Here is a piece I have up on the wonderful group blog The Dustbin of History
Originally posted on The Dustbin of History:
The modest plaque marking the site of the Irishtown meeting
On a recent research trip I spent a week travelling the N17 each morning and evening. This arterial route stretches North from Galway city, passing through the plain East of Lough Corrib, into County Mayo and on into Sligo. To those from outside the region it is perhaps best remembered as the subject of a song by Tuam band and early nineties hit machine the Saw Doctors, although, then again, perhaps not. It is two and half years since I left Galway and headed South to the sunnier climes of Cork and, while the archives I needed to visit on were quite a while outside of Galway city, it provided an ideal base camp for the week long trip. Waking on a mattress on a friends’ floor in Salthill, most days I would be on the road before the worst of the rush hour traffic and an hour and a half later find myself at the museum in Knock, Co Mayo, just before it opened at 10am. On other days the trip only took me as far as Tuam, a more reasonable 40 minutes north of Galway city.
Snaking between Tuam and Knock the N17 takes you through what was the heartland of the Land War of 1879-82. The land, which once would have been mostly under tillage, is now predominantly pasture. It is not bad by the standards of Connaught, but is poor in comparison to the lush pasture of Leinster and parts of Munster. Stone walls divide the fields and while hedgerows, trees and bushes can hardly be described as rare they are by no means as frequent as they would be in richer, deeper soil. Overall the landscape has a windswept, sodden appearance but is still agricultural land. Modern bungalows and two story houses are reasonably frequent and the towns one passes through are free from the sort of sprawl and expansive estates that surround towns closer to larger cities. One gets the impression they have not expanded greatly in the past century and a half since the Land War when they were the towns which played a central commercial and social role in the life of the region. Improvements in transport and accessibility to larger towns have, if anything, diminished their importance.
Good albums are usually more than just a collection of songs, they are a complete and coherent entity that run seamlessly from beginning to end and manage to traverse a range of moods and styles while maintaining cohesiveness and clarity. Here is light, night is here by Brig is such an album. A self produced labour of love by multi instrumentalist and songwriter Brian Gosker it encompasses a range of styles and is based on strong songs and excellent musicianship.
Filed under Culture, Music
We went out to see the Terminal Convention exhibition in the old terminal at Cork airport today. It really is an amazing use of an abandoned space. Most of the works are audiovisual installations and the most effective pieces in my mind were those that made you most aware of the building and its past. The most amazing thing about the exhibition is the building, which has been abandoned since the opening of the new terminal in 2006. It has a Marie Celeste feel to it as all fixtures and fittings are left intact and the human imprint can still be felt. It feels empty, but a lot emptier than an empty building should feel and I couldn’t quite shake off the sense that I was some where I shouldn’t be. The exhibition runs until the 27 March and is worth a trip out to the airport for anyone based in Cork.
It can be difficult to keep track of everything that’s happening in the news these days. While often media is dedicated to filling space and time and creating content to keep us watching, over the past number of weeks events around the world have kept the media on their toes and overwhelmed the viewer and reader of news in a manner that makes it difficult to keep up with what’s going on.
First there was the revolution in Tunisia, which spread to Egypt leaving Tunisia relegated in the news stakes, then it spread to Libya and Egypt was forgotten. And then Japan was hit by an earthquake, followed by a Tsunami, followed by an impending nuclear catastrophe. Libya was forgotten for a few days until a bit of sabre rattling by Western powers pushed it back to the forefront. In between all of this were popular revolts in Yemen, Bahrain and numerous other countries. This is of course all happening against the backdrop of a protracted global economic crisis which has seen governments in Europe transfer the burden of bank debt on to the ordinary people. The global economy, already volatile has begun panicking as it watches events in Japan and Libya and ‘The Markets’ (all the hail The Markets) are busy ensuring that everyone apart from them bears the brunt of what’s happening.
I am changing the name of my blog from Emerald Bile to Modern Distortions and the address to moderndistortions.wordpress.com. There are a number of reasons for this but mainly I have become aware that there is another blog on another site called Emerald Bile which I would never in all my life want to be associated with. I apologise if this causes any confusion but it’s better to act early.