Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights


“Post-nationalist Ireland has arrived.”

Sun 13 April 2014, 5:21pm

Tweet [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 […] more »

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

Sun 13 April 2014, 12:46pm

Tweet 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 […] more »

Art of the Troubles at the Ulster Museum

Sat 12 April 2014, 3:12pm

Tweet 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) […] more »

Lissadell, always romantic. But the jinx lingers

Sat 12 April 2014, 2:34pm

Tweet 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 […] more »

The Scottish referendum. The British identity that dare not speak its name

Sun 30 March 2014, 7:42pm

Tweet   The best article I’ve seen about the dearth of a cultural identity debate in Scotland by Alex Linklater, son of the great Magnus. Could Scots learn a thing or two from the Irish? Or maybe not?  You’d have thought the Scottish cultural air would be thrumming with an accrued history of intellectual fighting […] more »

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

Thu 27 March 2014, 9:01pm

Tweet 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 […] more »

Jimmy Ellis RIP

Tue 11 March 2014, 6:15pm

Tweet   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 […] more »

United Ireland’s struggle against gay rights wins RTE damages

Tue 4 February 2014, 6:45pm

Tweet   Is it defamatory to accuse opponents of same sex marriage of homophobia? Or are they fairly exercising their consciences in declining to recognise equality with heterosexuals?   Irish Times columnists are on opposite sides of an argument which is part of the Republic’s slow emergence into the modern era. Sadly though the columnists haven’t gone […] more »

Despite the Haass setback we are not the prisoners of the past but masters of our own fate

Tue 31 December 2013, 10:22am

Tweet The issues of the Haass process are only the tip of the iceberg. Indeed it might be said that the talks were unlikely to succeed without rigorous challenge and examination of the beliefs and assumptions the parties brought to the table.  Behind the tortuous details of flags, parades and the past are the competing […] more »

Northern Ireland Culture Wars (part 6) – Enhancing understanding in NI civil society – concluding plenary

Fri 13 December 2013, 12:00pm

Tweet The last of six posts shared by the organisers of a symposium exploring the “Northern Ireland Culture Wars” on Friday 22 November at the University of Ulster, Belfast. - – - The symposium was brought to a close with a lively and passionate plenary provided by some of the leading actors shaping debates about […] more »

Northern Ireland Culture Wars (part 5) – Youth, Education & Social Change panel with Siobhán McAlister & John Peto

Fri 13 December 2013, 8:30am

Tweet The fifth of six posts shared by the organisers of a symposium exploring the “Northern Ireland Culture Wars” on Friday 22 November at the University of Ulster, Belfast. - – - This year President Obama addressed an audience of young people in Belfast in a positive upbeat speech, telling them that, “you are the […] more »

Northern Ireland Culture Wars (part 4) – Culture, Politics & Society panel with Jon Tonge, Marisa McGlinchey, Catherine McGlynn & Gavin Hart

Thu 12 December 2013, 8:30am

Tweet The fourth of six posts shared by the organisers of a symposium exploring the “Northern Ireland Culture Wars” on Friday 22 November at the University of Ulster, Belfast. - – - Cultural contestation has been the inevitable outworking of the parking of the constitutional question in Northern Ireland. This has significant implications for how […] more »

Northern Ireland reflections on the “real” Mandela, man and myth

Wed 11 December 2013, 12:21pm

Tweet Hooray. There is still a role for newspapers. The Guardian proves it with their balancing coverage of the early obsequies for Nelson Mandela who it might be thought is one of their natural heroes.   Restoring a human dimension after the hours of adulation and longueurs of 24/7 TV news is Simon Jenkins’ column and […] more »

Northern Ireland Culture Wars (part 3) – Memory and Cuture with Dom Bryan, Orla Muldoon & Jim McAuley

Wed 11 December 2013, 8:30am

Tweet The third of six posts shared by the organisers of a symposium exploring the “Northern Ireland Culture Wars” on Friday 22 November at the University of Ulster, Belfast. - – - History, memory and commemoration play a central cultural role in societies throughout the world. Acts of collective remembrance are often important for nation […] more »

Northern Ireland Culture Wars (part 2) – Social Change and the Culture Wars panel with Fiona Bloomer & John O’Doherty

Tue 10 December 2013, 8:30am

Tweet The second of six posts shared by the organisers of a symposium exploring the “Northern Ireland Culture Wars” on Friday 22 November at the University of Ulster, Belfast. - – - ‘Culture wars’ have been a persistent feature of public debate in many Western states since the 1960s including the US and the UK. […] more »

Northern Ireland Culture Wars (part 1) – Paul Burgess on the battleground in contemporary NI

Mon 9 December 2013, 8:30am

Tweet Back on Friday 22 November, a symposium exploring the “Northern Ireland Culture Wars” was held at the University of Ulster, Belfast. The organisers are sharing the day’s talks on Slugger, and there’ll be a post each day covering the programme. - – - The theme of culture wars was chosen because of the on-going […] more »

Post Troubles Derry cheer on Grayson Perry. There is another world

Tue 29 October 2013, 4:29pm

Tweet   As an occasional live attender  in the past, for me this was a first for the BBC’s Reith Lectures, normally an austere and rather forbidding event.  Whoops, cheers and whistles greeted the cross dressing artist and potter Grayson Perry in Londonderry Guildhall for the third in this year’s series, Nice Rebellion Welcome in!  (text pending […] more »

“an unforgettable journey across the Red Planet.”

Mon 28 October 2013, 10:24pm
HRSC on Mars Express - Valles Marineris

Tweet Curiosity may have been on the surface of Mars for over a year, but ESA’s Mars Express has been in orbit around the Red Planet for almost a decade.  It’s one of a number of ways Mars is being observed, up close and personal.  And, like the Hi-RISE camera on Nasa’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mars Express has some […] more »

Lou Reed 1942-2013

Sun 27 October 2013, 10:21pm

Tweet Just a quick post to mark the death of founding member of The Velvet Underground, inspiration for 10,000 bands – see Brian Eno quote – singer, songwriter and general rock legend, Lou Reed, who has died of an unspecified “liver-related ailment”.  He had a liver transplant in May this year after suffering liver failure. […] more »

Do we really have the happiest places in the UK or are we just too easily pleased?

Sun 27 October 2013, 8:24pm

Tweet Lies, damn lies and subeditors.. Same as last year. ?  Does Northern Ireland really boast the happiest places in the UK? So the past is  over and done with, right?  Maybe we’d better look a bit deeper… Jenny McCartney the rather fierce daughter of the fierce Bob QC, ex MP, in her Telegraph  column gives away the secret of […] more »

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