Friday, 29 August 2008

In case of emergency .... (update)

They changed dresses overnight!

Thursday, 28 August 2008

1000 Families (revisited)

Two of Uwe Ommer's wonderful photos of the more unusual families ....

... and some of the photos being enjoyed by an appreciative public.

In case of emergency ... break glass

I saw this ad this morning and the caption for a blog post was running through my head but all the while I was thinking "I shouldn't condone vandalism" but that's what their ad campaign suggested to me ...
... then this evening I came across this other ad, just round the corner from the first, and boy was I relieved - I was supposed to think as I did after all, phew!

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Sign in shop, Ardara

Strabane is just down the road from Ardara (more or less).

Gleann Cholm Cille - Head to Head

I don't know about you but I'm confused.

Gleann Cholm Cille

Fire Station


Shoreline Festival

Ingrid Surgenor, Giselle Allen, Carolyn Dobbin and Donald Maxwell.

Every year, on the August Bank Holiday weekend, Newtownabbey Borough Council organise a festival of music at the Lough Shore park and every year it seems to rain during the event but this year we were very lucky because the rain held off during the Opera in the Park. We were entertained by local artistes to a number of very popular arias. Congratulations must go to the council because they organise these events so well - even to the extent of providing chairs to enjoy the concert.

Giselle Allen

The Council’s Economic Development Manager, Lisa O’Kane said:

“Despite the weather the festival was well attended and there has been some really good feedback on the events. The Opera in the Park was a fantastic success with Giselle Allen, Carolyn Dobbin, Paul O’Neill and Donald Maxwell, ably accompanied by Ingrid Surgenor, dazzling the crowds. Paul O’Neill’s performance of Nessun Dorma brought the crowd to their feet before a striking and colourful fireworks extravaganza erupted from the Loughshore. Over 2000 people enjoyed this event. ”

Appropriately patterned rug for 'Opera in the Park'

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Big River International Blues and Jazz Festival 2008

Rory Gallagher Tribute Band
Grainne Duffy
Not a ZZ Top band member but a member of the audience
Henry McCullough
Rab McCullough
Rab McCullough and Rodney Trotter (sorry have forgotten his name)
Grainne Duffy in civvies talking to a member of the band (the drummer)
Ten Years After.

Well, Sunday didn't get off to too promising a start - we arrived at St Georges Market at 2 o'clock to discover the place was closed. Somebody appeared and told people at the head of the queue that the doors would not open until 3 o'clock then quickly disappeared without a reason nor apology for the delay. At this point I was thinking that I was going to demand a refund - a feeling that was further reinforced on returning at 3 o'clock to hear the sound men still setting up the equipment and then the sound quality for the first group (Stephen Petit) was really dire. I didn't rate the group much nor the second group (Pat McManus). Things started to get much better with the appearance of Simon McBride followed by the Rory Gallagher Tribute Band.
Grainne Duffy arrived on stage looking like a country and western act but sounding really bluesy. She reminded me a bit of Bonnie Raitt, though I'm sure Grainne may disagree. I'm sure too we shall be hearing more of Grainne.
The two highlights of the day, for me had to be Henry and Rab McCullough's sessions. There was so much energy poured into their music that we were left gasping for more. Ten Years After were good but, in my opinion, just didn't come up to the same standards as the two McCulloughs. I think the fact that the audience thinned out considerably during their session also validates my opinion.
Although the concert was late in starting I felt by the end of the night (just after 11.00pm) that we had really been given value for our money. So if you weren't there - feel sick!

Gleann Cholm Cille holiday cottage

View from the living room
View of the living room from the veranda
Interior view of living room and kitchen area.
Rear view of the cottage
Wicker seating on the front porch.
I mentioned in a previous post that we stayed in an amazing cottage in Gleann Cholm Cille and here are a few more photos (which don't really do it justice) to give you a bit of an idea of what it is like. I see that the property has been removed from Imagine Ireland's web site and I know that Eunan's brother and family will be there until January but they hope to have the cottage ready for holiday rent in the new year. I don't know how soon the family will be moving in but if you are interested in renting this property the number to phone is 087 924 3190 and if the property is no longer available this year then I am sure Eunan and Jackie will be only too happy to sort you out for next year.
This is an excellent property - an old cottage which has been tastefully modernised and furnished. A lot of thought has gone into the decor so that you will feel very comfortable and relaxed during your stay. Also, everything you could possibly need is provided. You don't even need to bring a hair dryer. TV, radio and CD player are also provided for those odd wet days.
The nearest cinema is an hour's drive away but if you want a cinema, why, I ask, are you going on holiday?
UPDATE: sorry, I have been informed that the cottage is booked until January but hopefully after that it will be vacant for holiday bookings. We will keep you informed.

Gleann Cholm Cille Women's Football Team

On our way up the lane last sunday (17th) to the cottage we heard a fearsome din of car horns, whistles and trumpets so we stopped to see what all the commotion was about. We thought it may have been a wedding party but were surprised instead to see a motorcade returning triumphant from the Women's County Football Championships.

The local team had beaten their long time rivals, Kilcar, in a closely contested match: the final result being 3-7, 4-7 . These team members are so obviously delighted at the outcome.

Some of the team members celebrating by drinking champagne (?) from the winners' trophy in Biddy's Bar, where the craic was ninety.

1000 Families exhibition

The acclaimed outdoor '1000 Families' photo exhibition by photographer Uwe Ommer which has been in place in the grounds of the City Hall from Tuesday 19th August and will run until Thursday 11th September.
I have seen exhibitions like this in Paris, Tours and Swansea and am pleased that somebody has had the good sense to stage one here in Belfast.
Normally, when a photographic exhibition is run in a local gallery, the photographs only seem to be seen by a select few but, it goes without saying that, with an open air exhibition it means that the works are on view to the general public.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Gleann Cholm Cille

Here I am back home again
I'm here to rest
all they ask is where I've been
knowing I've been west ....
Sunset at Gleann Cholm Cille.
Hi, just back from a week's holiday in one of the most beautiful parts of Ireland - Gleann Cholm Cille in County Donegal - in an amazing cottage owned by Eunan and Jackie McIntyre. While the rest of Ireland appeared to be under 20 feet of flood water we had a great time, even managing to spend time on the beach in glorious sunshine. We did see rain but it seemed to be mostly at night and, I think, the first time I have ever seen horizontal rain.
Eunan & Jackie's cottage (the one with the Megane parked outside) and part of the fantastic scenery.

The cottage from the rear at sunset.

Early morning on Glen Strand.

The view from the front of the cottage.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Ronnie Drew 16 September 1934 – 16 August 2008

'Twas in the year of 'thirty-nine
When the sky was full of lead
Hitler was heading for Poland
And Paddy for Holyhead
Come all you pincher laddies
And you long-distance men
Don't ever work for McAlpine, For Wimpey, or John Laing
For You'll stand behind a mixer
As your skin is turned to tan
And they'll say 'Good on you Paddy'
With your boat-fare in your hand

The craic was good in Cricklewood
And they wouldn't leave the Crown
With glasses flying and biddy's crying
Sure Paddy was going to town
Oh mother dear, I'm over here
And I'm never coming back
What keeps me here is the reek o' beer
The ladies and the craic

I come from county Kerry
The land of eggs and bacon
And if you think I'll eat your fish 'n' chips
By Jaysus you're mistaken'

Last week saw the passing of another great character of the folk world - Ronnie Drew, founder member of The Dubliners - thank christ we still have CD's and videos to enjoy those wonderful vocals on the likes of McAlpines Fusiliers, Seven Drunken Nights, Spanish Lady etc.

I was just a lad of 15 when I saw the Dubliners in concert (probably the first ever concert I ever attended) and was mesmerised not only by their appearance (these were not clean cut aran sweatered folk singers like The Clancy's) but also by their earthy singing, this was singing that struck your very roots and penetrated to the bone. I was also fascinated by how, every so often, some members of the group would disappear from the stage and it was a while before I realised they were nipping off to sup some of the black stuff.

Joseph O'Connor writing in the Sunday Independent says:

It wasn't the soundtrack to a Bord Failte commercial; it was the music of the real place we lived in then, with its evasions, compromised options and terrible beauties. And nobody sang it like Ronnie. There was only one Luke Kelly, a Caruso of his craft, a maestro we will never see again; Ronnie's genius was different, crackling with subtlety as well as muscle, alive to every phrasing and silence in a song, and together they fronted the kind of band that mattered, and will always matter to lovers of real music.

Luke's voice could lash you like a whip-crack when he wanted it to do that, but Ronnie's gravely rasp seemed to come from someplace under the sea, a sound, as one critic put it, "like someone crunching coal beneath a boot".

Friday, 22 August 2008

What I did during the holidays #12

Emigration statues in Derry's Guildhall Square.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

What I did during the holidays #11

Statue of Bertie Peacock in Coleraine - Bertie gave George Best and Pat Jennings their debut international match against Wales in 1962. Northern Ireland won the game 3-2.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

What I did during the holidays #10

Portstewart's Dominican convent (an imposing Gothic mansion) with the attached Dominican College sitting on the edge of a cliff which dominates the western end of the promenade.

Monday, 18 August 2008

What I did during the holidays #8

Of course no trip to Portrush would be complete without a visit to Barry's amusements.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

What I did during the holidays #7

The old Arcadia ballroom in Portrush, now refurbished and part of a leisure complex.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Closed for the holidays

We are taking a short break this week - nothing as exotic as blueboat's - we shall be staying in Glencolmcille on the southwest Gaeltacht tip of County Donegal. Let's hope the weather keeps good for us - as long as it stays dry is all I ask. I will not be posting for a while but I have a couple of posts scheduled to be published in the next couple of days. So, don't think I am ignoring you if I don't respond to any comments.

What I did during the holidays #6

Blue boat in Portrush harbour.