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hibernian way

And now, what you've been waiting for -

1.What are members of the Irish parliament called (besides "wankers")?

The answer is: T.D.s, with stands for Teachtai Daile, which more or less means M.P. All the Irish people got this right (thank God, I'd be a bit worried otherwise). I don't think any non-Irish people got it, though! Special points to socmot, who answered "sex machines". All too inaccurate, but amusing. The "too clever by half" award goes to morag_gunn, who answered "Before 1829? Protestants. Now? Members of the Dail". Sadly, the Irish parliament was disolved by the Act of Union in 1801, and there wasn't another one until 1919. So although Catholic emancipation did indeed happen in 1829 (in which case the same thing could be said of the British parliament), there hadn't actually been an Irish parliament for Catholics to be members of for nearly 30 years, and there wouldn't be for another 90 years. And even that one wasn't acknowledged by the powers that be in Britain, as it was one of the events which kicked off the War of Independence.

2. Name the four Irish provinces.
Leinster, Ulster, Munster, and Connaught/Connacht (I'll accept both spellings). Many non-Irish people seemed to be amazed that we have provinces at all, but we do! More points to socmot for telling us that they were " The Pale, The Bog, The Warzone, and The Wesht". Heh.

3. When did divorce become legal in Ireland?
1996, although the referendum was in '95. And here is my shameful confession: I went to the polling station too late to vote because I'd called in to P's band's rehearsal studio to say hello on the way home! I think I thought it was open until nine and it wasn't. Anyway, if it hadn't got in I think I would have blamed myself to this day.

4. When did (most of) Ireland become a Republic?
Now, this was shameful. The answer was 1949 - the Treaty which set up the independent Irish state was 1921. We were part of the Commonwealth from 1921 until we finally became a republic in the '40s. I am horrified by the amount of my compatriots who thought we became a republic straight away - including SOMEONE WHO HAS A HISTORY DEGREE!!

5. Do you know what any of these things and people are?

Most of you didn't, but that's okay, because they're very local. The fact that virtually no British people knew anything but the most obvious touristy things is another reminder that the British-Irish cultural exchange is a one-way system!

Ah, Bosco. What can you say? Bosco was a wooden-headed glove puppet who was the, um, star of a hugely popular children's programme in the late '70s and early '80s. One of the presenters was the uncle of kids on our road, which seemed very glamorous at the time. All together now - "knock, knock, any more, come with me through the magic door".... to the bottle factory! God, it was always the bottle factory. Or the zoo, if you were lucky. Not half as cool as the different shaped windows in Playschool. And Bosco was no Little Ted or Hamble.

The Gaelic Athletic Assocation. Created back in the heyday of the Gaelic League, this horrible and all-powerful organisation is devoted to indigenous Irish sports, most of which are played outside evil urban Dublin. Nevertheless, its main and vast stadium is the heart of our Gaa-indifferent city, and for weeks on end the streets of my native region of Drumcondra are filled with stupid fans who don't seem to realise that they're not in their fucking village now and can't actually walk down the middle of one of the busiest roads in a large city. Am I bitter? Am I bigoted against those nice well-meaning fans? Yes. But then, I spent 27 years not being able to get home because half the population of Monaghan were swarming all over Drumcondra Road.

Podge and Rodge
Two evil-minded puppets who appear on an intermittently amusing programme on RTE. Podge started off on a kids' show before turning evil. Now he and his equally vile sibling, Rodge, have their own show (with their cat, Pox) in which they tell gruesome stories. It's sometimes merely noxious, sometimes highly amusing. The last episode I saw (last week) featured a reference to a (fictional) porn film called "Langer-Mania II", which is so incredibly Irish it made me laugh quite a lot.

The Gaeltacht
Area of the West of Ireland in which Irish is widely spoken. Also, a rite of passage for middle class teenagers, who go off to three-week long "Irish colleges" in the summer. Basically, it's like a summer camp except you have to go to Irish classes, there's a ceili every night and you're not allowed to speak English at all (and in some places, like the one I went to, are sent home if you're caught speaking English more than twice). I first went to the Gaeltacht (in West Cork, which pretends to be a Gaeltacht but which isn't really - unlike, say, Spiddle, no one actually speaks Irish in the area, even if you try and buy a copy of Smash Hits as Gaeilge) in 1990, and again in 1991. It was great because the colaiste didn't really care if you spoke Irish or not so we just used to sit around talking about the Doors and the Stone Roses. Then in 1992 my chums and I decided to branch out and went as cinnires (camp counsellors, basically) to a hardcore Gaeltacht in Galway. We had to go on a cinnire course at Easter and, if we got chosen, we went back again in the summer. It was fun in one way and fucking horrendous in another, because if you were a cinnire you were put without your friends in a house of younger kids and had to boss them around. I didn't care if they spoke English or Irish or Latin so I was a bad cinnire. I had absolutely flawless spoken Irish for a while, though, but it's kind of faded away now. And anyway, the real reason we wanted to go to the Gaeltacht was because, in a country of single sex schools, it was the only chance any of us got to hang around with the opposite gender.

The Oireachtas
Our houses of parliament, upper and lower.

Maureen Potter
Irish theatrical legend, who died last year. Was a queen of panto back in the days before pantos were performed entirely by boy band members and TV has-beens.

The Floozy in the Jacuzzi
Fountain/statue combo of 'Anna Livia' (aka the Liffey) which was situated in the middle of O'Connell Street and quickly aquired the above nick-name. It was removed a year or two ago (AND WHERE IS IT NOW, EH?!?!) because it was getting clogged up with litter, which casts a shameful light on our city. I actually liked it quite a lot, but I think I was in a minority.

Dublin chain of large rambling Victorian cafes which closed down recently. Until about eight years ago, Bewley's was absolutely wonderful - there were three big branches in the city centre and they looked like they hadn't changed in about eighty years. There were roaring fires and old Chinese wallpaper and gorgeous big Harry Clarke stained glass windows. You could lurk in a corner of the vast Grafton Stret one for ten hours over a single cup of hot chocolate. I had many intense teenage conversations in there, and have very, very fond memories of the place. And then they decided to fancy them up and destroyed the decor and the atmosphere. I wasn't even sad when the cafes closed down for good because as far as I was concerned, they were lost forever as soon as they were done up.

The Walls of Limerick
A traditional Irish dance, which everyone learns in the Gaeltacht. Two opposite two, cross over, dance out, dance back again, under the arms and face the next pair - it's great fun. No, seriously, it actually is!

Peig Sayers
Evil old bag from the Blasket Islands whose memoirs were forced on innocent Leaving Cert Irish students for decades (and presumably still are). Our irish teacher actually didn't make us do Peig properly (thank God), because the syllabus had changed, allowing us to choose between Peig and the Toraiocht (see below). So we just did a quick run through of the vile woman with "one foot in the grave and another one on the edge".

Toraiocht Diarmuid agust Grainne
Ancient Irish myth about star-crossed lovers which is part of the Leaving cert Irish course. Much more entertaining than Peig, not least because there's a bit about a man who swallows an apple with a worm in it and then a bump appears on his head and it gets bigger and bigger until a giant PEIST (worm) bursts out of it. Vile, but more interesting than Peig and her poxy island. There's also sex in it. Well, we're told that Diarmuid "makes a woman" of Grainne, if you know what they mean, and I think you do.

The Angelus
Technically the Angelus is a Catholic practice of saying certain prayers at twelve noon and six in the evening. But in Ireland, it's just "bong! bong! bong!" One of the big hangovers of the days in which there was no division between church and state is the fact that to this day at six o'clock (and possibly 12, actually, although I haven't watched RTE at noon, um, ever) RTE plays a minute-long film of people looking pensive with bells tolling over it so all us nice Catholics can start Hail Marying away. It's unintentionally pretty hilarious, if preposterous in this day and age. We are the only country in the world whose early evening news is called the "Six-One" news.

So, how did you do?


( 52 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 1st, 2005 12:07 pm (UTC)
I got TDs! Unless you're penalising me for not having full stops in there! Good heavens, woman, I haven't been reading yours, glitzfrau's and daegaer's journals for two years for NOTHING, you know!
Feb. 1st, 2005 12:10 pm (UTC)
I tried to explain the Angelus to penelope_z on Sunday, after she had bemoaned the fact that she didn't know a single answer to your questions (she's Greek, living in England). I don't think she believed me!
Feb. 1st, 2005 04:22 pm (UTC)
I realised how ridiculous it sounded when I was trying to explain it in the post! Seriously, why is it on? If you're devout enough to say it, set your alarm clock to make sure you don't miss 6 o'clock!
Feb. 1st, 2005 12:16 pm (UTC)
I will confess to having gone to a hurling match in Croke Park (with Brian's hurling-mad granddad) and surprisingly enjoying it rather a lot. The traffic is still fury-making, though.

I think my favourite thing I learned from the Toraiocht was how to say "he hit him on the head and his brains came out through the orifices of his head". Now there's useful vocabulary.
Feb. 1st, 2005 04:28 pm (UTC)
Ooh, I remember that orrifice bit. Heavens, it really was very racy, what with brains and peists and such like bursting out of people's heads.
(no subject) - leedy - Feb. 1st, 2005 04:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 1st, 2005 12:25 pm (UTC)
Everything I know about Ireland I learned from Marian Keyes and a drunken trip to Dublin when I finished my degree (why yes, I did spend the entire week in Temple Bar, only venturing out to the Guinness brewery. How did you know?).

You guys have all single-sex schools? How was that? About half my classes in school were single sex, and I remember there being less, but more vicious, fighting. But you could get on the computers without having to thump anyone.
Feb. 1st, 2005 12:55 pm (UTC)
Not all school at single sex. I went to a mixed school, but it was the only one in the town. There was two girls schools and two boys school as well.
(no subject) - stellanova - Feb. 1st, 2005 04:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 1st, 2005 12:53 pm (UTC)
I think I got the divorce question wrong, and I had no idea that Ireland wasn't a Republic until 1949.

Did all the Bewley's cafes close last year? I thought it was just the one in Grafton Street, which isn't really closed at all because they still have the shop bit at the front!

I think the Floozy went to a train station, Heuston maybe.
Feb. 1st, 2005 01:37 pm (UTC)
The George's St. one closed yonks ago, and the Grafton St. one this year (I really wouldn't count it as being open with just the shop - it's not a cafe any more!). I think the Westmoreland St. one is still open, though I couldn't be 100% sure.
(no subject) - socmot - Feb. 1st, 2005 01:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 1st, 2005 12:56 pm (UTC)
Ohhhhhh that's shameful. I am so embarrassing.

I still maintain that I should get some kind of recognition for being able to spell taoiseach, even if I don't have any idea how to spell it.
Feb. 1st, 2005 12:57 pm (UTC)
GAH! I mean SAY/PRONOUNCE it. I mean, obviously, I know how to spell it, since I JUST DID.

(no subject) - biascut - Feb. 1st, 2005 01:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jeejeen - Feb. 1st, 2005 01:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wonderlanded - Feb. 1st, 2005 01:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jeejeen - Feb. 1st, 2005 02:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 1st, 2005 01:31 pm (UTC)
I didn't fill in the quiz, because the Floozy was about the only thing I was sure of getting (she was still there when I visited Dublin about four years ago). There is a fellow Floozy in Birmingham. While Walsall just has the Hair in the Square.
Feb. 1st, 2005 01:34 pm (UTC)
1996, although the referendum was in '95.

I was thinking about this yesterday when that Justin Barrett discussion cropped up. It's only been legal for nine years now, and just about 10 years since the referendum was passed.

ONLY 10 YEARS!!! And has the family collapsed? No! Did I say goodbye to my Daddy? No!

It's a sad indictment of how conservative this country has been and still is.

Sorry for ranting.
Feb. 1st, 2005 02:03 pm (UTC)
Did I say goodbye to my Daddy? No!

Oh God, I'd forgotten about that campaign. For non-Irish readers, the posters featured the slogan "Hello divorce, goodbye Daddy", and (IIRC) a picture of a heartbroken child. The bizarre implication seemed to be that the lack of divorce was the only thing keeping men shackled to their wives, and the minute it became legal they would be running off in droves to marry their secretaries and live in the Bahamas.

Actually, come to think of it, that was the theme of a lot of the "no" campaign - I remember hearing a woman talking on the radio about how she didn't want her husband to be able to divorce her, despite the fact that he had left her something like fifteen years previously and she had not seen him since. Is there something I am missing, or why would one wish to be still married to somebody who doesn't want to be married to you?
(no subject) - zoje_george - Feb. 1st, 2005 02:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 1st, 2005 02:04 pm (UTC)
Not being Irish, I was predictably crap at the quiz, but! the icon accompanying this comment is of the beloved Floozy - I'd been walking past one summery night in 2001 (there's actually more detail, but it's all personal, i.e. tedious) when someone had poured in soap powder or maybe something even as nice as bubble bath...

I rather miss the old dear....

Crazy(and loving the Dublin penchant for renaming monuments, no matter how solemnly they've been conceived...)Soph
Feb. 1st, 2005 02:25 pm (UTC)
Oh, I sucked at this! I can't believe I didn't get TDs, or Connacht. I don't feel too bad about 3 or 4, especially 4, given how many Irish people clearly got it wrong!

You're so right about Podge and Rodge being intermittently amusing, but when it's on form, it's genius. Mark and I have conversations sprinkled with Podge and Rodge-isms, and it is responsible for teaching me the word 'shitehawk'.
Feb. 1st, 2005 04:30 pm (UTC)
Hee, shitehawk is a great word. And yes, when they're funny, they're very, very funny. Did you see P&R over here? Or is it (heavens) somehow available across the water?
(no subject) - yiskah - Feb. 1st, 2005 09:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 1st, 2005 02:55 pm (UTC)
The Floozie's been moved to one of the inner suburban parks, though I'm not sure which one - Fairview, perhaps? Or the memorial park by Islandbridge? Something like that, but she's not dead yet!
Feb. 1st, 2005 02:58 pm (UTC)
Hmmm, don't think she's in the Islandbridge one. Perhaps we should go on a Floozie-hunt when you're over.
(no subject) - leedy - Feb. 1st, 2005 02:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - stellanova - Feb. 1st, 2005 04:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - barsine - Feb. 1st, 2005 05:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lolamoz - Feb. 1st, 2005 05:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 1st, 2005 02:59 pm (UTC)
Nevertheless, its main and vast stadium is the heart of our Gaa-indifferent city, and for weeks on end the streets of my native region of Drumcondra are filled with stupid fans who don't seem to realise that they're not in their fucking village now and can't actually walk down the middle of one of the busiest roads in a large city. Am I bitter?

I am.

You have this too? I voted, along with most of the city of Seattle and Eastern Washington, against the new stadium at least twice. Still got stuck with it anyway, PLUS a second stadium for football. (How many times have I voted FOR light rail and the monorail in the last eight years? And where is it? Maybe I should start voting against it.)

When I worked downtown, game days were a nightmare. It would take me two hours to get home on a bus that normally took 25 minutes. Because Metro never put extra busses on the line. And so we'd have to deal with drunk commuters from the suburbs who'd parked in Ballard (my former neighborhood), crowding all the regular business people off the bus.

Yeah. I'm bitter. They still fuck up my commute now.
Feb. 1st, 2005 03:43 pm (UTC)
in a country of single sex schools

Well, I'd quibble with you on that one: you must have gone to one those posh protestant, or crazy nun / Christian Brothers schools. Everyone I knew (except my older siblings for a few years as a legacy from when we lived in Shankill) went to state standard mixed schools from junior infants to the Leaving. It wasn't till I got to Trinity and noted the wierd self-seperation in Chemistry practicals (there was no assigned benchs in the lab so we self-organized with people who went to all girl schools at one end, all boys schools at the other and a buffer zone of mixed school people between them) that I met any significant numbers of people who went to single sex schools.

On the other hand, this may have been the reason why I managed an "F" on pass Irish in the Leaving Cert (only Irish readers will understand that an F in the Irish system means so much more than simply failing! And to fail pass Irish was truly a tricksy feat). Had the opposite sex been segregated away I might have been motivated to spend my summers down the country leanring my declensions too...
Feb. 1st, 2005 04:18 pm (UTC)
Well, in the northside Dublin suburbs there are two - TWO - mixed secondary schools, Mount Temple and Ballymun comprehensive. I mean, in most of the country there simply isn't any alternative to "those posh protestant, or crazy nun / Christian Brothers schools." Seriously, where did you grow up? Because the vast majority of people I know from Dublin went to a single-sex schools - and the only ones who didn't went to the High School or Mount Temple. The vast majority of Irish schools are run by Catholic orders and going to a convent school is the norm, not the exception - I think it's scandalous that there are so few state schools which aren't officially run by the church, but that's the way it is. More of my friends from outside Dublin went to mixed schools, but not the majority.
(no subject) - stephencass - Feb. 1st, 2005 05:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kulfuldi - Feb. 2nd, 2005 09:23 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - hfnuala - Feb. 1st, 2005 05:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - stephencass - Feb. 1st, 2005 05:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - hfnuala - Feb. 1st, 2005 06:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - stephencass - Feb. 1st, 2005 07:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - stellanova - Feb. 1st, 2005 07:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - stephencass - Feb. 1st, 2005 07:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - hfnuala - Feb. 1st, 2005 08:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - stephencass - Feb. 1st, 2005 08:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - hfnuala - Feb. 1st, 2005 08:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - stephencass - Feb. 1st, 2005 08:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - stellanova - Feb. 1st, 2005 08:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - stephencass - Feb. 1st, 2005 09:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - socmot - Feb. 1st, 2005 10:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 1st, 2005 06:31 pm (UTC)
I didn't know about the Angelus. When I lived in Qatar, all the programming was interrupted for the sundown prayer. (Except football, actually!) We used to go and watch the guns being fired in Ramadan.

In fact, I didn't know ANYTHING.
Feb. 7th, 2005 02:20 pm (UTC)
The Angelus was the only thing I did know - and I only know it from reading books by Maeve Binchy and Marian Keyes. :)
( 52 comments — Leave a comment )


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