Irish Politics


Great debate lads.
I have a close friend who was very interested in the Spanish Civil War and all the history around it, and got me into it. He was very much in love with Barcelona and some ideas of Catalunya independence, I went there with him a couple of times and found the city to be incredible, a real eye-opener as to what and how a city can be. He got me to watch the film Land And Freedom, which I thought was great.

We both got a bit into Spanish (basically Catalunyan/international) expressionist and surrealist art from that, and I got him into the major soccer club even though he had no interest in sport. I went back to visit the city more times, and some other parts of the region, and read a book about an English family who went to live a simple life in rural Catalunya. My partner at the time was big into the art & architecture of Barcelona/Catalunya and was the one to get us two into it. By the way, she’s from Cabra(said in Basil Fawlty voice!). By the way I was never really into art before that. Some of the buildings designed by Gaudi blew my mind a bit.

Incidentally my good friend eventually married a Basque, from San Seb, also a wonderful city. I twice went out with Spanish women, one from near Zaragoza(Calatayud) in Aragon(Castile), and the other the Basque that my friend eventually married. I met the Zaragoza woman when we shared an apartment in Frankfurt, she used to always get or bring food packages from home, including weird and wonderful stuff like membrillo. Me and my friend went to visit her home, in the country near Catalayud. They were far from wealthy but they treated us like kings and took us at 5am to see an amazing place out in the desert, a park at a monastery where it’s all waterfalls and green from underground rivers. I found the grim-looking Communist style tower blocks in Zaragoza surprising and interesting. Maybe I hadn’t seen much of Ballymun at that stage!

Before all of that I once took myself off to Sevilla out of fascination with what my eldest brother did (Flamenco guitar playing, to a very good level), and what he told me about the culture, and what I read about the city and region. I travelled around Andalusia and fell in love with it, especially Sevilla and Granada and the landscape. I got lost late in medieval Granada, and saw a gypsy play folk Gitano guitar for a handful of people in a ‘cave’ bar in the mountain beside the Alhambra about 2am, magical.

I went to see Real ‘Betty’s’ play and loved it, never saw passion at football like it. I had always been seduced by the atmosphere I had seen on TV at big international games in the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan (even the name!) stadium (and the Vicente Calderón stadium in Valencia), ever since the 1982 WC Semi final, the best game I’ve ever seen at that level. Not to mention the qualifier games where my own national team were often toyed with and despatched like bulls at a fight.

I took a bus out to the dusty, poor home town of Frédérico Garcia Lorca, with my Panasonic Walkman, and cassette tape of Leonard Cohen songs. I’m not very good with poetry but it was a good story to tell the girls!

I brought my now wife on our first trip to Sevilla, Ronda, and Granada and she too fell in love with it, we eventually settled for several holidays in Cadiz(to suit her love of beach etc). I love sherry, or as they know it, Fino or Manzanilla. One of the best places I have never yet seen is the boat cruise I keep promising I’ll do through the Cóta Doñana national park. I don’t like squid or :octopus:. I once got anaphallactic shock after eating shellfish in Valencia. I did a walk with two mates in the Picos National Park in Asturias/Cantabria, another area I love, and we walked two days into Santiago, as well as travelling around Galicia a bit. I do love the regional cidre and the way it’s served even though I’m not a cider-lover. And Bulmers is foul swill BTW.

All of this is by way of saying I’m fascinated by España and everything to do with it. Whilst in Sevilla I went to a local bar to watch RMadrid play Barca in La Liga, and much as I loved the atmosphere and banter, and bit of chat that I could manage in my shite Spanish, and wondered at the ubiquitous garish neon lights that dominate so many bars and cafes the country over, I became aware of a strong sense of dislike for Catalunya from quite a few of the Sevillanos. They also explained to me how many poor southerners ended up living and working in B. I guess that alone was an issue for them just like for westerners etc in Ireland with Dublin. It made me think and learn a good bit about how such a large and varied country evolves, how so many people end up emigrating, how well they have managed many long years of high unemployment, in some cases poverty, and severe water shortages. It’s not a surprise to me what the current situation with Catalunya has thrown up.

None, and I mean absolutely none of this has anything whatsoever to do with bloody Chris Dé Burgh.


Ya might find this interesting @25AliveOh


My grandfather fought for Franco in the Spanish Civil War & wrote a book about it, I have a PDF copy of it & it’s a very interesting and eye opening read.


Yeh I read about that, amazing really, small world. Panathanaikos in Athens have a bit of an Irish story too, just look at their jerseys! By the way I’m probably the only person in the world who wasn’t impressed when I went to visit the Sagrada Familia cathedral! Maybe because so much of it still under construction. But it left me cold. I’ve since seen some images of parts they’ve finished more recently that look much more impressive, but not sure they were actually ever designed by Gaudi. It reminds me of Donny’s ‘funeral’ in the Big Lebowski, “and in accordance with what we…think his dying wishes would’ve been…”


This is turning into a wonderful thread with some excellent posts.


Not going to copy your post Uroy, but I will take you up on a few points.

  • On the language requirement for work, well the level is required in both languages, not just Catalan, but leaving cert in both languages gives you the required level so people that come from other parts of Spain would not need to do a spanish exam as they would already have the required level, but in my case I had to, but of course people only focus on the requirement for Catalan.
  • As regards the risk of the catalan language dying out, there is a very real risk, in Barcelona there are large areas where catalan is rarely spoken, if the kids in those areas didn’t go to school in Catalan they would never learn it, anyone who deals with language teaching will tell you that if you give kids the choice between their mother tongue and another language they will generally turn to the mother tongue. Galicia is a very poor comparison, basically because it is very rural and has very little immigration.Are kids that go to Gael schools crap at English? all my nephews went and they seem fine at English to me.
  • As regards the CVs, I would say any company in any country in the world could show you CVs that are mistake ridden, but of course in Ireland you could not put it down to Catalan. To claim that there is a problem in the level of Spanish in Catalonia is simply ridiculous, I suggest you have a look at many of the presenters on Spanish T.V. channels , I would say that there are probably more catalans working on Spanish TV channels than any other region, hard to explain if their level of Spanish is so poor.
  • To insinuate things on the grounds of what is taught and not taught in Catalan schools is simply speculation if you have not worked in one.
  • On the people refusing to speak Spanish, you will get gobshites everywhere, I have seen parents in my school that have been here all their lives asking teachers to speak in Spanish in a meeting , claiming they could not understand Catalan. Fortunately this kind of behaviour doesn’t seem to be as frequent now as it was years ago from either side.
  • On the minister thing, I am not saying nobody did a photoshop or whatever, but to go on the BBC and try to excuse the violence by saying images were fake was simply out of order, regardless of what images were touched up, the Police systematically beat the sh… out of people protesting peacefully. The police were ordered to do what they did, they had Spanish flags on the windows of their vans, one actually gave me the fingers from the window, they had no other agenda than to beat people and wreck places.



With apologies to DCR22B!!


One point I left out, not only is the average level of Spanish higher in Pisa exams , but it is also higher in the leaving cert.


Any ask for change here is answered by “We cant do anything because it is anti constitutional” and then there is no debate, the last referendum here was 2005, a lot feel it is to protect the monarchy. So to allow a ref in Catalonia a change is needed and that change is unlikely


Spanish government looking after its own interests by the sound of it . What’s the angle with protecting the monarchy ?


First of all there was a huge fear that the kings second child would be a boy, as he would have become direct heir to the throne as will any other boy child. . Nowadays that would not be acceptable but to change it a change to the constitution is required,


Sorry , I’m a bit lost here .What’s the problem with having a son as an heir ?


Very enjoyable and fascinating post, thanks for sharing.


The son automatically becomes the heir regardless of order


Ah right .


It’s what happens when the lunatics stay away.


No apologies necessary & unfortunately I never got to talk to my grandfather about the whole thing as he passed away when I was quite young.

Many Irish Catholic farmers fought for Franco in the Civil War basically for the notion of defending their faith.


Impeccably timed victory for Girona over Madrid this evening.


It’s a beautiful day for Girona and their keeper … Bono!