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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Barry Clifford: Guilty In The Court Of Public Opinion

Back in July of 2013, David Monagan was a journalist for Forbes magazine. In one of his blogs on the Internet for this magazine he stated that Michael D Higgins, the present president of Ireland, was ‘an acknowledged homosexual.’ After 300 hits on his article, someone, at last, realized the mistake including David and it was taken down. Everything was out of the closet though at this stage and his blog went viral. A mistake is what we all make and that would have been that except David tried to explain his overworked and underpaid self after it.

David tells us he gets €2.03 an hour as long as he achieves 4 articles a month for Forbes. Less and he gets nothing. His style, like many other journalists can leave a lot of reasoned readers trying to read between the lines and may have one thinking that he had indeed been overpaid, at least in this instance, in the first place. To state that anyone is ‘an acknowledged homosexual’ is helpful or informative to what?  

There are more erroneous commentaries by other journalists suggesting one may be guilty of even murder. Take Ian Bailey who was and still is a suspect in Sophie Du Plantiers murder.  Many times different newspapers heralded his name with 4 words: ‘The self confessed suspect.’ That is a stretch from being called a self confessed murderer, and is both a real difference and a dangerous one.

When one is accused only by a question rather than a fact, there is rarely any recourse against the accuser, even it proves they were wholly wrong. The damage is already done for the ‘no smoke without fire brigade’ will be always be busy setting a few fires of their own.

Accusing anyone with a question only in print by a journalist is every bit as wrong as a guilty man been found innocent in a courtroom as an innocent man been found guilty in the court of public opinion. Often there is little difference in the sentence.

Barry Clifford

Classic Photo: The exact second Rocky Marciano knocks out Jersey Joe Walcott In 1952

Taken by Herb Scharfman on 23 Sept 1952 at the Madison Square Garden world title fight  

Video: If You Love Dogs You Will Love Beau

Photos: Its A Beautiful Cold Out There


In one of the coldest places in Antarctica that can make summer look tame. 

Photo: When The IMF came to Ireland

When the International Monetary Fund came to Ireland.

Pn: 'You are a gentleman and a scholar, and your good looks is only exceeded by your personality.'
An Irish compliment.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Photo's: The Bald Ones Gone Fishing

 Bald Eagle: Gotcha by Pete Bowes

 Bald Eagle: Going home by Herb Loughton

Bald Eagle stealing lunch by Fred Miranda

Photos: Well, the weather Outside Is Frightening..........


 Chicago from the air

 New York

....but the fire insides delightful....let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...... Woof Woof.....Ah Woof.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Article: Mary Kyne;19th Century Coach Travel-Bianconi-Galway-Oughterard-Clifden

By Mary Kyne
Bianconi Cars – Galway – Oughterard – Clifden 1837- 1895
In the picture the mail car stands ready to leave from the Imperial Hotel, Galway bound for Oughterard/ Clifden.

 This is one of the famous Bianconi cars named after Carlo Bianconi, an Italian vendor of cheap prints in the streets of Dublin, who founded and developed a most efficient road transport system covering over 3,000 miles of road daily. He operated all over Ireland, carrying everybody and everything thing. Despite their discomfort Bianconi’s Royal Mail Day Coaches were the only mode of transport in Ireland before the railway

Bianconi arrives in Ireland
Bianconi still in his teens arrived in Ireland in 1802. He was Carlo (Charles) Bianconi an exceptionally talented entrepreneur. He noticed immediately that unlike most countries in Europe, Ireland had no integrated transport system. If you wanted to travel from Galway to Dublin, you either went on foot, rode or: if you could afford it, go by personal carriage. The final part of your journey, which took about three days, was probably by barge. Bianconi set up a national horse drawn carriage service, with a workable timetable, offering connections from various termini, which, relative to the times, offered travelers some confidence that they’d arrive at their destination at a given time. He called his enterprise: Bianconi’s Royal Mail Day Cars. The roads were bad, the coaches were open to the elements, but it was a highly successful transport system.
Galway – Clifden Service
His Galway – Clifden service began in 1837, one car each way, everyday, and ran until the railway opened in 1895 – long after Bianconi himself had sold out and died. When this photograph was taken in the 1880’s, the fare for the fortynine miles was 7/6d plus “whip” money to the driver. It started from Galway at 9am and reached Clifden at 7pm. In weather, such as we have been having recently, it can hardly have been the most comfortable journey.
Foreign Travellers’ Views of Bianconi’s Travel System
On Tuesday August 18th 1835, Friedrich von Raumer, a young Prussian historian, “ mounted the upper deck of an open Bainconi coach, and we get some idea what travel in pre Famine times were like. Raumer had come to Ireland to see for himself how conditions were for the people. Although a Protestant he was critical of England’s tardiness in granting Catholic Emancipation, a hot topic at the time, which had been skillfully championed by the great Daniel O Connell whom Raumer admired.
Sitting on his right was an old woman, opposite her two granddaughters, and beside these a second woman and her son. On his left an elderly man climbed up and sat beside him. The poor man appeared as if ‘he had dropped from the gallows.’ Clearly his clothes were in such a sad state that Raumer feared the man was ‘an expert in insects.’ He moved closer to the grandmother and off they went.
Wet Conditions
Raumer wrote, “The sky became overcast. It began to rain more and more heavily. Raumer had the only umbrella among his fellow travelers, which he raised. The two young girls crouched down at our feet, and the other four moved their faces so close to the shaft of the umbrella that their noses were almost touching. The old woman rested her head on my right shoulder while the gentleman rested his on my left shoulder. Through this ordeal by water we had, within a very short time, become friends and acquaintances, and I reaped much praise for my considerateness and humanity…”
Julius Rodenberg Travels West
In 1858 Julius Rodenberg, a German Jewish poet and author, mounted one of these ‘royal’ coaches in Galway. Wrapped in a large tartan cloak, he was heading for Oughterard/Clifden. It was a cold, wet autumn day, and the kind of day ‘which one would have preferred to spend cosily in the quiet of one’s house by the fire.’
The coach was full. Between the heaped up luggage sat a man on a trunk in a long coat. Another man,’a scoundrel’, sat opposite him on a travel bag. Three men sat beside Rodenberg: “one old and two young, all horse traders on their way to the horse fair. On another bench a further five people sat, wrapped in oilcloth and overcoats. Yet another man, equally wrapped against the weather, joined them along the way.
All Wrapped up against the Elements
As they set off the horse traders immediately befriended Julius, who was feeling miserable and sad. They took pity on him and did their best to make him comfortable, giving most of a leather blanket cover to him. They were evidently quite used to the rain, which ‘since leaving Galway had not ceased. ‘Passengers in front ate food and threw leftovers and apple skins into the air to fall on the passengers behind.
“At every hill we reached – and there are enough of them in the west of Ireland – a part of the company had to dismount to make the carriage lighter.”

Julius questioned why they were called ‘royal’ coaches, as they compared to nothing like the comfort of travelling in Europe. ‘It is a sad trick of fate that the royalty of Ireland had long been buried, its nobility now stands begging on the roadside, and these miserable hostelries and carriages are the last thing that can be called ‘royal’.
Poor Julius was not a happy camper.
Hermann von Puckler-Muskau
He traveled on the ‘Royal Mail’ from Tuam to Galway still looking for a wealthy wife. Puckler was not dressed sufficiently against the cold. He offered the driver a tip if he could borrow his coat. ‘At a closer look, however, this appeared so dreadfully dirty and nauseous that I hesitated to make use of it. A young traveling companion immediately removed his ‘splendid, wide traveling cloak and almost forced me to put it on, while assuring me with great eagerness that he never caught cold, and could sleep through the night in water if need be, and that in any case he had only put on his cloak because he did not know where to leave it.”
Laughter and Starvation
Our driver blew his horn, as in Germany a signal from the mail-coach to get out of its way. However, the sound was so distorted and pathetic that everyone burst into laughter. A pretty 12 year old lad, who looked like joy personified, though almost naked, let out a mischievous cheer, and called after the driver in his impotent rage: “ Hey you! Your trumpet must have a dose of the sniffles, it’s as hoarse as me auld grandmother. Give it a drop of the craythur or it’ll die of consumption before ye reach Galway!’
A crowd of men were working on the road. They had heard the feeble sound from the horn, and all laughed and cheered as the coach went by. ‘There you are, that’s our people for you,’ said my companion.” Starvation and laughter – that is their lot. Do you suppose that even with the amount of workers and the lack of jobs that any of these earn enough to eat his fill? And yet each of them will put aside something to give to his priest, and when anyone enters his cabin, he will share his last potato with them and crack a joke besides.”
Bianconi’s Inns
Bianconi’s opened a series of Inns along his busiest routes. One of the Inns was at John Roes, Main St, Oughterard now Kenny’s Bar.

Roe’s was also the agent for steam ship tickets to America.  The two storey house just over the bridge at Oughterard on the Clifden Road had stables at the rear of the house where fresh horses were changed along the Oughterard/Clifden route.

Bianconi became immensely wealthy and was twice elected Mayor of Clonmel, Co Tipperary.

Barry Clifford: Putdowns

Sometimes, when someone tries to put you down either by passive aggression, blunt insults, or fear itself in the form of a political statement or remark, it is always handy to have an answer of fine retort, of stinging rebuke in the form of a blistering putdown. Often there is no answer. Here are a few of those statements.

Ronald Regan, when he ran for the presidency of the United States was being hammered about his age, (he was 73 at the time) when he decided to turn it against his opponent, Walter Mondale, who was 17 years younger. “I will not  make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent’s youth and inexperience.”

During the 1988 United States presidential campaign, Sen. Lloyd Bentsen shot back at his opponent who had made a comment comparing himself to Jack Kennedy. “ Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy; Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.

Dennis Healey, an English MP, who in 1978, after being attacked by a political opponent about his salary, stung back by remarking dryly: “The attack was like being savaged by a dead sheep.”

In 2010, Michael Graham, an American talk show host from Boston, who had just criticized President Obama about his health care reform bill on an Irish chat show, was rounded on by the Irish President, Michael D Higgins who said: “ You’re about as late an arrival in Irish politics as Sarah Plain is in American politics, and both of you have the same tactic which is to get a large crowd, whip them up, try to discover what it is that create their fear, work on that and feed it right back and get a frenzy.”

The most political charged and frightening putdown statement of the 1980’s came from the IRA after they tried to bomb Margaret Thatcher and her entourage with many others at a hotel in Brighton in England: “ Today we were unlucky, but remember we only have to be lucky once- you will have to be lucky always.”

Barry Clifford

Photos: Oughterard Galway In the 1800's and 1900's

 Oughterard: 1901
 Oughterard: 1930
Oughterard: 1850

A village more beautiful village can scarcely be seen than this. It stands upon the Lough Corrib, the banks of which are here, for once-at least, picturesque and romantic, and a pretty river, the Feogh, comes rushing over rocks and by woods until it passes and meets the lake.

William Thackery 1842

It has changed little since.

Photo: The World Is A Beautiful Place

By Will Burrard

Barry Clifford: Is Socrates A Real Person?

Of course it seems like a loaded question but not entirely, but can Socrates, the great ape, be classed as a legal person? Considering that his closest cousin is the chimpanzee, and we are the closest cousins to them both, there are plans to do just that. 

In New York, (I know, where else) a group of activists have filed lawsuits to grant them the “right to bodily liberty.” They also hope the judges will grant and recognize that the chimps have a basic legal right not to be imprisoned. Their beef is the imprisonment of four of them, Tommy, 26, Kiko, 26, and young Hercules with younger Leo; all four of them exist in cages across New York state.

The activists also claim that not too long ago that slaves were not classed as legal persons but as property belonging to a real person. They also argue that even a ‘Corporation’ is classed as a legal person so why not a chimp. One reason also they give is that they can’t argue for their rights just like children, and so they need legal representation is a very strong point indeed.

Spain saw it that way and passed a resolution in 2008 that deemed the great ape to be considered a legal person. So if Socrates and I ever land there, I am sure he will be giving me all sorts of trouble like wanting to drive the car. He will have to pass the Vehicle Driving Test first and that is sure to cause a few headaches or even heart attacks.

Of course there is a deeper issue going on and that is to stop the abuse of all animals. The activists want the chimps restored to a more natural habitat and what we would consider to be a more humane existence. Animals everywhere have little or no rights, and the sentences handed out to those that abuse them only encourage the abusers.

In case I was in doubt about the issue I went to court once to pay a fine. While there, a man of considerable height and physique was up on charges for killing a golden retriever puppy. He lived in a terraced house next to a family that owned the puppy. The puppy really belonged to the 6 and 7 year old girls of that family who gave it all the love and affection that that little ball of fluff would ever need. One day, the girls with the puppy all stepped out their front door just as the man next door did. The puppy waddled over to the man’s boot and piddled on it, which drove him into and unstoppable rage. He kicked and stomped the puppy with his boot until the last yelp died away and there was no movement left. For that act of great wanton cruelty in front of two little girls, the man was fined €20.

Barry Clifford           

Photos: Chicago; A City In A Freezer


Chicago; a city in a freezer. I won't complain about the weather Galway again.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Photos: More Great Original Colour Photos Of Galway In May 2013

At the mart in Galway City 23 May 2013

Claddagh Galway 31 May 2013

 Women of seven in Spiddal Galway making shawls 31 May 2013

Thatched Cottage In Headford Galway in 21 May 2013

Near the Spanish Arch Galway 26 May 2013......................................................................................

These photos were taken by Marquerite Mesprulet and Madekine Alba, two French ladies.......... 
They are also the first known colour photographs ever taken in Ireland, and some of the cultural images have changed little until recent times. I hope you enjoy as much as I did.   Barry.............

Video: Show A Little Kindness Today

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Photos: First Original Colour photos Of Galway in the summer of 1913

Main Ni Tuathail, a 14 year old girl. Taken at the Claddagh Galway 26 May 1913

Fishermen in Spiddal with a boy dressed as a girl. It was cheaper and the custom. 31 may 1913

Cutting turf in Connemara 29 May 2013

Woman and child in Claddagh Galway. I May 2013

Man with turf in Spiddal. 1 May 2013

*All of these photos were taken by Marquerite Mesprulet and Madeline Migon Alba, two French women. They are also the first known original colour photographs ever taken in Ireland, and some of the cultural images here had changed little until recent times.

Comment: By Stephen Fry

It’s now very common to hear people say, “ I’m rather offended about that.”
As if that gives them certain rights. It’s no more than a whine. It has no meaning, it has no purpose. It has no reason to be respected as a phrase.
“I’m offended by that.”
Well, so fucking what?

-Stephen Fry