Posts Tagged ‘ Peru ’

Irish Woman To Plead Guilty In Peru


The Irish woman arrested on suspicion of trying to smuggle cocaine out of Peru has said she will plead guilty when she appears in court today.

Tyrone native Michaella McCollum was arrested along with Scottish national Melissa Reid last month when they tried to board a flight from Lima to Madrid carrying a large haul of drugs.

McCollum and Reid claim they were forced to carry the drugs, which were concealed in food packages, by an armed gang who threatened their family members. Continue reading

Peru Two Could Serve Their Sentences In The UK


Two twenty year old women charged with drug trafficking in Peru could return to the UK to serve their sentences if they plead guilty, prosecutors have confirmed.

Tyrone native Michaella McCollum and Scottish national Melissa Reid were stopped with cocaine worth £1.5m hidden in food packets in their luggage while trying to board a flight to Spain in August. Continue reading

Duo Charged In Peruvian Drug Trafficking Case


Two women arrested on suspicion of trying to smuggle cocaine worth £1.5m out of Peru have been formally charged, prosecutors have said.

Tyrone native Michaella McCollum Connolly and Scottish national Melissa Reid, both 20, were moved to a detention centre in Lima after appearing before the District Prosecutor on Tuesday. Continue reading

Peru Drug Smugglers Date With Destiny Looms


The State Prosecutor in Peru will today receive details of an investigation by police into alleged drug smuggling by an Irish woman and a Scottish national who were arrested at Lima airport last week.

The findings will form the basis of a pre-trial hearing that will determine what Tyrone native Michaella McCollum (20) and and 20-year-old Melissa Reid are to be charged with. Continue reading

Peruvian Police Release Video Of Female Irish Drug Trafficker


Authorities in Peru have released a video of an Irish woman who was arrested in Peru on suspicion of drug trafficking.

20-year-old Dungannon native Michaella McCollum Connolly was arrested along with Melissa Reid (19) from Scotland at Lima’s international airport last week. Continue reading

Don’t Go There – Six Places to Avoid Before You Die

According to people who travel, everywhere is brilliant. They return home with tale after slightly-irritating tale of mind-blowing experience and unforgettable adventure. “Oh you must go!” they say. And sometimes they are right. But sometimes they are not…

Travel photography from Ensenada and Tijuana, Mexico by Fat Tony.

Tijuana, Mexico

Every year tourists go missing in Tijuana. They wander off the beaten track, disappear, and become a statistic to be downplayed by the Mexican Tourist Board. Serves them right, you might say – those reckless enough to stray into the dark corners of a crime-ridden Mexican border town deserve everything they get. This criticism has some merit, but fails to take into account the hideousness of Tijuana’s beaten track, which is enough to drive anyone into the welcoming arms of a drug cartel.

Avenida Revolucion – Tijuana’s gringo epicentre – specialises in providing a certain type of fun: the type that really isn’t. Everything on the ‘Revo’ takes place within a miasma of throbbing neon and hysterical hawkers for whom ‘no’ does not mean ‘no’, it means ‘please follow, annoy, and ultimately insult me’.

Those who attempt to take refuge in a bar may be confronted by Tijuana’s esoteric approach to pricing, whereby visitors enter an establishment having been promised ‘Ten Beers for Ten Dollars!’ and leave having been charged fifty for five. Other highlights include drunk Americans, loud Americans, puking Americans, and hapless donkeys painted to look like zebras.

In fairness it’s not all bad – the city boasts an excellent cultural centre, and just to the south there’s a rather splendid country called Mexico. Tijuana also succeeds in making nearby San Diego look slightly better in comparison, which is not an insignificant achievement.


Naples, Italy

First impressions are notoriously unreliable. For example, wisdom and experience would tell a person exiting Naples train station to ignore their initial misgivings – areas around rail termini are always a bit depressing, right? It can’t all be this bad. Unfortunately on this occasion wisdom and experience would be wrong.

Piazza Giuseppe Garibaldi – a sprawling, chaotic void of ugliness – offers those arriving by train their first confrontation with Naples. As with elsewhere in the city, cars rule the roost here – the cacophony of horns muffled only slightly by the polluted air – and within a couple of Italian profanities visitors will learn that Neapolitan drivers stop for nothing, including red lights.

Those who forge deeper into Naples in search of the ‘nice bit’ will forge in vain. Its wilful disregard of cleanliness and civic pride is almost admirable, but ultimately the incessant battle of crowd and vehicle, the noise, the ubiquitous graffiti and dirt just prove sapping.

“Sapping?” I hear a dissenting voice say. This is the famous Napoli ‘pazzia’ – the crazy spirit of the city that seduces visitors and makes them rediscover life! And admittedly if rudeness, grime, pickpockets and rubbish piled metres high in the streets make you feel alive then Naples will be nothing short of an elixir.

As redeeming features go, Napoli’s pizzas and ice creams aren’t bad. Unfortunately the city’s culinary attractions also had the misfortune to feature heavily in Eat Pray Love, without doubt the worst film this side of Gigli, and are therefore now as sullied as the rest of this Mafia hole.


Santa Cruz, USA

In a way it’s reassuring to know that Americans can do tacky, soul-withering seaside towns just as well as the Irish and Brits. The word ‘California’ usually conjures up images of beautiful people doing beautiful things in beautiful places – a semi-mythical zone where dreams supposedly come true. And if you dream of grim beaches, morbid fairgrounds and motel monotony then Santa Cruz will confirm this stereotype.

Some say that Americans struggle with irony, and those of us who reject this thesis should not rush to call Santa Cruz as a witness for the defence. While the Blackpool’s of this world bask in a kiss-me-quick, self-mocking kind of tawdriness, Santa Cruz is woefully bereft of such European cynicism, and apparently genuinely believes itself to be good.

It is not. The pride of the town is its boardwalk, which is meant to revive rose-tinted memories of a different era, a time when vacations were all about dance halls and candyfloss. Unfortunately it just comes across as a sickly cliché, restored to within an inch of its life in order to extract the sentimental dollar – in short the kind of pre-packed nostalgia created on a boardroom flipchart.

But then again, if there’s one thing small town America does well, it is bars with all the personality and atmosphere of a doctor’s waiting room. Santa Cruz supplies an ample number of these establishments, complete with the dreaded karaoke machine. And while karaoke can be entertaining, in Santa Cruz it tends to involve earnest renditions of Tammy Wynette or Garth Brooks songs, rendering it about as much fun as the rest of the town.


Townsville, Australia

A well-trodden tourist route, the East Coast of Australia offers stunning scenery, adventure, picture-postcard beaches and buzzing towns. How Townsville managed to crash this party is anyone’s guess. For those departing Cairns this is the first stop on the road to Sydney, and most will wish they hadn’t.

There is nothing particularly horrendous about Townsville – it is simply a place where it is difficult to imagine anything happening. Ever. Perhaps being given such a stunningly generic name has, like a self-fulfilling prophecy, rendered the city a stale, characterless non-entity.

But while its real name is appropriate, its nickname more poetically captures the aesthetics of the place:  ‘Brownsville’ largely consists of dust, industrial estates and closed shops. There is a massive army base, which gives a military edge to the stagnant nightlife, and a waterfront area – which is notable for being near some water.

For many young European backpackers, bedazzled by Australia’s sparkling, lush cities, Townsville will be the first realisation that, yes, even Australia has crap towns. In fact those heading south will soon find themselves in another one – Rockhampton takes all the mediocre bits of Townsville, adds a couple of ugly bridges, and does it all over again. 


Lima, Peru

Apparently the Dickensian sea fog that squats over Lima does occasionally lift, and on such occasions the city may well be a more appealing prospect. Unfortunately, for the rest of the time, Peru’s capital is murky, claustrophobic, anarchic and miserable.

Wildly overpopulated, Lima creaks under the strain of 8 million souls. A constant boom of traffic fills the downtown air, while negotiating the crowded pavements requires an exhausting level of vigilance.

Coastal zones, such as the affluent Miraflores district, seem to represent more standard tourist fare, but the skyscraper hotels and designer outlets are so bizarrely incongruous to Lima’s overall feel that these areas feel more like some ghastly Hollywood backdrop transplanted into a seething South American sprawl.

Most of Lima’s architecture is brittle and foreboding, and what remains of the original colonial streetscape has long since capitulated under a mask of pollution. Glimpses of greenery and beauty occur, but their fleeting presence is but a sad, soulful chord in an atonal symphony of chaos.

And all the while, the fog keeps rolling in….


Oslo, Norway

It’s entirely appropriate that this selection of disappointments should end with a damp squib – a damp, dark, extortionate squib. Oslo is quite within its rights to offer little in the way of excitement, but when it compounds this with the highest prices in Europe we are surely entering biscuit-taking territory.

Oslo is one of those places that, struggling to fill even the flimsiest of city guides, shamelessly promotes anything within a 500 mile radius as an ‘attraction’. Ski slopes, fjords, stunning Scandanavian scenery: all part of Oslo’s appeal apparently. Once you get out of Oslo.

Within the city limits recreational options dry up pretty quickly: a couple of fusty galleries and a museum or two. One such building is dedicated to Edvard Munch, the man responsible for perhaps Oslo’s most famous export – The Scream. This painting depicts a man standing on one of the city’s bridges, omitting an existential shriek of despair. Perhaps his flight out of Oslo had been cancelled.

The Case for the Defence

“Tijuana, the town on the ‘most crossed border in the world’ remains a remarkably friendly jungle, a fascinating, vibrant cocktail of cultures that’s fun for people-watching even if you’re not planning on participating.” Lonely Planet

“Naples is not so much a city of sights as just a great place to be, particularly its dense Centro Historico. Spend a couple of days here and you’re likely to be as staunch a defender of the place as its most devoted inhabitants.” Rough Guides

“The beautiful beaches and the year-round summer-like climate play a central role in local culture. Most visitors leave Santa Cruz amazed by the city’s beauty and ambiance.” Wikitravel

“Townsville boasts an average of 300 days of sunshine each year. Combining this glorious sunshine with a relaxed lifestyle and a diversity of attractions, Townsville is the perfect choice for a North Queensland holiday experience.”

“Unfairly undervalued, Lima is a warm and vivid city with much to offer, from magnificent museums to a sparkling nightlife. Above all, Lima’s gastronomic scene is, simply put, superb.” The Peru Guide

“What sets Oslo apart from other European cities is not so much its cultural traditions or its internationally renowned museums as its simply stunning natural beauty.” Fodor’s

The Irish Abroad

It is estimated that there are 70 million people in the world who claim to be Irish or who claim Irish origins or roots; did you know that? The spread of Irish people reaches every corner of the globe. While we are not viewed as a top football country, we hold a claim that wherever we travel we bring football with us. Here are elements of Irishness in world football that may come as a surprise to you.

Hibernian FC (Edinburgh, Scotland)
Hibs were the brain child of Cannon Edward Hannon and Michael Whelehan, who were members of the Catholic Youth Men`s Society. They were looking for a mechanism that would integrate the strong Irish population in the city with that of the natives. Whelehan put the idea of a football team to Hannon and this laid the foundation for the creation of Hibs.
The Cowgate area of the city, effectively known as “Little Ireland” was home to 12 000 Irish emigrants and in 1875 they were given a sense of community with the birth of the Hibees.  Hannon and Roscommon native Whelehan had established a model that would be followed in other Scottish cities.

Celtic FC (Glasgow, Scotland)

Glasgow boasted a far greater Irish population than Edinburgh during the late 1800`s.Brother Walfrid was an Irish Marist brother based in the city and was desperately trying to ease the plight of the Irish immigrants.
Walfrid was a keen fan of the Hibs model and had invited them to play in Glasgow on a few occasions, before deciding that the Irish population was so strong that they could have their own team. Thus, Celtic were born in 1888.To this very day the club maintain strong links with Ireland and boasts vast support there.

St Mirren FC (Paisley, Scotland)
St Mirren was founded in 1877 as a gentleman`s club boasting a variety of games including football, rugby and cricket. The club is named after Saint Mirren or Mirin who is the patron saint of Paisley.
Saint Mirren was born in Ireland and went to the monastery at Bangor Abbey in County Down. He became prior there and sought to spread the Christian Faith. His travels brought him to Scotland where under the leadership of St Regulus he brought the gospel to the west of Scotland. This is the only link the club has to the Emerald Isle.

Dundee United (Dundee, Scotland)
The last of the Irish links with Scottish teams takes us to Dundee United. Dundee United was founded originally in 1909 as Dundee Hibernian, an acknowledgement of the successful Hibees in Edinburgh. Dundee Harp had existed in the city from 1879 until 1897 but then the strong Irish population in the city needed a new club.
The club is known as the Tangerines, in reflection of the colour of the jerseys. When they originally founded they wore the traditional green and white hoops first used by Hibernian. A change of name in 1923 brought about a change of colour. The club was seen originally as a catholic outfit but have moved away from that. The only connection that the club still boast with Ireland is the Irish players they currently have amongst their ranks.

UD Salamanca (Salamanca, Spain)
The club were originally founded by Irish students in 1907 although they now claim their official year of foundation to be 1923. Not much is known about their Irish links but they set a trend that few Irish men would follow. Patrick O’Connell became manager of Racing Santander in 1922 and in recent times Kevin Moran (joined Sporting Gijon in 1988), Ian Harte (joined Levante in 2004) and Steve Finnan (joined Espanyol in 2008) have ventured to Spain in search of glory.

Velez Sarsfield (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Velez Sarsfield are based in the Liniers neighbourhood of western Buenos Aires. The club was founded in 1910 and boast a rich and successful history, having won 7 titles to date, their most recent been in 2009. The club are named after Dalmacio Velez Sarsfield who was an Argentine Lawyer and politician of Irish descent. He wrote the Argentine civil code of 1869, which founded civil law within the country. 

Club Deportivo O’Higgins (Rancagua, Chile)

The Chilean club was founded in 1955 and were named after Bernardo O’Higgins, who was a South American independence leader, who helped free the country from Spanish rule. The club boast a tri colour as their crest in recognition of O`Higgins who was born in Chillàn to an Irish Father. His father was Ambrosio O’Higgins, a Spanish officer who was born in Ballynary, County Sligo.  Bernardo never met his father who was governor of Chile from 1788 until 1796 when he became the Viceroy of Peru.

St Patrick FC (Zabbar, Malta)

Originally known as Zabbar United from 1935, the club opted to change their name to St Patrick Fc.  This was in order to associate themselves with independence seekers, who sought to break free from the English hold over the country.  The club who currently play in the top flight of Maltese football boast a shamrock on their crest; this is an indirect link to Ireland.

Floriana FC (Floriana, Malta)
Floriana were founded in 1894 and are nicknamed The Irish, as they wear green and white. These colours were adopted in 1905 as at that time the Royal Dublin Fusiliers were stationed in the city. The regiment played Floriana three times that year in friendlies and they swapped shirts. The officials of the Fusiliers expressed their wish to see Floriana wear their colours and this is how it came into force.
The club were recently managed by former Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers manager Roddy Collins. They also boast a link with Shamrock Rovers.  

Montreal Impact (Montreal, Canada)
The club was originally known as Montreal Supra from 1988-1992 before it went out of business. The impact club was founded in 1993 to give Montreal a football team they so dearly craved.
The original club, Montreal Supra, were founded by the Montreal Hibernian society. The club itself emerged from the shadows of an older club, Montreal Hibernians, and the Irish population in the city had been strong for over a century.  The club also boasted top GAA and rugby teams.

Panathinaikos (Athens, Greece)
The club was founded in 1908 but while they boast a shamrock as their crest and wear a green jersey, they have no real Irish connection.

Guillermo Brown (Argentina)
Guillermo or William Brown was born in Foxford, County Mayo in 1777.He is regarded as a national hero in Argentina for helping win victories in the Argentine war of independence and he is also known as the father of the Argentine navy.  Four clubs exist in his honour. Club Atletico Almirante Brown was founded in 1917 in the town of Arrecifes. They compete in the Liga de futbol de Arrecifes.

Club Almirante Brown de Isidro Casanova were founded in 1922 in Isidro Casanova. They play in the Primera B Metropolitana. Brown Athletic Club were founded in Adroguè in 1945 as a multi sports club. They have never played in the Primera division.  Club Social Y Guillermo Brown or Guillermo Brown for short is a football team from Puerto Madryn in Chubut. Also founded in 1945, they play in the third tier of the Argentine league. 

By Glenn Dowd