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A portrait of James Joyce

Writing a blog post about James Joyce is quite a lot about writing a blog post about Marmite. Some people are going to love it, whereas others are going to hate it.

Incidentally, this also refers to the reception of Joyce’s writing itself.

There is a huge crowd of readers and scholars who queue up at every possible opportunity to say how much they love Joyce’s writing and how he was a hero who redefined the very meaning of literature. At the same time, there is an equally huge crowd who can’t wait to tell you that Joyce’s work is complete drivel that, in his efforts partly to deconstruct the idea of literature as having meaning, robbed the English-speaking language of a great aspect of literature. Indeed, some scholars think that he alternated between pure genius and pure madness (and anyone who appreciates the works of people like Picasso recognises that frequently a piece of art contains elements of both).

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Irish Shamrock

The shamrock is one of the national symbols of Ireland, along with Guinness, horse racers, the Celtic Cross and good food. The term is actually a catch-all name which can refer to any of a number of three leaved clovers that are common across the nation. However, its symbolic value goes much further than this and has been a powerful icon for many different groups and purposes across the years. Here are just a few of them.

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Jim Eastwood - BBC Apprentice

When you are thinking of famous Irish people with an international media profile, who do you think of? Terry Wogan? Dara O’Brian? Bono?

Well, there is now another name to add to the list: Jim Eastwood is a contestant in this year’s BBC reality television series ‘The Apprentice’, which is broadcast in the United Kingdom. Christened ‘Jedi Jim’ by fellow Irishman Dara O’Brian because of his ability to persuade Project Manager Leon not to take him back into the boardroom, Jim has shown that he has the drive and dedication to succeed, maintaining his position in the series (albeit by the skin of his teeth sometimes) through a combination of charm, hard-nosed selling and a certain amount of manipulation of other contestants.

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Canoeing in Ireland

Kayak in Ireland

Canoeing is surely one of the most relaxing and unique ways to see a country. Because rivers don’t care for land owner rights, cost to build and ability to cut through the landscape means that you see the natural world in all its wonder.

You can experience all the extremes: the intoxicating adrenalin filled rush of white water canoeing at the top of streams; and the more sublime beauty of the mature river, punctuated only by the occasional flurry of colour as a kingfishermakes a move on a passing fish.

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The story of St Patrick

Everyone has heard of St Patrick. It is known that he is the patron Saint of Ireland and that his festival day (which fell on March 17th this year) is a great opportunity for a party and to drink more than is probably 100% healthy for you. What is maybe less well known is who the shadowy figure was behind this personality cult.

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