Sunday, 31 March 2013

The Mothers of Modern Ireland

As with any history, whether it be your national, local or family history, one is often told, to seek out the older members of your community or families to tell their stories of that time.  I did this when I started to write a book about my family history two decades ago.  Only 23 of them were living, all in their late 80's & 90's & I got to speak to every one of them.  They told me stuff that I could never have got from the next generation down.  And within 5 years of locating & talking to these 23 family members, 3/4 of them were gone - which is why it is so important, not to put off talking to these folk if you're wanting to document your history. 

Today I came across a wonderful archive of video interviews documenting personal oral history as told through the eyes of Ireland's Grandmothers, who were located from all 32 Counties of Eire.  When you have a quiet moment to spare, sit down and watch these wonderful women, tell you how it was for them, growing up in Ireland during the last century.

This caption has been taken from the Mothers of Modern Ireland Facebook page
These archives were put together for the South Tipperary County Museum by an independent productions company based in London called Fragments.  The project was also  supported by private donors & the Department of Arts, Heritage & Gaeltacht.
You'll find these videos on the Mothers of Modern Ireland - A People's History website here or on the Mothers of Modern Ireland facebook page.

Listen to them tell personal stories about their memories of growing up in Ireland, school life, farm life, religion, contraception, sex education, marriage, divorce, pubs & drinking, wakes, work, equality, the Troubles, checkpoints, family values, immigration & much more.

Here is one of my favourites - Lily Carew of Co. Wexford talking about her student nurse days.  I love it because I'm a Nurse myself & I can relate to all the mad things you got up to,  back when nurses were trained in hospital nursing schools. 

Go watch them, they're brilliant.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

The Rise & Rise of iSLE Magazine

Now iSLE magazine Founder, Creative Director, Editor & Writer Lisa McGee & all the other writers of this colourful, well written, all-Ireland e-magazine, don’t need me to be making any grandiose promotional pitches here.  Because in just its second issue this exciting magazine promotes itself.  Such is its popularity & success, its readership numbers have soared.    A glance through this beautifully presented magazine & you soon see why it has become so. 

I was hooked the moment the 1st issue went live online several months ago & now I find I’m achingly impatient for each new issue to appear.   

iSLE's 2nd issue has so many interesting & well presented articles.   I especially enjoyed Lisa’s report on Belfast & its surrounding attractions.  I visited Belfast for the first time last year & I loved it.  The article pulls together all the great things about Belfast which makes it a rising star in the tourism market. 

 iSLEmagazine is full of wonderful lifestyle stories & enterprising people from all over Ireland which is what I love about it.   Not being Irish or living in Ireland, I love how the stories & the colourful photos, transport me back there.

I’m also very humbled to have been given a mention in this latest issue in their ‘Blog iSLE’ section of the magazine, written by well known Irish blogger extraordinaire Lorna Sixsmith.  I say I’m humbled & I truly mean it because my foray into the somewhat self indulgent world of Blogging only began a year ago, as those of you who may be following my blog will testify. There are many other more worthy candidates who are more articulate & deserving of a mention than I.  But I’m nonetheless extremely excited that my Paddy’s Wagon Blog has been recognized in this way. 

Just before Christmas & always a sucker for a competition, I entered iSLE's photo competition on Twitter.  While I was in Ireland for a month last year, I snapped over 2,000 photos, so it's fair to say, I had a few I could send in to the competition.  The long & the short of it all was that I won the competition purely, I suspect because of the sheer volume of photos I brazenly submitted.  

And thus began a wonderful connection with Lisa & iSLE, whose friendly banter I've so enjoyed over the last few months.  

I'll stop chattering now so you can get yourselves over to iSLE Magazine 

And because every blog needs photos, here's a few of my favourite images of Ireland that you may also see if you follow iSLE Pinterest & iSLE Facebook

I've even included my favourite Donkey photos because at iSLE, they just love Donkeys & are passionate advocates for The Donkey Sanctuary.  





Monday, 18 March 2013

St Patrick Day Highlights 2013, Dublin

Well, here in New Zealand St Paddy's Day is long over, but back there in Dublin & all over Ireland, there'll still be those who possibly don't have to work tomorrow, who are swilling down the black stuff & enjoying the craic & lively music. 

My St Patrick's Day was a quiet affair but I spent the day reminiscing about the fabulous time I had in Dublin last year.  You can read more about that day here

And this year, Dublin again, puts on a spectacle to rival the best of Irish parades anywhere else in the world.   The theme this year is "Great Things Happen When We Get Together".   As part of the Gathering 2013 initiative, thousands of visitors from all around the world have been invited to join the Parade this year.

I was sitting up in my bed at midnight New Zealand time, watching The Gathering Live Streaming of the Parade on my laptop.  It was like being back there all over again.

Already, RTE have a link on their website of this wet but fabulous day.  So if you want to immerse yourself in what it was like for this year's parade, go take a look.

Here tis'   St Patrick's Day Parade 2013, Dublin, Ireland

I'm not sure how long this link will be up on the website, so get over there as soon as you can & take a look.

As well, here is a link that Tourism Ireland & The Gathering 2013 have posted with clips of the parade & of the Greening of some of the most famous monuments & landmarks around the world  -  St Patrick Day Highlights


Thousands attended the annual St. Patrick's Day parade in Dublin

Visitors dressed as Leprachauns enjoying the People's Parade, Dublin 2013

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Get Yourself to Dublin for St Paddy's Day!

In 2012, I was in Dublin, Ireland for St Patrick’s Day & I have to say, there’s no better place to be on this most famous of Irish days.
All the colours of the Rainbow

I had the priviledge of having a prime seat on an open top double decker media bus parked at the corner of Parnell Square West & Parnell Square North . 
The Tourism Ireland Media Bus we were on
The parade started at the top of Granby Row ahead then passed left on to Parnell Street right in front of us.    I joined half a million people who flooded Dublin’s Parnell & O’Connell Streets to soak up the infectious atmosphere  & colour.
The University of Missouri's "Marching Mizzou"

Last year’s St Patrick’s Festival theme was a portrayal of the wonder and curiosity of science. The How? What? & Why? of  concepts such as dreaming, raindrops & rainbows  

Colour Sensations!

This year the theme for Dublin’s St Patrick’s Day Festival is the People’s Parade.  And as part of The Gathering 2013 initiative, this year’s Festival are hoping to include around 8,000 overseas visitors, who will be invited to take part in the March 17th Dublin parade.  And believe me, to be in amongst the colourful festivity of a Dublin St Patrick’s Day Parade will be an experience not forgotten. 

There will be St Paddy’s day parades in small villages throughout Ireland, so if you’re a bit nervous of being in a large crowd get yourself out of the cities & into the little villages like Roundstone in Connemara, Co. Galway.  Or larger towns like Kilkenny in Co. Kilkenny who are planning their parade around a weekend of traditional music, song & dance   

Roundstone, Connemara, Co. Galway

If you’re thinking of heading over to Ireland, hurry up & get yourself there for St Patrick’s Day to be part of an extravaganza of colour, creativity & great craic!

If you need any further incentive, here are the photos I took last year in Dublin
Spectators of all Ages
Spectators of all Nations & Ethnicity


A Sea of Green Heading Down O'Connell Street, Dublin

Mad Hatters