Tuesday, 9 September 2014
What Ever Happened to the Thrifty Scot?
Wednesday, 27 August 2014
FW: Open day and fest 2014
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To: Orla (Derry Post); Conor Macauleybbcni; mickybradley; Willie; willie drennan; Fionnualaok; F Meredith Irishtimes; irwin farmweek; Sheena Jackson
Subject: Fw: Open day and fest 2014
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Betreff: Open day and fest 2014
Sunday, 3 August 2014
LOST DIVISION: REMEMBERING THE 10th IRISH IN THE GREAT WAR
By Dr Gordon Ramsey for Issue 15 of The
In the centenary of the Great War, there has been a reflective mood in
In the years following partition, there was a deliberate forgetting of the role of Irish Catholic soldiers in the war. Their sacrifice seemed to fit neither loyalist nor nationalist narratives. In the years leading up to the centenary, however, there has been an increasing focus upon the 16th Irish Division - recruited largely from John Redmond’s Irish Volunteers, and as politically committed to Home Rule as the men of the 36th were to opposing it. The story of the 16th has been told in books such as Terry Denman’s Ireland’s Forgotten Soldiers, and the publication by a Falls Road community group of The 6th Connaught Rangers which recounts the history of the battalion of
The 36th and 16th Divisions have come to be seen as emblematic of loyalist and nationalist contributions to a common struggle, and of the common ideals that underlay their opposed political positions. This use of remembrance to find common ground was most evident in the opening of the Island of Ireland Peace Tower on Messines Ridge, site of the battle where the 36th and 16th Divisions went into action side by side, the bonds they built being most poignantly enacted when loyalist soldiers of the 36th carried the body of Tom Kettle, nationalist MP and officer of the 16th, from the battlefield. The
The focus on the 36th Ulster Division and the 16th Irish Division is representative of loyalist and nationalist contributions to a common cause has been positive in many ways, but an unintended consequence seems to have been the total forgetting of the first Irish Division to be formed, and the first to be committed to action: the 10th Irish Division. The 10th was formed in the early days of the war as part of
On August 7th, 1915, whilst the 16th and 36th were still training on home soil, the 10th Irish Division transferred from troop-carrying ships to barges, to launch a beach assault alongside the ANZAC’s (Australia & New Zealand Army Corps) in Suvla Bay - an attempt to break the stalemate on the Gallipoli peninsula, where Churchill’s plan to seize the Dardanelles Straits and open the way to support Russia in the Black Sea had bogged down against fierce opposition by the tough and well-trained Turkish army. They were not the first Irish troops to enter the campaign. Regular battalions of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers and Munster Fusiliers had been decimated in the initial landings. The 10th fared little better. Cooper describes how they fought in the hot arid conditions, often without water, how assaults against Turkish machine-guns sometimes led to whole platoons just disappearing, and how ferocious fighting at close quarters ultimately led to the division losing 75% of its original strength - Dublin dockers and Belfast loyalists, English miners, Irish Travellers and rugby-playing ‘toffs’ perishing together amid the dust and flies. The desperation of the fighting is illustrated by the story of Private Wilkin of the 7th Dublins, who caught five Turkish grenades and threw them back at the enemy, before the 6th blew him to pieces. The operation commander, Sir Ian Hamilton, noted that the division had proved wrong the idea that no military unit could remain effective once it had lost 25% of its strength - the spirit of the 10th never broke. The remnants of the 10th Irish Division was withdrawn from Gallipoli to the Greek
Cooper ended his book with the phrase: ‘
We should remember the 10th, however. Their sacrifices were as great as any made on the Western front. Their motives were no more or less noble than any other division. After their withdrawal from Gallipoli, the division was redeployed to the Balkans, and fought the Bulgarians in Kosovo, a theatre familiar to today’s Irish Army and Royal Irish Regiment, before going on to face the Turks again in
Thursday, 26 June 2014
Eric Bell at The Strand
Do unicorns eat flags?
Savile Saga Rumbles on - But not yet in Northern Ireland.
Monday, 23 June 2014
GIRO - FACILITATING LOCAL ECONOMIC BOOM?
Sunday, 8 June 2014
Tartan Gangs and the 'Hidden History' of the Northern Ireland Conflict
Friday, 6 June 2014
The Fest at Raceview Mill
The Ulster Folk will be one of the proud sponsors of The Fest at Raceview Mill. This new festival will celebrate the launch of Roy McKeown’s inspiring vision for the Old Raceview Woolen Mill in Broughshane. We are excited about this festival that will have something on offer for a diverse range of people. There will be tasteful crafted foods and beers, artwork, linen clothing and a range of music and entertainment that will appeal to those urbanite artsy new-agers who would not want to go near yet another traditional country fair. Yet, local Ulster-Scots style folk music, on everything from fiddles to Lambegs will celebrate the rich heritage of Broughshane and
Tuesday, 3 June 2014
The Scottish Referendum: the potential divorce.
Sunday, 1 June 2014
Irish euroscepticism and the 2014 elections:
Saturday, 31 May 2014
The Ulster Folk on the move.
Friday, 30 May 2014
Celebration of local cider and beer: The Fest at Raceview Mill
Wednesday, 28 May 2014
Etudes Irlandaises on Ulster Scots
It seemed important to move outside the often strident and ultimately sterile register that has characterised much of the discussion on Ulster-Scots, to challenge some of the (largely negative) idées reçues about it and to try to show the extent to which its impact has now gone well beyond the circles of the language enthusiasts to filter out into the broader community through publishing, broadcasting, educational projects, music, etc. The idea was to seek out material which would provide insight into the internal workings of the processes by which the Ulster-Scots cultural agenda is being put in place on the ground. Thus, all of the contributions come from individuals based in Northern Ireland, who at one level or another, have been closely - personally - involved in one or other aspect of this on-going and wide-ranging phenomenon.
Wednesday, 30 April 2014
Famous Seamus of the Orra Mountain
Monday, 14 April 2014
WIRELESS MYSTERY THEATRE AT THE OPERA HOUSE
Sunday, 13 April 2014
A SENSE OF CHARACTER
Sunday, 6 April 2014
AUTHORITY, ELECTORATE & THE MEDIA
[Written by Gordon Johnston for Issue 13 of The
“We must do something”. “Something has to be done”. People have become dangerously unaware of how politics works. There is a dangerous disconnect between the electorate and the political establishment in
The people of
The media are complicit in this political malnourishment. They focus their stories on sensationalist headlines writing thousands of words on why we need change and how things will be better with that change. They miss one vital aspect. We don’t care about politics. Beside the breaking news story of tragedy around the world the media will have a glossy story about the tragedy of Britney Spears dress malfunction or something similar. The media have herded people into a bubblegum world of faux celebrity whereby they care more about the sexually explicit dancing of Miley Cyrus or the media circus surrounding Justin Beiber than war, health and education.
The electorate do not appreciate the link between services and taxation having long been seduced by the hollow promises of politicians promising more but never revealing where that more is coming from. The media have failed to explain that bigger, better and more expensive services cost more and taxes will have to be raised to fund them.
The media also enable the myth that politicians have any power at all. The political establishment is a snowball rolling down a mountain. The bureaucrats behind the scenes play the tune that the Minister must dance to. Ministers sometimes get to change the direction of the snowball slightly but it is still rolling down the mountain.
The electorate mostly doesn’t care about issues until they directly impact upon their lives. We are all guilty of this and until these issues impact upon us we carry on with our lives just trying to live as best we can. We behave like free range slaves with the illusion of freedom when our lives are anything but free.
The flag protests caused universal horror amongst the media and political elite with fear that some of the slaves had broken their chains. The mob could no longer be controlled with hollow promises and when that violence turned to activism the fear grew. If these protestors dared to think for themselves and challenge the establishment then who would be next to challenge authority?
Every effort was made to demonise the protestors and the leaders of the flag protests as this group represented that which the elite could no longer control or explain. This is a danger to their continued hegemony that could not be allowed lest the elite lost their privileged positions.
Sunday, 30 March 2014
Saving our High Streets or Killing Them? - Fake Shop Fronts
By David Symington for Issue 13 of The
Since the rise in popularity of out of town shopping centres our traditional high streets have been in steady decline. The convenience of easy parking and a range of stores all under one roof means that battling to find a parking space on the high street before trudging up and down cluttered pavements, laden with various shopping bags, no longer has the appeal that it used too. Many attempts to rekindle our previous love affair with the high street have so far come to nothing. If our high street shops are truly to thrive once more then we need to have a complete rethink of what they should be offering the consumer.
What many believe to be the high street’s one advantage is the unique shopping experience that it can potentially offer. An experience that invites the consumer to stay for hours, shopping at a relaxed pace in an atmosphere of creativity and friendliness. An area of destination shops and boutiques offering goods that are not readily available elsewhere combined with a coffee shop and wine bar culture.
If this is our desired goal for our high streets then we have a long way to travel before we get there. Many of Northern Ireland’s high streets are now simply littered with betting shops and charity stores, interspersed between ugly, drawn down shutters that mark the graves of shops that have since permanently closed their doors.
As a first step on the road to recovery we need to address these reminders of failure. Our high streets cannot recover if they remain uninviting places to be in. While it is not possible to simply create numerous thriving boutiques overnight and install them in every empty high street premise, it is possible to create that appearance. Instead of simply having drawn down shutters and boarded up windows we can install temporary shop fronts that give passers-by the realistic feel that they are walking past high quality shops. It would also give local artists and engineers’ opportunities to create their own businesses, by designing and creating better and more individual shop fronts that can be rented and moved from one place to the next as and when they are required.
This tactic was first used in 1980s
This approach is not without its critics however. Many existing high street owners feel that it merely covers over the problem without addressing the real practical business needs, such as lower business rates and long term planning. That if the failure is out of sight then the issue will remain out of mind. These are genuine concerns and it only goes to prove just how hard the battle to breathe life back into our high streets really is.
Monday, 24 March 2014
Black Sheep Gallery
Sunday, 23 March 2014
THEATRE: at The Mill and at Twadell
Theatre at the Mill and Theatre at Twadell.
By Willie Drennan for Issue 13 of The
What do Newtownabbey Borough Council and the Parades Commission have in common?
The answer to the above is that they have both made decisions that have interfered with liberty and freedom of expression. They both demonstrate the extent of intolerance that pervades society in
The banning of the Reduced Shakespeare Company’s Bible play by Newtownabbey Borough Council, from performing at their Theatre at the Mill, was like a blast from a former age. No doubt a satirical play based on the Bible will contain material that some Christians will find hurtful. When this play was first conceived the authors would have had this in mind and would have gambled on protests to ensure box-office success. In this case they probably had their folk on the ground calling up DUP councillors to complain on their behalf.
The fact is this; there are people in our society who actively want to suppress the freedom of speech and expression of those they disagree with. The best thing devout Christians could have done was to totally ignore the Bible Play, stay away from the performance to avoid offence and not offer it massive media attention.
Too late for that now. I had never heard of the Bible Play or The Reduced Theatre Company until it was banned.
On the brighter side the Newtownabbey Borough Council had a re-think and the play was able to go ahead as planned. The same thing has yet to happen with the banning of cultural expression on the
The solution for those who find
Too late for that now. The Twelfth of July celebrations in 2014 will surely be the biggest in recent times and the international media will be here in force.
Is it stretching imagination too far to consider the possibility that Loyalists often surreptitiously complain to the Parades Commission in order to promote Loyalist culture?