Ten Questions About Irish Culture

If we look carefully, we can see the effects of history in the culture all around us. Can you think of any historical reasons for the following things that you might notice in Ireland today?

Read through the questions and then click the link below to see some suggested answers. 

1. If you look at a food menu in an Irish pub or restaurant, you’ll see lots of dishes with potatoes… Historically, why have potatoes been so important in the Irish diet?


Continue reading

Comparing Languages 2 – Irish, American & British English

What is the ‘best’ English to speak?

Publication1Some countries have formal institutions which lay down rules stating what version or dialect of a language is considered the most correct. There are many regional variations of English but there is no one organisation or body that decides what ‘standard English’ is in the way that, for example, the French Academy decides what ‘standard’ French is.

Have you learned more British or American English? Which do you prefer or think is most useful? Is it possible to say that one is better?

Comparing Languages – Are some languages better than others?


Which is better, putting adjectives before nouns as in English, eg. ‘white house’, or after as in Spanish, eg. ‘casa blanca’?

They would both seem to be equally valid. Every language has its own consistent grammatical systems, even if those systems differ between languages.

But are some languages better?

Five Halloween Traditions & How They Began in Ireland

The Festival of Samhain

Did you know that many of the scary modern traditions we have at Halloween come from an ancient Irish festival?


Samhain was an old Celtic pagan festival in Ireland and celebrated the moment of division of the year between the lighter half (summer) and the darker half (winter). At this time of the year, the division between our world and the ‘Otherworld’ was at its thinnest and so this allowed spirits to pass through into our world. A family’s dead ancestors would be honoured and invited back home while people also tried to protect themselves from harmful spirits who might attack them.

Ten Reasons to Study English in Ireland

Are you thinking of coming to Ireland to study English?

Around 150,000 language students make the choice to come to Ireland to study English every year. Language students bring an estimated €1.2 billion into the Irish economy each year, so you should find that you are very welcome in Ireland when you do come! 

Here are ten good reasons to study English in Ireland!

1. A Warm Welcome

Senior Touch Championships – Fears, Tears, Beers & Ten Years


Final. Sunday, October 10th. Coimbra, Portugal


7.30am Wake Up

All the signifiers of the day of big finals are here, all so familiar and still stressful. The stiff, aching muscles, the soreness in all my body from the previous two days tournament. The tight shoulders after a restless night’s sleep. I wish I’d slept more but I can’t change that now. The feeling of anxiety in my stomach. A quiet breakfast, nodding to people, nervous joking among some of the players. I keep my head down in my muesli, in my thoughts.

A lot goes back for me to the Senior Mixed Final in 2016. The start of the bad times. Continue reading

Senior Touch Championships – Day 3: Campeões!!

Final vs Wales: 4-4 at full time.

Drop off – each team down to four players.

Won 5-4.

The first thing I’ve ever won in Touch in over a decade playing. I’ll write about it tomorrow.

But this is how I reacted. I couldn’t stop.

Senior Touch Championships – Day 2: Proverbs, Passports & Pastels


I felt like a different player from yesterday. I didn’t sleep very well at all. The adrenaline was flowing though my body all night in wave after wave. I couldn’t stop visualising attack moves and moments from the games in my head. Then I felt great today when I got up, even though I’m not sure how much I slept at all. I’d plenty of energy. Getting ready for the games, unlike yesterday, I wasn’t afraid that I was going to pull up with injury at some point. Continue reading

Senior Touch Championships 1: Rocky Balboa’s Basement & the Wisdom of Jose


The 4.20 alarm. Eating a bowl of porridge while driving. Long term Blue car park. Waiting for ages for the shuttle bus. Then the long, shuffling queue. This being the busiest time of the day in the airport will never cease to be weird. Then sitting squashed up in a blue and yellow McDonalds Big Mac box for three hours with knees up against the seat in front. The flight full, masks under chins. You can’t hold your breath for the whole flight. I’m thinking, yes, this is the freedom we’ve missed for the last year. Continue reading

Endgames, Origin Stories & Superheroes Inside Us: World Cup 2019 Malaysia in Review

From Infinity Gauntlets…


With the abruptness of a Thanos finger snap, everything is reset and all the World Cup planning and hopes and thinking is done.

To Westeros…

Continue reading