Friday, July 27, 2012

Dublin. James Joyce: Ulysses Reviews. 1922

Young People Abroad.
Follow the Personage Theme.
Find James Joyce.

James Joyce may seem an odd interest for travel, but he recurs. He appears in memorials not only in Ireland and Paris by reference, but in Pula, Croatia, where he lived and taught.  Ulysses. For me, that was a semester course in college, and now enjoyed anew with a Down Syndrome son. He delights in knowledge, and an elocution aloud of passages that sometimes become clear by the sound of the words.

For anyone planning a trip to Dublin, read an early review of Ulysses, May 28, 1922, at  The review, in the New York Times Book Review as reprinted (our copy) in the October 6, 1996, retrospective, is by Dr. Joseph Collins. Collins.  Irish? 1866-1950, a neurologist, born in Brookfield, CT.  Resources on James Joyce:

The book was published in Paris in 1922, but banned in America until 1933 with its free use of words agreed at the time to be "base, vulgar, vicious and depraved" -- that from the review. Yet it is also nearer than any work to that time, of "the perfect revelation of a personality."  It was then freed simultaneously with repeal of Prohibition.  First legal printing here:  American edition of 1934. 

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Limerick. Limerick City. Hanratty's Hotel and Che Guevara, Guest

Limerick; Che Guevara
Dowd update
Limerick - with Shannon airport nearby - dates from the old hunter-gatherers 3000 years ago, and began as a town under the Vikings. See 

It gets foggy; as Che Guevara learned when his plane, refueling, was grounded at Shannon Airport in the 1960's nearby.

Where Guevara stayed.   See Maureen Dowd on the topic at  Guevara had been on his way back to Cuba.  Dowd says he stopped at a pub in Kilkee. Why would Guevara, in a fog, try to get all the way to Kilkee?  Check any map:  long way from Limerick, all the way past Galway, out to the sea.  Then again, it is only some 42 miles says the computer calculator.  Even that, however, in a fog, that is risky. We know first hand.

But where did he stay?  He was here, we were told as guests, at the venerable Hanratty's Hotel. Ms. Dowd.  Check that out for us.  A total 84 miles round trip, off to Kilkee when nothing of the seaside could be seen, in fog? Perhaps he stayed a few days in Ireland, not just overnight.  Who will tell us.
Hanratty's Hotel is on Glentworth Street. Limerick's oldest, and advertising itself as a "commercial" hotel -- business travelers, not tourist-catering. It is so old that the floors are tilty. Hold on. Stairs are deeply hollowed.
There is a very dark pub. Excellent. The hotel is on a side street, with its stable areas nearby. Ride right in.
In 1965, Che Guevara (1928-1967) and friends were there and, the story is told, they put shamrocks on their heads. See the politician section at for Che Guevara at Hanratty's.  See

Ernesto Che Guevara - see biography at  A hero to some, despicable to others, his fight against injustice itself bordered on the unjust, but his talents - working in hospital, a photographer, a philosopher, an incendiary, anti-imperialist. 
  • Why do we object to others calling western economic and political influence "imperialism",  a pejorative that probably is accurate:  when empires are being built to the detriment of the indigenous people. We call out "jihad" when others try to spread their beliefs by force.  But many in the west see religious forced conversions as merely the proper spread of the right religion. 
Che. We hardly knew ye, and who has a balanced view. See
Weather:  with our beloved Weather Underground now bought by dinky Weather Channel, see, we recall Dan Himself after his shower, and after his own performance of a weather show. Hear the accolades (in the absence of a TV in the room, or was there one?) in our vintage chintz Hanratty's Hotel room.
Dan Widing enjoying Hanratty's Hotel, Limerick, Ireland
Logistics at Hanratty's Hotel:  Where to park? Drive around the block to the big double swing doors that lead to an inner stables and courtyard, the old horse and carriage area, crawl through the archway and through the alleyway to the old stables.

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Galway, Kylemore Abbey (Connemara)

The more women religious conduct their good works directly among the people, the more the men religious in their hierarchies take offense, is that so?  The Benedictine nuns here have only been in residence since restoring this lovely castle in 1920, but they have had a presence in Ireland, with gaps for changes in politics, since the 17th Century.  The order originated in Ypres, Belgium.  See  

The project has been a boarding school for girls and other uses.

In America, meet an alarming trend.  Other-directed nuns are seen as radical feminists if they do direct service exactly in the lines and at the times ordained by Rome.  See  The issue is not limited to practices in the United States, see  Who on earth needs the overseeing here?  See

Today's lesson:  The poem, Worship, by Kurt Vonnegut.  Snippet:  "I don't know about you,/ but I practice a disorganized religion./  I belong to an unholy disorder./  We call ourselves,/ "Our Lady of Perpetual Astonishment."  ***

Fair use, see whole at 
Fair assessment of religion that works, vs. religion that profits.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Mayo. Westport. Sea-Warrior Grania Uaile, Grace O'Malley. Queen of Clew

Queen of Clew
Grace O'Malley
Grania Uaile
The cyberflaneur: does not know what might be cared about, until something is found to care about. The Cyberflaneur is not dead. See Death of the Cyberflaneur, by Evgeny Morozov, NYT
 I found the name, Grane O'Maille, in an old library book, where an shaky-looking old hand had written on a paper scrap: "Grane O'Maille of the Uisles, Grainne O'Malley, Grannails, Howth Harbor, p.207, research of rielory". That requires a look-up: the Goddess of the Scraps demands it.  Find that on January 7, 1906, one John Healy, Archbishop of Tuam, a diocese in western Ireland,,  offered a lecture at Westport's Town Hall, on Grania Uaile.
Who? A quick lookup discloses a Grania Uaile, 16th Century Irish female chieftain, sea warrior, western Ireland. We are not alone in our interest:  see 
Back to the lecturer.  What else did Healy do?  He was a man of many parts. See the various topics of his lectures and essays at
  • Healy gave learned discourses on Tara, Irish graves found in Rome, holy wells, round towers, St. Patrick, and Abbeys on the lakes in the West. And the Four Masters, especially one Brother Michael: see Donegal's Kilbarron Castle, the O'Clery's. In 1632, they set to record the Annals of Erin, religious and secular, at great risk; and in 1636, setting out to get review and approvals as authenticity. Another tale.
For here, Grania Uaile.

Time.  It is 1593 or so. 

Research issues: How to capture a name of a prominent person in the old Gaelic.  Grania Uaile.  Grainne ni Mhaille. Grace O'Malley. Which echoes the story best -- Grania. O'Malley smacks of the modern, the patriarchal, the "of Malley."  That does not fit the tale of the woman, the heroine of Clew Bay near Westport. See this warrior Queen of Clew at
Compare her to the better-known Queen Maeve, of the early Christian times. War, diplomacy, love, and ruling their husbands. Is this like Queen Elizabeth I, in role:  perhaps,  And it appears that they did meet. See below.
Why is she missing from the chronicles, including at Clonmacnois.

Is this the answer:  that Christians and others would not recognize a female chieftain. 
The authentic record is from the Privy Council in England, where letters record specific answers to questions put to her (this from the libraryireland site).  She lists her geneology, not descended from Brian Boru, but from his brother, Orbsen, "tributary kings to the provincial kings of Connaught."  In the1200's, the Butlers and Burkes drove most of them out, leaving far reduced territories in their control. She had been fostered as a child at Clare Island.
Curriculum vitae. She could sail a galley and rule a crew, see site. She was a warrior queen who then married, as under Brehon law she herself could not be "captain of the nation", but the people remained loyal to her.  The first husband, Donnall, was chieftain of the barony of Ballynahinch, a county subdivision, see
As an adult, one of her sons, Owen, was murdered -- vilely, by a Bingham (English) -- and after Donnall's death, returned to Clare with her children, as her bastion, her stronghold. She started to assert control of surrounding areas and castles. She had three galleys that held 60-70 men each, plus 20-30 oarsmen.  Some fighting men by then, clearly a Sea-Captain,  a pirate.
She married Richard Burke, Richard an Iarainn, Richard in Iron (for the chain mail) but because or her roles and position, was both master and mistress, says the site. She raided as she would, from any who passed near.
Ultimately she was captured and imprisoned, for 18 months, but was released in order (thought the English) to rule the unruly in the West. A balance was struck then in the west, of sorts, with Grania back ruling the sea, and the land-folk ruling the land.
Carrigahowley Castle was her last stand when the English came back at her. Although avoiding a battle, she did pay a tribute to them -- she was also politic. Iron Richard died -- and again Brehon law governed her.  Widows only received a return of their dowers, not their husband's "lands."  She set up her "trade" again, now with more sons (Owen was one murdered). 
And again she was captured; and managed a release.  But by that time, her wealth in cattle was decimated, she was much older, and finally lived a poor life; but before Queen Elizabeth died, she asked favors, too late. Did she visit Queen Elizabeth in Hampton Court? She did, in 1593, see site, and probably received some of her requests for reinstatement to lands.
Other questions:  Did Grania have a role in the slaughter of Spanish from the wrecks of the Armada on the Western coast of Ireland, castaways at Clew Bay? Probably not, but others did dastardly deeds.  See site. The heir to St. Laurence of Howth:  was it Grania who carried him off? Yes, by tradition, but what "proof" other than tradition could there be.  But the point was that Howth was being inhospitable to the passer-by, who by custom was to be fed and welcomed; and the condition of return was that he keep his dining doors open, and set a place for the wayfarer.  And Howth has done so since. Even if the abducted individual was another, the focal point remains.  Hospitality, sirs; hospitality.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Mayo. Traces of Famine Past. Michael Viney Writes.

This references an article of culture, tone, atmosphere, a heartbeat of a part of a country, that should be online and is not. It is Michael Viney, who wrote a "chronicle of country life" -- A Year's Turning, in 1996. This excerpt may be from that, see Natural History Endpaper, April 1999 at p. 104.  For the book, see

 Old crop rows show under the grass. The rows are raised beds of earth where potatoes and oats grew, before the Famine.  They look like wales of corduroy, says Michael Viiney, columnist with the Irish Times. His article, Long Live the Weeds, appeared in the April 1999 issue of Natural History, but is not online. See
The land with its echoe of the past is a cacophony of textures, smells. Fuschia windbreaks, fleeces of dead nettle, amid vegetables in the sandy soil.  Weed and wildflower, why distinguish. Colors, and a lovely ramble through his experience in his garden, with the hoe, not too fiercely managing this and encouraging that. Ruined cabins nearby, stones falling, bumblebees, hoverflies. A summer acre in "flowery continuum.: Many of the weeds we consider American came in on the coattails of the English colonists.
This should be online.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cork. Colman mac Lenine and a Company of Poets

Early Celtic Poets

These Europe Road Ways travel sites have morphed beyond accounts of unscripted road trips; to a framework for ideas, resources found afterwards.  In that vein: the filing cabinet now includes Old Irish, and other poetry, most Celtic, but even that term contains many roots.
First millenium literature:

Browse an old book, Nora Chadwick's The Celts, that some found plodding, but I loved the poetry section in particular. Use an old term:  enthralled. First published in 1971, it reappared in 1997 with a new introduction, and further editions came later. See
Time to get off our modern superiority horse, and go back to pre-10th Century:  imagine a solitary scholar-writer (he is with his little book, about "science"? and his cat), but the idiom is too English ("derring-do"?) to be quite real in translation; need to find the original, what language, what transliteration. Would it be the Old Irish, Gaelic, see
 Fair use quotation of three poems, pages 260-61:
I.  First, the poet, the work at the book (no religious reference in the poem, so it does not appear to be a contemplative at work), and the cat, Pangur.  This predates by over a thousand years, and expresses better, the idea that solitude produces creativity for many of us, far more than the current darling, Groupthink, see Opinion in the New York Times,

Our Solitary says it this way --

I love to rest -- better than any fame --
With close study at my little  book;
White Pangur does not envy me;
He loves his childish play.
When in our house we two are all alone --
A tale without tedium!
We have -- sport never ending!
Something to exercise our wit.
At times by feats of derring-do
A mouse sticks in his net,
While into my net there drops
A difficult problem of hard meaning.
He points his full shining eye
Against the fence of the wall;
I point my clear though feeble eye
Against the keenness of science.
He rejoices with quick leaps
When in his sharp claws sticks a mouse.
I too rejoice when I have grasped
A problem difficult and dearly loved.
Although we are thus at all times,
Neither hinders the other,
Each of us pleased with his own art
Amuses himself alone.
He is a master of the work
Which every day he does;
While I am at my own work
To bring difficulty to clearness.
II. Fast forward into the 10th Century, a bemoaning of the nature of free thought when the religion required focus only what was told it: But who is the author?  We are not told. Is it not known?

This was apparently written when Alfred the Great, 845-901, was just finishing up against the Danes, who did not consider themselves quite finished.  This elegance and precision came just a century after the adventures of Cu Chulainn, he the more primitive idol of derring-do of the time, were being recorded.
  • Watch thought itself chastised  (To be countered by the Dear Reader's silent cheer for the  underdog,
    • O, admirable thought, never succomb.... 
    • Even to those determined to force-tame thee in the false name of ideology
    • Retain instead thine ebullient spontaneity
    • So that divine Autonomy may overcome the pricks of shame-filled mold-mould Groupthink.
  • A path that is not right?  Who says? 
  • What is it to fash
  • Why see other ways as threat, competition in powers not understood, and so to be downed, deemed wanton and to be cast under red-slippered feet, the fate early set for the Other, see
Here, I would prefer to be the thought, than the disciplined grinch of requirement-- 
"Shame to my thoughts, how they stray from me,
I fear great danger from it on the day of eternal doom.
During the psalms they wander on a path that is not right;
They fash, they fret, they misbehave before the eyes of great God.
Through eager crowds, through companies of wanton women,
Through woods, through cities -- swifter they are than the wind.
Now through paths of loveliness, anon of riotous shame.
Without ferry, or ever missing a step, they go across every sea:
Swiftly they leap in one bound from earth to heaven,
They run a race with folly anear and afar:
After a course of giddiness they return to their home.
Though one should try to bind them or put shackles on their feet,
They are neither constant nor mindful to take a spell of rest.
Neither sword-edge nor crack of whip will keep them down strongly:
As slippery as an eel's tail they glide out of my grasp ...."
Not to beat a dead mare, but it sounds as though the poet-male is looking with longing and even envy at the freedom of the free-wheeling idea as - even Woman: woman the object of such frenetic measures to pin and control.  See the NYT Op-Ed above.  Characterize her as institutional western religion's bane, as she is when she is not subject to sword-edge or crack of whip, but instead, glides out of grasp, led by wits, choice and heart; and accountable only to those wits, choices, and heart.  Wax and wane....  the law of the universe, denied by those who want to sit atop their manufactured pyramid.
III.  The "catch" on the sword. 

This is a pastime bit, perhaps intended only as a diversion; but its author is known for poesy -- Colman mac Lenine, 522-600 AD, The Royal Bard of Munster, see  Now Sainted by the institutionizers.

It is not accurate to call this little rhyme-repeat as a true catch, however, as that construction signifies a round sung in sequential parts, with a hidden (even bawdy) message as the singers go 'round, with increasing enthusiasm probably, and various words get juxtaposed, see Catch form at; but in the sense of catchy here, it suffices.

Ordinary life appears in this little poem: a bit on a sword, but again some later Englishisms of the translator do not seem authentic.  The use of "catch" in the poem itself does look correct in its reference, even if not as a description of this poem form itself.  He writes of "catches roared" as well they would be, could be, given the play on words resulting from the "catch"; compared to a sweet song.  Need to see the original: 

"As clowns to kings, as pennies to a pound,
As kitchen wenches to princesses crowned,
As kings to thee, to sweet songs catches roared,
As dips to candles, all swords to my sword."

This little snippet is brilliant simplicity.  It author was highly literary. See bio at St. Colman site. He is referenced by other great poets of the day, including one Cormac mac Cuilennain, or Cormac ua Cuilennain, 836-908 AD, identified as king-bishop of Cashel. That position combined the ruler with the religious role, see Cormac is author of a fine glossary, linguistic dictionary, see

Colman mac Lenine is also mentioned by the identified "chief poetic family of Ireland" -- the O'Dalys.