Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

WILLIAM CARLETON SUMMER SCHOOL


2012
05.02

Mayor of Dungannon Cllr Kenneth Reid & Michael Fisher

It promises to be an interesting four days in the Clogher Valley in August. The William Carleton Society’s summer school programme was launched at a reception kindly hosted by the Mayor of Dungannon & South Tyrone Cllr Kenneth Reid (who opened last year’s school) at the Council offices in Dungannon. Once again we are please to have booked Corick House Hotel in Clogher as the venue for 2012. The school will be officially opened on Monday 6th August and the keynote address by Professor CORMAC Ó GRÁDA is on the subject of “Carleton & others on famine’s darkest secret”. Dr MELISSA FEGAN (Chester) will speak about Carleton & the famine era. In the afternoon I am due to give a lecture on Carleton’s biographer DJ O’Donoghue, based on my researches at the UCD archive. The afternoon is rounded off on a lighter note with a reflection by County Tyrone native BARRY DEVLIN on life after Horslips. Tuesday’s events will start with a talk by the Society’s Vice-Chair FRANK McHUGH on Carleton’s Australian relatives. JOSEPHINE TREANOR from Knockatallon, Co.Monaghan, who joined us on the walk last year, will talk about her distant relation, Anne Duffy, the miller’s daughter (mentioned by Carleton). The Leitrim poet JOHN F. DEANE will give a reading from his works before lunch. The afternoon session begins with a performance by LAURENCE FOSTER (Dublin) of his one man show on Charles Dickens, who was born 200 years ago. For this year’s literary symposium we have invited CARLO GÉBLER from Fermanagh and MARY GUCKIAN a poet originally from Leitrim who attended the Carleton commemoration in Dublin in January. They will be joined by Monaghan native MARY O’DONNELL, a writer and poet, whose work has appeared in a number of collections. On Wednesday 8th August Dr SOPHIA HILLAN will speak on Jane Austen’s Irish nieces. Professor OWEN DUDLEY EDWARDS, the summer school honorary director, will give us his own unique insights into the work of William Carleton. Committee member LIAM FOLEY has once again adapted one of Carleton’s works for a reading: this year it will be “Phil Purcel the Pig Driver” followed by a discussion. The final act of the summer school will see CHRISTOPHER FITZ-SIMON, a former artistic director at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast, reflect on “Carleton on the stage: forgotten popular plays adapted from Traits & Stories”. Thursday 8th will be the day for a tour of the local area led by JACK JOHNSTON, Society President. The theme will be Carleton & his contemporaries, including Archbishop Hughes of New York. There will be a visit to his birthplace beside the border with Co.Monaghan and to Omagh.

Photograph of D.J.O'Donoghue (left) and George Sigerson (right) beside the pond in St. Stephen's Green, Dublin, when choosing a site for the Mangan Memorial.

The evening events include: Monday:  Rathmore Bar Clogher Maguire family (traditional music); PJ Kennedy, poet (Belturbet) 9pm. Tuesday: Walk & talk Carleton with the Clogher Valley walking club to Fardross forest  & Music by The Mountain Lark (Tydavnet) & reception at caravan park  8:30pm Wednesday: Concert with Fermanagh Choral Society (conductor Don Swain) at  St Patrick’s church Clogher 8pm. More details at:   www.williamcarletonsummerschool.org

PAT FINUCANE CASE & DEALING WITH THE PAST


2012
04.20

Speaking at an engagement in Belfast at the University of Ulster, the Taoiseach Enda Kenny has repeated his support for a full public enquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane. The well-known solicitor was shot dead by the UFF in front of his family at his home in North Belfast on February 12th 1989. It was one of the murders I reported on during the troubles and this was among the most high-profile cases. Standing beside the police cordon a well-known BBC reporter came over to me and my cameraman and said “you know who it is?”. He then told me it was Pat Finucane. I had interviewed the lawyer a few times, including at a controversial inquest at Craigavon courthouse. According to the BBC’s Political Correspondent Martina Purdy, Mr Kenny said relations between the British and Irish governments had never been closer, but there were areas where there was a difference of opinion. Paying tribute to Mr Finucane’s widow Geraldine for the way she has campaigned with “great dignity and courage”, Mr Kenny said he supported her in the campaign for a full public inquiry into the killing.

Geraldine Finucane addressed an ICTU-NI fringe meeting in Derry.

An emotional Geraldine Finucane told a well-attended fringe meeting of trade unionists in Derry on Tuesday night that dealing with her husband’s case was an absolute necessity if progress is to continue in Northern Ireland. Mrs Finucane said she had no confidence in a Cory2 process suggested by the British government into her husband’s murder.  She told the meeting the way the Prime Minister David Cameron dealt with the issue showed that the promises of the British government can easily be broken. Clearly still affected by the circumstances of last October’s meeting in London, Geraldine Finucane said she and her family had been lured to Downing Street under false pretences by a disreputable government led by a disreputable man. She said the let-down by David Cameron over the prospect of a full enquiry was one of most cruel & devastating experiences she had had since her campaign began. As RTÉ News reported at the time, Mr Cameron proposed that instead of the full inquiry into allegations of security force collusion suggested by Judge Cory, that a QC should undertake a review of the case. Mrs Finucane had been told in late summer that the Prime Minister wanted to meet her and she said she had been encouraged at the time by the offer of engagement with her family, following the lengthy delay in following up a commitment made originally to the family in the Weston Park talks in 2001.

Alan McBride from the WAVE trauma centre in Belfast who lost his wife and father-in-law in the IRA Shankill bombing also spoke about his own experience. He said the past was not going to go away and he supported the Finucane family’s right to have a full public enquiry. Alan also described how on a visit to the United States alongside some republicans, a former IRA man had told him he was sorry for the Shankill bomb and what happened was wrong. He had helped to humanise his loss, he said, and had acknowledged my pain. Former ICTU President Inez McCormack also addressed the meeting. As NI Secretary of UNISON she had helped to set up the handshake in West Belfast between the Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams and President Mary Robinson in June 1993 at Rupert Stanley College. I remember that occasion as one when the media were kept firmly outside the door in order to ensure that no pictures of the handshake were taken. Yet it was a defining moment in the lead-up to the IRA ceasefire the following year. Here is one account of the occasion from the Independent.UPDATE: The News Letter reports that the Taoiseach’s comments were strongly criticised by the UUP chair Lord Empey and MLA Danny Kennedy.

BY LAGAN STREAM


2012
01.25

Enjoyed a five mile walk along the River Lagan this afternoon from Stranmillis to Shaw’s Bridge. Always a good spot for wildlife such as the heron I photographed beside the weir at Shaw’s Bridge.

 

 

A TALE OF TWO SCARVES


2011
12.21
This is a tale of two scarves. Both have been in demand during the cold snap. They are football scarves but with a difference as neither has a club’s name in large letters across its length. By coincidence each was used on an occasion linked to my activities with the William Carleton Society, of which I am Chair.
AFC Wimbledon scarf
The first is an AFC Wimbledon scarf, described by the online shop as “a new era grey knit scarf with yellow and blue to ends with embroidered crest”. I purchased it last season and wore it on two recent trips to Europe and another to London. I was in Berlin at the opening of an art exhibition at the Irish embassy by an artist friend Patricia Lambert when I had this scarf with me. Thankfully the temperature in the German capital remained just above freezing during the weekend I was there in November. A few weeks later I was in Vienna and again the scarf kept me warm as I visited the Christmas markets in the Austrian capital. Most importantly, the scarf is comfortable to wear and does its job properly. As my season ticket seat at Kingsmeadow is in the front row of the stand I will be glad to wear it at any games I attend in the winter months. I brought it with me when I attended the league 2 game between AFC Wimbledon and Accrington Stanley, which we lost 2-0. The next day I went into the centre of London to meet someone I had never met before, so I wore my AFC Wimbledon wooly hat as well as the scarf.

Paul Brush met Michael Fisher at a Whitehall pub

As it turned out, Paul Brush who was in England from Australia along with his wife and two daughters turned out to be a Crawley FC supporter. He had attended their match the previous day when they beat Burton Albion 3-0 in front of a crowd of 3001. Paul pointed out he was the “1″ on the end of that figure! The reason we arranged to meet was because he is a distant relative of the 19thC Irish author William Carleton from Co.Tyrone. I am Chair of the newly-formed William Carleton Society, which runs an annual summer school at the beginning of August every year. Paul provided me with some useful information and promised to remain in contact as he attempts to explore his family tree.

Now for the second scarf. It’s green and white. Some thought it was a Celtic one. Others might regard it as an Ireland one suitable for soccer or rugby. But it’s none of those. It was purchased at Tallaght stadium when I organised my tickets for the three home games that Shamrock Rovers FC played in the Europa League. I wanted to show my loyalties especially when it came to the last match against Spurs. It proved to be the final game for the Hoops’ manager Michael O’Neill after three years in charge. Rovers went down 0-4 to the English Premiership side but O’Neill got a rousing farewell along with Enda Stevens, who joins Aston Villa next month.

Shamrock Rovers 0 Spurs 4

The scarf was needed when I went on the annual mulled wine walk at Knockmany Hill near Clogher in County Tyrone. It is run by a number of ramblers groups from both sides of the border and also cross-community. I joined in the carol service after enjoying some warm gluehwein and mince pies. Then I proceeded to relate to the assembled crowd a story by William Carleton called A Legend of Knockmany. I did not have time to read it all but I summarised part of the tale about the giants Fin McCool and his great rival Cuchulain. When I returned home I posted a picture on facebookshowing me wearing the green and white scarf and remarked that this did not mean that William Carleton was a Shamrock Rovers fan! I then reflected on the matter and discovered that after all, there was a connection (albeit very tenuous) between Shamrock Rovers founded in 1901 and Carleton, who died over thirty years earlier in January 1869.

Addressing ramblers at Knockmany wearing Shamrock Rovers scarf

So here goes…….William Carleton in the days before his death was visited by Rev William Pakenham Walsh, rector of Sandford Parish Church, Ranelagh in Dublin, who also conducted his funeral. The chuch is beside an avenue that leads up to Gonzaga College SJ. The school colours are also green and white, by the way. When I went there in 1967 the back rugby pitches near Milltown Park were bounded on one side by a wall which also bordered Glenmalure Park, once home of Shamrock Rovers FC which had the best playing surface in Ireland. The Jesuits leased the land to the football club and there is a letter in the club shop at the new ground at Tallaght from the then SJ Provincial at the time the Hoops moved. So maybe the Shamrock Rovers scarf was appropriate in memory of the Sandford connection with William Carleton. In the case of Paul Brush, he would no doubt have preferred if I had worn a Crawley FC scarf to identify myself: no chance of that!

 

 

 

 

 

 

VIEW FROM THE PROM


2011
11.06

Four points in the bag for Ulster

ULSTER returned to their winning ways at Ravenhill, defeating Connacht 22-3 in the RaboDirect PRO12 league. But the scoreline did not reflect how close Connacht came to upsetting the home team. Both sides exchanged penalties early on. Having brought a New Zealander along to watch the match I was particualrly interested in how new signing and World Cup medallist from Auckland John Afoa would perform. He got a great cheer when he came out onto the pitch and was soon demonstrating his strengths in the front row of the scrum. Indeed it was from the scrum just before half time that a move began which resulted in winger Craig Gilroy latching onto an inside pass from Ian Humphreys and then going over in the left corner to make it 8-3 to Ulster at the break. The home side began the second half intent on pressurising Connacht and two minutes in, good work by Rory Best, Dan Tuohy and Afoa created an opportunity for Ireland prop Tom Court to score their second try, with Humphreys adding the conversion. For the rest of the half, though, the battle was extremely tough as Connacht did their best to pull back the twelve point gap. Tempers flared at times but the referee kept the game under control well and no-one was sin-binned or shown a red card. However the medics were kept busy with a series of injuries to key Ulster players Stephen Ferris (ankle), Tom Court (knee), and skipper Johann Muller. Perhaps coach Brian McLaughlin had the risk of an injury in mind when he substituted Afoa before the end and the Kiwi was applauded for his first performance in an Ulster jersey. Additional time was being played when Ian Humphreys broke through the Connacht defence to score under the posts and add a quick conversion as the final whistle blew. Ulster 22 Connacht 3. The result means that with eight games played, Ulster are in mid-table, nine points behind the Ospreys and Leinster, who saw off the challenge of Munster at the RDS.

Click here for all Ulster Rugby news.

TOP CYCLING EVENT IN MONAGHAN


2011
06.07

Emyvale CC

One of the top cycling events in Ireland is being held for the first time in North Monaghan later this month (June 23rd-26th). Expect to see busy roads and many visitors around the villages of Emyvale, Tydavnet, Knockatallon, Scotstown and Ballinode as over 250 riders including some well-known names compete in this year’s Irish National Cycling championships. The event is being hosted by Emyvale Cycling Club on behalf of Cycling Ireland. Town of Monaghan Co-op which has supported the club’s activities for over twenty years will be the main sponsor.

ON SUNDAY JUNE 26th around  120 riders are expected to take part in the national senior road race championships for men. The winning elite rider wears the national champion’s jersey for all road races in the following 12 months. The first of the men under-23 in this race receives a separate award for the espoir category. With the 2012 Olympics fast approaching it’s certain thecompetitors will be out to impress the selectors of Ireland’s Olympic team. County Monaghan will have two riders taking part, Conor Murphy from Clara near Emyvale who has just finished the 8 day FBD Milk Rás. Another local competitor is Monaghan town’s Ryan Sherlock, current national hill climb champion. These riders along with all the Irish elite competitors will make this one of the top sporting events in the county this year.

Last year’s winner, Matt Brammeier, a Liverpudlian with an Irish passport, wears the national champion’s jersey. As a result of his victory he signed a professional contract with HTC-Highroad. The silver medallist is better known, Nicholas Roche, son of former champion Stephen Roche. He has already won this race twice and rides as a professional with a French team, Ag2r-La Mondiale. Roche has won a total of five professional races, finishing 15th in last year’s Tour de France and 7th in the Tour of Spain, raising him to 32nd position in the world rankings. Roche’s cousin, Daniel Martin, is the 2010 bronze medallist and is a professional with the Garmin-Cervelo team, currently ranking 49th internationally. Fresh from his exploits at the recent Giro D’Italia, Letterkenny’s Philip Deignan of Team RadioShack could well lead the Ulster challenge to win the race.

Spectators are invited to come and watch all the competitions particularly the men’s and women’s races starting on the main street of Scotstown at 11am on Saturday and Sunday. Admission to all events is FREE so the organisers are hoping many people will turn up to cheer on the local riders in particular. The race distance for the elite men’s event on Sunday is around 175km. featuring seven laps of a 25k circuit. Beginning in Scotstown the cyclists head for Knockatallon Cross, past the Sliabh Beagh Hotel, onto the Clogher Road heading past Killylough to Tydavnet, then continuing along the Monaghan road to Lemacaulla Cross and Connolly’s Bridge, branching off to Ballinode and then back to Scotstown. Medal presentations will take place immediately after the finish of the race around 4pm.

The four-day event begins on Thursday evening (June 23rd) with a time trial in Emyvale village for the elite women’s and paracycling champions awards. The first competitor sets off at 7pm and riders will follow at one minute intervals on the N2 main Derry to Dublin road. Their route will take them southwards to the Coolshannagh roundabout near Town of Monaghan Co-op, then heading northwards on the N54/A3 across the border to Middletown. The riders then head for Caledon and Aughnacloy, with a finish back on the N2 at the border at Moybridge, covering a distance  of 40km.

On Friday (June 24th) it’s the turn of the senior men’s time trial championships, with the first rider due off at 6pm. The 40km route is the same as that cycled by the women. The time trial is not expected to cause too much traffic disruption on the main roads but drivers are advised to proceed with caution and to allow extra time for their journeys. AA roadwatch traffic information can be obtained at www.aaireland.ie.

On Saturday morning (June 25th)  the national elite women’s road race championship takes place with about fifty competitors. Scotstown GAA complex will serve as the race headquarters and parking at Urbleshanny will be available for spectators. The race starts on the main street of the village at 11am over a 12.8km circuit. Competitors will be heading for Knockatallon Cross, turning right towards the Sliabh Beagh Hotel and then right again onto Carrahor Road onto the Scotstown Road back to the village, continuing this right hand circuit for seven laps. It finishes outside the Sliabh Beagh hotel after completing a total distance of almost 100km. Current champion Olivia Dillon from Co. Mayo will have to travel from San Francisco in the USA to defend both the women’s time trial and road race titles she won last year. The Ulster challenge in the women’s events is likely to come from 2009 road race champion, Heather Wilson from Lisburn.

On Saturday afternoon (June 25th) the national veterans’ road race championships will be held. The race begins at 3pm on the main street of Scotstown, cycling over the same course as the women’s event to cover eight laps, making a total distance of around 110km and again finishing at the Sliabh Beagh venue. On Saturday evening at 7pm, all leisure cyclists are invited to take part in a charity ride covering one lap (25km) of the elite road race course. Those wishing to participate should sign on at the Scotstown GAA complex from 6pm. Voluntary donations will go towards the Co. Monaghan branch of  Special Olympics Ireland.

Speaking at the launch, race organiser Patsy Brady said: “This is a big honour for Emyvale Cycling Club to be staging the national championships for the first time. Although the club hosted the B Championships three years ago, this is a much bigger event and we are grateful to Town of Monaghan Co-Op for their sponsorship. There has been massive interest in the national championships this year with Irish cyclists based in the UK, continental Europe, and the USA making enquiries. We look forward to welcoming them all to Monaghan at the end of June.”

2011 Irish National Championships Programme

Thu 23rd  Elite Women’s/Paracycling Time Trial @ 7pm Emyvale

Fri 24th   Senior Men’s Time Trial Championship @ 6pm Emyvale

Sat 25th  Women’s Road Race Championsip @ 11am Scotstown

Sat 25th    Veterans’ Road Race Championship @ 3pm Scotstown

Sun 26th   Senior Men’s Road Race Championship @ 11am Scotstown

Full details about entries and routes can be found at Cycling Ireland

 

SPEECH AT LIONS CONVENTION MD105


2011
05.26

SPEECH BY MICHAEL FISHER,

PRESIDENT,  BELFAST LIONS CLUB

Multiple District 105 Convention, Waterfront Hall, Belfast,

Saturday 7th May 2011

Lord Mayor, Chairman of Council, International President, other distinguished guests, and fellow Lions. First I would like to thank District Governor Terence Mangan for asking me to perform this task. I am privileged to do so and it is with a certain amount of nervousness but also pride that I now welcome you, Councillor Pat Convery. Like yourself, I am a blow-in, who has been here only 26 years or so. Whereas you came from another part of NI, County Derry, I came from Dublin to cover the troubles for RTÉ News as a TV reporter. Both of us, I hope have come to admire this city which forty years ago was torn apart by violence and now seeks a new way forward in peaceful times. “Pro tanto quid retribuamus” is the motto: In return for so much, what shall we give back. A very appropriate one also for Lions, whose  function as a voluntary group is service to the community. That service was inspired in this city since 1958 by a businessman who many of you will remember, Bert Mason. He has a special place in Lions history as he went on to become International President in 1984. He was a founder member of the Belfast Lions Club, the third in this district to be chartered after Dublin and Cork. One of their first schemes was a meals on wheels service in East Belfast, which was later extended to other areas. From a small beginning a significant structure was built and lasted for over forty years.

Bert who came from Donaghadee passed to his eternal reward in 2007. It was his view that Lionism is one of the greatest unifying forces in the world, bringing together people from different cultures, politics and religions, all answering the call to serve.

I hope that spirit he spoke about will live on in the revived Belfast Lions Club. We were set up in February and our first public fundraising event was two days ago, a table quiz which has brought in over £1,000 to start our work of service. Various projects will now be considered such as the message in a bottle scheme and the collection of unused spectacles. There is also the service of a soup run performed at weekends by one of our members, helping the homeless, especially those from abroad. It’s the other face of Belfast but one to which this club must reach out if we are to live up to the early ideals of its predecessor. If there is any practical way in which we can work with Belfast City Council on some of the schemes then we would be interested to discuss this at some stage.

During your year of office you have focused on making Belfast a safe, clean, prosperous and a united city and attempted to revitalise it. I hope Belfast Lions will now be able to make a contribution to those important goals. I now call on you Lord Mayor to open formally the convention of multiple district 105, British Isles & Ireland.

HORSLIPS ON TOUR


2011
04.24

Horslips concert in Belfast

Horslips were always one of my favourite bands. In 2009 when they got together again after a thirty year gap since their last live concert, they played in front of packed audiences in Belfast and Dublin. Twelve months on they were back again, this time at the O2 in Dublin followed in quick succession by Belfast (December 1st 2010). I left it a bit late to buy tickets for the Waterfront Hall gig and ended up on the second floor, up in the “gods” as it were. There were more than a few empty seats at that level. Although the overall view was fine and the sound was good, it did not enable me to see the members of the band in any detail. So I would recommend these fine profile photos by Daragh Owens (copyright) which convey the atmosphere in front of the stage really well. Those who chose to stand and dance or rock along to the music seem to have enjoyed themselves immensely. I could not help noticing the profile of the audience. Most were like myself, in the 50+ age group and showing definite signs of middle-age spread!! The ageing rockers were there to relive the glories of youth. Horslips did not disappoint. There were the usual favourites, including my own, Dearg Doom from The Táin. The lyrics can be found here.

Man who built America

Then came The Man who built America. This was one of the tunes when the lighting (a mixture of blue, white and red) matched the lyrics really well. The original album released in 1978 was produced by Steve Katz of Blood, Sweat and Tears and Blues Project fame. It concerned Irish emigration to the USA and was commercially their most successful album (Wikipedia). For some of the numbers the five lads were joined by three female backing vocalists and a three piece brass section (trumpet, trombone and saxophone). Another tune when the lighting effects blended really well with the music was Sideways to the Sun.

Sideways to the Sun

Sun symbols appeared intertwined with the name of the group.  All in all a great experience. Thanks once again to Barry Devlin, Jim Lockhart, Charles O’Connor, Johnny Fean and his brother Ray who stood in once again for Eamon Carr on the drums. His drum kit was unusual with what looked like two helter skelter type sets of cymbals perched above the main drums. Horslips were back at the Waterfront on St Patrick’s Day 2011 in a live BBC Radio Ulster concert with the Ulster Orchestra. It sounded great but I was one of the unlucky ones in the ballot to get free tickets. The venue was full. Another great night to savour. Alf McCreary gave this verdict in the Belfast Telegraph, rock and reels on a night of true magic. He awarded them four stars out of five for their performance (new page). More recently I have been watching the TG4 series Horslips Rotha Mór an tSaoil The Man Who Built America: Barry Devlin and Jim Lockhart re-trace the steps of Donegal man Micky MacGowan whose memoirs ‘Rotha Mór an tSaoil’ inspired the band to write some of their finest work. From the Steel Mills of Bethlehem to the gold fields of the Klondike the two perform some of the Horslips music inspired by Micky and his journey. Well worth watching. Finally another memory from the Waterfront Hall concert in December:

Green lighting this time

LAGAN DAWN


2011
04.24

Mist rising from River Lagan

It was a beatiful Easter Sunday dawn as the sun rose over the River Lagan. The early morning mist was rising from the river and started disappearing as people made their way along the path towards the spot where they would mark this special day with the celebration of Mass. The priest was a Jesuit, Fr Bruno Niederbacher from South Tyrol, who has been based in Belfast for the past three months, helping out as a curate at St Brigid’s Catholic parish (new page).  Shortly after 7am the Mass began. By that stage around 150 people had gathered around a large tree where a temporary altar had been set up. At one point during his homily Fr Bruno stopped talking. He urged the participants to listen to the sounds of nature around them and the birds duly obliged! Then to breathe in the fresh air for further inspiration.

Altar set up under a large tree

The choir led the singing and contributed greatly to the occasion. The dawn Mass or a religious service is a tradition in many Christian churches. St Brigid’s parishioners have been participating in a Mass at this spot for several years. It may have been the idea of a former curate who had a love of nature or it may well have been an even older tradition. But this was the first time I have managed to attend. A friend who has been a regular attender with her family recalled how the weather was on occasions not so mild, when it was held in the snow! She also remembers the Mass being interrupted on one occasion by a group of rowdy youths returning from a party.  Fr Bruno ended the Mass with an Irish blessing. Afterward, small Easter eggs were handed out for the children (although that did not stop some adults taking them!) to enjoy.  On Easter Monday, Fr Bruno returned to Dublin where he has been based for the past year as part of his Jesuit “tertianship” or training after ordination. He made a valuable contribution to the spiritual life of  St Brigid’s especially at Sunday Mass and with youth groups during the short time he spent in the parish. Fr Bruno was born in 1967 in Uttenheim, Suedtirol in the Dolomite region of Italy. After his novitiate he studied philosophy in Muenchen and then Freiburg-in-Breisgau (where I once attended a summer course). He also studied theology in London. He worked in a youth centre in Innsbruck and since 1999 has worked at the Institute for Christian Philosophy at the University of Innsbruck, to which he now returns. Farewell Fr Bruno and thanks. Go n-éiri an bothar leat.

Easter Sunday dawn Mass beside the Lagan

BEATLES


2010
12.23

Zebra crossing at Abbey Road studios

Like most of my generation I am a Beatles fan. So I was delighted to find out from my fellow tweeter @EamonnMallie that the iconic zebra crossing at Abbey Road in St John’s Wood, London has received listed status, albeit Grade II. The Liverpool lads recorded most of their output at the studios in Abbey Road. Their final album as a group was recorded there in April 1969.  ’Abbey Road’ became their best selling album and the front cover consisted of a picture of the four members of the group crossing the road at the zebra crossing beside the studios. Zebra crossings in Britain are usually distinguished by belisha beacons on either side, named after a former Transport Minister who introduced them in 1934. These are the flashing amber globes on top of poles with black & white stripes.

Since the Abbey Road photo was taken, zigzag lines at the kerb and in the centre of the road have been added to all zebra crossings to indicate the no-stopping zones on either side. The band Shriekback’s album Sacred City contains an entire song, “Beatles Zebra Crossing?”, about the famous zebra crossing and its status as a tourist attraction (Wikipedia).

The scene is still very much a tourist attraction. When I visited it four years ago I met a group of Japanese visitors waiting to take their turn crossing the road at the same spot and also taking photographs.

There is also a live webcam accessible on the Abbey Road studios web page.

The initiative to list the crossing came from the studios who approached the Department of Culture, Media & Sport. They say the crossing is the first of its kind ever to be listed, reflecting the cultural and historical importance of the crossing and the studios. Some 41 years after the photograph of the Beatles on the crossing outside the studios was taken, it continues to be a must-see destination, attracting thousands of music fans all over the world. Artists have also paid tribute to the iconic image, from the infamous Red Hot Chili Peppers’ album art to Kanye West and Seal. In a statement the general manager of the studios Jonathan Smith said when the Department listed Abbey Road Studios in February, the zebra crossing had been excluded from the listing. As an important cultural landmark and icon of British culture, he said they believed the crossing should receive the same protection as the studios and were delighted this has now been granted.

Abbey Road zebra crossing now a Grade II listed structure