Saturday, May 23, 2015

Áine


Áine Bean Uí Shúilleabháin
Click on any image for a larger version

Sadly, Áine died this morning.

So I finally have to forgive her for her one indiscretion that I know of personally.

In the early 1950s she revealed to me that there was no Santy Clause. I don't remember if I was devastated or if I'd had my suspicions, but it is an event that I still remember. Mind you, she must have been very convincing as I had received an actual letter from Santy himself only a year or two previously.

But then, you could always believe Áine. A feisty woman with a great sense of humour and a twinkle in her eye, but straight as a die.

I got to know Áine when she was our next door neighbour at No. 41 Orwell Gardens in the early 1950s. We were staying with my granny then, and my mother and Áine became friends and, as I remember, attended the Rathmines Tech together for a period.

The Ó Súilleabháins were the cause of me going to Coláiste Mhuire after my ignominious rejection by Synge Street.
.


No. 41 Orwell Gardens, as it is today (2011)

After we moved to Ballybrack, I still had contact with the family through Áine's husband Donnchadh, who was General Secretary of Conradh na Gaeilge and Secretary of the Oireachtas (now Oireachtas na Gaeilge to distinguish it from the national parliament). Donnchadh died unexpectedly in 1989. I also maintained contact with her daughter Bríd through our common involvement with the theatre and beyond.

Sad to say, I did not keep up any regular contact with Áine, all my own fault, though I did meet her a few years back and she was in fighting form.

She was 96.

Sympathies to Bríd, Gerry and family.

May she rest in peace.

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Where is it ? No. 37


Click image for a larger version

To see all the quiz items click on the "Where?" tag below.

To see all the unsolved quiz items click on the "unsolved" tag below.

Update - almost immediately

Damn him. He's done it again. Felix Larkin gets the prize. The cheque is in the post.


But I have solved the mystery. He is the only person who reads my blog and when I post one of these quiz items he races out of the house and walk the streets of Dublin till he finds the answer.

Well done Felix.


Google Street View. Shadow is of Pepperpot Church

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Michael Edwards 2015



Click any image for a larger version

Michael Edwards has done it again. And this time the exhibition in the Donaghmede Shopping Centre has a slight change of style.


This year we have a series of exhibitions each from a different photo club. Currently on display are photos from St. Benedict's club in Kilbarrack. The standard is very high and there are some really fabulous shots.


The scheme works as follows. The studio invited 6 camera groups to exhibit for 4 weeks each. The public will view and vote for 10 out of each group. At the end they will exhibit the top ten from each group and these will be judged for The Michael Edwards Trophy 2015 and finalists 1 to 10.

The exhibition is run in association with the shopping centre and sponsored by Dublin City Council, who, incidentally, are doing great work promoting culture all round the city and right through the year.

So, if you're in the area, do drop in, checkout these great photos and leave your vote.


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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Liberation Day



HAPPY LIBERATION DAY
Click any image for a larger version

Yesterday, 9th May, was Liberation Day in the Channel Islands. This is when islanders celebrate the end of the Nazi occupation in 1945. The islands were unique in being the only part of the "British Isles" to have been occupied by the Nazis during WWII. The occupation had its brutal elements and the Nazis turned the islands, and Jersey in particular, into a huge fortress with massive surface and underground defences, mostly built by very badly treated POWs.

So the people of Jersey, the island with which I am most familiar, had much to celebrate on this day in each year following the end of WWII. This year was special as the 70th anniversary and it was seen as marking perhaps the end of those celebrations in which aging survivors of the occupation could take part in any numbers.

So I tweeted my friends in Jersey a happy Liberation Day and I meant it. What follows refers to Jersey alone.


UNFINISHED BUSINESS

It seemed a good day, without hopefully spoiling the party, to recall some unfinished business left over from the liberation. There was an opportunity then to revamp the whole system and also free the islands, and Jersey in particular, from a much more embedded occupation dating from previous centuries.

The island is a Crown Dependency, which means it is directly governed by the Queen who appoints its principal officers. It has appropriated much of the nomenclature of a modern democracy but its structures remain essentially feudal. Asserting one's human rights under the present system is somewhat haphazard in its results and can depend very much on the proximity of one's association with the ruling clique.

The montage above is of Philip Bailhache, the more prominent of the Bailhache brothers, both of whom have held most of the island's major offices over recent decades. Philip, a former Bailiff and currently Senator and Foreign Minister, is seen as the puppetmaster though it is clear that there are others pulling his strings.

His most recent contribution to good governance on the island was to try and sabotage the current inquiry into decades of child abuse and cover-up, an area in which he is seriously conflicted himself.


REVOLVING DOORS

This is Philip's brother William. Currently Bailiff, he was previously Attorney General during a period when many prosecutions of alleged child abusers were either dropped or refused. His period in office at that time will hopefully come up for review in the course of the current inquiry into child abuse on the island.


ONE MIKE THAT WILL NOT BE TURNED OFF TODAY

The policing function on the island is complex. Each of the twelve island parishes has its own police force and it is only in more recent times that an all-island force has been developed to any significant degree. There are serious contraints on the all-island force, including political ones, and recent years have seen these exercised aggressively by the establishment when it illegaly sacked the police chief and smeared the senior investigating officer as their inquiries into earlier child abuse were getting too close to the bone.

A more compliant central policing régime was then recruited, the current head of which is Mike Bowron (above), renowned for chatting to ordinary people in the street and ignoring them when they come as supplicants to his office. The wide discretion available to the policing function in Jersey (there is no separate independent prosecution function) means that whether you are charged with an offence or not frequently depends on who you are.

The reference in the caption is to Philip Bailhache, then Bailiff and Speaker in the States (Parliament), turning off the microphone of the then Health Minister, Stuart Syvret, as he tried to raise the question of child abuse in the House on an earlier Liberation Day.


PROTECTING MORE THAN DATA

Emma Martins is the Data Protection Commissioner. Her principal contribution to the island to date seems to have been (i) to support the "Gang of Four" in their effort to have Stuart Syvret brought before the courts (another partial institution) for publishing information which was clearly in the public interest and (ii) to have Stuart's blog taken down from Blogger/Google on spurious legal grounds.


HAUT DE LA GARENNE - a misdemeanor, move on

It would be unfair to leave out Emma's daddy, John Nettles aka Bergerac, whose BBC TV series was set in the island and was shooting footage at Haut de la Garenne (the notorious centre of child abuse) while there were still children resident on the premises. BBC have recently called off a rerun of the series in the face of public protest. In recent times Nettles has attempted to downplay the significance of the centre. I really couldn't leave him out as Emma has declared that she frequently takes her daddy's advice.

The above are most of the tweets I tweeted yesterday for Liberation Day.


I couldn't finish, however, without recalling this event from the obverse of the liberation coin. Arising directly from his principled conflict with this deficient system of administration and justice, Stuart Syvret has already done a few stints of porridge and may yet come to do more.

So let us wish a happy LIBERATION PHASE 2 to the people of this beautiful island.

Note: you can see all the tweets here. You may have to click "Show photo" to see individual images.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Prince Arthur's Sword


The Calm before the Storm
Click any image for a larger version

The National Library's lecture theatre at about a quarter to one today (6/5/2015). Very much the calm before the storm. The room started filling up and at about five past one the storm broke.

Mark Leslie, second in succession to the Leslie Baronetcy currently held by his uncle Jack, launched us into his family's tempestuous history, peppered with fascinating stories and all the while way up the social ladder.

It all revolved around the family home, Castle Leslie in Glaslough Co. Monaghan, now a very high class hotel and equestrian centre.

The title of Mark's talk was "Norman Leslie and the Sword of Prince Arthur". Norman was Mark's grand-uncle who had a very colourful career in the British Army, so much so that he was awarded a specially inscribed sword by Prince Arthur, first Duke of Connaught.

Norman died at the Western Front in 1914 while leading his men in a charge and holding the sword aloft as befitted an officer. While his body was subsequently located and buried, the sword could not be found.

Many years later, a Belgian farmer, ploughing his field, unearthed the sword and seeing the inscription returned it to the War Office who returned it to the Duke of Connaught, who in turn returned it to the family. It is a treasured heirloom which now surfaces on important family occasions.



Mark Leslie launching his talk

So that explains the title of the talk. Norman had also been probably the last British Army soldier to engage in an officially approved duel. That arose out of his womanising and he was lucky to survive it.

We heard about Mark's antecedents, including a bishop who defied Cromwell, and in more modern times, a relation who got away with wearing a tiara which was bigger than the Queen's at a royal reception in Buck House.

If I were to recount the many other great stories I'd be here all night so I'll just say that this was one of the, if not the, best talks I've ever been at, and if it ever comes to a location near you in the future make sure not to miss it.

And if it doesn't and is being given in a faraway place, make sure you travel to it.

You won't regret it.

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Saturday, May 02, 2015

Photographing Children


Click on any image for a larger version

A recent trip to TESCO found this man in the foyer. He was offering photos in period costumes for children and families. I thought it was a great idea and asked him if he'd mind me photographing him and his stand for a blog post. No problem.

So I took the photo above. I was immediately approached by a security man who told me photos were not allowed in the foyer. I explained that the man was quite happy having his photo taken. Made no difference. Photos were not allowed in the foyer. People might not want their photo taken.

This gave rise to a maelstrom of speculation in my head. Might I have incidentally included a couple who were having a clandestine affair. Might someone have pulled a sickie and gone on a shopping expedition. Might some proud Southsider fear being seen on the Northside. The possibilities were endless.

Anyway, I put away the camera (with its precious photo) and took a shot of the other side of the stand, with the rack of period clothes, on my way out. Where was the security man then? Just between ourselves, he's half way down the foyer behind the dresses. As obscured from me as I from him.


I am not against data protection, but really, when it's carried this far it's just plain nuts.

I was in my local village one day a good while ago when I spotted a procession of kids passing through. On closer inspection they had horror masks and painted faces and a variety of spooky costumes. It was apparently a school spookwalk for charity. I thought it would be nice to blog a photo of such an interesting happening and took out my camera. This was immediately spotted by the kids who started playing up to it. All good humoured. I even gave my card to one of teachers and said I was thinking of blogging a photo.

Imagine my surprise and horror when I subsequently got a phone call from the school principal, who turned out to be as embarrassed as I was, but "would I please not use the photos". Apparently the Principal would have had to get releases signed by all the parents and that would be another big task on top of the already overloaded day job. I had no problem laying off the blog post and sent copies of the photos to the Principal for use in the school.

But I really thought it was all going a bit far and that it was such a pity that the great sense of fun, innocence, enthusiasm and happiness of these kids was being overshadowed by such an all-pervasive sense of fear on the part of the adults. Anyway, not my call.

It is a bit unnerving though to think that I and all those around me are walking around inside a cocoon of copyright. Maybe I should stop saying hello to people in the street in case I inadvertently burst their cocoon.

Then I read in today's paper about new RC Church rules on parents taking photos of their children on church property during Confirmation. Worth your while to read the piece. Not only do the restrictions appear unnecessary, they are positively cruel in this digital day and age. It is one thing to ask people not to disrupt or distract from the ceremony when taking photos, but another to prohibit them altogether.

Anyway, I'm making my personal protest below in visual form. This is my first holy communion day in 1951. So there.


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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Hairline Cracks


Frances Oldham, Chair of child sex abuse Inquiry,
and the Victoria College £10 note
Click any image for a larger version

It is nearly a year now since I did a rundown post on the situation in Jersey (CI). This is not because nothing has been happening there. There has been a lot of developments. But my general Jersey posts have been more by way of a background introduction to the scene there and the Jersey Bloggers have been doing a great job keeping the pressure on and reporting to the world at large.

For convenience I had copied my Jersey posts to a separate blog "Introducing Jersey" and will do the same with this one. That blog also lists the blogs I follow to keep up with current developments in Jersey.

The Inquiry

Probably the most significant development in the last year has been the work of the inquiry into institutional child sex abuse. The inquiry has heard evidence about abuse from survivors and is now moving into its second phase where it will hear from those who were in varying degrees responsible for the running of the institutions being highlighted. The children's home at Haut de la Garenne has achieved worldwide notoriety for the extreme abuse carried out there and for the insensitivity of the BBC in filming the series Bergerac there while there were still children resident on the premises. Another institution was Victoria College, illustrated on the Jersey £10 note above. The addition of the cameo of Frances Oldham is my own doing.

Among those who genuinely want to see a full and open inquiry, opinion is sharply divided about the current set up. On the one hand this is the only show in town and some are anxious to make the maximum use of it to get closure for survivors by having them testify, and to show up the perpetrators of abuse and cover up by exposing them to full public view.

However, there are serious reservations in some quarters about the structure of the inquiry, the closeness of its ties to the Jersey and UK establishments, and the sometimes sloppy way in which it has set about its business. These are articulated by former Health Minister, political prisoner and current blogger, Stuart Syvret.

Funding for the inquiry has also been controversial as costs (mainly legal costs) have escalated from the £6 million originally envisaged to something in the region of a final expected cost of £20 million at present. There is no guarantee that the final bill will not exceed this amount. Some have been using the escalating cost, forecasting a final outcome of £50 million or more, in an attempt to stop the inquiry in its tracks. So far, they have been unsuccessful and the States (Jersey Parliament) has recently supported the Chief Minister's proposal for an extra £13 million by a large majority, although most of the "cabinet" seem to have voted against. Nevertheless, people are generally uneasy about the escalating costs and stricter ongoing monitoring arrangements are being put in place in an attempt to control them. It does not help that the money is going to well paid lawyers, some of whose chambers are well connected with the establishment.

The current inquiry poses a serious dilemma for someone like Stuart Syvret. He would be a key witness by virtue of: his previous role as Health Minister responsible for children's services; his role as a whistleblower which the establishment has gone to great lengths to suppress (by imprisoning him and having his original blog taken down); his role as a public representative in whom many of the survivors have confided and to whom they have provided evidence over the last 7 years or so; and his role as a fearless blogger showing up the rottenness of the establishment. But in cooperating with the inquiry he would be leaving himself open to legal retaliation unless the inquiry were to give him some form of unconditional immunity. As it stands they won't even finance some initial legal advice for him, and, since the establishment have reduced him to social welfare, he is hardly in a position to pay for this himself.

If he doesn't play ball, the inquiry may lack vital evidence and so come to a weaker conclusion. If he does, they may still come to a weak conclusion and by implication devalue his contribution which might otherwise be valuable in any follow up.

As of now, he seems to have decided not to participate. He says this is a personal decision and he is not advising others one way or the other.

There is a parallel controversy going on over whether Jersey should be covered by the (hopefully) upcoming British inquiry into child sex abuse and whether the current Jersey inquiry should be merged into it. The current fragmentation of British inquiries (Britain, Northern Ireland, Jersey) does not make sense given that both victims and perpetrators moved freely across these territories and that these movements contributed to the guilty getting away with it for so long.

The Parapet

It is not an easy decision to stick your head above the parapet in Jersey, any more than it was in Gallipoli or on the Somme. You are in serious danger of having it blown off.

I mentioned Stuart Syvret above and I have covered the fate of Police Chief Graham Power and Senior Investigating Officer Lenny Harper in earlier posts.

The last year has seen the bankrupting of former members of the Jersey parliament, Trevor and Shona Pitman. This resulted from them losing a legal action over a cartoon that they considered defamatory and the authorities opting for the severest available penalty when they could not afford the legal costs. My own gut feeling is that they were set up with the cartoon and that the authorities were only too happy to opt for the most severe penalty which, while it was not to the financial advantage of those who won the case, did effectively deprive the Pitmans of their parliamentary roles.

Rico Sorda started blogging as an investigative reporter some years ago and has done sterling work. He has, however, incurred the wrath of the resident public nuisance, and he and his wife have been subject to death threats and a vicious campaign against her in her place of work.

Neil McMurray and Bob Hill have continued attempting to hold the authorities to account with very solid and authoritative blog posts, and I'll bet they have not been free of retaliation, though they have not advertised it.

The Craven Media

Both the BBC and the Jersey Evening Post have continued their craven support of the establishment. I have the impression that they are too embedded to even think of doing otherwise. There have been some slight cosmetic changes but nothing to rock the boat.

The highlight of the Post's existence must surely have been during the Nazi occupation when everyone read it and its copy carried a higher authority. I sort of had a soft spot for the Post since they published my letters in 1961 and criticised my online Nazi references last year, but we mustn't allow this personal affection to cloud our judgement.

I had wondered over the years how a local branch of the much respected BBC could be so captured by a corrupt establishment. Post Savile revelations from HQ show that it was very much in the house style. Some years ago BBC Jersey published an "official" report which purported to criticise the then Chief of Police who had been making a nuisance of himself by having the temerity to support the exposure of child sex abuse and of the ensuing cover up. BBC has had the former Chief's response to its accusations in its possession for a few years now but refused to either publish it or even refer to its contents.

I can't really comment on Channel TV, or ITV Jersey, or whatever it is called, as I don't know much about it apart from it having got a prize a while back for a scissors and paste job which passed for investigative reporting.

Alternative Media

I may be over optimistic but I have the impression that, in more recent times, the blogs have been steadily increasing their readership, both in Jersey and beyond, and that they are becoming the staple diet of those seeking some balance and sense of reality in their sources of news and information. I sincerely hope this is the case as the bloggers are not only doing trojan work but are taking serious risks in fighting corruption in such a small and feudal based community.

The Voice for Children blog has a solid record in general reporting but particularly in its video interviews. Its recent interview with Chief Minister Gorst was ground breaking and a welcome recognition by some element of the establishment of the serious role played by bloggers in the unfolding story of the island. MSM eat your hearts out.

Election

There was an election to the Jersey parliament late last year but it really hasn't changed anything much. It's mostly a case of the same old compliant faces with the same little merry-go-round at the top.

Jersey does not have a party system. People are elected (often unopposed) on an individual basis and this is a system that seems to suit the establishment very well thank you. Recently, an effort has been made to inaugurate a party system with the establishment of a new party, Reform Jersey, with Deputy Sam Mézec as its chairman, but so far its impact has been very limited. Still it is a step in the right direction. Deputy Montford Tadier, another of the good guys, is also a member of Reform, as is Deputy Geoff Southern. Outside the party, but very much attempting to hold the authorities to account is Deputy Mike Higgins.

Meanwhile, the establishment have attempted to consolidate their hold on Government by instituting a system of Cabinet co-responsibility in tandem with an increase in the Chief Minister's power to appoint and fire ministers without reference to parliament.

On the debit side too (I think) is the return to parliament of Deputy Andrew Lewis, who, as Home Affairs Minister, was implicated in the illegal suspension of the then Police Chief, Graham Power. Deputy Lewis has a lot of questions to answer. Perhaps his re-election will make this self-proclaimed integrity-promoting candidate more answerable to parliament and the public. Who knows? One lives in hope.

Failing Entity?

Jersey has long been a rich place even if not all those living there are rich. In the real economy its exports were agriculture and tourism. But the big money for the few has been in the financial sector (tax haven). The financial sector globally is being tightened up and, as Stuart Syvret has argued, not enough attention has been paid to developing the real economy. One of the results is now an emerging public finance deficit which was denied before the last election but is now admitted.

Apparently, there is no Plan B. So the island may be in for a rough ride in the future.

Those Cracks

And finally, the cracks.

The power elite have run Jersey very comfortably since the end of the Occupation. They remained relatively untroubled by the widespread child sex abuse which they have succeeded in covering up. They have been helped by a public who were either unaware of, or uninterested in, the corruption at the heart of the system. However, it is getting harder now to ignore what is going on and the bloggers are playing a large part in shedding light on the malfeasance.

Philip Bailhache has long been seen as one of the puppeteers and a man with many questions to answer. Up to recently he has managed to divert any efforts to hold him to account. Some years ago he was seen reading confidential official documents to which he should not have had access. He traduced the witnesses but finally had to back down, sort of. More recently he appears to have had direct or indirect access to a confidential document which is part of the current child sex abuse inquiry and he, or someone on his behalf, has been in apparently inappropriate contact with the chair of that supposedly independent inquiry. He unsuccessfully attempted to stop the inquiry in its tracks just as it was getting to the stage of calling in those with responsibility for child care in the past. He had been a Governor of Victoria College when abuse was taking place there.

Last year, former Deputy Shona Pitman was run down by a car which crashed a red light. The police have been negligent in following up this incident and have been obstructive in providing Shona with documentation to which she was entitled, namely a copy of her own statement and insurance details for the driver of the car. The latter, I assume, in an attempt to obscure the identity of the driver. Following Shona's interview with Voice for Children, and further comments from her on that blog, insurance details were finally provided and it appears the identity of the driver is not without interest. This narrative is now in the public domain. Without the bloggers it would presumably have remained hidden as have such incidents in the past.

These are hairline cracks in the system, but in a period when the inquiry is in full swing, and when part of its terms of reference are to flush out political interference in the justice system, the fireworks may be about to commence.

Satire

It is said that you are not fully mature if you can't laugh at yourself. So let's end on an uplifting note.

Voice for Jersey has recently been giving airtime to Lord Reginald Hamilton Rawley Tooting-Jones III who has been taking some potshots at the system.

And Reform Jersey, the only actual political party so far, have done a pictorial satirical analysis (below) of the present shadow party system on the island. To understand this fully you would need to have some familiarity with the existing make up of the parliament which is quite complex and strongly biased in favour of the status quo.

Stay tuned.


A shadow party analysis of the current parliament
Thanks to Reform Jersey
Click image for larger version

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Gorgeous Curvy Lady


Click image for a larger version

Could this be you? The details are on the poster (above). The shop is Tempted in Raheny, Dublin 5 (below).


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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Lord Mayor's Coach


The front of the coach
Click on any image for a larger version

There I was in the old Council Chamber in City Hall, waiting for the start of a lunchtime talk on the digitisation of the UCD Folklore Archive, when Greg Young invited me to join him after the talk to check out the Lord Mayor's Coach. His walking group had lined up an appointment to be shown the coach which is stored at the Council's depot in Ringsend.


Mick the Coach

So, after two bus journeys and a long walk, we hit the waterworks just as the official walk were approaching from the other direction. We joined up and went to meet Mick Kinahan who was going to show us the coach and tell us all about it.

Mick is now retired, but up to recently he was, among other things, in charge of the coach, and, more than that, he was responsible for getting the coach back to its present condition. Apparently, there were bits of it all over the place and the coach still needs another small piece to make the job complete.

It is lovingly, and expensively, looked after and stored in a special temperature controlled room at the depot. A far cry from the impression given in this piece of shite reporting last year.

The coach was originally drawn by six horses with a postillion (rider-driver) on the leading pair and a coachman seated at the front of the coach. These days it is drawn by only two horses.

I'll try and keep the text relatively short for the rest of this post and hope you enjoy the pictures. I can't show you a side view of the coach as its storage space is quite confined, but you can check it out in the first link above.


There is an almost life size carving at each of the four corners of the coach. The one above is Justice, but for some reason her scales are folded on her knee. Perhaps they would bounce around too much when the coach is moving, or, like the statue at the entrance to Dublin Castle, there may be a deeper symbolism involved.


This lady has the horn of plenty (cornucopia) and, unlike the other three, has one breast exposed.


Her ladyship has a different horn, packed with dosh to overflowing. There appear to be some very real coins there below the gilt, but that's another story.



The last of the four has her sword sheathed and also sports a lily or a sheaf or corn. Not quite swords into ploughshares but I'm sure that must be the sentiment.


Then there's all the stuff around the top. At the front, the keys of the city and a hat that I assume represents that worn by the mayor in days of yore.


At the back, we have the folded scales of justice again.


At each of the four corners we have an angel. Horrible looking creatures, but this seems to have been a fashion of the times. Cherubs abound, I've seen them on the Jersey mace and in paintings.


At the side, two more of them, with the city sword and mace along with the three flaming towers for Dublin and the harp for the nation as a whole.


And a slightly more formal set of arms, mercifully angel-free.


Mick explains the workings of the coach from the inside. He needs the window open to communicate, and, indeed, so would the Lord Mayor have, in order to hear the acclaim of his people and wave his hand out the window. They were all hises in those days.


However, if the natives (sorry, citizens) got stroppy and started throwing rotten eggs and tomatoes, or tried to open the door and pull out the mayor, he had the perfect defence. There is a window, like the old train windows with the strap, which he can pull up, and in so doing the outer door handle is disabled. You couldn't be up to those fellas.


Each of the coach doors has a painting.

The one above shows the statue of King Billy in College Green and the side of the then Irish Parliament building (now the Bank of Ireland)


There is also a painting at the back of the coach. I'm not sure whether this portrays the welcoming of the king or the mayor but no doubt, it too is full of symbolism.


The suspension is something else. The cabin is suspended, independently of the main chassis, by leaf springs and leather straps and it could almost sway in the wind it's so sensitive. I had the privilege of getting up inside the cabin and it is really something. I got a bit overcome, waving to my loyal supporters on the outside. They reciprocated with enthusiastic smiles and gestures of loyalty and gratitude. Not an egg or tomato in sight.


But back to symbolism, what is this snake doing in the inner suspension of the cabin? I thought St. Patrick sorted them out over a century earlier.


This, I think, is an Irish wolfhound in the outer cabin suspension. A native species at least.

If you're curious about all this symbolism, I gather there's a guy doing a paper on it which will be published in the not too distant future. Can't wait myself.


The group of walkers and talkers who kindly invited me to share their visit. Greg is the one beside Mick.

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Where is it ? No. 36


Click image for a larger version


And if you know, you might also add who?

Answer in comments below please.

Update - almost immediately

It's only up and the solution is already on the front page of the Freeman's Journal. Would somebody tell Felix Larkin's mammy to keep him off the streets for a decade or two.

Yes, he's done it again.


I had a premonition when I put it up that he'd know it, but thought he might just have kept his head down in that hallowed hall.

Anyway, here it is in context.


Daniel O'Connell in conversation with Thomas Davis
in the beautiful surroundings of Dublin's City Hall


To see the rest of the series click on the Where? label below. To see those still remaining to be solved click on unsolved in any of those in which it appears.

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Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Great War at the Guinness Storehouse


During this year, the 100th anniversary of the first full year of WWI, there is a clatter of talks, seminars, plays, re-enactments and the rest taking place throughout the country.

Myles Dungan, known to the public for his weekly history show on RTÉ radio and his book on WWI, brought his Great War Roadshow into partnership the the Guinness Archive for a day to give us an excellent conference on various aspects of the war.


The Archive contributed this fine hall in the Guinness Storehouse, along with an early morning coffee and pastries, and, once inside the building, you could do the tour for free during the lunch break.


Trish Fallon

Trish Fallon, from the Archive, welcomed us all in great style, brought us up to date with the location's housekeeping, and offered us the continuing cooperation of the Archive in our historical and genealogical endeavours.


Myles Dungan

Myles Dungan, effectively MC for the day, kicked off with his own contribution, appropriately titled Lions, Donkeys and Paddies: The Irish Experience of the Great War.

He took us through a wide range of material, including the Gallipoli campaign, and identified some of the donkeys whose names had a familiar ring, Haig and Gough among them. Others I had not heard of but they didn't bring any credit on themselves or their country.


Ciarán Wallace

Ciarán Wallace, of UCD, in a talk entitled Keeping the Home Fires Burning: Civilian Life in Wartime Ireland, gave us a fascinating overview of the home front, a front that tends to be forgotten in the heat of battle. We heard of families trying to cope with rising prices, of the munitions factories which gave some employment, of the resistance to conscription, and of the dreaded telegrams from the front.


Upside down union jack, shell factory, Parkgate St.

I was amused by this detail from his picture of the Shell Factory at Parkgate St. One of the few occasions I have seen the Union Jack portrayed upside down. Those who know me will know that this is my version of bird watching.


Gordon Power

Gordon Power gave us Irish Military Genealogy 1900-1922 - Tracing your WW1 Ancestors.

He showed us the painstaking work involved in teasing out the whole story from genealogical and other records and dazzled us with his analysis of photographic material. Sherlock Holmes was only in the halfpenny place beside this guy.


Deirdre McParland

Deirdre McParland, the Guinness Archive Manager, spoke on Guinness and the War. A huge number of employees joined up with the encouragement of the company. Preference, if you can call it that in hindsight, was given to single men but volunteers came from all ranks and grades within the company right up to board level. Jobs were held open for those lucky enough to survive the conflict and this applied whether or not they were fit for work on return.

Incidentally, a very abbreviated version of the Guinness Archive can now be interrogated online and if you find an employee who is a direct ancestor you can get a copy of their employment records.

So, if you are doing your family tree and are related to, but not descended from, a Guinness employee you'd better buttonhole a surviving direct descendant to accompany you on your trip into the Archive. I was lucky enough to get in before these restrictions applied and I have the records of some of my cousins. They are absolutely fascinating. [Lest I get anyone into trouble, I should say that I have shared these records with my cousin, who is a direct descendant, and he is perfectly happy with me having them.] So, if you're in my position, get hold your Guinness descendants while there are some of them still around and get in there quick.


Brendan McQuaile

Finally, Brendan McQuaile gave us March Away My Brothers in which he acted out the journey of a young lad, Lar Kelly, from Bridgefoot Street in the Liberties. This took us just up to the 1914 Christmas Truce, soon after which Lar was blown to smithereens. Based very loosely on a real person, this was a combination of acting and song, got across with great gusto.

Memo: Four Generations of Coopers in Guinness - my cousins the Flemings.

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