Belfast. The capital of Northern Ireland. Indeed, a home from home some may say. Intrigued, admittedly, by the rumoured mass drinking culture within this renowned city, I visited last week, duty free alcohol in one hand and a 'wee' Irish phrase book in the other.
Like any country with a reputation for extremism, it's history will always be judged on the actions of extremists. The usual saying that history is judged by the victors does not yet apply to Northern Ireland, as it sometimes seems that the state of conflict has never really ended in the minds of much of its population.
Sir David Bell, vice-chancellor of the University of Reading, recently smacked down the employability demands. In a riposte he said that it was vital that academics resisted such pressure in order to protect traditional courses; adding that the demands risk undermining the intellectual integrity of degrees.
Throughout the UK, our students' unions democratic structures are being attacked, more often by their university rather than their elected student officers. It's time to tell QUBSU that they can't simply ignore the rules.
The next few weeks will be pivotal for the future of student activism within QUBSU, Belfast, ULU and London. We will not let them abolish our unions, nor will we let them sell our unions bit by bit to private companies, which may as well be the same thing.
Fifteen years ago Tony Blair, Bill Clinton and other statesmen mediated the un-mediatable and created the Northern Ireland that we know today. Some see the bargain as a grand failure. The creation of a parochial sectarian state suspended in a form of purgatory with a bloody history and no future.
While it would be wrong to suggest that the Irish are big fans of Thatcher, the majority want to see her off with respect. And a great many Irish have done so. Including the current Taoiseach Enda Kenny and current President Michael D Higgins.
From my favourite clifftop vantage point, I can see the peninsula of what is finally beginning to feel like my home-town. It's an ever-changing view, but today it's calm: I can see the snow-topped haziness of Islay in the distance, far beyond.
The popularity of the women's game has grown remarkably over the past 10 years, demonstrating a change in attitude and culture around the female version of the game. This is backed up by findings revealed this month that shows the number of registered girls' football teams has grown in the past decade by 15% in England.
Excuse the clumsy proverb, but the message is simple: whether the economy is up or down it's simply not enough for young people just to be exam-passing desk monkeys. Young people need to have real world smarts as well as book smarts.
For any self-respecting Irish person in London - or for any Londoner of Irish decent - this new series could be portrayed as being representative of them, and they may not like what they're about to see.
Foy Vance stands out back in the yard of the Islington Assembly Halls and rolls a cigarette. It's two hours before showtime and he's in a ruminative mood. 'When I was a kid, singing was second nature to me,' he says, as we clink bottle necks
The reality of education which sees a clear delineation between the place of learning and the place of work is unsustainable. No man is an island entire of himself. Equally, education is not an island entire of itself.
In recent times, Derry's international reputation has been defined by the sectarian conflict known as 'The Troubles'. It was here in this city that civil rights marches escalated into the street battles of the Bogside and the Bloody Sunday shootings.
My 14 year-old daughter, her best friend, a native of Co. Kildare in the Republic of Ireland, and I, are touring my hometown, Belfast, in Northern Ireland. "Do you know anything about Northern Ireland?" I ask my daughter's friend as we enter Milltown Cemetery on the Falls Road. Silence - and, unfortunately, it's not just the dead.
In my opinion, there is a serious lack of education coupled with a deliberate propagation of misinformation in the political and public sphere when it comes to women's reproductive rights in Northern Ireland.