It is now sixteen or seventeen years since I saw the queen of France, then the dauphiness, at Versailles; and surely never lighted on this orb, which she hardly seemed to touch, a more delightful vision. I saw her just above the horizon, decorating and cheering the elevated sphere she just began to move in, glittering like the morning-star, full of life, and splendour, and joy.

At that point I resolved to start a blog. And now here it is.

This can’t end well.

How are your outrage levels today? Seen a sweary racist on a tram? Heard a TV personality make a bad joke about shooting public sector workers? Retweeted it and carefully added the correct hashtag?Were you really, genuinely outraged?

Think about how you would have reacted to the story of an obnoxious woman on a tram seven years ago (pre-YouTube – PYT if you like). Would you have told everyone you know? Would you have asked them to tell everyone they know? Or would you have shrugged, mumbled something about the world going to hell in a handcart, and gone back to watching Top Gear, only to be confronted by Jeremy Clarkson making a hilarious joke about Spanish woman gypsy drivers (shrug again, change channel).
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Barack Obama Ireland Enda Kenny

After last week’s visit to Croke Park by Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, the sight of the US president swinging a hurley this morning wasn’t all that surprising. Barack Obama is the offspring of a mother from Kansas and a father from Kenya – neither of which is a hurling stronghold – but, like almost all modern US presidents, he has made a claim to Irish ancestry.

And so he today made his way to Moneygall, County Offaly, to pay tribute at the ancestral pile, which one ancestor, Falmouth Kearney, apparently left in 1850.

Ever since Kennedy, we almost expect a president to be a bit Irish. The last election campaign was a particularly good one for the Irish, with both Republican and Democrat candidates claiming Irish ancestry (leading to one ludicrous article in Prospect magazine that suggested that John McCain’s Scots-Irish temperament could make him unsuitable for the job).

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