Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Something for a Wednesday… the Bayeux Tapestry animated!

12 October 2011

By Lisa Marie Griffith

Hit a mid-week slump? Wednesday is my busiest lecture day so I always find it a little difficult to be inspired after all my prerp on Monday and Tuesday. Here is something a little bit more fun for those of us feeling a little uninspired this Wednesday (via the website Open Culture). This is a wonderful and very faithful animation of the Bayeux Tapestry, this is a great example of how history artefacts can be brought alive for students (of all ages). I love clips like this. They are great to share in class and tend to inject some life into students slumped over the desk at the end of the day.

The Last Confession of Alexander Pearce

10 October 2011

By Lisa Marie Griffith

This weekend I watched Australian/Irish production The Last Confession of Alexander Pearce (2008) about the infamous Irish convict turned cannibal.  Last year I had a complaint from an Australian tourist on my walking tour that I did not deal in enough detail with the Irish transported to Australia but I doubt this was what they had in mind! Alexander Pearce (played by Ciaran McMenanin in the film) is probably Australia/Ireland’s most famous cannibal and his execution in 1824 was reported on around the world. Pearce was born in Clones, Co Monaghan in 1790, and seems to have worked as a farm labourer in Co. Fermanagh. In 1819 he was convicted for stealing 6 pairs of shoes and was transported to Van Diemen’s land to serve seven years for theft.  The Last Confession of Alexander Pearce, a made-for-tv-film, looks at how this petty criminal turned into a cannibal. Pearce and seven other convicts escape from the prison and try to strike for the nearest urban settlement. Lost in the vast countryside, their provisions soon run out and the will to survive  takes over. Read more

Sh***ing Bricks

5 October 2011

By Christina Morin

A friend on Facebook recently alerted me to this compelling piece: ‘Twenty-Five Insights on Becoming a Better Writer’. Gathered from a veritable who’s who of famous writers, the tips all speak to my own experience of writing and, even more poignantly, to my struggles with writer’s block and procrastination (hence my faffing about on Facebook). The suggestion that particularly stuck in my head – and made me laugh outright – was that offered by Sarah Waters on the subject of discipline. Noting her own self-imposed daily word count of at least 1,000 words, Waters writes that this ‘is sometimes easy to achieve, and is sometimes, frankly, like shitting a brick’. A graphic image, but certainly one with which I can relate. I’ve never tried Waters’ suggestion of a minimum daily word count, which is possibly why I often find myself in the situation where, after a long day at the laptop, I seem to have regressed rather than progressed on a given piece of work. It’s an incredibly frustrating feeling, and one that doesn’t bode well for my enthusiasm levels upon return to the computer. Waters, like a couple of the other writers quoted in the piece, makes the point though, that it’s better to write a load of nonsense, or ‘rubbish’ as she calls it, than not to write at all. At least rubbish gives you something with which to work. Read more

Tales from the Conference World

8 August 2011

By Christina Morin

I’m just back from the conference I mentioned in my recommendations for this month and am full of ideas to pursue, books to read, and potential articles to write. In fact, the past month and a half has proven an incredibly exciting time for my research, largely thanks to the stimulating conferences I’ve attended. I may habitually complain about the time conferences consume when travel, paper-writing, and attendance is factored in, but, the fact is, a good conference can be worth weeks of dedicated library time in terms of advancing research goals, introducing new perspectives, and tweaking arguments. It’s not just the act of pulling together a coherent 20-minute paper – as we all know, a pretty spectacular feat in itself – but also the sometimes uncomfortable necessity of introducing yourself to peers from other universities, of making a point of meeting scholars whose work you appreciate, and of generally putting yourself out there as an interested individual engaged in (one hopes!) interesting, related research. In a word – networking.

If I’m attending a well-established conference for the first time, I more often than not find myself suddenly and uncharacteristically shy and socially awkward. This is when the great social lubricant – wine – can come in very handy, and I think the practice of hosting a wine reception on the first evening of a conference a very good idea. Kudos to the person who thought that up! Although it’s a good idea to proceed with caution, especially when you’re a lightweight like me, these receptions afford the perfect opportunity to meet and greet, as, of course, do the many coffee breaks, dinners, social events, and impromptu drinks. Many a fruitful collaboration has been forged in these more informal and therefore, more comfortable, spaces. Read more

Raymond Chandler and Waterford

25 July 2011

By Lisa Marie Griffith

I was in a book  club a few years ago (that regrettably died) and one of the books we read was Raymond Chandler’s, The Big Sleep. Written in 1939 the book introduced the Private Detective Philip Marlowe, surely the coolest fictional private eye. The book begins when Marlowe is hired to uncover a blackmail  plot against General Sternwood, a wealthy but very elderly man with two beautiful precocious daughters. The eldest daughter was married to an ex-IRA leader who had left Ireland in the 1920s. I was surprised and delighted to discover while home that Christmas that Raymond Chandler (b. 1888 d.1959) had spent some time in Waterford city during his childhood. The above is a plaque from outside the house which is located behind Christ Church Cathedral, in Cathedral square. Chandler’s father and brother ran a legal practice in the city and when Chandler’s father (Maurice) emigrated, his brother (Ernest) stayed in Waterford. Chandler was actually born in Chicago on 23 July 1888. When his father died his uncle became an important benefactor for him and Raymond spend many summers in Waterford. Chandler does not seem to have warmed much to his Waterford family, however, and he seems to have found his uncle’s house rather cold. He preferred English society and retreated there when possible. Nevertheless, the stories which he heard in Ireland his connection to the country must have prompted the creation of some of his characters. There is a longer article on Chandler and Waterford in the local Waterford newspaper, the Munster Express.

Fidel Castro’s student digs

22 July 2011

By Lisa Marie Griffith

I was lucky enough to spend two months in Cuba last month and part of the trip was spent in Santiago which is known as ‘Birthplace of the Revolution’. Fidel Castro lived in the house on the left hand side of this picture, General Jesus Rani no.6, between 1931 and 1933 while he was studying in Santiago. The city was where Castro led his first uprising on 26 July 1953.  When Batista finally fled, Castro announced on 1 January 1959 that the revolution had been succesful in Santiago’s Town Hall. The house above is currently used as a domestic residence by a private family and there is no plaque to mark the site. Without our guide-book we would have passed by the spot without even knowing who had lived there.

Happy Birthday Temple Bar

18 July 2011

By Lisa Marie Griffith

Temple Bar’s Cultural Trust is currently celebrating twenty years of regeneration in Temple Bar with ten days of festivities which kicked off on Friday. It hardly needs to be said that the area is one of the finest examples of urban regeneration within in Ireland and Temple Bar Cultural Trust has spearheaded and promoted numerous cultural initiatives in the capital including Culture Night. True to form there is a broad range of activities to suit every age and interest, and as usual most of the events are free. Here are some in the coming week that I thought our readers would be interested in: Friday 15th-Saturday 23rd ‘Temple Bar revisited’, an exhibition which looks at the history of the area is being held in Temple Bar Gallery.

Friday 15th- Saturday 24th July, ‘Conversations about Culture’ an exhibition which is being held at The Green Building.

Tuesday 19th and Thursday 21st at 11 am Free walking tours of Temple Bar by local historian Pat Liddy.

Monday 18th-Friday 22nd at 11 am and 3pm every day Print-Making demos will be held at Black Church print Studio with tours around the studio.

Monday 18th-Sunday 24th, 1pm & 6pm, ‘Lights out listening’, a radio documentary will be aired in the Irish Landmark Trust building to recreate how people used to listen to the radio, in intimate groups.

Monday 18th-Sunday 24th Friday 22nd, 2pm-4.30pm, ‘Fort Building Workshop’; Fort Architects are going to design and build a contemporary fort, venue is the Exchange. You can find the full programme here. The above image was taken last Friday when the French high wire walker Didier Pasquette performed in  Bar to open the festival.

Technical difficulties

10 July 2011

Just to let you all know, we’ve lost our header for some reason and I can’t post pictures.  Apologies for the gap in posts while I try to figure out what’s wrong.

[Update: header fixed as you can see.  Various things still not quite right, but working on it.]


Changes afoot

8 July 2011

By Juliana Adelman
[Apologies for lack of image, computer won’t do it. I hope to fix it later.]

I don’t like to be a curmudgeon who poo-poos anything new, but…I am finding all the changes at the NLI a little bit jarring and not 100% for the better.  Let’s begin with the new cafe, which I pointed out in this month’s recommendations.  I have now eaten there twice this week in between reading about railway abattoirs.  I am sorry to report that the prices have not come down nor has the food consistently improved.  The coffee is more than 100% better which is very welcome (especially when it costs €2.50).  The scones are lovely (€2.95 with jam and cream).  The salad plate (€5.95 for medium, couldn’t face meat after all the cow slaughter) was pretty lackluster.  It consisted of some rocket, a potato salad with zero flavor, a sort of waldorf salad with awkwardly large pieces of celery and equally little flavor and some kind of feta/tomato/cucumber salad which was, well, salty.  The best part was a lovely, fresh slice of bread that it came with.  I was given the reader’s discount which was supposed to be 10% but was calculated at 45 cents.  That said, the sandwiches (ham sliced off the bone, €6.70) looked nice.  They were the same sandwiches every day I was in, though.  Vegetarians get salad or soup (€5.50).  Aside from the food I was really disappointed not to see the familiar faces of the previous cafe staff.  Of course it should have occurred to me that change of management would mean change of staff, but it seems silly not to have retained the people who knew all the NLI staff and many of the readers.  And probably could have helped them to avoid the inevitable scrambling at the start.

My other bugbear is the new ‘pilot’ ordering system.  To be quite frank, I don’t like it.   Read More

Geography is a flavour

8 July 2011

So does that make history a smell?  My network connection is acting up so I can’t put up the picture to accompany this bit of trademarked nonsense.  Can you guess who it belongs to, though?

Please suggest alternate history slogans below…