Books for the Year Ahead

2017 was a fantastic year for me as a writer, as I finally got around to publishing a collection of my poetry in Fás | Growth. I was also lucky to read some of my poetry at a literary night in Dublin, hopefully marking a return to the literary scene in Ireland.

2018, thankfully, already looks busy. I’m in the final stages of working on The Irish Outlander, and plans are underway at the moment to launch the new book in Dublin (and possibly London?) in March. Continue reading “Books for the Year Ahead”

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Publishing (and Performing) Poetry

“Are you excited,” my mother asks me, clearly excited herself. I was, I guess, but I hadn’t yet seen them for myself.

The first box of the paperback version of Fás | Growth had been delivered to my family home in Dublin, but between living in Cork, to going on holidays to Portugal, I hadn’t yet seen a physical book, or had a chance to feel it.

When I did, it was a surreal experience. I’ve spent so much time working on online projects, that I almost forgot what it was like to see the physical result of my writing. Blaiseadh Pinn was when I last saw my name on the title of a book, and anything else afterwards was in newspapers or magazines. All positive milestones, no doubt, but there’s something special about seeing your own time, only yours, on a book cover. There was a little moment of pride, mixed with relief that it turned out okay.

Thankfully, I was honoured in being asked to read some poems from the new collection (including one new poem in Irish) and act as MC at ‘Oíche Fhilíochta’ (Poetry Night) in Dublin, reading alongside two wonderful and inspiring Irish-language writers, Réaltán Ní Leannáin and Mícheál Ó Ruairc. The event took place in Third Space in Smithfield, and had a full house. Fás | Growth was available for sale after the performance, and I’m thrilled and so grateful to say that the books sold out!

It was wonderful to chat with many of those who came along, as well as both Réaltán and Mícheál, and I’m grateful to Seán Ó Coileáin for asking me to host the event. Réaltán’s poetry is beautiful, powerful, and accessable. She brings you into a different world with her literature, whether it’s a childhood memory or her journey through cancer (which inspired the title of her blog, Turas Ailse). Mícheál’s style is lyrical and so well-composed, showing art, humour, and humanity within his work. I was honoured to be in their company.

It has been a few years since I last took part in a literary event like Oíche Fhilíochta, and I was delighted to be there. I’m working on The Irish Outlander at the moment (in between a day job, regular travel, settling into Cork, and even the occasional coffee break) and hope to have that out early next year, but I hope there’ll be more opportunities to meet fellow writers, bookworms, and the odd Gaeilgeoir as well.

Fás | Growth is now available in paperback from MKB Publishing, available to buy online via Amazon

 

Why I’ve Decided to Get Political

Democracy is when the indigent, and not the men of property, are the rulers.

~ Aristotle

In my former career as a broadcaster, I took my duty of political neutrality seriously. For years, whether as a volunteer or a professional, I reported on political events, and interviewed several members of government, yet I never got involved with party politics. My neutrality was key for any credibility in my work, no matter how small or insignificant, and I honored it as much as I could.

Then, the marriage equality referendum took place while I was host of an LGBT programme on national radio. Continue reading “Why I’ve Decided to Get Political”

If the Country Is Ours, Why Not Politics Too?

Wir leben alle unter dem gleichen Himmel, aber wir haben nicht alle den gleichen Horizont.

(All of us live under the same sky, but we don’t all have the same horizon.)

Konrad Adenauer

Recently, I was asked two questions as part of a group, which got me thinking. The first was what the best thing about Ireland was. The second was what was the biggest problem or issue facing Irish society at the moment.

Many of us in the group thought the same thing about what was good about Ireland: Community. We all agreed that the Irish have a strong sense of community, so much so that it breaks down social barriers, and we’re a country that seems to believe that a stranger is a friend you haven’t met yet. We’re a connected community, and if you met someone on the street (even a street abroad) they’ll probably know a relative, friend, or colleague of yours. Maybe it comes from being a relatively small country, or maybe it’s because the Irish are just that closely connected.  Continue reading “If the Country Is Ours, Why Not Politics Too?”

Let the ‘Irish Is Dead’ Argument Die Instead

“It is not in the interests of our community for Irish (which our ancestors shunned as they would rocky crags) to be spoken widely and freely.”

So wrote Richard Stanyhurt, a Dublin-born alchemist and Latin translator, in 1587.

Four hundred and thirty years later, such opinions are still being voiced against the language, and despite the words of Stanyhurt then, to the likes of Kevin Myers et al. today, the language continues to be spoken. For over four centuries (and counting) the Anglo-Irish and Anglo-centric Irish have hoped for a day when, as Sir John Davies wrote in 1612, “…the next generation will in tongue […] become English; so as there will be no difference or distinction but the Irish sea betwixt us”.  Continue reading “Let the ‘Irish Is Dead’ Argument Die Instead”