Sectarian attempted murder of Irish folk musicians


This 11 June 2020 video about Ireland is called The Wolfe Tones’ rebel song Come Out Ye Black And Tans hits number one on UK iTunes charts.

This 2017 folk music video is called The Wolfe Tones – Come Out Ye Black And Tans.

This blog has noted before that German secret police targets punk rock music. And that British police targets punk rock music. And that British police bans rock band Babyshambles because some parts of their songs are slow and others are fast. And that British police ban Jamaican music.

However, ‘targeting’ sometimes goes further than spying or banning. Sometimes, it is targeting for murder.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Irish rebel musicians Wolfe Tones targeted by loyalist paramilitaries linked to British intelligence

IRISH rebel musicians the Wolfe Tones have said that they escaped a planned attack by a notorious loyalist paramilitary group backed by British intelligence services in the 1970s.

Singer Brian Warfield explained that before playing a gig in 1975 the band were told their lives were at risk from the Glenanne Gang — a group of police officers, serving British soldiers and members of the Ulster Volunteer Force responsible for about 120 deaths between 1972 and 1980.

The concert was at a Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) club outside Kileel in County Down. The band were told by the GAA committee not to go for a pre-concert drink in the pub as “the RUC and the UDR were drinking in the front bar.”

“After the gig I came out and the organisers said to me: ‘You can’t go home [by] the main road,’ Mr Warfield said on the Blindboy podcast.

“I said: ‘Why is that?’ and he said: ‘Because there is a blockade waiting for you down there’.”

The concert organisers instead took the band over the mountains of Mourne, whence they made their way back to Dublin.

“The day we got back to Dublin the [police’s] special branch said that the Wolfe Tones were not to go north again, that our lives were in danger.

“I believe that the Glenanne Gang were drinking in that front bar … getting locked out of their mind, ready to pick up the Wolfe Tones on the way home.”

In July 1975 members of the Miami Showband — one of Ireland’s biggest bands — were gunned down after a bomb attack at a bogus roadblock went wrong.

Lead singer Fran O’Toole, guitarist Tony Geraghty and trumpeter Brian McCoy were killed, along with two members of the Glenanne Gang: Harris Boyle and Wesley Somerville, who died when their bomb exploded prematurely.

Pine marten help Northern Irish red squirrels


This August 2006 video says about itself:

Native pine martens seen in the forest near to Aspenwood Holiday Cottage overlooking Loch Ness in the Highlands of Scotland. For more information on the cottage and wildlife in the area visit www lochnesscottage.com.

From the British Ecological Society:

Northern Ireland’s recovering pine marten population benefits red squirrels

But the urban red squirrel poses a problem

December 13, 2019

The recovery of pine marten in Ireland and Britain is reversing native red squirrel replacement by invasive grey squirrels, according to new research presented at the British Ecological Society’s annual meeting in Belfast today.

Researchers at Queens University, Belfast and National Museums Northern Ireland have found red squirrels are responding positively to the increased presence of pine martens across Northern Ireland. So, where pine martens occur, it increases the chances of red squirrels occurring, simultaneously reducing the likelihood of grey squirrels being present.

Historically, persecution of pine marten and loss of their preferred habitat led to severe declines across Ireland and Britain. In Northern Ireland, small, remnant populations were all that remained, but today, the species is recovering, and this comeback may help ensure the long-term future of the red squirrel in Ireland.

Joshua Twining, who will be presenting the research at the conference, commented: “the red squirrels’ ‘positive response’ is likely due to grey squirrel disappearance rather than red squirrels and pine martens working together.” Pine martens eat both red and grey squirrels, though the key difference is that red squirrels have evolved alongside pine martens over millennia, making them able to coexist.

Twining said, “The ability of the pine marten to control the grey squirrel and help red squirrel recovery in Ireland and Britain is limited by three things; its ongoing recovery, the lack of forest cover on the island and the presence of urban areas. Twining and co-authors suggest that grey squirrels will persist in the latter as results show pine marten are forest specialists and avoid urban areas.

Although the red squirrel population is increasing in Northern Ireland, the researchers warn that “unless the issue of control within populated areas is addressed, we risk creating a situation where marten-savvy grey squirrels could recolonise the wider landscape in the future.”

Consequently, as the pine marten “does not occupy urban areas anywhere within its European range, it is not likely to be the sole solution to the invasive grey squirrel” said Twining.

If pine marten are to extend their positive impact on red squirrels, issues impeding pine marten recovery need to be addressed. At present, Ireland and Britain are among the least forested countries in Europe with only 11% and 13% of forest cover respectively. The pine martens’ sphere of influence is limited to its forested havens. Increasing forest cover would lead to concurrent increases in the pine marten’s ability to control grey squirrels and aid in recovery of the red squirrels.

Recovery of the pine marten could be further compounded by the potential of illegal persecution by a human population not used to its presence. Conflict could occur when pine martens predate on poultry or den in attics for example. Pine martens are still at the early stages of recovery, and human persecution remains the greatest threat to the species.

The researchers used presence-absence data to calculate the likelihood of a species occurring in a location. To collect the data, citizen scientists deployed a camera trap at sites with a minimum of 5 ha forest cover for one week at randomly selected locations. The study used data from 332 sites across Northern Ireland covering all sizes and shapes of woodlands from inner-city Belfast to the Mournes, from the Glens of Antrim in the north to the Ring of Gullion in the south.

Multi-species models were used to estimate the probability of occupancy of arboreal mammals including the grey squirrels, red squirrels and pine martens throughout Northern Ireland. These models consider the effects of the interactions between species and their habitats. They combine information on the occurrence of an animal from the camera trap records with local habitat and environmental data accounting for imperfect detection.

Oscar Wilde’s twice stolen ring found again


This video says about itself:

Friday, November 15, 2019

A golden ring once given as a present by the famed Irish writer Oscar Wilde has been recovered by a Dutch “art detective” nearly 20 years after it was stolen from Britain’s Oxford University. The friendship ring, a joint gift from Wilde to a fellow student in 1876, was taken during a burglary in 2002 at Magdalen College, where the legendary dandy studied.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

The Dutch art detective Arthur Brand has found the lost ring of the famous writer Oscar Wilde. The Irish author donated his ring in 1876 to the University of Oxford, where he studied. The ring was stolen in 2002 and had since been considered lost.

But thanks to Arthur Brand, the ring has surfaced again and will soon return to Oxford. “I have to admit that I did wear it for a while with pride,” says Brand. The art detective is a big fan of the writer. When he searched for something about Wilde seven years ago, he came across the story of the stolen ring. That is how a long search began.

The ring was stolen in 2002 by a university cleaner. He was looking for evidence that his wife, who also worked at the university, was having an affair. He did not find that proof, but he did find the ring and he took it. The man was sentenced, but the ring remained lost: he claimed he had it melted down.

“I didn’t believe that. Most thieves say something like that, so they don’t have to betray to whom they’ve sold something,” says Brand. The art detective was convinced that the ring still had to be somewhere. “I have quite a few contacts in England so I started asking around, but unfortunately nothing came out.”

Senior citizen robbery in 2015

In 2015, a group of mostly elderly men broke into a locker business in the London jewellery district of Hatton Garden. They stole jewellery for 20 million euros. The theft is seen as the biggest robbery in British history. “Soon after, rumors arose in the criminal underworld that things had been found that had been stolen before. Eg, it was said that there was a Victorian ring with a Russian text,” says Brand.

Brand actually already knew that it had to be Oscar Wilde’s ring, because the description almost corresponded exactly with what the ring looked like. “Only there is no Russian on Wilde’s ring, but a Greek text. The criminals couldn’t tell apart Russian and Greek and they didn’t know it was the famous writer’s ring. The ring was therefore stolen twice.”

Through various intermediaries, the art detective finally managed to find the person who owned the ring. “By now, almost all of London was looking for the ring, because Oscar Wilde is so famous that even criminals knew who he was.”

The person who had it was shocked when he heard that it was Oscar Wilde’s ring. “He or she, because I don’t know who it was, would probably have bought that ring as an ordinary Victorian ring. For perhaps a few hundred pounds. If they had known at that time that it was Wilde’s ring, that price would have been sky high.”

It still had to be checked whether the ring was ‘real’. Then Brand finally got hold of the ring. He couldn’t resist wearing the ring for a while. “I certainly put it on my finger a couple of times. I don’t normally wear jewellery and it is not my style at all. Wilde was, of course, the prototype of a dandy so that ring is a bit over the top. But I think he would really like it if he knew that a big fan had worn his ring.”

The ring is now in a safe place in England and on Wednesday, December 4 he will be presented with a ceremony at the University of Oxford, the rightful owner. “I miss it a bit. You got a kind of bond with it”, says Brand.

It is not the first time that Arthur Brand has been able to find a great art treasure.

Earlier, Mr Brand discovered that the theft of 17th-century paintings and silverware from the Westfries Museum in Hoorn, the Netherlands, had been done by the secret police of Ukraine, jointly with the neofascist Svoboda party.

Irish revolutionary Constance Markievicz, new theatre play


This December 2018 video says about itself:

Constance Markievicz. 100 Years

Constance Markievicz was the first woman elected to the British Parliament in 1918. As an Irish Republican she would never take her seat there. Instead, her party Sinn Féin elected to form their own government in Dublin on 21st January 1919, commonly known as the First Dáil. Constance was born into a well off family. She sacrificed her wealth, including selling off her possessions, to help the poor of Dublin and to support the revolution taking place there against the British Empire.

By Gavin O’Toole:

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Theatre Review: Antidote to imperial amnesia

GAVIN O’TOOLE sees a timely reminder of the life of Constance Markievicz, titan of revolutionary history and female equality

Rebels and Friends
Touring

THE PROBLEM, observed Oscar Wilde, is that the English can’t remember history, while the Irish can’t forget it.

There is a reason for this, of course, residing in the collective trauma suffered by the Irish during 500 years of colonial oppression that eventually tore the island asunder.

But Wilde’s refrain could have been written about Constance Markievicz, who is largely overlooked in Britain yet revered in Ireland.

Her role, as an awkward reminder of Britain’s imperial past, undoubtedly helps to explain her relative invisibility during the centenary commemorations of the suffrage movement in this country last year as the first woman to win a parliamentary election.

Fortunately, Jacqueline Mulhallen’s play Rebels and Friends comes with superb timing, given how Brexit reminds us how little England remembers about the border it manufactured in Ireland.

It subtly explores the many contrasts that defined Markievicz’s life and that of her equally remarkable sister, Eva Gore-Booth.

Eva was a pacifist but “Con” — an artist who married a Polish count — was a revolutionary spared the firing squad for her commanding role in the [1916] Easter Rising.

She was the the first woman elected to Britain’s Parliament and the Dail’s first labour minister, while Eva was a suffragette and trade union activist in England, a poet who formed a committed relationship with another woman.

Originally performed in 1989 and revived for a new tour in Britain with the support of the Irish government and – to its credit – Arts Council England, Rebels and Friends is a thoughtful exploration of one of the 20th century’s great sibling relationships.

Mulhallen tells the sisters’ story in this two-woman show through letters they exchanged during Markievicz’s spells in British jails and there’s an explosive sibling chemistry between Dolores Devaujany as Con and Marianne March as Eva, well choreographed by Sian Williams.

They’re expertly directed by William Alderson, who magically creates an entire era without props.

Tours until November 25, details: lynxtheatreandpoetry.org.

Irish fish shoal swims to Beethoven music


This 2017 video from Ireland says about itself:

The music of Beethoven, and fish swimming in a shoal formation.The music is Symphony no.9 by Ludwig Van Beethoven, the finale with Ode to Joy is also known as ‘the Choral’.

Twenty years of the Young Euro Classic festival: Beethoven caught between rebellion and EU propaganda: here.