Finding Home: ‘The Irish Outlander’ Launched

1I was so humbled and grateful to be joined by friends and family, as well as other kind supporters of my writing, at the book launch of The Irish Outlander on March 21st in Dublin.

The Irish Writers Centre provided their wonderful Kiely Room, overlooking the capital city’s Garden of Remembrance, as the venue to launch my latest book, available now in paperback and for Kindle. The wonderful Darragh Doyle was kind enough to launch the book officially for me, giving the audience a glowing review of it, while also relating it to his own experience of the Irish community abroad, through his work with the @ireland Twitter account, and his recent work with the St. Patrick’s Festival in London. Continue reading “Finding Home: ‘The Irish Outlander’ Launched”

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?”

Bank of English? Bank of Ireland Reveals a Costly Truth About Irish

Like the vast majority of people in the western world, I use my bank card often enough, from contactless payments, to ATM withdrawals. As an Irish speaker, I’ve used the Irish language option on Bank of Ireland ATMs (and more recently, the ATMs available at Dublin Airport) for as long as I can remember. I use English only when I don’t have Irish available to me, which is admittedly much more common.

At this point, and for the sake of those unfamiliar with my views on the language, I take what I would see as a Nordic view on languages; I speak my own language (i.e. Irish) with anyone who can or wants to speak it, and for anyone else, I’ll speak English without complaint. I don’t ever expect people to speak Irish with me, but while I accept that it’s a minority language, I will make the most of it being an official language of the Republic and the EU. Continue reading “Bank of English? Bank of Ireland Reveals a Costly Truth About Irish”

Notes from Nottingham: Is Winter Over Yet?

For  the last few weeks, I’ve started to wonder if Britain has managed to go on some tectonic exchange programme with Siberia. To leave any building with central heating is to take your life into your own hands, and you can easily practice looking into the distance with a melancholic look, like a character from The Killing. Nottingham is beautiful on a clear day – whatever the season – but when it’s grey, it’s as dull as it gets.

Still, there has been enough to keep myself active during the cold weather, although my resolution to avoid chocolate has shockingly been uninterrupted. Surely that deserves some sort of Nobel prize… Continue reading “Notes from Nottingham: Is Winter Over Yet?”