Observing daily life in Ulster & beyond !

RIM v APPLE Share Prices Today

RIM on a downwards trend and APPLE on a record upwards trend !

Nasdaq markets closed today Monday 17th September 2012 with the market prices listed below:

RIM Share Price

APPLE Share Price




Northern Ireland Executive Statement

Ministers express sadness at farming deaths


First Minister the Rt Hon Peter D Robinson MLA and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MP, MLA have expressed their deep sadness at the passing of three members of the Spence family in a tragic accident at their family farm in Hillsborough yesterday.

The Ministers said: “It was with great sadness that we learned of the sudden and tragic passing of Noel Spence and his sons Nevin and Graham in an accident on their family farm yesterday.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Spence family at this extremely sad time and pass on our deepest condolences to them. We understand another member of the family, Emma, has been hospitalised following the accident and we wish her a full and speedy recovery.

“This tragedy has shocked the entire community and is a terrible reminder to us all of the dangers of farming life. Our thoughts are also with farmers everywhere at this time.

“Nevin was a rising star of local rugby and it is only a matter of months ago, in happier times, that we had the honour of hosting him and his colleagues at a reception in Parliament Buildings to celebrate the achievement of Ulster in reaching the Heineken Cup final. His untimely death is a blow for the game in the province and we sympathise with his teammates and everyone at Ulster Rugby who have lost a true colleague and friend.”

Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill has expressed her condolences to the Spence family who tragically lost three family members in a farm accident yesterday evening.

Minister O'Neill said: “I am shocked and deeply saddened to learn of this terrible tragedy which has hit this hard working farming family. My thoughts and prayers are with Noel, Graham and Nevin and their family and friends at this extremely difficult time. I also hope and pray that Emma Spence who was also involved in this accident makes a full recovery.”

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: “I want to express my sincere sympathies to the Spence family following the deaths of Noel Spence and his two sons Graham and Nevin who was a rising Ulster Rugby star.

“This tragic accident has devastated a family and my thoughts and prayers are with them at this very difficult time.

“I understand that another family member Emma Spence, is currently in hospital following the accident and we all hope that she makes a full recovery.”

Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety Edwin Poots has expressed his sympathy for the family of Noel, Graham and Nevin Spence following yesterday's tragic accident in Hillsborough.

He said: “I have known the Spence family for many years and it is difficult to comprehend the grief that they are suffering after such a terrible accident. My thoughts and prayers are with the family and their friends. I also want to wish Emma a full and speedy recovery. The loss of Noel, Graham and Nevin is being felt right across the community.

“I know that the firefighters, paramedics and medical staff who did everything in their power to save Noel, Graham and Nevin are devastated by what has unfolded. There is a sense of shock and disbelief across Northern Ireland today.

Sports Minister Caral Ni Chuilin has paid tribute to Ulster rugby player Nevin Spence and his father and brother who lost their lives in a farm accident in Hillsborough, and to Fermanagh County GAA player Brian ÓG Maguire, who died on Thursday following an accident.

The Minister said: “The loss of two talented sports players, and also a father and a brother, in such tragic circumstances is a tragedy for both the Spence and Maguire families. My sincere sympathy is extended to them at this extremely difficult time. My thoughts and prayers are with them all, and also with Nevin's sister Emma who is currently in hospital.

“Nevin and Brian were committed sports players and their untimely deaths are not only a loss to their immediate families, but also to the sporting organisations they represented and to their wider communities. Ulster GAA and Ulster Rugby are two of the great provincial sporting codes which unite society. Brian Og and Nevin were wonderful examples for their respective sports.

“I offer my condolences to both the Ulster and Ballynahinch rugby teams on the tragic loss of Nevin, and to the Ulster, Fermanagh and Lisnaskea GAA community on the loss of Brian, both of whom will be sadly missed.”

Smart Phone Face Off

Smart Phone Face Off



Siegfried Sassoon

Siegfried Sassoon's poem.


The House is crammed: tier beyond tier they grin

And cackle at the show, while prancing ranks

Of harlots shrill the chorus, drunk with din;

‘We’re sure the Kaiser loves our dear old Tanks!’


I’d like to see a tank come down the stalls,

Lurching to rag-time tunes, or ‘Home sweet Home’,

And there’d be no more jokes in music-halls

To mock the riddled corpses round Bapaume.



The Titanic Belfast

The Titanic Belfast opened on Saturday 31 March 2012, to, mark the centenary of Titanic's maiden voyage, placing Belfast firmly at the heart of global celebrations. You can now book tickets online from the Titanic Belfast website.

We contributed £10m towards this unique venue, which is situated on the site of the former shipyards at Queen's Island. Our investment in this project shows our commitment to enhancing Belfast's tourism offering. The new building also provides a high profile cultural and educational facility for the people of Northern Ireland as well as acting as a catalyst for other redevelopment.

The Titanic Belfast

The Titanic Belfast

The Titanic Belfast

The Titanic Belfast

The Titanic Belfast

The Titanic Belfast

The Titanic Belfast

The Titanic Belfast

The Titanic Belfast


Miss me yet ?

Bill Clinton


Minister for Regional Development, Danny Kennedy using the new pedestrian and cycle toucan puffin crossing at East Link Road, Dundonald

Nine VCs

The Nine VCs
of the First Day on the Somme

Bob Coulson has kindly put up some fascinating information and background on the brave soldiers that received VC’s on the first day in the Battle of The Somme.

It has been well documented how following a week long barrage of the opposing German lines, fourteen British divisions on an eighteen mile front rose from their trenches at 7-30 am on July 1st 1916. Bugles sounded and whistles blew as men scrambled out of their positions to “walk through the decimated enemy lines”.

As we know now, this was not to be the case as the deeply entrenched enemy emerged from their dugouts as the sun was burning through the morning mist to wreak havoc amongst the advancing troops.

The end of that fateful day saw close to 60,000 casualties on the British side, 19,000 of whom died on the chalky fields of the Somme. Over twenty men were dying for every minute of that summer’s day in Picardy.

Amidst the tales of death, carnage and wholesale slaughter, stories of great bravery, devotion to duty, care for their fellow men and indeed self-sacrifice were also to emerge.

Many awards and decorations were bestowed on brave young men that day, but nine of them would be singled out for the ultimate accolade for outstanding deeds of gallantry in the presence of the enemy, the Victoria Cross.

Only three of these nine gallant men survived the carnage of July 1st to be presented with their medals in person. The other six gave their lives and still lie out on the Somme battlefield.

This is my attempt to briefly tell the stories of these incredibly brave and selfless men.

The nine were,

Private William Frederick McFadzean – 14th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles.

Temporary Lieutenant Geoffrey St George Shillington Cather – 9th Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers.

Rifleman Robert Quigg – 12th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles.

Temporary Captain Eric Norman Frankland Bell – 9th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.

Captain John Leslie Green – Royal Army Medical Corps attached to 1/5th Battalion the Sherwood Foresters.

Major Stewart Walter Loudoun-Shand – 10th Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment.

Drummer Walter Potter Ritchie – 2nd Battalion Seaforth Highlanders.

Corporal George Sanders – 1/7th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment.

Sergeant James Youll Turnbull – 17th Battalion Highland Light Infantry.

It can be seen that four of the men all served with Irish regiments and all served under the banner of the 36th Ulster Division under the command of Major General O.S.W. Nugent.

This division was formed after negotiations between Lord Kitchener and Sir Edward Carson of the Ulster Volunteer Force. The order for its formation was issued on October 28th 1914, the red hand of Ulster being chosen as the divisional badge.

On the night of June 30th 1916, the ten battalions of the Ulster Division assembled in the Thiepval wood area and in a nearby sunken road.

Legend has it that as zero hour approached, Orange order members donned their sashes and as they went “over the top” advancing toward the German lines the cry was of “no surrender”, the battle cry of the Derry Apprentice Boys as July 1st was also the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne.

Please link to Bob’s article and read it if you have a spare 15 minutes.

A collection of extraordinary brave men that we should all be proud of.


Lord Carson, Stormont

Lord Carson, Stormont by alan06
Lord Carson, Stormont, a photo by alan06 on Flickr.

Stormont Parliament Building

Stormont Parliament Building by alan06
Stormont Parliament Building, a photo by alan06 on Flickr.

Music always helps the situation!

I guess music can always help out in any situation!

Music 07 02 13 2 54 13 PM

Stormont Parliament Building

Stormont Parliament Building by alan06
Stormont Parliament Building, a photo by alan06 on Flickr.

Stormont Parliament Building

Stormont Parliament Building by alan06
Stormont Parliament Building, a photo by alan06 on Flickr.

Lord Carson, Stormont

Lord Carson, Stormont by alan06
Lord Carson, Stormont, a photo by alan06 on Flickr.

Population in Northern Ireland as per 2011 Census, via region


TaxPayers’ Alliance One step forward, two steps back: The number of tax changes since May 2010

A must read for anyone who remotely interested in the taxes they are paying under the coalition government since they came into power in 2010:


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