belfast

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Bushmills, Northern Ireland: The sweet smell of morning

Bushmills, Northern Ireland: The sweet smell of morning

This is how every working week should start: it’s 10am on a Monday and already the aroma of fine Irish whiskey — people around here would say “the finest” — is filling our lungs. Outside the North Atlantic crashes on ragged rocks and the wind whips over green fields, but here inside Bushmills Distillery on the...

Belfast, Northern Ireland: Ghosts of the old missing shippery

Belfast, Northern Ireland: Ghosts of the old missing shippery

For many decades, out of some kind of misplaced shame, many simply didn’t want to talk about it. In Belfast’s shipyards the name of the vessel once so proudly built there -- but which sank in 1912 to become the world’s most famous shipping disaster -- simply went unspoken. Even today, a century after the Titanic was being...

Belfast, Northern Ireland: History by taxi

Belfast, Northern Ireland: History by taxi

Billy Scott is probably the most famous taxi driver in Belfast. He didn’t tell me this -- he was too busy telling me other things -- and I only found out later he’d appeared on television travel shows, podcasts and the like. That was understandable because Billy is witty, chatty, knowledgeable and over-flowing with Irish charm and...

Ireland: Ancient stones and pathways

Ireland: Ancient stones and pathways

As an example of Kiwi understatement it was masterful. As he emerging from the 5000 year old tomb, blinking into the bright Irish sunlight, the strapping lad from Taranaki was asked what he thought of it. “Yeah, pretty good, eh?” he said, then strode off purposefully, leaving behind him one of the most ancient and...

London, England: Inglin swings, and more

London, England: Inglin swings, and more

With due respect to Dr Johnson who said, “When a man is tired of London he is tired of life“, he was speaking before the chaos of modern life: Tube delays; pubs with pokie machines and football on the flat screen; young bankers with few lagers in them who think they are East End ‘ard men . . . It’s possible to...

Dropkick Murphys: Going Out in Style (Born and Bred)

Dropkick Murphys: Going Out in Style (Born and Bred)

At one level this is another installment of raucous, shot-slamming, singalong rowdiness from Boston's Celtic-punk outfit . . . and in that it is not only effective and enjoyable. It certainly makes you want the bartender to splash another shot of whisky into your jar before you throw an arm around the shoulder of mate and bellow "burn me to...

Dublin, Ireland: Hold your hour and have another

Dublin, Ireland: Hold your hour and have another

The black and white image of the man on the small television screen looks like something from a remote world of more than a century ago: wearing a white shirt, braces to hold up wide flannel pants and heavy work boots, he shaves timber slats into shape, arranges them carefully and then hammers an iron hoop around them. Against the...

DROPKICK MURPHYS INTERVIEWED (2011): Putting the bagpipes into punk

DROPKICK MURPHYS INTERVIEWED (2011): Putting the bagpipes into punk

From the first enjoyably rowdy bars of the new Dropkick Murphys album Going Out in Style you can sense that here is a band whose time has come. With the rollicking outlaw roar of Hang 'Em High then the title track – an old Irishman considering a boozy wake and who he should invite – the sound of the band's Celtic-punk is...

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