A Very Paddy Day

*Blows off dust. Taps blog. Hello? Testing. Is this thing on? Hello?*

So we bought the house in the end. Then I became a grandad. Anyway, moving on. 

Today it’s Saint Patrick’s Day. I’m sure all you wee ones, you millennials and generation ZX or whatever, you think it’s just back-to-back entertainment, don’t you? Drinking your weirdly coloured beer. Wearing your big hats. Waving at Michael Flatley on his popemobile as red-haired maidens troop past, spraying the crowd with milk. Well let me tell you right now, it wasn’t always like that… 

You see, when I was a wee fella, back around the dawn of time, Saint Patrick’s Day wasn’t a thing you celebrated, but endured. It was a day off, sure. But it was also a holy day. Which meant you were going to mass, regardless of what your thoughts on the matter might be. And if you were lucky you’d have some shamrock pinned to you first. And maybe – oh the joy – a green rosette or plastic flag-type thing. 

Mass, of course, would be an immensely drab affair. It was tragic how a priest could make damnation, sin, evil and eternal torment sound so boring, when Iron Maiden took the very same subject material and made it thrilling, if a little long, but Father Priestfellow always seemed to manage it.

After mass, there might be a parade on the TV, transmitted from one of our many (five) cities, but it was always a miserable rainy affair with tractors pulling trailers containing hay and trad musicians and maybe, if you were lucky, a gaelic footballer or two. And that would be it. 

Except for one thing. A truly magical thing. You see, Paddy’s Day usually occurred during Lent. That’s when Catholics give up nice things. Like cigarettes or beer. Or chocolate. I think pancakes were also involved in some way. And ash? I don’t fucking remember, it’s been a while since I was a Catholic. Anyway, as kids, you would normally give up sweets, and Paddy’s Day was a cheat day. Lent was turned off. So the gorging on sweets could commence. Or on cigarettes, if that was what you’d given up. Or sex. Just like the great man himself would have wanted. 

It was only when I moved to Dublin in 1989, to study, that I was exposed to a Paddy’s Day that could be described as joyful. It shocked me, to be honest. Celebrating a religious day? Having fun? Those bloody Americans, always ruining our misery by taking it and sending it back to us all bright and joyful.

It’s a weird thing to do, though, isn’t it — celebrating the person who helped usher in two millenia of crushing guilt and all but eradicate Ireland’s traditional religion and rituals. On the plus side, the beardy fella did give us green beer, plastic hats and liver disease, and I think we can all agree that was probably a win.

So happy Paddy’s Day. I guess.

/ Paddy

The Fall of the Soldiers of Destiny

So yeah, there’s been an election in Ireland. The main gist of what happened is the following: the Fianna Fáil party, having rode the country like a horny fat man on a lame donkey for decades, has been well and truly shat on. Their share of the vote dropped from around 40% to under 20% and they lost seats all over the fucking shop.

This is good news. Those miserable bastards with their too-big suits, their thick country accents, their moist lips on the Bishop’s firm member and their fingers jammed up their own arses to the second joint, deserved nothing better. In fact, if you ask me, those despicable cunts should have to pay back their wages for the last two years and have their pensions docked forever. A finger or two removed wouldn’t hurt either.

The Green Party, in coalition with Fianna Fáil, lost all their seats. Every single one. Well that’s what they get for getting into bed with the devil. I am, in a way, personally responsible for the Greens being in government at all as I was on the campaign team that got their leader, John Gormley, onto his first Dáil seat in 1997 by a margin of 27 votes. So yeah, sorry about that folks. It’s all entirely my fault.

Of course Fianna Fáil weren’t thrown out for being nasty and shite. If the country had been ticking along as normal, they could have been as corrupt as they liked and nobody would care. They lost their power because the economy folded. The main reason for the crash was the bail-out of two huge banks, and the resulting fuck-load of debt following a staggering loan from the EU and IMF.

Other reasons include real estate agents (the miserable fucks) pushing up the property prices, the banks lending money to any ould tosser who wanted it, the developers covering the country with ugly houses and the Irish population scrambling to buy big fuck-off cars and tiny mobiles and borrow themselves into the fucking ground. The huge loan was the last massive stone on the already rickety raft. And Irish people, feel free to correct me on the real reasons for the crash. I don’t actually live there any more, you know.

Anyway, now the reins of power pass to Fine Gael, a centre-right party with very fine suits, very likely in coalition with the centre-left Labour party. Sinn Féin made big gains too and look like being a power in the next government. And along with them a shitload of independents with fascinating names and haircuts are heading to Dublin to claim their seats, all getting ready to deal with the biggest fucking mess in Ireland since Bloody Sunday.

I think it’ll be worth watching.

On a side note – have any bankers been brought to task for crippling the state and hurting the lives of Irish people for generations to come? Of course not, don’t be daft.

Where’s my hammer, pa, I think we got us some finger smashin’ to be done…

/ paddy

A Bank Too Far

You just have to love the Irish (something you’d all do well to remember, let me mysteriously add). The Irish taxpayers are now the proud owners of two fucked-up financial institutions, which might require cash injections of up to 50 billion euro to keep their greasy bosses in Guinness and Irish-dancer hookers.

One individual decided to vent his spleen at this by driving a cement truck into the gates of the Irish parliament (The Dáil) last Wednesday. On the truck he had painted “Anglo Toxic Bank”, as one of the banks involved is called the Anglo Irish Bank.

This was fun, and the incident was immediately referred to as “cementgate” which is pretty hilarious. More hilarious still was the wave of tweets with the #cementgate tag that immediately followed. See the article here for a few of them. My own favourite:

paddylogue: “Nice headline on Clare Herald website: ‘Mortar Attack’ On Leinster House.”

Sweet. And thanks to the most excellent O.R. Melling (whose books you really all should be buying) for the tip-off.

/ paddy

Ash Thursday

The big news today of course is the vast cloud of volcanic nastiness heading across the Atlantic, taking every plane out of the sky because of the risk of ash particles clogging the engines, turning to glass and causing quite a mess.

Among the travel refugees are H10 and his mum, stuck in Dublin for a few days since all flights out of the Fair City were cancelled. Not the worst city to be stuck in, of course; they could do a lot worse, like Stanstead, or pretty much anything with “Ryanair” painted over the doors.

But what most people have failed to notice is this is clearly the start of a horror movie; I mean, dangerous cloud moves across Europe, causing panic in its wake – come on, what else could it be?

Any day now we’ll have giant ants, and mutated moose, and hordes of Ryanair cabin staff turned into zombies and stumbling about with a desire to push our luggage under the seat, show us the exits and then consume our brains.

You know where you heard it first.

/ paddy

Trains and Ould Fellas

I have asked my cousin to do a guest post. This is my first guest post ever, because I was lazy and because my cousin amuses me greatly with her writings on Facebook.

So here we go. Enjoy. And forgive me for my laziness.

I come from the Country but I live in the City. After greatly celebrating the festivities of our Sacred Lord and his wonderful chocolate eggs, I realized that I would have to return to the City. Being the prudent girl that I am, I took advantage of the Irish rail systems newly established online booking system and booked myself a nice expensive seat in one of the cushier cabins.

Lately I’ve been feeling rather impressed with Iarnród Éireann (said railway) due to their spacious cabins, cushy seats and of course the marvelous dining cart service that harbours an interesting if slightly expensive range of sweeties ranging from Pringles to Lilly O’ Brien’s indulgent chocolates.


If there’s one thing you can’t change on train journeys, it’s the people. The people who don’t really know how the system works, or how to use it to their advantage to promote more comfort for themselves and others. 

You know the ones. The ones who perilously flee in any given direction when bus speakers announce, ‘Please step back, luggage doors operating.’ 

They’re the ones who stare at you with wild eyes and froth at the mouth while asking, ‘Are you local?’

They’re generally in the age bracket of forty to seventy and while I can’t paint them all with the same brush, they generally also don’t know how to collect their tickets at the automated ticket collection machine. 

It was one of those who caused me to become not only short in stature, but also short in temper today. As I was trying to make my way to my pre-booked seat, one seatless and grumpy woman roared at me that there were no unbooked seats in that direction, and that we should all just give up and get off the train now.

Upon my arrival at my pre-booked seat I found a fifty something country male with a broken arm smiling up at me. Well, I can’t tell you the shame I needlessly felt as I had to turf some ancient pathetic cripple out of my cushy throne. Man, all eyes were upon me. I could only guess at what the other passengers were thinking. Me in my prime, healthy goodness oozing out of my ears, energy buzzing off my kneecaps. Sure look at me! Fit to dance ten jigs, run the London marathon and save the orphan babies of Calcutta! And here I was, abusing my power to cast an injured elder into the great seatless beyond. 

And you can bet I did; I pulled my ticket on that man. And I’ll do it again. I may be short, but by God, I can navigate a computer interface with ease.

/ paddy (although not really)

Letter From a Catholic Priest

The Catholic church just doesn’t want you to leave. They baptise you before you can make a decision for yourself, and then make it artificially difficult for you to extricate yourself, so difficult that most people just don’t bother. And this leads to the Catholic church being able to boast a “membership” that is nothing at all like the actual numbers, because many of these “members” have not mumbled in a church for years and probably never will again.

Well now there is hope as these people have built a website making the process, if not simple, at least doable.

I have been pursuing this process myself over the last couple of months and now my Declaration of Defection (actus formalis defectionis ab Ecclesia catholica) has reached the parish priest of the town where I grew up.

And this man has taken it upon himself to send me a hand-written letter explaining why I should reconsider my decision, as well as pointing out how great the Catholic faith is and why I should stick with it, just, you know, in case.

This letter has left me gobsmacked. Well and truly speechless. I don’t even know how to reply. In fact I will refrain from even commenting on it and allow you to read it for yourself.

And, when you’re done, and your gob has ceased smacking, please let me know how you think I should formulate my reply. Because a reply there shall be, oh yes, and the little priest’s eyes will be burned from his self-righteous head by a truly scorching analysis of his bag of sickening clichés, his idiotic and laughable “beliefs” and his despotic, parasitical and thoroughly nasty church.

In fact, this is a golden opportunity, to be able to dissect the best arguments of a Catholic priest, line by flabby line, and let him know precisely what reasoning people think of his stinking cesspit of an organisation. And the best part is – he will read it all, every line, because he has to!

Oh I can hardly wait. But first, for your delectation – the letter itself:

ear XX

I received your letter regarding your desire to leave the Catholic Church. I feel a need to drop you a line before I change the register.

I have been in PARADISE parish since last July and have the privilege of ministering to the people. I use the word privilege because my vocation as a priest allows me to share a little of my faith and be helped and strengthened by the faith of the people.

Tonight we had a wonderful ceremony of First Confession for the children. It was powerful to see the huge commitment of parents and teachers in handing on the faith.

On the occasions of funerals I see great acceptance of loss in people who are practicing the faith. However those who are not practicing find the loss very difficult as the powerful sense of hope is lost.

Next week we celebrate the great Easter Ceremonies. On Easter Sunday morning at 6 am we have an open air mass to welcome the new life and hope of Easter as the dawn comes upon us. You may remember these ceremonies. God knows we need hope in our church at this time.

When you were baptised in June 19XX your parents XY and XX desired that you would be welcomed into the church. Like all the other gifts they gave you as a child they wanted you to have the great gift of faith. That gift was bestowed on them on the day they were baptised. It was a privilege for them to share the gift with their child

The gift of faith is a spiritual gift bestowed on us for a lifetime. You will have it for your lifetime even though it may not be appreciated for now. Changing the register does not take away that gift.

Faith is calling you and I each day to do good and to pray. Through the church the Lord is helping and supporting us.

Apologies for my handwriting. My computer skills are not great.

You may like to reflect on my words or you may like to disregard them, but I feel a need to say them. I wish you well in your work and good health and happiness in the years ahead. If you are home in PARADISE anytime drop in for a cup of tea. You might let me know if you have reconsidered.

All the best,

Fr John Doe

Okay people, the game is on. We got the priest in our sights. Now take a deep breath, squeeze that rhetorical trigger and let’s go get him!

/ paddy


I won’t rant I won’t rant I won’t rant…

Irish Christmas. Idiot Catholic priests. Grrrr. Horrible Irish architecture. Gzzrrrr. Potatoes done in a billion ways. Mmrrtrtrt. Total lack of physical motion. Hmmrrrrt. Horribly depressing English soap operas. Nnnggggggn.

And the rain the rain the rain the damp the rain…

So, yes, I was in Ireland for Christmas, and it was great to hang out with the family and chill to some good trashy TV and get a nostalgia kick and bitch about the Catholic church with my brilliant 12-year old niece and have people cook food for me and drown in tea.

But I missed the Interwebs. I missed cappuccino. I missed pasta. I missed the gym. I missed secular people. And I missed you lot.

So here I am, back with a few new years resolutions.

And they are:

  • Learn to touch-type
  • Learn to read music and get piano lessons
  • Run a bloody marathon
  • Do something musical (besides the piano lessons)
  • Get something published that I will be paid for
  • And a 4-letter acronym that I will not, at this time, make public

So happy new year, and good luck getting rid of those extra kilos with your hastily purchased post-Christmas gym card, you big chubby git.

/ paddy

Happy Julething

Tomorrow sees me and H10 heading off to Ireland for the Christmas.

The last time such a thing was attempted was five years ago, when after two days in Kerry the lad came down with a very bad stomach bug and had to be transported to the hospital in Tralee where he lay with a drip in his arm for four days.

Irish hospitals, between the 24th and 28th of December, are not very jolly places, I don’t think I need to add.

And then, just to make it all a bit more cheery, the big Tsunami happened and the deaths of 300,000 people was the only thing to watch on TV.

And the only person to talk to was the chain-smoking 35-year-old grandmother from Limerick, with the intellectual level of a bowl of sprouts, whose asthmatic son lay in the next bed.

That was, without any competition, the worst Christmas ever. But I suspect that this one may be better. The whole Irish family are there, and the TV as usual will be brilliant, and the crisps and Baileys will flow like, um, some strange creamy sludge.

And I can immerse myself in books, and write as much as I want, and watch every trashy movie ever made, and stay up until 2 am with my unexpectedly night-owl parents, getting tipsy and talking about cats, EU grants and the neighbours.

And what do I want for Christmas? Actually just that will do fine, thanks. With just a bit more Baileys.

There are no Internets available in my parents’ house, so you’ll hear from me again in a week or so. And please, for me, have a very good one indeed.

/ paddy

A Great Day for Europe

All the newspapers today (well, yesterday, when I started writing this) are spouting off about the Lisbon treaty, about the “landslide” YES vote in Ireland. And about the “great day” for Europe.

Well it isn’t a “great day” for anything; in fact it was a tragic day that demonstrates the staggering failure of democracy in Europe.

Irish voteDo you non-Irish know what the Lisbon treaty is about? Probably not, because your government took away your option to vote on it, and simply voted for you instead.

I don’t know what it was about either, and I even read some of the election pamphlets in Ireland a few weeks ago. But I still don’t know very much.

You can see that nobody had an idea what is involved when both the Yes and No sides presented almost identical arguements as to why we should vote for them. And the reasons that weren’t identical were innane – “we will be left outside Europe” and so on.

The biggest scare tactic used was the threat of removal of aid for the Irish economy and Irish banks. Basically – “Vote Yes or risk your country going under”. Nice.

To promote the passage of the treaty, the Irish were given some “guarantees” – or, if you prefer, bribes – to convince them to go ahead and vote yes. Among these was the provision for the Irish state to continue pissing all over women’s rights and continue the Catholic Church backed ban on abortion.


So now, with this Yes vote, the Irish have a legal guarantee that Europe will not interfere in the question of allowing Irish women the right to choose what to do with their own bodies.

So in what way is this a “great day” for anything? Simply throwing a referendum at the people again and again until you get the answer you want, calling it “final” and then never bringing it up again?

The actualy turnover was 57% and 67% or so of them voted yes, meaning that about 40% of the Irish electorate said “Yes”, hardly a landslide, as the press are saying.

If the Irish had said “Yes” on the first attempt, would there have been another vote in case they had changed their minds and now wanted to vote “No”? You bet you arse there wouldn’t.

And if Ireland was truly was a democracy, then there would be one referendum more, and they would take the best out of the 3 results. And that ain’t going to happen, is it?

So don’t worry, nothing actually changed on October 3rd – the power in Europe still rests with the same people, and they will continue to get what they want in the same ways as before, despite their record of being very very wrong, so many times.

Yes, a great day for Europe indeed.

/ paddy

A Proper Pint

I had to charge home to Ireland over the weekend, due to a family medical emergency. And yesterday, 4 days later, I made my way back to Dublin, a bit dazed and head-spacey but very glad that things are improving.

Jumping into a taxi at the train station in Dublin I was informed by the driver that Thursday was a good day to be in Ireland. Apparently it is worldwide Arthur Guinness day, to celebrate the great man’s 250th birthday. But I told the taxi driver I was just passing through and would not be in Ireland on Thursday, and we agreed that it was a shame.

As a consolation the taxi driver agreed to drop me at what he considered the best real pub in the centre of Dublin. He drove me to O’Donoghues on Merrion Row and in I went.


This is a real Dublin pub–a long hardwood bar soaked with the sweat and beer of five generations, photos of real old patrons on the walls, a ticking clock and the laughter of old men, and an atmosphere of peace and timelessness.

So I drank my wonderful authentic Dublin pint and wondered why I hadn’t gone back to Dublin more often, just me, and rediscovered the place where I had become an adult. And why I didn’t see my friends in Ireland so often these days, why several of them had children that I had never even met, and how my family could be getting old without my noticing.

And I decided to do something about that, to get out there and see these people again, and rediscover those parts of the world I once fell in love with before my own medical emergencies come a-knocking on my door.

Because, as you well know, life’s too bloody short.

/ paddy

Perfect Smells

Two weeks ago saw the end of my favourite bottle of perfume. It was an end both natural and unnatural, in that it ran out but also happened to fall into the hand basin and smash into indelicate shards. So that was that then – time to get a new scent.

I remember when I was fifteen my mother arranged some private tutoring for me and my sister. My sister was to get help with her Maths and I was to get help with my Irish (a complete waste of time, I thought, but still). And the tutor she found was an unbearably attractive 22-year old from Listowel with flowing strawberry blonde hair, a creaky old Citroën 2CV and the most captivating violet scent.


I was smitten immediately. I sat beside her and just drank in her aroma, nodding at the right places and trying in my fifteen-year-old manner to be charming while she teased out my Irish grammar.  And when it was my sister’s turn, I would be moved to the bedroom of the small house where her scent hung in the air, soaked into me and melted my unformed little heart.

That was the first time I really understood the whole concept of “woman”. And these days a white 2CV can still make me shiver, and when I catch that violet scent from some passing female my heart tries to climb right out of my body.

My Irish, understandably enough, didn’t improve one bit.

scentAnd then I remember my first big crush on a female of my own age. She wore white musk, and that smell alone could flatten me on the sofa with an aching heart for half a day. She left a scarf in my possession one time, and I must admit to sniffing it with painful sighs and even sleeping with the thing under my pillow.

So scents are immensely powerful, charging right into those dusty depths of our minds and dragging out long filed-away memories. And the “signature” scent of a cherished person is as much a drug as their skin, voice or touch.

So anyway it was time to get a new man perfume. And after a frantic help session on Facebook, aimed mostly at the people most qualified to judge these things (women), some web research provided me with a short-list, which was the following:

  • Kenzo – Air
  • Van Gils – Tendenza
  • Gucci – Pour Homme
  • Guy Laroche – Drakkar noir
  • Van Gils – Basic Instinct
  • Marco Polo – Pure Green
  • Diesel – Fuel For Life Pour Homme
  • Boss – In Motion

A long session of discreet sniffing in a few of Stockholm’s perfumeries gave me the eventual winner, which was – wait for it; the card please Mr Crystal – Basic Instinct from Van Gils! And I must say, I am very happy with it.

Now all that remains is to get a young female student or two of my own to tutor in order to imprint them and gets their hearts fluttering whenever, in the years to come, they happen to catch my scent or hear a snatch of “Danny Boy”.

No, wait, hang on, I’ll have to remove that last part, it’s just way way too pervy…

/ paddy

Catholic Control in Irish Primary Schools (part 1)

It’s nice to know that Ireland is keeping up with the times. The economy is in good shape; priests no longer sexually molest children; the right to abortion is recognised and defended; people hold politicians responsible and vote them out when they deserve it; money no longer talks; gay people can live lives free of fear and discrimination; and the Catholic church no longer runs the whole show.

Yeah right – in some other universe, maybe.


The truth is that the Irish national school system, for all kids between about 5 and 12, is controlled by the Irish Catholic church. And we’re not talking about just a few scattered wacko schools here, but the vast majority of them, 95% or more. My niece, now 11, explained it all to me on my recent visit to the old country. And when she showed me her religious text books, and passed on her anecdotes, I shook my head in dismay.

Could it really seriously be like this in a modern European country?

So here’s how it works. The Irish state collects taxes to fund its schools. The board in each school makes the major decisions regarding how that school is run. And the head of the school board, regardless of ability, experience or popular vote, is almost always the parish priest. Which means a Catholic priest, I should add, for people from other countries who might imagine that any other fairy-tale power structures than Catholicism get any say in Ireland.

The children’s’ parents and school rector have a few seats on the board, but the actual power rests with the Priest and the church, and it has done so for over a century.

EnwQZN The priest therefore has a veto right over any and all decisions affecting the school: the teachers hired, the areas pursued outside the standard curriculum, and the influence of religion on the day-to-day lives of Irish children.

The church also gains a free platform to twist the next generation to their archaic and frankly terrifying view of the universe, a chance to use taxpayers money to raise a new generation of priests, and in return they give back to the community – nothing. Nothing, that is, but fear, guilt, abuse and oppression.

The children are forced to perform all the “celebrations” of the Catholic church, such as the ritual cannibalism of communion, and the responsibility-avoidance of confession. These rituals have priority above  their normal education – my niece told me stories of children missing math and language classes for church duty, such as altar service or choir singing. And the children really have no choice here – it is made clear to them from an early age that religion goes before all else.

It goes without saying that the Catholic faith is the only one on offer or, the majority of the time, the only one mentioned.

On top of this, the textbook (published by Veritas, Ireland’s premier publisher of Catholic propaganda) presents Catholic dogma not as theory or matters of faith, but as pure and unadulterated fact. There is no choice of textbook – only one is allowed, and the children must pay for it themselves, out of their own pockets, passing more money directly to the Irish Catholic machine.

I was under the impression that a modern democracy in a EU country would not support or allow compulsory religious indoctrination of children. And the Catholic church, with their undisputed track record of molesting and torturing children for decades, don’t seem the people to which we should be entrusting our childrens futures. It’s like hiring wolves to be shepherds.


To be honest, I hardly know where to start here. There are so many things in this story that make me fume. But here are a few links to get you started, if you think you need to fume a bit too:

This looks like it will be a very extended rant, so I will have to split it into parts. But keep on reading, because I plan to do something about it – I plan to raise some hell.

You see, I bought a copy of the religious textbook and discovered a pretty obvious copyright violation. The Apple symbol is used when discussing the creation myth, since the bone-idle layouter couldn’t be btoehreds to draw his own apple. And so I plan to nail Veritas for this. I repeat – they shall be nailed. Or at least made very very sweaty.

I will return to the sick little textbook later. But this but for now let me list what I intednd to do about this whole situation:

  1. Find out if the current set up in Irish primary schools is in fact legal by EU law.
  2. Write to Veritas and ask them if they have permission to use the apple symbol (and hopefully make them shit themselves). And also write to Apple and start warming up the boiling pot.
  3. Ask the Irish Catholic church directly and simply why they believe they should have this level of power in a modern democracy.

Join me in a week or so for part 2 of this rant where I dissect and quote the horrendous little textbook, and pass on some more anecdotes from my niece about day to day life in a “democratic” Irish primary school.

In part 3 we will look at the mails I sent to the various players listed above, and the replies received.

And in part 4 we shall summarise and see if any relies to mails have been fortcoming, and if the Catholic church has bothered to give a coherent response, and what Veritas think about copyright (and about Apple’s numerous lawyers).

I don’t expect to do much damage here, other than inform, since this has been going on for 150 years, and better men than I have tried.

But I am pretty sure I can nail them on the Apple.

/ paddy (Catholic-free since 1983)