything film can ever produce at least to my mind, because you are engaging with flesh and voice directly, without celluloid intervention. Your sense of being seated in a bricks and mortar building vanishes, and you disappear into the world being created by words and set onstage. There’s a sense of surrender. A bit of magic. Sometimes, reluctance to believe. And then you cross over, the live experience gels and the bliss that is rivetting theatre happens.

Not unlike a faith healer, healing… as playwright Brian Friel recognised long ago in his play The Faith Healer (surely his best work). The play has just opened at the Gate with an incredible, focused, tight and taut cast of Ralph Fiennes (as Frank, the faith healer — which is why Fiennes is hanging about drinking in the Ely wine bar as remarked upon below), Ian McDiarmuid (he of evilness in Star Wars, here playing the washed out but very funny Teddy, the faith healer’s cockney manager) and Ingrid Craigie (the wife/mistress Grace, in a performance that flays you emotionally by the end of her monologue).

Thanks to a friend of a friend, who had a couple of spare tickets for the night before opening night, I was fortunate to see this production, which is the first show at the venerable Gate to ever sell out before the run actually began. Fiennes is obviously the draw, but his mastery as an actor is such that you become as immersed in his character as Fiennes is himself, to the point where you do indeed become capable of forgetting it is Ralph. Fiennes. Live. On. Stage. The stage itself is dark and bare, demanding even more that the actors each breathe life into the world we are to see over the next two and a half hours, and create it they do.

This is a truly memorable performance, well worth getting there early and queuing for returns, which alas seems the only way to get in to see it on this run. For those in the US, the production transfers to Broadway in the spring (early May), though Craigie sadly will not transfer with it.

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