Filed under Ireland

Jimmy’s Hall

This has been rumoured to be veteran Ken Loach’s final film, but it is his last using real film stock & was helped out by Pixar to find enough of it. It had the potential to be so PC driven to be mawkish, but it steers a fine line between politics and humanity It is … Continue reading



This is a film that I was very wary of seeing. It is about a musician who wears a large papier mache head, and is based on the thoroughly English performer Chris Sievey who performed as Frank Sidebottom, and until his death was a cult figure whose songs were mostly about the small Northern town of … Continue reading

Which Danny Boy?

This song is pretty much a secular anthem for the Irish, but it has a fascinating history. The tune is an ancient traditional tune, Londonderry Air, which I always thought was a rather strange title, London derriere, which annoys Irish people no end, but it’s not my fault it’s a mondegreen. It is said the … Continue reading

Vikings Live

This wa an extraordinary event last night in cinemas round the country – a progamme by Michael Wood and Bethany Hughes highlighting the British Museum’s new block buster show on the vikings. At the outset, the museum’s director was asked why now, the reasons being that the Museum has just acquired a new wing, funded by Sainsbury’s … Continue reading

Danny Boy

I saw a documentary on this song, [will try to post on this later] which has become a sort of secular anthem for anyone with Irish ancestry or those drunk enough to join in anyway. Something about it keeps niggling. Danny boy is going away in the autumn, being asked to come back in the … Continue reading

Chinglish with a Touch of Blarney

Cara Dillon is a wonderful young folksinger from Ireland who has just discovered she is hugely popular in China. She and her partner Sam Lakeman (brother of the more famous Seth) went there last year, not knowing if they would be playing small venues or stadiums. They were surprised to find huge audiences, all under … Continue reading

Ancients Writing on Britain

The Romans have left us with records of the tribes and behaviours of the people of Britain, but they were often filtered through a general view that all non Romans were uncivilised, so were often described as brutes, fond of fighting, living in tents, eating milk and meat, or canibals even. As if the Romans … Continue reading

The Magdalene Laundries

The appalling story of young women who became pregnant out of marriage in Ireland, forced into slave labour in Catholic institutions is at last being addressed by the Irish government who have now announced compensation for the victims. They have also stated that the Catholic church will be expected to contribute to the payouts, as … Continue reading

Dogs, Fools and Female Scolds

Care of the poor, sick and feeble has long been the realm of the Christian church. This has continued longer in Scotland and especially Ireland, than the rest of the UK Across Ireland can be found references to hospitals – such as Hospital, Spital and Spiddel. Each hospital had its own territory, so was called … Continue reading