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Archive for the ‘Bernard Shaw’ Category

Netanyahu rises to the challenges posed by the coronavirus. But you’re still not satisfied – Haaretz

Posted: March 20, 2020 at 3:46 am


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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, surrounded by members of his government, family and supporters, celebrates Hannukah at the Dan Panorama hotel, Tel Aviv, December 2019. Tomer Appelbaum

The leaders of the anyone but Bibi party are negotiating with the only Bibi party about establishing an emergency unity government. In short, what was once treyf is now kosher.

The main argument, to borrow a phrase variously attributed to George Bernard Shaw, Churchill and others, is over the price that will be paid to the Kahol Lavan partys council of sages in exchange for this legitimization. The party is demanding that its chairman, Benny Gantz, serve as prime minister first. He is the right man at this fateful hour.

Will Israel's cyber spies let Bibi use coronavirus to kill democracy?Haaretz

>> FollowHaaretz's live coverageas Israel deals with the coronavirus pandemic in a time of political uncertainty

If this is truly the moment when all the creatures of the world will be judged, the man most appropriate to manage it and theres no comparison is Benjamin Netanyahu. In their heart of hearts, even Kahol Lavans leaders think so.

Therefore, until the storm passes, they must set aside all his sins, weaknesses and lies, unite behind him and help him lead us from darkness to light. Only after we have overcome this disaster, may it happen soon, will it be possible to return to the ordinary agenda.

Its a pity that even at this time, when he is leading the struggle for national salvation with notable success, Netanyahu hasnt changed his style. The perpetual, repulsive bragging the essence of which is I ordered, I initiated, Thanks to my ties with world leaders hasnt departed from his grimacing face or his eloquent tongue.

Nevertheless, this boastfulness seems to imbue a sizable portion of the public with confidence. We have a leader, one can hear them saying a leader who knows how to deal with a global disaster skillfully and authoritatively.

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His opponents accuse him of being hesitant and not knowing how to make decisions? The opposite is true. Look at the balanced, life-saving decisions he is making every day and every hour. Others would have collapsed under the strain and the weight of the responsibility. Yes, he is surprising us.

In the absence of grounds for genuine, substantive criticism of his performance in these days of anxiety, the anyone but Bibi camp has undergone a transformation: It is now focusing on a fear-mongering campaign about the end of democracy. The people who share this fear ought to explain something: You denounce the ultra-Orthodox, who are continuing to study in yeshivas. Yet you rule out digital tracking of people who have come into contact with coronavirus patients.

And in so doing, just like the ultra-Orthodox, you are endangering many lives. Isnt this sheer hatred of the ultra-Orthodox? Isnt it a violation of thou shalt not take the name of democracy in vain?

Who would cooperate with Netanyahu in a coup that would end democracy? The head of the Shin Bet security service, who comes from one of the kibbutz movements? The armys chief of staff, who is poles apart from him politically? The Armored Corps in their tanks? The pilots in their fighter planes? Hatred is driving you out of your minds.

Jephthah the Gileadite was ostracized by most of his generation. As the Bible says, he surrounded himself with hollow people. Yet at a moment of supreme danger, he was called upon, despite his weaknesses and his misdeeds, to save Israel from the Ammonites. The rabbis of the Talmud subsequently compared him to one of the Bibles greatest prophets and political leaders: Jephthah in his generation was like Samuel in his generation.

A pandemic is no less dangerous than a war. And just as we know how to unite in wartime, we must also unite now, when the coronavirus may well threaten us more than any war we have ever known. When the danger passes, the nation will settle accounts with anyone who continues to behave like it was still last year.

Who is a national poet? Someone whose poems imbue the people with faith and hope in times of trouble and survive (and remain relevant) for generations.

In his monumental poem To the Volunteers among the People, written between 1889 and 1900, Haim Nahman Bialik wrote, To the aid of the people! To the aid of the people! / With what? Dont ask with whatever comes to hand! / With whom? Dont investigate with anyone whose heart moves him to volunteer! / Anyone whose heart is touched by the nations woes ... The camp will muster / Let us not separate ourselves / Every victim will serve / Every gift is trustworthy: / You dont investigate at a time of danger.

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Netanyahu rises to the challenges posed by the coronavirus. But you're still not satisfied - Haaretz

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March 20th, 2020 at 3:46 am

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Shaw Festival veteran Mary Haney was ‘funny and fierce’ – The Globe and Mail

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File photo shows Mary Haney as Mrs. Stevenson in the Shaw Festival's 'Sorry, Wrong Number', originally published Aug. 26, 1997.

David Cooper/Handout

The twinkle in the eye. The taste for mischief. The signature greeting: Hi, monkey! No actor had a better sense that a play is play than Mary Haney. But the merry woman who could puncture pomposity in a rehearsal hall with a jab of her sharp wit was also the serious one who could dig deep into the complexities of Bernard Shaws St. Joan or Sean OCaseys Juno Boyle.

As one of the pillars of the celebrated acting ensemble at Canadas Shaw Festival, Ms. Haney shone both in classic leading roles (Joan, Juno, the eponymous entrepreneur of Mrs. Warrens Profession) and, more often, in the kind of supporting ones that, in her hands, elicited strings of superlatives from the critics.

Ms. Haney, who died on Feb. 24 of cancer at 65, spent 33 seasons at the festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., appearing in more than 60 productions. Her time there encompassed the tenures of two long-serving artistic directors, both of whom marvelled at her abilities.

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Mary Haney (right) and Hugh Webster star in Toronto Free Theatre's production of 'Translations', in this file photo originally published Jan. 7, 1983.

ANDREW OXENHAM/Handout

There was a sensitivity to her playing that was quite remarkable, Christopher Newton, who ran the festival from 1980 to 2002, said. As a person, she was very straightforward, and yet onstage it was so complex, what she could do. She was a constant surprise.

Jackie Maxwell, who succeeded Mr. Newton from 2003 to 2016, described Ms. Haneys acting as funny and fierce on the surface, but with a gift for letting a characters vulnerabilities slowly, poignantly seep through. And her ribald offstage personality a stranger once described her as that little lady who curses like a truck driver was the colourful front for a dedicated artist. She came up with such original takes on characters, Ms. Maxwell said. In rehearsal she kept our feet to the fire. Wed all have to work as hard as she did.

Ms. Haneys love of play would seem to be a family trait. After all, her big brothers, John and Chris, were the developers of the massively popular Trivial Pursuit board game. She played a part in its invention. Back in the early eighties, when we were writing questions for the game, wed bounce them off Mary, John Haney recalled. If Mary got the answer, wed say, Weve got to throw that one out, its too easy! It became a joke. In the end, though, she contributed trivia to the games entertainment category and was one of its early investors.

Mary Haney plays Juliana Tesman and Patrick McManus is George Tesman in 'Hedda Gabler' at the Shaw Festival, 2012.

Emily Cooper

Ms. Haneys acting talent was also in her blood. Her vivacious mother, Sheila Haney, was a British-born actor who also performed at the Shaw and Stratford festivals. As Sheila Woollatt, shed studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London before meeting and marrying Canadian soldier Jack Haney during the Second World War. She immigrated to Canada in 1946, where Jack worked as a news director for radio stations in small-town Ontario and New Brunswick, Sheila acted in community theatre and the couple raised a family.

Mary Beverley Elizabeth Haney, their third and youngest child, was born on Dec. 16, 1954, in Welland, Ont. John Haney said his little sister always had a penchant for acting, and Mom sort of pushed her in that direction. By the time Mary was a teenager, Sheila Haney had left behind amateur groups for a professional career at Shaw and Stratford. Mary spent her summers at the festivals, getting her first theatre job as a dresser backstage at Stratford.

In the winter of 1972, she accompanied her mother out west, where Sheila was playing the Nurse in a Theatre Calgary production of Romeo and Juliet. (The shows Romeo was a young, unknown Christopher Walken.) Thats when she got serious about acting. There were a lot of youngish people in that show, who had been to a school called the National Theatre School, she recalled in a 2010 interview. They said, Why dont you think about trying out for it? She did, got in and loved it.

Ms. Haney went on to join the Shaw company in 1978 and, a season later, performed alongside her mother in a production of the Emlyn Williams classic The Corn is Green. In 1981, she left Niagara-on-the-Lake to be part of artistic director John Hirschs first season at Stratford and remained there through his five-year tenure. The remounting of a Stratford show at Toronto Free Theatre Brian Friels Translations earned her a Dora Mavor Moore Award nomination in 1983. Over the years, she would continue to act at theatres across Canada and in the U.S. during the winter season.

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In 1986, Mr. Newton invited her back to the Shaw, where she firmly planted herself for the next 30 years. He claimed she had left the festival originally because he wouldnt cast her in the title role of Saint Joan, but when she returned, she finally got her shot at it. Her beautifully wrought performance in director Neil Munros bold 1993 modern-dress version turned out to be not just a career pinnacle, but one that is still talked about more than two decades later. During Joan of Arcs trial, when Ms. Haneys anguished face was captured in close-up by video monitors, Macleans theatre critic John Bemrose wrote that she touch[ed] the sublime.

Later, Ms. Haney would also win plaudits in major dramatic roles under Ms. Maxwells reign, playing the shrewd English mother in Mrs. Warrens Profession (2008) and the heroic Irish one in Juno and the Paycock (2014). When she delivered Juno Boyles famous third-act speech, wrote Globe and Mail critic J. Kelly Nestruck, she broke the fourth wall and every heart in the audience.

But Ms. Haney was perhaps best known as an ace comic actor who could steal a scene without saying a word as she did in Mr. Newtons 2007 production of The Cassilis Engagement, when her cockney character slowly, hilariously fell asleep from sheer boredom while listening to a dreary classical recital. She had absolutely elegant timing, Mr. Newton said.

Ms. Haney led a sometimes-tempestuous life in her earlier years. There was a marriage that failed although she remained good pals with her ex-husband and wild escapades that she later turned into entertaining anecdotes. She was completely unapologetic and open about her past, said long-time friend Dorothy Chamberlain.

Although she enjoyed being naughty and outrageous the perennial scorekeeper for the traditional Stratford-Shaw cricket match, she once boasted that shed been intimate with members of both teams the tomfoolery hid a gentle, even fragile soul.

There was a lot to life outside of the theatre that made dear Mary a little nervous, said fellow actor Marla McLean, who co-starred with her in Juno and Michel Tremblays Albertine in Five Times. And yet there was not a time that I was onstage with her when she wasnt absolutely fearless. The stage was her home.

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Ms. McLean was part of the younger generation of Shaw actors who looked up to Ms. Haney as a mentor, although Ms. Haney resisted that term. She liked to tease them, riff with them, invite them over to watch Toronto Blue Jays games and eat ice cream. Mary was an ice cream fiend, said actor Jennifer Dzialoszynski, who came to regard her as a mother figure. Ms. Haney, unable to pronounce her last name, fondly called her Ducks and gave her advice on playing Shavian roles that she herself had done in her younger days. She really understood how to get the most out of [Shaws] language.

Ms. Haney owned a house in Stratford and rented a cottage in Niagara-on-the-Lake, both with back gardens that she delighted in. She loved gardening, Ms. McLean said. It was one of the places where she went for peace and calm.

Diagnosed with lung cancer in the fall of 2019, the much-loved Ms. Haney spent her final days at her Stratford home, engulfed by a steady flow of friends and flowers. Predeceased by her brother Chris, who died in 2010, she leaves John, the familys eldest sibling, and seven nieces and nephews.

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Shaw Festival veteran Mary Haney was 'funny and fierce' - The Globe and Mail

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Gingold Theatrical Group Cancels Previously Announced SHAW SONGS @ THE PLAYERS – Broadway World

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Gingold Theatrical Group today announced the cancellation of the upcoming Shaw Songs @ The Players.

"Our primary focus is the health and safety of our guests, families, performers, partners, volunteers, community, and team. We are looking to reschedule and will be working on potential dates. We apologize for the inconvenience, and we will update you over the next few weeks with more details about our future date," said David Staller, Artistic Director.

Shaw Songs @ The Players, a special treat, was to be an evening of music that Shaw enjoyed, including popular music of his time, works by Gilbert & Sullivan, and more, at the original home of Project Shaw, the beautiful Players Club at 16 Gramercy Park South. Directed by John Gary La Rosa with musical direction by Georgia Stitt, scheduled to appear were Matt Bogart, Robert Cuccioli, Darius deHaas, Karen Mason, Christine Pedi, and Karen Ziemba.

Project Shaw is a special series of evenings of plays that embrace human rights and free speech. All of GTG's programming, inspired by the works of George Bernard Shaw, are designed to provoke peaceful discussion and activism. This series is presented monthly at Symphony Space's Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theatre (2537 Broadway at 95th Street).

The 15th season will continue with Shaw's Saint Joan, directed by Vivienne Benesch on May 18th, He and She by Rachel Crothers on June 22nd, Shaw's The Apple Cart on July 20th, directed by Meredith McDonough, A Scintillating Shaw Talk on October 26th, The Torch Bearers by George Kelly directed by Charlotte Moore on November 2nd, and Shaw's Androcles and the Lion directed by Pamela Hunt ending the 2020 season on December 14th.

All the plays in this series will be presented in a concert-reading format at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theater at Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th Street. Tickets are $40 and are available by calling 212-864-5400 or online at http://www.symphonyspace.org. Special reserved VIP seating available for $55 by contacting the Gingold office 212-355-7823 or info@gingoldgroup.org. Symphony Space's Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theatre space is completely accessible. Infra-red hearing devices are also available.

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Gingold Theatrical Group Cancels Previously Announced SHAW SONGS @ THE PLAYERS - Broadway World

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A writers guide to self-reinvention – The Irish Times

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Create yourself. As George Bernard Shaw said, Life isnt about finding yourself. Its about creating yourself. The greatest writers are great characters, and writings about invention, so start with yourself. The key is to keep rewriting yourself.

I often think being a writer is like being a reality TV star as you have to continually generate your own drama. Im my own protagonist in life and Ive cheerfully entered into disastrous relationships just to write about them, but it amazes me how many writers think its superior to make things up, as if the gold standard is imagination, when even a simple simile is a million times better if autobiographically observed.

Above all, I try not to make fiction my excuse to sit at home. John Banville, when asked to contribute to a collection of 6-word stories, wrote, Should have lived more, written less.

Sound authoritative, not authorial. You not only have to convince yourself youre a writer, but everyone else too. Of course its difficult to come across as magisterial when youve been an anti-authoritarian iconoclast all your life, but I no longer talk with humility about my wee play and otherwise try to quell that annoying Northern Irish trait to self-deprecate in anticipation of a slagging.

I remember one of my ex-schoolmates saying to me after watching my play Michelle and Arlene, Yeah, but its not a real job, is it? Well, it is a real job and Im my own CEO, my own PR, my own admin, my own everything, so how are you enjoying your conventional, boxed-in, wage-slave job?

When people criticize your work, be glad of the attention. I know sometimes its aggravating to be labelled a female writer or a Protestant writer or whatever but its much better to be labelled than have no label at all.

That said, some reputations are ridiculous. For instance, Enda Walsh used to be called a writers writer in theatre circles as he was reputed to be admired by writers but no one else then came the huge success of The Walworth Farce and that label was kicked into touch overnight!

To be honest, most writers are far more troubled by their own inner critic than any outer one. Just as athletes hire sports psychologists to get fighting fit, Ive always thought writers should employ arts psychologists to get writing fit (if we had the money of course!).

The older you get, the bolder you must become. Look at the likes of Charles Dickens who toured the London opium dens when he was 57 as research for The Mystery of Edwin Drood. And what about Edna OBrien trotting off to Nigeria at the age of 86? The brilliant thing is that writing is not for the young but the modern.

Dont go on a writers retreat. A retreat what are you, a monk? You should be immersing yourself in the world not retreating; if anything you should be going to a crack den instead. I remember drinking one night in Annaghmakerrig and a mad American screenwriter interrupting us every couple of hours with a sanctimonious bulletin on how much hed written.

Let me ask you this would Oscar Wilde have ever gone on a writing retreat? No chance, hed be holed up in a swanky Brighton hotel with his sexy young lover. The only reason to ever go on a writing retreat is if you have young children and youd like to foist them on your partner for a week for a bit of peace and quiet.

As Charles Bukowski noted, The worst thing for a writer is to know another writer, and worse than that, to know a number of other writers. Like flies on the same turd. Personally, the idea of being surrounded by other writers to me is worse than being trapped in the hotel of The Shining!

Move into your own house. If you live with people theyll only debunk the myth. Charles Bukowski, who cultivated an image of wild drinking and womanizing, boldly proclaimed, I have not worked out my poems with a careful will, falling rather on haphazard and blind formulation of wordage, a more flowing concept, in a hope for a more new and lively path. Unfortunately for him, his live-in, poet lover, Linda King, later called him out on his self-mythologising by recalling how he honed his writing almost every night: I dont think people realise how hard he worked at it.

Write everything: short stories, poems, novels, plays, essays Of course, youll not be as good at every form, but these days you need so many strings to your bow and to blow your own trumpet so loudly youre practically your own orchestra!

Court controversy. Most writers have a lot to write, but dont have a lot to say. Speak out; make sweeping statements like Colm Tibn who said of genre-fiction books, Its blank, its nothing; its like watching TV. John Banville enraged the crime writers, Ian McEwan provoked the ire of sci-fi writers, and Oscar Wilde irked every writer around with All art is useless. But dont waste your time complaining about what other writers say on social media as youll just look petty; Twitter is for the bitter. Always remember that the best writers offend; the worst writers are offended.

Rise above. Dont worry if publishers dont recognize your talent; never mind if you didnt get selected for that latest anthology. Anthologies are just an exercise in cronyism. Im always reminded of the anthologist, Rufus Griswold, who was incredibly famous in his day. Who, I hear you ask? Exactly! Griswold deigned to select only three of Edgar Allan Poes poems for his anthology, The Poets and Poetry of America, choosing to print 20 or 30 poems of lesser writers. Poe later denounced Griswolds papery puffery and the anthology was subsequently buried in the literary graveyard. If youre not selected, just work happily away in the margins. Know you will do your best work under the radar and, besides, as Mark Twain said, I was sorry to have my name mentioned as one of the great authors, because they have a sad habit of dying off. Rosemary Jenkinsons new collection of short stories, Lifestyle Choice 10mg, is out now from Doire Press, supported by ACNI. A memoir will follow.

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A writers guide to self-reinvention - The Irish Times

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Tom Purcell: The wisdom of the Irish – The Tribune – Ironton Tribune

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We could use some Irish wit and wisdom right now.

Heres a good start: Youll never plow a field by turning it over in your mind.

Thats a lesson well-taught by the many Irish immigrants, including my great-grandfather, who boldly came to America to make a better life for themselves and their families and whose hard work greatly benefited our country.

For every mile of road, there are two miles of ditches, reads another Irish saying.

True success in life isnt something that can be given to us, but something we must earn. As the Irish say, Youve got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your father was.

However, all successful teachers, entrepreneurs, executives and others have met multiple setbacks along the way but refused to let the setbacks stand in their way. Vibrant civilizations are built by people who live this way.

Heres a clever line that relates to the blarney common to presidential campaigns: Help a man when he is in trouble and he will remember you when he is in trouble again.

It has the opposite ring from Give a man a fish, youll feed him for a day, but teach him to fish and he will feed himself for life.

Its more in line with this quote by Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw: A government [or politician] that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.

The wise understand that there are no easy fixes in life or in politics and that somebody must pay for every government program. We somebodies are called taxpayers, and one of the worlds cleverest wits, who remains unknown, determined that the taxes withheld from our paychecks are our contributions.

To be sure, the outcome of a free government service is best explained by American humorist P.J. ORourke: If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when its free.

The great Irish playwright Oscar Wilde said, Seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow.

Arent too many of us getting lost particularly in social-media pontification in the narrowness and silliness of our serious points of view?

Irish levity offers a solution, and, thankfully, its in abundance this time of year.

Heres a joke I hope we all still agree on:

Q: Why are Irish jokes so short? A: So members of Congress can understand them.

Heres another: It was so cold in Washington, D.C., the politicians had their hands in their own pockets.

And another: Kate, a young Irish girl, asked her father, Daddy, do all fairy tales begin with Once upon a time?

No, Kate, said the father. Lots of them begin with, If elected president I promise that .

The Irish know theres nothing better than warm words on a cold night. Such words can do us all a bit of good right now.

So Ill leave you with this sweet Irish blessing:

May love and laughter light your days, and warm your heart and home.

May good and faithful friends be yours, wherever you may roam.

May peace and plenty bless your world with joy that long endures.

May all lifes passing seasons bring the best to you and yours!

Tom Purcell is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist and is syndicated by Cagle Cartoons. Email Tom at Purcell@caglecartoons.com.

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Tom Purcell: The wisdom of the Irish - The Tribune - Ironton Tribune

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17 Quotes and Irish Blessings to Celebrate the Luck of the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day 2020 – Newsweek

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Millions of people will celebrate St. Patrick's Dayand with it, their Irish heritageon Tuesday. Which means there will be parades, masses and lots of drinking.

In honor of the occasion, here are some quotes compiled by Wikiquote, Good Reads, Good Housekeeping and Quotabulary:

"No wonder that we Irish lads should be so free and frisky/Since St. Patrick taught us first the knack of drinking of good whiskey; 'Twas he that brew'd the best of malt, and understood distilling/For his mother she kept a shebeen shop in the town of Inniskillen!" - Shane Na Gael

"The amount of good luck coming your way depends on your willingness to act." - Barbara Sher

"May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back." - Irish Blessing

"The way we are living/timorous or bold/will have been our life." - Seamus Heaney

"Love is never defeated, and I could add, the history of Ireland proves it." - Pope John Paul II

"Ireland is a land of poets and legends, of dreamers and rebels." - Nora Roberts

"Now there's some take delight in the carriages a-rollin'/And others take delight in the hurling and the bowling/But I take delight in the juice of the barley/And courting pretty fair maids in the morning bright and early" - Author Unknown, "Whiskey in the Jar," traditional Irish song

"The Irish are a very fair people, they never speak well of one another." - Samuel Johnson

"We may have bad weather in Ireland, but the sun shines in the hearts of the people and that keeps us all warm." - Marianne Williamson

"The heart of an Irishman is nothing but his imagination." - George Bernard Shaw

"Whether I drink often or just once in a while; I'm always sure to raise a glass to the dear old Emerald Isle." - Pat Maloney

"I got thousands of stories, you've heard them before, yet I'll tell them again and again/Come on, pull up a stool now and buy me a drink, and please think of me as a friend." - Ken Casey

"May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light, May good luck pursue you each morning and night." - Irish Blessing

"If you're Irish, it doesn't matter where you goyou'll find family." - Victoria Smurfit

"Drink is the curse of the land. It makes you fight with your neighbor. It makes you shoot at your landlord and it makes you miss him!" - Irish Proverb

"What is more, let anyone laugh and taunt if he so wishes. I am not keeping silent, nor am I hiding the signs and wonders that were shown to me by the Lord many years before they happened, [he] who knew everything, even before the beginning of time." - Saint Patrick

"I am imperfect in many things, nevertheless I want my brethren and kinsfolk to know my nature so that they may be able to perceive my soul's desire." - Saint Patrick

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17 Quotes and Irish Blessings to Celebrate the Luck of the Irish on St. Patrick's Day 2020 - Newsweek

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March 20th, 2020 at 3:46 am

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This Was the Best-Selling Album the Year You Were Born – Best Life

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There's nothing all that fun and glamorous about data. But when Billboardmagazine began publishing end-of-year album sales figures in 1956, they produced the philosopher's stone of analytics, and the quantitative was rendered thrilling and aspirational. For the next half-centuryuntil the disruptive ascension of streaming servicesartists and executives alike would fight tooth and nail for that coveted number one spot. Below are the men and women who emerged from those annual fights victorious: Read on to discover the best-selling album the year you were born.

America's love affair with the smooth Caribbean sounds of Harry Belafonte was in full swing by the time his second album,Calypso, dropped. Propelled by the popularity of its hit first track, "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)," the album went on to be the first LP by a solo artist to sell over 1 million copies.

Based on George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, My Fair Lady spent years as the toast of Broadway, as audiences packed the house night after night to watch Professor Henry Higgins teach Eliza Doolittle to drop her cockney accent and speak the Queen's English. Assuming those outside of New York's theater district might also enjoy the songs and story, the producers wisely decided to put the show on wax.

With leads Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison delivering powerful, nuanced performances and mainstream breakthrough songs like "I Could Have Danced All Night," "Wouldn't It Be Loverly," and "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face" packed into the track listing, it's no wonder the album dominated the charts for two years in a row.

It's hard to overstate how popular some TV shows were when audiences had few other distractions and limited channels to choose from. Today, a title theme like Succession's may be popular enough to get meme-ified, but in 1959, the songs from NBC's detective drama Peter Gunn were beloved enough to not only be purchased, but to become the top album of the year.

Though most would come to know of Maria von Trapp and the Trapp Family Singers' story from the Julie Andrews-led film six years later, Rodgers and Hammerstein's stage version of the tale was a smash hit in its own right. Starring Mary Martin and Theodore Bikel, the cast recording ofThe Sound of Musicbeat out the likes of Bob Newhart and the Kingston Trio for album of the year.

With the Kennedy dynasty coalescing and T.H. White's The Once and Future King dog-eared on nightstands around the nation, it's safe to say that America was going through something of a King Arthur phase in the late '50s and early '60s. Naturally, Broadway capitalized on that fervor with a musical about gallant knights and fair maidens. Just as naturally, lots of people bought the Camelot cast recording.

Modernizing the classic love story of Romeo and Juliet by presenting it through the lens of feuding gangs and race relations doesn't intuitively seem like a recipe for success, but the reimagining clearly resonated with audiences entrenched in the civil rights strife of the era. The film adaptation of West Side Storywon 10 Oscars, including Best Picture, and its soundtrack sold like hotcakes.

Packed with certified bops like "Maria," "America," and "Tonight," it's easy to see why the West Side Story soundtrack dominated charts for two years straight. Or maybe everyone was really just into the Officer Krupke song. Who can say?

In the same year that the Beatles dropped A Hard Day's Night, the best-selling album was the cast recording of Hello, Dolly!, a musical about a turn-of-the-century matchmaker. That should tell you something about just how into Broadway the country was at the time.

The queen, Julie Andrews, once again destroys the competition, this time with her portrayal of a prim nanny who parties with cartoons and chimneysweeps. Disney's Edwardian London-set kids movie musical was basically the Frozen of its day, and the memorable Mary Poppins soundtrack was flying off record store shelves faster than you can say "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious."

ForWhipped Cream & Other Delights, Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass' fourth and most successful album, they dropped their usual Mexican sound to cover a bunch of contemporary hits. The racy cover, featuring a whipped cream-covered nude model, caused a fuss, but its goofy title songwhich would go on to become the theme for The Dating Gamedoesn't really match the photo.

Originally formed to spoof the Beatles for an NBC sitcom, the Monkees wound up being so unironically popular that they sold a ton of records. The group's second studio album, More of the Monkees, would be their most successful, topping the charts for 31 consecutive weeks and going quintuple platinum.

The year before he would shred "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Woodstock, Jimi Hendrix released his debut album,Are You Experienced?, to instant commercial and critical acclaim. And if you've heard even a few seconds of the guy's fret work, this makes perfect sense.

A mere half-decade prior, the most popular album of the year was the soundtrack to a kids' movie, but by the Summer of Love, tastes had shifted to embracing a 17-minute acid rock exploration of the Garden of Eden, the title song of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. If that doesn't put a fine point on the intensity and expediency of the era's cultural revolution, nothing will.

Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel notoriously spent much of their brief time as the world's preeminent folk duo butting heads. Fortunately for all of us, before the discord forced them to go their separate ways, they released their fifth and most successful album, Bridge Over Troubled Water.

Like the Prodigal Son, America was ready to return to the musical record flock only after some time indulging in the seductive songs of psychedelic rock. Having acquired a taste for the harder music during their time astray, the return to the Broadway fold was withJesus Christ Superstar,Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's audacious retelling of the story of Christ.

Canadian folk singer Neil Young tapped into the American youth's weariness with the conflict in Vietnam for his subtly anti-war fourth studio album, Harvest. Though critics weren't initially in love with the record, it sold well and has since come to be widely regarded as an all-time great album.

Signaling the country's ever-expanding tastes was the success ofThe World Is a Ghetto, the fifth album from Long Beach-based funk band War. A beautiful blend of jazz, soul, and psychedelia carried the album's central thesis that the planet is simultaneously messed up and beautiful.

Written by Elton John's longtime creative partner Bernie Taupin, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road's title track is an allusion to Oz's main thoroughfare and a metaphor for one's desire to return to simpler times. The lyrics also reference dogs, owls, and a "horny-back toad," for all you animal lovers out there.

It might seem hubristic to have a greatest hits compendium by age 27, but Elton John's one of the few artists who could back up that hubris with talent. It also helped that, by 27, he was already able to pack Greatest Hits with certified bangers like "Your Song," "Daniel," "Crocodile Rock," and "Rocket Man (I Think It's Going to Be a Long, Long Time)."

The album may have been called Frampton Comes Alive!, but anyone who's listened to it knows the main thing coming alive is Peter Frampton's guitar. We're still waiting for someone more scientifically minded to explain how blowing air into a tube makes a stringed instrument talk.

It's hard enough to do something as simple as getting a coffee with an ex after a breakup, so for Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham to set aside the rancor from their fresh split and recordRumoursnot just a cohesive album, but also a best-selling and award-winning oneis nothing short of a heroic accomplishment.

When you think of the quintessential disco pose, you think of a leisure-suited John Travolta pointing to the sky on the Saturday Night Fever poster. And when you think of the quintessential disco track, it can't be anything but the Bee Gees' "Staying Alive," the first song on the film's hit soundtrack.

Despite Billy Joel's five prior albums containing hits like "Piano Man" and "Only the Good Die Young," 52nd Street was the Bronx pianist's first to hit number one on the Billboard charts. He'd match the feat three other times in the years to come.

The U.K.'s premier anti-establishment prog rock act outdid themselves with The Wall, an operatic double album that touches on World War II, the British school system, addiction, and anti-fascism. And for a real trip, be sure to check out the album's accompanying film.

With a genius bit of wordplay worthy of the bard himself, Hi Infidelity cheekily perverts the audiophile term "high-fidelity" into something of a welcome to unfaithfulness. And as any rock fan knows, musicians have a bit of a reputation for cheating on their spouses.

In the early '80s, when it came to continental bands, there were only two names in town: You were either Team Asia or Team Europe. Asia settled the dispute about who was number one before it even began with their breakout debut album, also called Asia, and graced with Roger Dean's iconic cover art.

Michael Jackson's solo career pivot was set in stone with his Quincy Jones-produced sixth album, Thriller. It's hard to overstate what a cultural phenomenon the album was at the time, but its two-year chart dominance and 33x platinum sales are a decent indicator.

Beyond the iconic title track and equally iconic accompanying music video, Thriller's meteoric success was boosted by having "Beat It," "Billie Jean," and a handful of other all-time Jackson classics in its grooves. That sort of helps explain all the time spent at No. 1.

Though it's often appropriated for patriotic endeavors, the Boss' seventh album, Born in the U.S.A., is actually a dark contemplation of a country rotting from the inside out. The album was a major success and the customer's always rightso if these songs make folks want to wave a flag, so be it.

Every so often a singer comes along that forces everyone, audiences and industry suits alike, to shut up and take notice. Such was the case when Whitney Houston dropped her debut album, appropriately titled Whitney Houston. Though slow to gain momentum, it went on to become album of the year, go 13x platinum, and, most importantly, introduce the world to one of the best to ever earn the title "diva."

It seems as if every other album from this era went the double entendre route when choosing a title. Bon Jovi's most successful album backed up the Slippery When Wet wordplay with a bunch of classic songs now heard in sorority houses and karaoke bars around the world.

Before Limp Bizkit claimed "Faith" as their own with their exemplary cover in 1997, George Michael had a bit of success with the song himself. With Michael's vocals supported by an impeccable Bo Diddley beat, Faith's title song carried the album to the top of the '88 charts.

In 1989, the Beastie Boys released Paul's Boutique, Madonna dropped Like a Prayer, the Pixies gave us Doolittle, and De La Soul put out Three Feet High and Rising. America said, "those are cool and all, but we are currently in a new jack swing phase," and bought Bobby Brown's album Don't Be Cruelinstead.

Don't worry. You don't need to have listened to Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nations 1 through 1813 to enjoy Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814. Just push play, let Janet Jackson serenade you, and look up Wikipedia recaps of the others if you get lost. All kidding aside, this album gave us hits like "Miss You Much," "Escapade," and yes, "Rhythm Nation."

On the one hand,Mariah Carey is one of those rare debut albums that not only sounds great, but changed the music landscape forever. On the other, had it never introduced the world to Mariah Carey, we would not still be suffering through every national anthem singer's attempt to match her five-octave range.

Though the somber titleSome Gave All alludes to the troops and their sacrifices, the sentimental track never really connected with Billy Ray Cyrus' fans. Instead, his and the album's success hinged entirely on the goofy middle school square dance lesson staple "Achy Breaky Heart."

After a long hiatus, a soundtrack once again topped the charts, this time for The Bodyguard, a Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner romance. Critics panned the film, but that did not deter customers from picking up Houston's new insta-classic.

The apex of Disney's animation renaissance was its retelling of Hamlet in the Serengeti. The film's Elton John-fronted soundtrack was chock-full of hitsand while "Circle of Life" and "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" got most of the fanfare, we all know "Hakuna Matata" was the secret engine behind the Lion King soundtrack'ssuccess.

Darius Rucker doesn't get enough respect. The man fronted a band that collaborated with Bob Dylan and put out the best-selling album of '95,Cracked Rear View, and people are still referring to him as "Hootie"?

It's truly a shame that such a monumental, sea-change of an album has been overshadowed by the reveal that its breakout song, "You Oughta Know" was written about Full House's Uncle Joey. Hopefully music historians will have mercy on Alanis Morissette and give Jagged Little Pill its proper due.

Before Myers-Briggs personality tests sorted us all into 16 distinct personality types, one could only be categorized as a Scary, Baby, Posh, Sporty, or Ginger. These spice varietals and their representative girls took the world by storm withSpice in '97.

When you think about it, that "king of the world" front of boat move from Titanic that people did all the time in the late '90s was the original "planking" and one of the earliest physical memes of the modern era. The point being, if this big ship romantic tragedy was powerful enough to get that fad going, it should come as no surprise that it also sold a boatload of soundtracks. The inclusion of Cline Dion's smash hit "My Heart Will Go On" probably didn't hurt either.

The opening salvo of the millennial boy band era was fired by some guys named AJ, Howie, Nick, Kevin, and Brian, and the world has yet to recover. Sparking Beatlemania for a new generation, the Backstreet Boys' third studio album,Millennium, took over the world, and cemented their place in the pop group pantheon.

Nobody stays king of the hill forever, and the Backstreet Boys' dominance was toppled by a bunch of singing marionettes led by a ramen-coiffed Justin Timberlake. No Strings Attached went 11x platinum and forced us all to say "Bye, Bye, Bye" to a time before hearing these songs on the radio 24/7.

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This Was the Best-Selling Album the Year You Were Born - Best Life

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Colm Tibn On Writing and Ireland – Deutsche Welle

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To Colm Tibn, writing is "like music, in that its based on melody. Its based on rhythm. Before readers engage their intellect, he tells us in this exclusive interview, a deeper urge should entice them to turn the page - as if they were following a rhythm. Born in southeast Ireland in 1955, Colm Tibn is one of the most celebrated English writers of our time. He lives in Ireland and the USA, and teaches at Columbia University in New York.

His novels, essays and plays have found wide acclaim. Four have been shortlisted for the coveted Booker Prize. His most popular novel to date, "Brooklyn was even adapted for the silver screen. Nick Hornby wrote the screenplay for this touching story of a young girl who flees from economic hardship in Ireland and builds a new life in New York. ((FOTO - Brooklyn)) Much of his writing has autobiographical references. "Nora Webster (2014) is a thinly veiled account of Tibns own mother. The tale is set in the small town of Enniscorthy on the southeast coast of Ireland in County Wexford - right where Tibn was born. Like the heroine of the novel, Tobns mother also lost her husband. And like the heroines son, the author developed a stutter after his fathers death. The figures in Tibns writing are mostly provincial, simple characters, which he brings to life with a uniquely insightful and delicate touch. Hes most accomplished in female portrayals. "I was brought up by women, he says, "no matter what they said, it would be fascinating. And so, the ambivalent relation between mothers and their sons is one of the main motifs in his work. The sons in his novels and collection of short fiction "Mothers and Sons (2009) not only struggle with their relationship with their mothers, but also with metaphorical maternal institutions, with Ireland itself and the Catholic church. Many of his writings deal with rebelling against and fleeing from emotional and social constraints. Colm Tibn actively pursues equal rights for homosexuals, and was one of the first to advocate same-sex marriage in Ireland.

When asked why Ireland has brought forth so many great authors - James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, George Bernard Shaw, Seamus Heaney - despite having fewer than 5 million inhabitants, Colm Tibns reply is as delightfully straightforward as his writing: "The only way out of poverty was education. And the only way to education was literacy. So literacy became a sort of fetish in poor families. Books, reading, and writing. Art.21 meets a great author and a deeply likable individual: Colm Tibn.

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Patriotism could be the unlikely answer to solving the climate crisis – The Guardian

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Global heating is being blamed for the wildfires that devastated much of New South Wales in Australia in recent months Photograph: Dean Lewins/AAP

When it comes to fighting climate change and its effects, both greens and conservatives pay far too much attention to localism, voluntarism, and corporate responsibility. All are valuable; none are adequate. If, as many environmentalists say, the struggle against global heating requires a sense of wartime emergency, then fighting it while chiefly relying on these assets is as if Britain fought the Second World War relying on the Home Guard.

Last weeks budget contained some useful steps to limit carbon emissions; but they are far too small, and offset by road construction and the failure to lift the freeze on fuel taxes brought in 10 years ago.

Climate change, if unchecked, threatens the destruction of Britain; yet the new money allocated to combat it is less than one fifteenth of the annual defence bill and well under half the cost of the two Royal Navy aircraft carriers which increasingly seem to have no national strategic purpose.

The best way of looking at the idea of state-led national green new deals is to see them as the latest episode in the 200-year-old history of efforts to save capitalism from itself. The difference is that in the past, unrestrained capitalism could only destroy one countrys political and economic order. Today, by continuing to boost carbon emissions, it can destroy the whole of modern civilisation.

Capitalism, when left alone, cannot regulate itself. If we did not know that before 2008, we know it now

Throughout modern history, just as today, there have been capitalists, such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, who have called for the reform of capitalism, whether from conscience or fear of revolution, but, in the end, parliaments still had to pass the laws and states had to implement them. If we had left it to capitalism to regulate itself, seven-year-olds would still be working down coal mines or, more likely, Britain would have collapsed into communism. Capitalism, when left alone, cannot regulate itself. If we did not know that before the crash of 2008, we certainly know it now.

Central to the taming of capitalism has always been the creation of welfare states. Enhanced social security and state healthcare as part of any green new deal are essential to the fight to limit carbon emissions for three reasons: to compensate those workers and sections of society that will suffer as a result of the abandonment of fossil fuels; to make the necessary sacrifices politically possible by sharing those sacrifices through progressive taxation; and to build the social and national resilience which we will need if our democratic orders are to survive the shocks of the decades to come including the spread of tropical diseases as a result of climate change.

This need for social solidarity links the green new deal to the patriotic origins of the welfare state. Both conservatives and socialists have agreed in attributing the welfare state to socialism; conservatives because they have come to dislike it, the left because they want to claim all credit for it.

In fact, the origins of the British welfare state lie very largely in the social imperialism movement in the years before 1914. The supporters of this movement were an extraordinarily varied bunch: H G Wells, George Bernard Shaw and Sidney and Beatrice Webb on the left; liberal imperialists such as Winston Churchill and William Beveridge; patriotic writers including Rudyard Kipling and Arthur Conan Doyle; imperial bureaucrats such as Lord Milner and John Buchan; and soldiers including Field Marshal Lord Roberts. Their thinking echoed, in key respects, Bismarcks social security programme in Germany and the reformist new nationalism of Theodore Roosevelt in the US.

As Lord Roberts declared: To tens of thousands of Englishmen engaged in daily toil, the call to sacrifice themselves for their country must seem an insult to their reason; for those conditions amid which they work make their lives already an unending sacrifice.

What all these figures had in common was a fear of social disintegration and revolution; a belief (right or wrong) in the British Empire as a force for progress; and a belief that social solidarity, national efficiency, and a degree of national self-sufficiency were essential to survive what they (correctly) saw would be the colossal social, economic and political strains of a new European war.

My own thinking about this has also been shaped by my experience of working in Qatar, which has engaged in an intense and successful state-led effort at national self-sufficiency in response to the blockade by Saudi Arabia and other neighbours.

The social imperialist tradition flowed into the later development of the welfare state as a result of the Second World War. In the course of these conflicts most of the Labour party became intensely patriotic, while the Conservatives became one-nation Tories, committed to social solidarity and state involvement in the economy.

When, in 1960, Bernard Semmel wrote his classic study of social imperialism, Imperialism and Social Reform, he took for granted its victory on both sides of the political spectrum: Today, the Cobdenites [ie radical free-market liberals] and the international socialists are virtually extinct breeds.

This is the spirit we need to recover in response to the climate emergency and associated menaces. International agreements and protest movements are valuable and necessary but they cant do anything themselves. Their purpose is to nudge and shame states into taking action. And state governments, in the end, take action on behalf of their national populations. That is their duty, and it is also what those populations expect and vote for.

The task then is to mobilise patriotism by convincing national populations that global heating is a threat, not just to humanity and the planet but to the interests and the future survival of their own countries; and that society, as a whole, will pull together, alleviate suffering and make sacrifices as part of a common effort.

If we cant manage this I very much doubt that liberal democracy will survive what is coming at us down the line.

Anatol Lieven is the author of Climate Change and the Nation State: The Realist Case

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Ireland: How to have a Craic-ing good time in Dublin – Stuff.co.nz

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"Craic"is Irish for drink more, you're falling behind.

Okay it's not, but at 11am on St Patrick's Day in Dublin, it might as well be. All around me, locals and tourists in various stages of inebriation keep slapping each other on the back and shoehorning the words "good"and "craic"into the same sentence (for the record, craic is a Gaelic word that means a fun time).

Who can blame them? Ireland is, after all, the spiritual home of drinking. And Paddy's Day (March 17), as the locals fondly refer to it, is one of the most celebrated holidays on Ireland's calendar.

"In Ireland, we say you should never have just one drink. After all, a bird never flew with just one wing," says my taxi driver.

I take his advice and subsequently can remember very little of my first visit to Ireland's capital (note to self: Guinness is the work of the devil).

Thankfully, late last year I got the chance for a do-over, when I discovered Dublin is a city of many faces.

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Pack an extra suitcase because no atter what your style, you'll find something to buy in Dublin.

READ MORE: *Kiwi expat tales: Returning to Dublin, Ireland 20 years after I first lived there *A traveller's sporting guide to the Emerald Isle *5 of the best places to celebrate St Patrick's Day

LITERARY DUBLIN

"English has only been spoken in Ireland for about 250 years but we were quick learners," laughs our Luxury Gold guide Siobhan. "In fact, Ireland has produced so many award-winning writers, literary masterpieces should be recognised as our chief export."

The heart of all that scribbling is Dublin, one of only 39 UNESCO Cities of Literature in the world (a list that also includes our own Dunedin). Once home to writers such as Jonathan Swift, George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, W.B. Yeats, Samuel Beckett and James Joyce, Dublin is like Mecca for English lit grads (even those of us who can remember very little of tedious Monday morning lectures).

Because there are few cities that care as much about the written word as this historic capital. Wander down skinny lanes, stroll through Georgian squares and cross the River Liffey and you'll find heritage plaques dedicated to famous writers, bridges named after them and numerous literary place names.

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Temple Bar is the heart of Dublin's "good craic".

If time is limited, a Dublin Literary Pub Crawl is a good way to visit pubs and landmarks associated with the enormous body of Irish literature. A bonus is the entertaining tour guides who'll recite from famous books and letters, sing traditional drinking tunes and truly understand the meaning of the word "craic". Takeaway message: writers throughout the ages have been partial to a drink, such as poet Brendan Behan who described himself as "a drinker with a writing problem".

It's just past 3pm on a Saturday when I visit the Dublin Writer's Museum, but it's packed with students in black turtle-necks and serious glasses. Wedged into a grand 18th Century mansion (don't like literature? Come for the architecture), the museum was opened in 1991 to document the lives and works of Dublin's literary rock-stars over the past 300 years. That includes Swift, Shaw, Yeats, Joyce and Beckett whose backstories are told via books, letters and personal items. If these kind of things are important to you, check out the first edition of Bram Stoker's Dracula.

Sharon Stephenson

You're never far from music in Dublin, especially in lively Grafton Street.

HISTORIC DUBLIN

Dublin was originally founded as a Viking settlement way back in the 10th Century, so they've had a long time to work on their history.

And what a history it is from wars and famines to financial crises and Bloody Sunday. This being Ireland, there are also no end of churches, including the medieval Christ Church Cathedral and St Patrick's Cathedral, where you'll find ancient tombs.

It's quirky and more than a bit cheesy, but the Little Museum of Dublin surely gets the Oscar for the World's Cutest Museum. It's tucked into a quaint 16th Century house and details the history of Dublin through the lives and possessions of its residents, including an early edition of James Joyce's 1922 classic novel Ulysses, U2 memorabilia and autographed photos of Sinead O'Connor and Brendan O'Carroll (of Mrs Brown's Boys fame).

Can you say you've submerged yourself in Dublin history if you haven't visited Trinity College? Probably not. Ireland's oldest university was founded in 1592 and boasts the country's largest collection of historic manuscripts and early printed texts, with an entire collection of around five million books. It's where you need to go to see the iconic ninth-century Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript of the four gospels of the New Testament, as well as, somewhat creepily, Jonathan Swift's death mask. Be prepared to queue.

Sharon Stephenson

The Samuel Beckett Bridge, by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, cuts a striking form over the River Liffey.

GREEN DUBLIN

You don't have to go far to find a slash of greenery in Dublin and when the sun comes out, so dothe Dubs (the locals' nickname for themselves).

"Dublin can be heaven with coffee at 11 and a stroll in Stephens Green", run the lyrics of the 1986 song The Dublin Saunter.

Even without caffeine, the 8ha St Stephen's Green is beautiful. Nature seems to have dialled up the green to maximum (all that rain is good for something)and it's easy to forget you're in the heart of one of Europe's most exciting cities.

A few leaps east of the city centre is Phoenix Park, at 707ha one of the largest walled city parks in Europe. It's where Pope John Paul II held mass in 1979, but it's also well known for its 400 or so wild deer.

Sharon Stephenson

Bewley's Cafe was founded in 1840 and has fed and watered numerous Irish literary stars over the years.

DRINKING DUBLIN

We had to get to alcohol sooner or later.

"A good puzzle would be to cross Dublin without passing a pub," says Leopold Bloom, a character in Ulysses.

Dial forward almost 100 yearsand not much has changed. If Paris has its cafs, then Dublin has its pubs close to 800 in a city of about 1.36 million. The HQ for Dublin watering holes is Temple Bar, a honeycomb of lanes filled with the highest concentration of bars in Dublin (there are also restaurants, boutiques and galleries).

Order a pint at the Oliver St John Gogarty bar, which features live traditional Irish music throughout the day. At The Porterhouse Brew Co, a bastion of Dublin's craft beer scene, I listen to bearded blokes with tattooed arms talk about the finer points of hops (or something like that; I get so bored I tune out).

Sharon Stephenson

This work by Italian artist Arnaldo Pomodoro sits within the historic Trinity College grounds.

But Dublin has form with beer. Visiting the city and not stopping by the Guinness Storehouse is a little like going to New York and not seeing the Statue of Liberty. The Storehouse's historic 22ha site is where Arthur Guinness gave his name to Ireland's national drink in 1759 (it's also Dublin's top tourist attraction).

Located at St James' Gate, it's the largest brewery in Europe and the interactive tour is a fascinating look back at the history of the iconic stout. The tour also details the story of Arthur Guinness and how he helped shape Dublin.

Afterwards, head to Gravity Bar on the top floor, where everyone gets a complimentary drink of what's been called Irish Champagne or the Black Stuff (I've sworn off after last time but my travelling companions tell me the Guinness here tastes fresher than anywhere else on the planet). The bar also boasts the best views in town and, of course, excessively good craic.

The writer was a guest of Luxury Gold's 12-day Ultimate Ireland journey. Now priced from $8035 per person, this journey includes dining experiences at Michelin-starred restaurants, luxury coach transportation, a travelling conciergeand luxury boutique accommodation, such as Ashford Castle, which is situated on a 350-acre estate in the countryside. See your travel agent, call 0800 568 769, or visit luxurygold.com

A return trip for one passenger in economy class flying from Auckland to Dublin would generate 2.66 tonnes CO2. To offset your carbon emissions head to airnewzealand.co.nz/sustainability-customer-carbon-offset.

STAYING SAFE:Checksafetravel.govt.nzprior to travelling to stay updated on the latest travel advisories.

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