Cathleen Revisited

Cathleen Ni Houlihan

many a child will be born and there will be no moth­er at the chris­ten­ing”

Cath­leen ni Houli­han is the female per­son­i­fi­ca­tion of Ire­land. She is depict­ed as an old wom­an, with her four fields (the provinces of Ire­land) tak­en from her and left home­less. Yeat’s one act play tells of how she per­suad­ed young Irish men to go off and fight for Ire­land and become mar­tyrs, “many a child will be born and there will be no father at the chris­ten­ing.” This ‘blood sac­ri­fice’ reju­ve­nat­ed Cath­leen and made her young and alive again.

A female per­son­i­fi­ca­tion of Ire­land today should show the blood sac­ri­fice being made by many wom­en in Ire­land every day, in the name of the church’s oppo­si­tion to con­tra­cep­tion and abor­tion.


Ladies first but men before

There have always been some good fem­i­nist mes­sages in The Titan­ic. An inde­pen­dent Rose defies her par­ents expec­ta­tions, refus­ing to mar­ry for wealth. She casts aside society’s class and gen­der restraints to dance in 3rd class. She doesn’t let Jack get too cling either. I’m not sure what to make of her dog­ging on the […]


Dettox style atheism

When I dis­cuss peo­ples’ reli­gious beliefs with them I fre­quent­ly come across a behav­iour which I can only describe as equiv­a­lent to stick­ing your fin­gers in your ears and drown­ing me out say­ing “LA LA LA LA LA


relationships according to silica chips

Social Net­work con­nec­tion dia­grams have always received a pass­ing glance from me. Back in the days when face­book was more lax about secu­ri­ty, I used to enjoy the ‘advanced search’ func­tion, for exam­ple, “School: Methody, Reli­gion: Athe­ist” or “Loca­tion: Belfast, Gen­der: Male, Inter­est­ed in: Men” would always provide an inter­est­ing evening of face­book creep­ing. This […]


Chrismukkah

Long time no post­ings, apolo­gies to my reg­u­lar read­ers (yes I mean you, Boli­vian scent­ed can­dle sell­ing spam bots) May­be I’ll find time over Christ­mas to write some­thing about what I’ve been doing instead, if I devel­op code names for all the peo­ple involved and write things very cryp­ti­cal­ly. I should extend my tra­di­tion­al sec­u­lar […]


SPQR 2, the narrative of profligacy

A few weeks before set­ting off to Rome I’d read a few amus­ing news sto­ries about ‘glad­i­a­tor fights’ hap­pen­ing out­side the Colos­se­um. Appar­ent­ly the glad­i­a­tor imper­son­ators had formed gangs and were using vio­lence and intim­i­da­tion again­st oth­er would-be glad­i­a­tors, as well as again­st tourists to force them to pay up for pho­tographs. In respon­se, the […]


a new post from adam curtis

Many peo­ple on my face­book have at some stage been on the receiv­ing end of an Adam Cur­tis doc­u­men­tary link. I found Adam Cur­tis through a very short seg­ment he did for Char­lie Brooker’s Newswipe. In it, he used the exam­ple of Roy Jenk­ins, the Labour Home Sec­re­tary who legalised homo­sex­u­al­i­ty, to show how pol­i­tics […]


Senatus Populusque Romanus

I slip in the time to post here just in the gap I have between pass­ing my Dri­ving The­o­ry Test and fran­ti­cal­ly start­ing to pack and pre­pare for leav­ing for uni­ver­si­ty on the 2nd Octo­ber. Per­haps before I launch into my ram­ble about my very Hep­burn-esque Roman Hol­i­day I will post some lit­tle fillers to […]


the worst orchestra in the world

I take back all the jokes I’ve made about my for­mer school’s Junior Orches­tra and also vio­las in gen­er­al. The Portsmouth Sin­fo­nia right­ly deserve their title, take a lis­ten to www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b013fj17/In_Living_Memory_Series_14_Episode_4/ for the his­to­ry of it. They had an impres­sive reper­toire that they record­ed mul­ti­ple records with and even per­formed in the Roy­al Albert Hall. Their […]


mary epithets

We were hud­dled in the car with cups of scald­ing tea and cof­fee, that must sure­ly be the only way to start a real hol­i­day in Ire­land. The soft spo­ken south­ern­er will describe their land­scape as “Mys­ti­cal”, mys­ti­cal being a euphemism for “fog lim­it­ing vis­i­bil­i­ty to six foot ahead”. While their homes are described as […]