A reminder

This blog is meant to be a journal of Northern Ireland politics and events. I think it worth a mention that I heard something this morning that I haven’t heard in a long time. A controlled explosion. A suspect package was on the Woodstock Road, I think at the junction with Portallo Street. Nothing on the BBC News website, and I don’t have any more details, but it’s worth noting.

  • kulcher

    Does a uniquely “Northern Ireland” culture exist and, if so, what is it?
    Maybe an opportune time to ask as Mick’s inspecting his belly button.

  • smcgiff

    Tsk – If only there were more bombs and murders to report on!

  • jake

    that wasn’t a controlled explosion, that was paisley farting after his big meal with mcguinness and the european honchos!

  • FERDINAND

    On a different subject. Am I the only one who finds it strange that the BBC reports on the Irish high Court abortion challenge refer to the 17 year old plaintiff as a “girl”? A 17 year old woman carrying a child should be respectfully described as a woman or a young woman.

  • miss fitz

    Ferdinand
    Interesting comment, as I particularly listened to how they would describe this young person on the Radio Ulster news. She was described as a woman, which is appropriate

  • StarHound

    This topic certianly reeks of nostalgia…for a simpler time, when we could easily keep our fences up and in particular when Unionists were able to ignore Nationalists…when a blog could have an exclusive focus on the blue skies of Ulster.

    A reminder indeed, Michael, but of the past.

  • medja

    “Does a uniquely “Northern Ireland” culture exist and, if so, what is it? ”

    Boys and their cars, all sides seem to be spellbound by cars, bikes and R.P.M.

    Once you get past the border counties of the republic the interest fades back to normal.

  • Merrie

    >> Does a uniquely “Northern Ireland” culture exist and, if so, what is it? << The only things I can find that are unique to NI "culture" are negative ones. Can anyone suggest anything unique to NI that is positive, worth keeping for posterity?

  • Aquifer

    Some eejit leaves a package and may himself have suggested it is suspicious. This may have no significance at all except inside his last two very small intermittently firing brain cells.

  • DK

    “Can anyone suggest anything unique to NI that is positive, worth keeping for posterity?”

    1. The Ulster Fry (NI has the most counties of Ulster and the biggest claim)
    2. Motorbike racing – NI produces disproportionately more of the world’s best riders for its size
    3. The Titanic. OK it sank, but NI built it
    4. July 12th bonfires. Not positive yet, but could become so.

    Mind you, it’d be hard to come up with a list for England:

    1. Fish and Chips (Chips are Belgian, but they have mussels with theirs)
    2. Cricket/Football/Rugby/Tennis England produces disproportionately fewer of the world’s best players for its size but still invented it
    3. The Royal family. OK, not entirely positive
    4. November 5th fireworks. Not positive yet, but could become so.

    Or indeed, Ireland:

    1. Irish Stew (deconstructed Lancashire hotpot, but better PR)
    2. Gaelic Games. The rest of the World produces disproportionately fewer of the world’s best players for its size.
    3. Leprachauns. Dubious positivity.
    4. 17th March binge drinking. Not positive yet, but could become so.

  • Probably unionist inspired. Since when did the BBC fairly report anything emanted from this sector?

  • merrie

    DK
    Don’t think the 12 July bonfires can ever get positive. Not just a nyah-fest against half of the population, also the rubbish collected/burned is bad for the environment.

    5 November also an anti-Catholic fest in England. Lewes still burns an effigy of the Pope every year. However, it coincides with the Hindu festival of Diwali (festival of Light) and if it merges into that, then it will become positive. Diwali is celebrated not with bonfires and fireworks – very enjoyable fest.

    Ulster Fry & Fish & chips = hardening of the arteries & high blood pressure. The negativity is obvious when you consider that Ian Paisley has had Ulster Fry for breakfast for over 75 years. I understand he stopped after his last health scare – and see what happened when he stopped. He starts talking to his (former) enemies. Irish Stew a more healthy dish though as a veggie I do not partake.

    The sports are definitely positive (especially for England inventing so many internationally-played and loved sports), but motor cycling is not necessarily unique. Ulster cannot claim it as its own.

    The Royal family is positive – has its faults, but it consists of human beings required, by the British media, to have a higher moral standard than anyone else. And when it stops ruling over NI (notional as it is) it will be even more positive because it is a GB institution, not a UK one.

    So really, DK, the most positive ones you have suggested are all in Ireland (fewer in England) so maybe NI should re-unite with the other 32 counties as soon as possible. The Gaelic Games are already all-Ireland.

  • peter

    “Don’t think the 12 July bonfires can ever get positive. Not just a nyah-fest against half of the population, also the rubbish collected/burned is bad for the environment.”

    merrie,

    Oh ye of little faith. I think the 12th bonfires can become one of the world’s best methods of teaching enviromental issues to kids. If these bonfires were properly managed and only burnt wood products, the organisors could plant X ammount of trees to soak up carbon emmissions.

    Hands on education is better than any book!

  • eranu

    “This blog is meant to be a journal of Northern Ireland politics and events.”

    surely it should be Northern Irish or Northern Ireland’s?

    i wish the site was full of articles about Northern Ireland. thats why i read the site, to keep intouch with the events back home. unfortunately there seems to be more and more posts about the republic of ireland. if the blogger is a nationalist or republican you can be sure the article will be about something as far south as possible. if i wanted to read posts about the south id go to a southern website. im not saying have no posts about the republic or the rest of the UK. just try and keep it based on NI.

  • legaleagle

    “Am I the only one who finds it strange that the BBC reports on the Irish high Court abortion challenge refer to the 17 year old plaintiff as a “girl”? A 17 year old woman carrying a child should be respectfully described as a woman or a young woman”

    Legally she is still a girl because she is under 18 and its a legal story so not surprising no.

  • merrie

    Peter: < >

    Well and good, but it will still remain a nyah-fest against half the population. Soon it will be against more than half of the population – a dying event, methinks.

  • DK

    “So really, DK, the most positive ones you have suggested are all in Ireland (fewer in England)”

    Shouldn’t have bothered answering as you apparently already have your mind made up and were just trolling.

  • merrie

    DK: I was not trolling. The reason why I asked the question was because I could not find anything at all positively unique about NI.

    I evaluated all your suggestions and commented on them IMHO.

    And thanks very much for your suggestions.

    Merrie

  • Niall

    Has anyone else noticed the remarkable similarity between the Ulster Fry and the Irish Breakfast? Come to think of it, the English Breakfast isn’t all that different. All countries on these islands are derided, and rightly so, for their food by the rest of the world. It’s not a good thing to get focused on.

    As for the 12th, 5th November and St Patrick’s Day, to the beast of culture these things are the waste produce. They need to be done, it might make you feel better doing them but what comes out is pretty far removed from what went into the making of it.

    Drinking makes the home nations (honorary member Eire/Free State) stand out from the rest of the world, but in that regard the Irish, particularly the southern Irish, are swaying precariously at the top of the heap. The English are unique in their excessive politeness and gassy, chemically infused beer.

    From an outsider’s perspective, I’d say the love of watching men go fast in or on their vehicles marks Northern Ireland out. That and saying ‘sitchee-ay-shun’ to the mirth of the rest of us. And ice hockey.

  • pith

    Is that true about the motorbike riders? Never knew that.

  • páid

    So DK, you’re claiming the Titanic for NI.

    Two key dates here are 1912 and 1922.

  • The 5th of November in England is great craic and about as anti-Catholic as a private audience at St. Peter’s. Lewes is an absolutely incredible experience.

    Diwali in England is also great craic but the idea that the 5th of November would be improved by the two sort of merging shows a nasty little streak of anti-Englishness in merrie’s mind; the English are entitled to their culture as anyone else.

  • merrie

    >>the English are entitled to their culture as anyone else.<< They certainly are. I think you are perceiving my comments from an Ulster Unionist perspective. Unlike UU culture, the English one adapts and changes. The English have already incorporated Indian curries into their culture and in fact have made some recipes their own for example the chicken tikka. They have abandoned the Wicker Man ceremony long ago. They enjoy the Notting Hill Carnival, introduced mid-20th century, as well as the much more recently introduced St Patrick's Day Parade in London, which unlike the one in Belfast, is assured of funding from the Mayor. The pagan mid-Winter festival has become Christmas. Diwali is really good craic - much better than Guy Fawkes which is just burning things and having fireworks. And as well Diwali didn't have its first few decades (centuries) as an anti-Catholic event.

  • I think you are perceiving my comments from an Ulster Unionist perspective.

    Er… no – I’m not an Ulster Unionist. I’m a member of the Alliance Party and proud to be a neo-Redmondite. And if you think Guy Fawkes’ Night in England today has anything to do with anti-Catholicism you must be mad.

  • merrie

    Hi Sammy

    So burning an effigy of the pope is not anti-Catholic? This was the common practice of all Guy Fawkes celebrations and only Lewes keeps the tradition nowadays. Sure most people have forgotten the origins (and earlier practices) of November 5 celebrations – including yourself.

    Clarification: did not intend to limit the term Ulster Unionist to a party. I meant all unionists in Northern Ireland.

  • merrie

    Sammy:

    Here is a verse of “Remember, remember the fifth of November” now not sung on bonfire night except in some parts of NI:

    A penny loaf to feed the Pope.
    A farthing o’ cheese to choke him.
    A pint of beer to rinse it down.
    A faggot of sticks to burn him.
    Burn him in a tub of tar.
    Burn him like a blazing star.
    Burn his body from his head.
    Then we’ll say ol’ Pope is dead.
    Hip hip hoorah!
    Hip hip hoorah hoorah!

    I agree that nowadays in most parts of the world the celebrations are not anti-Catholic (most people have forgotten the origins) but it has been so in the past.

  • jg

    Ni did not make the Titanic nI did!