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Cork is the second most populous city in the Republic of Ireland, after Dublin.  In the 6th century it was the site of a Christian monastery subject to Viking raids but by the 10th century the Vikings had settled, as in Dublin and Waterford.  In due course the Normans arrived (see the history above...) and Cork became a Yorkist town during the Wars of the Roses. 

Not a lot of the old Norman city remains. Cork was the location of one of the Tudor Protestant 'Plantations' (see the history above...) and a Republican hot spot during the war for Irish Independence between British Troops, supported by Irish 'Auxiliaries' known as Black and Tans, and the IRA (see the history above...).  In 1920 an IRA ambush against the Auxiliaries resulted in Cork being set alight and local attempts to put out the fires being prevented.  About five acres of dwellings were consumed, together with several significant public buildings including the town hall.  Loss of life was minimal but many were left homeless in what was described as a 'reprisal'.  Republicans have not forgotten.

We reached Cork in the morning and were immediately ensnarled in a traffic jam.  Parking was difficult to find along the river and we soon determined that this is a busy commercial area with little to recommend it to tourists. We would seek out the local museums.  We were tempted by the Cork City Gaol from which Irish Convicts were transported to Botany Bay (Sydney). But after a quick look on-line decided that our recent visit to Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin was enough Gaol experience for one trip. And so we ended up at the apparently next most popular and bizarrely different Butter Museum. This had the added advantage of nearby parking; another church (Church of Ireland) to look at;  and pubs within walking distance for lunch.

As the name suggests The Butter Museum records the Irish butter success story.  I was reminded of the Cupnoodles Museum in Yokohama. Yet it turned out to be very interesting.  Growing up on the rural outskirts of Sydney I was not completely ignorant of dairying.  Yet at the same time in Ireland our local dairy would have seemed like a space station to the average Irish farmer.  They were still hand milking and using what in Australia would have been a farm's kitchen separator and a hand churn to make butter.  It was both primitive and unhygienic. 

Then came the European Economic Community. Ireland has some of the world's best dairying countryside and its farms and infrastructure were consolidated, automated and improved.  Modern milking sheds were built; herds and pastures brought into the 20th century.  Milk processing factories received bulk milk deliveries by tanker and churned out the yellow stuff.  At the same time a series of marketing campaigns promoted a single homogenised, high quality product: Irish Butter.  And thus butter joined the advanced guard of the Irish economic miracle - the 'Celtic Tiger'.

The museum is high up on the ridge overlooking the city so we strolled down the hill in search of lunch and with the aid of local advice found an ethnically unsullied (authentic) place.  As we had noticed in local pubs previously, the locals, while perfectly fluent in English, speak Irish among themselves.  With the general wellbeing and quite high prices this gives a tourist in Ireland a similar experience to visiting Denmark.  Together with declining religiosity Ireland seems to be joining Scandinavia.

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# Michael 2020-08-28 06:06
This article is brilliant. I've learnt a lot from reading about these travels
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In the seventies I spent some time travelling around Denmark visiting geographically diverse relatives but in a couple of days there was no time to repeat that, so this was to be a quick trip to two places that I remembered as standing out in 1970's: Copenhagen and Roskilde.

An increasing number of Danes are my progressively distant cousins by virtue of my great aunt marrying a Dane, thus contributing my mother's grandparent's DNA to the extended family in Denmark.  As a result, these Danes are my children's cousins too.

Denmark is a relatively small but wealthy country in which people share a common language and thus similar values, like an enthusiasm for subsidising wind power and shunning nuclear energy, except as an import from Germany, Sweden and France. 

They also like all things cultural and historical and to judge by the museums and cultural activities many take pride in the Danish Vikings who were amongst those who contributed to my aforementioned DNA, way back.  My Danish great uncle liked to listen to Geordies on the buses in Newcastle speaking Tyneside, as he discovered many words in common with Danish thanks to those Danes who had settled in the Tyne valley.

Nevertheless, compared to Australia or the US or even many other European countries, Denmark is remarkably monocultural. A social scientist I listened to last year made the point that the sense of community, that a single language and culture confers, creates a sense of extended family.  This allows the Scandinavian countries to maintain very generous social welfare, supported by some of the highest tax rates in the world, yet to be sufficiently productive and hence consumptive per capita, to maintain among the highest material standards of living in the world. 

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Fiction, Recollections & News





Our memories are fundamental to who we are. All our knowledge and all our skills and other abilities reside in memory. As a consequence so do all our: beliefs; tastes; loves; hates; hopes; and fears.

Yet our memories are neither permanent nor unchangeable and this has many consequences.  Not the least of these is the bearing memory has on our truthfulness.

According to the Macquarie Dictionary a lie is: "a false statement made with intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood - something intended or serving to convey a false impression".  So when we remember something that didn't happen, perhaps from a dream or a suggestion made by someone else, or we forget something that did happen, we are not lying when we falsely assert that it happened or truthfully deny it.

The alarming thing is that this may happen quite frequently without our noticing. Mostly this is trivial but when it contradicts someone else's recollections, in a way that has serious legal or social implications, it can change lives or become front page news.

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Opinions and Philosophy

More Julian Assange



A friend forwarded me an article by Elizabeth Farrelly in the Sydney Morning Herald on April 12.  Read Here or click on the picture.

It appears that Assange's theories about petite and grand conspiracies are well founded; and illustrated by his own case.

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