Category Archives: History

Where The Streets Have No Shame

Imagine a street called Hitler Street. Or a plaza name after Göring. Or a Himmler Way. Or a Pol Pot Avenue. Or seeing the Klu Klux Klan flag engraved on the wall outside a village church. In most parts of … Continue reading

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Posted in History, Politics, Spain | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Pig Dead, Soldier On

There’s a cant used on one side of my family: “pig dead, soldier on”. When someone asks for a favour that cannot be granted, requiring the person seeking the favour to continue whatever he or she was doing, those four … Continue reading

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Posted in History, Ireland, Language | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Limelight

Like most people, I have been using the word limelight for many years without knowing (or even considering) its origins. Lately, I happened to read Richard Kirwan’s excellent If Maps Could Speak — a history Ireland’s Ordinance Survey and memoir … Continue reading

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Posted in History, Language, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Blonds Have More Sun

This week I’m going to paddle along the dangerous shoreline of that sea known as “skin colour”. I’ll also write about hair and eye colour. Well aware of the undercurrents that could pull me under, as well as the potholes … Continue reading

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Posted in History | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

What’s in a Name?

One of the many things I loved about studying history as a teenager was the exoticism, especially the linguistic exoticism. As well as that great cliché’s ringing truth that the past is a foreign country, we also got a double … Continue reading

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Posted in History, Language, Spain | Tagged , , | 2 Comments