Category Archives: Ireland

I’m going to Cork. Boy

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I am heading to the Irish Riviera this weekend. This is my personal (and highly unofficial) name for Cork. Being located in Ireland means that in reality, Cork – like all places in Ireland – has a deep and meaningful understanding of rain. It is true however that the temperatures there are marginally higher than the rest of the country, seeing as it is located as far south in the island as it is possible to go. Continue reading I’m going to Cork. Boy

Gaze Film Festival: Documentaries


The August bank holiday weekend, also saw the 25th anniversary of  GAZE – the Irish LGBT film festival. Over forty films were screened – some old classics; films soon to be released in cinema; low budget films that exist thanks to the film festival circuit; short films and documentaries. The festival was held in the Lighthouse Cinema in Smithfield. Continue reading Gaze Film Festival: Documentaries

Theatre times: ‘Jimmy’s Hall’

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On Wednesday evening I attended ‘Jimmy’s Hall’ in the Abbey Theatre.

I purchased the tickets six months ago, not knowing anything about the play- aside from the fact that the true story was an adaptation from a 2014 film by Ken Loach. As ‘early bird’ tickets were available for ten euros, for the Saturday night Dublin preview (the play had already had its world premiere shows in Leitrim a week earlier), I booked a pair of front row seats. Saturday in the Abbey, darling. Sure what else you would be doing?

Festering in my pit, one Saturday morning, some weeks ago, I received a call from the box office.  Apparently the stage was larger than anticipated, meaning my front row preview seats were  no longer available – in fact my front row no longer existed. Would I be interested in swapping them for full price tickets during the run – at no extra cost to myself? My answer was swift, and in the affirmative. Continue reading Theatre times: ‘Jimmy’s Hall’

My glittering writing career

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Rehearsals are well under way for the new Firedoor Theatre showcase called ‘Uncut’.

On a twice yearly basis this group invites writers and directors to submit new, or previously performed, pieces. If selected, a number of them get staged over a series of nights in a theatre in Dublin. In addition to the showcases the group also stages a full length theatrical extravaganza (also known as a play) a couple of times a year.

Firedoor Theatre is the name of the city based theatre group in which I am a member. I got involved, upon arrival in Dublin in late 2015. I had been a member of both the InPlayers English language theatre group, and the Badhuis group in Amsterdam, prior to my departure from that city. Always as an actor though. I joined this Irish group, partly to maintain my interest in drama. More realistically however, I wanted to meet new people. I was quite the Billy NoMates when I first landed in Dublin, after decades away. I thought that mingling among people with active ‘jazz hands’, would ease my re-entry into the Dublin social whirl. Continue reading My glittering writing career

Home, sweet home.

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In a couple of weeks I’ll be witnessing the two year anniversary of my return to Ireland, after fifteen years in Amsterdam.

When I parachuted back into Irish life, in August 2015, I was clear in my head, that this (hopefully) triumphant return was merely to test the waters.

I had only ever intended to stay in the Netherlands for a couple of years. The fact that my time there ballooned to decades, didn’t alter my feeling that I was a transient. A temporary resident in the land of the clog. I knew that before I could acknowledge to myself, that perhaps I was now a permanent fixture in Amsterdam, that I would have to attempt living in Ireland again first.
Continue reading Home, sweet home.

The tents of Donegal

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At the turn of the 21st century I moved to Amsterdam and started working for an American company. It was a somewhat brave, perhaps foolhardy move. I had a job lined up. It’s just that I had never been to the Netherlands before, didn’t know a soul, couldn’t speak a word of the language. And I had nowhere to live upon arrival.

After a frenzied few weeks of house-hunting and settling in I was set. The only problem was that Christmas was looming. Being somewhat friendless at this point, I was concerned. I hadn’t booked any time off work to go to Limerick, and it appeared that I would be spending Yuletide in De Baarsjes with only a ready meal for company (my demonic cat Midnight only entered my life in the new year).

One afternoon at work pondering on my prospects I started humming ‘It’ll be lonely this Christmas’ by Elvis Presley. A colleague turned around and said ‘Will you please stop singing that, I’m alone this Christmas and that song is depressing’. My eyes lit up. My colleague was from Donegal and we got on fairly well. Seizing the moment I invited her over to my house for dinner on that fateful day.

And so began our friendship. Continue reading The tents of Donegal

Bookworm: ‘Days without end’ by Sebastian Barry

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‘Days without end’ by Sebastian Barry is his latest tale in a series of books about the McNulty family of Sligo. Set over various centuries on different continents these books examine various people in different generations of one family, and how they fare in the world. ‘The Temporary Gentleman’ was about Jack McNulty – working for the UN in Ghana in 1957, as he remembers his ruinous marriage to his fellow alcoholic Mai Kirwan (you can read my take on that book HERE… ) Continue reading Bookworm: ‘Days without end’ by Sebastian Barry