Articles by marcel

A long long way: Irish history in popular media

Working on a project aimed at German tourists for the Irish Tourism Board this May, I realised that people still come to Ireland to enjoy the stereotypes: green fields, dramatic cliffs and the merry fiddler in the pub. Only few visitors seem to realise that Ireland has, like all other countries, a very interesting (and quite bloodstained) history.

From the Irish regiments that fought in the First World War, the Easter Rising 1916 to both the Anglo-Irish War 1919-1921 and the Irish Civil War 1921-22, these events formed Ireland as it is today, and learning about it offers a much broader picture of the island and a deeper understanding of why there are actually two countries on it. (more…)

July 19, 2011 2 comments

Crouching tiger, hidden dragon?

For the last four years, I’ve been able to witness the descent of Ireland from self-proclaimed boom country (or “Celtic Tiger“) to one of the most indebted countries in Europe. But does economic downturn mean also a cultural downturn?

When I came to Dublin in 2007, I was expecting the city to be comparable to my hometown Cologne. It has the same size, the same small and well-arranged city center and I was expecting a plethora of indie clubs, alternative stores and a vibrant cultural scene. I was disappointed. It seemed people were only focussing on spending a fortune at HMV, going to the movies very often and drink colourful longdrinks in shiny new bars mostly frequented by bankers and solicitors. I did find a couple of places and areas with an alternative touch, but these were few and far between.

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March 18, 2011 1 comment

What’s the weather up north?

Why is this site called The Iceland Weather Report when it has nothing to do with the weather?

This is a question I get asked frequently, and indeed it does seem rather absurd to call a blog that deals mainly with Icelandic current affairs and politics The Iceland Weather Report. Surely something like The Iceland News Report or the Iceland Observer or even News From Iceland would seem a lot more logical [banality notwithstanding, ahem]

These are the words of Alda Sigmundsdottir, who runs the Iceland Weather Report from Reykjavik, a witty look at life and current affairs in Iceland. Especially when you are interested in background information about the collapse of the Icelandic economy (the so called kreppa) and its recovery (?) in the last two years, this is the place to go.

Unfortunately, Alda has recently decided to stop blogging, but nevertheless: this is one of the best independent sources about the meltdown of Iceland and the so-called “Kitchenware Revolution” of 2009. Alda has also published an e-book entitled “Living Inside the Meltdown”, providing more detailled information.

She also has a link to the Icelandic Met Office, in case you still want to know what the weather in Iceland is like.

November 9, 2010 Comments disabled

Berlin, here and there

Finding Berlin is the brainchild of Sara and Marcus, two twentysomethings living in Berlin. It is a two-part project that reflects on what makes the town you live in so special – when you are living there and when you are away. Both initiators have the advantage that their hometown is the quirky capital of Germany:

“finding Berlin is a casual tribute to one of the most fascinating places this world has to offer.

part 1 – seeing the city during the months of summer in 2010. little tidbits and stories while roaming the streets. interesting spots, amateur photography, an intimate diary in appreciation of the edgy capital.

part 2 – a round the world trip with a mission, starting on the 3rd of October 2010: one year in a quest to find a place even remotely equaling berlin’s diversity. bangkok – sydney – san francisco – mexico city – vancouver – new york – reykjavik – only a sample of the planned itinerary.”

This fascinating blog/website/travelogue not only provides a very private look at contemporary life in a European metropole, it is also one of the best examples of connecting words and visuals online that I’ve recently seen. I’ll keep on following the two around the globe and back to Berlin.

Read more:
More German blogs on Blogs of the World
An interview with Paul Sullivan of Slow Travel Berlin
Independent artists in Germany and Ireland

September 28, 2010 1 comment

Slow travel's Berlin chapter

Advocates of slow travel argue that all too often the potential pleasure of the journey is lost by too eager anticipation of arrival. Slow travel, it is asserted, is a state of mind which allows travellers to engage more fully with communities along their route, often favouring visits to spots enjoyed by local residents rather than merely following guidebooks

This is what Wikipedia says about the philosophy behind slow travel movement, and it’s a philosophy we here at PocketCultures completely identify with – as we aim to relate culture from all over the world through the voices of our local contributors.

I found myself positively surprised when discovering that there is even a local chapter of slow travel in one of the hippest European capitals, Berlin. Or maybe I should not be surprised at all, because if there’s one city in Europe that has it all, it must be Berlin.

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August 4, 2010 3 comments

Bloomsday – it's all about Joyce

Whether you have read it or not, James Joyce’s main work Ulysses had a huge impact on literature. The novel follows two protagonists and their actions around Dublin in Ireland, over the course of June 16, 1904.

And we in Dublin are pretty proud of our own literary genius Joyce (even though he left Ireland at the age of 22 and stayed mostly abroad until his death in 1941) – so if you happen to be in Dublin today, don’t be surprised if you see men and women wearing outfits from the 1910′s, reciting Ulysses on street corners. It’s Bloomsday after all.

Bloomsday
Image via, taken by TedRheingold

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June 16, 2010 2 comments