How Do You Solve a Problem Like Downpatrick?

Downpatrick is a strange place. It is like something from ancient Greek mythology where the Gods both bless and curse a place. Blessed in that it is a handsome place; the old streets have old world charm potential about them. English street, being the Georgian street containing the Cathedral, the view and ‘the grave’ (supposedly containing St Patrick, St Brigid and St Columcille), a 17th century coaching house and some cobbled side streets, it is very much a potential movie …

Read more…

Old Ireland or New Belgium?

C:\Users\Owner\Desktop\Slugger and Mouthing\Old Ireland Vs New Belgium\20231210_145839.jpg

(DISCLAIMER: The following piece is not nostalgia driven white washing of the downsides of Irish life decades ago. If your first instinct is to rehash awful periods from the past and suck all the crack from the room then please find somewhere else, I’m more interested in Barney Smyth the greengrocer than Father Brendan Smyth, nor am I suggesting that everything was better and that we should disavow modern healthcare and instead traipse around the Sperrin mountains in the dead …

Read more…

Nuclear power – the solution to our energy needs?

science, physics, atom

The following is a compilation of trivia that I often drop on commentators during the various environmental discussions. It is not a ‘The Case for Nuclear’ but rather an attempt to add some badly needed balance to what has turned into an almost emotional debate I am in no way an expert, just an interested onlooker who thinks that nuclear power might not be having a fair hearing (and because the Guardian never print my letters, so I’ll vent on …

Read more…

For those who wish to see Derry city prosper, I recommend a trip to the South Holland city of Gorinchem…

There are two types of people in this world; those who wish to see Derry city prosper and those who wish to see it fail. I’m in the former camp and as such I’m unimpressed with those in the latter camp, whether their M.O. be by means of bombs or political sabotage (just covering all the incoming whataboutery bases). For those firmly in the prosper camp then might I recommend a trip to the South Holland city of Gorinchem? (Somehow …

Read more…

How do we improve our towns and villages?

One of the (many) disappointing realisations that came to pass during the Time of Covid is just how many people don’t like being in their own home for too long. The place where they’ve chosen to live (or at least settled into). The place where they raise their families or invite their friends round. As such, people all over Europe were almost literally running for the hills (or forests or cottages or seaside houses) in order to get away from …

Read more…

Rant I – Handbrake Turn Tourism and Visitor Centres…

seamus heaney

This is the first in the series of posts regarding tourism, its under-exploited potential and the wider implications of our current strategy, these posts are effectively bit-sized rants from one epic length, foamy-mouthed, ganshing session. To the best of my knowledge Handbrake Turn Tourism was coined by my late uncle, anyway, what it pertains to is the type of tourism where tourists flock to a must-see spot (usually a visitor centre), take a few selfies and then head off to …

Read more…

Bowling For Michael Moore – The tricky business of renewable energy…

The Planet of the Humans, produced/tagged by Michael Moore caused a bit of a stir recently with the criticism ranging from “hmmmm, a bit out of date” to “he’s effectively now a white supremacist” Here’s a Guardian critique of Moore if you think the latter summary is a glib throwaway exaggeration: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/may/07/michael-moore-far-right-climate-crisis-deniers-film-environment-falsehoods My own criticism is reserved not for the clumsiness of the attempt to highlight both corporate involvement and the reality of renewables but for the rash conclusions from …

Read more…

Death to charity shops…

Forgive the OTT headline but such are my tabloid depths. I don’t actually want to get rid of charity shops. However. In an article on here by MurdockP it was highlighted how many there are on the Northern Irish high street as was their current rate-free status. From the outset this is no bad thing: empty shops, not being used and someone somewhere is benefiting from their kind deeds. So what’s the downside to this? Well, let us examine the …

Read more…

The Teetotallers Guide to the Need for More Pubs…

Bar pub

It’s odd to think that teetotallers and pub crawlers could have similar objectives but I wish to illustrate that they have similar goals if we consider the drinks trade more holistically rather than narrowly. First of all allow me to say that I understand fine and well the various reasons for being teetotal and I’d even say they are correct, many of us would be better off financially and physically if we abstained from the Devil’s buttermilk. However, reality must …

Read more…

Ulster Language Act?

There has been understandably much ado on here regarding the Irish Language act (or rather the absence of one) recently. I personally have been struck by the number of unionists on here (and on other sites) that are actually in support of an act of some sort in theory. Newton Emerson briefly highlighted the shortcomings and potential fall-out from Carál ní Chuilín’s proposal a while back during a criticism of Arlene Foster’s attitude to an act. http://www.irishnews.com/opinion/columnists/2017/02/09/news/newton-emerson-arlene-has-boxed-herself-into-a-corner-on-irish-language-act-923410/ I’m in agreement …

Read more…

Reducing Duplication Within the Education System?

In the interests of not derailing anymore threads as I normally do when the topic of education comes up Mick has let me post this blog (probably in the hope that it’ll finally shut me up). My own views on ‘integrated’ education (now a seemingly bland yet toxic term) have changed somewhat since I started reading posts on Slugger. One of the things that strike me most is how the discussion is always thrown to the most extreme scenarios. Someone …

Read more…