Monthly Archives: March 2010

Religion and Catholicism and all that…

Calming or creepy?

I’ve decided to try and get my feelings down on paper (well, screen) about this one. The media frenzy surrounding the Catholic church in Ireland at the moment is unavoidable. As much as one may try, it is impossible not to have some sort of opinion on religion.

Ireland is, traditionally, a very Catholic country. The vast majority of people have been brought up as Catholics in some way or another. Certainly, things have changed since my parents’ and grandparents’ time, and Ireland is becoming more and more secularised. Lenten fasting is far less popular, and holydays of obligation no longer hold the importance they once did.

I was born and raised a Catholic. At three months of age I was baptised; in second class I made my Communion; I was confirmed before I left primary school. As a child, I detested Mass. There was nothing in the world I hated more than having to sit in a church for three-quarters of an hour when I could be doing all manner of other things.

As I grew up, and particularly in recent years, I’ve noticed what a big role the Catholic church plays in our society. Many, many people disagree with this. Yesterday I noticed a Facebook group calling on people to sign a petition to separate the Church from the Irish education system. Thinking back though, I remember religion class after religion class in primary school, singing along to the Alive-O! tape and colouring pictures in the workbook. I recall visits from priests, and reciting the Angelus daily. After eight years of saying it though, I cannot say it today.

Alot of people have been questioning the role of faith in everyday life since the revelations of child sexual abuse in the Church. The Ryan and Murphy reports contained shocking details of years and years of hidden horrors. Everyone was shocked, dismayed and horrified. Nothing can undo what happened, and the Pope’s letter didn’t exactly change anything. I’m not here to talk about that though; I’m only here to talk about me (as always).

Whose to blame?

I think it’s fair to say that I’m quite a patriotic person, and I can’t just pretend that the Irish culture and people are completely separate from the Catholic Church. Ireland and the Church are so inextricably linked that it’s impossible to define one from the other. This bond seems particularly marked when someone dies. Rosaries, wakes, removals, funerals, burials, remembrance masses, mass cards…the list goes on. I can’t say for certain what I believe, because I don’t know myself. I’m only a teenager, and it’s not exactly a priority for me to contemplate all this, but I do know that I want to believe it. I think everyone would like to believe that there’s an afterlife where you’ll meet all your loved ones again. That belief provides a huge sense of comfort when a loved one dies and I don’t think anyone should be ridiculed for wanting that to happen.

Then there’s the whole debate as to whether or not you should baptise your children. Now more than ever we have a choice to make regarding baptism and the rest of the seven sacraments. Does a parent have the right to make a decision regarding faith for their two month old baby? Is it morally right to baptise your child merely in the name of tradition? Why bother baptising the child if the next time they see the inside of a church is on their communion day?

Too many questions, too few answers. But then again, isn’t that what faith is all about? Believing, when there is no real proof…

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Nothing other than my weekend

I think it’s tradition by now to write a summary of my weekend on a Sunday or a Monday. So here’s the weekly entry to bore you with the inane details of my life.

On Friday at 1 the whole year went to Hamlet in the Everyman. This was a rather painful experience that lasted three long hours, but I’ve pushed it to the back of my mind until I’m forced to recall it for some question or other. My parents decided to go out with friends on Friday night so I got to spend a fun night at home minding the child. Although, on the upside, they got me a Pádraigín’s speciality pizza for dinner so it wasn’t all that bad.

The consequences of them going out and getting drunk was none other than having to wait around for hours for a lift as my mother attempted to sleep off her hangover. Lightweight.

Wandering about the Crawford..

Eventually she arose, and I got a lift to town with her and met Aisling, Aisling and Hannah. We were wandering around when we passed the Crawford and saw that the new exhibition was open, and so popped in for a sconce around. The exhibition was by Backwater Artists Group and is well worth a look if you’re around Cork. And it’s free! We are such recessionistas, like!

When we left the Crawford though, it was beginning to drizzle, so the obvious spot to hide from the rain was our favourite coffee shop, and there we headed. The I text a friend, and he came up with another friend of his whom I last saw when I was in a rather merry state.

But there was nice chat and lots of laughing, until I accidentally broke a piece of wood off the counter we were sitting at. I had had my foot resting against it and it kind of just gave way. There was a bang, and I said in what was probably a rather high-pitched voice ‘Oh Jesus Christ what did I do?!’ and about a second later the guy working there also said ‘Oh Jesus Christ what did she do?!’ But only because he knows us, so I wasn’t offended or anything. And he came down to examine the damage, but we kind of just stuck the piece of wood back where it was, and it stayed, so I didn’t have to go washing the coffee cups or anything. Not that I’d have minded…

We then walked around town, talking, looking in shops, bumping into various people, avoiding others; just the usual. We sat on Grand Parade, watched a hobo play soccer with three other guys, helped Liam’s sister tidy up the coffee place she works in return for pain au chocolat and Danishes. Fair exchange I think. And we sat eating them, and eating Celebrations and telling stories of people and times gone by.

Dancinggg!

There was a bit of a conversation with a skinny skater dude involving an unwanted Danish, but we’ll just forget about that. Then I decided to go to this 18th that I’d be invited to. So I got the bus with Niamh and Ross and Nicole as far as it would go, and then had a bit of a trek to actually get to the party, but we got there fine. I got a little bit tipsy, talked to old people, talked to new people, danced, shouted, hugged and had a good night. It was a surprise portaay in a free gaff and the place got a bit wrecked, with one room looking like it had been attacked with glowing goo. Which it had been. There were alot of glowing Topshop clothes going home last night..

But it was a fun night, with a different crowd than I’m used to, which was nice for a change.

This morning was quite lovely too. I woke late-ish seeing as the clocks had gone forward, but I, unlike my mother the previous morning, managed to get up fine and we headed to Kinsale. I told her about my day in town, about the party, and she was cool about the ol’ Al.Co.Hol. Nice bitta trust developing there. Got behind the wheel for a bit then today, and I’ve hugely improved my starting the car, so my Easter driving is going according to plan.

Good weekend. Happy happy happy!

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Guidance…

I don’t know why they call it guidance at all really. You sit there, listening to that ‘guidance counsellor’ drone on and on about how to apply and where you can do level 6 courses and blah blah. I know all this shit already, I need you to help me figure out to do with my life, not tell me that it’s good to get into the habit of filling out forms in black biro.
The prospectii that I already have at home are thrown at me, and I have to ‘research’ a course, research here meaning reading the brief course description that I’ve read ten times myself already. Everyone proceeds to scribble down banal details such as number of places, course code and where to apply. You people think I don’t know this already?!?! You actually think that just by reading the prospectus in the ‘Guidance Suite’ it will miraculously all become clear as opposed to reading it in the comfort of my own bedroom?
So every Monday, I leave the ‘Guidance Suite’ more confused than ever. I’m being told to do Arts or go to a post-leaving cert college. Not being snobby here, but I’m capable of alot more than a certificate, you people should know this. Or has the motto suddenly become ‘Aim low and you might eventually get there via the longest possible route just in time to have the degree you want to stick on the inside of your coffin’. I’m all for looking at different options, and trust me, I have. I’ve possibly looked at every possible area and course available to me. And to be honest, that’s the problem. I’ve too much choice. If I work hard, I can get however many points I want, so that’s not a huge issue. But where to start?
When I was young, very young, I wanted to be a vet. That dream lasted for a good while and I thought I’d never, ever want to do anything else. I even remember telling my parents that you could only do vet med in Dublin, and what would I do, not realising I’d be mad to move away when the time came.
I think Science came next, although maybe there was a very short period of time where I was interested in teaching. But yeah, from about 1st to 3rd year I was set on Science. I was looking at Biomed, Medicinal Chem, general Science, Biochem and so on. Then I contemplated Pharmacy and thought about Medicine, and to this day I still do. Law crept in round about third year, and is still a strong possibility.
Fourth year opened my eyes to the completely new (to me) area of media. Design, journalism and TV/radio suddenly fascinated me. This all happened for numerous reasons and I still have this idea of what I want to do. It’s an extremely idealistic view of what I’d like to end up doing, but everything starts with a dream. I think I love writing, and design too. I like organising and running events. I like the arts and culture. I like the Internet, newspapers, blogs, film and graphic design. I like Irish.
So right now, I have two vastly different options in front of me. I have the scientific one, which absolutely fascinates me. As gay as it sounds, I have a hunger for knowledge, and I like knowing the answers and understanding things. Science is modern and the key to our future as Ireland begins to focus on R&D. The option to study the human body and drugs and having such powerful knowledge seems exciting, and I know I would love studying medicine or pharmacy. It’s the job that’s turning me off. I don’t know how I’d like to be stuck in a lab on my own all day surrounded by test tubes and droppers. I’m not sure if I’d be able to cope in a hospital as contagious diseases scare the living daylights out of me. Being able to save someone’s life would be utterly amazing, but I just don’t know how I’d cope in a hospital, married to my job.
Then there’s option two. If I chose that route, there’s lots more choices to make after that. I was thinking of Law and Irish and if I had to fill out my CAO today that’s probably be number one. Law’s a very broad degree and I think that’s what I need, while Irish would allow me study something I love and use it to possibly get into media or something completely different. Journalism and New Media in UL is something I’ve been looking at too, although it’s a very new course. There’s a few in NUIG that interest me too. That’s the thing about UCC, it’s very ‘traditional’ course-wise. While other colleges are looking to the future and diversifying into modern areas, UCC seem to be holding back a little, and it annoys me, because I really don’t know if moving away is financially feasible.
So here you are, with me in the midst of making one of the biggest decisions in my life. This time next year, that form will have been signed, sealed and delivered. I’m merely a teenager, who still has to get dropped here and there by my parents, who can’t even legally buy alcohol, and yet I’m expected to know what I want to do with my life.
Mind-boggling, in more ways than one.

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How to re-create an authentic Irish pub scene..

If this is something you want to know how to do, you’ve come to the right place. Even if it’s not, stick around because it may come in handy.
1. Find some Irish trad music (CD or tape) and play in a portable CD player.
2. Strum some basic chords on a guitar to complement the CD.
3. Get two glasses and clink them together every so often.
4. Make vague noises to give the impression of speech, banter, laughing, drunken shouting etc.
This is what I spent Saturday night doing, well a part of it anyway. We were over at a friend’s house for the night, just a ‘girls night in’ you could say, while her parents were away. But one of the girls who were over for the night isn’t trusted completely by her mother due to a little incident involving too many glasses of wine. So her mother insisted on having our host’s parents ring her to confirm our whereabouts. But of course there was no-one there to confirm. We tried to put her off by saying that our host’s parents were in the pub with friends. But the wine-lover’s mother insisted, so we ended up making pub sounds as outlined above while one of us pretended to be our host’s mother.
And it worked. So our pub sound creation can’t be that bad!

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‘Tis been a while…

When I got back from London I realised I had so much work to catch up on. The week before we went I was only thinking about going away, and then reality hit on Monday when I saw all the homework I had never done. And we had three maths tests last week. If that doesn’t excuse me, I don’t know what will..

The past weekend was good, really good. After getting Business and Maths tests out of the way on Friday, I went home and straight to bed. Passion Pit were on in the Savoy that evening and we had three tickets between 7 or 8 of us and decided we’d head out anyway as it was a friend’s birthday. I felt a bit crappy so I popped two Paracetamol and went for a nap. setting my alarm for 6.15pm. Inevitably, I put it on snooze and didn’t get up until 7pm so there was a bit of a shower-change-pack rush going on between then and eight.

We got to town and saw the queues outside Savoy and just decided to give up there and then. A little bit of wandering the streets ensued, but that was to be expected, and after a bit we ended up in a pub. We met a few people in there, both young and old, friends and strangers, and quite a bit of Irish was spoken. Drink always brings out the cúpla focal in people.

It was a lovely, lovely evening, and we even a platter of free sandwiches for whatever reason. Seriously, how bad? Then I got word that the whole getting into Passion Pit scenario was pretty lenient, but one drink led to another and we never got there. We did give our tickets away though, for anyone who’s raving at the thought of wasted tickets.

We met some lovely, and some not so lovely people after we left the pub. Somehow, I got talking to this guy, a DJ he told me, and we joked about adding each other on Facebook. Then the following afternoon in town, who do I see DJing in the window of a shop in town, but himself from last night. We waved and laughed.. Small world, like.

Town was so nice yesterday. Cork is so cultural these days that the food stalls were out on Grand Parade and there was some Irish-y band playing and there was Art in the Park – all part of St. Patrick’s Festival as it’s called. No longer just Paddy’s Day, but here in Cork we extend it to a whole festival. Myself and Aisling got some savage ‘Gourmet Sausage Sandwiches’ from O’Flynn’s for lunch. Feckin’ delicious.

Now it’s Sunday and my head hurts and I have a cold. Which sorta sucks. But I don’t feel too bad. We went to Kinsale earlier for coffee and whatnot and now I’m shuddering at the prospect of having to start my homework. My room’s a wreck and I’ve to walk the dogs, but I think I might just say ‘Feck that’ and get lost on the Internet for a few hours.

It’s Sunday after all, and aren’t we all supposed to rest and not do anything or something?

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Rush rush rush

I’m surprised I haven’t done a huge ‘I was in London at the weekend and look at what I did’ post yet, but I just haven’t had the time. Which is annoying, because I think you need to blog about something while it’s still relevant so that you actually feel what you’re writing. But whatever.

In the meantime, head over to http://loladee.wordpress.com/ to see a guest post of mine. My friend Lorna asked me to do this week’s ‘Guest Wednesday’ so have a look at my post there if you’re missing my rants and ramblings and beautiful words in general.

I’ll be back with my daily blogging by the end of the weekend. Promise. And I can do a big long ranty post about why I’ve been so busy and stressed and whatnot.

Grr.

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Le Weekend

I know the weekend is all but a distant memory now, but better late than never.

Saturday was nice. I went into town with my mum in the morning and we met my aunt for coffee. Surprisingly enough, I had a hot chocolate as I’m not a huge fan of the coffee in this particular establishment.

SL274098

Hot chocolate.. mmm!

Then we went to Opera Lane where my mommy bought me a grey dress in Topshop. It’s onr of those ‘skater dresses’, long sleeved, and plain grey. Then I went to H&M and bought myself an organic cotton t-shirt for a tenner. It’s turquoise and has a sort of numph-style design on the front.

I met up with my friends, and we headed to see Mick Flannery in the Pav. It was an all-ages gig, but apparently under 18s were supposed to be accompanied by an adult. Ticket prices were cheaper for under 18s aswell. There were these two guys in the queue ahead of us and I asked them ‘Will you be our parents?’ which led to some laughs and chat about them being just friends, and would surely only pass as our slightly older brothers. But we got in without any questions anyway.

The Pav had tables out on the floor and candles on the tables.

The floor and all the peoples..

The music was excellent and Mick was lovely. He’s shy and appears to be grumpy but is really rather funny.

“I’ve the stage presence of a sock. Not very useful in this line of business.”

Beautiful music 🙂

Mick and Yvonne

After the gig, they put the Ireland England match on upstairs, and Liam joined me, an the others left, and then we finally left the Pav when the match was at 13-13. We are true Ireland supporters indeed. Then Liam and I went shopping. Well more like Liam shopped while I held his stuff and gave some constructive criticism. He should have bought the cardigan in H&M, but went with the Cormac-esque jumper instead. Anyway.

That evening, I met my parents for dinner in The Brick Oven. Formerly Proby’s Bistro, it’s located on Sullivan’s Quay and looks lovely both outside and in.

The Brick Oven

The walls inside have loads of different style letters..

Crappy photo, but the ceiling has lots of different lampshades.

I had an amazing pasta dish with chicken, mushrooms and a cream sauce. With plenty of parmesan on the side, which I absolutely love. Their pizzas are fab too, and my dad actually commented how nice his steak was, and he meant it. Dessert was a delicious chocolate brownie sundae with warm brownies and ice-cream all together. Yum.

Sunday was Kinsale and homework. No surprise there.

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