2016 take 3

now here’s a proper ad for the 2016 centenary. At least this one has the actual thing that is supposed to be celebrated in it.

Sinead’s Rebellious Revolution

Sinead O’Connor is many things. She is a strong woman. She is a talented musician. She imploded her rising career when she tore up a picture of the pope which she was uniquely entitled to do, given her suffering in the Magdalene Laundries. Most of the world hasn’t heard of or from her since. But now, so many years after that first provocative act, she has done another – and this time around, she has thrown down a gauntlet and called for a revolt against the Irish government, by any means necessary.
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Joseph Mary Plunkett

On this day in Irish history a mighty warrior poet was born. Joseph Mary Plunkett was born in one of the wealthiest parts of Dublin with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth. He should have had a wonderful childhood, surrounded by wealth and adventure—and in some ways he did—but a terrible case of Tuberculosis threw a wrench into many roads he may have otherwise wandered. The disease was something that affected him for his whole life, leaving him weak and infirm in many ways but it also gave him focus and determination. Joseph became a journalist and a prolific poet. Later in life his study of  languages, the written word, and a love for theater brought him into a close friendship with Thomas MacDonagh, another poet and politically charged man. Thomas was married to a woman named Muriel, who had a charming sister named Grace. She would become the love of Plunkett’s life. Aside from their mutual infatuation with the Gifford girls, the men were also active in the Gaelic League, the Irish Volunteers, and the secretive Irish Republican Brotherhood. In addition, they co-founded the Irish Theatre, bringing their love of drama to the stage.
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2016 take 2

I have been waiting impatiently for news of  the centennial celebration in Ireland for months now. I was even more impatient in the days leading up to the release of the schedule of planned events because I have been planning my trip to Dublin for the anniversary for well over a decade and was eager to see what was going to be happening officially. That said, the only thing running through my head after following all the links is What the f%ck did I just watch?

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F%CK Cancer

I had a lot of things to write about this week such as the birth of one of my greatest inspirations, Padraig Pearse, the conviction and suicide attempt of Wolfe Tone, and last Saturday marked the anniversary of the people of Ireland electing its first woman President too. I dropped the ball on all of them – which makes me really sad, but I have a good reason. Last week my friend and housemate had a double mastectomy while pregnant in an attempt to be cancer free and spare her unborn any radiation treatment.  I am one of her primary caretakers for her long recovery. As you might imagine, I have not had a lot of creativity in me during the last week and writing is a luxury that I can’t seem to find the time for at this moment.

I hope to return to it next week – particularly since there is so much to write about right now, such as the Ballymurphy decision, the Irish Water debacle, the awful bigotry against the Irish language and a ton of historical anniversaries. It’s making me crazy to skip some of these important topics and my hope is that people are still learning about them and fighting the good fight anyway.

Speaking of fighting, cancer sucks. Please donate to your favorite science group who is attempting to defeat it. There is no reason that we shouldn’t be able to battle it better than we have or why drastic measures are still the only way to go in that fight. My strong American Irish roommate is a great inspiration and warrior woman in this fight, but if we had more research, she and others like her might not have to go through things like this. It’s high time we find a new weapon against cancer and everyone in the world can help make that happen.

It’s also time to hold your loved ones close and appreciate all the things and people you have in your life. This blog, and those that read it occasionally are high on that list for me – so thank you for stopping by. I promise to return as soon as my brainpower can make that happen.

Go raibh maith agaibh

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Embarrassed by ‘Merica

One of the many reasons I scour the world news is because the media here in America is useless. We get what we ask for, which is fear-mongering over Ebola, tea party agendas and a bunch of grumpy old men deciding what constitutes harassment or what women should be allowed to do with their bodies. When the time comes that we could actually change it, voter attendance is at an all time low – and despite the fact that congress has only a 10% approval rating, 90% of those up for re-election were voted back in. It makes no sense. Now we are up against a Republican (not in the Irish sense) senate and a Republican house who have control over everything from our budget to our bodies and our Supreme court.

It’s embarrassing.

As bad as the vote went for anyone who has a smidgen of critical thinking, what is just as  bad is how little any of the elected figures and talking heads know about any other place in the world. Muslims and Islamic countries have borne the brunt of that ignorance for over a decade now but unfortunately almost every country has had a share in that pie. This time it’s Ireland. America has a lot of historical ties to Ireland and a lot of love for the country across the sea, but this humiliating clip shows just how little those in charge of our televisions know about the Emerald Isle. When you think about the fact that 90% of Americans get their information and opinions second-hand from pundits and the “news”, it is no surprise that the rest of the world thinks Americans are fat, dumb and lazy.

So on behalf of those of us who have an awareness of other countries and pay attention to the rest of the world, those of us who understand both history and the present, and any of us with a love for Ireland, I apologize. Please don’t judge us all like you should rightfully judge Joe Kernan. It starts out just fine but the last 3 minutes or so are so cringe-worthy that I can’t even believe no one turned off the mic.

::Head Hits Desk::

Remembering Agnes O’Farrelly

Agnes O’Farrelly was a mighty woman in the realm of aademia during a time when that was highly unusual. She was a suffragette committed to improving the role of women in society and a staunch supporter of the Irish language. She has the important distinction of being the first woman to publish multiple novels in Irish. She was not a native speaker and did not learn it until she went to university – in fact, she was the reason that language lessons were revived there. Eoin MacNeill was her mentor in the language and eventually he sent her to the Gaeltacht area in the Aran Islands to further her education in Irish.  Though she did not speak it from birth, this trip only reinforced her love for it. Eventually, she became a professor in Modern Irish and she continued speaking, teaching, and writing it for the rest of her life.

Ms. O’Farrelly presided over the inaugural meeting of Cumann Na mBan in Dublin, however she did not stay involved for long. While she was in favor of an independent Ireland and a supporter of Irish Nationalism, she felt that the women’s organization should be dedicated to arming and supporting the men of the Irish Volunteers, rather than joining the fight directly. It may seem like a peculiar stance for someone who wanted equal rights for women but she also believed in peace. As Cumann Na mBan became more militant in their own right, she withdrew from her leadership role and returned to academia – still fighting for women and an independent Ireland in her own ways, such as reviving the language and history, becoming an influential member of the Gaelic League and convincing other women to join her.

In 1916, she used her powerful gift of the written word and her scholarly position in an attempt to save her good friend Roger Casement from execution. She started a petition and sent a lot of correspondence but in the end, she was unable to persuade the authorities to spare his life. In 1922, she was part of a group of women who tried to convince the IRA leadership to avoid the upcoming civil war. That too, failed. Despite these setbacks, Agnes O’Farrelly remained influential in Dublin for many years and continued to be one of the most prominent female activists of the time.

Her devotion to the Irish language, to education, and to peace left little room in her life for romantic attachments. She remained an independent woman her whole life and never married. She died on this day, Nov. 5th, in 1951 and was buried in Deans Grange Cemetery. Her funeral was attended by many former colleagues, students, political activists, authors, rebels and the Taoiseach himself. She is remembered for being one of the most profound advocates for the Irish language in recent memory and has been credited for being one of the reasons that the number of women in academia swelled greatly at the time and ever since.

Moore Street Vote

Finally, the Dublin City Council decided to actually vote on the Moore Street dilemma. They have been putting it off as the contention grew to palpable levels and more and more people got involved in the process. At issue was an opaque “Land Swap” which was an idea that involved a lot of special interests, veiled corruption and back room deals – but in the end, the deal was finally defeated yesterday.

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