Donegal – Hot or Not?

The Observer’s Henry McDonald highlights a running online poll on what makes Ireland great – “Guinness and Tayto crisps are ranked higher than Ireland’s patron saint St Patrick”. County Donegal currently leads from Shane McGowan, just, and as site co-founder Paul Clerkin observes about his native Monaghan, “it’s not my fault but then again we were above Cavan and that’s what’s important.”

At the risk of causing a party-politically inspired avalanche of votes for what Paul Clerkin says started as “a bit of craic”, the poll covers just about every possible area of reference… but the site also has an Irish politicians poll.

  • maca

    As well as Guinness & Taytos add tea. Ireland is the only place you can get decent tea.

  • Davros

    Guinness is in the dog-house these days … Veggies have found out that it uses Isinglass – an extract of Fish Air Bladders !

  • willowfield

    Is the poll only concerned with the Republic of Ireland? Northern Ireland seems to be excluded.

  • peteb


    The site says “All things Irish considered”. You can sign up as a member and submit anything you like… they’ll either accept it for the poll or not.

  • George

    But why did Henry have to ruin a perfectly pleasant article by calling Ireland’s former Minister of Finance and Army Commander-in-Chief a “gunman”.

  • Davros

    Surely living and dying by the gun is what Michael Collins is most remembered for George ? Certainly in the media – there was a picture of his Mauser with his initials carved in the butt in the paper only the other day.

    It’s a shame that his political writings are over-shadowed in this way.

    From The Path to Freedom, collected notes, speeches and essays by Michael Collins:

    …….Our civilisation will be glorious or the reverse, according to the character of the people. And the work we produce will be the expression of what we are. Our external life has become the expression of all we have been deprived of– something shapeless, ugly, without native life. But the spark of native life is still there and can be fanned into flame.

    What we have before us is the great work of building up our nation. No soft road— a hard road, but inspiring and exalting. Irish art and Irish customs must be revived, and must be carried out by the people themselves, helped by a central government, not controlled and managed by it; helped by departments of music, art, national painting, etc., with local centres connected with them.

    The commercialising of these things– art, literature, music, the drama– as it is in other countries, must be discouraged……….

    ………Our national education must provide a balance of competing elements– the real education of the faculties, and storing the mind with the best thoughts of the great men of our own and other nations. And there must be education by special training for trades and professions for the purpose of scientific eminence in medicine, law, agriculture, and commerce……..

    …….Our army, if it exists for honourable purposes only, will draw to it honourable men. It will call to it the best men of our race– men of skill and culture. It will not be recruited as so many modern armies are, from those who are industrially useless.

    This will certainly be so, for our army will only exist for the defence of our liberties, and of our people in the exercise of their liberties. An Irish army can never be used for the ignoble purpose of invasion, subjugation, and exploitation.

    But it is not only upon our army that our security will depend. It will depend more upon the extent to which we make ourselves invulnerable by having a civilisation which is indestructible. That civilisation will only be indestructible by being enthroned in the lives of the people, and by having its foundation resting on right, honesty, and justice.

    Michael Collins, August 1922

  • George

    your post explains more than I ever could why Henry’s use of gunman was the heighth of laziness and sloppy journalism.

    The only adjective McDonald could come up with for a man of Michael Collins’ stature was one to designate him a professional killer. Maybe it was late in the evening.

  • Davros

    Sad reflection on the media as a whole and not just Henry. But is it not a bit harsh to extrapolate from
    “gunman” to “professional killer” ? I must admit gunman has many connotations in the media. When I read “gunman” I read it as in “The Shadow of a Gunman” rather than people like Torrens Knight.
    Looking at Film and TV, ‘gunman’ has two faces .
    The Bad Guy but also the Good Guy who cleans up Dodge City.

  • George

    Online definitions Davros:
    Definition: [n] a professional killer who uses a gun
    [n] a person who shoots a gun (as regards their ability)

    Synonyms: gun, gunslinger, hired gun, hit man, shooter, torpedo, triggerman

    See Also: liquidator, manslayer, murderer, shot

    Hardly positive. I tripped over it immediately and hope it was just poor journalism on Henry’s part.

    P.S. The sherriff cleaned up Dodge City by killing the gunmen.

  • Davros

    another Online definition George 🙂


    1. A man armed with a gun, especially an armed criminal or a professional killer.
    2. A man skilled in the use of a gun.

    Wyatt Earp – one of the Goodies, not Baddies – a gunman

    “Wyatt Earp was born on March 19, 1848 in Monmouth, Warren County, Illinois to Nicholas Porter Earp and Anne Virginia-Ann Cooksey Earp. Wyatt was one of five sons; Virgil, Morgan, James and Baxter. In 1865, at the age of seventeen he became a stage coach driver. In 1870, he married his first wife, Irilla H. Sutherland who died within the year. There is evidence to suggest that in 1871 he skipped bail on a horse-stealing charge and for the next few years worked as an itinerant railroad construction hand, surveyor and buffalo hunter. By 1873 he was supporting himself by mining and gambling. He became a law enforcement officer in 1874, at the age of twenty-six. From 1874 to 1875 he served as a Wichita policeman, and from 1876 to 1879 he was Deputy Chief Marshall in Dodge City where he established himself as a fast and accurate gunman .”

    Shane – one of the Goodies, not Baddies – a gunman

    “Shane might well be the greatest western ever made and a true American classic. Recently in a New York Times article, Woody Allen of all people considered it the best American film of all time. The movie is about a mysterious stranger who unexpectently comes into a homestead family’s life and helps in their battle against a greedy landowner who is threatening them to move off their land. Alan Ladd stars in the title role and he exudes an air of calm control and dark mystery. Shane is an expert gunman and a skilled fighter, but he doesn’t want any trouble.”

  • George

    your defence of Mr. McDonald is admirable but misplaced.

    Definition from the Webster’s New World dictionary, paper version 🙂

    1.a man armed with a gun esp. an armed gangster or hired killer.
    2. a man skilled in the use of a gun.

    If he had used skilled fighter (as in Shane example) or fast and accurate ( as in Wyatt Earp example) maybe i could have given him the benefit of the doubt and thought he meant definition 2 and not 1.

    As he didn’t, I can only assume it was laziness or a sinister slip. Either way, thumbs down for Henry in this instance I’m afraid.

  • maca

    Do a search on gunmen and you’ll also come across people like Billy the Kid, Jesse & Frank James, Black Jack Christian or Black Jack Ketchum, hardly in the same league as Collins 😉
    You also come across new articles such as “Boy Shot, Killed In Home By Gunman

  • James

    Look for heros someplace else.

    If you are looking for the American West, look no further than Doc Holiday.

    If you are looking for the American present, look no further than Doc Holiday.

  • Davros

    As ever it’s all a matter of interpretation , although the “benign” definition in Webster shades it as there are two options – 50:50 but while the second option is 100% benign, the first is also partially benign!