New Lansdowne revealed

The designs for the new Lansdowne Road stadium have been revealed today (the real designs, not the fake ones that came from a ‘feasibility study’ last year). The design brief has the stadium on multiple levels on three sides, then swoops down on one end, so the D4 residents don’t have to live in permanent shadow. Take a look for yourself here, here, here and here, and tell us what you think. Aaron Scullion

Time for compromise (rules)

October is compromise season in the GAA, as you probably know. The annual double-header against the Aussie footballers gets the most publicity, but the games against Scotland’s shinty players are interesting too. Ireland lost the first game 20-17, but this Scottish report on the game is worth reading if you’re a hurling fan. Aaron Scullion

Maze Prison photos

When I think about the Maze, it astonishes me to think that I grew up in a street of just 18 homes, where three of the residents worked as prison guards, as witnesses to history. And yet I really cannot comprehend what went on in the place, or what it would have looked like inside. Sasha of Nothing Less has provided an incredible free insight into the place – more than 200 pictures taken on a private tour. (Via Boing …

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Tir Eoghain Abu

Here’s a place to discuss the match, if you’re so inclined. The old stadium looks fantastic, as ever. If you’re outside Ireland, you can watch the game for $10 on Setanta’s website. Update: A brilliant, compelling final. All credit and congratulations to Tyrone, who truly deserve to take Sam back north. And congrats to Down too, who were the other half of a great Ulster double. Aaron Scullion

Culture watch

Some of you may be interested in a play on Radio 4 on Friday named ‘Dungannon’. It’s the story of a young mother’s efforts to get a home for her family in County Tyrone in 1963… more here. Aaron Scullion

‘Stupid’ struggle?

In Tuesday’s Guardian, Lionel Shriver claims that “throughout the whole melee, whether Ireland was united never mattered very much, and really doesn’t matter now”. Not for the first time, she’s trying to prick our “collective vanity”. By regularly writing about us in international newspapers. Aaron Scullion

Bertie: “will there be a united Ireland?”

The Today programme asked Mr Ahern [mp3] the big one this morning: “Prime Minister, do you think there will be a united Ireland in your lifetime?”. Leaving aside the fact that they failed to address him as Taoiseach, here is his unedited answer… I, I hope we, we can move to a situation where the co-operation, ahh, on this island, on things that make sense to co-operate on, like we’re doing at the moment on tourism, on matters of trade, …

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Swings and roundabouts

Congrats to Linfield on a major achivement last night. Manager David Jeffrey’s reaction was a treat – listening on Radio Ulster, it was joyous to hear real passion and pride in local football. Contrasts nicely with the sour-faced moaning of Everton – having benefited from the stacking of the games resources that have hit Irish clubs badly in the past decade, they’re now concerned that UEFA might screw them by allowing them to play Liverpool… life’s tough. Aaron Scullion

Popping out

According to Reuters, “Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern has cut short an annual visit to the Galway Races to return to Dublin”, in anticipation of the big statement. Has any nation’s leader ever selflessly attended so much sport on behalf of his people?Before you get grouchy, I like Bertie really, I just wish I had access to his source of tickets. Aaron Scullion

No, no, never

In the face of speculation, the Sunday Herald points out why “proud Ulsterman” Martin O’Neill will never manage England. Aaron Scullion

Homer loves Catholics, part 2

Coincidentally, the Irish News, the Belfast Telegraph and Ireland Online have all picked up on the story we brought you yesterday about Homer Simpson’s love of Catholicism.. it was also mentioned on RTE’s Morning Ireland. Aaron Scullion

Homer loves Catholics

Last Sunday, Liam Neeson guest starred in a pretty funny new episode of the Simpsons that went out on US TV (expect to see it on Sky during the summer). Neeson played an Irish priest who encouraged Homer and Bart to turn Catholic, leading to outrage among the local community. During the show, Homer says the immortal line.. “Catholics Rule! We’ve got Boston, South America and the good part of Ireland”! It’s all pretty tounge-in-cheek, but I’m looking forward to …

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NI election video

It’s worth highlighting that the BBC’s election website has lots of video-on-demand material as well as the text stories – and there’s plenty of NI material there as well. If you go to the website and click on the ‘election news in video’ button, you can see all the party election broadcasts from the local parties, as well as interviews and manifesto launches. If you’re so inclined. Aaron Scullion

Language struggles

In the Guardian, former minister Brian Wilson says Scots Gaelic will die unless the Scottish Parliament protects the language the way the authorities have done in Ireland and Wales.Amongst other things, he seems to want a digital TV channel for Scots Gaelic speakers – funny, I could have sworn they already had one.. Aaron Scullion

No new stadium?

The news that the Maze has been confirmed as the only viable site for a new stadium has been greeting with predictable dismay amongst parts of the sporting community. Rugby and football fans are equally up-in-arms, while GAA fans seem muted on the issue (possibly because they don’t feel ownership of the project). As someone who thinks it’s high time NI had a decent-quality stadium of its own, I’m slightly dismayed at the apparent reaction, but I guess people have …

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It’s all over now

As if we didn’t already know it, the NI team won’t be heading to Germany for 2006, despite an improved performance and a late defeat to Poland. Perhaps the green and white army can set up some sort of consultancy, teaching other fans something about true support. I didn’t see all of the game tonight, but everytime I did, the Polish camera crew were cutting to the NI fans for a bit of excitment! Incidentally, some aren’t too happy at …

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Thanks to..

The Sunday Tribune, who published a nice little piece about us today. I’ve typed it out in full for those of you that are interested..”Slugger O’Toole has far and away the most wide-ranging coverage of Northern Ireland, and has tracked the follow-up from last week, including the backlash from the McCartney family, with a decent respect for both sides. For sheer entertainment value, however, just pick one of the postings with the maximum number of comments. But the most passionate …

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Dramatisation of Bloody Sunday inquiry

The wonderful Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn, north-west London, has a long history of social theatre – it has previously put on abridged reconstructions of the Hutton Inquiry and the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, to name just two. A long-awaited dramatisation of the Saville Inquiry begins in April, and The Observer reports that the team behind it hope to offer ‘a cooler, more objective eye’ than others have managed. Aaron Scullion

WE EXIST wristbands

On the subject of top-quality fans, you have to give credit to the great supporters on the Our Wee Country site. In the face of indifference in some quarters to the fate of the NI team, some enterprising people have commissioned some green and white ‘WE EXIST’ wristbands, which you can purchase to showcase your support of Lawrie’s boys. The artist’s impression looks pretty cool, better than the Nike ones.Before we get any complaints – I haven’t ordered one myself, …

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Still singing at the end

So, apart from the 16 minutes where the 4 goals went in, not an appalling performance from Northern Ireland. There’s such an inherent gulf in quality between the players, you can’t really expect anything more than heart, and we got that. A bit of heart in the next game against the world’s minnows wouldn’t go amiss. The NI fans sung the English fans off the park for much of the game, and that’s what really counts… Aaron Scullion