In a Word . . . Homoeopathy

But that doesn’t stop people. I found out. straight-en them out. er… So, is it possible that the homoeopathy service at a premises near me may be about helping to make gay people straight or straight people gay by applying a little of the opposite in either case? Hence “homosexual”. Which is why I thought of him when I saw that word “homoeopathy” boldly blazoned at a place near me. I expect he would be aware whether homoeopathy is a conversion therapy. There’s a place near me which offers a “homoeopathy” service. To my surprise I discovered homoeopathy is actually the correct spelling for homeopathy. “homo”. Same, curing same. Homoeopathy, from the Greek “homeois” (similar/ like) and “pathos” (suffering). One stands exposed, chastened, even humbled! I would call in to see what is on offer but the place near me is across from a pub whose regulars I know. And, the Greek word for same is… So I considered contacting US vice president Mike Pence. Or the opposite? He even supported conversion therapy for gay people, to… Il Penceroso himself. In general, and as with conversion therapy for gay people, there is little evidence that homeopathy is effective. inaword@irishtimes.com In fact, omission of the dipthong (Œ) changes the root of the word to mean “same”, not “similar”. “Hilarious,” I thought and was tempted to call in but feared being misunderstood. He has opposed gay rights, claimed being gay is a choice, opposed gay marriage and a law preventing discrimination against gay people in employment as it “wages war on freedom and religion in the workplace”. It has to be an alternative medicine, like homeopathy, which is based on the idea that “like, cures like” and teaches that if a substance causes a symptom in a healthy person, a small amount of it may cure a sufferer. Maybe it offers a sort of conversion/aversion therapy to straight-en gay people, so to speak? My curiosity was piqued. Which is why Bart Simpson got it wrong when calling his father “Homersexual”. It might be a service to make straight people gay. Will I ever know! It would not be fair to provoke them into speculating whether I was a gay who wished to be straight or a straight who wished to be gay, which is why I thought of Mike Pence. Well.

David Davin-Power hangs up his RTÉ microphone after almost two decades

I've been an eye witness to so many amazing events like the ceasefires and the GFA but it's time for new challenges now— ddp (@theddp) April 28, 2017 There were ups and downs and tumultuous times and I hope that I helped in some way to bring a bit of clarity to the picture and maybe encourage a bit of understanding of the work of Ministers, TDs and Senators.” Davin-Power became a household-name in the 1980s, presenting the fledgling Morning Ireland news programme with the late David Hanly. For there he reported from the Corridors of (Davin) Power, smoothly delivering reports with an unblinking gaze. He left RTÉ for a brief period to become Head of News at the ill-fated Century radio before returning to Montrose to become Northern Editor during the heady years of the IRA ceasefires and Good Friday Agreement. The “zombie doughnut” episode saw the journalist surrounded by a large group of FF supporters as he went live to the nine o’clock news from the conference. The Dáil is still in Easter recess but when hostilities resume on Tuesday, a familiar figure will be absent from Leinster House. Martin says North needs some sort of special status in EU Sinn Féin to call for National Maternity Hospital’s independence Q&A: Enda is going to Brussels to talk Brexit. His low-key exit took politicians by surprise when he sent out a text to Oireachtas members announcing his departure from RTÉ and thanking them for their “courtesy down through the years.” DDP (as he is known) added: “I’d like to say what a privilege it has been to serve as a pol corr for the past 16 years. DDP’s trademark unflappability was tested to the limit during a memorable broadcast in the immediate aftermath of Brian Cowen’s keynote speech to the 2009 Fianna Fáil ard fheis. In 2001, the fruity tones of the Gonzaga-educated broadcaster soon became part of the political landscape when he moved to Leinster House. David Davin-Power, RTÉ’s long-serving Political Correspondent, bowed out on Friday after almost two decades in the job. What’s it all about? youtube He turned, and without missing a beat said smoothly “I have deputy Ned O’Keefe with me here…..”, and then proceeded to interview the delighted deputy. Beered-up delegates at party conferences have been known to tug at it in an effort to prove it isn’t real. The then Fianna Fáil TD …

Nothing on Earth: Irish Gothic with a Latin American feel

Book Club podcast There is an innocence about snow; heat is different. Most likely. He is one of the witnesses, the other one is the girl, a Cassandra figure with no idea of the future because she may not have one. Nothing on Earth, with echoes of the wasteland images of JG Ballard, is about the now. It makes for evil, wrongdoing. If a solitary house looks lonely, an abandoned estate looks even worse. Her plight makes her more of an Antigone, she too roams a battlefield, even if her search is not about fetching a dead body, she is part of the trek party seeking water and other supplies. The small family reappears from abroad in the very place from which two now grown sisters once came. The four set up home in the show house. Two sisters and but only one husband, as well as a young girl, not quite a woman but clearly no longer a child. Nothing on Earth, with its simmering menace and ambivalence, belongs to the Irish Gothic, a genre so persuasive and rooted in history that somehow even passing a ghost estate causes images of the Famine to come to the mind. This is where the Irish Gothic has arrived, via Neil Jordan’s The Dream of a Beast, another enigmatic odyssey suspended in deadening heat, the now – our now – a no man’s land cluttered with mangled shopping trolleys. The ghost estates are different, they are about lives that never got going, the family homes intended for stories which never got told. Instead of blood, we, all of us, are scrambling for air itself. What is certain, we think, is that she is the mother of the girl, a child caught between languages just as she is caught between childhood and adolescence. Our environment is under siege, natural crops can’t defeat the challenge of chemicals. Helen might the name of the mother, but it doesn’t really matter. – if you are a young woman on your own with no job to go to and not much in the way of clothes. The world is parched because it is under threat. It is unsettling to concede how science fiction filled with gadgets, yielded to the dystopian with its rigid codes of controlled, depersonalised reproduction; to where O’Callaghan brings his doomed survivors – a deserted house where the water supply is cut off and …

‘You can’t afford to take their word for it. The church has tentacles everywhere’

Lillywhite is perhaps the only man who can talk more than Fanning; it’s a brilliant interview. Linehan talks tersely about the “horrific” two days that followed, as they prepared for the termination, but he has no regrets: “It was two days.” That his wife would have been denied the same procedure in Ireland crystallised his own views.  Maternity group calls for clarification on future services at hospital National Maternity Hospital relocation planner resigns IVF, sterilisation and morning-after pill banned by Sisters of Charity It’s a telling conversation. Linehan is adamant that the church should have no say in matters of women’s health Linehan is hardly neutral on the proposal to locate the new Dublin maternity facility on the grounds of St Vincent’s Hospital, owned by the nuns; he has spoken at a protest against the plan. Fertility treatments But after her brief editorial, Kelly moves on to less contentious items. Too much technical information, audiences switch off; try too hard to appeal to the casual listener, the item is so lightweight as to float away. On Tuesday, former NMH board member Dr Peter Boylan appears on the Pat Kenny Show (Newstalk, weekdays), describing the plan as “a terrible mistake”. Dr Ciara Kelly, the show’s presenter, comes out against the plan in her opening monologue, objecting to the “failure to show remorse and failure of atonement” by the Sisters of Charity to the Catholic Church’s opposition to the likes of contraception and IVF, never mind abortion, the 800lb gorilla in the room throughout this whole dispute. So kudos to Sean Moncrieff (Newstalk, weekdays) for landing an interview with the man behind the most high-profile Irish cleric of recent times. His early memories of U2 are gloriously unfiltered, be it manager Paul McGuinness (he expected to meet “a man on a tractor with straw in his hair”) or Bono, a “little stubby young kid”. Rather, his opposition seems down to his personal experiences and his secular-minded convictions, not to mention a bruised sense of fairness. As a cursory scan of the airwaves attests, the decision to hand over ownership of the new National Maternity Hospital (NMH) to the Sisters of Charity is an almost unavoidable topic of conversation, much of it heated. Few ecclesiastical voices are heard on the matter, however, which is strange given that church influence over medical care is the nub of contention. Hearing the whole endgame played out on …

How Celtic Tiger’s death led to a Gothic revival

For a while there in the early years of the twenty-first century, it looked as though Gothic Ireland would exist in the future only as a tourist virtual reality. If the Gothic genre is very often about the inability to escape from sins committed in the dim and distant past, by the end of the twentieth century it appeared that Ireland was at last being dragged (albeit, as one commentator put it, “kicking and screaming”) into an enlightened modernity. Set around what quickly becomes a ghost estate located in one of those insignificant and outlandish places that we usually insist on calling a town, with the bare minimum of “Two streets, five pubs, a Chinese takeaway, a filling station with a minimart, a hardware shop”, its main characters could have come out of Gothic central casting: doppelgangers/twins (think Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde or Fight Club), a very odd adolescent girl (The Exorcist or Carrie), and a slippery, suspicious Catholic priest (The Monk or The Omen). Finally, however, with Conor O’Callaghan’s brilliant and disturbing Nothing on Earth, the Irish Gothic has been brought fully up to date. The focus of much of the best Irish Gothic fiction has been on the past, and traced its malevolent energies to the 1950s, 1960s or even the 1980s (I’m thinking here, for example, of Eimear McBride’s extraordinarily Gothic evocation of an ’80s Mayo in her award-winning A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing). If ghosts are haunting the houses of this half-built, almost empty estate, they aren’t (only) the ghosts of the Irish Past, but more importantly of the Present and perhaps even the Yet to Come. He is the author of British Gothic Literature, 1824-1914 (University of Wales Press, 2009), The Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde (Ashgate, 2007), Gothic Ireland: Horror and the Irish Anglican Imagination in the Long Eighteenth Century (Four Courts Press, 2005), The Faiths of Oscar Wilde: Catholicism, Folklore and Ireland (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), and the editor of Oscar Wilde: Irish Writers and Their Work (Irish Academic Press, 2010) In other words, in the economic downturn we re-entered Gothic Ireland (or, more credibly, we never really left it). The Celtic Tiger turned out to be all shine and no substance, and beneath the surface glamour dark and mysterious forces continued to operate. For centuries, Ireland has been considered rather weird, a kind of unsettling site of the bizarre, a mythic-Gothic …

Windbags, a new short story for Bealtaine

He now divides his time between Dublin and Galway. Well it wasn‘t really his secret. Draighnean is in on it. The grid. A hundred or so, driven on by the chanting of the new community choir – basically everyone that could be found, young and old – came up in a procession. For the hot water. This short story was commissioned for Age & Opportunity’s Bealtaine Festival – Ireland’s national celebration of the arts and creativity as we age. The sheep had been cut back but he still let Martin at the turf and had kinds of contracts for other lads. There’s nothing the matter with someone else. We mightn‘t be able to see each other in the dark but we can still hear what‘s goin‘ on. He went away with heavy legs. Must have been that wind last night.’ The mobiles came out. The brother denied it. They were above in Festy’s – that whole shootin’ gallery, like Martin’s, ran off lamp-oil and batteries. Improvements is all.’ ‘Oh yeah. ‘Someone go up to the Centra. I can put me faith in you ladeen can’t I… And so it was all over the Dunmaley peninsula, on that last day of autumn. Already a lost cause. Draighnean sat in with them. What has you thinkin’ about feckin’ windmills?’ ‘Ah I was just wonderin’.’ Thomas tightened the last fixing and slid out. Annie’s daughter was lost in her own kind of psychedelic reverie holding an imaginary guitar case for Murt. ‘Jaysus Martin will you hould up for a bit. * The ’Maley hall was jam-packed later that evening. These men went at a pace that was even and unperturbed, like a rhythm section in a band keeping time, and the world could go on playing its tunes. A big company doing a deal. Sure it would go off to the grid.’ ‘Jaysus you’re a fierce student of the windmill altogether. Wonderin’ I suppose what them yokes would be like around here. That thought alone cured him of his apoplexy, and in fairness led him one day to remorse. No. No. This is sheep and turf country. Someone else called a farmhouse a mile out. ‘Has anyone else noticed the static jumping off this recent wool?’ In fairness there was a bit of an extra glow to it after that day of the protest in the Glen. It’s bad enough in this village …

The new maternity hospital? That would not be an ecumenical matter

Linehan talks tersely about the “horrific” two days that followed, as they prepared for the termination, but he has no regrets: “It was two days.” That his wife would have been denied the same procedure in Ireland crystallised his own views.  It’s a telling conversation. On Wednesday, Dr Rhona Mahony, the Master of NMH, is on Newstalk Breakfast (weekdays) describing the whole affair as “a storm in a teacup”, though her raised voice hints at the emotions involved. ‘Comfort’ But Linehan isn’t fanatically anti-religious. Linehan is adamant that the church should have no say in matters of women’s health Linehan is hardly neutral on the proposal to locate the new Dublin maternity facility on the grounds of St Vincent’s Hospital, owned by the nuns; he has spoken at a protest against the plan. Offbeat voices The interview is typical of Moncrieff’s approach of late, using offbeat voices to address current affairs. As a cursory scan of the airwaves attests, the decision to hand over ownership of the new National Maternity Hospital (NMH) to the Sisters of Charity is an almost unavoidable topic of conversation, much of it heated. As it’s a medical magazine programme, Alive and Kicking (Newstalk, Saturday) has to give some coverage to the NMH affair. Then again, maybe that’s what happens when the church isn’t involved in medical matters. Slightly alarmingly, she describes herself as “the Sinn Féin of career changes – I play the long game”. (By Thursday, Boylan has resigned from the board.)  Hearing the whole endgame played out on air over the course of the week makes for undeniably compelling radio; these things normally happen behind closed doors or, nowadays, on Twitter. Too much technical information, audiences switch off; try too hard to appeal to the casual listener, the item is so lightweight as to float away. Linehan confesses he is shaky on those clinical and legal details that supporters of the move say will copperfasten the new hospital’s position. Rather, his opposition seems down to his personal experiences and his secular-minded convictions, not to mention a bruised sense of fairness. It’s a discussion that, while naturally urgent for those involved, is akin to sitting in on a consultancy session. (He did co-write a sitcom about priests, after all.) He doesn’t feel the Catholic church should be banished from civic life: “It gives comfort to a great many people and that role is important.” He …

Donal Dineen’s Sunken Treasure: Rónán Ó Snodaigh – ‘The Playdays’

It’s one thing to perfect the playing of an instrument or to be able to do so within a group, but it’s another entirely to write a bunch of songs that somehow, via magical thinking or other indecipherable ways, end up gelling together so sumptuously that a classic album is made. The climb is hard, but it’s to that point the great artist must reach in order to take the higher leap again to that really special place at the top of the spectrum. The first incarnation included Colm Mac Con Iomaire and Karl and Dave Odlum, each of whom were soon to become members of The Frames, with the latter recently a Grammy-winning producer. That’s 20 long years of beating the drum with power but with no little amount of subtlety or panache either. The group formed in Coláiste Eoin in Co Dublin, a gaelscoil with a reputation as a musical hot-spot. Rónán Ó Snodaigh has been the lead singer with Kíla since 1987. Like all tight exploratory musical units, they found their own sound. Ó Snodaigh treads a delicate lyrical path through a sound not unlike Astral Weeks. It’s a difficult instrument to assimilate into an ensemble while taking a lead role, but Buckley plays with such beautiful restraint that he sort of glides above it all. That feeling at the heart of great records is hard to define or explain but when it’s present there’s a shine off everything and great moments glisten uncommonly brightly. The backbone of the group comprised of Rónán’s brothers Rossa and Colm. Their command of the traditional form gave them license to absorb influences from all directions. Here most of these highlights belong to saxophonist Richie Buckley. This record’s got soul. It’s the way poetic champions compose. It was from this platform that Rónán Ó Snodaigh took flight with his solo records. The standard of playing is exceptional everywhere. The Playdays is the third of four to date, and it ranks as his finest. His guttural tones are softer, speaking words of love that yearn for space and peace and quiet. The Playdays by Ronan O Snodaigh

Putting Helena Molony back centre-stage in Irish history

The saying that if I’d had more time I would have written you something shorter comes to mind. Helena Molony (standing) and Maud Gonne MacBride in the 1940s At that stage an outline chronology of Molony’s public life was discernible from Margaret Ward’s Unmanageable Revolutionaries and Mary Jones’ history of the Irish Women Workers Union, Those Obstreperous Lassies. Now, can you option a biography? She was a recipient of the 2016 Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship. Her own account of what she had done between 1903 and 1921. I was energised by the humour and sheer surprise of her journalism in the early 1900s. After all, here was humour and intrigue, appearances on Dublin and London stages, armed rebellion and war, imprisonment, feminism, headlines about communist plots, unorthodox personal lives, German spies – the works. Then I went to interview the late Finian Czira, son of her great friend Sydney Gifford Czira, who told me that she had fallen in love with Dr Evelyn O’Brien. I wanted this full-length biography to be academically sound and a “cracking good read”. She wrote of “the ‘rámeis’ of the early Victorian male mind which prates much of the sphere of women… when he wants to oppose her claim to equal civic rights”; or how “all that about red petticoated barefooted cailiní is most pernicious nonsense”. I decided that Molony had had enough of my time. They lived together for over 25 years. She rang, You’re going to get a shock. Nell Regan is a poet and non-fiction writer. Chasing material brought me to a bookseller in the George’s Street Arcade who had bought her library. If you still really hate it you don’t have to put it in. It never works like that. Here was humour and intrigue, appearances on Dublin and London stages, armed rebellion, imprisonment, feminism, communist plots, unorthodox personal lives, German spies – the works When I began my early research on Molony her name popped up everywhere; in memoirs, in biographies of nationalist women and labour men as well as in survey histories, but there was no detailed work published on her. She was intriguing; a radical nationalist, feminist and trade unionist, who was active in public life until 1941. I tried to get the book finished and out for the 100th anniversary of the Rising but despite the valiant efforts of myself and Alan Hayes of Arlen House it …

Far-flung and far out: Seven summer festivals worth getting on a plane for

Go if: You want a little bit of everything, and a whole load of time to explore it. Avoid if: You get seasick, as you’ll miss out on the festival’s now famous boat parties. This year has been denoted Exit’s “Summer of Love”, so why not stow away your cynicism, paint some flowers on your face and rock out to Rag’n’Bone Man or Years & Years? Go if: You like the variety of a truly multimedia festival. Nos also comes with nice little camping huts on-site, as well as cheap-as-chips deals with hotels and hostels in the city itself, all in 25-30 degree temperatures, if you’re into that kind of thing. Across multiple venues. NOS Alive’s stock-in-trade leans toward the crowdpleasing chartbusters, so if you’re hellbent on hearing Gambian tone poetry or discovering your three new favourite Cambodian death metal MCs, look elsewhere. Avoid if: A festival that attracts both Bad Religion and Steve Aoki fans seems too vague for your no-doubt highly bespoke and original tastes. This year, Sonár’s roster will also be incorporating the critically acclaimed V&A exhibition David Bowie Is (above), which has been transplanted to Barcelona for the duration of the event. Name: Field Day Date: Saturday June 3rd Location: Victoria Park, London Music: A fairly staggering collection of heavy-hitters is descending on East London for this year’s Field Day, chief among them Aphex Twin, Flying Lotus and Run The Jewels (above), as well as iconic rockers Slowdive and Arab Strap. The latter, which opens the festival, is an extra €42.50. Ticket price and availability: Full-pass tickets for all By Day and By Night events start at €180, with additional admission to select Sonar+D events included. With so many music festivals competing for your attention, choosing a getaway can be a daunting task. Name: Farrago Date: Friday August 18th-Saturday August 19th Location: The ruins of Schweppermannsburg Castle, near Pfaffenholen bei Kastl in Bavaria, southern Germany Music: With headliners including DJ Tennis, John Talabot (above) and Optimo, as well as Wicklow natives Mano le Tough and The Drifter, this is a destination for electronic music that sizzles, slinks and soars. We’ve narrowed the field down to just seven that, between them, should offer a great summer soujourn to any music fan, whether hardened festival addict or discerning debutant. This year it features live performances by Grace Jones (above), Yussef Kamaal and Moderat. Ticket price and availability: Early-bird tickets …

Florence Pugh: the best actor you haven’t heard of

There is something new every time.” Pugh and Maisie Williams in Carol Morley’s The Falling Pugh’s name is not yet one for the household. She can also manage vulnerability when required (although there is not much of that in Lady Macbeth). I basically had this amazing moment when I realised Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson was teaching me ho to wrestle Last year, she appeared in the TV series Marcella with Anna Friel. Oldroyd needed somebody head-spinning in the role. And pay for the ticket’ Heal the Living review: delicately balancing life and death Warning: Suntan may induce a midlife crisis/chronic cringing “I would agree it is a feminist film,” Pugh says. But her later outrages push the role in deeply troubling directions. “I watched him through it. But her first performances suggest there may be no stopping further ascent. Pugh, though polite and modest, buzzes with the sort of confidence that makes old people feel older than the nebulae. Mind you… Fear of failure almost stopped her from sending off a tape, but she gave herself a shake, shot the audition and ended up securing that role in The Falling. “I have no idea,” she laughs. Florence Pugh is just 20 years old. Then, one day, she encountered a flyer looking for young people to play schoolchildren in an upcoming film. You have to work up from the bottom and fight your way. ‘Not everybody wants to confront death. On the first week of filming there I was at Monday Night Raw with The Rock. Vince Vaughn, Lena Headey and Nick Frost are among the cast. You have to convince yourself to keep going because you are the one that’s being hurt every time they say no.” Not that Florence has had much time to hear the word “no”. “Yeah, I will never ever get over that. Can we? It’s not simple. That is my party story forever.” Lady Macbeth is out on Friday I have learned how to wrestle. Right?” That seems fair enough. “I have been enormously lucky,” she says. The word that again springs to mind watching Pugh’s performance is “confidence”. I basically had this amazing moment when I realised Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson was teaching me ho to wrestle.” She needs to knock that together into an anecdote. Three years ago, playing one of several schoolgirls, she stood out from a talented crowd in Carol Morley’s …