So, for the day that's in it, some other reasons to be glad to be Irish. Rita Connolly singing The Deer's Cry (from Shaun Davey's album The Pilgrim); Sinéad singing Take me to Church; Rónán Ó Snodaigh from Kila singing Ón Taobh Tuathail Amach and that magnificent Corkman John Spillane singing All the Ways You Wander from a TG4 live seisiún. And, lest the Ulsterfolk feel neglected, a poem from the timeless Patrick Kavanagh.
Last week I had the real pleasure of an extended conversation with Cathy MacDonald from the BBC Radio Scotland programme "Sunday Morning with Cathy MacDonald". The audio is through the link. We spoke about Corrymeela, poetry, theology, conflict, LGBT identity and national identity. There is some music interspersed throughout.
Video of Dubliners asked this question from 1984.
I've got an article in the Spring 2014 edition of Thresholds, the quarterly publication of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy Spirituality division. The paper explores community work and prayer through the lens of the phrase 'ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine'. It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.
Today, the report into the church-run Magdalene laundries in the republic will be released. The journal.ie have a short and heartbreaking summary of one woman's life here - it makes for sad reading. I lived, for 5 years, on the same site where some women (at that point in their 70s) who had spent their whole lives institutionalised lived. At this stage in their lives, they were living in their own accommodation, with keys to their houses, and freedom. They were as warm and welcoming as you would expect - and their lives, despite the freedom so late given, were still devestatingly controlled by their relationship to a now fairly powerless power. The freedom they now had, coming so late, was undoubtedly limited in its effect on many of their lives.