I’m baaaaack

Hello my lovelies, remember me? Okay, probably not…but I brought biscuits, which I will now eat all by myself.

So… where do I even start? I guess my life changed so much, and in all of the chaos, I lost myself a little bit. My engagement fell apart (I’ve only mentioned it a thousand times) and I got a new job so I just felt a little overwhelmed.

It’s been two years since my relationship broke up. I have zero contact with my ex, which is probably for the best. I suffered a long of PTSD, where the months and months of gaslighting and lies kind of caught up to me and I realised I could never be friends with someone who abused me so much. It’s not like he even really cared when I cut contact. In fact, I think now it’s what he wanted all along. It’s just sad that he’s a stranger to me now but c’est la vie.

Dating was amazing in the beginning. I met so many interesting men and had some wonderful experiences. Some of them are still my friends. But it got repetitive. I found I was never really fully on the same page as most guys. It was either ‘I’m not looking for anything at all’ or ‘I want a wife and kids’. I am very much the ‘I’m not exactly looking but I’ll see how it goes’ type. I don’t rule anything out because you just don’t know, do you?

I’m seeing someone now, but I am taking it in absolute baby steps and not labelling it or even discussing it. It’s a totally non-traditional thing, because I guess the ‘normal’ way didn’t really work out for me and I have all kinds of trust and commitment issues. Luckily, I’ve met a guy who is very patient, very kind and very, very hot. I’m going to brag about that because I can. And so much fun. He makes me stupidly happy and even if it’s not the most traditional of relationships, it really really works for us. Last night, I slept completely wrapped up in him and feeling safer and happier than I have in years.

And my job… well, my job is amazing! I’m still teaching and loving it. I still live where I live with my beautiful pets. I’ve tried so many new experiences over the last two years and have really begun to understand who I actually am outside of a relationship. I genuinely have never felt so happy and fulfilled. But I want to get back to blogging. It made me genuinely very zen and I enjoyed it so much so we’ll see. I guess my commitment issues extend to this now too 🙈

So, whoever you are, I want to hear about you. Come talk to me while I finish these chocolate chip cookies.

Why I am Not Proud to be Irish Today 

Today, March 17, is St. Patrick’s Day; a day where Irish culture and heritage is celebrated in countries all around the world. Here in Ireland, we use it as a day to celebrate and explore our own relationship with our country. We partake in parades and wear shamrocks, a traditional symbol of Irish-ness and our relationship with Saint Patrick. We drink excessive amounts of alcohol, celebrate into the wee hours of the morning with our friends and regret our over-indulgence the following day. In recent years, I have found myself dancing in bars adorned with tricolour flags to traditional Irish music and drinking bad Guinness. But not this year. This year I don’t feel like celebrating. I don’t feel like drunkenly acquiescing with strangers that we do indeed have “a grand little country”. This year, when I think of our history and our relationship with Christianity (which, in essence, is what Saint Patrick’s is at least supposed to be about), I don’t feel a surging sense of pride. 
I feel shame and disgust. 

Our country has had a tortured and somewhat masochistic relationship with Catholicism. In the twentieth century, this relationship with the Catholic Church seemed to be at its zenith. Our most famous Taoiseach (Prime Minister) and later president, Éamon de Valera enshrined the ‘special position’ of the Catholic Church in our country’s constitution. In 1932, the 31st International Eucharistic Congress of the Catholic Church was held in Dublin and attracted hundreds of thousands of spectators. It is estimated that 25% of the country’s population attended a mass held in Dublin that day. This was truly the apex of the Church’s influence over both culture and politics. Church doctrine seeped its way into all aspects of Irish life. Our schools and hospitals maintained their intrinsic link with the Church. The twentieth century was when the marriage between church and state was really cemented. 

This influence wasn’t just evident in the political sphere, however. The people of Ireland aimed to live their lives according to what they were taught at school and mass by nuns, brothers and priests. An odious sense of piety and sanctimony permeated many societal groups. Sexuality morality among all people was something that bishops and nuns obsessed over. There was, as our current Taoiseach Enda Kenny notes, ‘a morbid fascination with respectability.’ 

Contraception was illegal in Ireland between 1935 and 1980 and families, despite widespread poverty, grew large in keeping with traditional Catholic teachings. Sex outside marriage was considered inherently sinful, however. Of course, it still happened and with contraception not being widely available, many women found themselves in the worst possible situation in a repressive, judgemental and unforgiving society. These women were treated as little better than criminals; shunned by their communities and often sent to Magdalene asylums and so-called “mother and baby homes”. Here, they gave birth to their babies, who were subsequently taken away from them, and often never seen again. In the Magdalene asylums, women were worked like virtual slaves to atone for their grievous sins. 

One such mother and baby home was established in Tuam, County Galway by the Bons Secours religious order. Here, unmarried mothers gave birth to their babies, who were then taken from them and raised in a separate part of the Home by the nuns. The children were often later given up for adoption, and often without the consent of their mothers. For their part, the mothers remained in the Home for a year, working unpaid hours to reimburse the nuns for their “services”. 

Tragically, that isn’t the most infuriating or heartbreaking part of the Home’s sadistic history. It was well-known in the local community that there was an undisclosed number of foetal remains close to the site of The Home, which had been abolished in 1972. It was unclear to many, however, just what a gut-wrenching and shameful story lay behind these remains. Thanks to the tireless work of local historian Catherine Corless, however, the story is public. And now, it cannot be silenced. 

Corless discovered that throughout the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s that 796 babies and young children died at the Home.

796

Although infant mortality rates nationwide were indeed higher in the mid-twentieth century than they are today, this number is still considered abnormally high. The infants’ death certificates stated various medical reasons for their deaths, including tuberculosis, measles, whooping cough and influenza. One thing is evident: these children were not treated like human beings. They were treated as they were perceived: as a remnant of their mother’s sin and sexual immorality. And for that, they were punished. 

The nuns left these children in unmarked mass graves. The Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes recently found that the remains were discovered in structure that seems to be “related to the treatment/containment of sewerage  and/or wastewater.” These babies were left to rot in a mass grave, buried without dignity or humanity. 

So today, I don’t celebrate. I don’t feel an overwhelming sense of pride in my nationality. I feel a measure of pride in the sense that justice is finally being sought for these babies, who were never before given a voice. I feel proud of the inimitable Catherine Corless, the woman who never gave up fighting for the defenceless. But I don’t feel proud of my country’s insidious past. I won’t wave a tricolour or drink a pint because I don’t feel like it. I am frankly too disillusioned, too ashamed and too heartbroken. Instead, I will think of the 796 babies lying in the cold ground in County Galway. Babies like Anne Heneghen, who died in 1954 aged 3 months. Or Dermot Gavin who died in 1956, aged 2 weeks. Or Baby Lyons, who died in 1949, aged 5 days. Or Kathleen Murray who died in 1947 aged 3 years. I could go on, but it would take some time. I ask that those of you who read this to please look at this full list of their names. They were invisible while they lived, forgotten and neglected by a society that deemed them an inconvenient truth. 

We cannot and will not ignore them now. 

What Does Your Accent Say About You?

I was told once that I have a “posh” accent (I’m doing exaggerated finger air quotes). This was said to me by a colleague in a manner that I can only describe as slightly derisive. Before you picture me like this….

Air hair lair!

Air hair lair!

…rest assured, I am most decidedly not posh-I just licked marinara sauce off a paper plate soooo….My colleague’s comments were most likely due to the fact that we have quite different accents.

You see, I’m not local to the area that I live in. I currently live in the exact town that the actor Chris O’ Dowd hails from, whereas I’m originally from the area Paddy O’ Brien*, legendary sheep-shearing champion, is from. What do you mean you’ve never heard of him? *grumbles incoherently*
The south. I’m from the south.

For an island as small as Ireland, there is a fairly large diversity of accents. Unfortunately for us, these accents are grossly misrepresented in international cinema. I’m looking at you, Tom “ta bay shure, ta bay shure” Cruise. What many people outside of Ireland don’t know is that there are many different Irish accents, not just one generic “top o’ the mornin'” Oirish accent.

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To understand this better, think of the actor Chris O’ Dowd’s accent. Now think of Colin Farrell’s. They’re both Irish yet have quite different accents. If you have ever seen the actor Cillian Murphy (Inception, Batman Begins) speaking with his real accent (he does so in the Irish film The Wind That Shakes The Barley) you will notice that his accent also differs from both O’ Dowd’s and Farrell’s.

O’ Dowd hails from the west of Ireland; a county called Roscommon to be precise (and my current location for all you stalkers out there). Farrell is from Dublin in the east and Murphy is from Cork, down south and not far from where I am originally from. I suppose the most famous celebrity closest to where I’m from is lead singer of The Cranberries, Dolores O’ Riordan. Although there are some similarities in our accents, her’s is much
thicker than mine. Michael Fassbender also has a similar accent to mine, except his is more refined whereas I sound like I might possibly know how to herd cattle (side-note: I do).

I had never really thought about my accent too much until my colleague pointed it out to me that day. My accent would not be hugely different from the local accent, but when I speak for long enough, it’s evident that I’m not local.
I suppose in some ways, it’s what marks me as “different.” When my colleague referred to my accent as “posh”, I had to laugh. That could not be further from the truth. When I get excited or angry, I tend to get very high-pitched and my accent becomes virtually unrecognisable. Jack gets a great kick out of this (he’s from Dublin and our accents differ quite substantially). My students used to get a great kick out of how I pronounce the word “forty.” While the locals here (and most of you, I would bet) pronounce it ‘four-ty’, I really enunciate the ‘r’, so it sounds kind of like ‘faaarrrr-ty’ . *allows you time to snigger*

It did lead me to realise that we really do form opinions on people based on their accents. For example, in Ireland, there is a widely pilloried accent called the “D4” accent which comes from an area of Dublin called Dublin 4. This is a wealthy and affluent area where the accent is notably different from other Dublin accents. It is definitely heavily influenced from both English and American accents and I suppose you could consider it the Irish equivalent to the Californian “Valley Girl” accent. It is hugely unpopular with many people outside of Dublin 4, who view it as pretentious and false.
I actually had a dear friend with this accent years ago. She was kind, caring and fun. Whenever she came to visit me though, it was clear that everyone we met viewed her with scorn and disdain. Actually, people hated her. She later got a job in Cork and told me that her boss frequently told her that her accent was awful and that he hated hearing her speak. He would also pass comments like “oh, did Daddy buy that for you?” even though she was as far from a spoiled princess as you could imagine. Despite the fact that she was one of the sweetest people I have ever know, many people had a prejudged stereotype of her as some shallow and selfish person and refused to get to know her on a personal level. That is utterly ridiculous to me, but I have known several people who have felt prejudged, based on their accent.We are all guilty of making false assumptions about someone based on their accent.

To be fair, we are all possibly a little guilty of making assumptions about a person based on the way they speak. Someone with a ‘posh’ accent may be judged as cold or aloof. Someone with a more ‘common’ accent may be judged as unsophisticated or ignorant. Of course these are ridiculous stereotypes, but they do exist.

Aw haw haw...sorry

Aw haw haw…sorry…and now I’m stuck mimicking a French accent..YUR MUZZAHR WUZ A ‘AMSTAR AND YUR FAHZER SMELLED OF ELDERBERRRIIIEEEES

Why don’t you come and tell me about your accent because when I read your comments, I usually put on a robot voice and it’s getting very old very fast. I’ll just sit here saying ‘potato’ over and over.

                                    pot

Psst! C’mere! If you happen to be on Twitter, you can follow me here. I once made Wil Wheaton laugh, which will be my claim to fame for a hundred years. I will totally follow you back too, because I’m so nice.

*… he probably exists, anyway.

Two Poems about Mothers

For all my eccentricities (there are 42, I counted), the one thing I am very serious about is poetry. As an English teacher, it is probably my favourite aspect of the subject. There is such a wealth of beautiful poetry out there and there is nothing more rewarding than searching for your own meaning in a verse. (Except pizza. Pizza is always more rewarding.) 

Here are two poems written by Irish poets that I think you guys will enjoy. The both have a common theme, in that both poets are fondly remembering their mothers and their respective memories of them.

The first is by one of my favourite poets, Seamus Heaney. This poem was recently chosen as Ireland’s favourite poem. 

When all the others were away at Mass

When all the others were away at Mass
I was all hers as we peeled potatoes.
They broke the silence, let fall one by one
Like solder weeping off the soldering iron:
Cold comforts set between us, things to share
Gleaming in a bucket of clean water.
And again let fall. Little pleasant splashes
From each other’s work would bring us to our senses.

So while the parish priest at her bedside
Went hammer and tongs at the prayers for the dying
And some were responding and some crying
I remembered her head bent towards my head,
Her breath in mine, our fluent dipping knives–
Never closer the whole rest of our lives.

(For those of you who may not be aware of what ‘Mass’ is, it’s what Catholic people call going to church.)

The next poem is similarly poignant and evocative. It is by Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh.

In Memory of My Mother

I do not think of you lying in the wet clay 
Of a Monaghan graveyard; I see 
You walking down a lane among the poplars 
On your way to the station, or happily 

Going to second Mass on a summer Sunday – 
You meet me and you say: 
‘Don’t forget to see about the cattle – ‘ 
Among your earthiest words the angels stray. 

And I think of you walking along a headland 
Of green oats in June, 
So full of repose, so rich with life – 
And I see us meeting at the end of a town 

On a fair day by accident, after 
The bargains are all made and we can walk 
Together through the shops and stalls and markets 
Free in the oriental streets of thought. 

O you are not lying in the wet clay, 
For it is a harvest evening now and we 
Are piling up the ricks against the moonlight 
And you smile up at us – eternally.


I hope you enjoyed these lovely poems. They certainly evoke some powerful emotions in me. Have a great evening 🙂

Lá Fhéile Phádraig Shona Daoibh Arís!

Hi gach duine! Lá fhéile Phádraig shona daoibh! Más rud é nach féidir leat a thuiscint , a úsáid Google Translate mo chara 🙂 Ní féidir sé ag obair i gceart , ach beidh tú a fháil ar an gist, tá súil agam! 

Caithfidh mé a rá, le dhá bhliain anuas, bhí sé iontach chun ceangal le daoine ó gach cearn den domhan. Mheas mé mé féin an t-ádh a bheith ag baint le blagairí álainn den sórt sin agus ba mhaith liom buíochas a ghabháil libh go léir as bhur dtacaíocht leanúnach. 

Go raibh míle maith agaibh! Anois, tá mé a fháil ar ais go dtí snámha i uisce beatha, er….ciallóidh mé, rud ar bith. Ahem. 

Slán! 



How to say “HAPPY HALLOWEEN” in Irish

I thought it would be nice to teach you all how to say “Happy Halloween” in Irish, as Halloween has its origins in Celtic mythology.

You can say “Oíche Shamhna Shona Daoibh” if you’re talking to a group of people.
Pronunciation: EE-ha HOW-na HUN-a DEE-ev

Or if you are talking to a single person:

“Oíche Shamhna Shona Duit”

Pronunciation: EE-ha HOW-na HUN-a dit*

*or ditch, as some Irish people would pronounce it.

So enjoy the only acceptable day to give sweets to kids that you don’t know!

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How to Speak Irish-English

Here in Ireland, we have our own unique take on the English language.
Here are some of our lovely Irish words and phrases:

1. Having “notions”

In any other part of the world, this would be referred to as being pretentious or smug. In Ireland however, we have a much more derisive name for this: you mutter “pfft notions” in the vicinity of anything remotely…notion-y.

For example, say you’re at a party and your friend is serving champagne instead of boxed wine like most normal people, you lean in to the person next to you and whisper “pffffft, notions.”

Here are a few examples of people with notions:

~Anyone who drinks anything “herbal”.
~Anyone with a double-barred surname.
~Anyone who drinks any coffee other than Nescafé instant.

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Oh you better believe they all have notions.

2. A pencil sharpener is a “topper”

This is a hugely contentious issue here in Ireland. Some will refer to it as a parer while us more same types will refer to it by its true moniker, a topper.

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Pff, parers…notions!
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3. Everything is grand

The word “grand” can be used to describe almost every emotional state.
If you’re sick, you’re “grand, just a bit off colour.”
If you’re feeling good, you’re “grand now altogether.”
If you’re asked how you are, you always respond with “grand now.”
It can also be used to describe almost any weather condition:
“Grand soft day, isn’t it?” (When it is torrentially raining.)
“Grand fine day, isn’t it?” (When it is not torrentially raining.)

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4. “I do be watching telly on Saturday.”

In the English language, we mainly have the past, present and future tense. You say “I was”, “I am” and “I will be”. In Irish, we say “bhí mé” for “I was”, we say “tá mé” for “I am” and we say “beidh mé” for “I will be.” However, we also have an extra tense, “bíonn” which has no direct translation. It means “I am continuously”. For example, you maybe always drink tea at eight o’ clock on a Saturday night. To demonstrate this, you could say “I drink tea at eight o’ clock on Saturday night.” But the Irish could not translate it into English so when we want to show that do something continuously, we say “I do be.” If I go out dancing on Friday nights, I would say “on Friday nights, I do be dancing.” Confused? Good, you should be. It might sound a lot like bad grammar, but it ain’t.

5. Giving out

To give out means to get angry and complain.
“Me mam is always giving out to me.”

She is. She really is.

6. Runners

We call “trainers” or “sneakers” “runners”. I wear a lot of runners but I don’t do a lot of running because I’m rebellious like that.

7. “Bye. Bye. Bye bye bye. Bye.”

This is the only acceptable way to end a telephone conversation in Ireland.

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Even Liam Neeson knows…

8. “C’mere till I tell ya”

Roughly translates as “I must tell you something important.”

9. What’s the craic/how’s the craic/any craic?

Basically, we’re very interested in your craic. Wait, that sounds bad…

Craic means fun. It is not a class A drug, repeat, not a class A drug.

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although posters like this don’t help the confusion…
I see what you did there, Dara.

10. At all at all

Us Irish like to exaggerate. We also like to emphasise. We could tell you that we have no money, and you’d probably believe us. If we were to follow that statement with “at all at all”, oho, you’d better believe we’re telling the truth.

Now that you’re practically Irish, here are some bonus phrases for you:

“You know Mary? Mary? She’s related to your man who works for the butcher on a Thursday? No? She has the dog with the gimpy leg? Yeah. She’s dead.”

“So to get to Danny’s house you pass the church on the right. There’ll be a one eyed man with a patch smoking a pipe a hundred yards down the road, turn left. Then you’ll pass the house with the sheepdog. If he barks twice, turn right. If you get to a house with two broken windows, you’ve gone too far.”

“Jaysus, I’m freezin’..”

“Jaysus, I’m roastin’..”

Hope you enjoyed and feel free to share with any Irish friends!

I made the short list!

If you guys didn’t have a chance to catch the international news today, you may not know that I have been shortlisted by The Blog Awards Ireland in the Best Humour Blog category.

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I am thrilled! And hungry…but mostly thrilled! If it wasn’t for my lovely and loyal followers then I would have no reason to blog, so I owe this to you guys. There’s a gratitude owl on its way to you as we speak. (It’s basically a regular owl, but it curtsies.)

Time for me to go party*.

*Not really because I have school tomorrow. Maybe I’ll have a a cup of tea and not use a coaster….okay, I’ll use a coaster.

I have a little favour to ask you oh friends of the internet

I had planned this hilarious* post about my recent trips to the doctor. Instead, I’ve conceded defeat to my mystery illness and am currently doped up on antibiotics, painkillers, folic acid and seizure meds while dancing with an elephant. While I curse my family’s genes and wonder why I’ve been bred like a junkyard mongrel, I have one special favour to ask you guys.

The Irish Blog Awards are taking place soon and they are currently accepting nominations.
Now I don’t want to ask you guys to nominate me. That’s right, I don’t want to ask you guys. Hint hint. Cough cough. Nudge nudge. Wink wink. Hula dances towards you. Okay, so maybe I would like to be nominated, I probably didn’t make that obvious enough. I can put away the coconut bikini now.

If you would like to nominate me, you can click here. Since there doesn’t seem to be an owl category, I guess I’ll have to fit into humour, because according to my imaginary friend Sally,
I’m a funny gal. If you don’t want to nominate me, that’s cool, I won’t send my flea-infested flying monkeys after you. What? I said I won’t.

To be serious for a second (FYI, it’ll be more than a second) I have been unwell lately and I don’t know what’s wrong. You could say I’m going for the sympathy vote here, and you’d be right. I am.

Anyone who does nominate me, I sincerely thank you. When I get better, I will dedicate my next dance fight to you.

So please help me look like this:

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Jurassic Park B***hes!
And don’t make me do this:

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That was the best blog post about owls of all time, OF ALL TIME!

Thanks guys,
I’m going to take a little rest for a while but I’ll be back (said in a very non-threatening manner).

*I bought my own pee. Trust me, it was hilarious.

I should probably add that nominations close tomorrow, but whatever. *stares intently at you*

You will need the following info:
My email is cupidorcats@hotmail.com and I live in Co. Roscommon.

That will make stalking me a lot easier.

If you met me in person…

Do you ever wonder what it would be like to meet another blogger in “real” life?

I know I give off quite the weird vibe on here, but if you were to meet me in real life….actually, I’d give off a weird vibe there too.

Here’s what you would probably think about me:

1. Her accent is funny
My accent ranges from a mild Irish lilt to a full on crazy incomprehensible Cork accent when I’m angry. Think Tom Cruise in Far and Away. Yeah, it’s nothing like that.

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2. She’s actually kinda shy at first
Don’t worry, I wouldn’t just run into the room yelling

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because that would be creepy. I’m more of a “release the creepy slowly” kinda gal.

3. But wait, she is hugging me. And asking me to do karaoke and dance fight with her.
Don’t worry, that just means I’m highly intoxicated. In which case, WATCH OUT.

4. She plays with her hair a lot
This is my worst habit. I just can’t stop. It really takes away the poignancy of “Dulce et Decorum Est” when I’m reading it and twirling my hair.

5. For an English teacher, she uses a lot of incorrect grammar in conversation

What I would write:
I met Mary at the weekend. She asked my how my mother is so I responded that my mother is doing well. In fact, I told her, she’s great.

What I would say:
I ran into Mary at the weekend. She says “how’s yer mudder?” so I goes “she’s grand like. She’s feckin’ great even.”

Don’t hate me.

6. She laughs at her own jokes

I can’t help it if I’m hilarious.

7. Why is she wearing owl jewellery?

Because owls are f**king amazing. Duh.

8. We were talking about the Ukrainian Crisis and she just blurted out that her cat can do handstands

Er, sometimes my mind…goes other places. Weird places.

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9. Her Al Pacino impression is off the hook, yo!

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I don’t know how I figured out I can do this but the important thing is, I can.

10. She says “aaam” constantly. STOP SAYING AM!

I guess this is the Irish various of “um”, but because of my accent, I drag it out and it sounds awful. I say it in every sentence.
When I was training to be a teacher I had to video record one of my classes and show it to my class in college. Hearing myself say “am” 995 times* in a thirty minute period was excruciating. As was tripping over a student’s bag and trying to pretend it didn’t happen.

*sometimes I like to put random asterisks in my posts for no reason. I’m totally joking, I put it there because 995 times is a slight exaggeration. It was more like 980, tops.

Now that you have practically met me, tell me what I would notice about you?

P.S. I also have an annoying slight lisp and a tattoo but no one cares about that.