An Irish Man Interprets the World

A Story of Everyday Heroes

A little north of St Paul’s Cathedral in London, you’ll find the small Postman’s Park. Nestled beneath an unassuming wooden shelter, there is a wall with a series of 54 tiles. Each one carries at least one name, every name the name of a hero who laid down life to save another. Surprisingly, many are the names of...

If Jesus had an iPhone on Palm Sunday…

What would the Social Media universe have looked like if the people watching Jesus riding into Jerusalem were busy on their phones? Well, if anyone ever goes back in a time machine and gives Jesus’ disciples iPhones, maybe these sort of things are what you would...

Ireland and the three thousand of Gallipoli…  

Above: The 10th Irish division, composed of volunteers from across Ireland, which fought at Gallipoli

  Ireland has been officially neutral in terms of international conflict for around 8 decades, since the 1930s.

Yet it has not been immune from the turmoil of the 20th century, which saw the advent of the largest and most destructive wars of all history. Before its...

GDP vs. Gross Domestic Happiness?

When did you last see a headline celebrating a growth in GDP as a major success for a country? A falling GDP is part of what it means to be in ‘recession’ – that dreaded word that has haunted Western economies for the past few years. If a recession is severe enough (if GDP falls more than 10%), it becomes labelled the even more ominous term,...

Why does an extra X chromosome make such a difference?

Sunday was International Women’s Day.  It adopted the strapline “Make it Happen”. It’s a clear statement that enough talking has been done – it’s time to ensure gender equality.   What is gender? When we’re born, whether we are male or female depends on whether we end up possessing a slightly different strand of DNA. If a baby...

6 reasons why Climate Change is an urgent Human Rights issue…

Climate Change. What comes to mind? Protesters tying banners on factory chimneys? Radical environmentalists? Al Gore? When one sees the issues of the world, from child soldiers to mass oppression to even genocide, why do we need to worry about whether the summer is going to be a little hotter next year?

Climate change is often...

Hinamatsuri Stand

Happy Hina-matsuri!

Yesterday was Hina-matsuri, otherwise known as “the Doll’s Festival”, in Japan. Families construct seven-tiered stands onto which they place Hina-ningyo: dolls made especially for the festival. They carefully arrange figurines representing the old Emperor and Empress and the imperial household. The display can even...

Could you patent the sun? The Beginning of the End for Polio…

The 1952 polio epidemic killed 3,145 and paralysed 21,269 men, women and children in the US.  Two years later, on 23 February 1954, Virologist Jonas Salk brought a glimmer of hope to Pittsburgh.  On this day,  61 years ago, the first large-scale inoculations of children began today. Just over a year later, the vaccine was declared by the University of Michigan...

3 wallet-friendly ways you can promote Social Justice…

Today is the World Day of Social Justice.

 

It looks to a bright hope of a future in which all people, regardless of race, gender, religion, nationality, age, background, or disability, have equal prospects to flourish. It looks to a society in which no person is treated as inferior to another for any...

Ash Wednesday – The “Bright Sorrow”

For some it’s little more than a curiosity following Pancake day. For others it’s a time of deep searching and resolution.

Yesterday, Ash Wednesday marked the first day of Lent, a period commemorating the time spent by Jesus in reflection wandering through the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). Traditionally, Lent is...

Can politics really bring about change? The story of Barbados…

Today is Errol Barrow’s birthday. It’s a public holiday in Barbados. It’s a reminder that effective political change can come without violence, terrorism or war. It’s also a reminder that political inertia and bureaucracy can be overcome. It’s a reminder that, used properly and effectively, democracy works.

Born in Barbados in 1920, Errol Barrow saw more than his fair...

Happy Old New Year…

Today would have been the date St Patrick, Jonathan Swift and William Shakespeare celebrated as New Year’s Day. You and I might say it’s the 14th January, but according to the Julian calendar, today is 1st...

Is this a distantly-related cousin?

Do we have the right to eradicate diseases?

180 years ago today, 7th January 1835, HMS Beagle dropped anchor on the Chonos Archipelago. Charles Darwin was on board. He would spend the next number of weeks conducting research. By November 1859, Darwin had published ‘On the Origin of Species’. His book transformed the study of the...

Expensive Mocha...

Don’t spill that Mocha!

What could you buy with €1? Most places in Ireland wouldn’t even give you a glass of lemonade for this price, let alone a Mocha coffee! Yet for a quarter of India, a quarter of a billion people, this is the reality at good times. Spilling a Mocha coffee could signify starvation for half a week! How much do we really value fairness?

Any...

Worth more than all the gold in the world…

In UK, more than one third of adolescent girls, and one fifth of boys, have self-harmed.[1] In USA, suicide kills more young people than cancer.[2] Countless people have such a low sense of self worth that they think life no longer worth living.

Gold, an inanimate metal, is highly valued: roughly $14,500 per kilo.[3] If an 80 kilo human body is broken down into...

“The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis but rather the feeling of being unwanted, uncared for, and deserted by everybody.”

– Mother Teresa