An Irish Man Interprets the World

Storytelling and Same-sex Marriage

The persuasive Irish have perfected their use of stories. They use the power of language to carefully craft detailed images and metaphors, to evoke emotion, or make a point, where non-fiction would struggle. Our poets, authors and songwriters have been perfecting that craft for centuries.

In Ireland, such storytelling is a great national tradition. To...

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...

What is going on in this picture?

Can you make sense of this picture? It is April Fool’s Day, but the above image is taken naturally, and has had no computer-generated alteration…

Three questions:

What about the pool? It looks like this artist worked with a sculpted pool. Perhaps he created it, or perhaps he worked with something...

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 see…

 

It all started when Jesus, en route to Jerusalem,...

St Patrick, champion of Human Rights?

Ireland has only 0.064% of the world’s population. Yet it has international influence that far exceeds its size. Today, St Patrick’s celebrations involve over 150,000 people in New York City alone,[1] and around 34 million Americans consider themselves to have Irish heritage, over 7 times the population of Ireland itself.[2]

St Patrick’s early adulthood...

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 seen to be a solely ‘environmental’ issue. Yet,...

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...

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...

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

27th January 1945 was a momentous day in history. 70 years ago today, Soviet forces liberated the notorious Auschwitz concentration camp. The liberation of Auschwitz was a red letter day after the genocide of 6 million Jews, 1 million from the travelling community, 250 thousand people with disabilities and 9 thousand homosexual men by Nazi forces.

The United...

What is justice? The Galapagos oil spill…

Let me pose an unusual question: What do cats, avocados and oil tankers have in common? Answer: All three have become threats to the unique environment of the Galápagos Islands, part of Ecuador, located in the Pacific Ocean. Made famous by the work of Charles Darwin, they are home to unique species of penguin, marine iguana and giant tortoise, as well as...

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 January.

For...

Children of Cape Town

Celebrating Kaapse Klopse…

On 2nd January every year, the streets of Cape Town, South Africa, are filled with ecstatic crowds. It’s the Kaapse Klopse (‘Cape Clubs’) carnival, a time of joyful music, bright costumes, and unified community.

Kaapse Klopse has its roots in the regrettable days of slavery. Until the 1830s, slavery was common in South African society. Like us, the slaves celebrated New...

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

– Mother Teresa

Carrying around the cure to AIDS?

Potential in your Pocket: Carrying around the cure to AIDS?

Today is World AIDS day. Whatever you do to count down to Christmas, spare a thought for countless HIV-positive individuals would give anything they owned to be cured in the next 24 days. AIDS is at present incurable, and severely weakens the immune system, making the victim open to a deadly cocktail of diseases and cancers that ordinarily the immune...

Nativity Scene

The most wonderful time of the year?

Today is Advent Sunday, the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day – It marks the beginning of a season which many will associate with growing anticipation, even impatience, for the coming of Christmas. Nostalgic Christmas songs send shivers down our spines. Violet or blue colours adorn trees and churches, representing a Royal coming. In a culture and society where faith is increasingly...