Change is Afoot, and I Go Hiking

You may have noticed (I certainly did) that things have been a little quiet around here for the past few weeks. I’ve been distracted both by important things- sorting myself out with places to work and live after this month- and by even more important things- diving headfirst (sometimes literally) into roller derby fresh meat, exploring Dublin and surrounds on my new bike, and perfecting my brownie recipe. That last one is mainly important directly after the first two, by the way.

Because I’ve been delightfully successful in all of these, some changes are afoot! Since I’ll be spending a bunch of hours every week at work (hurrah!), I’ll have less time to devote to posting here. I’ve decided to keep to a schedule of two sizeable posts per week, since that leaves me plenty of time to go to work, fall off my roller skates, and post 100s of pics of my bruises all over Tumblr.  What this means is, of course, that there’ll be plenty of space for guest posters! I’ve loved everyone’s guest posts over the past month or so. I’ll be out scouring the country for people with interesting things to say. Beware the gleam in my eye when I hear you expounding on your favourite topic in my presence. You have about 2 minutes to get out of there before I start haranguing you for articles.

Now that that’s out of the way? Have a bunch of pretty pictures of a ‘nice quiet walk in the countryside’ I went on last week, courtesy of Shortish walk, they said. Easy, they said. More mud than you have ever seen in your life, they conveniently omitted. Good thing the views outshone the mud, many times over.


That tall thing on the left? Steeper than it looks. Definitely steeper than it looked.





Change is Afoot, and I Go Hiking

The Incredible Invisible Women’s Rugby Team

Today’s post comes from Anne-Marie, with something to say about women’s rugby. 

Women have a place in sport… we’re just not quite sure where that is.

It’s International Women’s Day on Friday and it always serves as a reminder to me to assess where we are. How far have women really come in the search for true equality? How much are women recognised for the achievements they/we make? How much autonomy do we really have over our bodies? You may be wondering what relevance if any this has to sport? Well, sport forms part of all our lives whether we participate in it, watch it or support teams or family/friends in it. It also happens to be one area where women’s achievements appear to me to be emasculated by men. An area where it took Katie Taylor’s almost single-handed persistent effort and campaigning just to get Women’s boxing to FEATURE in the Olympic arena. How appropriate is it then that there happens to be an International Women’s Rugby match being played on Friday evening?

There’s a women’s rugby team?

Ireland’s women take on France at Ashbourne RFC in what has been a fantastic Women’s Rugby championship so far. If they can beat France, the Women in green have the opportunity of securing the championship. They have already won the Triple Crown, HAMMERING England in the process. If they can beat France, all that will stand in their way for the Grand Slam is a final tie with Italy. So, with such momentum, potential and relative success so far why doesn’t EVERYBODY know about this?! Why aren’t they being hailed as sporting heroes across the land? Who’s ordering the open top bus so they can parade their silverware?

In contrast the Men’s team are having a dire campaign but they seem to have this air of being “the national team” and rugby fans seem compelled to support them regardless of their makeup. Our national broadcaster covers all their matches so you can’t miss them. The Brian O’Driscoll’s and Johnny Sexton’s of this world are plastered across advertising. But what about the Alison Miller’s or Lynne Cantwell’s? Why aren’t they household names? Why aren’t our daughters exposed to them as rolemodels of dedication, talent and hard work? On the other hand, the Irish Women’s Rugby team are like the Ed Sheeran’s of this world – unreliant on ‘marketing’ or hype, instead building a fanbase gig by gig. Match by match this team have gained support. They have genuine fans. They have dedicated family and friends who go to every match. But try to find any of their matches on telly and you will be sorely disappointed. Try to find interviews or news reports in mainstream media and they will take up a tiny proportion of sports coverage compared to the men. Even the dedicated rugby programme Against the Head, despite the contrasting fortunes of both International teams, will confine the Women’s coverage to less than ten minutes.

Can’t we find them.. anywhere?

Irish rugby TV are the only body who appear to be trying. They live stream the home matches and provide highlights of all of the Women’s championship matches. But who really wants to be glued to a laptop reliant on wifi/broadband connection speeds to see the fantastic rugby these women are capable of and have certainly shown in this championship. Where are RTE? Or TV3?

TG4 God bless ‘em are THE pioneers for women’s sport on telly – they have great coverage of women’s GAA. But nobody has picked up on our National Women’s Rugby team matches. Something has to happen to reward these women for their hard work and determination over the past decade (not just the past few months) and if winning a Triple Crown isn’t enough to get someone to pay attention then I wonder if winning a Grand Slam will. We can only wait and see.

In the meantime, proper rugby fans can take advantage of truly accessible, affordable and entertaining matches on our doorstep because you can attend the Women’s home matches for less than the price of a pint. Ashbourne RFC have created a great deal by allowing car entry for €20, regardless of the number of occupants and that includes your parking.

So, come Friday evening, I know RTE won’t have miraculously decided to change their programming and I won’t be relying on a dodgy internet connection, I intend being at Ashbourne RFC to cheer on the Women in Green. It promises to be entertaining and I know it’s better than watching the Men…

The Incredible Invisible Women’s Rugby Team

Derby Girls and Godless Universes

A couple of things I’ve been writing elsewhere this week:

The Fresh Meat Frontier

I don’t know about you, but I was intrigued. As if it were tailor-made to tempt a beanbag-bound nerdlady like myself to pop Captain Picard on pause, put down the caramel coated rice cakes and leave the house to try out this unfamiliar thing called ‘physical exercise’.

A bunch of emails and several months of skating around the park and the roller disco later, me and my sparkly-laced quads ventured into the first session of what’s slightly-terrifyingly called Fresh Meat training with the Dublin Roller Girls. To say I was intimidated walking in the door is an understatement.

And for something completely different:

Atheism and Me: Living in a Godless Universe

We all live in the same universe.

That’s it. We all live in the same world. And this is not a world where when we die, the atheists poof out of existence and the theists hang out in their respective afterlives/reincarnations/whathaveyou. If that were the case then I assure you I’d be founding the Order Of The Excellent Afterlife myself. This isn’t a world where believing hard enough makes gods exist for you but not for me. Conversely, if there is a god or gods out there, then no amount of my disbelief will make them not exist.

Hope you enjoy! And while you’re there, do go check out some of the things my fellow Gaelickers and Spirituality Irelanders are talking about. Over at Gaelick this week there’s tons of conversations going on about equal marriage, as well as an interesting perspective on the right to offend. At Spirituality Ireland, there has, of course, been a bit of a palaver over the Pope‘s resignation. Danny also talks touchingly about what being a New Age Godparent means to him, and Rania updates us on the new Patriarch of Antioch and All the East.

And before I go, have a super-cute video from way back when Sh*t XYZ Say was a thing. NSFW for n0rty words:

Happy reading!

Derby Girls and Godless Universes

Happy Monday! I am old! So are these things.

Sorry this week’s been a bit sparse on posting- I’ve had a few complicated real-life things to deal with, there’s pre-Christmas madness- right now I’m so envious of those of you who don’t celebrate it, although I’ll change my mind about that next week when I’m at home making delicious food with my family. And I turn 30 today! So the weekend has been a bit of a celebratey blur as I decide how to parse being a proper grown-up. I think, by the way, that I’ll stick to my usual reliables of pina coladas, roller skating and activism. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

I’m not the only one with a birthday today. It’s the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers:

This event was created to call attention to crimes committed against sex workers all over the globe. Originally conceptualized by Annie Sprinkle and initiated by the Sex Workers Outreach Project USA as a memorial and vigil for the victims of the Green River Killer in Seattle Washington, the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers has empowered workers from cities around the world to come together and organize against discrimination and remember victims of violence… The assault, battery, rape and murder of sex workers must end. Existing laws prevent sex workers from reporting violence. The stigma and discrimination that is perpetuated by the prohibitionist laws has made violence against us acceptable. Please join with sex workers around the world and stand against criminalization and violence committed against our communities.

Today is also Project for Awesome Day! Who doesn’t love the Vlogbrothers? People I cannot and will never understand, that’s who. Check out John:

You know what else I share a birthday with? Flying! Check out the Wright brothers giving their newfangled aeroplane a wee spin 79 years before I was born:

Finally, and by no means less important, Mega Man is a quarter century old today. Download your free Mega Man x Street Fighter game here. You know you want to. We’re all friends here.

Anything I’ve missed out on? Let me know!

Happy Monday! I am old! So are these things.