Solving the mysterious light in Blarney

Back in 2013 local school children created a “flash mob” and danced in the village square in Blarney. Local photographer Pat Falvey was on hand to capture the scene on video.

Near the start of the video he noticed a flash of light coming from a woman on the right of the frame. You might have to watch the start of it a few times as it flashes by in about 1.5 seconds. Intrigued, I took a closer look.

Using this site I watched the video frame by frame. You can see an object appear on the right:

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In the next frame it’s after moving over a little bit.

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And again, it has moved.

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Using my advanced photography skills I cropped the location of the object to isolate it and zoom in:

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I thought I could see something there now but it needed further enhancement …

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OH WOW! I couldn’t believe it! I thought it was just a leaf but Blarney had been visited by the Starship Enterprise and nobody had even noticed! I was there that day and it had completely escaped my notice!

It was a seed actually. It was one of those seeds with wings. We used to call them helicopter seeds but they’re the seeds of the Maple tree apparently. You can see the seed flutter to the ground after a few frames.

The Irish Research and Development Centre

That was bizarre. The phone rang twice. I picked it up but they had hung up. It rang again. A woman with what I presume to be an Indian accent spoke:

‘Good morning Sir. May I ask you three questions that will only take up a moment of your time?’
‘Eh. Sure.’
‘When purchasing goods is the price or quality more important?’
‘OK, before I answer that, who do you represent?’
‘Oh, The Irish Research and Development Centre here in Dungarvan.’
‘Sorry, what was that? The Irish Resea..’ (I started typing the name into a browser, my keyboard is noisy)

CLICK. They hung up.

Weird. Was that some sort of scam?

Sounds of the Irish Smoking Ban

The Irish Smoking Ban

It’s hard to believe that smoking was banned in the workplace in Ireland in 2004. It was a huge change but very welcome (by most) and the best thing a Fianna Fail government ever did.

Listen to this Witness podcast on the subject here to be brought back eleven years.

Since the ban it became clear that a bunch of dancing sweaty people consuming alcohol are a smelly lot but the increased ventilation that some nightclubs have installed has helped. :)

1c and 2c coins to go (in Ireland)


Finally! These tiny coins will be on the way out if all goes to plan.

I guess I should add those coins above to my small stockpile of Irish coins.

Government sources have told the Irish Independent that the matter is to be brought to Cabinet tomorrow.

It is understood Finance Minister Michael Noonan will bring the memo recommending the withdrawal of the coins, which cost more to mint than they are worth.

The Legion of Saint Joseph are back!


I knew I recognised the name on that poster. It was created by The Legion of Saint Joseph. They’re the same crowd that dropped a leaflet into our mailbox back in 2012 urging everyone to vote no to the Children’s Rights Amendment referendum that year.

Legion of Saint Joseph

Legion of Saint Joseph

Well, wasn’t it all true? Hasn’t the country descended into “decadence, anarchy and totalitarianism” since that referendum was passed?

Children have had their parents arrested for imposing “restrictive” religious beliefs haven’t they? Didn’t you hear that the Gardai marched into mass last Sunday and dragged out some local parents who had taken their kids there? It’s terrible the way the country has gone since April 28th when this amendment was finally made into law in this country.

Yeah, bet you didn’t know April 28th was the day did you? I only found out when I looked it up on Wikipedia. Not a peep out of the usual suspects.

Please Vote YES to Marriage Equality in Ireland

On May 22nd there will be a referendum in Ireland asking the population of Ireland to vote on a small change to our constitution:

Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Justice and Equality, has today announced the wording agreed by the Government for the constitutional amendment on Marriage Equality. The wording is contained in the Thirty-Fourth Amendment of the Constitution (Marriage Equality) Bill 2015 which was today approved by Government and which will be published in the coming days.
Minister Fitzgerald said: “People will be asked to decide whether the following new wording should be added to the Constitution: ‘Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex’.”

In 2010 civil partnerships became legal in Ireland, so what’s the difference between a civil partnership and civil marriage? This FAQ should help you understand the vast differences. It has nothing to do with religious marriage.

And yet some very important inequalities remain. For example, Civil Partnership:

  • does not permit children to have a legally recognised relationship with their parents – only the biological one. This causes all sorts of practical problems for hundreds of families with schools and hospitals as well as around guardianship, access and custody. In the worst case, it could mean that a child is taken away from a parent and put into care on the death of the biological parent.
  • does not recognise same sex couples’ rights to many social supports that may be needed in hardship situations and may literally leave a loved one out in the cold.
  • defines the home of civil partners as a “shared home”, rather than a “family home” , as is the case for married couples. This has implications for the protection of dependent children living in this home and also means a lack of protection for civil partners who are deserted.

Voting no won’t make any difference to the person voting no but it will hurt others, as Dara Ó Briain put it in a recent tweet:

Please take a few minutes to read what David Norris has to say about this referendum on equality.

I’m glad I don’t drive to work. The No campaign put their posters up today and they’re disturbing the upsetting in their desperation to get people to vote no. I’d be raging all the way home if I had to drive past them.


There are so many reasons to vote yes to this referendum. Here’s a few that Facebook user Tony McCarthy posted:

Seeing the blatant misinformation in the No posters gone up today has my blood boiling as it’s an attempt to hoodwink the population. The point about surrogacy on one of them is downright idiotic as surrogacy already exists and there won’t be battery farms for the production of gaybies.

Annoyed me so much I’ve decided to counter every argument I’ve heard. If your views can’t stand up to scrutiny then the problem isn’t with the scrutiny.

1-The referendum has nothing to do with adoption. This was already passed under the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015. The No Campaign’s posters, and many arguments for a No vote, are a deliberate misrepresentation of what the referendum is about.

2-The point raised about the “ideal” of a traditional family is moot. We live in a world where there are single parents, divorced parents, stay-at-home fathers, inter-racial marriages, adoption and surrogacy. The referendum is about recognising a union which has significant implications on, among other things, tax benefits, hospital visitation rights, and inheritance. This doesn’t affect you; it only affects the parties concerned.

3-In relation to point two, legal rights and benefits of heterosexual couples are not affected by gay marriage. Nor has there been any demonstrable impact upon “traditional marriages” in countries where gay marriage has been legalised. The function of a “traditional marriage” operates on its own, individual basis.

4-Two people having their union recognised will not negatively affect you in any way, shape, or form. However, the failure to pass this referendum WOULD negatively affect people, and not just the people seeking to have their union recognised. It negatively affects their families and friends as well.

5-Legalising gay marriage will not have an affect on the Church as the referendum relates to the State’s idea of marriage. No church can, or will, be forced to perform a ceremony which is contradictory to its beliefs. However, the next point addresses the Church’s changeable stance.

6- In addition to heterosexual marriage ceremonies in ancient Christian church liturgical documents, there were also ceremonies called the “Office of Same-Sex Union” (10th and 11th century), and the “Order for Uniting Two Men” (11th and 12th century). These, and similar unions i.e. between two women, are recognised in Church archives up until the 18th century.

7-The argument that marriage is for the purpose of pro-creation ignores numerous factors. Infertile couples are able to get married. Couples who never intend on having children are allowed to get married. Women past child-bearing age are allowed to get married.

8-Marriage equality cannot be seen as a precedent for other ridiculous ideas which have been put forward to argue against it e.g. the foolish argument about allowing a man to marry an animal. The referendum is specific in its wording: “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.” This does not change the legal age of marriage, nor the laws regarding what types of marriage are illegal e.g. incestuous.

9-The argument that it is “unnatural” has no basis. In nature, homosexual behaviour has been observed in everything from bugs to bottle-nosed dolphins. It has been directly observed in hundreds of species. 10% of rams refuse to mate with ewes but will do so with other rams.

10-“Marriage has always been between a man and a woman” falls down on its premise that the status quo should always be maintained. If this were the case then women wouldn’t have the vote, slavery would still be in widespread existence in the Western World, medical treatments would still be treated with “magic” and prayer, inter-racial relationships would be forbidden, the modern technological era and the industrial revolution would never have come about, and the development of humanity would stagnate.

11-This is just a bonus point on the adoption point which, as noted, is not relevant to the referendum. 30 years of research from the American Academy of Pediatrics has failed to find any significant evidence that children raised by heterosexual couples are any better off than children raised by homosexual couples.

12-If you’ve read this far, fair play. As a final point, it boils down to whether or not you want to deny two consenting adults the right to have their union recognised in the eyes of the State. Not having that right is something which causes significant hurt. I’ll repeat that: Not having that right causes significant hurt. Forbidding that right, and causing that hurt, is an example of humans failing to display humanity.

Feel free to share. This is the only public post I’ve ever put up.

Photos are from this Red FM post.

Update on May 18th: A leaflet from the Iona Institute was dropped into our mailbox this morning. I’ve upload scans to Imgur here but here are smaller versions of them. I hope to look back on this blog post when I’m an old man and be thankful that the Ireland of 2015 is ancient history.

Isn't it wonderful that schools will have to teach children about same sex marriage? The next generation won't bat an eyelid at a same sex couple walking down the street hand-in-hand.
Isn’t it wonderful that schools will have to teach children about same sex marriage? The next generation won’t bat an eyelid at a same sex couple walking down the street hand-in-hand.
It's unfair that children aren't brought up by the best parents, be they heterosexual or LGBT.
It’s unfair that children aren’t brought up by the best parents, be they heterosexual or LGBT.
What they won't tell you is that Heather Barwick's mother and father split up, but she was still raised by two loving guardians.
What they won’t tell you is that Heather Barwick’s mother and father split up, when her father left her mother.

How’s that separation of church and state going then?

We live in a secular democracy but a few days of the year you’d hardly know it. I don’t count Christmas as that’s really the most consumer driven spendfest of money and consumption ever. Good Friday is one of those days though and it’s made all the more obvious when you go into any shop in Ireland today:



You can’t buy alcoholic drinks today in Ireland, but that’s alright because anyone who cared was out last night at the off-license getting their tins and bottles for the party tonight. There’ll be some sore heads tomorrow!

As the Rubber Bandits so eloquently put it,

Make sure ye don’t drink alcohol today. There was a lad nailed to a cross in the late Iron age and he’s his own father. The two of them will set you on fire after you die if you drink cans. Just to be extra safe; our government, which is comprised of rational adults has written this into the law so you can’t buy cans anyway. It’s grand, don’t worry though. You can eat big chocolate eggs on sunday. This is because the lad who was his own father from the late Iron age didn’t die after all. So you can eat the chocolate eggs then because of that.

Looking forward to Sunday, no lie. Yummy Chocolate.