Ellis Island

Few national monuments and visitor sites chronicle the entire modern history of a country like New York’s Ellis Island does. Opened in 1990, the Ellis Island Museum of Immigration is part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument and charts the history of immigration to America from pre-independence colonisation to the present day. Given that … Continue reading Ellis Island

Bye Bye Winter, Hello Biddy

Winter can be an unforgiving time in Ireland given the precarious nature of Atlantic weather systems. So it’s with great relief we welcome spring on 1st February. For our ancestors who lived in a more agrarian society this date was the start of a new farming season and celebrations were held in honour of the … Continue reading Bye Bye Winter, Hello Biddy

Saint Petersburg: Cultural Colossus

St. Petersburg is deservedly known as Russia’s cultural capital. It’s breadth and depth of cultural heritage is astonishing and in this post I’ll attempt to distil several hundred years of various art forms into a couple of paragraphs. Aleksandr Borodin, Igor Stravinsky and Dmitri Shostakovich are the three prolific St. Petersburg natives in the classical … Continue reading Saint Petersburg: Cultural Colossus

Our woman in Havana: The Graham Greene Trail

“Hey there Irish lady. You wanna dance?” I was making my way through the music-filled ground floor of the Hotel Inglaterra in Havana when I turned to find the American journalist, whom I met on the Malecón earlier, with a fake Cuban accent mocking my dislike of the Cuban jintero custom of haranguing independent female … Continue reading Our woman in Havana: The Graham Greene Trail

TV Paradiso

This month sees the launch of Walter Presents, a new online on-demand service by Channel 4 in the UK specialising in international language television drama. Initially disappointed that Walter Presents has UK-only availability I’m pacified by Channel 4’s decision to broadcast a selection of the most popular series on their home channels in due course. … Continue reading TV Paradiso