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Posts Tagged ‘Kim McGuire Blog’

 

When the tag line of your blog is “What Life is Really Like Behind the Hall Door“, you have to take stock of what’s happening in your life, from time to time, and reflect on whether or not you’re being honest with your readers.

And, well, I took stock of my life last week and it wasn’t pretty. To start with {and that’s all I’m going to write about today}, my entire family have been Lenten Slackers this year.

Tis true.

For the first time ever, we have not participated in the season of Lent: a period of 40 days (beginning with Ash Wednesday and ending with Easter Sunday) when members of the Catholic faith follow the three traditional pillars of Lenten observance: prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

When I suddenly realised we had basically forgotten: 1) to give up something; 2) were only occasionally refraining from eating meat on Friday {a total accident, btw}; and 3) weren’t giving alms/putting money in our Lenten collection box…I was shocked.

Don’t get me wrong, we are not amazingly fabulous Catholics…not by any stretch of the imagination…but we have always tried our best to follow the tenets of our religion. And Lent has never been a problem for us before…ever.

So, why did we fall away from the fold this year?

I chalk it up to two things:

  1. We haven’t been great about going to church on Sunday lately.
  2. I was horrendously sick for six weeks, which coincided with the first few weeks of Lent.

The first problem (not going to church) is the “real” problem. If we’d been going to church, or if the family had gone without me when I was sick, we would have been reminded from the altar to stay the course of Lent.

So why have we stopped going to church? I can chalk it up to two things:

  1. We haven’t been inspired by our parish priest for a long time.
  2. Our lives have gotten so busy that we’ve stopped setting aside time for faith.

If I’m honest, this crisis of faith is long in coming. I remember two years ago visiting with the Sisters of our local Carmelite Monastery and asking for guidance. I could feel my family slipping away from attending Sunday service even back then and I went for good counsel. I was told, “Don’t give in to the temptation…consider it your gift to Jesus for giving up his life for you …for all of us.”

I held on to that thought for a long while…even going to church without the rest of my family many times. Then I stopped going when I got sick and didn’t go back when I felt better. It wasn’t until I was looking at blog posts from previous years {mostly the Lenten Challenge posts} that I realised what we were doing…or what we were not doing.

Thankfully, Lent is not over yet. There’s still time for me to get my family back on track. In fact, this week, Holy Week, is the most important week in the Catholic religion….which means, if there was ever a time to hit our reset button now is the perfect time.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday are known as the Sacred Triduum in the Catholic Church. It is a time when we consider and celebrate the mysteries of salvation accomplished by Jesus in the last few days of his life on earth.

Holy Thursday is when we commemorate the Last Supper of Jesus and his twelve apostles. It is at the Last Supper that the sacrament of Holy Communion was established.

Good Friday is the day we commemorate the Passion and death of Jesus. It is a somber day. The sale of alcohol is illegal in accordance with The Intoxicating Liquor Act, which was introduced in Ireland in 1927. And Catholics between the ages of 21-60 are meant to fast, eating just one meal in the day and no meat is to be eaten at all.

Holy Saturday is all about quiet, contemplative, anticipation. Outside our Churches a new fire is blessed, signifying our coming out of the dark and entering into the light. New water will be blessed too and sprinkled over us at church as a reminder of the waters of our baptism.

Easter Sunday is a Holy Day of Obligation in the Catholic Church. It is the day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. It marks the end of Holy Week, the end of Lent, and the beginning of the new liturgical year. In Ireland, Easter morning is a time for going to mass and the rest of the day is spent enjoying a family meal, usually spring lamb or baked ham, and chocolate eggs.

And there you have it Dear Readers…In an Irish Home: What Life is Really Like Behind the Hall Door…warts and all. From us to you, stay strong. There’s only one more fasting day to go. And this time, I am all over it! We’ll be enjoying a spinach salad with dried cranberries. What about you?

Spinach Salad with Dried Cranberries

Serves 4 

Ingredients

1.5oz/1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds

8 oz baby spinach leaves

1/2 thinly sliced red pepper (and/or 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion)

3oz/1/2 cup dried cranberries

5 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 180°C /350°F. Spread the pumpkin seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until puffed and brown. Approximately 8-10 minutes.

2. To a large mixing bowl add your favourite balsamic vinaigrette, the red pepper (and/or red onion) slices, cranberries, and spinach leaves. Toss to combine well.

3. Top the salad with the pumpkin seeds and serve immediately.

Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credits:

* Catholic Bishops of Ireland Holy Week and Easter schedule for 2016.

** For a quick and easy explanation of Lent visit here.

*** A delicious and foolproof recipe for Hot Cross Buns may be found here.

**** It’s not particular to Lent or Holy Week, but if you want to know more about the Catholic Rosary visit here.

***** Here’s quite an interesting article about Ireland and Holy Week for the past 50 years.

 

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“Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona daoibh!” …or Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you! What a wonderful day to be Irish…here or wherever you call home.

This day two years ago, Dublin Airport posted a message on Facebook about St. Patrick’s Day which was absolutely hilarious…so much so it was carried around the world. Last night, just to be sure everyone remembered it…they re-posted it as a video:

 

St. Patrick’s Day as we know it…is not really an Irish celebration at-all. But, to be sure, we’re not about to be outdone…hence Ireland has caught the St. Paddy’s Day bandwagon by its hoop-de-doo wheels and turned it into an event that brings more 370,000 people to our tiny island and a good few hundred million euro to our coffers.

There’s a lot about St. Patrick and St. Patrick’s Day the world-at-large does not know (some Irish citizens aren’t aware either!). Here are just a few of the facts:

* The 17th March celebration is actually the death date of St. Patrick. He is thought to have died on March 17, 461 and is said to be buried in Down Cathedral, Downpatrick.

* The good saint himself was, according to legend, born Maewyn Succat. It is said Maewyn changed his name to Patricius (or Patrick), which derives from the Latin term for “father figure,” after he became a priest.

* Blue, not green was originally the colour associated with St. Patrick. Some say it was the Irish Rebellion that officially tied Ireland to the colour green…other’s say it evolved over time and is linked to our “many shades of green” landscape.

* Originally drinking was not legally allowed in Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day, due to the fact that the day falls during Lent and Ireland is (was, and probably always will be) a very Catholic country. The law was repealed in 1961.

* In 1762, the first St. Patrick’s Day Parade, was held in New York City…not Dublin, Ireland.

* Ireland didn’t officially start celebrating St. Patrick’s Day as something other than a religious holiday until 1903, when Irish politician James O’Mara introduced a bill in Westminster that made it an official public holiday in Ireland.

The first ever St Patrick’s Day parade in Ireland was held in Waterford in 1903. The first official, state-sponsored St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin took place in 1931.The first St. Patrick’s Festival was held in Dublin over one day, and night, on March 17th 1996. It has since grown to a 4-5 day celebration.

At that brings us to today’s St. Patrick’s celebration in Dublin. There’s so much going on this year…here are just a few of the highlights:

In the Footsteps of St. Patrick Walking Tour – Over two hours, take a very special walk in celebration of Ireland’s national patron saint. Led by  renowned Dublin historian and author” Pat Liddy, walkers will see the places most tourists and many Dubliners miss. Discover the fascinating truth behind the legend of St. Patrick and the Dublin of his time. The tour starts at the corner of Suffolk & Andrew streets, beside the Molly Malone statue, and finishes at St Patrick’s Cathedral.

Funfairs: City at Play – This is an event my family has always enjoyed! From waltzers to family attractions to the carousel, there is something for everyone at the Funfairs.

St. Patrick’s Festival Parade – There are St. Patrick’s Day parades far older than the one held in Dublin…but our event is swiftly becoming the best of them all! This year’s theme, “Imagine If“, is the final stage of three years of parades highlighting Ireland’s past, present and future. Inspired by the imagination of the young people of Ireland…the parade will be a young person’s vision of Ireland over the next 100 years.

Big Day Out – At Merrion Square from 12-6pm, this free event will be bursting with energy, colour and whimsy. Children can enter The Book of Learning inside a Georgian House where UNESCO City of Literature opens up a world of magic, craft, creative writing and pet rats!  Just around the corner, SFI Science Zone gives budding scientists a chance to experiment with the enchanting world of science through amazing workshops, explosive shows and enthralling exhibitions.  Kids of all ages will enjoy getting their hands dirty at the Keelings Love to Grow Children’s Garden, where the first Irish strawberry of 2016 will be revealed. This and so much more make The Big Day Out event a true family affair.

Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credits:

 

* For more information about Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Day, please click here.

** When did Ireland go from being blue to being green? Learn more here.

*** For more information about St. Patrick and his life, visit Catholic.org.

 

 

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There is a very old prayer attributed to Saint Patrick called “Patrick’s Hymn” or “The Lorica”. In Ireland we know it more commonly as “St. Patrick’s Breastplate” and “The Deer’s Cry”.

For centuries it was believed Saint Patrick wrote the hymn and sang it on the occasion when he and and a group of companions were on their way to the Hill of Tara to convert a great Irish king to Christianity. More recently, scholars suggest it was written by an anonymous author in the late 7th or early 8th century.

Whatever the case, it is a prayer/poem/hymn that reflects the spirit of the patron saint of Ireland. So, on this the feast day of Saint Patrick, I offer you his cherished prayer. God bless and Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Saint Patrick’s Hymn

I arise to-day

Through a mighty strength

With the invocation of the Trinity,

Through belief in the Threeness

Thorough confession of the Oneness

In the society of the Creator.

 

I arise to-day

Through the strength of Christ with His baptism,

Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,

Through the strength of His resurrection with his ascension,

Through the strength of His descent for the Judgment of Doom.

 

I arise to-day

Through the strength of the rank of Cherubim,

In obedience of angels,

In the service of the archangels,

In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,

In prays of Patriarchs,

In preachings of Apostles,

In faiths of Confessors,

In innocence of holy Virgins,

In deeds of righteous men.

 

I arise to-day

Through the strength of heaven:

Light of sun,

Radiance of moon,

Splendour of fire,

Speed of lightening,

Swiftness of wind,

Depth of sea

Stability of earth,

Firmness of rock.

 

I arise to-day

Through God’s strength to pilot me:

God’s might to uphold me,

God’s wisdom to guide me,

God’s eye to look before me,

God’s ear to hear me,

God’s word to speak for me,

God’s hand to guard me,

God’s way to lie before me,

God’s shield to protect me,

God’s host to save me

From snares of devils,

From temptation of vices,

From everyone who wishes me ill

Afar and anear

Alone and in a multitude.

 

I summon to-day all these powers between me and those evils:

Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul;

Against incantations of false prophets

Against black laws of Pagandom,

Against false laws of heretics,

Against craft of idolatry,

Against spells of women and smiths and wizards,

Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul.

 

Christ to shield me to-day

Against poison, against burning,

Against drowning, against wounding,

So that there may come to me abundance of reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,

Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ on my right hand, Christ on my left,

Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,

Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,

Christ in every mouth of everyone who speaks of me,

Christ in every eye that sees me,

Christ in every ear that hears me.

 

I arise to-day

Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity;

Through belief in the Threeness,

Through confession of the Oneness

Of the Creator of Creation.

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After staying up late last night to watch the Oscars (by the way…didn’t Saoirse Ronan look stunning in her emerald green Calvin Klein gown?), I’ve been really dragging and wanting to eat up every sweet (biscuits/candy) in the house!

Around lunchtime, I decided to make these No Bake Energy Bites and snack on them instead. Made of peanut butter, oats, chocolate, and a few other simple ingredients, they are very tasty.

My two daughters sometimes whip up a batch when they have friends over. They’re simple to make and it gives them something to do other than looking at their mobile phones (which in my book is always a good thing). Best of all, I like that my kitchen isn’t declared a disaster zone when they’re done and invariably walk away leaving me to do the tidying up. One bowl, a few measuring utensils, and a big spoon…that’s it…couldn’t be simpler.

So, the next time you feel yourself lagging or your kids need something quick and easy to make…give these energy packed treats a try.

No Bake Energy Bites

Makes about 3 Dozen

Ingredients

4oz/1 cup porridge flakes (oatmeal)

2oz/ 1/2 cup ground flax seed

5oz/ 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

3oz/ 1/2 cup chocolate chips

3oz/ 1/3 cup honey

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

1 Stir all ingredients together in a medium size mixing bowl until thoroughly blended.

2. Cover with cling film (plastic wrap) and let chill in the refrigerator for thirty minutes.

3. Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you like (mine are about 1” in diameter).

4. Store in an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to one week or freeze and eat straight from the freezer.

 

 

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It’s been an exciting year for Ireland and its film industry and the proof is in the pudding…or maybe I should say “the Oscars” because, for the first time ever, Ireland has several Oscar entries in several categories. And this year it is very possible that an Irish co-produced film or an Irish actor/actress/director will take home an all important gold statue.

Here is the breakdown of the Irish at Oscars 2016:

Best Picture: Brooklyn and Room.

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Best Actor in a Leading Role: Michael Fassbender in Steve Jobs. Though Michael was born in Heidelberg, Germany, and his father is German, his mother is Irish. His family moved to Killarney when he was a toddler.

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn and Brie Larson in Room. Saoirse was born in New York to Irish parents. When she was three the family moved back to Ireland and Saoirse grew up in County Carlow. Brie Larson is a native of San Francisco, California. And while she’s not Irish, she is being recognized for her role in an Irish film that was directed by Irishman Lenny Abrahamson, who is from Dublin.

Best Director: Lenny Abrahamson for Room. Lenny was born in Dublin. He studied physics and philosophy at Trinity College, where he also directed short videos with the Trinity Video Society, which he co-founded with Ed Guiney. He graduated in 1991 with first class honours (gold medal). Previously he directed Adam & Paul, Garage, What Richard Did, Frank, and, for television, Prosperity.

Best Short Film (Live Action): Benjamin Cleary for Stutterer. Benjamin is an Irish writer/director from Dublin. He completed a Screenwriting MA at the London Film School. Stutterer is his first short film, which he wrote, directed, and edited.

Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay): Room, Screenplay by Nick Hornby and Brooklyn, Screenplay by Emma Donoghue. Emma was born in Dublin in 1969. She is an award-winning writer, living in Canada. Her first feature film is Room, which she adapted from her novel by the same name. Her novel was shortlisted for the Man Booker and Orange Prizes and has sold over two million copies. Her latest novel is Frog Music, a mystery inspired by a murder in San Francisco, 1876. She is adapting it into a feature film for Monumental Pictures.

How to Watch The Oscars from Ireland:

The 88th Academy Awards takes place tonight in the Dolby Theatre, Hollywood and it will be an all night affair for anyone watching it from Ireland. The famous red-carpet-walk kicks off at midnight Irish time and the ceremony itself starts at about 1.30am. The whole celebration will finish around 5am.

If you have Sky, you will have a few ways in which to watch the glitz and glamour. The E! channel will run its broadcast from 10.30pm-4.30am. Sky Living will start its live broadcast at 11.30pm. And, I believe, Sky will have a dedicated Oscars channel: Sky 331/Virgin Media 307. Alex Zane and Zoe Ball will host the previews until Chris Rock takes over at 1.30am.

Also, The Irish Times will have a live blog of the red carpet pre-event and the ceremony itself.

If you can’t be bothered to stay up all night (and who can blame you…personally I’m only interested in the Irish nominees!), it will be possible to catch up on highlights on Monday evening at 9pm on RTÉ2, when the event will be condensed into a (thank goodness) two-hour package.

Irish Oscar Win Odds:

What are our chances of the Irish bringing home the gold? Well, Laurence Mackin of The Irish Times predicts, “Don’t expect a haul. Brie Larson is 1/33 to pick up an Academy Award of Merit (the Oscar’s official name) for her stunning turn in Room. Variety recently threw its weight behind Benjamin Cleary’s chance in the best live action short category (Stutterer is at 3/1). The others though remain outside bets. Room and Lenny Abrahamson are at 66/1 and Brooklyn is at 200/1.”

I’m going to remain positive, however, and cheer the Irish on into the wee hour of the night. Here’s hoping Ireland wins big.

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The last of the credits have rolled at Sundance 2016, the awards have been handed out, and I am shattered. In ten days I saw 13 films, which is nothing compared to some of my friends and colleagues (who saw upwards of 20+). But somewhere along the way, between Morris from America and The Birth of a Nation, emotional exhaustion crept in. I believe it started with Mammal.

Mammal is the second film from Irish writer-director Rebecca Daly and her screenwriting partner Glenn Montgomery. Set in Dublin, it stars Australian actress Rachel Griffiths (‘Six Feet Under’, Muriel’s Wedding’), rising Irish star Barry Keoghan (‘Love/Hate, ’71’), and Irish actor Michael McElhatton (‘Game of Thrones’). Vaguely reminiscent of Gerard Barrett’s Glassland, which premiered at Sundance last year, Mammal is a dark tale: not at all for the faint of heart. It is also a thoughtful exploration of separation, grief, and love.

Rachel Griffiths plays the role of Margaret, a 40+ woman, living alone, except for the occasional lodger she takes in to supplement her income. When the husband she’s separated from (Michael McElhatton) calls to say that their son, whom she abandoned years before, has gone missing, something in Margaret cracks open.

As she unconsciously attempts to process her deep buried emotions, Margaret takes in a troubled young man (Barry Keoghan). At first, their relationship is akin to mother and son, but then it shifts to that of lovers and we (the audience) get sucked down the emotional rabbit hole Margaret is trying to climb out of.

Daly and Montgomery navigate the story of ‘mother abandoning child’ incredibly well. From beginning to end, Margaret never has more emotions then she needs and, for me, this character-casting works well. It would have been too cliché to pellet Griffith’s character with misplaced motherly love and grief.

Every character, Margaret’s ex, the son she never mothered, the lad she takes in, even Margaret herself, is broken, vulnerable, and looking for something/someone to help them move forward. And, just as you would expect from a Greek-tragedy-type-tale, grief morphs into some pretty risqué territory…which is why Mammal is a difficult film to see.

I’m glad I saw it, however. I can’t say I loved watching Mammal but, all in all, it is a very good film.

Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credits:

* Sundance Channel Global secured broadcast rights for Mammal in multiple territories while at the festival.

** Mammal was produced by Macdara Kelleher and Conor Barry for Fastnet Films (‘Strangerland’, ‘Kisses’, ‘What If’) and was co- funded by the Irish Film Board, Luxembourg Film Fund, BAI, TV3 and the Netherlands Film Fund.

*** You can read an interview with Rachel Griffiths and Barry Keoghan over at Seventh Row.

**** To read another interesting article about Mammal’s subject matter, visit here.

 

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Sundance can be hard on the heart. With film topics covering things like war and cancer and physical assault, it’s not uncommon to leave a screening feeling exhausted and shell shocked.

So, when a movie comes to Sundance that has you tapping your toes and dancing in your seat, it’s wonderfully refreshing. And that is exactly what John Carney’s Sing Street is…wonderfully refreshing!

Oh sure, begrudgers have said that Carney “borrowed heavily from his own film Once to make Sing Street” but so what?…who cares!? If something ain’t broke…don’t mess with it!

At the Monday morning showing in The Eccles Theatre, audience members (myself included) were laughing out loud and thoroughly enjoying themselves for a change.

Sing Street is uplifting, funny, and infectious.

While the credits were rolling at the end of the film, people were clapping to the music and dancing in the aisles. When Carney and his cast walked up on stage, they received a standing ovation. Which says it all…doesn’t it?

Sundance audiences love Sing Street.

I don’t want to give anything away in this review, but I will say this…Irish newcomers Ferdia Walsh-Peelo (who plays Conor) and Mark McKenna (playing Eamon) are rising stars. Remember that you heard it first here!

Go see Sing Street. Take the kids. This is a film that’s good for the heart.

 

 

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