Green Spot Irish Whiskey

The whiskey remarks on this site get more comments than any other. So here’s another Irish whiskey of note – Green Spot.

It’s a whiskey I had seen but never tasted until one night in Dublin recently when we asked for our usual Redbreast as a ‘deoch a dorais’. The owner said he was clean out but recommended the Green Spot as a superior drink. We were surprised at this as we held Redbreast to be the king of the Irish.

Well, we tasted it. And suffice to say there might just be a new King in town.

Green Spot is actually produced in the same place as Redbreast – the Jameson distillery in Midleton, Co Cork. It’s a blend of seven and eight year old, and is produced exclusively in Cork for Mitchell and Sons Wine Merchants in Dublin.

Try it if you can find it. It actually does hit the Spot.


Been away

It’s been quite a while. My excuse? I discovered Stumble Upon. Try it yourself and see how long it takes you to get back to the real world.

I want to look like Samuel L Jackson. But end up looking like Fr Flanagan.

Today, it was very cool in Belfast – temperature-wise if not culturally-wise. So, being someone who has no hair on top, I decided to have a quick look around the shops for, well, a cap. Or as they say in these parts – a duncher.

Why a cap, you ask? Well, baseball caps don’t cut it when you’re in your work gear. And those ski hats make me look all big nose. As for hats, I imagine they would make me look like an even stouter Van Morrison. Not that I’ve ever seriously considered a hat, though.

But I’ve never worn a flat cap before and, while I’m not particualrly fussy about my look, there are two things of importance:

  • I must not look too much like an old geezer, eg my father
  • And I must not look like I’m desparate to look cool.

But, unfortunately, it took just the trying on of three caps to realise that the one and only sure thing a cap will do for me is make me look like – a priest. A small stout priest out for a brisk walk. By the seaside.

Looks like it might be a long, cold winter up ahead.

Baseball caps don’t cut it at work

Van the Man: ‘Does my head look big in this?’

If only I could look like this.

Great Lyrics Series, No 4: Aird Ui Chumhain


My last post mentioned hurling in Cushendall. Being the old romantic that I am, it reminded me of the song Aird Ui Chumain in which an Irish farm labourer working in Scotland sees the coast of Ireland across the sea and pines for the Sunday mornings he formerly spent hurling with his friends on the beach in Cushendun. Here are the lyrics in the original Irish, followed by a translation. Back in the day, a friend used to sing this. Happy memories.

Dá mbeinn féin in Aird Uí Chumhain
In aice an tsléibhe ud ‘tá i bhfad uaim
Ba annamh liom gan dul ar cuairt
Go gleann na gcuach dé Domhnaigh

Agus och och Eire lig is ó
Eire líonndubh agus ó
‘Sé mo chroí tá trom agus bronach

Is iomai Nollag a bhí mé féin
I mBun Abhainn Doine is mé gan chéill
Ag iomainn ar a trá bán
‘S mo chaman bán ins mo dhorn liom


Dá mbeadh agam coite ’s rámh
D’iomairfinn liom ar dhroim a’ tsnáimh
‘S mé ‘dúil as Dia go sroichfinn slán
‘S go bhfaighinn bás in éirinn


(like most translations of Irish lyrics/poetry into English, this comes nowhere near matching the simple yet elegant mood of the original)

Continue reading ‘Great Lyrics Series, No 4: Aird Ui Chumhain’

Kerry beat Cork to win All-Ireland. Ireland flop against Georgia. Villa lose to City. But…

As you can see, sport dominated my weekend.

Time was, All-Ireland Football Final Day would have been one of the biggest days of my year. But my move to “hurling fan” has seen an erosion of the football final’s importance. Add in the fact that this year’s final was an all-Munster affair – with relatively little enthusiasm for it in other parts of the country – and the big occasion proved a sort of big anti-climax really.

The other big Irish sporting occasion of the weekend was the Rugby World Cup clash of Ireland and Georgia. This didn’t affect me very much as I personally think that rugby is a game for toffs and oafs. Oh yes – and idiots too. Why else would you have a referee constantly shouting the rules out to players? Imagine if that happened in other sports. Can you imagine it in tennis? “Hit it. Hit it back. Hit it again. Hit it back again.” Or in hurdling: “Run, run, run, run – jump. Run, run, run, run – jump.”

My beloved Villa didn’t do too good today losing out to Manchester City, one of the few teams I actually loathe. But…

The really, really, really big sporting occasion of my weekend, however, was seeing my son’s hurling team reach the finals of their P7 championship. Played in Cushendall on a bright sunny morning, with views of Ailsa Craig and Scotland in the background, the setting was pretty much perfect. Unfortunately, they lost the final but they managed to capture a couple of big scalps along the way. And my boy scored two goals. So he was happy.

We celebrated by going to the shop and buying the kids ice cream before we hit the road. Then, in the car, Dusty Springfield’s Son of a Preacherman popped up on the radio on the way home. For some reason, one of the kids knew all the words. So the rest all joined in with him as best they could and then they sang it over and over and over again as we drove back to Belfast.

Stuff like that you just can’t plan.

A cry for decency about Madeleine

I read this piece by Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian today. Thankfully, his is a voice of kindness and sanity that still does not shy away from the things we have all been secretly thinking. It’s a piece that everyone should read as we’re in serious danger of crucifying the parents without knowing the facts. I’ve now lost count of the times I’ve overheard people in cafes or bars quoting the new mantra: “I always knew there was something fishy about them” or words to that effect. Thank you to Jonathan for the following words of wisdom:

Madeleine: a grimly compelling story that will end badly for us all

We’re divided and now confused by the McCann investigation – and in real danger of losing our common decency

Jonathan Freedland
Wednesday September 12, 2007
The Guardian

Visit the Sky News website and you’ll see in the menu of topics the single word Madeleine, sandwiched between UK News and World News. The story is now so big that it commands its own category, on a par with Politics or Business. There is, of course, no need to supply a last name or any other details: Madeleine refers to what is surely becoming the biggest human interest story of the decade. It’s not just the hour-by-hour updates on television news or the you-the-jury phone-ins on the radio. A more reliable indicator is the chatter heard in offices, at bus stops or in queues at the shops. Thanks to the astonishing twist of recent days, the British collective conversation is not focused on the war in Iraq or the efficiency of the NHS, even if it should be. Instead, its great preoccupation is the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, a story that gets ever more strange.

Even before last week, the case had gripped. The apparently random abduction and murder of children always does, whether it’s Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, Sarah Payne or the victims of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley. We fear these crimes like no other; they touch fears with deep roots in the cultural soil. The child snatcher is a creature from myth, whether the oldest Gaelic folktales or Little Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel. Modern storytelling is hardly immune: my own generation once cowered in terror from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’s Child Catcher. So when the news first broke in May that a sleeping child had vanished from her bed in a Portuguese holiday resort, all the familiar fears were stirred.

Continue reading ‘A cry for decency about Madeleine’

Just listened to new Springsteen album – full version this time

This is true.

A very nice man dropped by my office yesterday, asked for me and handed me a CD in a clear plastic sleeve. On it, it said ‘Bruce Springsteen – Magic’. He nodded at me in a knowing way, winked and left.

I didn’t ask any questions about where he got it. But as soon as he was out the door, I had the thing on our CD player.

The big surprise was that it wasn’t as bad as I had been led to believe. And another big surprise was that the ‘young uns’ around me seemed to like it as well. This is the generation that are listening to The Klaxons, by the way.

So that was promising at least. And some of the songs are good. Not sure that the album has any cohesive production or theme. But that darned saxophone of Clarence’s – it really hacks me off big time.

Still, it will stay on the office playlist for a while. Will reserve full judgement for a while longer.

thinking blogger

Bald blogging bloke in Belfast boldly writes…

These are some of the things that please me. Or annoy me. Or just plain happen to me. A lot of it's going to be about music, sport, marketing and family things. There'll be the odd sarcastic rant as well - I hope. It'll probably be written quite fast and be frequently daft or confusing. Or both. Spelling/typing may be up the left too. So if that's not your cup of tea there's not much point in wading through it all. Not entirely sure how all the technical bits work but I'm going to give it a go. If I do something terribly off-blog, just let me know.
December 2018
« Sep    

God Save Ireland is listening to…

Joan as Policewoman; Ali Farke Toure - Savane; Loretta Lynn; Tinarawien; The Killers - Sam's Town; Freddie King; The Bothy Band; Duke Special; Johnny Cash - American V; Pat Metheny - The Way Up; The Blind Boys of Alabama; David Bowie - Scary Monsters; to name a few...

On God Save Ireland’s bedroom table…

Richard Dawkins: The God Delusion; John Grant: The Brand Innovation Manifesto; Russell Davies: Egg, Bacon, Chips and Beans; John McGahern: Memoir; and that Iain Banks book about touring Scottish distilleries

Next Month’s Dinner Party List:

God Save Ireland; Mrs God Save Ireland; Mohammed Ali; Shane McGowan; Eamon McCann; Queen Elizabeth 1; Marcel Marceau; Mary Magdalene; Alan Hansen; and Martin the Weatherman from TV3.

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