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Out of Seasand and the Air

I’m a firm believer in old souls and past lives. Some of us - not all of us, but some of us - have been around before. I’ve learned to pay attention to that feeling I get when I meet someone for the first ...

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From Streets to Homes: Pledge that 1%

I didn’t get to see the Pope when he was in Budapest recently, but I was delighted to read that he’d revisited St István’s letter to his son from the eleventh century (knowns as the Admonitions) and had spoken so frequently about helping others, ...

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Paying to pray

It’s been a while since I’ve done the tourist thing in Budapest. Most of my visitors have been here before and want to venture further afield. This time though, I’d a first-timer and I’m in shock.

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Wanted: Chocolate Bunnies

I grew up in a place and time when having some sort of voluntary experience on your resumé or CV was almost as important as your exam results. In 1980s Ireland, it was a given that you’d be asked about it in just about ...

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Fact-checking St Patrick

His given name wasn’t Patrick. His colour wasn’t green. And he was never canonised a saint. In preparation for the big day in March, a fact check of stuff I thought I knew about St Patrick has me questioning everything else I was taught ...

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EVEN BEYOND THAT…

One of the more confusing things about living abroad is getting your head around a new set of holidays. I was surprised that in Malta, Easter Monday isn’t a national holiday. I was surprised, too, that in Montserrat, 17 March, St Patrick’s Day, is. ...

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A Christmas tipple

It’s Christmas. The season of goodwill. And giving. Lots of giving. Mostly giving stuff that people don’t want or won’t use or have no need for. It amazes me how caught up we all are with consumerism, even in times of spiralling inflation, increasing ...

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Sparkling Somló

While I rarely get excited about anything, I have three underlying passions that bubble to the surface on occasion: stories, traditions, and wine. When octogenarian Károly Fehérvári shook my hand and smiled a Monday-morning welcome, he opened a door to a world that would ...

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Scary stuff

It’s the time of year when ghosts, ghouls, and goblins roam the fringes of reality scaring the living daylights out of kids and adults still in touch with their inner child. TV channels, movie platforms, and cinemas screen their horrors of horror. Christian graveyards ...

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An opportunity to change

The villages of Bag and Dány in Pest County lie about 26 km apart, both a little more than 40 km from the country’s capital. Both have populations of around 4,000 with sizeable, segregated Roma settlements.