One Poppy

Ceramic poppy from Blood Swept Lands and Seas of RedJust a year ago I visited the art installation at the Tower of London which commemorated the centenary of the beginning of the First World War. The installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red was made of ceramic poppies, one for each of the 888,246 men who perished in the British Army at that time. Tens of thousands of those who died were Irishmen.

Contrary to popular belief, Armistice Day continued to be observed in Ireland in the years and decades after the 1916 Rising. In 1926 for example an estimated 40,000 people turned out in Dublin in remembrance of fallen relatives and friends.

An estimated 40,000 attend Armistice Day commemorations in Dublin 1926

An estimated 40,000 attend Armistice Day commemorations in Dublin 1926

I was among the lucky ones who got to buy one of the ceramic poppies from the Tower of  London installation. It is now beautifully framed  and  stands in sorrowful remembrance of the pity of war.

One framed Poppy

One framed Poppy



Further details and more photos of the installation at The Tower of London in 2014 can be seen in my post Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red.

Irish Poppy Pin

Irish Poppy Pin



Filed under Ireland, Irish at War, Irish Heritage

Age Action Silver Surfer Awards 2015


imageOnce again it was such a thrill to be in the audience to see, hear about and celebrate with the finalists of the annual Age Action Silver Surfer Awards! This year we were in the lovely surroundings of the campus of Dublin City University (DCU), an appropriate place to celebrate involvement of older people who have chosen to advance themselves by learning how technology and engagement with social media can enhance their lives. DCU proudly carries the badge of an Age Friendly University and what an appropriate venue for the 2015 Awards.

George Hook, Silver Broadcaster extraordinaire.

George Hook, Silver Broadcaster extraordinaire.

The proceedings were in the capable hands of the larger than life radio and TV personality, George Hook who knows a thing or two about being a member of the older generation. His humorous and incisive introductions were heartily enjoyed by the audience.

Eamon Timmons, Chief Executive of Age Action made the very relevant point that the real winners of these awards are the older people ‘out there’ who are inspired by this years awards to engage with modern technology and reap the benefits of the positive change it will make to their lives at so many different levels.

The award that is one of my personal favourites is the New to IT Award as these people represent the hundreds who are taking first steps to discovering a whole new world, where information is literally at their fingertips, where new friendships can be developed, where family can be contacted, where new interests can be nurtured, where existing interests can be consolidated. Michael Monaghan was the winner. Following a stroke, Michael from County Meath trained himself to use modern technology for everyday tasks such as bill paying and keeping in touch with family via Skype and Viber.

Michael Monaghan was the winner

Michael Monaghan was the winner

Equally inspirational were all of the finalists in this category – shining examples of determination to get to grips with the modern world and technology. Well done to all of them for indeed they are all winners!

Winners all, these are all of the excellent finalists

Winners all, these are all of the excellent finalists.

The next category was to celebrate someone who uses the internet to pursue a passion or hobby. The very deserving winner this year was Stanley who is not only a vintage car enthusiast who sources parts on the internet, but also a sci-fi author whose first book is available on Amazon, entitled The Adam and Eve Chronicles. How about that! Congratulations Stanley!


The job of judging must be such a challenge as each finalist was a wonderful example of how the internet can be used to indulge an interest in so many fields! Well done to every one of you !


Up next was the Golden IT Award. This award is for someone in their golden years – over 80 – who uses technology to enhance their life.


Cork man Philip took the honours here. Philip operates an inspirational ‘thought for the day’ service sending out meaningful messages all over the world every morning! Well done Philip…you are truly inspirational!

The Tutor of the Year award is pivotal to the great work of the Age Action ‘Getting Started’ programme. The Getting Started programme aims to introduce seniors all across Ireland to the magic of the Internet, to enable them to communicate and to participate at various levels in the new technology that can literally transform their lives. The winner this year was Waterford tutor Pat Power who has lead 15 courses of students in the programme. Well done indeed Pat!

This year too saw a very special award to an exceptional tutor Nicholas Simms who has not only tutored 50 + beginners but has also come to grips with technology that enabled him to tutor blind course participants! Well done Nicholas on such dedication, justly acknowledged!

The jewel in the crown of the annual Silver Surfer  Awards is THE Silver Surfer Award. This  year’s deserving winner is Margaret Mullett, who used the tragedy of losing her husband  to hemochromatosis to get online and raise awareness of the condition and thereby possibly saved many lives. Many congratulations Margaret!

As Eamon remarked earlier, all of Ireland’s Silver Surfers are the winners here…we need to get online, we need to embrace modern technology, we need to identify how we oldies can influence society, we need the support of the hard working volunteer tutors and we need the support of Age Action to help get us there!

Finally, and as ever, the entertainment at the event was simply wonderful, and how lovely to meet up with Silver Surfers from across Ireland…these feisty women made my day!


I was delighted to meet old friends and make new ones!




Filed under Ireland, Older Generation, Silver Surfer Awards Ireland

Postcards from..

Some of the most popular and viewed posts I put on this site are in the series ”POSTCARDS FROM…”where I post snaps from places I happen to visit or pass through. These are mostly places in Ireland where I live. Many of them are a little off the beaten track, almost in a hidden Ireland but all are ‘Real’ Ireland.

I have created a new page on my site where I will place links to the posts in the series. The list will be added to from time to time. I hope you will enjoy!

The link to the page is HERE , but below is a list of all the places so far!

Places in Ireland 

Newcastle West, Co Limerick August 2013
Moneygall, Co. Offaly, ancestral home of Barack Obama. August 2013
Dublin September 2013.
Kells Co Meath January 2014
Bunratty, Co Clare, May 2014
Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin August 2014
Rathkeale, Co. Limerick September 2014
Dingle, Co Kerry on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way July 2015
Shanagolden, Co Limerick August 2015
Bere Island, Co Cork September 2015.

Places outside Ireland

Serpentine National Park, Western Australia January 2015


Filed under Ireland

The Bells, the Bells!

The Bangor Bell, The Lough Lene Bell and The Cashel Bell.

The Bangor Bell, The Lough Lene Bell and The Cashel Bell.

On a recent visit to Limerick’s Hunt Museum to attend a lecture I was very pleased to discover a temporary exhibit of three very impressive bells.
Bells have always had a certain attraction for me, from way back when the clock of the local Church of Ireland would ring out the hours, and when the Angelus bell on the local Roman Catholic church would peal across the miles three times a day. In fact family lore has it that I acquired my name as I was born at 8 am on March 25th, to the sound of the Angelus bell ringing. It’s a nice story!
Later in boarding school,bells took on a whole new meaning as they were used to wake us in the morning, during daily Mass to attract solemnity, to signify the end of the overnight silence at breakfast, to signal the end of each class during the school day and as a call to evening prayer at the end of the day. Later still, I was totally captivated by the peals of church  bells in London on Sunday mornings as they rang out joyfully across the city, a sound I love and miss to this day.

The three bells in this small exhibition are hand bells, weighing a hefty 10 kg each. They were probably used by monks as a call to prayer. The Bangor Bell dates from c.825 and was thought to have been hidden from Viking invaders and rediscovered centuries later. The Lough Lene Bell, on loan from the National Museum of Ireland dates from the 7th century while the  Cashel Bell dates from about the 9th Century.

These three bells are thought to be the oldest bronze castings in existence.  How wonderful it would have been to have been able to hear them ring!




Filed under Ireland

Postcards from Bere Island, County Cork

A few weeks ago I was able to go back to Bere Island on a day trip. Bere Island is in Bantry Bay just a short distance offshore from the County Cork town of Castletownbere, and overlooks the deep water harbour of Berehaven.


A Pontoon seagull gazes across to Bere Island with its Martello Tower.


We caught Murphy’s Ferry at Pontoon that crosses  to the village of Rerrin. The crossing takes about 20 minutes and is very pleasant on a calm day such as this.


The Bere Islanders, who number about 200, are very friendly and welcome visitors to enjoy the beautiful scenery, to cycle, to walk, to fish, to watch birds and whales, to enjoy the beautiful wildflowers. The  wildflowers were pas their best as we headed into autumn, but I can assure you that you will never see anything like the fabulous linear wildflower meadows that line the roads here throughout the summer.

imageThere is a very rich archaeological heritage on the island, which is well signed.

Around the harbour at Rerrin there is safe anchorage here for some very attractive yachts.

On arrival, the tide was out. How about this as an example of excellence in recycling!

The purpose of the visit was to attend a talk in the Lecture Theatre on the very important role of Bere Island in various times of conflict from the Napoleonic Wars to World War 2 .

These delightful women had travelled over to the island from Durrus to hear the talk and took time to have a picnic lunch in the lovely sunshine.

While inside, the World War 1 building and former chapel, the speaker was having a chat with the early birds.

imageAfterwards there was time for a whistle-stop tour of the island, but only after some delicious chowder in the Lookout restaurant. I loved the very unusual barometer that was hanging on the wall.

At the end of the high season the roads are particularly quiet and attractive for walkers.

It’s not all plain sailing though as we discovered when we met some stubborn locals!

The island scenery is good for the soul!

And so back to Rerrin to catch the ferry back to the mainland

The tide had filled while we were away and the harbour looked totally different.


Summertime, and the livin’ is easy, Fish are jumpin’ …..

Such a beautiful evening, with water lapping softly

No roll-on, roll-off ferries here –  it’s a question of trusting in the guy directing as you reverse on….

It had been a couple of years since my last visit  and I have been blessed with great weather on each occasion. It makes you want to go back for sure, to this island sitting in the splendour of Bantry Bay.


Filed under Ireland, Irish Countryside, Irish Heritage, Irish History, Living in Ireland, My Travels

Irish in the American Civil War Needs Your Votes!

The Silver Voice:

An exceptionally well researched blog that highlights the lives and fate of hundreds of thousands of Irish emigrants who were caught up the American Civil War, that is researched and written in the author’s spare time. He has revealed a very important resource for genealogical reserach, historical research and social history research that remains largely unstudied! If you can take a few moments to vote for this blog in the Blog Awards Ireland 2015, it would be much appreciated! Thank you!

Originally posted on Irish in the American Civil War:

I am pleased to say that the Irish in the American Civil War has been shortlisted in two categories for the Blog Awards Ireland. Many thanks to those who nominated the blog for the long-list initially, and to all of who you have taken the time to read my posts over the last five years. The next phase of judging will select the finalists for the awards, and includes a public vote element which accounts for 30% of the overall mark. Although perhaps not quite as vital a vote as that 1864 example illustrated below, I would still be very appreciative of your support! If you are so inclined, you can vote for the site in the Education & Science category by clicking here and in the Art & Culture Category by clicking here. I have also added links to the voting areas in the blog’s sidebar.

Pennsylvania soldiers of the Army of the James voting in the 1864 Presidential election (Library of Congress) Pennsylvania…

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Filed under Ireland

Blog Awards Ireland 2015

I am really honoured, not to mention thrilled, that my blog, The Silver Voice from Ireland,has been short-listed for the 2015 Blog Awards Ireland in the Education and Science category. I am very grateful to the people who nominated me for the long list, and above all am so very grateful to the tens of thousands of you who have visited my blog over the last few years.

The next stage of the judging includes public voting that accounts for 30% of the total mark. Voting takes place over the next week or so. I would very much appreciate your support if you feel so inclined. Voting can be done here or also from the icon on the right side on my site.

In fact I have been short-listed in the same group as blogs I admire greatly and have nominated myself, because they have been  particularly inspirational and supportive to me as a novice blogger, You might like to take a look at their pages too!  They are Irish in American Civil War  which can be seen here and Limerick Life’s blog that can be seen here.

In any event,thank you so much to everyone who drops by to read my pages and who takes the time to comment. You are very much appreciated!

It is not the winning, but the taking part that counts!




Filed under Blogging, Ireland