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Limerick is an even more familiar name.  It's reasonably certain that the notorious verse form that takes its name from this city stems from a group of poets, or wits, from this region.  The rhyme scheme AABBA is found in some longer poems but from the early 18th century onwards limericks have generally stood alone as a single stanza and as one anonymous wit observed:

The limerick’s an art form complex
That's content runs mainly to sex;
It’s famous for virgins
And masculine urgin’s
And vulgar erotic effects

It's an art form that reached its peaks of popularity during the two World Wars

A spy huntress of English nativity 
Had a bottom of rare sensitivity
She could sit on the lap;
Of a Nazi or Jap
And detect his fifth-column activity

but it's still loved by many, if the Internet is any guide.  At one time I knew quite a few, some original, and still do.

Like Dublin, Waterford and Cork, Limerick began as a Viking town, this time at the mouth of the Shannon River, and like other towns along the coast was later fortified by the Normans.  There is still a substantial Norman/Tudor fort near the centre of town on St Johns Island that we spent some time exploring and is well worth a visit.

See the Ireland Album - Click Here...  

As the fourth most populous city on the 'island of Ireland', Limerick was particularly badly impacted by the potato famine (see the history above...) and it's the setting for Frank McCourt's book: Angela's Ashes, about the consequent poverty of the lower classes in the slums of Ireland, that was later made into a harrowing film.

Nevertheless, the city was not poor everywhere and has some fine buildings including some of the best preserved Georgian townhouses in Ireland, the construction of which must have provided much needed employment. 

As I had it in mind that Angela's Ashes was set in Dublin we omitted to look for McCourt's slum house in Limerick. But that's just as well. According to The Irish Times the slums are long gone:

Slums of `Angela's Ashes' reborn as heritage attraction

No sooner have the Limerick slums been demolished than they are being reconstructed again as the city begins its love affair with Angela's Ashes in earnest.
Shannon Development and Limerick Civic Trust have recreated the home of Frank McCourt's youth in an £80,000 tourism development, ironically in the stables of a refurbished Georgian house, the home of a wealthy family in the 1940s and 1950s.

THE IRISH TIMES Jun 22, 2000



# Michael 2020-08-28 06:06
This article is brilliant. I've learnt a lot from reading about these travels
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Hong Kong and Shenzhen China






Following our Japan trip in May 2017 we all returned to Hong Kong, after which Craig and Sonia headed home and Wendy and I headed to Shenzhen in China. 

I have mentioned both these locations as a result of previous travels.  They form what is effectively a single conurbation divided by the Hong Kong/Mainland border and this line also divides the population economically and in terms of population density.

These days there is a great deal of two way traffic between the two.  It's very easy if one has the appropriate passes; and just a little less so for foreign tourists like us.  Australians don't need a visa to Hong Kong but do need one to go into China unless flying through and stopping at certain locations for less than 72 hours.  Getting a visa requires a visit to the Chinese consulate at home or sitting around in a reception room on the Hong Kong side of the border, for about an hour in a ticket-queue, waiting for a (less expensive) temporary visa to be issued.

With documents in hand it's no more difficult than walking from one metro platform to the next, a five minute walk, interrupted in this case by queues at the immigration desks.  Both metros are world class and very similar, with the metro on the Chinese side a little more modern. It's also considerably less expensive. From here you can also take a very fast train to Guangzhou (see our recent visit there on this website) and from there to other major cities in China. 

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Fiction, Recollections & News

Through the Looking Glass






On TV I'm seeing senior politicians: Scomo the Liberal PM and a handful of Labor Victorians (it's bi-partisan), gathering in Morwell in Victoria to announce that jobs in the Latrobe Valley have been saved by a Japanese consortium that will build a pilot plant to convert brown coal to hydrogen. Read Here...

Fans of the Reverend Dodgson's (Lewis Carroll's) work will recall some 'weird shit' in Wonderland like: Alice growing and shrinking; a disembodied cat; and babies turning into pigs. She's seen here with Frank L Baum's Dorothy, and her little dog Toto.  I was feeling a sudden affinity for Dorothy who involuntarily found herself in OZ, whence she unsuccessfully attempted to escape from the weird inhabitants in a hot air balloon. But where were my ruby slippers?

Yet these bizarre adventures are put into the shade by Alice's in: Through the Looking-Glass. So I had to pinch myself to check that our screen had not somehow turned itself into Alice's looking-glass and sucked me through to the other side. 

Hydrogen from coal (carbon) - really?  Surely they mean hydrogen from water. You know: 
HO + C   H + CO


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Opinions and Philosophy

Electricity price increases



14 April 2011

New South Wales electricity users are to suffer another round of hefty price increases; with more to come.

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has announced that electricity prices for the average New South Wales resident will increase by 17.6 per cent from July.  Sydney customers will pay on average about $230 more each year, while rural customers will face an extra $316 in charges.  IPART says it is recommending the increases because of costs associated with energy firms complying with the federal government's Renewable Energy Target (RET).  The RET requires energy firms to source power from renewable sources such as solar or wind.

What is this about and how does it relate to the planned carbon tax?

If you want to know more read here and here.

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