Author Topic: An Fear Rua - Gone!!!!!  (Read 26413 times)

J70

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Re: An Fear Rua - Gone!!!!!
« Reply #150 on: June 23, 2022, 12:58:04 PM »
Limousin thread...

http://www.anfearrua.ie/topic.aspx?id=436611

Hilarious thread! :D

I grew up on cattle farm myself, but we generally kept a Charolais bull (cows were a mix of Friesians, Angus, Herefords, Shorthorns, Simmentals etc). Honestly wasn't aware of the temperament issue with Limousins, as you didn't see the breed that often in our part of the country. I guess I now know at least part of the reason!

Bord na Mona man

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Re: An Fear Rua - Gone!!!!!
« Reply #151 on: June 23, 2022, 07:30:07 PM »
Limousin thread...

http://www.anfearrua.ie/topic.aspx?id=436611

Hilarious thread! :D

I grew up on cattle farm myself, but we generally kept a Charolais bull (cows were a mix of Friesians, Angus, Herefords, Shorthorns, Simmentals etc). Honestly wasn't aware of the temperament issue with Limousins, as you didn't see the breed that often in our part of the country. I guess I now know at least part of the reason!

Same here. Over the years I've asked some farmers who rear a variety of breeds and Limousins never stood out to them as being problematic.


Bord na Mona man

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Re: An Fear Rua - Gone!!!!!
« Reply #152 on: June 23, 2022, 07:34:05 PM »
https://www.irishexaminer.com/sport/gaa/arid-40901717.html

A parting glass for An Fear Rua, who transplanted unflinching GAA tribalism to cyberspace
Modern GAA social media can be traced to the rise of discussion fora including An Fear Rua, set up by Liam Cahill, who died this week.
A parting glass for An Fear Rua, who transplanted unflinching GAA tribalism to cyberspace
R.I.P: An Fear Rua, Liam Cahill. ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

THU, 23 JUN, 2022 - 08:00
PM O’SULLIVAN

Certain deaths, beyond a family’s personal loss, end up framing an era.

The passing of Liam Cahill this week seemed a case in point. A man of varied talents, he predominantly worked during recent years as political adviser and media consultant. The Waterford City native had previously been an RTÉ journalist, serving as the station’s Political Correspondent, before moving during the mid 1990s to a PR position with Intel. Cahill also wrote two well-regarded books, Forgotten Revolution: The Limerick Soviet 1919(1990) and From Suir to Jarama: Mossie Quinlan’s Life and Legacy(2021).

The same man found time to run, between 2000 and 2012, an influential and widely read website, www.anfearrua.com. While its threads were always an eclectic mix, GAA discussion drove the heavy traffic this space drew for several years. His website changed the way in which Gaelic football and hurling got discussed, reorientations with us to this day.

A clear line can be traced backwards. Many forms of analysis practised on social media ― on Facebook and Twitter, predominantly ― are related to the rise of discussion fora during the early 2000s. Analysis of hurling puckouts on Twitter, now widespread, grew out of online discussion around the running and possession-centred approach adopted by Cork’s Senior team from 2003 onwards. Broadcast and print media had found a rival of sorts.

Discussion fora allowed a multitude of voices. Most of these contributors, in the normal way of things, offered little of note. Some of these guys ― and the readership was almost all male ― were merely wind-up merchants, hopping more balls than Kobe Bryant. But useful information could be found and there were always a few posters, when partisan smoke cleared, quick with incisive observations.

By far the best discussion of Rule 42, for instance, happened online. 

I lived in England between 1992 and 2005. Like many other Irish people studying or working abroad, I found such boards an enjoyable resource, a narrowing of distance. At the time, they seemed rather an underground phenomenon, a kind of samizdat literature, resented but secretly enjoyed by leading GAA figures.

An Fear Rua did not arise from nowhere. From early in the decade, there were specific boards for Cork, Dublin, Kilkenny, Offaly, Tipperary and other counties. I first started writing about hurling in 2004 when asked to become a columnist on the Kilkenny-focused board. Some of them, such as clarehurlersforum.proboards.com and uibhfhaili.com, continue to operate. GAA discussion proceeds in many online spaces. ‘Kilkenny GAA Thread’ on boards.ie remains widely read within the county. All sorts of everything still get pondered on thefreekick.com. Curiosity is a persistent emotion.

Same time, An Fear Rua did up various antes around 2005. Many contributors to an earlier board, clarehurlers.com, migrated to AFR (as it became known) when the former site ceased operation in early 2004. Liam Cahill introduced columnists and actively sought exposure through ads and articles in GAA programmes. Even in August 2012, long after the place’s heyday, AFR saw 74,000 individual people click into its pages.

The phenomenon possessed fascinating sides. Sociologists could mine the archives involved for insights into Celtic Tiger Ireland, as the country surged from boom to bust. The National Library of Ireland did contact Cahill, emphasising they understood the potential significance of internet content. The NLI were keen to make AFR part of their holdings.

The week of its founder’s passing prompts reflection. There were obvious and less obvious dynamics attached to such boards. Few people had smartphones during the mid-2000s. To my eye, the vast majority of AFR readers fell into two categories. They were third level students with free Internet access or white collar workers with Internet access in their workplace.

Cahill noted perils for the latter category during an Irish Examiner interview in September 2012. He spoke of contemplating a new site feature: “a button that would turn the page black and white, remove the logos and make the computer screen look like a Word document. That way when bosses wandered around offices, they’d never realise what their employees were, and more importantly weren’t, doing.”

Cahill’s overall approach tapped into one of Irish society’s deepest tensions: the relationship between supposed metropolitan sophistication and supposed rural backwardness. An Fear Rua, in and of itself as a trope, was conceived in faux naïf mode ― specifically, faux culchie or faux hick mode. This vein in Irish culture runs back to the Irish R. M. trilogy (1899-1915) of Somerville and Ross, where Flurry Knox is a canny rustic who plays the fool. A century earlier, there had been Thady Quirk, narrator of Maria Edgeworth’s Castle Rackrent (1800), another manipulative rustic with his eye on the main chance.

Faux naïf emphases, at their best, provide a means of having your ironical cake and eating it. These styles seek an equilibrium between past and present, lore and latest, style and fashion, wisdom and smoothness. The first half of the 2000s, not coincidentally, was dominated by the so-called Rule 42 debate. That tedious process involved gross stereotypes about rural Ireland and the GAA sphere.

These connections might seem fanciful but I believe they are apt. AFR anticipated television such as Pure Mule (2005), Hardy Bucks (2010-2011, 2015, 2018) and Bridget & Eamon (2016-19). I found the last two of those three shows only fitfully enjoyable, if enjoyable at all. Faux naïf modes often end shredding themselves by becoming drearily predictable, à la hipster facial hair. Father Ted (1995-98), Ireland’s most brilliant recent artefact in this mode, never became predictable.

What did GAA discussion fora, despite certain inbuilt difficulties, achieve during the 2000s? Main answer: legitimisation of regional and rural accents, articulation of non metropolitan perspectives. Any notable contributor’s key aspect? His native county. The resultant tribalism was sometimes shocking and sometimes glorious but always febrile.

The lead up to big championship matches could be every bit as intense as the most packed terrace. I was forever amused by how the supposedly utopian colouring of the World Wide Web allowed unflinching GAA tribalism to transplant itself into cyberspace. Kilkenny’s ascendancy in hurling happened in tandem with AFR’s heyday, a convergence that occasioned far more heat than light.

Yet there was great value in gleaning perspectives from all around Ireland. County-focused identity is inherently insular. I got to know GAA supporters from far different backgrounds. One of them, a Limerick native, emailed this week about AFR: “A bit like ‘free education’ in the 1960s meaning that lads and lassies from different parishes got to know each other much better than they ordinarily would have. Less ‘them and us’, less faction fighting. I now know very knowledgeable hurling people from all the counties, something that would not have been the case without online forums or the web in general.”

Within spaces such as AFR, the GAA also lost most of its baggage and became far more a matter of taste. People wanted to discuss hurling in the same spirit as they would discuss a preference for certain whiskies or a particular album by PJ Harvey. People wanted to say they preferred hurling to soccer or rugby on aesthetic grounds.

Liam Cahill deserves a parting glass for being one of the individuals who facilitated, among all the grandstanding and the squabbles, these welcome developments.


Bord na Mona man

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Re: An Fear Rua - Gone!!!!!
« Reply #153 on: June 23, 2022, 08:06:36 PM »
A very informative take by PM O'Sullivan. There is plenty of discussion nowadays about the "toxicity" social media and all that goes with it.

I wonder how will history remember the first wave of online discussion in the digital age?
In Ireland did it start to turn the wheel on perceptions of the GAA and people outside of the Montrose bubble for example?
Those discussions about, 'You know you're a Junior C player when'... It all helped shine a torch on how the GAA has more layers and dimensions to it.

I remember about 20 years ago working with some D4 dollies when one of those "Micheal O'Muircheartaigh quotes" emails was forwarded around.
They thought they were brilliant, were crying out for more and lamented they hadn't a clue about the GAA but it was dawning on them what they were missing out on. 
Perhaps the insular, inward looking types were not the GAA loving savages, but the metropolitans who thought civilisation only stretched as far as the end of the 50km zones.

Eamonnca1

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Re: An Fear Rua - Gone!!!!!
« Reply #154 on: June 24, 2022, 06:08:54 AM »
Well that about wraps it up for AFR, then. I hope he found some peace in his last days.

He was an early adopter of the internet and it was an exciting time, when the only people accessing it were students and people with access from work, plus a small number of home-based dial-ups. I nipped over to the site tonight and it still seems to be up, including my old column, Square Ball. My views and my writing style have evolved a bit since then, but it's still nice to look back on it. Good times.