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The Weekender | December 27th - 29th

This weekend, we delve into the story of Dan Donnelly's arm, The Pogues and the beautiful country of Ireland. Oh, and, whiskey.

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The Weekender

The Weekender is your guide and open thread for the weekend, presented by the fine folks at Viva The Matadors. Things to quote, read, look, watch, and listen to for the weekend. Let's do this.

I never really intended this to be a themed situation, but this weekend's The Weekender certainly turned out that way. what initially started out as some thoughts about Dan Donnelly and his dead right arm turned into a bit more about the incredibly wonderful country of Ireland. And whiskey. Whiskey you're the devil.


Mark Twain: "Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough."

Hunter S. Thompson: "Sleep late, have fun, get wild, drink whiskey and drive fast on empty streets with nothing in mind but falling in love and not getting arrested."


Ever been fascinated by a dead person’s arm? Mee too. I really don’t know why, but I’ve been fascinated by Dan Donnelly’s right arm, ever since I read this Sports Illustrated article back in 1995. I've never really been able to wrap my head around the idea of an arm being in some bar in Ireland. People just sitting around and drinking and that dead man’s arm is just sitting right there. Here’s the short version of Donnelly and why his arm is was in bars. I’ll link to a few articles at the end.

Dan Donnelly was an Irish boxer that was born in the late 1700’s and he was incredibly famous and good at boxing. He took part in this boxing match in 1815 against George Cooper in County Kildare, Ireland. There were supposed to be 20,000 people at this fight and Donnelly won this fight. It was great for the country of Ireland and as a result of this fight and other fights, Donnelly made a ton of money. Donnelly then bought a handful of bars and literally drank himself to death at the tender age of 32.

Donnelly was then buried and back at this time gravediggers were a big deal and a pretty common practice and dug up his body and sold it to a doctor, who gave the body back, but the doctor kept the right arm. The arm traveled around for a while and eventually has been all over the place including New York, but eventually ended up back in Ireland at Croke Park in Dublin.

Here are some links: Wikipedia and Come Here to Me, a blog about Irish history


Before Fitsum was really even a thought in my and my wife’s mind, we took a trip to Ireland. We did it as cheaply as possible, stayed in hostels, walked and biked and traveled by train. In retrospect it wasn’t the best idea because my wife’s back was hurting pretty bad, but she never really let on, so here she is traveling around Ireland carrying a huge backpack for a week.

If you have ever wanted or thought about going, I cannot recommend it enough. It’s a beautiful country and it’s breathtaking. The coast is unbelievable.


Hurling. If you’ve never watched it, then please take a minute. It’s part lacrosse and soccer and rugby and maybe even a little bit of baseball wrapped up into one game. Just hit play for a bit. You're not going to have to waste any time with any sort of build-up or pre-game stuff. They get to the action incredibly quickly.

And you should know that this is not a slow game. Imagine a guy running full speed and then hitting a ball with a flattened stick between two goal posts. If this sounds fun, and it is amazing to watch, then this game is for you. Again, it’s fast-paced. Really fast. And if you give it a few minutes of your time, you’ll think, "Holy heck, I want to watch this game right now."


When I was in law school, I got the bright idea that I needed to go Ireland for a summer and "study". The Pogues were something that I remember when I went there, but really didn’t know anything about before I arrived. In any event, they were a huge deal back in the mid 1980’s and they still are, I think, a big deal in Ireland.

From what I figured out about them, they were really more underground than mainstream, but still really popular. I remember one night in Galway going to a Pogues cover band and having one hell of a time. Of course, I didn’t remember getting off the train in Galway, so I’m sure that helped. Any time that you have your own cover band, you've made it.

In any event, The Pogues are a mixture of punk and traditional Irish music, which is an odd-sounding combination, but it works really well. Soundcloud has a ton of The Pogues songs to sample. For me, I think it's more traditional Irish than punk. In fact, I've never thought of them as punk other than them being a bit irreverent, but that's how they are described.

I present to you, "Whiskey You’re the Devil.