NFB’s second birthday passed without any notice, because I’d actually forgotten about it. It was Thursday. Woops. If you’re still here after the insufferably whiny thing I wrote two years and one day ago, thanks. For all who have come and gone since then, the Facebook and Twitter followers, the friends I’ve made, many happy returns.
Last year I did a rundown on all that I had written about the previous year. This time around, I’d rather just list out my favourite pieces of the last 365 days, presented in chronological order. This are not my most popular pieces – I listed those out at New Years – but they are the ones that I most enjoy reading back on. Give them a read, if you have the inclination, but other than that let me indulge myself in some reminiscing.
1. Running On Skin?: The Eurovision
Ha, yes, I did enjoy this, turning an annual guilty pleasure into a faux-review/recap for the blog. Expect the same again this year. I can only hope that whoever wins has a song that isn’t so easily misheard – or that Jedward don’t make a mockery of the whole thing.
2. The Royal Visit: How I Ended Up In A COIN Campaign
It was a startling realisation, that I had become an unwitting pawn in a sort of counter-insurgency campaign, albeit one that didn’t actually involve any war. I liked this piece because it helped me work out some frustrations, and brought me face to face with assertions and theory that I had previously only read about.
3. David Norris And Why He Shouldn’t Be President
I don’t like Senator David Norris and I doubt I ever will. More things came to light about him since I wrote this piece, but I still think this was the best expression of why I didn’t think he was suitable to be the first citizen. This was written at a time when he was one of the favourites to win the election, so at least I got my opposition out before it was trendy.
4. Moments In Irish Presidential History: Douglas Hyde And The GAA Ban
I loved doing my Irish Presidential history series, and this, the first entry, might still be my favourite. It was a fascinating little bit of history that has gone mostly unnoticed in the history of the Presidency and the GAA, and I was happy to give it some attention.
5. What The Irish Defence Forces Did This Year
Short and to the point. I like doing quick articles like this, where the brevity actually aides in the argument being presented, or at least I hope so. Just the facts, which speak for themselves.
The 50th anniversary of this momentous military action passed without much notice in this country. This was just about all I could do to try and attract some attention for the brave men who endured that awful siege in the Congo.
7. The Flaws And Delusions In Republican History
During the Presidential campaign, I clashed with many members of Sinn Fein who had a warped and incorrect view of Irish history. This was my response. It came from an angry place, but everything I say here is fact.
8. The Two Referendums: Why I’m Voting “No”
My most popular piece of the last year, and something I am still very happy with. This post reached an awful lot of people, which was awesome, and I can only hope that it convinced a few people to vote “No” to those two constitutional power grabs.
9. The (Cheese) Wheel Turns For Fine Gael And Labour
Some good old political blogging, on a topic looked into on a whim. Pointing out hypocrisy from Ireland’s political parties is like shooting fish in an eggcup, but it was still nice to actual do some digging around, both to find the official government pages related to the “Cheese Scheme” and the lack of media attention it was getting.
10. Gender Quotas: Curing The Disease, Not The Symptoms
This is one I’ll probably be linking back to at some point in the future, as the debate over gender quotas gets some more, deserved, national attention. It is a thorny issue, and in this article I laid out my opposition.
11. The Game Of Thrones In North Korea
Kim Jung-ill’s death prompted me to do some greater study of the [political situation in North Korea, and I was stunned at the crisscross and tangled web of family, military and legislative connections, possibly plots and schemes that abounded. I laid it out here in basic terms. I like doing these kind of articles, not only to comment, but to further educate myself in the process.
My “Why History?” series was one I had been planning for a while. I’m basically pouring my heart out on a topic that is of great importance to me in these, and the end result was something I was pretty pleased with.
13. “Suicidal Obstinacy”: Max Hastings And Irish Neutrality In The Second World War
I loved Max Hastings All Hell Let Loose, but took extreme issue with his statements towards Ireland and its neutrality in World War Two. This expansive piece was my response to that. It was a long time in the writing, and I was very satisfied with the end result. I like to think I managed to walk the line between corrective analysis and rant.
14. Limerick FC, Money And The Russian Connection
Lovely Left Foot has become almost a home away from home, a place where I have been been able to write football related articles that reach a greater (and more interested) audience then that which likes this blog. This was a piece I was especially happy with, as it coincided with my greater interest with League of Ireland football, and got positive feedback from the club in question.
15. Ireland And Iraq: When COIN Works And When It Cant
Here I discussed the crucial factors that must be present in order for a COIN operation to be a success. Combining study of contemporary war with the Irish revolutionary period, this article was a mix of two things I love.
16. How Senator Tom Sheahan Is Harming Irish History
This pass-remarkable Senator drew my ire, in what might have been the most bitter (and speedily written) retort I have ever written. The man was an ass and was damaging, whether he knew it or not, the effort for correct and accurate remembrance of the Irish revolutionary period.
17. Why Manchester United Should Win The League…And How Manchester City Can Still Catch Them
More from LLF. This one provokes depression upon re-reading, but at least proved to be a somewhat accurate analysis of how the English Premier League could go. Moreover, I got that journalist-type feeling when writing it, so it’s all good.
18. Cromwell At Drogheda: Two Skeptical Threads
I wrote this very expansive piece for the good people of Skeptics Ireland. This also took a very long time to write, but was, I hope, one of the most academically structured pieces I have written since finishing college. Inspired by Dr John Bradley, one of NUIM’s best history lectures.
19. The Lord Of The Rings, Chapter By Chapter
I know I’m cheating by linking all 63 posts in this series, but, well, screw you. I had a ball writing this one, and it remains one of the best draws to this site.
20. Libya: Problems In The New Year
The Libyan situation, on which I have written so much, lumbers on and I’ll probably have more to say at some point. This piece was one of the more recent ones, and I was happy with it, insofar as I thought I continued to accurately point out some of the deficiencies in the situation across the Mediterranean.
And just to round off, some honourable mentions:
Revolutionary Remembrance: The Third Home Rule Bill
Ireland’s Wars: Dysert O’Dea And The Native Resurgence
Defining the Irish Revolutionary Period
A Song Of Ice And Fire: Why I Both Like And Deride It
The War Of Independence Paradox
A GUST Of Wind In Galway (Lovely Left Foot)
The Michael Crichton Bibliography: A Quick Review
Ireland’s Wars: The Mythic Conflicts Of The Fomorians, Tuatha De Danann And Milesians
Libya: Post “Liberation” Thoughts
Clusterf**k To The Aras Aftermath: The “Sort-Of” Winners
Clusterf**k To The Aras: Sorry (I Was Caught)
Dave ’11: Because Why The Hell Not
Dave’ 11: An Unfortunate Announcement
Irish Presidential Elections: A Short Guide
So there you have it. Have a read, look around elsewhere, drop me some comments on the site, on Facebook or on Twitter. I’ll see you for the third anniversary next May, where I hope to be recounting an unlikely Irish victory at Euro2012, a miraculous recovery in the economy of Europe that leaves everyone satisfied and maybe I’ll finally get round to that backlog of reviews I have scheduled. See you next time.
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