Obituary: John Hume

As SDLP leader, John Hume played a major role in bringing about Northern Ireland’s peace process.

When the IRA called a ceasefire in August 1994, it was greeted with jubilation and relief across Northern Ireland.

Despite enormous criticism, Hume always defended his decision to talk to Sinn Féin in order to build that peace process.

While many people were involved, the SDLP leader’s role was crucial.

“Politics,” he once said, “is the alternative to war.”

John Hume’s involvement in the cauldron of Northern Ireland politics began on the streets of his home city, Londonderry, where he was born in 1937.

Post-war education reforms enabled him to win a scholarship to the local grammar school and he trained briefly for the priesthood, before returning to work as a teacher.

John Hume in DerryJohn Hume on the streets during the earliest confrontations in Derry

 

Drawn into public life, Hume began to campaign on issues such as housing and helped set up a credit union in his native city. But more traumatic times lay ahead. Continue reading

Derry Girls star salutes kindness in her time of need

Derry Girls’ Siobhán McSweeney took time on Friday’s Late Late Show to pay tribute to how her co-stars looked after her following the death of her father, describing them as “just gorgeous”.

Derry Girls‘ Siobhán McSweeney took time on Friday’s Late Late Show to pay tribute to how her co-stars looked after her following the death of her father, describing them as “just gorgeous”.

The Cork actress, who plays Sister Michael on the hit Channel 4 show, told host Ryan Tubridy how the cast and crew of the series threw their arms around her during her father’s illness and when he passed away.

“Awful things happen,” she said. “And I’ve had a litany – as everybody does – in the last while, just a run of things.

“But a really beautiful upside of all these dreadful things is that people are so kind to you.”

“Dad died during the filming of the second series and I’m sure you know, but Derry and Cork couldn’t be further apart,” McSweeney continued. “It’s a long old drive and there are no flights.

“Dad was in the hospice in Cork and I was filming in Derry and Belfast and trying to get between the two. Despite the best, the best, wonderful intentions of the production company, there was a lot of practical stuff you couldn’t really [plan for].”

“After Dad died it was my first time going back to Belfast,” she recounted. “I was going back into the apartment. I was broken-hearted, I was scalded, I was not good at all. You know, you have your little wheelie suitcase and I thought, ‘I don’t even have a bottle of milk for a cup of tea’. You know when you just want a cup of tea and [to] go to bed? I was like, ‘I can’t face it. I can’t face it’. And I just thought, ‘Oh, sure I don’t even have the heating on or anything’.

“They’re extraordinary people”

She needn’t have worried.

“I walked in and the flat… It was like a Disney film. The heating was on; there were those cosy socks, slippers. Basically, the girls – and by the girls I also include Dylan [Llewellyn] who plays James – they’re the girls – got the key to my flat and filled the flat, filled the fridge with wine, tea, milk, microwave meals, fruit, veg. Loads of wine, thank God! They know me well! Loads of teabags; they had the heating on.”

“They’re extraordinary people,” she said. “But it’s indicative of the whole production, really. People worked so hard to make sure I had a lot of time with Dad. They did it gently, not looking for thanks.

“There’s still stuff I don’t know that it’s only seeping through, but I’m very grateful for them. I wish I had something funny or quippy to say about it, but it’s true: they’re just gorgeous.”

“Thankfully, I was at a dreadful play, so I’m not dead! So bad theatre saves lives!”

McSweeney is currently staying with friends after an electrical fire in her flat in London, which was caused by a double adapter.

“I had one by my bedside, bedside locker,” she explained. “Apparently, they’re dreadful. And if they fall out by more than 1.2mm, which is nothing, it creates an electrical arc, which can spark. And it did. It started smouldering. My bed was next to my bedside locker, obviously, and it started smouldering on my mattress, which released toxic fumes. Thankfully, I was at a dreadful play, so I’m not dead! So bad theatre saves lives!”

McSweeney said there was “an awful lot of damage”.

“I’m still out of the flat. I’m relying on my friends. The flat was destroyed. Because not only was it the fumes from the fire itself, it’s [also] the smoke damage. Everything was ruined, unfortunately.”

She now intends to work with a charity to raise awareness of fire safety.

Source: Derry Girls star salutes kindness in her time of need

Derry Girls creator Lisa McGee hints at what is in store in season three

Derry Girls creator Lisa McGee hints at what is in store in season three

Since it launched in 2018, the sitcom has become one of the most popular shows on Channel 4 – and has captured the hearts of people across the globe.

And following the end of season two earlier this year (and the announcement that yes, season three is on the way), it’s safe to say that fans are eager for more.

Now, the series’ creator Lisa McGee has hinted what is in store when Derry Girls returns for season three.

Speaking to Her at the recent Virgin Media Television new season launch, she teased:

“[There’s] not really [much I can share], except they’ll definitely just be getting into more trouble.

“They haven’t grown up or wised up any, so there will be more shenanigans really.”

In case you’re unfamiliar with the show, Derry Girls is a candid, one-of-a-kind, family-centred comedy.

While series one saw the gang navigating their teens in 1990’s Derry against a backdrop of The Troubles, series two saw them navigating their parents, parties, love interests and school against the backdrop of a precarious peace process.

Following the news of Derry Girls’ season three renewal earlier this year, Lisa McGee said:

“I love writing this show and I’m so thrilled to be able to continue the Derry Girls story, thank you Channel 4, Erin and the eejits live to fight another day!”

Derry Girls series two launched with a consolidated audience of 3.2m viewers for episode one, which makes it Channel 4’s biggest UK comedy launch episode for 15 years.

In Northern Ireland, the series two launch has been the most watched programme across all channels since series one.

Source: Derry Girls creator Lisa McGee hints at what is in store in season three | Her.ie

Derry Girls cast and creator break down the best moments from Season 2 

Clare is drunk
“Yer mom’s drunk”

Derry Girls Season 2 was a joy to behold and with another season on the cards, JOE had the chance to chat with the cast and reflect on the last six episodes

Cracker!

With Season 3 of Derry Girls on the horizon, now’s the perfect time to reflect on those last six episodes, and unlike that famous wake when Michelle brought the ‘funny’ scones, things were slightly more normal when JOE had the chance to chat with Lisa McGee (writer/creator), Nicola Coughlan (Clare), Dylan Llewellyn (James), Louisa Harland (Orla), and Saoirse-Monica Jackson (Erin).

Here’s what they had to say on…

The opening scene when Orla interrupts Erin taking a bath.

Just like the very first scene in the show, Season 2 opens with Orla gatecrashing a very private moment of self-reflection for Erin when she’s in the bath and imagining what it’s liked to be interviewed by Terry Wogan.

Louisa Harland really hopes that every season of Derry Girls opens on her character being hilariously-intrusive!

Continue reading

So ’90s: Why Derry Girls is the best nostalgia trip in town

Derry Girls '90s Culture

And so Derry Girls hop-scotches into the sunset after a successful second season (the last episode is on Channel 4 tonight at 9pm). Once again, the biggest surprise about the Lisa McGee hit is not that a late-period Troubles comedy could be a rich source of chortles. It’s that we all so very desperately miss the ’90s.That seems to be true even of people too young to have meaningfully experienced the Nineties first time around. For some reason, the decade of grunge, boybands and cynicism pouring from our pores and through the walls continues to exert a deep fascination. Why this should be so, is a matter sociologists could spend forever and a day interrogating.

What’s unquestionable is that Derry Girls paints a halcyon picture of a time when the music was better, the fashion was… more interesting and selfie moments weren’t a thing.

In her portrait of female friendship in the pre-social media age, McGee pleads a powerful case, moreover, that life before the internet was in many ways superior. Nobody had a mobile phone constantly distracting them and a Twitter storm was what happened when a flock of birds took fright en masse.

How far have we come in the interim? Not quite the distance we might like to think, is the implication. So what have we leant?

1 The music was just better back then

From The Cranberries’ ‘Dreams’ to Cypress Hill’s ‘Insane in the Brain’, at its most assured Derry Girls is a valentine to the pre-internet music era. The soundtrack brims with nostalgia – season one, for instance, treated us to ‘Alright’ by Supergrass, ‘Unbelievable’ by EMF and ‘No Limit’ by 2 Unlimited (which yielded surely the greatest nineties pop couplet in “I’m making techno” and “I am proud”).

This was a golden age for pop, the show quietly argues – perhaps the last golden age. Rap-metal was coming over the hill and then music downloading would bring the industry to its knees. But in 1994 we’d never had it so good.

Most impressive of all is the way Derry Girls conjures the era without resorting to clichés such as grunge or early Britpop (which was just about twinkling on the horizon circa 1994). Even techno cheese-mongers D:Ream come away with their reputations burnished. Continue reading