Saturday, June 24, 2023

The misplaced fascination with the RMS Titanic

The Titanic leaving Belfast on April 2, 1912

The sinking of the RMS Titanic in April 1912 has been in the news again and the US Coast Guard has announced that a “catastrophic implosion” of the submersible, known as “Titan,” killed the 5 people on board. The front cone and other debris were located by a remotely operated vehicle 1,600 feet (487 metres) from the bow of the Titanic, which rests in 13,000 feet (4 kilometres) deep in the North Atlantic Ocean. It was about 400 miles (348 knots; 644 km) off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada.

In 1985, it took Robert Ballard (born 1942), a former US naval officer, eight days to be the first person to locate the wreck of the RMS (Royal Mail Steamer) Titanic.

“A Night to Remember” (1958), a British film directed by Roy Ward Baker, was acclaimed for its accuracy on the sinking of the Titanic and had been based on Walter Lord’s 1955 book. "Titanic" (1997) which was directed by Hollywood film director James Cameron, brought the story to another generation. It's reported that Cameron has completed 33 dives to the wreck of the Titanic.

Harland and Wolff Ltd was founded in Belfast, north-east Ireland, in 1861. It had in the first decade of the 20th century won orders for 3 giant 'Olympic Class' liners from the White Star Line. Employing about 15,000 people on a 300-acre site, the nearby Belfast College of Technology provided vocational education for the firm's apprentices.

Catholics comprised 24% of Belfast's population in 1911 and a small number worked at the shipyard in East Belfast. There was a myth that the Titanic's hull number "3909 04" flipped over, read "No Pope."

The chairman of Harland and Wolff in 1895-1924 was a leading Liberal peer, Lord Pirrie, and on April 11 1912, the British Liberal Party government introduced the Third Home Rule Bill which would grant Ireland self-government.

Research by Andy Bielenberg, senior lecturer at University College Cork (UCC), shows that by 1907, the 6 counties of the north-east accounted for two-thirds of Irish industrial output and two-thirds of industrial exports originated in Belfast, Ireland's biggest city in 1911.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

"Dear dirty Dublin" — Air pollution low among Europe's capitals

Una Mullally of the Irish Times said this week that "Dublin is a dirty, smelly, sticky old town once again." I was back in Ireland in May and I stayed in the city centre south of the River Liffey for more than a week. It looked clean to me; the sun was shining and people were using the recently installed outdoor furniture.

IQAir is a Swiss tech firm - IQAir World Air Quality Report 2022 Finds Only 5% of Countries Meet WHO PM2.5 Air Pollution. For example, it collects data from Ireland's Environmental Protection Agency. There are 30,000 air quality monitoring stations across 7,323 locations in 131 countries.

Dublin's north inner city has been named Ireland's "litter blackspot'" in a survey. The country's latest litter league, compiled by the Irish Business Against Litter, lists the north inner city bottom of 40 areas across Ireland for rubbish.

The Irish Times reported last week that members of the public have been urged to treat outdoor spaces with care and protect fragile ecosystems as part of a new campaign launched by Leave No Trace Ireland, an organisation that campaigns for “outdoor ethics”.

“The lowest awareness of the impact of irresponsible behaviour was shown to be among those below 35 years of age and the 2023 Love This Place Campaign is focused on this demographic to increase education around the simple actions people can take to protect and enhance our experience of the outdoors countryside, and recreational spaces.”

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Irish Celts are as real as Leprechauns

In Ancient Greece Κελτοί (Keltoí) was the word used for "Barbarian" (non-Greek-speaking people, including Egyptians, Persians, Medes, Phoenicians, and tribes in Europe, emphasised their otherness. According to Greek writers, this was because the language they spoke sounded to Greeks like gibberish represented by the sounds "")." While viewing foreigners as inferior, they were also often treated as candidates for conquest and enslavement.

The mainly independent tribes collectively Keltoí had their own names during the Iron Age, between about 600 BC and 43 AD. It would be about 2,000 years, in the early 18th century, for the words "Celt "or "Celtish" to enter the English language.

Greeks established a colony in Southern Gaul around Masallia, or modern-day Marseille in 600 BC. There were about 60 tribes in the area of the Gauls in Western Europe.

There was no invasion of Ireland by these tribes that settled in land stretching from the Atlantic coast to Asia Minor (see map above). What tribes invaded Ireland?