Monday, September 30, 2019

September stories.

There were several ideas that caught my interest this month and I wanted to write about. Instead time allows me now to gesture in the direction of of one their stories, that of Elizabeth O'Farrell.

I wanted to write about a visit to Glasnevin Cemetery, and the many interesting people buried there. I wanted to know more about the story of Elizabeth O'Farrell, who was very involved in the 1916 Rising. And about "her faithful comrade and lifelong friend, Sheila Grenan”, who is buried in the same grave with her.


Elizabeth O'Farrell and Sheila Grenan grave, Glasnevin Cemetery.

O'Farrell was in the GPO throughout Easter Week 1916 and she delivered Pearse's surrender to the British military. She was standing with Pearse when he surrendered, with her feet and skirt visible behind Pearse in a famous photograph of that moment. Yet her feet were removed from later reproductions of the photo, with some interpreting this as her being "airbrushed from history", along with the lack of attention to her role and the participation of other women in the events of 1916. O'Farrell's relationship with Grenan certainly seems to be one of lesbian lifelong romantic partner. Yet this is also little discussed. I cannot do her story justice here. Read some of these sources and puzzle out its nuances for yourself.

Glasnevin Cemetery, map and information about O'Farrell and Grenan's grave.

The Elizabeth O'Farrell and Sheila Julia Grenan papers in the National Library including her account of 1916.

Advocating for acknowledgement that O'Farrell and some others involved in 1916 were lesbians. Also noting that O'Farrell's relationship with Grenan meets and surpasses the criteria by which similar relationships between men and women were deemed to be romantic.

Wikipedia page on Elizabeth O'Farrell.

Transcript of a talk given in 2016 by O'Farrell's grand-nephew Ian.

Including a video interview with O'Farrell's grandniece Donna.

Stories from the Statistics, from the Central Statistics Office information about O'Farrell.

Detailed article about the photographs, location of the surrender and O'Farrell's role.

Irish Independent newspaper article by an historian about O'Farrell.

The Journal online newspaper article about O'Farrell, the photographs and a play 'Eirebrushed' about her being 'airbrushed' from history.

Come Here To Me article showing some street art about the surrender and discussing O'Farrell and Moore Street.

RTE documentary about O'Farrell.

A speech by then Minister Varadkar at the opening of Elizabeth O'Farrell House in 2016: "We may never know the exact nature of their relationship, but it is enough to say that when they died they were buried in the same grave together in Glasnevin Cemetery."

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Good things exist.

It doesn't seem like a great time, in the world or in my life. It's hard to tell which is influencing which more - do I feel more despondent about the state of my life partially because the state of the world seems unendingly and increasingly horrible, or are my personal concerns colouring how I see geopolitical goings on? Maybe it doesn't matter, the personal and the political are intertwined for me in such ways. It does appear that both are objectively not great - given external and commonly acknowledged milestones, right now neither my individual trajectory nor humanity's journey seem to be reaching exciting new heights or even traversing pleasant valleys, instead struggling through deserts and dangerously near cliff edges. While the Amazon burns.

But onwards we walk, and good things are crafted and built and created. Good things exist. And celebrating this goodness I can do. Here are some good things from the last month.


There is space Lego now. Inspired by real spaceships humanity has sent to space.


Someone has bothered to plant a biodiversity garden at the train station in Farranfore, Co. Kerry.


There is good street art by Dan Leo in Killorglin, Co. Kerry.


And some by Solus, which is even optimistic.


And Ireland is just so beautiful. Like here, on a beach in Co. Kerry.


So very, very beautiful. Like here, walking on the Sheep's Head Way, in Co. Cork.


So beautiful. Even in the rain. Even on the road. On the Caha Pass, travelling from Kerry into Cork.


So much great vegetarian food. At Organico cafe, Bantry, Co. Cork.


And incredible vegan food. At Veginity, Dublin.


And local, handmade cheese. Like these, all from Cork.


So many wonderful places where I've swum. Like here at sunset on the Sheep's Head peninsula, Co. Cork.


And here at sunset at Seapoint, in Dublin.


And people making art, and making a point. Like this great piece by ADW, in Dublin.

Good things exist. People keep trying to make things beautiful and better. Onwards we go.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Partial credit.

Partial lunar eclipse, with cranes, Dublin, 16th July 2019.


Sunday, June 30, 2019

Insufficient support - a friend's story.

At the start of May, a good friend of mine was in hospital having had back surgery. She has a long-term chronic pain condition and is a wheelchair user. As well as this mobility disability, she is, as she puts it, "pretty much blind" and uses a guide dog who is also an assistance dog. In order to function independently at home she needs personal assistance (PA) support. She requires the power wheelchair and her guide dog to be able to leave her home. In advance of going into hospital she was promised additional PA support hours, which were essential to her recovery from surgery. She was not given these hours. She to go home alone and try to cope with recovery from surgery, her sensory disability and her mobility disability. She kept a video diary of her experiences over the next three to four weeks, beginning the night before she was discharged from hospital. It makes for difficult viewing at times as well as being inspiring and powerful. It is a telling indictment of the Irish healthcare system, services and support for people with disabilities in this country, inequalities, exclusion, political disenfranchisement, and much else besides. Watch it.

Diary of Insufficient Support - Day 0

Diary of Insufficient Support - Day 1

Diary of Insufficient Support - Day 2

I'm not going to embed all the videos here but you can see them all in this playlist:

My Diary of Insufficient Support - playlist

And you can follow her YouTube channel here:

Colleenocasturme on YouTube

It is wrong that she or anyone would have to experience this kind of lack of care. She says it all better than I ever could, and I don't want to speak for her. Hers is a powerful voice. I hope it will be listened to.

Friday, May 31, 2019

School strike for climate, Dublin edition.

I joined the school strike for climate in Dublin on 24th May. These young people make me feel like maybe we can sort it out.

IMG_2784 stop climate chaos

IMG_2783C school strike for climate

IMG_2786B change the system not the climate

IMG_2818 must be bad if the introverts are here.

Yes, it must be bad if the introverts are here.

IMG_2792B eco not ego

IMG_2814B speaker

IMG_2815 eleven years

IMG_2790B What if it's a hoax and we create a better world for nothing?

What if it's a hoax and we create a better world for nothing?

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

See what is there.

Street art and graffiti taught me to see. Yet often I don't read what is written in foot high letters right in front of me. Sometimes I feel exactly what it says.
Aches IMG_20190423_182133

Trepidation IMG_20190418_175519

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Youth strike for the climate.

I applaud the young people of the Climate Strike on 15th March 2019.

IMG_2375 Climate Strike in London

They were protesting worldwide. I saw hundreds of them marching in London.

IMG_2383 Climate Strike in London

Some had staged a sit down protest and blocked both lanes of traffic on Blackfriars Bridge. A little video of that is here:

MVI_2384 Video of Climate Strike in London

More images and video of the Climate Strike in London are here.