Selling ‘Ireland’ and Forgetting the ‘Irish’? Some Thoughts on the Taoiseach’s St. Patrick’s Day Speech

Excellent article here from one of my favourite bloggers.
Any thoughts you have please do pop over and share them.

Irish in the American Civil War

This week Ireland’s Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, visited America for St. Patrick’s Day. Each March, our small country enjoys exceptional treatment on the other side of the Atlantic, treatment which includes a meeting with the President of the United States at The White House. Ireland’s relationship with the U.S. is the envy of other small countries. That relationship is almost entirely based on the affinity that many Americans hold for Ireland as a result of their own ancestry. In other words, Ireland has its past emigrants to thank for the extraordinary access and coverage we enjoy annually in one the world’s largest nations. It seems to me, however, that in our eagerness to use these opportunities to sell ‘Ireland’, we are consistently forgetting to remember the ‘Irish.’

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny with President Barack Obama in The White House (Wikipedia) An Taoiseach Enda Kenny with President Barack Obama in The White House (Wikipedia)

As might be expected, Ireland uses the opportunity presented every March…

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Rural Communities under attack from the State

The island of Ireland looks set to be the generator for Europe, all over the island communities are raising funds, holding meetings, learning environmental law, giving up YEARS of their time to learn all they can about how European Law works in Ireland. Communities are up against some of the best legal teams that money can buy … tax payers money used to fight tax payers.
Read the link below and learn of how one such community is being ‘played’ by the energy corporations that are invited into OUR country by our own elected officials.
Something’s gotta give people … something’s gotta change before we’re left living among the infrastructure that other countries are moving away from.
We NEED new politics in Ireland before it’s too late.
G’wan – stick the kettle on and have a read.

The Law is my Oyster

RTSI received a letter from a member of the Ratheniska community which is battling An Bord Pleanala, the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, and EirGrid in their plan to build a massive substation which is intended to be the connecting hub for the plague of wind farms that are planned for the area.

The contents of the letter are heartrending. In addition, as a lawyer I find the contents deeply disturbing as it shows how far this Government and its lackeys are prepared to go to impose their will on rural communities fighting the madness that is Grid25.

Laws are useless if they are not properly interpreted by the courts and properly enforced by the civil authorities. It is clear that in the headlong rush to build Grid 25 and the associated industrial wind farms, any semblance of respect for the rule of law has long fallen by…

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Pylons – Waterford route picked in 2011.

Here’s a second ‘blog’ that I’d like to share.
When ordinary people make a stand and take on the established political regime in Ireland today. Midi de Paor Walsh is one woman who is doing just that and she’s already got half the country behind her.


Eirgrid KRA8 Corridor Eirgrid KRA8 Corridor

Midi De Paor Walsh, an independent local Election candidate in West Waterford has challenged EirGrid to produce all 2010 and 2011 documentation in relation to Gridlink.
A 2011 internal EirGrid/Grid Development and Commercial Division document affirms a “400 kV overhead line of approximately 108 km in length from the Knockraha substation to the Great Island substation”. The shortest route is approximately 106 km according to EirGrid’s September 2013 Stage 1 report. This is route KRA8 that runs from the Knockraha substation onto Clonmult, Knockanore, Aglish, Dungarvan, Lemybrien, Kilmacthomas, Carrigeen, & Kilmacow finishing at the Great Island substation. The map of the route is shown here.
The Ring, Co. Waterford native commented, “It is evident why Eirgrid did not advertise in County Waterfords main Newspapers, the Dungarvan Observer & Leader, in consultations 1 & 2 in May 2012 & September 2012 respectively; they wanted to keep us in…

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The Ethics of Objectivity

For everyone who’s interested/following this ‘Energy Scam’ in Ireland ‘The Law is my Oyster’ is well worth reading and following.

The Law is my Oyster

Child leukaemia
The word ‘ ethics ’ comes from the Greek ethos, which means ‘custom or practice, a mode of behaviour’. When we study the ethics of a particular practice or profession, we often call those ‘applied ethics’ as we are looking at the implications of general theories for specific forms of conduct. Examples of applied ethics would be medical ethics (doctors) or legal ethics (lawyers).

There is a never-ending debate over the difference between ethics and morals because they seem to be saying the same thing. Without going into it, let’s just say that morals are more of an individual belief system (subjective), whereas ethics are more of an imposed and regulatory system of conduct (objective). There is clearly a lot of common ground between the two and it can be said that if the one becomes less important to society it is inevitable that the other does as well.


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Where the road takes us …

How are you doing?

As some of you may already realise we don’t ‘blog’ a lot, but we said that in the beginning, most of our posts are on the facebook page, and we’d keep the blog for ‘tours’ out and about and for highlighting different things, using the blog to take a closer look.

So, today’s blog covers a lot, mingles and mashes what we’ve been doing and ties it in with where we’re going, and where we’re going is a response to what you’ve been asking for.
The Irish Way is becoming a business, but it might be hard to catagorise us.
We’ve discovered from your comments that a lot of you want to visit Ireland but don’t want the typical tourist routes, and we’ve asked where do you want to go and what do you want to see, to which you respond “I want to explore” ~ so we listened and over the past while Joe has been taking people out exploring, which works very well, as most of you know Joe is the photographer, and most of you travelling have an interest in photography as well as history, which is where I come in, so between the two of us we’ve been meeting you for different ‘explorations’ and your feedback has been so generous and gracious, and kind and encouraging that we’ve decided to ‘go for it’ … which brings me to the other ‘issue’ … Ireland is changing, a lot of you who use social media will see a lot of new groups and social media sites being set up in protest to ‘Green Energy’ structures that are planned for Ireland. It’s an issue that I have taken a huge interest in, but I’m only a novice compared with the likes of Pat Swords and others who have petitioned and argued all the way to Europe. There is outrage against our Government and Parish’s are dividing, people struggling to make ends meet can be overwhelmed at the thoughts of earning money to pay for their children’s education or indeed to supplement a pension … social change is happening and an awareness is growing.
It is a changing time in Ireland’s history, a time when ‘fear’ is rearing it’s ugly head and people are at a loss as to what to do … and along come Joe and Fiona and decide that now would be a great time to set up some sort of business!

Sounds ludicrous?
We know … we’ve spent hours and hours talking about it and being afraid that we’ll make a fool of ourselves or that some people won’t be happy with what we’re trying to do or that we’ll fall flat on our backsides but sure, we’re going to have a go and see what happens.
Like millions of other Irish people, we love our country but there’s more to it than that. Having a grá for a bit of land, that we don’t own, is something that has to be experienced to be understood, a lot of city people don’t seem to ‘get it’ as they make decisions to carve corridors to bring us energy that we don’t need. There’s more to that field than you realise, there’s a wildlife habitat that keep it alive and fertile, there’s a history that respects the people who’ve worked it, there’s a knowledge entrenched in it’s soil that will continue to teach for thousands of years. So our love is born from knowledge and an inherited respect. It’s in our bones and the visual delights of the changing seasons is what feeds the creative creature in us all. It nurtures us and provides quiet places of rescue when life can get too hectic. This land can change you, it can relax you, it can open up a more gentle pace of life and offer you a freedom that you may never have known.
There is a reason that Ireland is consistently up there in the top 10 of places to visit, and when you see it you’ll know why.

So, that’s where we are in our journey. Maybe you’d like to come exploring with us when you’re in Ireland?
We’ll do our best to keep the costs down and to supplement the ‘explorations’ we will start selling ‘stuff’ on line … all sorts of stuff, but they’ll have to be genuinely Irish stuff, and stuff of interest, stuff I’d like myself. Good quality, enduring, precious crafts that can be kept in the family for years. We will be sourcing hand carvers, pottery makers, jewelers. Crafts people from all over Ireland, but mostly from the south east. So if you have something that meets this criteria then please do get in touch, we’d love to hear from you and see your crafts.
Joe’s photography will be used for calendars and his prints will be kept to affordable prices. T-shirts can be fun, but we want good quality T-shirts that last for wash after wash after wash, and we wanted our own unique trade marked logo on it, it’ll be like everything Irish , it’ll be a slow change … which brings me to the final part of the mingled mash of a blog today …

Our New Logo … very much like the present one, but this one is ours .. for everyone who loves ‘The Irish Way’ of doing things this is our logo – our trade mark, our identity badge.
We worked closely with Neil Dring of Knotty Inks, I’ll add his facebook link here, (  I think the man is gifted and what he’s done for our logo is just wonderful as it incorporates all what we strive for, Love, Honour, Protect and Loyalty … it is The Irish Way.

Irish Way Logo

Maybe we’ll see you soon?

All the best for now – and as always we appreciate all your feedback and thank you, so much, for it.

Joe and Fiona

Technology and me.


*Waving … Hello to everyone who reads this.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been stuck with the ‘The Irish Way’ and wondering where to go with it.
‘The Irish Way’ is just coming up to it’s one year anniversary (June 23rd) and I am overwhelmed with the response. I am not egotistical enough to assume that it’s me people have responded to, it’s not, people have responded to the words ‘The Irish Way’ and have grabbed the concept of it, I am so grateful for that. If I have presented it in a way that other people can relate to, then I can take a little credit for that, or can I?
If how I present ‘The Irish Way’ is what has reached over 350,000 weekly readers, can I really take credit for it? At the end of the day I am relating to others in the same way my Grandparents related to me … I am passing on an Irish Way of doing something, so I can’t really take any credit for it ~ the only thing I can take credit for is sticking to what I believed was the right way to interact with people in this whole new medium of internet connection. I believe in honesty and integrity, I believe that being kind, to those who deserve it, is the best way to communicate, especially with the written word. I am not attracted to internet spaces where ranting and bullying has been encouraged by the angry who need a platform to work out their own personal issues.

We are living through the Technology Age, and I’ve wondered how to approach it. Can I add something of value to it and I’ve come to a place where I think I can, but only by referring to an older way of relating to others. ‘Don’t mind what they say, watch what they do’ is a mantra that my Grandfather spouted and I ignored until I remembered it and began to apply it. It’s a mantra that’s kept me secure for years now, patience and allowing others to be heard, not jumping to ill informed conclusions but waiting to hear what the other is trying to say. It’s an age old way of communication that is very valuable in today’s world of wording. It’s even more valuable in Ireland as it’s the way we are, fighting against it only causes us hurt. Disregarding it as ‘old fashioned’ has led to nothing, because it exists as a core value in Irish society. Denying it’s existence does not remove it. Working against the grain of who we are leaves us rough and unrefined and Irish people are anything but rough and unrefined.
Just look at our arts and our scenery and you’ll see the beauty of what lives in Irish people.

Having spoken with Joe (photographer) and Felicity (writer) and thousands of others, I see them understanding, this grá is in them too and it has become the common ground on which we have formed very real friendships … and I am reminded that this too is The Irish Way.
We reach out to others – we find like minded people, we share what we love and invite you to love it too. It’s how we connect, it’s how we are.
Ireland, like a lot of other countries, is suffering a huge financial crisis, the breakdown of our church has left a massive gap in the day to day way we ‘gather’ and exchange topics of interest. Our emigration has increased and our dissatisfaction with our Governments decisions has manifested itself in outrage and death threats to certain individuals.
I too am angry, but I’m not as angry as I was because I’ve spent the last year listening to others and I’ve seen first hand the efforts people are going to, to get themselves away from the constant, negative, drip fed media mould of our newspapers.
I often get the sense that some ‘think tank’ has applied individual psychoanalysis theory to a group dynamic – just another botched attempt to ‘feed people thoughts’ – but here, in this cyber community, I see the realness of people. From your personal messages, you’re feedback and your comments I am no longer in doubt as to the heartfelt desire that people have, to connect with the place of their heritage, whether they now live in Ireland, Germany, Australia, America, England …  Sure, I have that myself and I live here, I want to know more about the stock I come from, we all do .. .and that itself reminds me of an old Irish way of doing something … do you remember years ago when you’d tell your parents about someone and straight away they’d ask, ‘Who’s their Mother?’ and then the connection would be made before you were allowed to tell your story?

After the ‘Celtic Tiger’ has roared and instilled the fear and mistrust of each other into us.
After the Irish government and the Vatican have argued about it’s embassy placement, and left people bereft in their spiritual searching, after our hunger for a better way of life has left so many in financial crisis and a feeling of desperation has oozed it’s way into the lives of too many … our death by suicide is frighteningly high, our drug dependencies are rising while our willingness to hope is decreasing … I can tell you that people are still reaching out to each other, we are mending ourselves, we are weaving old and new again and are allowing a healing process to work it’s magic and a lot of us are using the internet to do it.

Technology and me … Technology has crept into my life and the internet has opened doors that would otherwise have always been closed to me. I have a teeny-tiny window that I can see through but it’s only by approaching it ‘the Irish way’ that I’ve been allowed to see all the great things that are happening. Which reminded me of another old Irish saying
‘A skilled craftsman does not mourn his old tools, he keeps them beside his new ones’

‘Strangers are only friends who haven’t yet met’


There’s an expression that sometimes pops up ‘Strangers are only friends who haven’t yet met’. I’ve grown up hearing this expression but I’d written it off as one of those ol’ sayings that you read on a card, or, these days, on the internet.
Lately, those ol’ sayings have been put to the test as I am out and about and meeting people. There’s a certain wisdom to be learned when we listen, but there’s so much being said these days that it’s hard to pick out who to pay attention to.
I’ve discovered this myself as I’ve been rummaging around and learning what I can about  the history of Ireland. For almost a year now I’ve been slogging through bits and pieces, linking in this date and that date and then along comes a mention of the Fir Bolg or the Tuatha dé Dannan that takes me off in another direction and I want to know more about them too, after all didn’t they all leave their mark?

So you can imagine my excitement when I discovered that someone had already spent years putting together a book that explains our legends in an everyday context while she writes about her own experiences in life. The book was recommended by several readers on The Irish Way facebook page and I can’t say that I jumped at the chance to read it, a lot of people recommend different things that I should look at, or read, or people I should connect with, and for the most part I do listen, however if a recommendation comes in while I’m busy there is a chance that I might miss it. I missed the recommendation to read this book, and it was only after a few people suggested it, that I went off and found a link, I read the first few pages and was hooked, bought it for my kindle within 5 min and got stuck into it that night. The next day I got in touch with the author and thanked her for her hard work and tried to explain how valuable this piece of work is. I wanted her to understand that I understood … so I wrote and told her ‘I love the book so much that I want to get in the car and drive down to tell you’ and she said ‘why don’t you’ so I said ‘right, I will so’ then I thought I might make a bit of a ‘tour’ out of it so I asked a friend would they like to go and they said they would so we went and yes I know how mad that sounds ~ perhaps if I’d thought more about it I wouldn’t have sent the message, but I reacted to her words … and I discovered that was the key that this author holds, she shows you what she loves and why she loves it, encouraging us to take a closer look and fall in love ourselves.

We were blessed with the day. The sun shone for everyone and the humour was good. We set off and chatted about what we were going to see and who we were going to meet.
I usually drive everywhere myself so it was a complete treat for me to have a friend driving while I gazed out the window like a child on a school tour.
I’ve been to Dingle so many times I’ve lost count, when my own children were younger we went there a lot, surfing, hiking, swimming, safety, wildlife, nature, the peninsula has it all. We often looked at the mountains and declared their beauty along with the beauty of Ireland itself. I wanted to know more about the area but was not drawn to any of the books that were available at that time. So when this book was suggested to me I wasn’t expecting what I read.
A writer that has a firm grasp of the Dingle Peninsula, London, Dublin and Connemara, a writer who can show me the dynamics of the people of these places and link in the similarities of the customs, breaking down barriers and opening up new ways to connect. Of course I’m going to be interested, this is the Irish way that I try to chat about. So while I gazed out the window and my friend negotiated the tractors (silage time) and we passed through the towns and villages that are scattered, I became more excited by what I might find myself. I’m coming back with a new perspective, a new sense of place. I’m coming back to see where these Legends of old walked (and danced) and told stories themselves.

We got to Felicity and Wilf’s house on an Irish hillside in the afternoon and we’re met at the door with one of the warmest welcomes I’ve ever received. I’m a psychoanalyst by training and I pick up on people’s body language, I do it without knowing I do it, I’ve been doing it so long it’s now part of who I am. My friend has an inbuilt aversion to ‘nonsense’, it’s something that I admire in them so out of the corner of my eye I checked to see how they were and I could sense their comfort too.  The long arm of the musician extended to offer his hand as Felicity herself appeared at the door, smiles all around with a hug for her and the first thing I notice were the spuds in the garden, not a bit of blight on them, the rows were perfect and even though this sounds idiotic, I even noticed the butterflies fluttering from one patch to another and I knew that what this woman writes is what she sees and believes.  I looked over the hedge to the magnificent mountains and recalled what I’d read in her book. Legends were made here, stories and folklore are still shared.

For people who still hanker for the ‘old ways’ this read proves that these old ways are still very much alive and can be re-created in our own home, wherever we are, with the smallest of efforts.

For me, personally, meeting people of integrity is always something to cherish, yesterday I met a couple of strangers and went away feeling as though I had made some new friends.
Today I’m still processing what all this information means and how this new knowledge has enriched my life.

Do consider buying a copy of this book as a gift to yourself or another.


We Dance …


Hear my cry,
In my hungering search for you,
Taste my breath on the wind,
See the sky as it mirrors my colours,
Hints and whispers begin.
I am living to nourish you, cherish you,
I am pulsing the blood in your veins,
Feel the magic and power of surrender,
To life. Uisce BeathaEvery finger is touching and searching,
Until your secrets come out,
In the dance, as it endlessly circles,
I linger close to your mouth.I am living to nourish you, cherish you,
I am pulsing the blood in your veins,
Feel the magic and power of surrender,
To life. Uisce Beatha(These lyrics were written by the award-winning Bill Whelan for the opening song to Riverdance.  )

It is not possible to say when dance became part of the human culture but it is possible to say, without any doubt, that we dance,

There is no doubt that music and dance has helped to define the culture of Irish people world wide, I am not the first to write that nor will I be the last. Every country and nation has its own dance and Ireland is no different, or are we?
You may have see excerpts of Riverdance or you may have been lucky enough to see the show itself?
I remember watching it when it first appeared on our screens during the Eurovision Song Contest of 1994. It left as powerful an impression on me as it did on the audience who jumped up and roared with pride while they applauded.
Dance did that.
It’s almost 20 years later and it’s only now I’m getting the time to question ‘why’, what is it about dance in our culture that helps to define us?

Gay Byrne had John Conneely on ‘The Late Late Show’ (apx 1970) and he started the conversation by saying
“You broke your back John”
“That’s right yea,” John replied …. but Gay went on to say “Right, but let’s have first things first”… and John got to show us how he danced ‘the fastest reel in the west’!      (
Watch it – you’ll see John trying to keep up with his legs as they take him around the floor like he had no control over them!

We’ve heard stories of dancing at the crossroads and after the harvest threshing but it’s only until I began studying our history that I realised how important dance became after the curfews of the civil war. The men and women of rural Ireland made time to gather with their music and the best place to meet was at the crossroads where people cycled from miles around just to … meet up and dance.

I’ve been listening to people for a long time, observing body language and the intricate ways we communicate and one thing I have observed is how we dance while we are about our every day lives … keep an eye out for it and you’ll see the different styles, whether it’s a slow reel of the farmer who’s slogging along behind the cows or the busy housewife who’s doing a jig around the supermarket, the steady hornpipe of the office staff as they go through their day, the rhythm is everywhere … we dance without knowing it.
And our older people, I’ve seen them at it too!
I’ve listened to the banter and even joined in and I see their eyes dance with divelment at times and I know that they dance when they are at home in the kitchen.
We dance when we’re happy and we dance when we’re sad, we dance around each other when we’re not sure of who of who we’re talking with.
We dance with our words on the internet and we exhaust ourselves as we ‘rave’ about our ‘leaders’.

Do you remember the first dance/disco/rave/concert you were allowed to go to?
Do you remember how excited you were and dreading the first dance? … Did you practise much and feel a fool when you couldn’t get the timing right and then thought ‘to hell with it I’ll just stand here and shake myself’ … and that became a dance all of its own! 

From ceílí dancing to set dancing, from step dancing to the Sean-nós – there’s the soft shoe and the hard shoe and if you feel like no shoes then that’s fine too! So long as you dance.

Zach Klingenberg and Ciaran Plummer are keeping an old style and giving rhythm to the music as they turn out some new moves, some new vibrancy as they dance like the rest of us can only dream about.!

When you see where you’ve come from you can decide where to go and you can put a skip in your step as we go there.