Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Marlay Grange, Thomas MacDonagh

Monday, November 26th, 2018

8 years after first exploring the Gate Lodge, and promising information about a famous resident, I'll return to Marlay Grange, and present selected entries from the 1911 census for the townland of Haroldsgrange:

In the latter we find Thomas MacDonagh, whose potted history follows:

from Tipperary and was born in 1878. He was a teacher and later taught at St. Enda’s School; the school he helped to found with Patrick Pearse. He was appointed director of training for the Irish Volunteers in 1914 and later joined the IRB (Irish Republican Brotherhood). Thomas MacDonagh was appointed to the IRB military committee in 1916. He was commander of the Second Battalion of Volunteers that occupied Jacob’s biscuit factory and surrounding houses during the 1916 Rising. He was executed on the 3th of May 1916.

The Dictionary of Irish Biography gives us a little more detail on the period of his life before 1916:

During his second year at St Enda's, MacDonagh read English, French and Irish at UCD, graduating BA (1910). Shaken by an unhappy love affair with writer and teacher Mary Maguire (Mary Colum), he resigned from St Enda's at the time of the school's move to Rathfarnham, Co. Dublin.
After a restorative six weeks in Paris, he assumed a semi-reclusive residence in the lodge of Grange House, Rathfarnham (whose owner, Professor David Houston [appears in its 1911 census] of the College of Science, became an intimate friend), engaged in writing, post-graduate research and part-time teaching at St Enda's (1910-12).

In the original introduction to a book of his poetry, MacDonagh mentioned the gate lodge, and also wrote a poem "Grange House Lodge"

The making and re-making of these poems, my new work and my old, began in 1911, during the year that I lived in Grange House Lodge, Rathfarnham, the tenant and neighbour of my friend, David Houston.

The later introduction to The Poetical Works of Thomas MacDonagh, published after his execution, is more lyrical:

At that time he lived a kind of semi-detached life at the gate-lodge of Mr. Houston's house in the Dublin hills. To this house all literary Dublin used to repair, and there MacDonagh was constantly to be seen. He was a quaint recluse who delighted in company, and he fled into and  out of solitude with equal precipitancy. He had a longing for the hermit's existence and a gift for gregarious life. At Grange House both these aptitudes were met, and I think he was very content there. Out on the hills, walking across the fields, or along the narrow roads curving to this side and that, but always running upwards, he would repeat his verses to me, and accompany them and follow them with a commentary that seemed endless as the bushes that lined our road.

Burning books requires much time and commitment

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

In the last few days, we've seen Obama trying to reason with Pastor Terry Jones, an obscure preacher from Gainesville, Florida, over the television and protest rallies sweeping across Afghanistan. Why? Because Jones announced that he was going to burn some copies of the Qu'ran to coincide with the anniversary of the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center.

Image courtesy of Getty Images

Pastor Terry Jones in Motion

Jones strikes an unusual figure, with his handle-bar moustache suit and 70s-coloured tie. He seems like a figure from a National Lampoon film, but right now he is being taken very seriously. He's called off his protest because the voices in his head told him to.

Back in July, Jones's colleague Sapp posted a YouTube video about their plans, and there was some brief interest, a few news articles. The story has steadily grown, as affiliate television stations have passed on the scandal. The BBC covers its growth in this article.

Burning books has always attracted controversy throughout history, symbolising a destruction of a civilisation and abandonment of intellectual society. It is taboo.

Non-Aryan literature burnt in Berlin's Opernplatz in May, 1933

The burning of books by the Nazis in the 1930s is probably the most familiar example, gleeful SA men piling academic papers and Jewish books onto the funeral pyres of civil society. Heine's quote "Those who begin by burning books will end by burning people" is on the lips of every secondary school History student. See the transcription of Goebbels' speech and the description of the scene.

The burning of the remaining books at the dwindling Library of Alexandria by the Saracens contributed to centuries of disdain in the West for ostensibly uncivilised and anti-intellectual Muslims.

ROSER 2, Nazi_Student_SA_Book_Burning_May_1933-01EXLG.jpg

SA Nazis and students burning books in May 1933

Since the act is taboo, most people have never tried burning books. Perhaps they imagine happy flames devouring the words and knowledge. See how happy everyone is above, glad to be rid of complicated ideas. Even the students themselves are joining in.

The reality is less exciting. Allow me to present a personal anecdote about burning books... (more...)

Two wheels good, and all that

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

Click to enlarge.

Why are we so scared of swine flu?

Friday, October 30th, 2009

I was linked to this graph earlier today.

Swine Flu Conspiracy

Click to enlarge.

Ask yourself why we hear so much about a disease with such a relatively small death-toll.

Ask yourself why we don't hear about all the other much more important diseases.

Ask yourself why we countenance motor vehicles but not war.

Ask yourself why we're so bad at judging risk.

Ask your local pharmacist how much money he's made in the last 300 days on face-masks, hand-wash, Tamiflu and so on.

CIA extraordinary rendition plane crashes in Mexico, filled with cocaine

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

A very strange story from The Daily Kos blog... There's more info in their story:
CIA Torture Jet wrecks with 4 Tons of COCAINE

This Florida based Gulfstream II jet aircraft # N987SA crash landed on September 24, 2007 after it ran out of fuel over Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula it had a cargo of several tons of Cocaine on board now documents have turned up on both sides of the Atlantic that link this Cocaine Smuggling Gulfstream II jet aircraft # N987SA that crashed in Mexico to the CIA who used it on at least 3 rendition flights from Europe and the USA to Guantanamo's infamous torture chambers between 2003 to 2005.

The whole thing smacks of the Contra affair of the 1980s. I guess as a sort of "black" airplane, this plane would have been as useful to the drug dealers as to the CIA, slipping under the radar, as it were, of security forces. Or perhaps there's more to it than that...

Wreckage from one-time CIA rendition plane

Wreckage from one-time CIA rendition plane