Beltane Bash (Happy May Day!)

This is Beltane, Celtic May Day.  In 2002 we were in London walking down Great Russell Street and we  ran across the “Beltane Bash” held in conjunction with the “Pagan Pride March.” This is from a family letter written in May 2002. Wherever we travel we find things that interest us.  Saturday we walked into the fifth annual Pagan Pride Parade.  The parade was to … Continue reading Beltane Bash (Happy May Day!)

Brexit Or Not, London Gets European Christmas Markets

Christmas Markets came late to the UK.  It’s not that the UK didn’t celebrate Christmas.  Since Victoria’s Albert brought the Christmas tree to England the Brits have done it up in grand style.  Before Christmas markets, in the European fashion, came to the UK there was always Covent Garden with its stalls and decorations and Regent Street moving out from Piccadilly Circus. (Below are some … Continue reading Brexit Or Not, London Gets European Christmas Markets

Covent Garden, London, 2014

Christmas Markets started in Central Europe, Austria and Southern Germany, and have moved up and down the Danube and spread out from that waterway across the continent.  London has always had great Christmas decorations and shopping, but the European style Christmas Market crossed the Channel only in the 1980s.  Today there are Christmas Markets, Fairs and Faires, throughout England, with the big one in Hyde … Continue reading Covent Garden, London, 2014

St. Pancras International Railway Station

When the St. Pancras railway station opened in 1868 its wrought iron and glass train shed, designed by Henry Barlow, was the largest single structure roof in the world.  It was 689 feet long, 240 feet wide and 100 feet high.  The station was the pride of the Midland Railway and was fronted by a Victorian gothic revival hotel, The Midland Grand, designed by George … Continue reading St. Pancras International Railway Station

Dublin’s Georgian Doors.

My sister-in-law accused me of taking pictures of Irish knockers.  Well, yes, they are in the picture, but that wasn’t the point.  Gerogian buildings, with their colored doors, line Baggot St., Stephens Green and Merrion Square in Dublin.  Georgian townhouse windows get smaller as they go up to their three stories to give them the illusion of greater height.  The buildings started as private townhouses … Continue reading Dublin’s Georgian Doors.

Dublin, 2014

Dublin is not about sightseeing– although there are sights to see.  It is about stories.  You can find stories everywhere.  Often stories are wrapped in songs.  As part of the “media package” that came from the radio conference we got free passes to the “hop on hop off” busses.  We soon learned to get on the busses labeled “live commentary.”  The recorded commentary, on 6 … Continue reading Dublin, 2014

Sometimes flying becomes the theatre of the absurd.

The taxi driver from Clontarf to the airport offered to take me a different route, around Dublin Bay, along the coast pass the fishing village of Howth and then into the airport.  “It’s more miles but with school getting out it now may be less time.  At Howth he said “You’ll be flying right over that when you take off.”  (We did.)  I think he … Continue reading Sometimes flying becomes the theatre of the absurd.

Radio Days Europe, Dublin, 2014

How could it have been better?  Radio Days Europe are over.  These three days are working themselves into being one of those annual celebrations that mark my calendar, in a way like the Winnipeg Folk Festival or the Sitka Festival.  It’s a celebration of many things I hold close; radio, free press, good journalism, storytelling, meeting friends and, this year, Ireland. A celebration it was, … Continue reading Radio Days Europe, Dublin, 2014

St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Battle of Clontarf, or Here Come the Vikings!

“In 1014 Brian Boru defeated the Danes at Clontarf near Dublin.”  That is what my Grandfather learned in school and it is what he taught me.  This year the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin looked back into history as 10 performing troupes of players reenacted legends and events.  The theme was “Let’s Make History!”  One, a group called SPRAOI did Clontarf, a Thousand Years On.   … Continue reading St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Battle of Clontarf, or Here Come the Vikings!

Faces of St. Patrick (Reflections on my Grandfather.)

The hats were the same ones I saw at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York  9 years ago but instead of obnoxiously drunk teenagers these were mostly well mannered young people enjoying the Sunday of Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Festival.  There were hats, face painting, performances, puppet shows, Brian Boru’s Bouncy Castle, and a St. Patrick’s samba line.  Many revelers were wearing “Who’s you … Continue reading Faces of St. Patrick (Reflections on my Grandfather.)

Dublin Goes Green (It’s the eve of St. Patrick’s Day.)

Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day.  My Irish grandfather always told me it was no use going to Ireland on St. Pat’s.  All the good bands were in New York, Boston or Chicago.  The Dubliners had their own annual gig in St. Paul and the Irish Rovers were usually in Vancouver or Toronto.  The Clancy Brothers were always in New York, usually several places in a … Continue reading Dublin Goes Green (It’s the eve of St. Patrick’s Day.)


Tallinn’s tourism agency touts the “best-preserved medieval center in all of Europe.” It’s not completely medieval, and that makes it interesting.  Architecture in the old town runs from medieval through baroque and Russian empire style (the Tsar built a very “Alexander Nevsky” cathedral and an opera house in the old town) to Art Nouveau. The mix is what makes the Tallinn old town interesting. Tallinn … Continue reading Tallinn