In response to intractable listlessness: A request for lists for the great list of lists

Dedicated to listophile and all round daycint spud, Tric over at My Thoughts On a Page 

So far I have..

Things I’d like to be able to do if ability was not a barrier

Things I’d like to able to do if suspension of disbelief was possible

Things I think I can do reasonably OK

People whose citizenship I’d revoke for being so annoying (in my town)

2017 transgressions I committed that increases my changes of going to hell

Ireland’s sacred cows part 33

Inanimate objects I am rather hostile towards

Things on which I experience only intense indifference about

Songs that scared the shite out of me as a nipper and still do

Words that make me wince

Desert Island swear words

All suggestions welcome. Nay, implored. No, actually, essential.

Thank you (and you also down the back). You’re both lovely.

Combating poverty by the fada

Originally posted in July 2014

Anyone half-tuned into news from Ulcer this week may recall an overreaction from (insert one side of the community here) ______________ to (insert other side of community here) ______________ . Time for the Irish Language’s turn on the rotation crop of woes.

Neck veins are bulging over the ‘Bobby Sands Gaeltacht Scholarships’ awarded to two pupils from Twinbrook to enhance their drinking, smoking and snogging skills Irish learning experience with an all-expenses-paid three weeks in the wilds of Donegal.

Not content with politicising the Irish language, and commandeering it for themselves, Unionists are coasting close to apoplexy from this latest audacious move by Sinn Féin to name a bursary after freedom fighter/terrorist, Bobby Sands.

Protection and assertion of cultural heritage is a cornerstone of life and strife in this contested terrain. Sinn Féin has been pursuing an aggressive Irish language policy since The Good Friday Agreement from the introduction of place names to scholarships.

The Bobby Sands Bursary is a joint initiative by Sinn Féin and local business-owners committed to helping children learn the language. Such schemes are replicated across Northern Ireland, often with funding from mainstream social regeneration programmes replenished from the coffers of local tax payers. As a break from the wilds of West Belfast, a chance to flex their social muscles among their peers, and an opportunity to top up on the cupla focail, what harm?

The pages of local newspapers are adorned with photos of students from “disadvantaged communities” beaming on receipt of same. The coverage coated in respectability with local party councillors flanked by school principals and regional education board representatives.

According to Barnardos, one fifth of children in Northern Ireland leave primary school unable to read or write to the required standard while two-fifths leave with poor numeracy skills. Research conducted by The Joseph Rowntree Foundation indicates that one in five people in Northern Ireland is living in poverty. Children on the Free School Meals Scheme are less likely to attain expected levels of educational qualifications. Thirty-four per cent of working age adults are not in employment. While Northern Ireland has high levels of educational attainment at the top end compared with England or Wales, the inequalities among school leavers are stark.

In the last five years, the number of school leavers going into work or training has fallen by around 3,000. But children on free school meals are much more likely to go into work or training than other school leavers. If training and employment opportunities for school leavers are declining, it is poorer children who will lose out most.

Add to this the challenges from the recession, cuts and welfare reform, in a region where the public sector makes up a large chuck of the labour market compared with the UK.

As holders of the Education portfolio, Sinn Féin has a dismal track record and has overseen a succession of cuts. Just last year, Education Minister, John O’Dowd, ordered the closure of the Woodlands Specialised Language Unit in Derry, contradicting the party’s election pledge to combat all cuts. But this is another smooth move in their about-turns with which they are so at ease.

Meanwhile, loyalists, egged on by part-criminal, part-fascist terror gangs, against the background of populist rage whipped up by Unionist parties seeking to maintain control over local councils, continue their flag protests. In many respects, working class loyalists are the biggest losers of The Conflict. They have some of the worst figures in the UK for educational attainment. What do they do about this? Vote for the DUP, a party whose position is to leave the education system that is letting down as it is.

Sinn Féin can name the bursaries after Bobby Sands or Nelson Mandela for all the difference they’re going to make in the greater scheme of educational attainment among “deprived communities”. The DUP can continue to knock themselves out over the irrelevancy of them in the lives and livelihoods of their constituents. That way, both are united in generating the illusion they are actually doing something.

Symptom checker

So, like, even though I ended up weeping uncontrollably at that scene with Elliot and E.T. lying side-by-side saying their good-byes as the science dudes are about to make off with him?

Nah. You’d have done that anyway.

Or when I said I wasn’t hungry and actually meant it?

Probably not, no

Even though I didn’t sneak any sweets up to bed to eat on the sly?


Or the fact I couldn’t move out of bed for an entire two days and woke up at 4am deliriously convinced I was in the house of our childhood neighbour and was just about to get done for suspiciously hanging around their drinks cabinet?


Nothing. But I was exceptionally friendly to your sister when she called round.


And I almost outed us as a Celtic household after spotting some middle-class sneering on Twitter, and was very tempted to defend you despite fearing how judged we would be?

Sure they’re always sneering

But I had to leave that mother stranded and rush in to hide the Celtic Santa before I could let her in last week


Right, well, what about the fact I didn’t once roar at the television during the following:

a) RTE’s displays of patronising public service duty. This time portraying the latest immigrant in Fair City as over-familiar, and duty-bound to be obsequiously lovely to every local he meets irrespective of where the locals come on the spectrum of beige

b) Kathryn Thomas contaminating the Trolls theme tune with her smug evangelical calorie killing kill-joy routine crying out for a toe up the hole from patent ox-blood Dr Martens

And I didn’t try to pretend I wasn’t watching Fair City, or hand you the remote so you could pretend that I pretend I don’t watch it by keeping it on while flicking through teletext.

You sound better now.

I was serious about the sweets y’know

[laughs] I know

So, if it wasn’t the fucking flu then what the hell was it?

I told you. It was just a bad cold.


“It’s just a bad cold, E.T. You’ll be grand. Let me ask these guys for a strepsil”

16 from ’16

Sadhbh over at Where Wishes Come From has been running an end-of-year blog round-up for the last few years. I tend not to participate in these as I’m a lazy-arse and my blog seems to embarrassingly wander all over the place. But never one to miss out on a re-visit to the sound of my own voice, I had a browse through my blogging efforts for the past year. Despite the hap-hazardous feel to it all, I’ve noticed a few themes emerging over the years. So, here goes…

  1. Mangled lyrics post of the year 
  2. The obligatory Breda O’Brien bashing post of the year 
  3. In which I made it to one decent gig. Phew 
  4. What I got up to when I was left on my own unsupervised that time 
  5. Another break-up 
  6. In which I insult another hero 
  7. Indulgent chin-stroking
  8. In which I was actually happy 
  9. In which I was happy and sad at the same time
  10. This year’s brush with the law
  11. Sigh. Not the Rose of Tralee again? Yes, the Rose of Tralee again 
  12. The cliched letter to my…daughter 
  13. The unavoidable letters from a daughter 
  14. Re-blog of the year 
  15. Bono-bashing post of the year that wasn’t even written this year 
  16. Road-trip of the year

I will strive to maintain consistency in 2017.

Do join in the round-up. Sadhbh is very friendly. And she will also tell you how to pronounce her name.


(Not Sadhbh)

Edge of Seventeen

Next year will be different.

Next year I will combat the creeping suspicion that integrated  education is merely a subtle form of middle-class Unionist assimilation. I will do this with steadfast determination to tether it to my own terms. I will sheepishly deliver our girl to class after the Remembrance Assembly but this time armed with an unapologetic reason why, if asked. I will swerve to avoid collisions with groups of more than one parent in the yard and forbid myself the possibility of a re-run of Facebook-Gate 2016. I will suppress the pleasure of taking the piss out of myself at all costs for fear I will re-awaken the sensitivities and antipathy of other parents. I will defiantly goose-step over landmines of emoticons, smiles, thumbs up, likes, and all manner of paraphernalia of the passive aggressive and paranoid. I will restore some of my credibility by refusing to wear clown-feet red boots when striving to be taken seriously.


Could you wear these and stroke your chin at the same time?

Next year will be different

Next year there will be more women than Lynn Ruane single-handedly serving as a vital visible counter-point to prevailing mainstream middle-class feminism. Traveller women, working class women, and women for whom English is not their first language but for whom Ireland is their first shot at stable family life, will not be confined to the following:

  • 10 minutes of air-time on open-air trucks at annual marches
  • 10 hours of patronising twitter admiration following the above
  • 51 weeks of obscurity till the next time

There will be plain English to rival the paradigms and intersectionality and tone-police-policing of the custodians of public discussion on equality.

Next year will be different

Next year there will be more films, less vengeful fantasies involving neighbours hatched in response to the casual erection of their corrugated monstrosity impeding my view of sun-set. There will be more maybes, less yeses, and more emphatic nos.

Next year will be different

Next year I will no longer labour under the notion of reconciliation. As the final tranche of European Peace monies pour into the coffers of local government, I will confidently, and correctly, predict the successful squandering of same. At a ratio of three managers to every one community worker. The most successful reconciliation will be Sinn Fein with their insatiable sense of entitlement. Where I live, anyway. Aided and abetted by deference of weak-willed management with imagination institutionalised out of them. There will be fewer fucks given. Just a steely resolve to rise above the bullshit through the ancient scientific application of rolled eyes and a reasonable day’s work for a shit day’s pay at the end of it.

Next year will be different

Next year will be lined with coastlines. And coast-hangers. And ward robes with mountains of closed bags filled with skirt-arounds never worn and ill-fitting dressing-downs and scuffed shoo-ins.

Next year will be different

Next year I will go wherever the keyboard takes me. The words will take the wheel while I continue to enjoy the scenery.

Happy New Year.

You wouldn’t sell your hen on a wet day

From the kitchen, the Irish language channel shouts down the everyday English hemorrhaging from the TV across the hall through perpetually open doors. Between the deteriorating hearing of the older residents, and their obsessive, high-pitched, fear these will provide a passage way for A Terrible Draft, a Siberian dog has its paws permanently shoved in its ears.

Between impassioned pleas from Gaelgeoiri to rescue our native language, and raised brows from others at the dead-horse approach to same, a third language is quietly under attack. One that is lively, expressive, and economic: the mongrel tongue of colonial English and sideways Irish. A combination producing an index of euphemisms readily deployed to elegantly ridicule a person, lampoon a notion, or nail a nugget of wisdom in less than 140 characters.

Say that again?

Would you lock the back door please

Lock? The back door? Whad’ya mean?

Yeah, the keys are on the kitchen window 

The kitchen window?

We’ve reached the point of our stay in a predominately euphemism-speaking area of Ireland when the most straight-up assembly of words is fast becoming a challenge. But I want to stay here and luxuriate it in a while longer before returning to the Real World.

Between excessive flexing of intellectual muscles, and casually revealing mental muffin tops on social media, the Plain People of Ireland mutter on from the sidelines; sometimes seeming to occupy the more sophisticated and least self-regarding high tables of chat of all. Many of them know the value of silence. And the importance of not selling their hen on a wet day.