A New Irish Passport


It was not until MB arrived in the Middle East (ME) some nine years ago that he learnt the true value of his Irish Passport. Read More

Qatar Blockade – Update


Way back mid-June, MB published one of the most succinct, informative and entertaining reports on the Qatar/Gulf crisis seen in world media. Peers gasped for breath. Read More

Foto Friday – Irish Scene


The Foto Friday selection this week is an MB shot from his trip home of a few weeks back. And it doesn’t come more Irish than this.

Two guys do a spot of fishing from a boat on Lough Derg lake, to the backdrop of a stone-built Round Tower, and an emerald green hill.

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Earth


Earth/Nature.

This week Cheri is asking for a scene that honours the outdoors.

Well, in Ireland we have tonnes and tonnes of nature, and tonnes of outdoors, all green and naturey. Is ‘naturey’ a word MB? Did anyone ask that question to James Joyce? MB replies. And quit with the inane questions lads. Pleezze.

Anyway, there is so much nature in Ireland, we can say that nature is second nature to the Irish. That’s clever MB. Yes, MB knows it is lads, now whisht up a while.

Yes indeed, the Irish are boggle eyed from all that emerald greenery. So to liven nature up  a little, and prevent naturey over-familiarisation, the Irish are likely to throw in some music, at a whim, just to help nature out a little.

Here’s an example, from 21 June 2015, at the stone circle in MB’s HX homeland:

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Irish Wedding Dance


For MBs Lebanese friends in particular, who like their weddings!

Video taken from the Irish Post website:

The Euros, and all that!


As every lady knows, the Euro football championships are on at present in France and are a footballing joy to behold. Iceland football team, and Republic of Ireland fans, are everybody’s favourites. Iceland’s defeat of the ‘auld enemy’, as we in Ireland sometimes often refer to ‘England’, will be many people’s favourite sporting moment ever, in the whole world, in the whole of sporting history, back as far a the days of the Fred Flintstone & Barney Rubble.

It’s a little a lot ironic, that in the middle of the tournament, Britain voted to exit the European community. Northern Ireland, Wales & England (all Brits) are each playing in the competition; but MB isn’t going to get into a deep (or even a shallow) discussion about Brexit, David Cameron, et al. Instead he wants to mention an aspect of it all that friends of MB back home would not have considered.

The beautiful game is, of course, a world sport and the games are watched avidly in MB’s Middle East abode. And as the ME is a melting pot of numerous races and peoples from every continent on the globe (except Antartica), MB found himself having to explain to many, when asked, the difference between the Republic of Ireland (MB’s patch and one of the participating teams) and Northern Ireland (another of the participating teams). “So you’re all British MB?” asked many Pakistanis/Nepalese/Mongolians/Khazaks/Arabs and God only knows who else.

“Grrrrrrr” replied MB to the first one or two such questions. Then MB though – it’s actually a question that Irish people have also asked themselves for approximate 800 years, since date of arrival of first British visitors to Irish shores, who had previously read all sorts of good and juicy things of the Emerald Isle on some early version of tripadviser.com. And arrived en masse to ‘help’ the locals.

Anway, MB tried as best he could to explain the difference between North (British) and South (Republic – not British – definitely not) Ireland to all who asked, and hopefully the people of Outer Mongolia and elsewhere will shortly receive geographical enlightenment from their cousins working under the hot desert sun in the Emirate of Qatar. The world bwill be a better place for it, and MB will receive less such Grrrr questions in the future.

MB also explained to many that Ireland has it’s own language. “You mean English MB?”. “Grrrrrrrrr” replied MB yet again. But in the spirit of imparting knowledge and wisdom, as MB is often given to do, and to put the geographically and culturally challenged imbeciles friends of MB in the right direction, MB pointed many to YouTube links to an Irish college, who have numerous really cool videos of the kids performing uber-cool versions of well-known popular music pieces – in the Irish Gaelic language, or ‘as Gaeilge’ as we say back home. MB regularly watches and listens to the videos of Coláiste Lurgan (Lurgan College), not because of any curtural/Irish reason, but because they are so damn good.

So HX followers, herewith, MB  gives you the kids of Coláiste Lurgan, singing their hearts out in the Irish language – as Gaeilge. Not in English. Grrrrrrr…………….!

Warning – it’s addictive listening. You may find yourself listening to more than one or two!

Really cool. Enjoy.

 

The strange tale of the Irish Cherokee Indian & the lady with rebel blood


Strange incidents and coincidences ofttimes happen to MB. There he was doing almost nothing some few months back, eating organic chocolate or some such, when he received an interesting message on one of his blog posts. Read More

Weekly Photo Challenge – Treat


The challenge this week is ‘Treat’. Like having a treat – to eat (MB seems to be a poet, and he didn’t even know it!)

Anyway, MB was back in the homeland in June and was in the Grange stone circle on the morning of the Summer solstice sunrise. Where else would he be on that morning?! Heard this lady play an Irish air on her violin while standing in the middle of the circle. Was truly stunning. A real treat. MB did not know her personally, she was not local. Seems she was/is a member of the Irish National Chamber Orchestra and had traveled from afar to play.

The Irish air she played was/is called ‘The Chulainn’, which MB is almost 100% sure is written about a warrior from Irish mythology called Cu Chulainn. Must investigate that some more at another time.

The Chulainn air: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mwxga8udIio

 

Chulainn

A silent wife


MB attended a wedding in his Irish homeland last week. 

And did you enjoy yourself MB? Immensely lads, thanks for asking. It was the typical Irish wedding. Full of the joys of life and a little bit of madness thrown into the mix for good measure.  To any readers who have not attended an Irish wedding MB has but one suggestion – do so. And do it quickly. A life lived without the Irish wedding experience is a lesser life, a life not yet fully revealed in all it’s glory, a life not yet reached the higher plateau. In short, a sadder life.

So if still an Irish wedding virgin then perhaps you could try to befriend some Irish people and cajole them into a wedding invitation at some future stage. Maybe you can ask some existing Irish friends if any weddings back home are in the offing and could you please attend. It will not matter one whit that you have neither family nor friendship connection to the happy couple.

Your slightly strange request will most probably be greeted in typical Irish fashion with typical Irish response. Such as – “Sure why not, you might as well come along and enjoy yourself like everyone else, you poor foreign cratur. And would you like a cup of tea when you arrive?” Or something similar. But regardless of the exact wording of the response, you are in, booking your flight and on your way. Joy of joys. 

MB attended a wedding in the English heartland of Wiltshire once upon a time in the dim and distant past and fell very much foul of English wedding customs. Upon leaving the church service, MB and some fellow Irish attendees disappeared to a local hostelry to enjoy some remembrances of the Irish groom in days past and to just generally shoot the Irish breeze. Upon arrival at the wedding banquet some hours later, MB & friends were aghast to discover that the meal was almost finished.

Nevertheless, bold as brass, and under the ‘if looks could kill’ glare of all those Englanders present, MB and friends coyly took their place at the allotted table just in time for desert and speeches (the only purpose of wedding meals anyway) where the sole English friend of MB & Irish pals had sat in lonely solitude from the commencement of meal proceedings some ninety minutes past. He was not happy – to put it mildly. The Irish groom at the top table smiled throughout the disturbing arrival of his homeland friends, a smile he managed to keep on the side of his face which was opposite to the side his English bride was sitting at, as he was well aware of the Irish after-church wedding custom but had somehow forgotten to inform MB & friends of one or two major differences with the English one.

For those not in the know, and for any of the non-Irish amongst MB’s HX followers who will now attend an Irish wedding following this blog post, it is considered extremely ignorant behaviour NOT to go to a hostelry after the Irish wedding church service – as the following few hours are considered private time for the bride & groom to take care of wedding business. Such as meeting up with close family, maybe grabbing a cup of tea and a sandwich after the exertions of the day, and of course snapping the wedding shots with the photographer, whether just in the church grounds or as sometimes also happens, at some local scenic beauty spot – which are ten-a-penny in any Irish village.

But regardless of any other considerations, the hours immediately following the church service are sacrosanct, and to arrive early at the wedding reception/meal would be considered a gross violation of same. Who in their right minds would try to pressurise a newly married couple into rushing the photos and the interfamily mingling just after tying the knot? Who in their right minds could consider committing such a heinous act of sacrilege? Answer – mad dogs and Englishmen of course. The vile and ignorant swine.

So the next time that MB attends a wedding in Wiltshire, or in any other Shire, he will inform the natives that the Irish wedding service in HX last week commenced at 1.30pm in church (notwithstanding brides 30 minutes late arrival at 2pm) and meal commenced at 7pm. Great photos were taken, families were happy as pigs in muck, bride and groom were beaming from ear to ear, and 200 or so guests were full of the joi-de-jameson that 3 to 4 hours in any Irish pub will invariably bestow. Let the meal commence. Let it be followed by some speeches resplendent with Irish wit & warmth, and let the dancing long last into the late late hours. Such is how a wedding should take place – Mr & Mrs Englander!

But MB wishes to return to the church service itself, which took place in the postcard-pretty church in the village of Ballysteen in west Limerick. For the church service has given MB the title of this very post.

The readings for any wedding mass are generally predictable. Invariably each wedding couple selects more or less the same ones. Ones that mention the obvious matters of the day such as love and fidelity and longevity. But the first reading at last week’s Irish wedding really made MB sit up and take notice. Here was a couple who had given the readings some serious consideration and thought. And in the first reading, the values and thoughts espoused, had most males in attendance wanting to give a standing ovation on completion of it’s oration. And they probably would have done, but for the killer stares of their resplendent Kill Bill female partners.

The wedding/mass book introduced the reading as “A Reading from the Old Testament” without further annotation. MB has since discovered, as he has looked it up, that the reading comes specifically from the Book of Sirach which MB had never previously heard of, but which MB expects will now fill many a female stocking in HX this coming Christmas. The full text of the reading is as follows:

Happy is the husband of a good wife;
the number of his days will be doubled.
A loyal wife brings joy to her husband,
and he will complete his years in peace.
A good wife is a great blessing;
she will be granted among the blessings of the man who fears the Lord.
Whether rich or poor, his heart is content,
and at all times his face is cheerful.
A wife’s charm delights her husband,
and her skill puts flesh on his bones.
A silent wife is a gift from the Lord,
and there is nothing so precious as her self-discipline.

A modest wife adds charm to charm,
and no scales can weigh the value of her chastity.
Like the sun rising in the heights of the Lord,
so is the beauty of a good wife in her well-ordered home.

The officiating priest, Fr Liam, actually mentioned in his homily that he suspected the groom had selected the first reading. But MB is sure it was a joint decision, taken after careful reading and re-reading of the valuable messages contained within. In any event, a couple who include such a reading in their wedding service are surely on the right track from day one. With such wise words and guidance for future life, they can hardly go wrong.

Enough MB. You have blathered on for far too long. Silence!

Ok lads. Enough.

—–

Congrats to Catriona & Diarmuid. Long life and happiness to you both. Was a great day. For you & for us.

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Summer Solstice Morning


21 June 2014. Sunrise. Circa 5am. Grange Stone Circle. Limerick. South West Ireland.

The Gods gifted a clear sky and the the sun rose. A heavenly experience.

See also previous post.

A picture paints a thousand words. So MB gives you thirty six thousand words. So to speak.
Read More