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...

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

DAY ONE Köln. As I write this, I sit by a window in a slightly cramped room on the highest floor of an inner-city apartment block, surrounded by a great many other inner-city apartment blocks, a baffling prevalence of the English language, and an overwhelming lack of lederhosen. Yes, this is Germany. Travel writing has never been a strong point of mine and I have written fewer diary entries in my life than Neanderthals have written on the walls of caves, but considering that I’m staying here for the next week I’ve decided to keep track of my experiences. Until now I have rambled from France to Finland and from Brussels to Barcelona, but I have not set a single foot in Germany. Thus I am blessed, or perhaps cursed, with a true outsider’s perspective, where everything here is new to me and I’m as impartial as I could hope to be. (I doubt that will last for long, but we’ll see what happens.) With these articles you can enjoy the enviable experience of witnessing one of the world’s most influential countries through the eyes of one of the world’s least influential people, a bumbling Irish student with absolutely no idea of what’s going on around him. Viel Spaß! The first thing that the average turbulent tourist will notice upon arrival in Köln (for the uninitiated, “Köln” is the official German name of what we English-speaking perfume connoisseurs would know as “Cologne”), is that it is big. Very big. In fact, all of Germany is massive, which you might think goes without saying, but honestly its massiveness is unmissable once you’re in it and simply has to be mentioned. It isn’t just the sheer landmass that’s enormous, but literally everything, from the heights of...

A GLOBETROTTER’S DIARY: A PREAMBLE by Cian Morey...

Dear readers, whoever and wherever you may be, It is one of the eternal curiosities about the Irish people that they always seem to be trying to get as far away as possible from their homeland. I like to think that our population here in the Emerald Isle has been perhaps genetically instilled with some great fascination, some powerful drive to travel the world and broaden their horizons in foreign cultures, and maybe even spread their own meagre wisdom. In the words of one of the twentieth century’s foremost philosophers, explorers and leading fictional characters, James T. Kirk, it is and has always been the destiny of the Irish to “seek out new life and new civilisations, to boldy go where no man has gone before”. There are Irish pubs in every major city, there is Irish literature on every good bookshelf, and there is an Irish twig of dubious authenticity on every good American President’s family tree. We have set forth in force in these last few centuries and we have just about conquered the world. Or maybe it’s just that we all really hate the rain here, which is as good a motive as any for getting the hell out. For whatever reason, we tend to find ourselves sprinkled across the globe as though God accidentally spilled us like coffee on his blueprints when he was putting together the Earth. Another talent of the Irish, apart from running away from Ireland, is writing. It is only natural then, in between booking the next sunshine holiday and experimenting valiantly with the local alcohol of whatever region we’ve thrown ourselves into, to attempt to combine our two natural gifts and produce some actual, legible “travel writing”. It may not be the most popular corner...

Watch This Now! “Live From Daryl’s House” Aug23

Watch This Now! “Live From Daryl’s House”...

It probably happened by accident. I couldn’t have known quite how good things could get. My memory of it is this: I happened upon a YouTube tutorial on how to set up an electric guitar given by Joe Walsh. “Setting up” a guitar means servicing it so that it’s ready to play and will perform reliably. I knew this guy. Where’ve I’ve seen him before? He’s some ageing rocker who speaks with a  slight slur. Wasn’t there something about a career of drug abuse and near-death experiences? I think curiosity led me to his performances on a show hosted by Daryl Hall of whom I was only peripherally aware theretofore. He was half of one of the most successful songwriting duos of all time, Hall and Oates, who’ve had a plethora of their own hits and have written for other people too. They did “Out of Touch,” “Maneater,” “Private Eyes” and “Sara Smile.” There is a lot more. It turns out Joe Walsh was in TheEagles for about a decade until the band spit up. He’d had success before that with James Gang and some solo stuff. When The Eagles broke up he spent about fifteen years drinking heavily (vodka) and taking drugs (cocaine). His other vice was Camel Light cigarettes. And here he was in a room with Daryl Hall on YouTube playing songs from his new album like “Wrecking Ball” (a welcome rival to Miley Cyrus) and old ones like “Funk #49” (a must listen for anyone but especially for fans of guitar). It wasn’t all about Joe. Daryl Hall invites people to come and play, some legendary artists and lesser-known ones. They all get in a room and they play. It’s a simple formula but utterly compelling. There’s the talent for...

And Willy Wonka Continues to Stare...

There are efforts evident behind the glass On red, red temperamental Material, fabric, dressing – ‘Bee Mine,’ says the Teddy; And Willy Wonka continues to stare: A study in poise, self-assured Enough to expect That one day, maybe soon His heir will materialise Like his wondrous creations And build an Empire all his own....

Monologue on a mountain...

When we got out it was cold and dreary and I began to regret my choice of undergarments like Prince Harry in Blackadder had as he prepared to watch his brother Edmund burn to death. Soon enough I got into it. As long as I was moving I hardly noticed the wind. The mountain seemed insurmountable though, covered in mist and wet-looking. Luckily though, as we reached the top, the clouds parted just about us and there appeared a massive swathe of blue that remained for quite a while. The lakes were inspiring; I thought of the Romantic poets as I looked down into first the Devil’s Punchbowl and then Horse’s Valley (?). Words like “vertiginous” and “craggy,” “savage” and “maw” suggested themselves, calling like familiar and welcome visitors from my past. Now and then my legs threatened to give out and these moments were opportunities to daydream about being a soldier in Afghanistan or Guadal Canal, carrying fifty kilos of gear on my back and thinking about encountering the enemy on the ridge ahead or beyond it. The mind wanders so insistently on the mountain, most especially when I find myself desirous of silence and trying to filter out some conversation between three or four young fellas in which I’ve no wish to engage. Mostly though, it was a case of admiring the beauty up there: the clouds like volcanic smoke rising from little valleys; the way stones were, by myriad forces, strewn in a heap here or flattened out unevenly there; moss-covered remains of fence-posts and green, slippery rocks; the customary cairns, some without any clear purpose: “it just becomes an activity,” Tim complained, as I added to one of them; an amorphous and massive medallion of light on the fieldscape in...

Polyarchy, foxes, wolves and other stuff. Jun06

Polyarchy, foxes, wolves and other stuff....

Noam Chomsky In Doctrines and Visions, Chomsky alludes to notion that there are, at any one time, only a minority of men capable of ruling since most men are beasts. Since the Revolution in England in the seventeenth century, democracy hasn’t been about the multitude of “beasts in men’s shapes” but rather the concentration of power in the hands of the few. These “men of best quality” serve to ensure that “a system of elite decision-making and public ratification” is enshrined: “polyarchy” is the term. How is the multitude to be put in its place. One way is to manufacture consent, that “public ratification.” People must believe in and willingly adhere to what their leaders are telling them. Walter Lippman wrote that a “specialized class” of leaders must be empowered so as to direct the public who, without these leaders wouldn’t manage their own affairs. THe public, according to Lippman are ignorant and meddlesome; leaders of men are trained “in the law schools and law offices and in business” so as to “live free of the trampling and the roar of a bewildered herd…ignorant and meddlesome outsiders.” Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince This famous and supposedly precocious political thinker Machiavelli, whose name is nowadays an adjective meaning anything from “devious” to “self-serving,” wrote The Prince as a CV for a job in the administration of Lorenzo De’ Medici of Florence. In it, he says more or less that he has an understanding that men generally do not have and that, while he has access to knowledge and insight that may be unsavoury, it is no less essential for it. Machiavelli advises Lorenzo that “there are two ways of fighting: by law or by force.” The first is preferable but sometimes ineffective. Leaders must derogate to...

Manchester United? Jun06

Manchester United?

There’s a lot today about the Manchester bomb. The Irish Times carries front-page photos of two pretty young girls, Saffie Rose Roussos (8) and Georgina Callander (18) who were both murdered by the suspected bomber, twenty-two year-old Salman Ramadan Abedi, “a Manchester-born son of Libyan refugees.” Simon Carswell writes of how Nadia Abdulmalek and Deborah Henley “embraced and cried among a crowd of thousands at Manchester Town Hall at a vigil” even though culturally they are very different. Donald Trump called the bomber a “loser.” Fintan O’Toole writes that “mass murder is easy and the more outrageous it is the easier it gets. Flesh is soft and easily shredded. Lives are fragile and easily shattered. Decency, humanity, compassion are flimsy and precarious. The barriers that separate earth from hell and civilization from barbarism are porous and full of holes…” “Porous and full of holes”? The editorial says that “even by the standards of the decade…[Manchester] was an atrocity of singular, unspeakable cruelty.” (Goggy used to pronounce it “cruelity” with an added syllable.) Britain, it goes on, “must again confront two grim realities: that the threat of indiscriminate atrocities has become a regular feature of daily life in the world’s major cities, and that free societies cannot entirely eliminate that threat without undermining the very freedoms that define them.” I’m reminded of something Solzenitsyn wrote about America, something about why there was so much (or any) joy and triumph. I’m thinking of The Proud Tower too and how more than a century ago the people we now called Islamic terrorists were known as Anarchists and hoped to changed society or undo it altogether with a single deed, one that would initiate a further series of earth-shattering events and a total realignment of forces and structures....

The face of evil? The Rosenberg Executions Jun06

The face of evil? The Rosenberg Executions...

I’m reading the death sentence handed down to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg by Judge Irving Kaufman in April 1951. The Rosenbergs were accused of spying, of passing nuclear secrets to the Russians. The judge argues that, by his own admission, Julius Rosenberg got a better and fairer trial in America than he could have hoped for in Russia. This galls Kaufman who says that “It is to America’s credit that it took the pains and exerted the effort which it did in the trial.” Still, the defendants devoted themselves to “the Russian ideology of denial of God, denial of the sanctity of the individual, and aggression against free men everywhere.” No wonder then that Judge Kaufman considers the crime for which the Rosenbergs are about to be sentenced to death “worse than murder.” After all, as he argues, “Plain deliberate contemplated murder is dwarfed in magnitude by comparison with the crime you have committed.” The charges expand as he speaks, getting so large as to blame the Rosenbergs for the death toll (at that stage 50,000) in the Korean War: “I believe your conduct in putting into the hands of the Russians the A-bomb years before our best scientists predicted Russia would perfect the bomb has already caused, in my opinion, the Communist aggression in Korea.” And it gets worse because “who knows but that millions more of innocent people may pay the price of your treason.”   Julius and Ethel Rosenberg went to the electric chair in June 1953. Before they died they wrote letters to each other, to their children. In one letter Julius wrote to his sons Michael and Robert. To Michael he wrote: “I want to tell you that I am confident in the end we will be set free...