Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The Wonderful Barn, Leixlip, County Kildare

How many people out there are aware of this amazing building?

Built in 1743, the "Wonderful Barn", Leixlip, leaves all of our present-day architecture in the ha'penny place.  But how many Irish people are even aware of it?

Is it simply a case of "don't mention the famine(s)"?

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Sunday, 14 December 2014

Corel VideoStudio Pro masking tips and Gombeen Ireland

I remember, as a kid in Gombeen Nation Ireland, getting up at 6am one Christmas day to verify that Santa had brought me my (on tick, though I didn't know it) Scalextric set,  complete with JPS-adorned black and gold F1 car.  Oh the excitement of it all!

Of course, when I ripped open the box I found there was an empty space in the polystyrene where the transformer should have been.  Something to do with Irish regulations concerning "radio" equipment, I was told. So every Paddy edition of Scalextric was shipped without a transformer.  Add onto that, my ol'fella had to pay twice as much for his taxi car as our cousins north of the border...  excise duty (now VRT) being responsible for the "Paddy price".

And there was me trying to enjoy a few days off school and compulsory Catholism, kiddie-fiddling and Dev-inspried gaeilgeoir cultural nationalism.  "Oh no you don't" said Jack Lynch or Liam Cosgrave or whatever arsehole was in power at the time.    

Even as an eight-year-old I knew that Ireland was a kip.

Ireland has, though, been dragged kicking and screaming into the 20th century over the past few decades (and yes, I know it's the 21st century now, but it is a start) due to things like the EU, freedom of information, cheap travel to other countries (very handy for abortions which still "dont' exist" in Official Ireland's jaundiced eye)  technology and the Internet. 

What would Dev, Paddy "Paedo" Pearse and the supposedly progressive Sean Lemass have thought of the internet?  The former two wanted us to live in thatched cottages and speak peasant Gaelic, the latter wanted RTE to be used as an instrument to keep "De Peeple" in ignorance:

The element of top-down control was a comfort to the political elite as well.  The Lemass government made no bones about its view that RTE should be an arm of the state..."
(A Brief History of Ireland, Land, People, History.  Richard Killeen)

These days we don't have to go near RTE, apart from having to bail out the useless bastards every year via the licence fee.

Censorship is gone... too late for James Joyce and other great Irish minds...  but the State is finding it harder to control how we think.  We are all our own broadcasters and opinion-formers now.   We can even be our own Steven Speilbergs, as my latest shameless video plug demonstrates.   See no-one  is immune to gombeenism at the end of the day!

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Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Three move checkmate - chess can be a dangerous game

Nearly a year ago, there was a bizarre and  grotesque murder not too far from us.  Two guys were playing chess and, it seems, an argument over a move ensued which resulted in the killing of one of the players.

Subsequent reports disclosed some especially disturbing details about the killing which you can read here, if you have the stomach for it

Obviously this guy was very seriously deranged, and shouldn't have been out at all...  never mind playing chess.   But when you consider the rather stuffy image of the game, it's difficult to reconcile a row over which way the knight moves (or some such) ending up in a horrible bloodbath.

Myself,  I think I will stick to Grand Theft Auto... just in case.

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