If Martin Luther could tweet Nov19

If Martin Luther could tweet...

Doubt Nov13

Doubt

I recently spoke with a man who met Robert Kennedy. There can’t be too many of them left about the place. It was years ago now, back in the sixties, I think, when he was in Washington DC on some kind of GAA junket, probably to promote the sport, to remind the Diaspora in the States of what it had left behind it back on the Emerald Isle. Robert Kennedy was his brother Jack’s Attorney General, the chief lawyer in the country, the legal adviser to the president, the representative of the law. I thought of politics back then and how it must have seemed that the country was being remade what with Civil Rights and the Cold War, the Red Scare, McCarthyism, the era of Free Love and the rise of the Teenager with a capital T. This was the eve of the Vietnam War and the exportation of at least 58,000 American lives, young men for the most part who never grew to be old men. I thought of that word “veteran” and reflected that my interlocutor was in his way, in his own ways, a veteran too, like we all are. We grow into that identity, fill the long cloak of that stature the more we live, the greater the repertoire we amass. Story after story gets told and experiences come and go; we encounter others and their lives and compare them with our own and probably never fully appreciate the full story, the complicated richness of existence. Then the silence. When, upon the next scandal or concern or affair of state, we think we see a pattern, something to decry over a pint or in a breathless fashion between two daily chores, we arrogate to ourselves a wisdom, the illusion...

Aesop’s Fables Oct05

Aesop’s Fables

I recently bought a collection of Aesop’s Fables for a few euro somewhere. It’s got the hare and the tortoise on the cover and the tortoise, without looking behind him, seems to be able to sense the hare’s presence. His neck is outstretched and his mouth is tight; he wants to win alright and hasn’t had a rest. “I’ve worked too hard for this to let it slip from my grasp,” he appears to think. The hare is alarmed, his ears drawn back, his body stretched out, his eyes alert. He knows he’s been complacent. He thought he had it in the bag as it were. He had over-extended himself, if only in his imagination, too early in the race, oddly enough by having a sleep. Now he’s really under pressure. It’s reminiscent of another Fable, that of the Astronomer who goes about at night looking up at the stars in wonder and not looking where he’s going. Inevitably he falls down a well and a stranger appears at the top of the well and says to him, “Why, in striving to pry into heaven, do you not see what is on earth?” I thought about all the money we spend on exploration of space and on self-driving cars and Presidential dinners when there are so many more deserving causes like homing people and feeding the starving children of the world. Why are we always reaching for things that are far away and reflecting on how great we are when we manage to reach them when, within our grasp and without too much effort or ingenuity, we could help those who need help now? There’s a fable for every occasion, it seems. In that of The Hart and the Vine, a hart is chased...

Open Night 2018 Sep20

Open Night 2018

1.  Go ahead, judge a book by its cover. What does it look like? It’s got an elephant on it and he’s jumping in the air only he’s wearing pyjamas and he’s got a cigar in his mouth. There’s a lot of yellow behind him and you think first it’s the sun but it’s actually an enormous orange and it’s rolling toward him and the book is called Get Out! Get Out Now! 2. You’re having lunch with a friend. Your friend gets a call in the middle of the meal. Write down your friends part of the conversation. Yes I gladly go with you there is a brilliant movie in! Yo’ll go That’s great I’ll look forward to seeing you at eight. see ya there! 3. The general manager of the New York Yankees’ personal to do list LOSE TO THE RED SOX!!!!!!! 4. Write a bucket list for your favourite superhero Die Eat Drink Walk (optional) run 5. Describe an eccentric person in action. Mr. Wilson threw a basketball at my cat then splashed me with holy water and mooed at me. He then proceeded to yell a story about Jesus fighting Donald Trump. 6. Write an ode to an onion. Oh dearest onion, You are so fun-ion, You have many layers, Not that I care!...

The media and the way they handle shootings by Michael Keohane Sep03

The media and the way they handle shootings by Michael Keohane...

I’ll begin by saying that unlike many I understand that most news is biased. It’s an unavoidable fact of life and something I’ve learned to live with. That said, regardless of the political allegiances of  news companies, the way that they handle mass shootings (and smaller ones) is just purely idiotic. I am, admittedly, pro gun. I think that they are a good thing to have in society. Contrary to what many might believe, that does not mean that I love mass shootings. I despise them and their perpetrators. Chances are that I care about shootings that happen in the U.S more than most liberals do. My solution just happens not to be banning firearms in the U.S. There is, however, one thing that really annoys me about news networks’ coverage of mass shootings and that is the way that they handle the perpetrators. This is a problem for both conservative and liberal news agencies. I get that news of the tragedy must be spread, that’s fairly obvious. What is unnecessary, however, is plastering the name of the shooter all over your network and website etc. I don’t know the names of any mass shooters and if I did I would refrain from saying them. Why? Because that’s what they want us to do. People go on rampages because they have nothing left. They want to be remembered for good or for bad. So why in God’s name would you go around making the shooter a rockstar for several weeks, or even years in some cases? This is a problem for both liberal and conservative news networks, but I see it on liberal networks more often. It’s truly ironic, wanting to stop mass shootings and then granting the final wish of the very people...

Fairy Tale of New York by Daniel Dilworth...

Fairytale of New York is a 1987 hit Christmas song for Irish-British band The Pogues. Fairytale, although having an enduring popularity in Britain and Ireland, only peaked at No. 2 in the British charts that Christmas, beaten by Pet Shop Boys’ song Always on My Mind. This song was a cover of a song previously released by Elvis Presley. Elvis Presley, one of the best known singers of the 20th century, originally became popular in the 1950s, a decade synonymous with the emergence of many singers and entertainers, including Little Richard, Frank Sinatra and Bobby Darin. Darin, an actor as well as a singer who died in 1973, was the subject of a 2004 biopic Beyond the Sea, which was co-written, directed and starred the actor Kevin Spacey. Spacey was, as of the time of writing, a subject of many allegations of impropriety and, as a result, was recast in the film All the Money in the World just weeks before its theatrical release, and was replaced with Christopher Plummer. “All the Money in the World” is the story of the infamous kidnapping of John Paul Getty III, grandson of the industrialist J Paul Getty. Getty was, in his day, one of the wealthiest men in the world, and is remembered for his frugality. John D Rockefeller is similarly remembered as one of the world’s wealthiest men; he was, in fact, the wealthiest American of all time. Rockefeller opened the Rockefeller University in New York and endowed his new foundation with part of his fortune. Rockefeller University was not the only university in the United States to be founded by a magnate; Carnegie Mellon University was formed through the merger of Mellon Institute of Industrial Research and Carnegie Institute of Technology, which was founded by Andrew Carnegie, a man as well-known for his business acumen as for his philanthropy. Carnegie donated large sums of money to various good causes,...

From Francesco Goya to Francesco Goya...

Francesco Goya was a Spanish painter and portraitist whose career reached its peak in the late eighteenth century. He was a contemporary of another painter, a British one, Joseph Wright of Derby. Another British artist you might have heard of is Mick Jagger and despite what some of you think, Wright and Jagger were not contemporaries. However, one of Wright’s most famous paintings is called An Experiment with a Bird in the Air Pump. Now, you might have heard of the word “pastiche” and in case you haven’t I tell you what it is: it’s a work of art by one artist that closely resembles that of another’s, but in a respectful way – this differentiates it from a parody. The Rolling Stones’ 2005 album, A Bigger Bang, features as its cover a portrait of the band but with strong resemblances of Wright’s aforementioned painting. On that album is a song called Back of my Hand. It’s a song about a clairvoyant, a visionary who can “read [the future] like the back of [his] hand” but specifically he see “paranoias” and, yep, you’ve guessed it – Goyas, that it is to say, paintings by Francesco...

Angry Rant from an Angry Man by Jason Scully Nov28

Angry Rant from an Angry Man by Jason Scully...

Hello and welcome to an angry rant from an angry man. You’re certainly in for a treat on this day of days because you can now be battered brutally over the head by none other than me, the most petty person you will ever have the honour of meeting and I will argue to the death with anyone who disagrees to even the slightest degree with that sentiment. Now that I’ve managed to turn even my intro into a rant in its own right we can now start raving about today’s topic. Alrighty, I wanted to talk about video games, then movies, then books, then music and then TV but I realised that they all share the same problem that makes them all equally crap in my eyes and so it begins, the quest for me, through my pointless rantings, to educate you on the one thing that is ruining not one but several multi-billion dollar industries. Now the non-super high IQ Rick and Morty fans in the audience may be wondering, “How can you claim to know what’s ruining literally all of modern-day media?” Surely if you do then the people in Hollywood who stand to make millions off such a revelation would act on it, and you’re a kid on the internet typing an essay at midnight because you drink too much coffee. And you’re right, but what if I told you that there lies both parts of the same problem that has been killing media since the 1980’s. (Ya see what I did there? Yes I know it wasn’t very funny, why don’t you try writing this?) Part 1: You’re part of The Problem., Most people don’t have a firm grasp on what makes modern art in media “good,”yet like those...

The Unwanted: Chapter One Nov23

The Unwanted: Chapter One...

Childhood troubles  It was a cold summer’s night. The moonlight was glistening peacefully over the sea in Blackthorn City. The wind howled, knocking bins on to the streets with a thud; fallen branches blocked lanes on the road. One lane led to the now ruined Lakewood. Birds were nowhere to be seen though they were usually chirping in Blackthorn City. Naomi, a seven-year-old girl young girl was walking with her parents along the quiet road when she heard a gentle whisper in the blackened night causing her curiosity to spike for a few seconds before her father, who wore his marine army suit, called her, his voice raspy. He was a general in the army; two medals hung from his neck. He walked on the stony wet pavements with his clunky black boots. Another whisper attracted the little girl. This time she followed it. Her father and mother followed, running past the forest. Naomi’s mother was forbidden from entering. As she entered the forest the whisper sounded like her father, making her believe he was lost in the forest. Her father heard a loud cry which sounded like his daughter Naomi. When he entered,  a gloved hand which was as dark as the night sky, covered his mouth. He didn’t know until it was too late. His wife spotted her him dangling off a tree with the branch running through his head. As she let out a cry for help she felt a gloved hand cover her mouth and a moment dropped to the floor, her neck snapped. Naomi wandered through the forest, stricken with a terrific fear. A dagger slashed at her ankle. She fell to the ground and, kicking and crying, she was dragged off into the depths of the forest. The...

The Marvel of Computer Games by Arran Denieffe Nov16

The Marvel of Computer Games by Arran Denieffe...

The marvels of today’s world are technological. Technology is responsible for the state of the world, good or bad, present and future and that in itself is something to marvel at. One of the things I truly love and consider a marvel are video games. They are, in my view, more than mere entertainment. Take the graphics for a start. As technology advances so do graphics and so games become increasingly realistic, testing the boundary between the virtual and the real. “Uncharted 4 – A Thief’s End” looks incredibly, as long as you have an equally incredible TV. But realism isn’t the only thing a game needs to be deemed a classic. Old games like “Doom,” “Final Fantasy” and “The Legend of Zelda” are amongst a multitude of games still beloved by the gaming community despite their old pixel graphics. Even some of the infamous “RPG maker” like “Mad Father” and “Corpse Party” games have attained cult status. The fact that games with inferior graphics can still be fantastic is something to be admired. Another aspect of video games that I love is artstyle and how much variety there can be. Games can be realistic looking but they can be cartoonish, hand-drawn, anime, pixelated and so on. One recent example of a game with a gorgeous artstyle would be “Cuphead.” Despite its funny name, I would say it is one of the most stand out games this year.It is done in the old, cartoonish style like the very first Mickey Mouse animations. The game is made with such love and respect for the artstyle it even has old-school sound effects as well. This game has quite the nostalgic factor to it though I may be too young to fully appreciate it! “Obami” is another...

Mario and Rabbids’ Kingdom Battle Review by Max Keegan Nov16

Mario and Rabbids’ Kingdom Battle Review by Max Keegan...

Mario, like I said before, is one of the most recognisable gaming icons of all time. The Rabbids? Not so much. They’re often hated for their annoying humour and stealing Rayman’s spotlight. Personally, I’m actually a fan of the Rabbids, with Rabbids Go Home being an amazing adventure game and their TV show being pretty funny too. So Nintendo and Ubisoft decided to mix these two together into… a tactics game? It’s better than it sounds. The story is that a Rabbid is fusing everything with Rabbids thanks to stealing a merging headset from an inventor. Her robot companion Beep-O ends up in the Mushroom Kingdom and it’s up to Mario and Co. and some Rabbids dressed up like them to save the kingdom and defeat Bowser Jr. The game is very funny and the characters are likeable. The gameplay is like X-COM, but with Rabbids and Mario. There are eight playable characters and you can equip them with blasters, sentries, shotguns and grenade ducks. Don’t ask. Each hero has different abilities: Mario can attack even when it’s not his turn with Hero Sight; and Rabbid Mario can lure enemies in closer with Magnet Dance. The game is fun to play and all of the characters have great weapons and abilities. Every world has a mid-boss and a boss. Phantom is my favourite boss, especially with his song. It’s always satisfying to win a level. However, there are some flaws. The game can get pretty difficult, with the Spooky Ziggies’ ability to stop you from attacking and the escort missions and getting to point B missions can take forever. While I’m not done with the game, Mario + Rabbids’ Kingdom Battle is a great game. With its good humour and gameplay, I’m proud to...

Open Night 2017 Sep21

Open Night 2017

                                                                         something more you’d like to know about “History.”           (Jason Foley)                                                           Imagine yourself being eight years old. what would you tell yourself. “Be nice to people.” “I’m eight years old” (Hugh)                                                                                   what’s the worst nightmare you  remember. “Vegetables.”           (Michael Buckley) something more you’d like to know about “Life.” last thing you’d want to do in life  “Jump off the Empire State building!”    (Gene)                                                                        what you ate for breakfast “Cornflakes.” “I ate cornflakes”                                                                              your best birthday “2014 when I got a trampoline.”                (Gavin) your favourite hiding spot “Under with the blanket covering the sides.”    (Liam Cassidy)        ...

WILLKOMMEN IN KÖLN: A GLOBETROTTER’S DIARY by Cian Morey...

DAY SEVEN Schluß. This is the end. The time has come for me to end my seven-part series on the wonders of Köln, or, as they say in westernised Germany, “the time has come for me to end my seven-part series on the wonders of Köln”. Anyone who has been to Köln before or who is familiar with the city from any vague glance at a travel book should know that there is one major part of the Kölnisch landscape that I have neglected to mention. That major part is, of course, the majestic museum to the memory of the inventor of Eau de Cologne, which basks triumphant on the corner of the cathedral square. So I think it is only fitting that I end my series of accounts by not writing about that at all, and writing about the second most major part of the Kölnisch landscape instead – the Hohenzollernbrücke. I was fortunate enough to get a chance to cross this monument on the final day of my travel diary in a frantic search for an U-Bahn station that wasn’t undergoing repairs, and dank Gott for it – it is sublime. In the simplest of terms, this is a large bridge composed of several steel arches that straddles the Rhine just as it passes the Köln cathedral, and it features both train tracks and walkways for pedestrians. As a piece of engineering alone it is not particularly attractive, especially when compared to the sleek genius of the bridges in places like Düsseldorf, and it is surrounded by four statues of famous German leaders on horseback which include, to my moderate bafflement, Kaiser Wilhelm II. Even though the view is pleasant and it is readily accessible, there is nothing physically outstanding about it; but the real magic lies...

WILLKOMMEN IN KÖLN: A GLOBETROTTER’S DIARY by Cian Morey...

DAY SIX The layout of commercial Köln is very simple. There are two shopping streets, Hohe Straße and Schildergasse Straße. That is all. Well, alright, I exaggerate a little, but almost every shop you could need here can be found at some point along both of those streets and there really is very little point in meandering off somewhere else, at least for the purposes of throwing away your hard-earned cash (though there are a few elaborate fountains in the Old Quarter that invite that sort of thing as well). The two aforementioned streets have a range of German and international shops, everything from Currywurst emporiums to Accessorize. There are even two H&M stores on the same promenade. The Apple store – because let’s be real, we all already know that there is one – has gouged out the innards of a classic-looking 19th-century building and features more hovering attendants than customers, ready to swarm you as soon as you put a foot over the threshold and jabber at you in what is probably seriously cool, hip Deutsch. There are multiple shoe shops lining the length of Schildergasse Straße, which for your convenience are all exactly the same (“Kämpgen”). And most significantly of all, there on the corner of the whacking big Neumarkt-Galerie (a word which here means “huge shopping centre that is 75% Primark with a few other outlets”) – there lies Mayersche, the enormous bookshop that I have been waiting for for the last 5 days. When I say enormous, I mean it. It is three stories tall. The second floor has a dedicated reading corner with a long table and chairs. There is a café and a piano on the top floor for the more uninhibited visitor (and believe me, they are common)....

WILLKOMMEN IN KÖLN: A GLOBETROTTER’S DIARY by Cian Morey...

DAY FIVE There are a small number of things in the world that possess the power to really make you realise just how minuscule a place you occupy in the big old universe. Köln Cathedral is one of these things. It towers above the rest of the city, its spires always visible in some distant direction wherever you are, unless they are shrouded in fog like a heavenly gate. Standing before it in Köln’s main plaza, you cannot even see the top, though you are still as awed as ever. The doors alone are immense, deep-set in spectacular mullions like the eyes of a monstrous hermit crab. Poised beside them like an unofficial ticket-dispensing machine is a priest with a touch of the circus magician about him, dressed in a sweeping red robe, and probably carrying a small wooden box to collect “voluntary” donations for the cathedral. But even if he does sidle into your path and smile a few coins out of your purse, you will soon see that he does so with good reason; for the interior of the Dom is a beautiful, beautiful place. The nave is high and arched, and at ground level you walk between blocks and blocks of pews, separated only by tall ribbed pillars, candlesticks and the occasional lost foreigner. Tour guides squeeze between the mobs of visitors while frantically wafting the flimsiest of signs above their heads, hoping that the rest of their group are bobbing along behind them. The looming stained-glass windows of the cathedral seem to cycle through more artistic periods in a few square metres than a full art gallery does in three floors; there is everything from the flat and simple archaic designs to the more modern, deep, bright works to one...

WILLKOMMEN IN KÖLN: A GLOBETROTTER’S DIARY by Cian Morey...

DAY FOUR So there’s this thing on the continent called “history”. The Americanised west should try it sometime. Köln, like most long-standing European cities, has an Old Quarter, and furthermore, an Old Quarter that is respected and protected. I mentioned before how the city centre has been overrun and ruined by multinational corporations and western fast-food empires, in some strange spiritual sequel to the rampages of Visigoths and Vandals in the 5th century. Until now I believed that that American Invasion was a big messy thing that came at a heavy cost to the region’s history, but, as I’ve recently discovered, it just means that all the history you could ever need has been neatly parcelled up and tucked into one small district in typical orderly German fashion. Here in Köln’s Old Quarter they’ve got it right. Here in Köln’s Old Quarter there is no great push towards industrialisation, no craze for erecting useless empty skyscrapers, no gnawing addiction to historical bulldozing. Here in Köln’s Old Quarter they understand the value of their past and they embrace it with open arms instead of wrecking balls, and their admirable care for their common cultural history is nowhere more obvious than in the very heart of the riverside Altstadt. South-east of the Dom, well out of range of the quarantined zones that contain such festering diseases as McDonald’s and Accessorize, lies this charming sprawling district of cobbled sidestreets and crooked buildings, packed with all manner of quirky shops, artistic ideas, excellent eateries and pompous pigeons. A soft scent of fresh baking bubbles through the alleyways, shafts of light peep around corners and through the most interesting of nooks, and there is an overall sense of tranquility and secretive magic that I had always believed was unique...

WILLKOMMEN IN KÖLN: A GLOBETROTTER’S DIARY by Cian Morey...

DAY THREE While I have previously mentioned that Köln is massive, I must clarify that for all its massiveness it is also dense, sort of like a big bar of gold, or Donald Trump’s head. Quite a lot of tourist attractions have been neatly packed into the one convenient Fußgängerzone – such as the cathedral, the shopping quarters and an assortment of museums – and this is rather fortunate, because public transport services are absolutely abysmal. For the last two days I braved the city on foot, which was tolerable at the time but left me exhausted and had incapacitated my right leg by this morning. I felt as though my ankle had been glued to the ground while the rest of me was bungee-jumping off a cliff. I woke early this morning with the deep determination to limp posthaste to the Hauptbahnhof and seek an elusive map of public transport zones. The precise reason for my waking early was a failing in my apartment’s air conditioning unit which necessitated repairs by a cohort of workmen who looked distinctly like a geriatric edition of the Super Mario Bros. The air conditioning flaw itself was barely noticeable, but the true hardship was that the repairs simply had to be performed at 8 o’clock in the morning, requiring me to be out of bed at 7 and out the door within the hour. While the average German day would start at about 6:30 anyway, this sort of timeframe is nightmarish to a holidaying student in summertime, who would rather cling to his bed like a sloth to a tree. Nonetheless I did what I had to do, and, as I later discovered, Mario did indeed repair the air conditioning to a high standard. To return to...

WILLKOMMEN IN KÖLN: A GLOBETROTTER’S DIARY by Cian Morey...

DAY TWO The morning of the second day of any holiday abroad is a tiny golden window in which you firmly believe you are a god. Having made it through the various circles of the hellish first day and come out the other side intact, you are convinced you can do anything. You are utterly familiar with your surroundings. You are a compass on legs when it comes to the navigation of sidestreets. You have become fluent in the language overnight, you are suddenly one of the place’s leading culinary experts, and you are ready to give the best guided tour that any confused newcomer has ever had the misfortune of experiencing. You are invincible. This window of invincibility lasts for roughly 45 seconds once you step out of range of the hotel. My plan today was a very simple one – explore Köln’s Ludwig Museum, find a bookshop that I’d seen the previous day, and hunt down a satisfying dinner somewhere in between. Ultimately I succeeded in every aspect, but not without a great deal of trouble. All of which made the day much more interesting than I had anticipated. The first issue was the weather, and its headwrecking changeability. Backtracking on its promises (meteorologically-speaking) with more fiendish enthusiasm than the Labour Party, it was sunny, raining, dull and sunny again within the space of about 20 minutes. I lost a good deal of time from the start of my excursion frantically switching outfits like a bad actor in a one-man play. Once I settled on an eccentric fashion of light shirt plus substantial rainjacket, I chugged towards the cathedral, the centrepoint at which my awareness of the whole city is anchored. On the way I was questioned by another tourist in search...