Tag Archives | Culture

Two Ceasefires and a Coming Out: A Memoir


I’ve been thinking about coming out. There have been a few horror stories doing the rounds recently: Vicky Beeching’s harrowing life and those of Lyra McKee’s friends. It’s made me think about how it was for me, all those years ago. If I’m honest, it was a banal tale set against a bizarre backdrop. Maybe more…

McGregor, an ancestor of John Kerry is labelled the Irish Moses, as US monitors persecution of Christians


  It’s amazing what the Economist picks up… the half forgotten and much missed tradition of Presbyterian liberalism, forced to emigrate to the States and often confused there with the Irish Catholic variety. Could they have possibly read Turgon? DOES the Obama administration care about religious liberty round the world? In some ways, it has more…

12th July: A cautionary tale of the social media rumour mill


Chris wrote a brilliant piece earlier in the week about Britishness and the many bonfires around the province that had posters of Anna Lo and Sinn Fein representatives on them ready to be burned. This form of deplorable sectarianism is not just corrosive to those who legitimately want to celebrate the 12th July but all more…

“Glory be the day, Mr Yeats!”


As the man said…  It’s tradition! Those of a sensitive disposition are duly warned, again, that James Joyce enjoys the language in all its fecund nuttiness. Enjoy!

HBO’s Michael Lombardo: “Belfast is not the most cosmopolitan of cities to spend half of the year.”


With so much of some Northern Ireland Executive ministers‘ time and effort [and other people's money! - Ed] focused on exploiting the international success of HBO’s Game of Thrones to promote Northern Ireland overseas, it’s perhaps unfortunate, but refreshing, that HBO’s director of programming, Michael Lombardo, has given an honest answer to a straight question – as more…

Art of the Troubles: Culture and Conflict


Dr Stefanie Lehner (Queen’s University Belfast); Dr Laura McAtackney (University College Dublin); Dr Cillian McGrattan (University of Ulster) The importance of culture in Northern Irish political life was reinforced in the events surrounding Pastor McConnell over the past week. It is clear that within Northern Ireland, the effects of fear, judgment, prejudice, hate and intimidation more…

Tourism figures for 2013 bring us down to earth


The figures for tourism to Northern Ireland in 2013 out last week show a more modest reality than the hype suggesting it’s just about the most visited place on the planet. The numbers visiting from overseas amounted to just 9,000.  Home holidays and short trips and family visits accounted for most of the rest. It’s not more…

The power of Nolan – too much of a good thing?


It was interesting to see that there was as much comment on Nolan personally as about Pastor McConnell. I don’t see or hear Nolan that often but I thought he played a pretty straight bat on this one. I’m told he divides an already divided community, not on sectarian lines but between pro- and anti- more…

Eurovision 2014: “I felt like tonight Europe showed that we are a community of respect and tolerance…”


Well, perhaps…  A bearded Austrian man in a dress, Conchita Wurst, won the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 in Copenhagen on Saturday night with “Rise Like a Phoenix” – the title quote was his line from the winner’s press conference.  The 25-year-old singer also told reporters in Vienna On the theme of tolerance, Wurst told reporters in the more…

Pink is the colour, not orange or green

Riders of team Katusha

                      I plead guilty. The question buried somewhere in earlier comments strikes home:  “Why do you keep banging on about Gerry Adams so much when the Giro is on? “  Now I could give an apples and pears answer, the two being in different categories.  But more…

Sanctifying dead Popes with miracles is a basic error


  In our island John XXIII stands for Vatican 2, a dramatic moment of liberalisation that was never wholly fulfilled.  John Paul II  is an altogether more ambiguous figure who softened through his charisma the image of authoritarian Catholicism while it beat a retreat he was unable to stem. You can easily see how they more…

“Post-nationalist Ireland has arrived.”


[Once more into the breach then - Ed]  In yesterday’s Irish News, Patrick Murphy posited three theories to explain what he describes as “the latest dismantling of Irish political and cultural nationalism.”  That would be Martin McGuinness, et al, at Windsor Castle in white tie and tails, and the GAA deal with Sky.  From the Irish more…

The route to better government is clear. Why don’t the parties take it?


Nuff history  – Ed.  Thanks to Alan and Chris Donnelly for presenting significant data on how Northern Ireland is faring. The third CRC Peace Monitoring Report by Dr Paul Nolan reads  authoritatively, quite depressingly and utterly unsurprisingly. At around the same time, some polls have been published which broadly reflect the results but with the more…

Art of the Troubles at the Ulster Museum


The Ulster Museum’s Art of the Troubles exhibition is now open and runs through the summer until 7 September. A variety of styles, “sides” and periods exhibited: sixty works from fifty artists. Reactions to atrocities, depictions of politics (a particularly grim triptych by Joseph McWilliams of Sammy Wilson, Ian Paisley Snr and Peter Robinson) and more…

Lissadell, always romantic. But the jinx lingers


It is surely the quintessential Irish story of romance, divided family loyalties,  declining wealth and fierce litigation. Over Lissadell  it has extended  through the painful transition from   the Anglo-Irish  to the meritocratic blow-ins of today who so often try to ape the  style of the ould dacency.  And still struggle continues, with the successors every bit as more…

Belfast Film Festival – Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Albania, Maze/Long Kesh and Belfast


The annual Belfast Film Festival starts tonight and runs for 10 days showing 121 films. I’ve blogged elsewhere about some of the festival highlights. There’s certainly plenty of local and international films to challenge, entertain or even offend. I thought I’d bring some of the international/conflict/political films to the attention of Slugger readers. Sunday 30 more…

Jimmy Ellis RIP


  Is  it nearly a year  since I joined  James Ellis and a bunch of oldies for a London revival of Sam Thompson’s seminal Belfast play Over the Bridge? That night he was in fine form as he congratulated the cast for their performance and reminisced about his own experience as director  in resisting  attempts more…