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Showing posts from February, 2013

Newgrange

Around a year or so ago, I took a day off work in order to visit the Neolithic site at Newgrange.
But because Newgrange was there and wasn't going to go away I decided to go for a coffee instead. I'd like to emphasise here that I've never neglected the importance of having time to go for coffee. After all, the 'coffee morning' is a significant instrument of gossip, one of Ireland's most important forms of social control. But Newgrange, well I'd been there before, a number of years earlier and I just felt incredibly drawn by the place.
Newgrange is what they call a 'passage grave', and it being over 5,000 years old, one can only speculate that it might have had some sort of religious significance. Maybe that's one of the things that draws me to it - the fact that we can only wonder what the whole thing is about. How did people who only lived for about 30 years manage to gather stones from distant places and erect this massive building, aligning i…

The Thing About Ireland

There was a time, years ago, my first stint in Germany when I was things like 20 something, that I had this madly romantic notion of Ireland. And that was back in the day when there was no internet radio that you could have blasting the farming news in the kitchen, and no Irish Times online or nothing. Germany was Germany and Ireland was Ireland. There were Deutsche Marks and Irish Punts, and the Irish 5p, which was on a par to today's 5cent, worked as a Mark, similar to a Euro in phone boxes and cigarette machines. So you didn't need WhatsApp and you could get a really cheap deal on cancer.
Flights were luxury and you got a 'free' meal and 'free' drink in the air, or as my mother used to say (upon arriving sozzled to Germany) 'I paid £500 for that half bottle of wine.' It was just that the flight came for free.
So every year or so I'd come home and go to a trad session, eat a 'full Irish' breakfast and buy a new aran sweater. Everything bad…