Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Friends of Friends and the Old Man of the Sea


Lisburn Lasses

Old Man of the Sea
Just north of Portballintrae Yacht Club

"I could dae wae a drap a tae"

Photos as promised!!

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Free Travel on Route 66

Golden Trekker
  • Sit back, relax and enjoy the views as you travel across Ireland by train. If you’re 66 years or over, you can now enjoy travel across the island of Ireland using the FREE Golden Trekker.

    Avail of the Republic of Ireland’s Golden Trekker (until 31 December 2010) around the Republic of Ireland
    Avail of the Northern Ireland Golden Trekker Smartcard (between 1 July and 30 September 2010) around Northern Ireland

As access to many of Northern Ireland's must see tourist destinations is mostly rail free perhaps the smart card should be extended to Translink's bus service as the buses are seldom crowded. Why isn't the scheme available in Northern Ireland outside the main and more expensive holiday season? This would be of great assistance to those who have less money to spend.

Visitors will be surprised to see that an iLink card costs £5 in Belfast but £15 in Derry. And that in Murphy-speak Donegal is in the South, not in the North!!

Crocodile Rock, Portballintrae

Crocodile Rock
"A young damsel from East Belfast? Well, I couldn't eat a whole one"

"Hey, wait for me!!"

Saturday, 26 June 2010

'Fuss and Furore' Over Royal Visit to Giants Causeway and Rathlin Island

Some comments [week 36] made by Cara McShane, the recent SF chair of Moyle District Council, in a local newspaper have been strongly criticised by William Graham, the previous UUP chair.

The Northern Ireland Code of Local Government Conduct, which is subscribed to by councillors, offers the following guidance when there's a choice to be made between the interests of the public and the party (or some other sectional interest):

10. You should assist your council to act, as far as possible, in the interests of the whole community. Whilst individuals are entitled to pursue their own personal concerns about local issues you are not obliged to represent their views above the wider public interest.

Even when there's a problem involving sincerely held principle, there's still a need for councillors to exercise discretion, especially when they are representing the whole community as well as the council.

Cystic Fibrosis Trust Fundraiser @ Old Rectory, Lisnagunagh

Cystic Fibrosis Trust
Click images to enlarge

Sharon and Jim

For higher definition images contact nalilblog@gmail.com

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Something nasty in the River Bush 3

Photos - Monday, June 14

Just below Walk Mill Fall

Just below Walk Mill Fall

Just above salmon fishery station

The Ballymoney Times - 16 June 2010 - has published the views of Independent Moyle councillor Price McConaghy, an unnamed angler and a reply from the Northern Ireland Environmental Agency.

Price is dissatisfied with the official response and has called for the reinstatement of the post of river bailiff.The unnamed angler claims that the river and its catchment areas are in an appalling state and that an infinitesimal percentage of the fish put into the river survive.

NIEA reports that samples were taken for analysis on June 8. Were samples also taken for analysis on May 24, the day after the earlier foaming was reported? It's suggested that the source of the foaming may be an algal bloom. Is it not possible for NIEA to give a precise description of such a bloom and its location on the river or its tributaries?

Why was the NIEA not informed immediately about fish mortalities by staff at the Salmon Station? Why did the NIEA not have a contact number for Salmon Station staff on May 23? Are out of hours reporting arrangements for possible pollution incidents satisfactory? The member of staff in Sheffield who took by call on May 23 was unable to locate Bushmills on whatever system was being used and had to resort to Google maps!!

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Glenda Rodgers at Hillsborough Garden Party

Glenda and Nora

Glenda Rodgers was invited by Joan Christie, Lord Lieutenant of Co Antrim, to attend the recent Garden Party at Hillsborough Castle. She was accompanied by her sister, Nora.

Joan introduced Glenda to Sophie, Countess of Wessex, and told her about Glenda's WW II research and her book, "The Fallen of the Causeway Coast". They then had a five minute chat about the work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

The weather was dismal but this enjoyable occasion will remain long in the memories of these two guests from Bushmills.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Royal and Ministerial Visits - Giants Causeway, Ballycastle and Rathlin Island

[script and captions to follow - cold house for councillors, Manor House rumpus,  abrupt and uncivil civil servant, very low key unveiling]

Added June 14

News came through about 6pm that the Rathlin Express had to return to Rathlin Harbour this afternoon and that its passengers were transferred to the MV Canna for the 5.30pm sailing.

Added June 15

What did the divers discover? Is there a problem with the catamaran skegs once again? Could the Royal party, DRD officials and others have been left stranded last Wednesday? Was this one of the reasons why Conor Murphy, Minister for Regional Development, failed to join Arlene Foster, his Executive colleague, on a splendid opportunity to promote the Giants Causeway and Rathlin Island as important links on the tourism trail?

The Coastguard and a senior Moyle DC official were unaware of this incident and there was no one at the MCA Survey Office available for comment. According to the Grapevine, the problem may have been caused by lobster pots which poses questions about their visibility to a catamaran skipper as well as their positioning adjacent to the vessel's route.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Causeway Coast Yacht Incident

Just received a report that a large yacht, the Lord Rank, has gone on the rocks near Kenbane Castle and that there is a UTV crew aboard. Casualties said to have been taken to Ballycastle but BBC reports no injuries. Carrick Rock was mentioned. Could that be Carrickmannon?

A helicopter passed over Bushmills just before 11.30pm heading towards Ballycastle and returned about 25 minutes later.

RNLI lifeboat crew evacuated three crew members from the stricken Lord Rank and three Downtown Radio passengers. The yacht slipped beneath the waves around 4am.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Department For Regional Development - A Data Protection 'Lapse'

Error of Judgement or a Breach of the Law?

In the above correspondence, Keith Walsh is an official in DRDNI's Ports and Transport Division, Mary and Cíaran O Driscoll are directors of Rathlin Island Ferry Limited (RIFL), Joanne Moody of Stewart Solicitors acted as a legal representative for RIFL and Jonny Barnes was the former Engineering and Business Manager for Rathlin Ferries Ltd (RFL) who transferred to RIFL on 1 July 2008 under a TUPE agreement.

Having failed to get a positive response from RIFL management about certain issues pertaining to the safe operation of the ferry service Barnes raised them in an email to Walsh in the expectation that his concerns would be dealt with in a professional manner and within the terms of the long standing Data Protection Act. He also copied them to the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland as a particular safety issue related to HSENI rather than to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

Walsh could have raised these concerns directly with RIFL directors but instead chose to copy the Barnes email to M O Driscoll, a RIFL director. This action revealed personal data and, according to the as yet unscrutinised 'independent' investigations report, C O Driscoll viewed the Barnes email as a complaint against RIFL [section 7.6.5]

“personal data” means data which relate to a living individual who can be identified—
(a)from those data, or
(b)from those data and other information which is in the possession of, or is likely to come into the possession of, the data controller,  ... [Data Protection Act, 1998]

Section 55 of the 1998 DPA deals with the consequences of knowingly or recklessly revealing personal data without consent.

Walsh might also like to reflect on Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights as the Barnes email was prepared and despatched from home:

Article 8 – Right to respect for private and family life

1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

Why also did Walsh copy the email to and seek related advice from Joanne Moody, a solicitor acting for RIFL?

 The above correspondence also highlights RIFL's somewhat peculiar management style. Why was the engineering and business manager delegated to 'hoovering and making coffee' and why was he not supplied with a computer to carry out his professional duties? Does this style operate in reverse? Does the person who hoovers and makes coffee also get to drive the ferry, especially when the directors are absent for weeks at a time?

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Parliament Buildings, Ballymiscaw, Stormont , Belfast BT4 3XX

David McClarty MLA tells me that Parliament Buildings are located in the townland of Ballymiscaw. It's marvellous to see a resurgence in the use of townland names.

PlacenamesNI: "The name of the townland of Ballymiscaw is recorded as Ballisnekah al. Ballisnesca in the Hamilton Patent of 1620 and the most satisfactory interpretation of the place-name is Baile Lios na Scáth 'townland of the fort of the shadows or spectres'."

I'm told that Lis/Lios relates to a fortification or enclosure of an ecclesiastical nature.

Are there shadowy figures around Stormont? What spectres haunt the house on the hill?

The Dictionary of the Scots Language sheds some light on the verb miscaw - in English miscall.

Meanings: speak ill of, slander, disparage, scold, address abusively .....

So those familiar with the Scots tongue might like to use some of these old quotations in their reports from the House of Miscaw:

They began to misca ane anither like kail-wives.

O dinna misca' him, sir, that never misca'd you!

I'll say nae mair, I'll ne'er again misca' ye.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Gateway To Ballycastle Sculpture

Photo: Daniel McGill

Which themes can you identify in this Ballycastle Gateway sculpture?

Danny McGill writes:

This is one of three identical gateway installations designed by Gordon Muir and myself. Made of iron to represent our industrial past of salt making and coal and iron ore mining, the images represent many aspects of Ballycastle's maritime and social heritage, our legends and culture. The fiddler, for example, is John Henry McAulay who wrote the song "The Auld Lammas Fair"; the swans stand for the Children of Lir and so on. The same images also represent our contemporary culture of traditional music and dance and the swans can represent our wildlife too. You get the idea! So come to Ballycastle and see how many stories you can find within the piece. The photo shows Gordon Muir with the first people to stop and discuss the piece.

Added June 8

Alex Attwood, the new Minister for Social Development, will be attending the official 'opening' of the gateway sculptures tomorrow Wednesday but who will cut the ribbon?

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Glass's - Bushmills Family Business Reopens


Glass's Is Back In Business

My very good friend, Gloria Gault, was in tears this morning when she heard the news. She'll never forget the kindness shown to her by Carson at the time of her father's death or an occasional small gift of flowers for her mother. The banter was always good. "Gloria, if you put on a dress I'll put you on top of that Christmas tree!!"

It's just less than a year since the following headline appeared in a local newspaper: