The 20th Anniversary of 9/11…

Never Forget.

Seems like all my fellow New Yorker friends and acquaintances are once again busy posting their 9/11 memories on social media today. Lots of “Never Forget” comments and photos of the Monument of Light that every year seems to pierce the stratosphere from lower Manhattan, representing the two absent towers at the World Trade Center. It’s all completely understandable. It’s our generation’s JFK assassination moment; “Where were you when..?” Some of my friends were down there on the day, some …

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I’ve only ever lived on Islands…

So it has dawned on me that by some twist of fate, I’ve only ever lived on islands. The first half or more of my life was lived in Ireland, north and then south, with a spell in the early 1970s as a young child in Britain, due to a family tragedy; more precisely, western Scotland, and for just long enough to develop the Scottish accent so that when I returned to school in Belfast I was a fun target …

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What’s in a name #3…

I was delighted to read, from afar, that the DUP MP for East Londonderry Gregory Campbell deigns that the border in Ireland is not “a threat to anyone who feels Irish on this part of the island.”. I’m sorry, but “feels Irish”? Am I naïve in thinking we had moved on in “Our Wee Country” since 1998? Or does this typify a mindset that refuses to accept geographical reality? There is a Big Island called Britain, and there is a …

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What’s in a name? – Some thoughts on the Irish Language Act…

There is a debate raging over here, across these United States of America, as we grapple with the uncomfortable history of nation-building, the Founding Fathers, historical (re)interpretation, and dealing with the convoluted past. Sound familiar? In recent times, statues and memorials to Confederate-era figureheads across the (mostly southern) States have been taken down, and place names have been reassessed and renamed to address – or redress – America’s uncomfortable historical association with slaveholding, the civil war, and ongoing modern-day racial …

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What’s in a name? – The tricky business of what to call Northern Ireland…

Reading Peter Robinson’s opinion piece in the News Letter, one phrase has stuck with me: “Importantly, how best can we interact and work with those who do not share our world view on so many issues and who cannot even whisper the name of the country they jointly govern?” Let me start by clarifying that this is not in any way intended as a piece on local geopolitics. Rather, as a self-confessed devotee of onomastics, or more precisely toponomastics, with …

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View from New York – light at the end of the tunnel or a train coming the other way?

Anybody I know who has lived in New York for any length of time has remarked in recent years that we don’t have shoulder seasons anymore. One day it’s winter and the next day it’s not. Nobody wears a spring or autumn jacket like we used to; your winter coat gets stored away at the end of April and re-emerges sometime around Thanksgiving in November. Well, it certainly felt like last Saturday was the day the Weather Service pulled a …

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The view from New York – the aftermath…

I wasn’t going to write another one of these Views from New York. It feels a little self-indulgent now when events have overtaken as they have and the whole world is now reeling from this pandemic. And what of the developing world countries that barely make the news? China, Europe, the US have been dominating the headlines for weeks but what is happening in those other parts of the globe and how horrific will it be in the favelas and …

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View from New York – 15 days later – the new normal…

After submitting my first, then second (and I assumed last ever) posting to Slugger on the C19 pandemic from my viewpoint in Brooklyn, New York, I figured I was done. The headlines out of Ireland and Britain have already begun to reflect the horrors across the pond here in the US, and there seems to be no need to revisit what is now the day-to-day reality for all of us. Whether it be the hard-to-fathom daily statistics on staggering C19 …

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Covid-19. The View from New York – 10 days later…

On March 30th, Slugger was kind enough to post my “View from New York” and when I wrote it, I was probably motivated in part by shock and anger and how quickly the C-19 crisis had escalated on my doorstep, and by the horrifying headlines and statistics I was seeing reported every hour. Also, I was concerned about what was about to unfold “back home”. My mum used to say that her mum used to say that, “Whatever happens in …

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Covid-19: the view from New York City…

A few days ago I did something unprecedented (for me) because we are living in unprecedented times, and I wrote a comment on Slugger. As an ex-pat living outside my hometown of Belfast since 1996 or thereabouts, and a resident of New York City since 2002, I’ve been an avid reader for years but it’s never been in my constitutional makeup to get involved in BTL discussions on any online forum. Whilst it can be enlightening and informative, have-your-say commentary …

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