Posts Tagged ‘ titanic ’

Far Away Fields Are Greener, The Near Ones Are Still Black


Far away fields are greener but today, far away they still remain. The All Blacks were in town, with them they had a box that contained Irish rugby history. That box was open for eighty minutes yesterday before they unapologetically stuffed the history books back in and closed the lid, as we watched on helplessly. I knew walking into the stadium yesterday that it felt different. The crowd were up for it, more importantly the players were really up for it. Sport is cruel, it wouldn’t carry with it the highs and lows that it does otherwise. There is however no sport on the planet that could have had so much at stake during a ‘friendly’. Last week’s display was still fresh in the minds of the home support but they were up for ‘giving it a go’, Irish teams seem to play better for some reason when nothing is expected of them, when a good performance will count as a result. The air was thick as the formalities got underway, if I swung a samurai sword at that point in time, it would have stuck fast in the unyielding thickness of atmosphere. Three national anthems later we were ready for that tradition of all traditions. As far as watching grown men slap their legs and arms in an act of intimidation goes, yesterday’s didn’t weigh in with the threat that it usually carries. It was short and sweet, too short, too sweet. Continue reading

Gravity – The Best Movie Of 2013


The first thing that crossed my mind as the credits rolled for Gravity was “That was the best movie that has come out in 2013”. There are a good number of films that I either have not seen or have not come out yet which I feel will be better, specifically 12 Years A Slave and The Wolf Of Wall Street, however until then Gravity has top honours for me. Sitting in the theatre I couldn’t help but feel I was witnessing a landmark in film as a craft. As a fan of film making as a process I cannot even comprehend how Alfonso Cuarón managed to pull this film off but he did and he did it spectacularly.  Continue reading

News in Brief-Cruise Is A ‘Nob As Enda Assembles Egg Deterrent Army

Tom Cruise is a Nobber! It’s true, it’s true, he apparently has ancestral links back to the town in County Meath (whose name isn’t funny at all). Not only that but it seems Cruise could be a distant relation (with a capital DISTANT) to our dear Ryan Tubridy, now Tubs has had his wages cut perhaps Tom could lend him a few euro.

Misquoting, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake’ Stephen Dedalus said in the wake of the production of the celebratory silver James Joyce coins. Featuring a line from Joyce’s great work Ulysses the €10 coins (which cost €43) released by the Central Bank have had to be withdrawn and an embarrassed apology offered after an extra word was added. Honestly, next they’ll be putting in punctuation. Perhaps the sculptor who designed the coins was demonstrating her own stream of consciousness? Continue reading

The East- Incomparably Exquisite

Belfast offers a range of fascinating places to visit; from the beautiful landscape and surroundings of Cave Hill to the great architecture of the Odyssey Arena, Titanic Building and Victoria Square, to the hustle and bustle of St. George’s market. Although each area of Belfast has their own unique beauty and exciting destinations to explore.

East Belfast is rich in history and is evolving into the new hot spot for tourists and locals alike, to see some of the interesting attractions it has to offer.

If shopping is your thing, then why not visit one of the busy shopping areas in the East, like the Cregagh Road to the popular urban districts of the Newtownards Road and Ballyhackamore. This area encourages sitting back after a hard days shopping, with a creamy cappuccino in one the warm welcoming coffee houses, a pint in one of its established bars or some fabulous quirky but traditional cuisine in one of its restaurants such as as Horatio Todd’s. Or how about an afternoon of chocolate tasting in Aunt Sandra’s on the Castlereagh road.

East Belfast is known worldwide for it’s creation at Queen’s Island where shipbuilders, Harland & Wolff, built the iconic Titanic and where once many of Belfast’s working class men spent their days. For miles across the skyline you can see the giants of Samson and Goliath, twin shipbuilding cranes towering over the city. The area celebrates these great men and the infamous ship by remembering them with murals, such as the one on the Newtownards Road entitled the ‘Ship of Dreams’. A masterpiece that captivates the street.

One of East Belfast’s most iconic buildings is the Odyssey arena, home of the Belfast Giants; a complex packed with bars, nightclubs, a bowling alley and a concert hall, with many world renowned performers taking the stage over the years.

Another interesting activity, are the Mural Tours, where you can see the many famous faces of East Belfast, such as Chronicles of Narnia author CS Lewis and Northern Ireland Footballing Legend David Healy, depicted scoring the winning goal against England. Many of the murals highlight the dark days in Belfast’s history, from the people the East lost during the Troubles to the conflict between the communities. Although, one particular mural in East Belfast is a little better known than some of the rest, this mural shows the East’s greatest ever icon immortalised on a wall in the heart of the Cregagh Estate, where once this iconic figure called home. George Best, a footballing inspiration and a genius of the sport.

The Parliament Buildings of Stormont, home to the Northern Ireland Assembly, set in acres of luscious green landscape and steeped in history, are an ever popular attraction amongst locals and tourists. Events are held regularly on the grounds, although it is equally as pleasurable to go for an afternoon stroll.

Taking a walk around many of the East’s parks is definitely a great way to put your mind at ease, to relax with friends or enjoy a picnic.One such park, Cregagh Glen is an area of outstanding beauty and picturesque walks, with an array of wildlife and flowers living alongside the paths, head up to the waterfalls, enjoy the views and relish in the fact that this area of tranquillity is on your doorstep.

East Belfast is fast becoming a sophisticated cosmopolitan, with many fascinating things to see and do. So the next time you feel yourself at a loose end, embrace the East.


News in Brief-Divorced Couple Battle Over Titanic Replica As Clooney’s Irish Ancestry Is Cast Aside

The biggest story of the week has to be The Irish Daily Star rather losing its shine after publishing controversial pictures of a topless Kate Middleton, a.k.a. future Queen the Duchess of Cambridge. Richard Desmond, well-known for his penchant for publishing -cough porn cough-, and 50% share owner has decided to cut his losses with the Irish branch of his newspaper empire after what Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte called its “lapse in taste”. Rabbitte who was rampant on RTE’s John Murray show claimed Desmond had overreacted before suggesting the Star knows what taste is.

The best things in life are free, including a University degree or so one student in Mayo thought. Anna Marie Flanagan, a mature nursing student has been banned from attending lectures at Galway Mayo Institute of Technology after failing her first year but continuing to show up.

Despite being ineligible to continue the course Ms Flanagan was not deterred and still attended lectures and lessons in what has been described as a “disruptive for other students”. She has subsequently had an order placed on her to prevent her doing any further study or turning up at GMIT.

She may be the first of many students on the make if Phil Hogan’s new incentive is approved. The Environment minister has given the go ahead (“didn’t ask” but “fully supports”) to local councils to withhold vital grants for third level students whose parents have not paid the household charge.

Did you enjoy the London 2012 Games? Did it inspire you to make some summer resolutions, get fit for Christmas? Don’t get your runners out too quick. Before you get carried away apparently the Olympics will have no impact in inspiring us to get off the sofa or on obesity levels long-term. Previous Games have not caused an “Olympic effect” according to Doctor Niamh Murphy, director of the centre for health behaviour research at Waterford Institute of Technology. Former international athlete, Dr Murphy said efforts to tackle obesity in Ireland were short-term, disconnected and uncoordinated; “everyone is doing stuff in their own silos”. As London 2012 fades from our minds so too will any ideas about taking up judo, javelin or becoming a Jamaican sprinter.

Wednesday saw the tenth anniversary of ’Speak Like a Pirate Day’ on which people are encouraged to add the odd oohh arr aye shipmates into everyday conversation. County Wexford took this literally by becoming the smuggling hub of the country. A €1.5 million haul of smuggled cigarettes was found in Enniscorthy town giving them the unofficial title of smuggler’s cove. County wide cigarette sales are down up to twenty percent,  which is being blamed on illegal trade. So if a man with a parrot on his shoulder offers you some cheap fags tell him to walk the plank.

A one happy couple in Cork have watched their relationship go down like a sinking ship, like the Titanic actually. Hungarian national Zoltan Panka and ex- Carmel McGrath, are caught in a vicious dispute over who gets their handmade, 16ft, Titanic replica. Ms McGrath accused MR Panka of taking the ship from her house without permission whilst Mr Panka counter claimed owner-ship (get it?!) Ms McGrath then stated it was she that paid costs to build the boat and has secured a court order to prevent him from selling it. Mr Panka claims he has since received abusive text messages from McGrath and had no intention of selling the ship which is worth about €70,000. For goodness sake, Rose and Jack they ain’t this feud will go on and on.

George Clooney isn’t from Abbeyleix. I know, I know, it’s devastating. This “news” comes from genealogy company Eneclann, based at Trinity College, and is in dispute with earlier genealogists who traced George back to Co Laois. It was believed George’s relatives were forced to leave their ancestral home in Kilkenny due to the famine but what do you know? They weren’t. We’ll all sleep well tonight.

Unless you have a sore head. It turns out people who take pain killers could in fact be giving themselves headaches. Nice, (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) highlights new research showing those that use painkillers more than ten days out of a month, in cases of ’medication over-use’, can exacerbate tension headaches and migraines. Not so nice.

News in Brief

It’s been a bad time for couples this week, first with Ronan and Yvonne Keating confirming their separation then the news that Louis Walsh and Cheryl Cole have also split – although with less call for lawyers and divorce settlements.
Louis has ended his friendship with Simon Cowell’s old favourite after she reportedly told Marie Claire, Girls Aloud were “never managed” after their creation on Popstars. Louis has hit back full force saying, “If i was in London I’d give her a piece of my mind”. Claims regarding Cheryl’s reply are in question as no one is able to understand what she said.
Meanwhile, Ronan and Yvonne have taken to twitter to separately confirm the end of their marriage late last year, having decided to keep the split private to protect their family. Will anothe celeb split get nasty or are both now in “Friend-zone”?

Titanic has been launched, not the boat again, but centenary celebrations that have cost Belfast council £77million (€92.4million). With £66million coming from the public purse, the Titanic celebrations have also launched fresh concerns about how many tourists the new centre will have to intice (at £13 a ticket) to break even. The fancy tv logo must have cost a bit with all it’s sharp pointy blue lines but where has the rest of the money gone?
‘The World’s Largest Titanic Visitor Experience` offers the chance to explore the shipyard in which the boat was built, the rooms on board and the story of the maiden voyage, worth every penny of your thirteen pounds. `Going beyond the aftermath` of the fated voyage sounds a bit murky, but thanks to oceanographer Dr Robert Ballard’s high definition footage of the ships final resting place it’s not!
Those with pop-culture aversion may scowl at the refusal of some to let it go – what with James Cameron’s 1997 film being re-released in 3D – but we’re in for a year of Titanic so you may as well strap on the life jacket. I for one am jumping aboard, not literally, I don’t want to drown and tickets are sold out till April Sixteenth.

What’s longer than an olympic swimming pool and less watery? Well, a lot of things really, but particularly the journey Olympic gymnast hopeful Kieran Behan had to take get to China. Mr Behan had been invited to take part in a prestigious gymnastic event but due to mistakes regarding his visa, was forced to re-board his eighteen hour flight from Heathrow to Beijing. Back in England it was only after discussion with the Chinese embassy that Mr Behan was once again onboard and bound for the Chinese capital. Gymnastics Ireland have taken full blame for the blunder which has cost Keiran five days of important training.
Mr Behan, who has overcome sever disability and injury to get to his position in the gymnastic world was understandably frustrated, a member of his team commented, `It was the world’s biggest cock up.`