Welcome to Old Ireland.   My initial idea for this site was to cover only classic vehicles, but since was already taken and the best alternative I could find was this one, my thoughts for the site began to broaden.   A lot of the inspiration for this comes from the few magazines for which I have written articles.   Let’s get these mentioned early, because you should not be surprised to see a little of their influence here.   Real Classic is subscription only in print, but also has an excellent site at , where Frank, Rowena and a host of writers entertain and inspire.   Then there is Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly, formerly in print monthly, but now only on line at / (unfortunately now obsolete.  You will need to use the Wayback machine to find it).   MMM’s archives could keep you reading happily for months, and the like it or not truths told by Thomas Day (Geezer with a grudge: see his own site at http://geez

Bloody Putin!

 I mentioned a while back that we were getting an extension built.  Surprisingly even building an extension onto a house in good old Northern Ireland can make you a victim of Putin the Plonker's war in the Ukraine.  Let's be clear about the extent of this up front.  This makes me a victim of war in only the most miniscule of senses.  It's not like I've lost a limb, or my home or anything else important.  It's like this:- All the existing doors in our house are varnished pine, so we wanted something similar for the two new doors in the extension.  There are loads of pine doors online, and all the builders merchants and other door suppliers have catalogues that show them.  There appear to be only two suppliers across the whole of the UK, XL Joinery, and LPD Doors.  So we tried to buy them, firstly from local sources, only to repeatedly get that great sucking of air through the front teeth that lets you know that you have asked a sales rep for something difficult. One

Bloody Nokia!

 I've just sent this to their sales department.  Poor service deserves to be recognised. Dear Nokia Sales, Your support desk suggested that I should contact you to register my complaint. About two weeks ago, I went onto your site to have a look at what phones you now had available since I need to replace my old Nokia S7 plus, and had been happy with it.   I decided on the G42 and tried to order off your web site. I live in Northern Ireland, so was automatically connected to your UK site.   This much is logical, since Northern Ireland is part of the UK, yet after going through the whole order process, the site did not recognise my post code.   No errors or redirect messages showed, and I had to contact support to discover that although I live in the UK, I am supposed to order a phone from your Ireland site.   You could at least notify people of this without them having to go through the whole order process and then contact your help desk! So, I went to the Ireland site, only

Music from the troubles

 My MP3 player has over 1600 songs on it currently, and since I normally listen on random, some songs rarely seem to come up.  A recent selection included 'Zombie' by the Cardigans, a great tune and it is about the Troubles here in the good old messed up province of Northern Ireland.  Thankfully all that violent nonsense is now passing into theory at least.  The lyrics are great as well as the music. "It's the same old theme, since 1916 In your head, in your head, they're still fightin' With their tanks and their bombs and their bombs and their guns In your head, in your head, they are dyin' " I have other songs about this sad and wasteful conflict on the MP3 player.  Particular favourites include Paul Brady's song, 'The Island'. " Now I know us plain folks don't see all the story. And I know this peace and love's just copping out. And I guess these young boys dying in the ditches. Is just what being free is all


Way back in December 2022 I mentioned that I had started a time consuming project that didn't leave much time for my rants here on this blog.  In fact, there were really two of them that progressed side by side and claimed my time in varying degrees as each one stuttered onwards.  And then poor old Tilly's sudden sickness came into the mix too. I'm sure that none of you actually care what these two projects were, but what the hell, I'll tell you anyway.  Firstly we are building an extension to the back of our house.  You know the type of thing, an open plan kitchen/dining/living area, and the much needed utility room that suddenly becomes necessary as a result, because who wants to listen to the washing machine drowning out the telly when you are trying to watch a movie?  After some substantial changes to the plans, (why do architects never listen when you give them a budget?), and a lot of time spent talking to builders, we eventually found one we could afford without

RIP Tilly. 😢

  It has taken a week for me to be able to write this.   The effect of the steroids mentioned in my previous story on Tilly was very brief.   They only gave her relief from the pain for a couple of days.  The vet then gave us barbiturate tablets (Tramadol), but these seemed to have no effect whatsoever on the pain in her leg.  They just made her very lethargic.  Over the weekend of 8th and 9th July, poor Tilly seemed to be getting worse.  Where once only her elbow joint was swollen, by the end of that weekend her whole leg was about twice the size it should have been and looked fit to explode.  She avoided putting any weight on it at all.   More worryingly, she coughed a little, and afterwards we noticed a few small blood spots.  It seemed like the cancer in her lungs was progressing too.  We had also noticed a lump on the outside of her chest a week or two before this, and it too was growing.  When lying down she now seemed to be at funny angles; probably to avoid putting any pressure


  In January 2010 I was idly browsing through the ads for pet dogs on Gumtree when I spotted a very poor quality picture of a mainly white dog with some black markings.   The dog was sitting looking up at someone just out of shot, as if obedient to them, (Knowing Tilly now, I suspect treats may have been involved).   The description in the ad was somewhat less than detailed.   She was described as being a mix between a Bearded Collie and an Irish Wolf Hound, and the people that had her, wanted rid of her for free.   That, and a contact number was about it.   Even in the blurry shot on the ad she looked like a beautiful dog, and I was intrigued.   It had been around ten years since our last dog had died (aged 17), but at the time, my wife was nursing her elderly mother, and with a Wolf Hound in the mix I presumed that this would be a very large dog, so I didn’t mention it, thinking that someone would soon take on a dog like that.   Shortly after, the ad disappeared, so I thought tha

Devil's Advocate

  I’m growing increasingly convinced that every decently sized organisation needs to employ someone with a suitably cynical attitude in the position of Devil’s Advocate.   Such a position would not be designed to ensure that we suddenly start to become Satanists, in fact such a stupid suggestion would be exactly what the Devil’s Advocate (DA) would oppose.   Their main purpose in any organisation would be to counter those in direct power and the sycophantic yes men/women that seem to predominate in pretty much any organisation that I have ever dealt with.   I would imagine that in board room or other project meetings, pretty much every contribution they gave would start with the immortal words, “Catch yourselves on!” The position would need to have some clout, like the veto that can be exercised by any of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.   OK, perhaps that is a bad example because it is used politically, but you get the idea.   So why do I think this is necessar

Accident or Suicide - You Decide

 This is another one from Sam, as found in the British Newspaper Archive.  I'll let Sam tell the tale, but when you read the details from the coroners court, you will have to remember what social attitudes were towards people who took their own lives back then.  I'm not convinced that the coroner made a completely honest decision. Some of the other stories on the page are interesting too.  I've put the picture in at full size, so you will have to scroll about a bit to see everything.  Enjoy, and add a comment with your analysis of the case if you would like. From Sam:   I'm attaching an article (copyright BNA) that I found about a railway accident in Bangor in 1928, which is mentioned in the book 'Be Careful, Don't Rush'. It happened in the railway cutting near us. I think Railway Cottages is the terrace at the bottom of Belfast Road; maybe workers could get directly onto the railway from the back.  On old maps there is a level crossing at each end of the

A Suffragist Outrage - 1914

 My friend Sam loves his local History and is a much more dedicated researcher than I am, so I will leave the preamble to this story to him.  As you can see below, Sam wasn't kidding when he says the scan of the original story is difficult to read, so I have typed it out again below the picture of the scan. Enjoy.  :-) __________________ The book 'Home Fires' mentioned an attempt in April 1914 by militant suffragettes to burn Bangor railway station.  I looked up the Spectator in the British Newspaper Archive and got the short article attached.  It can be read, with care!  It mentions Edward Carson, who was against women's suffrage at the time. __________________ ANOTHER SUFFRAGIST OUTRAGE   ATTEMPT TO BURN BANGOR RAILWAY STATION   Night Watchman’s Timely Discovery   An attempt, evidently by Suffragists, to burn the Belfast and County Down Railway Station was discovered at about 2:30am Tuesday morning by the night watchman at the station.   His attention

Christmas jokes 2022 - The usual disclaimer applies because you know what Christmas cracker jokes are like by now!!

  How did Mary and Joseph get their groceries delivered when they were in the stable?  On a Lidl donkey! How much did Santa pay for his sleigh? Nothing, it was on the house! What did Mrs. Claus say to Santa when she saw this year's Christmas tree? You could spruce it up a little! Where does Santa always stay when he goes on any vacation? At the ho-ho-ho-tel. How did the reindeer know it was going to rain? Because Rudolph the red-knows-rain, deer! What does Santa do when the reindeer drive too fast? Hold on for deer life. Where would you find a snowman dancing? At a snowball! What's the Grinch's least favorite band? The Who! Why wouldn't Ebenezer Scrooge eat at the pasta restaurant? It cost a pretty penne! Which one of Santa's reindeer has the best moves? Dancer! How long are an elf's legs? Just long enough to reach the ground! What's red, white, and green? Santa Claus when he's travel sick! What did one cranberry say to another at C

Ancient History - Working as a Motorcycle Courier in Belfast

I haven't forgotten about this site, or given up on it; honest.   It's just that there are other things going on in life that have been taking up a lot of my time recently.  Not that many people will have even noticed if the site stats here are anything to go by.  As Arnie said, I'll be back........sometime! ________________________________________ I mentioned in my profile write up that I had once upon a time, in a land that now seems very far, far away, worked as a motorcycle courier.  For some obscure reason memories of that time came back to me yesterday, so I suppose it is about time to put some thoughts out there about working in that job, here in Belfast in the early 90's.  Just remember when reading this, that hindsight is a wonderful thing.   😁   The motorcycle press of the time was full of adverts for the London version of couriering, promising £500 per week wages( a damned good wage at the time), and loads of work.  For anyone with a real passion for bikes,

Local History - Witches on Islandmaghee and Other Strange Tales.

 I'm sure you will have heard of the witch trials that proliferated through Europe and America from medieval time onwards.  Perhaps the two most famous one were from Pendle (Yorkshire, 1612), and Salem ( Massachusetts, 1692/93).  Here in Northern Ireland we came late to all this persecution, our one trial starting from incidents in 1711.  I had heard of this trial, but not of the twist on it put on it in the story below.  This comes from  an old guide book to Northern Ireland called "Thank You Now", written by someone called Oswell Blakeston that I read recently.  I have already mentioned one other fact that I learned from it in a previous post about the First Car.  It seems to have been very well researched and written, but being from 1960 it is a little dated in places. Anyway, back to the witches.  Given some of the incidents being used as evidence against these women, the twist sounds very plausible to me.  The text starts part way through a chapter, so there are some

Bye, Bye Burgman

 Well, that's it, the Burgman is gone.  Some new owner will hopefully now get some enjoyment out of it.  Since I am now officially ancient, and have a 'Smart Pass' that gets me free travel on both the buses, trains and even some ferries throughout Northern Ireland, I will do the environmentally friendly thing and use this for my commute to work.  This will be good, especially since it looks like I will always retain some degree of home working, so the Burgman would never have been putting in the mileage that it used to.  When/ if I make it to be 65, our government hands out a better version of this pass that gives free travel throughout the entire Island of Ireland, so by that age there may be a few more adventures opening up.  :-)  So I now have two bikes remaining, and I have to admit that the winds of change may still be sweeping through my garage.  The two bikes are my 1974 R75/6, and my 1961 Triumph 5TA.  The R75 goes Ok, but is a little rough around the edges since pr

The first Car?

 You learn something every day.....hopefully.  I've been reading an old guide book to Northern Ireland called "Thank You Now", written by someone called Oswell Blakeston.  It was published in 1960. Towards the end of the book, one small sentence caught my eye, "Lisburn can claim another first for Ulster: a man called Rowan built the very first car to be put on the road in 1836".  Remember, the date for Stephenson's Rocket was 1829, so that would make this a very early attempt at a car. This warranted a quick Google search, but only one decent lead comes up:   Did Doagh man John beat Karl Benz by creating world's first car? - The basics of the story are that John Rowan built a steam powered vehicle 50 years before Benz and drove it around the streets of Belfast to show it working and to entice potential investors, but they could not see the potential.  Have a look at the Belfast Telegraph Article link above.  If true, this could be

Another Dirty Little Secret.

If you are really desperate, you can find the first of these undiscussed secrets here:    A Dirty Little Secret? ( .  There must be hundreds such undiscussed details that could effect our society. ____________________ OK, it's summer here in the northern hemisphere and it's hot out there.  So hot that wild fires have been breaking out all over the place.  A carelessly discarded ciggy butt caused a fire yesterday that burned down 10 houses!  Temperature records are being broken yet again, and the TV news channels would have you believe that venturing outside for more than a nanosecond at mid day will instantly vaporise you.  As someone who once (many years ago), worked in a desert where temperatures in the mid 40's centigrade were normal, and where you were expected to work in those temperatures, I find this hard to believe.  Granted it took a week or two to acclimatise to the desert, and unlike the humid conditions here the air was so dry that swe

Money for Nothing

 It is difficult to avoid all the hype about crypto-currencies these days, even here in backwaters of the world like Northern Ireland.  My cynical nature means that I am never really likely to be a fan of these, but I'm not particularly knowledgeable about them, and a recent TV program both astounded me and piqued my interest into finding out just how flimsy their value really is.  So here's the disclaimer; this is all my opinion.  Feel free to have your own, and better yet if you disagree,  reply to this piece and show me where I am wrong.  I am not particularly against the companies mentioned here; I personally just choose to avoid them like the plague. The best known crypto is obviously Bitcoin, so I have restricted my scant research to it.  Life is too short to start trying to find differences between them. We all know how the real world economy works.  People make things, grow crops, write music or books, make movies, mine commodities like copper from the ground, or any on

The Generation Game.

  Part of our solar Panels.  There are another 5 panels on the next section of the roof. Our solar panels have been in for a year now, so it's time for a quick review.  The table below shows some figures for the year. Some of these need a little explanation.  For example why we both export and import electricity it is easily explained.  Since the solar obviously does not generate after the sun goes down, but we still want to boil kettles and watch TV after dark, we still import electric.  Similarly, there are days of bloody awful weather, and the short winter days in this part of the world, which all lead to consumption without much generation.  Yet there are also good days where the amount we generate exceeds what we can consume. The total consumption figure is made up of the total generated plus the electricity we imported from the grid, less the amount we exported.  It is high because we are trying to use as much of the electric we generate as possible.  We do this because of th