How people change over the years

The above is a link to my biography around 8 years ago.

Hands On is now to be found only in RTE’s Archives. It was a programme for people interested in issues pertaining to the Irish Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.

I’d say I’m a much different person now.

How much have you changed in 8 years?

Here it is, in case the original webpage is removed.


Alvean Jones

Alvean Jones

Alvean Jones

Born and bred in Dublin, Alvean enjoys the rare distinction of being the only presenter to have been with Hands On since day one!

After sitting her Leaving Certificate, Alvean studied history and philosophy at UCD where she also did a minor in psychology. She then turned her attention to gaining a Diploma in Adult and Continuing Education, graduating from NUI Maynooth in 1998.

Alvean’s talents are not confined to appearing in front of the camera. Being the multi-tasker she is, Alvean also works behind the scenes at Hands On, transcribing ISL to English for the voiceover script. She is also a computer literacy tutor for both DALS (Deaf Adult Literacy Service) and St Joseph’s Home.

Counting online browsing, vlogging and making short videos as her hobbies, Alvean has been very much involved in the Deaf Community, serving on a multitude of committees. At the relatively tender age of 23, Alvean was elected as vice chairperson of IDS. She also served as the Chairperson for Signlink. In 2005, Alvean also enjoyed a three year stint as a VSO volunteer in the Gambia, West Africa.

  1. Most Embarrassing moment….Falling into the river
    after seeing someone cute! (It was in Wicklow and it was a stream, but even still…at 12 years of age I was MORTIFIED!!!!!)
  2. Biggest Crush: HAH. Some things are better left in the past.
  3. Who were your childhood heroes: URSA from Superman II, Wonder Woman, and the Incredible Hulk.
  4. If you could have dinner with 3 famous people from History who would they be? Why?
    Well, an interpreter should be present so I can understand
    these people.
    – My 30 times Great grandmother, so I can find out what life was like for the average woman in her time. Ok, she’s not famous. Fame is not everything.
    – Cleopatra, to see if she REALLY bathed herself in asses milk.
    – Marie Antoinette… ‘Let them eat cake’ to see for myself what type of person she is, to make people want to lop off her head.
  5. How your friends describe you? Witty, a force of life, secretive, amazing person. (Well, I have wonderful friends.)
  6. What’s your motto in life: Why be normal when you can be yourself?
  7. If you could have magical powers, what would they be? Telepathy

The 1851 dietary challenge.

Five Deaf women are raising money to commemorate the lives of a group of teachers and servants who lie in an untended grave in Glasnevin… and in the most ‘gruel’-ling way you can imagine… Eating, for one week, the same Spartan and unappetising meals that their boarding-school counterparts did, 150 years ago!



St Mary’s School for Deaf Girls, Cabra, was established in 1846. After completing their education, some of its pupils, had no choice but to stay on at the school; some were orphans, or abandoned by their families, or had no other option but to stay on as staff members. When they died, the school buried them in common graves.

One group of 47 women who lived and worked in St Mary’s between 1931 and 1972 – teachers of the Deaf, servants, and pupils – are buried together in Glasnevin, Their plot is marked by a large cross, but without their names, and the plot is in a dilapidated condition, in stark contrast to the other common graves surrounding it.

Alvean Jones, one of the group of five fundraisers working with St Mary’s Deaf Heritage Group, says: “We wanted to restore the plot, with the erection of two headstones, one on either side of the central cross, and the names of each woman recorded, along with date of death. The existing cross will be cleaned and restored back to its former condition.

The grave had all been forgotten about by the ex-pupils of St Mary’s School. “We decided that these women would no longer be forgotten about, and the graves abandoned. So we are fundraising – by honouring the hard lives the pupils in the school lived.

We are following the original 1851 dietary schedule for the girls at the school. So between 22 and 28 May 2016, 5 of us will adhere to this dietary schedule – to the letter.”

The group are already two days into their challenge and are vlogging their progress to Ireland’s Deaf community, who are following their every gulp and grimace as they savour stirabout, binge on broth and wash everything down with plenty of milk. No processed food is allowed. The group have set up an online fundraising page at where already many donations are flooding in.

The group are hoping that as many people as possible follow their progress and contribute generously to the fund to enable the Deaf community to pay respect to the pioneering women educators who were grateful to receive this diet all those years ago.

Mysticvean’s up for the challenge.





Breakfast 8am-8:30am Bread and milk.


Luncheon 11am-11:30am Bread13217514_10153823196078992_3759104010710669382_o


Dinner: 2:30pm to 3pm Bread and broth13247834_10153823935803992_1656430690209093838_o


Supper 6:30-7pm Bread and Milk.

I had no choice but to switch to goat’s milk due to an adverse reaction to the dairy milk the day before.13235325_10153824240453992_6895778420887239995_o


Tuesday… it was my day to make a video diary… so I used a combination of photos and videos.



Stirabout and milk.

I soaked the oats overnight in water and had the porridge in the morning.

Stirabout is just the old fashioned word for porridge prepared in this way.




Luncheon 11am-11:30am Bread.13239486_10153825600618992_134324792311664526_n


Dinner 2:30pm-3pm Bread, meat and vegetable.

I started with the meal, and nearly forgot all about the bread. Yikes! Good job I remembered in time. 13227200_10153826225268992_2953213028070277098_n


Supper 6:30pm-7pm Bread and milk. (eaten at work)13260091_10153826285058992_8062457460943215362_n


Then I made a video diary summarising the whole day.


3 days done, 4 more to go.



You Might Be a Writer If…

Brilliant! Well worth a read! 😀

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 1.30.15 PM

A lot of “stuff” has been going on in my life lately. Hard stuff. Heavy stuff. The kind of stuff that just makes me want to write massacre scenes….except I am so brain dead I had to google how to spell “massacre.”

Masicker? Missucker?

WHAT AM I DOING???? *breaks down sobbing*

I am supposed to be an adult an expert okay, maybe functionally literate. Fine, I give up! I have nothing left to saaaaayyyyyy. I am all out of woooords *builds pillow fort*.

I figured it’s time for a bit of levity. Heck, I need a good laugh. How about you guys?

We writers are different *eye twitches* for sure, but the world would be SO boring without us. Am I the only person who watches Discovery ID and critiques the killers?

You are putting the body THERE? Do you just WANT to go to prison? Why did you STAB…

View original post 1,289 more words

Strawman arguments in the Marriage Equality Referendum debate

I see a lot of strawman arguments in the Marriage Equality referendum.

What are we talking about?

Voting YES or NO so that Marriage Equality is made available for all human beings, gay, straight or whatever.

Examples of strawman arguments…
“Against the bible.”
The referendum is talking about civil marriage, not religious marriage or wedding ceremonies. The bible is irrelevant in this case, and considering the fact that there are people from all backgrounds living in Ireland, and not just Irish Catholics/Protestants, this is a secular and inclusive thing we are asking people to consider, yes or no to civil marriage.

“Priests abusing boys.”
What has this got to do with two consenting adults of the same gender in love with each other wanting to get married?

“Children need a mother and a father.”
The referendum is not talking about what children need. The referendum is about whether or not to allow two consenting adults in love with each other wanting to get married, to do so.

“Think of the Children”
YES, think of the children. Children who have gay parents need the same kind of protection that other children enjoy. This is already dealt with, and not relevant to the referendum.

Be careful you are not engaging in the strawman fallacy.

Deliver Your Own Messages.

26 March 2009, 13:05

When I was a 1st year student at UCD, during Fresher’s Week (1990), I was talking to other first year students. There was a stand for the UCD LGB society. (Can’t remember the exact name of the society, but it’s the LGB society anyway.) They were giving out leaflets containing the 100 FAQs concerning ‘homosexuality’, but substituting ‘heterosexuality’ in its place.

Questions such as ‘What made you realise you were heterosexual’ and so on… made me laugh and I got the point immediately of the idiocy of the homophobic questions that members of the Gay community had to put up with. One of the group I was with took a leaflet, read it with a stern expression. (He was a mature student from New Zealand)
I thought nothing of it and went off to attend a lecture.

Later on, this student asked me if I would mind delivering an envelope to the LGB society. I was puzzled and asked him why did he not want to do it himself. He made some excuses, so I decided to give them the letter. (more fool me.)

There was no-one at the table, so I left the letter on the table and went about my business. Later on, when I returned, there was a row at the table with the letter in one man’s hand, and they looked so disgusted. I recognised the letter as being a copy of the handout, with handwritten answers.

The bollox wrote homophobic comments and answered the questions seriously, instead of seeing the point of the handout. I’m not proud for my part in this, I delivered such a horrible letter to them, causing hurt.

So… if you want me to deliver your messages I want to know:
1. Why can’t you deliver the message yourself?
2. If you have genuine reasons, what is the message?
3. Private and confidential? Find someone else.

Accused Of Infanticide In 1895

26 June 2012, 19:54

Johanna O’Shea was accused of infanticide when her newborn son was found dead in a pool of water in the water closet at the Athlone Workhouse on 1st April 1895.

First, a bit of background.
Johanna O’Shea was born c1870 in Tullig, Co. Kerry. When her family discovered that she was ‘deaf and dumb’ they were not impressed. However, she was educated to a level where she was able to express herself in fluent English.

Now in 2012 it is unacceptable that the term ‘Deaf and dumb’ be used, but back in 1895, it was an acceptable term, and used a lot in official documents.

She was, unfortunately, disowned by her family for whatever reason, but one possiblity is the combination of her deafness, looks and innocence, and a lack of proper supervision. There might have been a sense of shame of having someone ‘afflicted’ like that in the family. This sense of shame was all too common.

Apparently Johanna was strikingly beautiful and hence extremely vulnerable, especially with no family protection. In her own words, in the police statement later on, she ‘let men catch her’. The last man to catch her in this fashion did so ‘three or four times’ and the man said ‘no harm or tricks done’, according to Johanna, in her statement to the police.

Being homeless and destitute, she ended up becoming an inmate at the Athlone Workhouse in Co Westmeath. One can only wonder about a woman like Johanna, and how she ended up in Athlone after being disowned by her family in Tullig, Co. Kerry.

Johanna had no idea of what happened during the night and early hours of 1 April 1895. She suffered cramps and needed to go to the water closet. To her surprise she saw ‘a mass or lump’ pop out of her and into the water. (her words in the statement) Not knowing any better, she closed the water closet, not knowing what exactly happened, and went back to bed.

It was when another inmate went to use the water closet that the newborn male child was discovered drowned. Johanna was promptly accused of infanticide, imprisoned for 42 days in Tullamore prison despite her protestations of innocence, while awaiting trial.

When she gave her statement to the police she wrote her statement, and the police typed it up, and called the workhouse Master, Mr William Donnolly, to interpret for the police officer as he read out his record of statement for Johanna to sign her name at the bottom.

After the facts were aired in court, Johanna O’Shea was acquitted by a jury on 2 July 1895, at the Mullingar Summer Assizes.

She was returned to the guardianship of the workhouse Master.

There is no record of her in the 1901 nor in the 1911 census returns. We do not know what happened to her.


29 July 2012, 17:39

No, there isn’t anyone here.

Are you sure?

Yes, positive.


No problem. I’ll go with you to the room for you to get your bag.

I don’t like these intruders hiding under chairs listening to everything we say! Close the door!

The house is empty except for you and me.

How do you know that?

While you were sleeping this morning I checked the whole house from top to bottom.

Ok. Get me a cup of tea.