So, what's the craic today?


"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body. Rather, the best finish is to slide in, broadside, thoroughly used-up, totally worn-out and joyously proclaiming, 'Wow! What a Ride!' "

Wish I knew who said that. They knew that happiness is the journey, not the destination. Don't abuse yourself, but don't miss out on life by being too conservative, either. A Formula 1 driver doesn't cross the finish line with half a tank of fuel weighing him down. You can't save life in your fuel tank, waiting for a special occasion. Every day is a special occasion. If you don't believe that, try missing one.

Here's the link to the Inishowen Picture Gallery, if that's all you're after.

For those of you who are twisted enough to read on....


I'm Ash McFadden. I started this website just for my friends and family. Word, however, seems to have leaked out.

I can live with that if you can deal with me.

For those of you who don't know me, I'm an irreverent, good-natured cynic. I got my Green Card and my Explosives Licence from the Irish Dept. of Justice on the same day and my recommended work ethic is, "Find a way to get paid for what you like doing".

I like science and I found a way to do something I liked for a living - and I did it for donkeys years. Then, just when I was settling into semi-retirement in Ireland and letting my sons have all the fun in America, I got sidetracked, hijacked and gobsmacked! I moved from playing accordion and drinking Guinness in Tullamore to being somewhat busy on Inishowen. Now, my kids are doing it in America and I'm doing it again in a gorgeous location, a stone's throw from my family's ancestral home in Donegal.

Doing what?

In America, I designed laser light show systems and laser cutting equipment and I performed laser shows, mostly in planetariums, for over 25 years. I liked the work. In fact, I liked it so much that, if I won the lottery, I'd build my own planetarium and spend most of my time doing what I consider "cool stuff" in a domed multi-media theatre. I'd spend my time studying everything that's always interested me, from astronomy and space science to music, lasers, video and electronics. And, for kicks, I'd pass on what I learned to others by teaching or entertaining them. (Often, they're the same thing.)

OK, so I'm a techno-geek and a nerd. If I won the lottery, that really is what I'd do.

Funnily enough, that's what I am doing.

And, to my recollection, I didn't win the lottery.

I've managed to fall, through a series of serendipitous coincidences (or Machiavellian forces, if that explanation pleases you more) into the role of Director of the only full-time public planetarium in the Republic of Ireland. It's located in a fantastic maritime museum, way up north of Derry (not "Londonderry") in County Donegal. The museum is run by a bunch of barking mad creative geniuses who are the greatest crew I've ever worked with. I run educational astronomy and space shows, perform laser light shows, shoot dreadfully big rockets and moonlight doing laser-cutting on the side.

Here's a picture of where I spend a lot of my time. I can have a grand view of the night sky whether it's day or night, cloudy or clear.


And, please, let's have no comments about boys' toys or phallic symbolism with regards to the largest scientific rocket ever launched from Ireland, my "RLM" (Riduculously Large Missile) below.

For a video of this rocket in flight, click here

OK, here are all the links.

For info about my laser business, both light shows and laser cutting, see We have a laser job shop in Colorado, too, if that happens to be closer to you.

For information about the Museum and Planetarium, see

You can expect new pictures and the usual "eejit shite" to be added to at very irregular intervals, whenever I can slow down to a gallop.

Life's not about waiting for the storm to end. It's about learning to dance in the rain.

The picture gallery

Where the hell is Inishowen?

Back to the home page