Ireland, Wales and Europe

Poems, History and Language.


Castles of Bones

We have the crass estates
with stupid names plucked out of the air.
We have white ghosts
in sterile electronic rooms.

We have
half moon defences crumbling on cliffs,
and books of invasions.

Our castles
will be built of bones.

From the book, ‘Castles of Bones’, by Patrick Egan (Cardiff, Woodville Press, 2000).

Seo mo bhealach Youtube:

This is my Youtube channel:

Dyma fy sianel Youtube:

Remembering the Great Famine in Cardiff

The Green Dragon No 13, August 2011.

This is the latest online only edition of our magazine, The Green Dragon.

Currently it consists of three contributions, including a short play about Dylan Thomas, by Simon Francis Hambrook from Limerick. A further article by this young writer is expected shortly.

We welcome unpaid contributions on any aspect of past or present life in Ireland or Wales...

Bray links with Cottbus

A visit to Bray in the summer of 2010 by a group from Cottbus has resulted in a special friendship between musicians in Bray and dancers in Cottbus...

It is interesting to note that bilingualism is a feature of life in both places. In Bray Irish is a minority language while Sorbian is a minority language in Cottbus.

Y Mòd yn Gallaibh

Taith o Gymru i’r ŵyl fwyaf yn ystod y flwyddyn i’r bobl sydd yn siarad neu yn cymryd diddordeb yn yr Aeleg.

The Mòd in Caithness.

A journey from Wales to the premier festival of the year for those who speak or are interested in Scottish Gaelic.

Father Patrick Ahern and Tralee’s ‘Siamsa Tíre’

Fr. Pat’s first appointment was to a curacy in St. John’s parish, Tralee in 1957. During those early years he founded St. John’s Gregorian Choir which is still going strong and he produced two major Religious Pageants, ‘Massabielle’, the story of Lourdes, and ‘Golgotha’, a Passion Play.

A series created by him in Tralee and performed by Siamsóirí na Ríochta in 1968 evoked such a positive public response that he was encouraged to put an entire show together. This was the birth of Siamsa Tíre.

Since those early days the company has performed their unique brand of Folk Theatre at venues all over Ireland North & South, in Britain, Germany, France, Belgium, Holland, Italy, Spain, Hungary, America, Canada and Australia.

As it says in the Bible somewhere: “Out of the strong came forth sweetness...”

Siamsa Tíre today

Siamsa Tíre on Youtube

The Gregorian Chant Network...

The GCN has been launched by a group of individuals, chant scholas and existing organisations to coordinate the promotion of Gregorian Chant in the context of the Roman Catholic liturgy, although the tradition is also encouraged in many Anglican churches.

The focus of the GCN is on England and Wales but they do not have a strict geographical limit.

Gregorian Chant is the ancient singing tradition of Christianity in Western Europe, as opposed to the equally ancient chant tradition of the Orthodox churches of Eastern Europe.

Mass and Holy Communion

An ancient Christian tradition...

We are not alone!

Apart from Irish and Welsh some pages on this site are in Basque, French, German and Spanish...

Vive le différence!

New York, 11 September, 2001 — Oslo, October 9, 2009...

Do we remember 9/11? How can we ever forget...

With President Bush now no more than an unhappy memory the Nobel Peace Prize award to President Obama may be humanity’s best hope as we face a future of ever more serious challenges.

The Great Famine in Ireland (1845 – 1849).

How it was remembered in Cardiff, Wales.

Climate Change: Should Christians Care?

Sadly, many Christians, including Catholics, dismiss environmentalism as a neo‑marxist plot. If only things were that simple.

Unfortunately, the tragic reality was well expressed by a character in one of Sean O’Casey’s plays who famously said, “The whole world is in a state of chassis...”

Maybe it is again a right time to listen to:

Hard times come again no more
Stephen Foster’s majestic anthem to ‘the sigh of the weary’, here sung unforgettably by a great American singer, Nanci Griffith.

Newtown, Cardiff

Take a walk down Cardiff’s virtual Irish memory lane...

The Green Dragon

Between 1996 and 2002 ten editions of this magazine linking Ireland and Wales were published in Cardiff.

All of the articles may be read here online.

Peace in Erin

The horrifying events of the first weekend of March 2009, when terror returned to the streets of Northern Ireland and heartbreak to its homes, was a depressing reminder that peace, as fine and as lovely as a precious jewel, is also as fragile as the wings of a butterfly. The message of this lovely old song needs to take root in all Irish hearts, both Green and Orange, even in those that are coldest and hardest...

It can do surely no harm to read a this remarkable appeal for peace in Ireland.

‘Peace in Erin’ was written by schoolmaster Hugh McWilliams who was born in County Antrim about 1783. The fact that two centuries later we are all still at it should trouble our collective conscience.

Gerry Adams of Sinn Féin and Ian Paisley of the Democratic Unionist Party

Leadership rivals in Northern Ireland as seen from Wales.

In a series of 130 articles Samuel H. Boyd, born in 1919 in Presbyterian East Belfast in Northern Ireland and now living in Wales, describes the long‑lasting and possibly still unfinished contest between Gerry Adams of Sinn Féin and Ian Paisley of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

His latest article, dated 3 April 2009, is entitled: Anniversaries – April

Writing just after the G20 Summit in London and a few weeks before celebrating his 90th birthday Sam Boyd concludes:

“So, whether we look back at the needs of Ireland, North or South, or generally in the wider world, the message should be heard: co‑operation is better than conflictual competition”.

‘Sam’ celebrated his 92nd birthday in Cwmbran on Sunday 26 April 2011!

The Irish Traditional Music Archive

A visit to this marvellous resource may well take up your time but it will surely not waste it.

Cymru ac Iwerddon

Tudalennau yn y Gymraeg / pages in Welsh.

Wales is only a quarter of the size of the island of Ireland but, with almost three million people, it is much more densely populated. Moreover, there are about half a million speakers of Welsh, and because of much more vigorous and relevant government policies it is significantly more visible and usable than Ireland’s great but largely marginalised national language.

Cwm Rhondda: dau emyn, dwy iaith, un alaw fendigedig...two hymns, two languages, one great tune...


S4C is the TV service – available on satellite – for speakers of Welsh, the most successful of the Celtic languages.

Look for their ‘Clic’ archive service which allows one to watch programmes online up to 35 days after broadcast. Unfortunately S4C is available online only in the UK.

Even more unfortunately, such archived programmes cannot be downloaded to hard drive.

However, on a more positive note, unlike TV programmes in Irish from RTÉ and in Gaelic from the BBC, both of whom encrypt subtitles – to the inconvenience of native and fluent speakers alike – S4C makes subtitles, either in English or in Welsh, available only as click through options: the default setting allows viewing without subtitling.

This is a more costly but much more satisfactory approach.

BBC Alba

This is the BBC’s combined television service in Scottish Gaelic introduced in September 2008.
It is a first class provision which is also available on satellite. For internet users, however, the sad fact is that, as with all BBC services, it is accessible only within the UK.

Even sadder is the fact that the iPlayer, the BBC’s splendidly arranged and presented internet archive service for all its radio and TV services, only allows one to listen or to view for just one week after the original broadcast.

There is, of course, the iPlayer Download facility which allows one to delay one's looking or listening again for a maximum of 30 days. However, in a perverse twist, if one look / listens again at any time using this feature the recording dies 7 days later!

All of this, remember, from an organisation that likes to think of itself as the finest public broadcasting service anywhere, ever!

And yes, the Beeb does indeed produce some great moments in broadcasting – in English, Welsh, Gaelic and Irish ’ that would grace anybody–s hard drive for years to come.


TG4 is the national TV service for speakers of Irish. This link is to the ‘Web TV’ section of the website. This allows access to the extensive archives of programmes in Irish.

Raidió na Gaeltachta

Ireland’s vigorous 24 hour radio service in Irish (‘Gaelic’) available around the world on the internet. Though all human life is there it is also the principal broadcaster of traditional Irish music in Ireland and so has many listeners who speak but little of the language itself.


This is a link to the homepage of RTÉ, Ireland’s national public service broadcaster, with links to both radio and TV services. Unlike the narrowly insular internet services of S4C and the BBC – available only within the UK – many services are available both at home and abroad on the ‘World Wide Web’.

Most broadcasts are in English but, despite the provision of separate TV and radio services in Irish only, RTÉ does not completely exclude the Irish language from its schedules, an indication of its commitment to providing a service to all.

Some programmes are archived and a few are downloadable – a splendid and generous service to Irish people and to people of any nationality wherever they may be.

S4C and BBC please copy!

Éire agus an Bhreatain Bheag

Leathanaigh sa Ghaeilge / pages in Irish.

Old Words My Parents Knew

They thought they had no Irish but, for all that, they both knew many Irish words which they regularly used as part of their everyday English language. I believe that I have managed to record most of them here.

A Word for Irish!

If you do not know Irish, try to make time to learn it, for, being the ancestral language of one of the most distinguished and distinctive nations of Europe it must surely be one of its most distinguished and distinctive languages as well.


An arts gallery in Fishguard is also home to Artswave, a pioneering initiative working to bring Wales and Ireland closer together.

Draig Werdd

Based in Dublin and founded by but not restricted to Welsh speakers living in Ireland,Draig Werdd,‘The Welsh Society in Ireland’, is actively building bridges beween our two nations.

Celtic Tri

An Ireland / Wales family history initiative...

The Natural World

All creatures great and small: includes poems from the wild heart of the world.

The Poetry of Things

Poems on this site in English and in other languages that help some everyday words bring us to the threshold of a wider reality.

Notes on Some of My Favourite Books

I wish I had not already read all of them so that I could again have the unrepeatable pleasure of the first reading of a book to treasure!

A Box of Christmas Readings

Articles on Christmas past to get you into mental, emotional and spiritual shape for Christmas present, wherever, whatever and however that Christmas may turn out to be.

A Word of Thanks

I bought my first computer, an Apple Mac Performa, in November 1995.
This site was begun in September 1998. It was last partially updated on Thursday 9 April 2009.
Through all those years I have depended on the unfailing and generous help, advice and support of brothers Andrew and Nial Jinks of Riverside, Cardiff. Without them these pages, such as they are, would not exist.
Thank you both very much indeed! Diolch yn fawr iawn i chi ill dau! / Go raibh míle maith ag lán na beirte agaibh!

Ríomhphost / Email / Ebost


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