书评 | oprah time | 서평 爱尔兰 | ireland | 아일랜드

Oprah time: Michael Collins: a biography by Tim Pat Coogan

Reading Time: < 1 minute

I have spent the past couple of months working through Michael Collins: a biography by Tim Pat Coogan. Coogan was the editor of the Irish Press, which was the broadsheet newspaper of Irish political party Fianna Fail and was right at the heart of the power hierarchy in Ireland. That gave Coogan the credibility and access to the kind of people who could shed light on the complex characters, arrangements, accommodations and tragedy that surrounded the Irish struggle for independence that Collins was instrumental in fighting for Collins is portrayed as a tough, pragmatic, clever man in a ruthless and treacherous world.

I found the story interesting because it provided me with a more rounded understanding of a key time in my country’s history. Neil Jordan’s film version of Michael Collins‘ life borrowed heavily from this book, however a feature film could not fully capture the complex twists and turns that lead to the founding of the Free State.

I would recommend Tim Pat Coogan’s book as a diligent and honest work, but if you are looking for something that is accessible stick to Tom Clancy.

伦敦 | london | 런던 媒体与艺术 | culture | 미디어와 예술 小组会议 | event | 그룹 회의 爱尔兰 | ireland | 아일랜드

St Patricks Day

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Mayors Office has organised a parade for St Patrick’s Day in London. In addition, there is a range of activities happening over the coming weeks including a couple fo documentaries ‘I only came over here for a couple of years‘ and ‘Lost generation‘ being shown at the Tricycle Cinema on the Kilburn High Road Kilburn. I Only Came Over for a Couple of Years: Interviews with elderly Irish men and women in London intercut with footage of the 2003 London St. Patrick’s Day Parade. These testimonies of coming to London between the 1930s and 1960s constitute a moving and valuable record of a rapidly disappearing section of the London population.

Lost Generation: An RTÉ documentary screened in Ireland in December 2003 but never shown in Britain. The programme which depicts the plight of elderly Irish men in Britain is a serious indictment of Irish government policy towards the Irish in Britain and after heated debates in the Dail, has resulted in a recent reassessment of the level of grant-aid to Irish welfare organisations.

Both are particularly resonant for me, I have often heard my parents talk about the way they only came over for a couple of years, in their late 20s/ early 30s yet are now spending the twilight of their lifes in England. They neither have the resources or the will to move back home to Ireland, which had changed physically, economicly and socially beyond all recognition.

The Lost Generaton reminded me of a all the older Irish people I knew when I grew up in Liverpool. Before I was of primary school age, an English accent was something I only heard on the television. When I was in my teens, with the recession in Liverpool I was very conscious of the amount of funerals my parents went to for forgotten people and the dazed and confused old men with old style flat caps who sat in the shopping precinct and talked to each other in hushed voices. I know more dead Irish people than the living now.

For more information contact: Irish Studies Centre

法 | legal | 법률학 爱尔兰 | ireland | 아일랜드

The Evil Weed

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Come Monday, smokers will become second class citizens in Ireland. It will be illegal to smoke in the workplace, enclosed public places and on public transport or get fined 7,000 Euros.

Country publicans are understandably upset – tabacco sales are a handy sideline to alcohol sales. Also the traditional Irish pub has nicotine coated walls and woodwork from years of punters Woodbines, Major and Carroll’s No.1 cigarettes; people died so that you can sit in a darkened pub. The blue haze of tabacco smoke gives it a mysterious air, a cigarette fills up your spare hand that could otherwise require another full pint glass. Even with punitive tabacco taxes a cigarette is still cheaper than a second pint of the dark stuff.

Reuters take on the tabacco ban.

Next stop – fried breakfasts and people who eat white bread criminalised.