29 01 2010

I suppose I should tell y’all that I’m going to start blogging on from now on. Still a big work in progress, but give it time. Hopefully my free hosting will hold up while I work on getting a proper host! If the site goes down, I’ll come crawling back here, bitter and disillusioned🙂 Hope to see you in the new gaff


Something In The Sea

18 01 2010

Something In The Sea is a viral site for the upcoming video game, Bioshock 2 which launched in March 2009. I glanced at it a few times and only recently realised that I was missing out on a giant clue-solving mystery. Recently, the story has gotten a lot more personal, with 2K Games sending dodgy-looking men with telegrams to certain participant’s houses. This week, a number of Americans have been contacted, urged to meet up with one of the Pawns. They received a package with a number of pages, which must be solved somehow. Even our own Sligo gets a mention, hopefully the Irish will get to participate physically somehow! For most of you, this’ll be complete gibberish, but the story is too complex to explain. Not too late to catch up on the story, everything is summarised HERE

Purpose? A dodgy Microsoft Paint edit of the letters received by different folks. Care to solve? Thanks😛


Edit: It seems there wasn’t any deeper element to the pages, no mystery message. Simply the de-ciphered;

“Lutwidge I know
you brought something special
back from Rapture
tell me where to find the
secret or you will be the next
to die
a friend”

For more puzzles, head to the Official Forums. I won’t bore those not interested with any more😉


29 12 2009

With my recent Christmas insomnia, I’ve been thinking a lot. New Years is coming up and I need to make some changes. My first resolution, with the year ahead, is…..

1. I’m Abandoning Social Media Completed

Gasp! Yes, its true! Bye bye Bebo, Twitter, Facebook, MSN, and any other such leisurely sites and services! They’ve all got to go. Why? I’m heading into the last hurdle of Sixth Year and I spend hours on each of these disasters every day. I’m bordering on addiction and don’t have the willpower to just not visit them. So the only way I can do this is to not be able to access them. I’ve E-mailed Bebo,Twitter and Facebook, asking them to suspend my accounts until June so that I can keep my friends and followers. However, if they don’t reply by New Years Day, I’m just going to cancel them anyway and start all over again in June. Only thing I’ll be keeping is my blog and possibly YouTube. These are dark times…

2. Postpone My Charity Skydive Completed

Again, it has to be done. I’m going to postpone it until June and try and get all my Sixth Year writers to do a charity skydive with me. It gives me the summer to raise as much money as possible, the weather will (hopefully) be nicer, and I’ll be able to get more people to join me!

3. Get Glasses Completed

My eyesight has been getting worse and worse and it has come to the stage where I can’t read the board in school. I’ve been putting it off for a while, but I intend to get my vision back ASAP!

4. Visit The Dentist

I haven’t gone to the dentist in years, and I chipped a tooth last JUNE! Like the glasses, its been put on the back-burner for too long and I badly need a trip to the dentist

5. Cheer Up

I’ve noticed that I’m not as happy as I was during the summer. Summer ’09 was the best 3 months of my life, and Sixth Year has taken a big chunk of happiness out of me. I need to find some new hobbies and people that make me really happy, and work off that energy. For some reason,I’ve become really socially-awkward this year aswell, and I’ve become a right introvert. My positive attitude is diminishing, but I’m going to focus on getting it back

6. Study

I’ve not done a tap of extra study in Sixth Year, and I really want to do my best in the Leaving Cert. Going to start a study plan this week. It just HAS to be done

7. Learn To Play Guitar!

I’ve been putting this off for years! I SHALL learn a musical instrument this year!

8. Get Driving

I’ve my theory test passed with months so I need to go get my provisional licence. I need to get some driving lessons and apply for my full test ASAP!

Hope you all have a good new year🙂


A Year Of Religious Scandal

26 12 2009

I think we can all agree that 2009 has been a very difficult year for the Irish Catholic Church, if not the most difficult. Ireland has always been a country in which the Church had great power. Obviously this isn’t wholly true, but we can say that the majority had great respect for the Church, whether out of will or fear. Personally, I think it was fear more than anything. The standard “Diddly-i” Irishman was transformed into a overlord-fearing wuss, mostly by years of drilling horrible images into the minds of young children in Catholic-run schools. We’ve been raised to believe that pain is the saviour, that we have to have an absolutely miserable life before achieving a better one in the next world, that we’ll burn forever in the depths of volcanic Hell, whipped and beaten by a red Minotaur/Ned Flanders/Devil May Cry-esque big gay thing with a forked tail

For years, it has been a societal standard to show your face at mass on a Sunday morning, or face excommunication by the “pious” altar-lickers, who are just a little bit too eager to help out. So much so that usually they are a lot more “sinful” than the non-attendees. The priest himself has always been feared, for it was perceived that he was the local gate to heaven. Egg his house and you’re fucked.

I could go into a lot more detail, but I’ve already gone miles off-topic. I think its fairly obvious about the influence the Church had in this country, and I say “had” reluctantly, because we’re only changing our attitudes very slowly.

May 20th, 2009. A date that should probably have stuck in all of our heads, but it didn’t. That ordinary Wednesday saw the Catholic Church getting rocked to its core. The publication of The Ryan Report into child abuse made headline news worldwide. Five Volumes of consistent blackening of the Church’s name, made freely available online, should have done much more damage to the reputation of the Church than it eventually did. Damning, cold, hard evidence was produced against religious figures from around the country, who committed the most vicious acts of abuse against innocent children. It was topical for about a fortnight, before slowly dying down, much to the joy of the Catholic Church who never seem to take any responsibility. The problem is that few people read this Report and discovered what true atrocities were committed to children placed in the “safe” hands of the Church. The average Irish Catholic still does not understand what really happened, and perceives the Report as uncovering a few slapped wrists of children, but it was much more sinister and has left those grown-up children scarred for life. For the level of uproar caused, the church got off pretty much scot-free. It was only with passionate interviews on shows like The Late Late, and later The Frontline, that the point actually hit home for many people. Yet still the Church was left practically unscathed. The biggest insult of all was the compensation to abuse victims. The Church threw salt into the wounds of the abuse victims by being stingey with compensation, coaxing the taxpayer to pay the majority of the payment. The Church again covers its head in the sand and waits for everything to solve itself. The Church is always a “poor, feeble organisation”.  How could they even begin to pay compensation to their victims? Oh wait, try their countless assets. But no, we must pay for their mistakes as they avoid the problem.

Three people who weren’t happy about this at all were Cormac Flynn, Paul Dunbar and Gráinne O’Sullivan. These three consequently set up CountMeOut following the Ryan Report scandal. This landmark website offered people the chance to officially defect from the Church in 3 simple steps. In fact, its easier than 3 steps! The topic of defecting has always been a cloudy subject, with no real information on it. With this website, anyone from Ireland could log on, simply fill out a few details, print a letter and sent it to their bishop to be counted as officially defected. As of now, 5,357 people have officially defected through their website. It may not seem like much, but it is a pretty big number in such a country as ours where the Church has such fear instilled in us.  The site has been receiving airplay on shows such as The Frontline ever since, showing that RTE isn’t afraid to publicise something of negative effect to the church, something which wouldn’t have happened easily. Remember the complaints about discussing condoms on The Late Late Show not so many years ago?

Suddenly, details of another report emerged; The Murphy Report into child sex abuse in the Dublin archdiocese. This Report emerged soon after the Ryan Report, but was only officially released on November 26th, 2009. Again, this Report is available freely online but will only be read by a minority. I have two PDF summaries of this Report still sitting on my desktop, and perhaps some day I’ll be able to read them from start to finish. Personally, I felt sick after reading the summary on just the first priest and could read no more. The general public will not fully know what these men of the cloth really did, because the Reports are too sickening to read. These “men” were nothing more than sick paedophiles, preying on innocent children of innocent parents who put their trust fully into these “holy” figures. Why would they have had any reason to think that these priests, these public figures of the Catholic church, would be conducting sick acts of sexual abuse and molestation on their young ones? These priests went to horrible extents to get their little sexual kick. The very brief amount I read documented a priest who had a swimming pool for “selected young boys only”. In that backyard of his, he molested those poor kids. I mean, how is the Church still functioning? Only four Church leaders have resigned since the Report. The rest will hide their guilt. Why would people still go to mass and support this corrupt organisation who, again fail to take the blame for anything? From my understanding, mass-going numbers have actually increased. Reports on the news showed old biddys seeing no wrong in the abusers. And we all know that the elderly have the most power! Don’t ever mess with the elderly!

Still, every now and then there have been a few little victories. To see people my own age, and some much older, questioning the Church and highlighting their many faults in the media, well that just warms my heart. It gives me some hope for the future🙂

How could the year finish without another scandal of sorts? While the Pope was walking up an aisle to conduct the annual Christmas Eve mass, a woman, Susanna Maiolo, jumped the barriers and tackled the Pope to the ground, filling the area with shocks and gasps from the audience. You can see the video here.  Personally, it looks to me like the security guards pulled him to the ground. But our resilient Ratzi got up straight away and continued with his walk. Susanna tried to do the same thing last Christmas, before being grabbed by security guards. The official Vatican statement afterwards read “The woman who pushed the pope appeared to be mentally unstable”. Now, maybe she was, but my first thought was that the Church is covering its own arse again. Obviously she had to be in the wrong. She must have been mentally ill to attack King Of The Paedophiles. She couldn’t have been one of the countless people that are enraged by the two Reports published into child abuse, and the scandals which they revealed.

You know who the real winner here is? Fr. Ted.

Man, that Christmas special is timeless.

Here’s to a damning 2010 for the Church!

Wishing you and yours a Happy Christmas,


La Charité

23 11 2009

Who’s up for some charity lovin’?!

Ok folks, I’ve decided that I’m going to do a charity skydive. Eat your heart out, Darragh Doyle! There’s a newer Kilkenny person to replace you😉

I’ve been thinking about it for a few years and I think now is an appropriate time to do it. I’m going to be fundraising for The Meningitis Trust. I’m sure you all know from one of my recent posts, but a classmate practically dropped dead from it last month and I feel strongly about getting the ‘Trust some money

I’m going to try and get as many of the writers from to join me in doing their own fundraiser for a charity of their choice. Who said teenagers do no good?

Anyway, I’ll be signing up soon. I need to raise at least €650!

Anyone got any ideas for fundraising events?

Last Christmas…

17 11 2009

Last Christmas began like any other. I woke up at about 8.20 and went up the hall to see the joy on my sisters face as she tore a Wii box apart with no idea how to begin setting it up. I started setting it up, as she and my parents sat in the conservatory. My parents kept mentioning something about a neighbour burning rubbish down the road; We’re at the top of the hill and can see all around. We made nothing of it for about 15 minutes as we couldn’t see very clearly, but the whole thing seemed very odd. Suddenly there was a cloud of smoke bellowing from down the hill. All 4 of us hopped into the car without thinking, fearing something was wrong.

We tore down the road, knowing that there was a house fire. Along the way, my mother called the emergency services in what was the longest 2-minute drive I’ve ever experienced. We guessed the road right and came upon a farmhouse in flames, my parents knowing who was in the house.

It was Sharon Whelan, a single mother with 2 children who was renting the house from another friend of our family.

We were the first people on the scene, as a crowd of neighbours closely followed us. I stayed in the car to mind my sister as we just sat in awe and watched it burn. I feel bad now for staying and doing nothing, but it was too late to do anything and someone needed to comfort my young sister. A few men began breaking into the house and then the fire brigade arrived….

Sharon and her daughters, Zara and Nadia, all lost their lives in the fire. In such a tiny village, everyone was in shock for weeks and the whole community was numb as to how this could have happened. Nights were spent packed into the tiny pub, the only focal point to discuss what had happened and rumours spread like wildfire. Days were spent putting everything you had heard the previous night, together.

I ended up spending Christmas night keeping my mother company as she bawled her eyes out, and we went through every possibility in our heads. Within a day of the incident, evidence was trailing out and we knew something sinister had happened.

The next few weeks were spent with the Gardaí; Going back through everything with them as the recorded it, fingerprints, DNA samples….
I found it very tough when they kept going back over my statement and criticising me….

One day in the middle of January, news trickled out that the local postal worker had been arrested at his home, Brian Hennessy. I personally didn’t know him, but he worked for my parents years ago and was a familiar face in the community, “The last person I would have expected to do it” reverbed around the village.

It is only this week that the court case has taken place. Yesterday a jury was chosen, and today the trial is finished. Brian pleaded guilty to all three murders. The postal worker had strangled 30-year-old Sharon Whelan before setting fire to her home. Seven-year-old Zara and two-year-old Nadia died in the fire. Mr Justice Barry White imposed two consecutive and one concurrent life sentences for the murder.

From BreakingNews,

“Detective Sergeant Jim Lyng told Tom O’Connell SC, prosecuting, that Sharon Whelan was last seen alive about 11pm on Christmas Eve, when the foster father who raised her dropped off gifts for the children.

Christy Whelan parked away from the two-storey, dilapidated farmhouse the single mother rented and went only to the door so the children would not hear him. All three generations were to spend Christmas Day at Christy and Nancy Whelan’s house.

Instead neighbours found the farmhouse engulfed in flames the following morning and the three bodies were recovered from the downstairs bedroom at the back of the house. Rigor Mortis had set in on Miss Whelan, who was naked from the waist down.

Post mortem examinations showed that both girls died from carbon monoxide poisoning due to smoke inhalation, but their mother had no soot in her lungs.

Ms Whelan had a mark around her neck, her thyroid cartilage and hyoid bone were fractured and cause of death was strangulation.

State pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy found other injuries to Ms Whelan’s body, including bruising to her cheek bone, abrasions on her knee, and bruising to her thigh.

Ms Whelan’s family sobbed as details of sexual injuries were read out. Dr Cassidy stated that these injuries would be found in cases where sex was not consensual but did not necessarily mean this. However they would have been painful.

“She may have been strangled during a sexual act,” she wrote, adding that it could not be excluded that sex was attempted after she became unconscious or around the time of death.

“There was no evidence of a long struggle,” she wrote. “There were no defensive-type injuries.” She pointed out that pressure to the neck can result in rapid unconsciousness.

After the examinations, gardaí asked local men to give saliva samples. The DNA profile found on Ms Whelan’s body matched Hennessy’s.

Det. Sgt Lyng arrested Hennessy on January 15 in his home and he denied involvement. He had previously said the closest he had been to the house was the letterbox at the gate.

Hennessy later admitted going to the house to have sex with the woman, whom he barely knew. He said she was a little surprised to see him, but he claimed she brought him to the bedroom where her two daughters were sleeping, turned on the light and had sex with him.

Hennessy’s story about his whereabouts contradicted his mother’s, who said she let him in the front door about 7am on Christmas morning.

In the fifth interview he admitted killing Ms Whelan, accepted she was dead an hour and a half before he left, and agreed with gardaí that he “used her for his gratification whether she wanted it or not”.

When asked why he killed her, he said it was because she was going to tell people they had been together and that his girlfriend would find out. He denied the gardaí’s suggestion that it was so she wouldn’t tell people that he had raped her.

“I just strangled her with my two hands around her neck,” he said. “l killed her in the living room.”

He said the children were asleep when he brought their mother’s body into the bedroom.

“I sat on the bed. I didn’t know what to do,” he said. “I saw the kids. It made me more sad that I’d taken their mother away on Christmas.”

“I don’t know why I did it,” he said about setting two fires. “I never thought about the children. I was worried about the murder.”

He said he knew what he had done to the Whelan family was unbearable.

“I will never be able to cope with this so God help them,” he said. “I’m so, so sorry. I don’t know what else to say.”

Det. Sgt Lyng agreed that the prosecution’s case was that rape was the trigger for the killing, that “he killed her, then sat there, pondered what he’d do next and set the fires”.

He agreed with Paul Coffey SC, defending, that Hennessy was from a respectable family and had never been in trouble. He agreed the defendant had worked four consecutive night shifts and had slept only briefly after coming home from work on Christmas Eve before spending 10 hours drinking.

Ms Whelan’s brother, John Whelan, described the murders as inhuman. “It’s obvious human life means nothing to you,” he told Hennessy from the witness box. “It’s beyond belief that anyone with a conscience could contemplate, never mind carry out such evil.”

He told the court that his father used to collect Zara from school every day, while Sharon and Nadia spent most days with his mother.

He said Christmas, which had meant so much to his sister and nieces, was now a time of loss and profound grief for his family.

He said the little girls ‘never woke from their sleep’ to find it was Christmas morning.

“The murder of our girls has left a hole in our hearts,” he said, explaining that every morning and every night his parents go the two-minute walk to their graves to chat to them. “It’s all they have left.”

“They hear children playing in the local school every day, knowing Zara should be there. The pain is overwhelming,” he said.

“All you will lose is your liberty, a loss that does not come close to the loss you have imposed on this family,” he told Hennessy.

Afterwards Mr Whelan told reporters that Hennessy’s admission had meant they did not have to go through a long trial. He also said that his family bore no animosity toward the Hennessy family.

“They cannot be held responsible for one man’s actions,” he said.”

Its been a long 11 months….


R.I.P.; A Eulogy

21 10 2009

You were always one of the strangest in our year, Mick.

You were someone I didn’t warm to easily when I moved schools last year

Your conservative attitudes and stubbornness really boiled my blood at times, and it was a little joke among us all, but you certainly made religion class a bit more interesting

We knew that you’d end up some form of politician with these views, and I, for one, feared what damage you could wreak in the Dáil

You always fought your argument with emotion and conviction, and were a truly great debater, even though none of us really appreciated it

You were the only one in our year that isn’t on Bebo, a pioneer, strongly religious and studious; Never afraid to explicitly express your views/opinions. Again, an aspect that none of your peers ever really appreciated. Its only today in these tragic times that we, and our English teacher, can look back with the aid of retrospect and laugh about your forceful debates on any political topic, wiping a tear from our red eyes

You were one of the better students in our year, sticking with Honours Maths amongst a remaining group of 4 students. You took up an extra subject, Geography, unknown to us all until a month ago, to gain the points you deserved in The Leaving Cert. Little did we know that you’d been studying it at home yourself all summer in preparation. Even just last year, you were awarded Student Of The Year, and you deserved it. You were always studying away in the background for hours every night, your father unable to comprehend how you could stick it. You were sure to be one of the highest achievers in Sixth Year, and we all knew it. Today we find out that you had filled out your CAO form on Monday. What you intended to do, we may never be told. When told by the careers teacher that you had a bright future ahead, you simply replied; “I Know.”, with that steely conviction you always possessed

This year I saw another side to you

I let down the barrier, seeing no reason to immaturely push anybody away, and I saw a different person to the one I had imagined. We formed a little group in Honours Maths and always came to each other with problems.

A month ago, I saw you walking out into the yard at lunch time, to comfort a first year who was crying. He had been bullied by another first year and you went over to sort it out and help him. A noble deed, which many would turn a blind eye to.

Yet, here we are. Struck down at a milestone in your life.

You had been very sick yesterday, and were not yourself since September. We knew not why all Sixth Years were called into the library today, yet the weeping Ms. Mackey sent shockwaves through all our over-active minds. That morning, we lost one of our classmates.

Slowly, the sounds of broken hearts echoed around the room. Tea and biscuits were rolled in to try and comfort us. Nobody dared move for five minutes, still in massive shock.

Next we heard rumours of death by Meningitis. One student, still showing no emotion, felt it necessary to repeatedly ask if it was contagious and expressed his own selfish fears. Little did we know that your end would be blanketed by your means.

Temporarily quarantined out of fear of contamination, we gathered together and tried to lighten the mood. This prolonged period led to us completely ignore your death.

Everyone functioned normally again, as if nothing had happened. There was only one moment again where people spilled their emotions. A group of three or four of us listened to a teacher remember him, seemingly coping very well, before breaking down into tears, hitting home the fact that you’re gone, again.

After that, there was rarely a mention of you again and we were all in high spirits

I’m writing this, Mick, because I feel strongly that we all ignored you today. We were selfish and only cared about our own health risks, when we should have been commemorating you. You deserve better.

Tomorrow, once the health fears are gone, we will quickly realise that you’re gone, and you’re not coming back. Tomorrow, you will get the commemoration and respect you deserve. It’s going to be a tough week.

You were unique.

You were powerfully-spoken.

You were confident.

You were academic.

You were athletic.

You were good-hearted.

You were easy to talk to.

You were all these things and more.

Michael McGrath, You Were….