Archive for the ‘Picture Posts’ Category

Is it too early…

2 December 2011

… to be dreaming of a white Christmas? I’m heading home to New England for the holidays, and I’m hoping there’ll be at least a little snow while I’m there. Just enough to have a white Christmas, do a bit of skiing, and make a few snow angels. While thinking about that yesterday, I did some random-ish googling and found some amazing images of individual snowflakes. We used to cut paper versions of these as kids, on the basis that every snow flake is unique, but this is the first time I think I’ve ever actually considered just what that means. (image source)

Have a great weekend! – Tina

Sleeping Beauty

25 November 2011

Not only was yesterday Thanksgiving, it was also the deadline for a big grant application I’ve been working on seemingly forever. As you read this, therefore, chances are I’ll be found sleeping, napping, or generally relaxing….

Have a great weekend! – Tina

The great book conundrum: the more you readeth, the less you taketh back to the library (apparently)

18 November 2011

Ok, from the title of this post you might think I’ve been stealing books. Well, no. It’s just been one of those weeks. Books come in, get read, and go back out. The ‘articles to read’ folder on my hard-drive sees more passing traffic than a fox on the M50. So why, pray tell, does the balance between the ‘to read’ pile and the ‘bring back to the library’ pile (foreground, obviously) on my desk remain ever thus?


For the day, and times, that’s in it

11 November 2011

Here we go again. In more ways than one. Thinking about tonight’s match and the world that’s crumbling around us, my mind was immediately drawn to this: Dermot Bolger’s fictional account of following Ireland to the 1988 European Championships (or ‘Euro ’88’ in the vernacular) through the eyes of a migrant. The following scene takes place in Gelsenkirchen just after Wim Kieft has scored a late goal for the Netherlands to effectively knock Ireland out of the tournament.

I stood up amongst the silent men and women, their faces white, and I raised my hands.

“Ireland!” I screamed. “Ireland! Ireland!” I had six minutes of my old life to go. Six minutes more to cheat time. The crowd joined in with me. Every one of them. From Dublin to Cork. From London and all over Europe. And suddenly I knew this was the only country I still owned. Those eleven men in green shirts, half of whom were born abroad.

Shane and Mick stood firm at my right and left shoulders. I knew they were thinking too of the long train journeys ahead. The tunnel was being pulled out for the end of the match. Men gathering down on the touch-line. We lifted our voices in that wall of noise, one last time to urge the lads on.

Ireland! Ireland! Ireland!

(From: Dermot Bolger, In High Germany, New Island edition (Dublin, 1999), p. 52.)


The art of eavesdropping

4 November 2011



The picture above is by Knut Ekwall, a Swedish painter (no, I hadn’t heard of him either).  It’s actually entitled ‘The proposal’, and in the room behind the eavesdropper you can make out a man and a woman in conversation.  As I come to the end of my first week as part of the Mass Observation project I have been realizing that my eavesdropping skills are not so hot.  In fact, my observation skills are not so great either.  On the bus I have learned to tune OUT rather than tune IN; and besides, hardly anyone talks!  Walking down the street I tend not to look directly at anyone, but to be thinking about something and simply using my eyes to avoid obstacles.  I most definitely don’t usually try to count pieces of rubbish or numbers of people smoking or people wearing red coats.  I thought a cafe would be a good place to hear what people are talking about but in fact there was so much chatter and noise that I could hardly pick anyone’s voice out.  The loudest and clearest person in any situation is always the person on their mobile phone.  Unfortunately sometimes it is hard to make out what they are talking about with only one half of the conversation.  And don’t get me started on hand cramp induced from actually having to use a pen for an extended period to take down my notes…This has been a useful learning experience already!





Seeing the woods and the trees

28 October 2011

This is an image from the Library of Congress that shows the spot near Walden Pond that Henry David Thoreau built his cabin.  From this spot he wrote his most famous work, Walden.  It is still seen as a classic of American nature writing and an inspiration to environmentalism.  The image that the book projects is of Thoreau reveling in isolation and reflection, immersed in nature.  If you take a wider view point, as many have pointed out, Thoreau’s splendid isolation was a mere 30 minute walk from the village of Concord.  He was apparently brought supplies of food by a servant.  Nevertheless, he seems to have successfully created a productive isolation for himself in which he wrote at least one book and laid the ground work for a second.  I somehow need to find a similar kind of retreat if I am ever to finish my present book.  I find my perspective swinging wildly between woods and trees: one day I am focussed on the big picture and the next I am overwhelmed by the details of data.



You are what you read

7 October 2011

I was thinking recently about the ways in which we often talk about our reading habits in terms of eating and degustation: we’re said to have a ‘voracious appetite’ for books, which we ‘consume’ like candy, or, in the case of something ‘unsavoury’, brand it a production we simply can’t ‘stomach’. This thought naturally reminded me of an ad that used to be on tv when I was a kid and which, luckily, I was able to dig up in Youtube. Part of a campaign to encourage kids to eat healthily, it reminded them that, ‘You are what you eat’. Derrida might say that every book we read (and even some of those we don’t!) enters into our individual consciousness and thereafter shapes the way we think, read, write, and generally perceive. So, in a very real sense, we are what we read….

An interesting point I’ll be remembering next time I hit the bookshop…

Have a good weekend! – Tina

My Old Haunting Grounds

30 September 2011

I’ll be back in Cork today, enjoying the Digital Cultures Workshop at UCC and reminiscing about old times. I found this picture of Cork’s Patrick Street on Wikimedia Commons, which has it dated at 1890. Although there’s now a McDonald’s where the Woodford Bourne sign is on the left, it’s amazing how similar the late-nineteenth century and contemporary Patrick Streets are!

Have a good weekend! – Tina

Living at the edge of the world

23 September 2011

By Kevin O’Sullivan

It’s one of the things I like most about doing what we do (i.e. history): that moment when somewhere or something makes you think, ‘How the hell did anyone get here? Why did they come here? What did they do here? And how did they ever live here?’ and it drives you deeper and deeper into a spiral of research, sparked by the desire to delve into the soul of humanity and better understand what makes/made people tick. Not that I know much about life at this particular location (all knowledgeable direction gratefully accepted), but I think you know what I mean.


2 September 2011

By Juliana Adelman

This is a portion of an image that I plan to use in the chapter I am working on about horses in nineteenth-century Dublin.  In their efforts to bring their passengers to their destination speedily, the cab drivers are trampling a baby underfoot and driving their horses to death.  The artist has depicted the message of anti-cruelty campaigners: cruelty to animals is associated with a callousness to human life (and a number of other vices in the remainder of the image).