#blogging4charity – I is for Ireland

From a young age, I always had a huge interest in the island of Ireland, both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. I always remember wanting to go to visit or even to move there. Some of my favourite music comes from Ireland as well as favourite actors, TV programs etc. Here is my blog celebrating the Emerald Isle! 


I grew up with my mum playing a lot of Clannad. A family folk group related to Enya, I have grown up to love them very much. I used to listen to them a lot when I was studying at university as their music was very calming. My favourite album by them is Legend.

My mum also used to play a lot of U2 while we were growing up. She had the Rattle and Hum album which was put on so often it eventually started skipping. I think their earlier albums are absolute classics and I still listen to them fairly frequently. Choosing a favourite track is hard, but one I have been playing the most recently is this one.

The first Irish band I picked up on liking myself was The Cranberries. I actually sang one of their songs on stage when I was in primary school for a talent show we had every year. My favourite track of theirs has changed many times over the years, but this one has been the top one for the last few years. It’s about one of my favourite Irish poets too, William Butler Yeats.

The band that had the most influence on me though come from Northern Ireland. I have mentioned them in a previous blog, but the band Ash inspired me to join a band and were really the turning point in my musical tastes. This was the track that hooked me in.

There are other bands I love with an Irish influence, some with members who are Irish and some who have Irish heritage. This includes The Pogues, The Waterboys, Flogging Molly and Fiddler’s Green.


Two of my favourite poets came from Ireland. I fell in love with the poems of Seamus Heaney when I first read Digging. It’s a fantastic poem! I own a couple of his collections of poetry including North, which I ended up quoting in an essay about Vikings for my first year Viking course at university.

What I love about Digging is that it has many levels. I love poetry and stories that have a combination of messages within them that need to be studied and unlocked.

I already mentioned William Butler Yeats. A very interesting figure in modern Irish history both as an artist and as part of the independence movement at the turn of the 19th to 20th century. I had to study some of his poetry and plays for university which was interesting and perhaps the only part of that course I enjoyed.

I already mentioned The Waterboys in bands I like with an Irish link. They did their own interpretation of one of William Butler Yeats’ poems.

The first piece of poetry I had published when I was 11 was about the Troubles in Ireland. I remember watching the news growing up before the peace talks in the late 1990s/2000s. I was so upset by what I kept seeing on the news that I wrote a poem which my headmaster in primary school sent to the newspaper to print. Sadly, I never saw the newspaper it was printed in, but parents at the school kept coming up and praising me for it.

Peace in Ireland

I think it’s time to call for peace than seeing people die.
I hope that people want this peace or people will stop and cry.
For some of them are victims of these murderings and killings.
I hope that people help if they are so kind and giving.
So if you are like me and you want this to cease,
Then think of this poem and help to call for peace.

Hannah Thomas, aged 11

TV, Actors and Comedy

A big group here but for a reason. My absolute favourite TV program of all time is Father Ted. I grew up watching it when it was first on Channel 4. Although there are some episodes I have watched so many times that I can almost recite it word for word, it still cracks me up like it did the first time I watched them. I have all the DVDs and also a couple of tshirts.

When I was in Ireland, I went on a trip with my mum and we stopped at The Burren. I suddenly had a memory of an episode of Father Ted where Ted is having a picnic. I asked the tour guide if it was where they had filmed the episode. He told me that they had but not at the point we were at. For the rest of the tour he kept pointing out different places they had filmed for the show, though no one else on the tour other than myself and my mum knew what Father Ted was!

I am going to share one of my favourite parts from the shows that doesn’t have a parental advisory on the language. I know all the words to this and often sing it at random. I even have it on one of the tshirts.

I love many actors and comedians from Ireland. Another TV series I adored is Black Books, which has links to Father Ted and also the IT Crowd through its writers. I’ve been lucky enough to see and meet Dylan Moran aka Bernard Black from Black Books.

The Hobbit featured two of my favourite actors from the Emerald Isle. Aiden Turner was in another of my favourite TV series, Being Human, and was so excited to see him and James Nesbitt appearing in Peter Jackson’s movie.

I still love the old adverts that James Nesbitt did for Yellow Pages.

There are so many great actors and comedians from Ireland, it would take me all day to list all of them that I love, but these are my absolute favourites that instantly sprung to mind.

History, Archaeology and Genealogy

These are just three of my favourite things.

I’ve loved researching all three topics at university and on a personal level. I have Irish heritage on both sides of my family, three branches I have got details of. All three are from interesting points in 19th century British and Irish history: the Napoleonic Wars, the Potato Famine and the Land Wars.

I was very lucky to live in Ireland for a year and study at university. I loved learning all about the history and archaeology from the prehistoric to modern-day. I loved travelling around the country seeing historical landmarks for myself.

I love Early Medieval Irish history the most, but I did really enjoy Fergal Keane’s series on the BBC on The Story of Ireland. If you haven’t seen it, it is a good introduction!


I’d love to move back to Ireland. When I lived there I felt as though I had gone home. I don’t mean that in a ‘well my family came from here’ but more that it was the first place I have lived where I felt completely at home. I even cried in the airport before I flew home as I knew it would be a long time before I would go back. I miss it very much and I miss the friends I made while I was there.

I would highly recommend visiting Ireland as it really is a wonderful place. Here is a very small selection of photos.

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Posted on March 11, 2015, in #blogging4charity and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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