Sunday, March 31, 2013

New DNA evidence indicates 10% of Scottish men are descended from the Picts; 3% of Northern Irish men too.

Interesting story here. '...The Picts were assumed to have “disappeared”. But this version of history has since been updated and it is now believed they were overtaken by political events becoming assimilated by incoming Scots invading from Ireland...'

(oops - just fixed genuine typo in title - thanks Mick!)

Saturday, March 30, 2013

This Easter, the biggest tv show in America is 'The Bible'

The other night I listened to an interview on BBC Radio Five Live with British-born tv man Mark Burnett, the producer of "Survivor" and "The Apprentice" to name but two examples, discussing his new series "The Bible: A story of God and all of us". It is being broadcast on The History Channel and has already been watched by an estimated 50 million people. See article here. Of course the Guardian hates it.

I have not seen it yet, so am not endorsing it, just letting readers know about it.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Roll Away Your Stone

One with a hint of Easter Sunday.

'You told me that I would find a hole
Within the fragile substance of my soul
And I have filled this void with things unreal
And all the while my character it steals...

It seems that all my bridges have been burned
But you say that's exactly how this Grace thing works
It's not the long walk home that will change this heart
But the welcome I receive with the re-start...'

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Duck Commander

Thanks to Robert for this.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

History of Lisburn

'... the town possesses much historic and modern charm. Its old name was Lisnegarvey ("the gamester's fort"). It was laid out in 1609 by Sir Fulkes Conway, of Conway, Wales, and one can glean from its signboards how English, Irish, Scotch and French Huguenots contributed to its making...'

from Belfast and Northern Ireland Illustrated Guide Book by Ward Lock & Co, c. 1945.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

St Patrick and Donaghadee

'... Among favourite short walks from Donaghadee is that to Bangor, by the shore road, and that to St Patrick's Well, a mile southward from the town by the Mill Isle Road, beyond the cable-house. The water is reputed to be a cure for headache ...'

from Belfast and Northern Ireland Illustrated Guide Book by Ward Lock & Co, c. 1945.

St Patrick and Donaghadee (Templepatrick townland to be precise). People used to know this stuff. Nowadays it's implied that only nutters and extremists dare bring this information to public attention. What a strange world we live in.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Ward Lock and Cos 'Belfast and Northern Ireland' 1940s

A gem of a wee book found yesterday in Bushmills. More excerpts to follow.

Dear Someone

Some lovely renditions of the Gillian Welch / David Rawlings waltz tempo song.

Monday, March 11, 2013

An Independent People - The Story of Ulster's Presbyterians.


The first part of this three part series was broadcast here in Northern Ireland last night on BBC2, presented by William Crawley and made by Below the Radar television.

Those of you who know me know that over the years (I think justifiably) I have often been critical of how television companies and broadcasters have got away with stereotyping the story of the Ulster-Scots. There is not enough space here to rehearse all of that, and to hoke it up now would be a distraction.

The first part of 'An Independent People - The Story of Ulster's Presbyterians' dealt with the 1600s, set the 1500s context of both Scotland and Ireland as well as the Reformation in Geneva, and did not shy away from some of the tough stuff around 1641 and of the deceptions around 1690.

I have to commend the production company, William Crawley, and the researchers and scriptwriters. The production values and visual qualities were beautiful in places. There were admittedly a couple of wee wrinkles from contributors - but overall it was an excellent piece of work and judging by emails and phone conversations I have had today, a lot of hard-to-please Ulster folk that I know thought likewise.

Our story is a mighty story and it was refreshing to see it given due respect, treated with depth and substance and not reduced to caricature. I am very much looking forward to the next two episodes.

Click here to see the promo clip

Friday, March 08, 2013

Washington Phillips (1880 - 1954) - 'What Are They Doing in Heaven Today?'

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

The Lone Bellow - NPR Tiny Desk Concert

Friday, March 01, 2013

Ry Cooder - I Always Knew You Were The One