Monday, 28 March 2016

*EASTER: EGGS, PARADES & 100 YEARS' COMMEMORATIONS*


                             Young Irish band Seo Linn, busking in Dublin's City Centre this Easter.

THE BOY couldn't wait for Easter Sunday to arrive, before looting the cupboards for his chocolate eggs.
     'Don't even think about taking any of my Easter egg,' one of his sisters says. 'I know exactly how much is left.'
     'Eggs-actly' he says, laughing at his own joke.
     'These are the yolks, folks,' quips his other sister.
Could it get any worse?
Easter 2016 in Ireland, marks the hundredth anniversary of The Easter Rising, and the commemorations are part of a year long remembrance of that event. The Easter Parade through Dublin yesterday was the biggest we have ever staged in this country. The Rising's anniversary was also marked by Irish groups all over the world.

I won't turn this blog into a history lesson. For anyone who doesn't know about the 1916 Easter Rising, look it up. But take my word, when I say it was seminal.
On Saturday, The Husband, The Middle Child, The Boy and I go to a lunchtime play in Dublin's beautiful Georgian, Powerscourt Town House Centre.
Based on actual events, 'Rebel Rebel' centres on two 1916 Dublin actors, who abandon their matinee of WB Yeats' Cathleen Ní Houlihan, take guns hidden beneath the stage, and leave to be part of the Rebellion. The whole play takes just under an hour, and the audience is invited to participate in this fierce, amazing little production.
Afterwards, we wander down Grafton Street, where young Irish band Seo Linn (pronounced Shaw Linn) are gigging, singing half in Irish, half in English, as is their way.
Later, at home, The Husband browses the 1916 Souvenir Edition of The Irish Times. The headline from that newspaper reads The Darkest Week in the History of Dublin: An Orgie of Fire and Slaughter. The last paragraph includes the following: "Looting was extensively practised on Monday. The 'underworld' of the city...first tackled the shops in Lower Sackville street...hordes of hooligans crowded into the shops, returning with bundles of wearing apparel....Nobletts, at the corner of Earl street, and Lemons, in Lower Sackville street, were tit-bits for the younger section of the roughs, who made merry with boxes of chocolates..." *
   
The Boy can relate to the last bit. The rest of us can walk through O'Connell Street (formerly Sackville Street) today, and try to imagine what Easter Monday was like. The Rising itself, the confusion about orders given, withdrawn, reissued; the terrible loss of life on both sides...the aftermath.
In one of Yeats' poems, he spoke of his play Cathleen Ní Houlihan, when he wrote, Did that play of mine send out certain men the English shot?
It's good to remember, debate, argue, and cast our democratic vote. It's good when everyone gets a hearing.
No country or constitution or democracy is perfect. But it's now 100 years since The Rising. And that allows us some distance.
A Peaceful and Happy Easter, everyone.  


* Taken from The Irish Times 1916 Souvenir Edition, March 26/27, 2016.

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Next Monday, April 4, fellow Tirgearr author David O'Brien, will be guest blogging.
I'll be back the following Monday, April 11, 7.30GMT, with my fortnightly, personal column.


Follow THIS FUNNY IRISH LIFE via Email (See Follow by Email to the right of this page). You will get my fortnightly personal column, plus updates/guest author posts straight to your email. Your email address will NEVER be given to anyone, nor used for ANY OTHER PURPOSE.


Have a wonderful week,
Thanks for reading,
Hugs & xx,
Sharon.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

NEW 5***** REVIEW FOR #IRISH ROM-COM!

EVENING all,

I had to post this - a gorgeous surprise to round off
‪#‎StPatricksDay‬ here in Dublin, in the form of a brand new 5***** review for the ‪#‎Irish‬ romantic comedy, Going Against Type.

Many thanks to 'Sterna K' who posted this an hour ago. I've pasted it below.

*A WONDERFULLY FUN AND WITTY READ*.
...
"I love Charlie, a sports journalist kicking but in a 'mans-world', from the first page. The author does a great job of connecting her with the reader – and it doesn’t hurt that she has a killer sense of humor smile emoticon
After putting a disastrous relationship behind her, Charlie focuses on the one thing she knows she’s good at – sports writing. So when she’s given the chance to write a brand new column, 'Side Swipe', she jumps with both feet in … landing right in the middle of well-known columnist, 'The Squire’s', radar. And its war from the get go! Much to the delight of the media and social sites.
… love is the absolute last thing either of the sparring journo’s hope to find.
Derry, a gorgeous (and straight) fashion journalist, who has decided to hide his broken heart behind an endless string of ‘brainless’ woman, is absolutely not Charlie’s type. But the two 'seemingly opposites' are drawn to each other from their first 'foot-stomping-by-panama-hat' encounter, and as the war between their alter ego’s continue, a relationship develops between Charlie and Derry, surprising the unlikely pair.
When the media insists that The Squire and Side Swipe have it out over national radio, their alter egos are revealed for the first time … right after a night spent together!! … and it all comes crashing down! – in the funniest and most heart-warming of ways.
The story is well paced and conversation driven, with witty one liners and a great show of knowledge by the author. No frilly romance scenes here, only funny, modern relationships portrayed in punchy and real circumstances, that keeps you turning the page.
Helen and Andrew’s back story was just as intriguing, and Charlie and Helen’s friendship had me craving pasta and coffee with my besties more than once.
A fun, light read perfect for any beach day.
Congrats Mrs. Black – I’ll definitely be reading more from you."





#‎
AmazonUSA‬
: http://amzn.to/1QvjlFQ to read it on Amazon.

All buy links at Tirgearr Publishing to the right of this page.
I'll be back, as always, with my fortnightly column, on Monday, March 28.

Follow THIS FUNNY IRISH LIFE via Email (See Follow by Email to the right of this page). You will get my fortnightly personal column, plus updates/guest author posts straight to your email. Your email address will NEVER be given to anyone, nor used for ANY OTHER PURPOSE.


Have a wonderful week,
Thanks for reading,
Hugs & xx,
Sharon.

Monday, 14 March 2016

ST PATRICK'S DAY: What the Guide Books leave out!




      St Patrick's Day in Dublin:
A weekend-long festival.





THERE was a seasonal little article in one of our national newspapers last weekend. It compared the average price of a hotel bedroom in Dublin, to hotel bedrooms in other major European cities. Apparently, we are cheaper by about €20 per night.
Yay, go Dublin, I think. But then I read on. That's the wrong attitude, it seems. We are undercutting ourselves, underselling ourselves, undervaluing ourselves. We need to be on a par with the Netherlands. I can't remember why. But there you have it.
The article is seasonal because St Patrick's Day is on March 17th, and it brings droves of visitors to Dublin. Many gorgeous Americans, of course, whose
Influence on our parade I have celebrated in this column before. And increasingly, visitors from all over Europe.
However, if you are thinking of packing your green woollies and visiting our wind-swept island this Paddy's Day, I feel it's my duty as an Irish person (and a Dubliner) to point out some stuff that the guide books will never tell you. 
     1. On March 17th the whole of Ireland will most likely be very, very cold. It will probably rain on some, if not all of the parades. It might even snow.
     2. If you decide to venture into town (which is what Dubliners call the city centre) for the main event, you have to get there at least two hours before it starts. Otherwise you'll be stuck behind an Irish family with a step ladder. The kids will be standing on various steps, in order to see above the crowds. The dad will be balancing a toddler precariously on his shoulders. You won't see anything.
     3. Although the alcohol ban on St Patrick's Day, was lifted in 1970, an awful lot of Irish people still treat it like it's a new thing, and go a tad overboard. This is partly because our national Saint's day falls during Lent. For those who still 'give up' stuff during the 40 days, it's an Irish rule that you can break your Lenten fast on this day. For kids, this usually means eating lots of chocolate. For the grownups, it's a chance to get nicely sozzled. 
     4. If you want to fit in during the Festival (these days we celebrate all weekend), here's a couple of important rules.
         (A) Wear the same silly oversized green leprechaun hats that the locals wear. Ditto gaudy green shamrocks and tri-colours painted on your face. Your mega-overpriced báinín sweater and tasteful plaid green cap just won't cut it.
          (B) Make sure you get the name right. It's St Patrick's Day or Paddy's Day. It's NOT Patty's Day.
          (C) As a visitor, you'll probably be sensibly attired for the weather. While we're not bad at wrapping up, at the first squint of sun, we Irish believe in the right to bare arms. If you stare in horror at our mad attempts to get a farmer's tan (face, neck and the lower half of our arms), you'll be immediately identified as a non-local. 
Meanwhile, it's desperately unclear why the powers-that-be have decided that Dublin has to start pricing itself against a country with four times the population, and a better transport system.
Maybe they feel that in 2016, one hundred years since the Rising that gave birth to our State, we need to be taking ourselves a bit more seriously.
Or at the very least, charging people more for our hotel bedrooms.
So while they're still reasonably priced, maybe you should consider packing those green woollies and become part of the upcoming festivities? 
The Guinness might be an acquired taste but the natives are pretty friendly.
Just beware of the step-ladders.

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Follow THIS FUNNY IRISH LIFE via Email (See Follow by Email to the right of this page). You will get my fortnightly personal column, plus updates/guest author posts straight to your email. Your email address will NEVER be given to anyone, nor used for ANY OTHER PURPOSE.

Have a wonderful week,
Thanks for reading,
Hugs & xx,
Sharon.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Guest Author, #Science #Fiction writer, Tegon Maus



MORNING everyone,
Doing something a little different on This Funny Irish Life today, as I have a guest, fellow Tirgearr Publishing author, Tegon Maus.

Take it away, Tegon.


"I’m asked all the time how did you come to write SCi-Fi?  Who motivated you? I think most of us have someone we looked up to as kids... someone that helped to shape the way we see the world.  Someone that made us a better person;  okay, maybe I went a little too far with the word better...  let's just say influenced.

     Personally I had two.  The first... at the top of the list was Benjamin Franklin.  An all around great guy... anyone who can fly a kite in the rain, just to see what lightning is made out of and live to tell about it is always at the top of my list.

     The second was Reed Richards... okay, nobody said it had to be a real person.  As a kid when I read the Fantastic Four I was held in awe by the wild machines that populated its pages not to mention by the man himself.  He had perfect posture, broad shoulders, chiseled good looks and a generous swath of gray at the temples.  Anyone could see he was one of the good guys.  He was an unparalleled genius able to multi-task in a time that had never heard the term.  He could manage the problem at hand and his relationship with all the other team members and all at the same time.  I had envisioned myself in his likeness a million times.  I wanted to be this kind of man... but genetics being what they are and much to my personal disappointment I wound up looking more like Franklin.  Happily, the tradeoff turned out to be the craving for knowledge and the feeling of kinship were machinery is involved. 

       I think this, above all else, is what Sci-Fi is all about.  It makes you want more... not just for the sake of having material gain but to have and be more than you are... to become something better than you were in the beginning, even if it’s just for a little while.  It makes you want to visit those worlds, see those creatures, have those adventures... see all those incredible machines and spaceships and ray guns and zapping arcs of energy from things we can't possibly understand.  But we want to, we really want to. 

      We want it to transform us in unimaginable ways so we can be part of something bigger than ourselves, something wonderful and good.  Isn't that why we read?  To live a life not our own for however long that book will have us.  We crave that kinship with our stories and Sci-Fi lets us live in those pages to its absolute fullest.  We want a happy ending, don't we?  We want to wipe the tears of our involvement from our cheeks and say to ourselves... "that was really, really good." 

      Down deep inside that’s what we all really want isn't it?   Well... that and chocolate."
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I'll be back on Monday, March 14th with my regular column, which will go live, as always at 07.30GMT. It's a fun, irreverent guide to St Patrick's Day in Dublin, that you'll never read in the guide books!

Have a lovely week,
Thanks for reading,
Hugs & xx, Sharon.