Archive for the 'Personal' Category

28th Sep 2007

Belfast: own your Irishness!

Growing up protestant in Belfast, we’re constantly impressed with the assertion that “Ulster is British” – and most definitely not Irish. I remember going on “camp” with the BB (we actually slept in a church hall) in the Isle of Man, and having an altercation with the girl in the chip shop over this very issue. “I’ll have a chip, please,” said one of the BB lads. Don’t remember his real name. We called him Pastie. “Are you Irish?” says the girl. “I hate the way you Irish people say ‘a chip’ instead of ‘a portion of chips’.” “I’m not Irish,” says Pastie. “I’m Northern Irish.” Took me to go away and study in England before I realised how ridiculous that sounds.

How can you live in a country (or a failed statelet, if you’re a Republican) called “Northern Ireland” and not be, in any sense, Irish? Even if you’re politically British, you’re at least geographically Irish. And why should the Republic of Ireland get to define and monopolise the term? I’m Northern Irish. I’m not Republic-of-Irish. But I’m still Irish.

I think we have more right to call ourselves Irish than anybody. Republican murals look like political cartoons, stylistically completely international. Loyalist murals look like Celtic folk art. There’s a loyalist mural on the Newtownards Road known as “Ulster’s Freedom Corner”. It’s not on a corner. It’s on a straight stretch of road. How much more Irish do you want?

That’s the other thing. As well as not being Irish, the typical protestant attitude is that we’re not, unlike that uncivilised rabble down south or those treacherous fenians in our midst, Celts. There’s a school of thought that says, because CĂș Chulainn, the hero of the Ulster Cycle, is described as “small and dark” in some stories, and the Romans described the Celts as tall and fair, Ulster people were never Celtic and always ethnically distinct from the rest of Ireland. Frankly, we’re more Celtic than anyone. The Romans rolled over the Celts because they could always divide and rule – there’d always be the odd tribe that’d much rather side with the imperialist invaders than be nice to that lot down the road. Sound familiar? The other thing the Romans agreed on was that the Celts wore moustaches – and there’s more moustaches per head of population among Ulster prods than any other country in the world. If you’re at Heathrow looking for the departure gate to Belfast, just look for a group of guys in dark suits with moustaches and follow them.

Anyway, all of this is merely a prelude for a link to a piece on another blog, in which an Egyptian girl called Super-S tells of how she fell in love with Ireland from afar, was disappointed by Dublin when she finally visited, but found that Belfast delivered every Irish cliché she could have hoped for. QED.

Posted by Posted by paddybrown under Filed under Belfast, Northern Ireland, Personal Comments 9 Comments »

28th Jul 2007

Personality quiz thing

Your Personality Is

Rational (NT)You are both logical and creative. You are full of ideas.

You are so rational that you analyze everything. This drives people a little crazy!

Intelligence is important to you. You always like to be around smart people.

In fact, you’re often a little short with people who don’t impress you mentally.

You seem distant to some – but it’s usually because you’re deep in thought.

Those who understand you best are fellow Rationals.

In love, you tend to approach things with logic. You seek a compatible mate – who is also very intelligent.

At work, you tend to gravitate toward idea building careers – like programming, medicine, or academia.

With others, you are very honest and direct. People often can’t take your criticism well.

As far as your looks go, you’re coasting on what you were born with. You think fashion is silly.

On weekends, you spend most of your time thinking, experimenting with new ideas, or learning new things.

The Three Question Personality Test

Posted by Posted by paddybrown under Filed under Personal Comments 2 Comments »

12th Jun 2007

Unforeseen circumstances

I’m afraid there’ll be no new page today, and my updating schedule will be a wee bit sporadic for a while. Heavy rain caused flash flooding in parts of Belfast today, particularly those parts where I happen to live. My house is a state. My living room carpet was bright yellow. It is no longer. All my clean underpants were drying on a clothes horse in the front room, and all have had to go back into the wash. Fortunately I hadn’t finished decorating after last years renovations, so only some of my hard work was wasted. Hopefully I’ll be back on schedule before too long, but until then, I crave your kind indulgence.

Posted by Posted by paddybrown under Filed under Personal Comments 2 Comments »

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