Archive for June, 2008

Jun 30 2008

Back To Kilkenny

Published by under Blog,Night Out

My hectic social schedule continued unabated this weekend. I had a day off work on Friday which helped in my recovery from Thursday night (Jay Z concert in the RDS and random blogger drinks). Or should that be Thursday morning? Andrew and myself, listening to 90’s tracks from some old Now! albums until four in the morning, clearly needed some time to recover.

Friday was a little less frenetic, but we did get to see Wanted. A very modern action thriller with Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman and James McEvoy, Wanted has a brilliant mix of original action and surprisingly effective acting, for a throw-away actioner. But, of course, like many Hollywood movies today, they aren’t pitching a one-off throw-away, they are sowing the seeds of a franchise. Personally, I loved the movie and, while there were plenty of questions that remained unanswered, the essential story played out perfectly to conclusion and I don’t really see how a sequel could add anything to the mix. For a fun, intelligent action movie, give Wanted a go.

Saturday saw us hit Kilkenny again (for the second time this month and the second time in my life). We seem to have fallen for the town. It’s big enough to lose yourself in it’s winding streets and ample bars, but small enough that the natives are pleasant and friendly and you can keep your feet firmly on the ground. From its funky hostel to its endless number of live venues, Kilkenny is a town that rivals Galway for a fun night out.

Apart from finally grabbing a few drinks with Mr Ken and Rossa (for the first time since meeting them at the Blog Awards), the main reason we were down was to see Devious Theatre‘s production of Trainspotting in the Watergate Theatre. I’ll try to post my review later today, but, in short, we were blown away – they staged an amazingly professional production, with solid acting, clever set use and perfectly utilised music. I would have gone down just to see the play alone.

After the show, we hit the infamous Cleere’s for a few beers, some cheers and there was no fear of it being too dear with four beers a mere score and furthermore we let out a roar as more was poured, which struck a chord and no one was bored. From there the night soared.

The ‘we’ of the piece was Lottie and I, Anthony, Mary, Andrew and Tanya, but we wasted very little time in adding to our group, recruiting from the cast of the play.

We left the bar and trekked to Ken’s house for a house party like no other. Every room in the place was crammed with cast, crew and friends. Music blared (strangely a lot of old 90’s tracks were heard first – perhaps Ken was on a similar 90’s nostalgic trip to myself and Andrew). We befriended Begby, from the play, also known as Niall (apparently pronounced Neil) and danced the night away. Niall’s air guitar skills are unparalleled.

I may have mentioned it before, but I really do love meeting new people – it borders on being a hobby. So many unique points of views and opinions on everything, so many differing personalities, so much variety in how people react to different situations. In the space of two minutes on Saturday night, I found myself going from head banging away with a few randomers to listening to one of the sweetest voices ever from the Maggie Gyllenhaal lookalike, Jess (a member of Devious Theatre Group) as she serenely played the piano at the back of the sitting room.

One of the sadder parts of my weekend: I broke my camera. I really loved that camera. 🙁 But, I did manage to get a few nice photos of Tanya and Lottie before it broke:

Sadly, I managed to get  similar picture of Andrew:

There's Something About Mary

We were still going at 7am 8am 8.30am before heading back into the city to get 45 minutes sleep. Although, we did manage to add to that 45 minutes when we went for food and hair of the dog…

10 responses so far

Jun 27 2008

The Irish Values Debate: Part Two – Catholicism And Its Role In Irish Society

Published by under Blog,Politics

This is probably the most important area when discussing the origins of Irish Values, and also the hardest one to write about without giving a very biased view. I have a sincere loathing for the Catholic Church. I have a long list of bad experiences with priests and the  Church (not that type of bad experience, don’t worry) and the simple fact that the Irish Church is, for many, synonymous with abuses, paedophilia, lies, conspiracies and power-mongering surely points to the Church as being a generally bad influence on our lives.

That is, of course, not entirely true, because nothing is ever black and white, is it?

At the Dublin Writers Festival, Lean, one of the coordinators, was eager to remove the question of Catholicism from the floor. She wondered why, firstly, other religions weren’t being discussed – the broader Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, etc. – but also why the panelists were reluctant to look at values beyond the religious divide – those of Atheists or those of people who are simple not religious. It is true Catholicism is the major religion in Ireland – the last census revealed 87% of the population considered themselves Catholic (the second highest religion was Church of Ireland at only 2.85%). When we look at those born in Ireland only, the figure rises to 92% (Church of Ireland at 2.35%). So, it is understandably important to spend time looking at Catholicism, but when other surveys reveal regular mass attendance in stark decline, we must wonder what influence other religions and cultures are having on our nation, we must ask how many of those Catholics truly have faith or are they simply marking an X in a box because they were raised Catholic.

These are not irrelevant questions but they are questions I can’t fully answer. I will attempt to look at the influence other cultures and beliefs are having on our society though.

What did the Roman Catholic Church ever do for us?

(any excuse to play some Monty Python)

Figuratively speaking, they did indeed build our aqueducts and roads. They paved the path of Irish education and pumped money into the fledgling Irish healthcare system at a time when Ireland was horribly impoverished.

On a grander scale, and bringing us back to morals and values, I spoke about the Ten Commandments and other guidelines handed to us (or perhaps foisted upon us) by the Church in my opening post on the topic; the Church gave us the basis for our moral code. We were told to live good lives, love our neighbours (not their wives though), be good Samaritans, be generous and charitable. When Catholicism first came to Ireland around the fifth century, the priests believed they were guiding beacons, ready to tame the savages. And to some degree they may have been right. Churches were built and communities and parishes grew around them. People would gather and pray and community spirit developed. The Church infiltrated ever aspect of our lives and this continued to be true right the way through to the encroachment of Protestantism on Irish life. Priests would hold mass in makeshift churches in forests, with rocks for altars, and many would still cling to their beliefs and the comfort and guidance the Church would provide.

So, at some point, did things just go wrong, or were there always questionable practices at the core of the institution?

The Papal Visit and What Went Wrong?

In 1979, Ireland saw its greatest ever mass gathering – when Pope John Paul II visited our country. It is odd that from this pinnacle moment things began to change. Mass attendances declined, the number of people entering the seminary dropped dramatically and, of course, the scandals began to break.

Allegations of child abuse, sexual abuse, cover ups, enslavement and cruelty began to surface publicly in the 1980’s and came to a fore in the 90’s. There are supporters of the Catholic Church who will say that these were mainly isolated incidents. I refute this – compensation payouts to date exceed €1billion (only €128million of this being paid for by the Church), this does not point to isolated incidents; mass cover-ups from high ranking member of the Church do not point to isolated incidents; the revelations of the Magdalene Laundries and other institutions are not isolated incidents; and the Ferns Report (and the Church’s efforts to block it) make it very clear that these incidents were widespread in the Church and were well known about among the upper echelons of the administration.

Is it any wonder people are turning away from the Catholic Church in their droves? The disappointment people must feel in an institution that has been a guiding light for Ireland for so so long is magnified because the Church was our moral compass and when our compass is in such a broken state, we are asking ourselves how we will ever find our way again. So we look to new religions, so we look to new outlets, so we look to the West in search of answers and guidance.

I remember reading about the replacement of religion with ‘fashion culture’ and consumerism and this makes sense. For many of today’s youth, communities are built in the shopping malls and guided by Hello, OK, Glamour and Cosmo. It is not surprising that many people look to The OC, One Tree Hill and Hollyoaks as a basis for a values system. I’m not saying it is right (quite the opposite), but it is not surprising.

Does the Church Have the Right to Interfere/Intervene in Our Lives Anymore?

In short, absolutely not! I would argue that it should never have been in that position of power in the first place. The good things that stemmed from the Church are still evident in our lives today, but those good deeds should never have elevated the Irish Catholic Church to such a position within our society, where today they still influence political opinion.

The Church long ago gave away their right to preach about morals, about values. Today’s Ireland has moved on. Many of us ‘live in sin’ everyday of our lives and to hear that priests offer marriage guidance classes in this day and age is a disgusting act of hypocrisy. Even the Church has conceded that it needs to take a step back from our educational system, something that should have been addressed many years ago. This is the fault of the government rather than the Church, however.

The Future

In 1979, Pope John Paul II said “Be what you are, and you will set the world ablaze…Rather than conform to the world, the world will conform to you”. Well, I apologise for distorting his words, but by continuing on its current course, rather than set the world ablaze, it will see its world burn down around it, and by not conforming to a modern world, the world will simple move on without it.

In 2012, the International Eucharistic Congress will be held in Ireland for the first time since 1932. Bock talks about it here, and Twenty here while Dublin Blogs looks at it in a slightly less emotional way here. The 1932 gathering reportedly saw 25% of the Irish population attend at some point. I find it hard to imagine today’s Ireland (easier as it is to travel now) managing a fraction of this attendance.

In the 1970’s more than 90% of Irish Catholics said they went ot mass once a week. Now trhe nuimber is 44% (and this includes a strong Polish immigrant contingent). Although this is a dramatic drop, the level is still high amoung Western nations. It will be interetsing to watch how swiftly that numbere declines further.

Á la Carte Catholicism is also maintaining a certain amount of followers where the ban on sex before marriage is ignored, where contraception is the norm. Other practices, such as confession, are being dropped while the likes of marriage, christenings and communions still play a huge part in the lives of Iriah people.

160 priests died in 2007, while 9 were ordained, and 228 nuns were lost being replaced by a mere 2 new nuns. This is further exacerbated by the some highly publicised moves by some Catholic Priests to Protestantism, the Church of Ireland. Rev Dermot Dunne, a former Catholic Priest, became Dean of the Church of Ireland’s Christ Church Cathedral and made a point of kissing his wife while standing on the steps of the cathedral as he took up his new post.

It is predicted that the current number of priests, over 4,700, will drop to less that 1,500 by 2028. Father Eamonn Bourke, director of vocations in Dublin, said “some priests are even reluctant to offer priesthood to people as a valuable way of life. It will take a long time to increase this confidence”.


The days when almost everyone was a church-going Catholic, when the parish Priest was revered and when Church doctrine was central to public policy and private life are no longer. Catholicism is a relic of the past. It’s outdated and it’s obvious that few are devoted to it anymore; if people were truly interested then they wouldn’t have manning shortages in the priesthood. Perhaps if they updated the religion they could attract new followers, but their death-grip on traditions is what has them in their current state. If they don’t modernise to keep-up with modern society then the Church will not survive the ever-growing generation gap.

Once responsible for forming the communities in Ireland, the Irish Catholic Church is now in search of a community of its own.

In this post I have discussed the role of the Catholic Church in Ireland, but I have been lighter on the subject of Irish Values. Towards the end of my series of posts I will try to nail down our Core Values and discuss, among other things, the Church’s part in defining them.

Update: In my next post on the subject, I hope to talk about New Communities, New Cultures, New Ideas and New Values, with an emphasis on how the Internet and other technologies have changed both Irish life and the global landscape.

17 responses so far

Jun 27 2008

Awareness Test

Published by under Blog

Courtesy of my friend Stella:

One response so far

Jun 27 2008

Repo! The Genetic Opera

Published by under Blog,Movies,Music

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but Repo! is one of the movies I’ve most looked forward to in years. I mention it now because there is a new trailer just released.

Repo! The Genetic Opera is a new musical from the director of three of the Saw movies, Darren Lynn Bousmann. The gist: A worldwide epidemic encourages a GeneCo, a genetic engineering company, to launch an organ-financing program similar to getting a loan for your car. However, the repossession clause is a killer. Mwahahah!

Starring the incredible Tony Head (of Buffy fame) as the Repo Man, his voice is just one of the many things this film has to offer – I can’t recommend his album, Music For Elevators enough. Sarah Brightman is marked for repossession and Paul Sorvino plays the head of GeneCo. Paris Hilton also appears in the movie, but don’t let that put you off too much – she’s been getting good reviews.

It looks to be a kind of cross between The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Saw and I am dying to see it.

Released in August in the US, there is no release date for this side of the world yet, but hopefully it will be around the same time.

You want more?

7 responses so far

Jun 25 2008

A Diet Of Worms

Published by under Blog

We’ve been hankering for a decent table quiz for a while now and we’ve finally settled on one.

The Diet of Worms are a comedy troupe (known for their series of shorts, Dublin Streets) and they are raising funds to bring them to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and will be hosting a Table Quiz on Wednesday 2nd July a 7.30pm.

Tables of four are €40 and they promise a night of fun, hilarity, surprises and prizes, prizes, prizes. It will be in the Garda Club on Harrington Street (near the Bleeding Horse pub). Lottie, Niamh, Anthony and I are going and if you fancy giving us some competition check out their blog or drop an email to

Or if you want to know more, watch this:

8 responses so far

Jun 24 2008

I Thought I Was A Telly Addict…

Published by under Blog

Last week, I wrote a post on my telly-viewing habits, which got a great response. Thank you everyone.

But now I realise that, comparatively speaking, I’m an amateur. Check out Ray’s blog on the TV shows he intends to watch, some he has tried to watch, some he cannot watch, and some he just cannot help but watch again and again.

It’s one of the most enjoyable posts I’ve read in a while, but that probably just shows my nerdiness. I didn’t agree with everything he said, but he’s definitely given me more TV fodder to chew on.

Oh, and Lottie replied to Mr Foley here. I think she’s a little angry about the Buffy thing.

Update: B’dum B’dum gives his run down here.

Note: I don’t actually have a thing for Irish DJ’s. I just read their blogs a lot.

6 responses so far

Jun 24 2008

More Cyanide & Happiness

Published by under Blog

People say my posts are too long – well now Cyanide and Happiness are getting in on the act. Brilliant:

6 responses so far

Jun 24 2008

Proud To Be A Toyboy

Published by under Blog

On the night of the Blog Awards, I met a remarkable woman who ended up becoming one of my favourite bloggers. She writes very funny and very heartwarming posts and is an inspiration to anyone who wants to share their life with a bunch of strangers online.

Grannymar (winner of the April Blog Award) is brilliant. I love her to bits and I’m proud to call myself A Grannymar Toyboy.

On the off chance that you haven’t already done, check out Grannymar’s Blog.

Note: Well done to Will for sorting them out and there’s more info here.

7 responses so far

Jun 24 2008

Mr Rick, Jay Z And A Band Of Bloggers

Published by under Blog,Night Out

I was one of the bloggers plucked from Rick O’Shea’s hat to go along to the Jay Z concert on Thursday evening (we may partake of a few light beverages also). Thank you very much, Sir.

He describes the event as an experiment, which inspires an element of nervousness in me, but the man looks trustworthy enough, so I guess we’ll be fine. Ahem! We can only assume that this will play a part in the night. It should be good fun and I’m looking forward to meeting a bunch of fellow bloggers: Mr Rick, of course, but this bunch are also attending:

Pedro Monscooch

The Great Green Ink

The Mysterious Someone Living

Annie Rhiannon


Some chancer called Andrew

Wish us luck in Rick’s experiment.

Note: Rick Photo by Rymus

5 responses so far

Jun 23 2008

Darts, Discussion And Delirium

Published by under Blog,Night Out

[Section removed]


While Lottie went to college on Saturday, I dropped into work to catch up on some paperwork (this always sounds like some awful euphemism, but I truly was doing paperwork). Sometimes work loses interest for periods of time and this last few weeks my heart hasn’t really been in it. I’m trying to turn that around and inspire in myself a renewed interest in my number crunching and PR duties.

We were home in time for food and, most importantly, Doctor Who, prior to heading out to a house party in another part of Wicklow. I have to have a big raving rant at this point about Doctor Who – it was an amazing episode. Catherine Tate has proven herself to be, not only an excellent actress, but also a perfect iconic figure to settle into the annals of Who-dom. I find it odd that I mention Tate and her character Donna Noble before mentioning the return of Billie Piper as Rose Tyler. For those who don’t know, Rose became as big a part of the Doctor Who universe as the Doctor himself in the two seasons she appeared. And her return has sparked goosebumps time and time again. The two part series finale over the next two weeks is likely to be epic.

But this week, a precursor to the finale, was Donna’s week. She carried the episode without David Tennant‘s Doctor and showed how great she could be. I was never a fan of Catherine Tate‘s comedy, but she has convinced me to give it another chance and I am really looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next.

So, to the house party. Rain may have poured upon the BBQ element of the evening, but that didn’t stop us having fun. Hosted by Andrew‘s far better half, T, we had a great meal, some fine beverages and brilliant conversation.

Andrew and I were good friends in school, but when I hightailed it out of Dodge, we lost touch (I actually lost touch with everyone from that time in my life – in order to start afresh in Dublin). Over the years we crossed paths once or twice, but only briefly. More recently however, we got back in touch and have gradually become even better friends than we ever were in school (from my point of view at least). It helps though that his girlfriend and Lottie get on brilliantly too and anytime the four of us have met up has been a lot of fun.

Saturday was no different and, along with Andrew’s brother and two friends of T’s, we ended up drinking, laughing and talking shite until 7am (MarioKart on the Wii made a brief appearance too). There really is no better way to spend time than in the company of friends.


Sunday was less about recovery and more about relaxation. We made it home for about 3.30pm and just vegetated on the couch, watching Gossip Girl. Just what II needed. In one of the episodes there was a band playing in the background, The Pierces, and we immediately went in search of their album, Thirteen Tales of Love And Revenge. Here’s the track, Secret, from the show. Lottie has more about the band here – enjoy!

16 responses so far

Jun 20 2008


Published by under Blog,Night Out

A huge thank you to Paul Walsh and his minions for a fun night out at the Firefox 3 Launch Party in Cineworld. The event was sponsored by Segala, Wubud, BT, and Blacknight Hosting and it was brilliant to meet so many great people.

One of the highlights of the evening was the Photo corner, sponsored by All the bloggers got together to make the most it:

Then came the great boyband, New Kids on the Blog:

After that, things took a strange turn:

Check out and EventPhotoIreland for more.

Firefox 3

15 responses so far

Jun 19 2008

CGI Errors???

Published by under Blog

I’ve had enough of Hosting365 or Register365 or whoever they are these days. After being an age on hold and getting the worst, rudest customer service agent, they finally restored my blog to normality.

I think I’ll be knocking on Blacknight‘s door very soon!!!

5 responses so far

Jun 18 2008

Bloomsday In Davy Byrne’s

Published by under Blog,Night Out

Bloomsday took a decidedly odd turn when Sheila accidentally left her camera behind her in the pub.

Mr Doyle went on an adventure around the bar and got to know everyone. EVERYONE!!!

Alcohol may have played a part in some people’s appearance:

This was actually the first willing participant:

Some were less willing to be seen on camera:

Some people had other things on their minds:

Some of us were just thrilled to be there:

Myself, Anthony and Niamh had such a fun night and thank you Darragh for making it brilliantly unusual.

For more Hello Sheila pics, check out

Note: I would greatly appreciate that because this was done for fun and with the willingness of so many nice people, that these photos are NOT COPIED and used to make fun of any of the participants. I hope you’ll understand and respect this. Please contact Darragh regarding using the photos, and if you’d like any taken down, just let him know.

One response so far

Jun 18 2008

Let’s Have It, Ya Smelly C**t

Published by under Blog

Darklight is back…

5 responses so far

Jun 18 2008

The Irish Values Debate: Part One – What Are Values?

For two reasons, I have decided to divide my thoughts on this topic into a few posts. Firstly, as we are now all well aware, I’m incapable of brevity and I have so much to write on this topic that it has to be divided across a number of posts. Secondly, this topic does seem to have some very definite chapters to it and I would like to get peoples opinions on different sections of the debate before delving into the whole thing head first.

Writers Festival ‘Debate’

As I have already said, the Irish Values Debate at the Project Theatre on Thursday evening, chaired by Emer Coffey, with Ivana Bacik, Roy Foster and Alan Gilsenan on the panel, was less of a debate and more a case of widespread agreement. There were so may issues that were not analysed and attacked to their fullest and there were yet more areas that were completely avoided. I said in my post on Friday that I would return to this topic as there was plenty I wanted to add to last Thursday’s debate but was unable (I’m not a Senator, Historian or Director, you know).

These views are simply my opinions. They are far from set in stone and my views and viewpoints are constantly shifting. This is healthy – it allows me to be persuaded by reasoned arguments and adds to my minuscule knowledge base. So, I opening encourage comments on this topic and would love to hear the views and ideas of the blogging community, from first time readers, from anyone who might be interested in where Ireland is and where Ireland is going, from a moral standpoint.

What are Values?

I suppose this is going to be the hardest part of the piece. Opinions are easily constructed, but facts, figures and solid explanations of the current state of affairs is harder to draw up. Each section of Irish society has its own set of values, from those who differ politically to those who differ socially and financially, from those who differ in religious ideas to those who differ in age and era in which they were raised. So, it would be a long and arduous task to list and compare all of these values, which is why, I think we need to look at the core values of the Irish, the set of morals and ideals that makes up our collective moral code.

There are values which are common to much of the civilised, developed world. Common decency is a term that was bandied about last Thursday but I’m not sure the panelists entirely understood what it meant. I’m not sure I do. It seems like such a vague concept and yet each of us probably has a defined concept of what ‘common decency’ means. The trouble is, my common decency may be your social faux pas. But surely there are points within this concept of ‘common decency’ which we all adhere to. Hense the ‘common’ part of it.

Be kind to others – or at the very least don’t go out of your way to cause harm to others. Immediately we have an element of selfishness creeping in. We would all like to to consider ourselves kind individuals, but how many of us are truly kind to those around us when we are in a hurry to catch the bus, when our favourite TV show is starting, when we’ve had a rough day at work. It’s far too difficult to bolt down a true definition of something as simple as ‘Be kind to others’. I think, for the sake of petty argument we will examine ‘aspirational common decency’. This covers the values that we each aspire to and for the most part seek to achieve. There will always be dips in the graph but the dips act as the exceptions that prove the rule.

Aspirational Common Decency

So, what comprises Ireland’s ‘aspirational common decency’? Yes, be kind to one another – not bringing harm upon those around you. Taking it further – help those in need. Ireland has a great reputation for charitable acts and, as a nation, we give generously. So, can we chalk this up as another Irish Value? I think so.

Is forgiveness an important part of the common decency package? I’m not sure – I don’t think so. In my limited experience forgiveness has rarely featured, with many people baring grudges for a very long time. Perhaps forgiveness is a virtuous trait afterall, above that of a common value. I doubt many people would rate being forgiving as an important facet of their character. I look forward to being corrected.

Religion and Ideologies

I do not want to bring religion and ideologies into it yet because there are many values and rules of morality that are particular to some religions, which make them no more nor less valid than other values, but I want ot focus of the common core values at present. But I would propose that for the most part, beleaguered beliefs and blind faith have been replaced with rationality and the scientific process.

I will briefly touch on the Ten Commandments, as I hope to return to the Church’s influence on our morals and our values in a later post. The Commandments (and many other Church teachings) provide us with a set of rules to which we should adhere.

1. I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not have false gods before me.
2. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
3. Remember thou keep the Sabbath Day.
4. Honour thy Father and thy Mother.
5. Thou shalt not kill.
6. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
7. Thou shalt not steal.
8. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
9. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.
10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.

Needless to say, some of these we will discard as religious dogma for the moment (false Gods and the Sabbath Day are religious values and I will cover them in another post), some of these are more than a mere value-set. They are law. We should not kill, and yet capital punishment is still practiced in much of the Eastern world and in the very Western land of the USA. So, there is still some ambiguity even in this most obvious value.

It is illegal to steal and I guess the false witness thing could be construed as the origins of laws on fraud. But adultery, though frowned upon by many, is almost acceptable in today’s society. Coveting your neighbour’s wife and goods – surely ‘keeping up with the Jones’ is not just accepted but even expected in some circles? As for honouring thy father and mother – it is increasingly common for there to be no father in the family (I will accept that sometimes it is the mother that is no longer around too) and I have met some parents who absolutely should not be parents and deserve no ‘honouring’ whatsoever. When I was younger it struck me as odd that Commandment number 4 did not include ‘honour and respect thy children in return’.

Integrity, Respect, Diversity and Chivalry

The Irish value education and spirituality (not just religion) is part of our culture. Other values such as integrity, respect for oneself and for others, trust, honesty, a duty to bear the consequences of our actions and general politeness and chivalry are global values that we strive for to differing levels. In recent times, we have rapidly needed to incorporate diversity into our value system – cultural diversity and the acceptance of new people, ways of life and behaviours. But are these values that we strive for or are they merely foisted upon us without us having the opportunity to discuss and choose this direction? This raises the issue of collaboration with the new cultures, the question of social equality and unity through diversity. We need to ask ourselves if the acceptance of other cultures enhances or ‘muddies’ our own culture – we must decide if this is a good or bad thing.

National Pride has always found a place in Irish society. In modern times with GAA being in vogue, along with the Irish language (thank you Des Bishop) is Neo-Nationalism a core value of the Irish people today? And how does this (if it does at all) conflict with the influx of foreign cultures?

Recent times have seen ambition and an emphasis on social and financial success come to the fore. This has always been in existence but is certainly easier to see in Celtic Tiger and post-Celtic Tiger Ireland. We will need to ask if this emphasis on ambition has been to the detriment of creativity and amiability.

Environmental awareness too has seen much media attention in recent years, but do we consider it part of our value system? Should we? How much do we owe our descendants to look after our natural resources, our air quality, our landscapes?

I mentioned chivalry above and it’s fair to say that ‘chivalry’ is an old fashioned word, but does that mean chivalry is no longer relevant? Ladies and gentleman with ‘old-fashioned’ good manners, please and thank yous, punctuality, opening doors for people (not just women), modesty, being a good father/mother/husband/wife/partner, honesty, dressing tidily out of respect for others, genuine interest in others (not always talking about oneself), integrity and discretion – these are all aspects of chivalry. Some or all may be relevant, some may be pointless and antiquated. Think on this: is there such a thing as modern chivalry, where, out of respect for others, we excuse ourselves from the table before checking our Blackberry’s?

Is chivalry anachronistic and no longer a requirement in todays society? I don’t believe so, but it perhaps needs a redefinition.

Politics and Irish Life

Should we lump political duty into our developing value set? Politics may have once been a noble pursuit, but that idea has long been superceded by moral flexibility, naked ambition, manipulation and the pursuit of power. I have heard it many times that those who want to become politicians should never be allowed. Recent years has seen some awful political disgraces in Irish society, but for the most part we, as a nation, have just accepted it and moved on. So, while political duty and honesty within politics should be part of our set of values, I suspect it is not. I suspect most of us just don’t care.

The Debate?

These are my views on what Values are and, in particular, what values are relevant and should be under discussion when we look at the current state of our nation and the future of Ireland. But the questions that I hope to debate are firstly whether these values have changed significantly over my lifetime, over the past quarter of a century, and secondly has the change been a positive or negative thing for Irish society. Has our value system changed for the better – are we better people as a result, are we a better society as a result – or has our looser morals and loss of ‘traditional values’ made for a darker society – are we losing our identity as the friendliest people in the world, are we heading for ruin?

Over the few posts I put together on the issue of Modern Irish Values, maybe we’ll find the answers, but for the moment, I am asking the question, what are Values? Have I been too broad in my definition? Have I left something out? Are there any values which are quintessentially Irish or is our debate destined to be one of world values and global identity?

The Irish Values Debate – What are Values?

Update: In my next post on the subject, I hope to talk about The Role of Catholicism in Irish Values, looking at it’s past, the current situation and what role, if any, it will play in Ireland’s future.

5 responses so far

Next »