Category Archives: Ireland

Love on the No. 40


Now that we are plumbing the depths of winter, with daylight a distant, hazy memory, and climate conditions that would chill you to the bone, my trek to work to the industrial wastelands has become virtually intolerable. My work place itself, is in the November of locations – a singularly dank, grey, miserable, depressing, ugly part of town.

The journey has become a relentless obstacle course.

For starters, you never know when or whether the bus is going to arrive. The road which was closed while the tram track was being built, has now reopened. It’s since become a lottery whether or not you’ll end up standing by the side of the road, like a streetwalker, waiting for half an hour. In the dark, biting cold. Continue reading Love on the No. 40



A few weeks before Christmas last year, a group of activists called Home Sweet Home, occupied Apollo House – a vacant state owned building in the city centre, that used to be the home of the Department of Social Welfare. They turned it into a dry (as in no alcohol or drugs permitted) shelter, offering accommodation, food, and support to homeless people. The conditions were far superior than those offered by the homeless shelters funded by the government. They did this, not only to offer support to vulnerable people  but also to address the growing homeless catastrophe that is convulsing Ireland, and to try to pressure the government into dealing seriously with Ireland’s housing emergency.
Continue reading House

Australia says ‘Yes’

As I was about to go to bed last night, I saw on Facebook, the news trickling through, that Australia had overwhelmingly voted to support same sex marriage, in its non-binding postal vote. Looking at the videos of people celebrating, I felt a real happiness for the gay community in Australia. Particularly for those who plan to get married, or who would one day like to get married.

The last six months will have been grindingly horrible for them. Continue reading Australia says ‘Yes’

My visitors turned my weekend into the ESB Christmas advert.

So the visitors departed, after their forty eight hour whirlwind visit from the big smoke. I was sad to say goodbye. Guiltily, I also felt a slight sense of relief. I hasten to clarify, that this is not a reflection on the company I keep. My friends are classy Bruces – glamourous and interesting. Continue reading My visitors turned my weekend into the ESB Christmas advert.

The strange tale of Katie Ascough


Student politics is a strange fruit. Such passion, and drama over issues that seem specific and insular, to students at the institution they are attending. The effects on the wider world appear largely irrelevant.

Student politics tends to be a petri-dish for future politicians though. The youth wing of all the political parties are very active in third level institutions. Some of them appear anomalous. Student politics tends to be far more left wing than real life politics.

So to see the porcine, oily, well-fed features of Young Fine Gael or Ogra Fianna Fail in our third level institutions is quite alarming.

It is widely known that people tend to grow more right wing as they grow older. But to see the little Fine Gael and Fianna Fail piggy-wiggies, with their civil war rivalries, and briefcases with room for brown envelopes for bribes, is a touch bizarre and unsettling.

Shouldn’t they mature into their corruption as they climb the greasy career ladder? Shouldn’t they at least pretend to be radical and left wing while at these expensive institutions of learning and privilege?

Although at least the civil war parties are open about their political affiliations.

More sinister is how underhand other groups tend to be, and what their motives actually are.

This brings us conveniently to Katie Ascough – the former president of the Students’ Union in University College Dublin who was yesterday impeached as president of the union, and kicked out from her position. Continue reading The strange tale of Katie Ascough

I’m going to wastelands, wastelands.

I have started boarding the bus to the wastelands, four stops later than what has traditionally been my boarding point. As the mornings are shortening, I am finding it more of a challenge to peel myself from my pit. Hence I am leaving the house later. If I walk a marginally longer route to this new point, I can save myself seven minutes extra in a morning. For an evening person, these extra seven minutes in the scratcher each day, are more precious than gold dust.

The only problem with boarding the bus on the fourth stop, is that my aromatic fellow travellers take liberties. They regularly sit in my designated seat. I will admit that I am joking – to an extent – when I claim to be obsessive compulsive about sitting in the same spot each day. The reality is that I am slightly more easy going. I’ll sit anywhere – but I’ll do a quick analysis before committing to a place. Continue reading I’m going to wastelands, wastelands.

Writer’s block

As avid readers of this blog will tell you, I occasionally write more than blathering blog posts.

I started this MidnightMurphy venture shortly after I arrived in Dublin.  During the months before I moved here, I was engaged in a readjustment phase to Ireland, from my childhood home in Limerick. I was also detoxifying after decades in Amsterdam. To help me deal with these major life decisions I started writing. Continue reading Writer’s block

Seaside on Sunday

My plans were noble for this Sunday. I was going to visit the Irish Jewish Museum on the South Circular Road. Sadly, by the time I had pulled myself together it was already 3pm – and almost closing time.

Wanting to have a somewhat productive Sunday I decided that a coastal walk would be an enjoyable alternative excursion. I had once heard loose talk in some sleazy tavern, that the Dalkey to Killiney coast walk was a  pleasant stroll. Continue reading Seaside on Sunday

Hitching a ride

I was talking to someone about my recent experience hitchhiking in Leitrim. They looked horrified that I had engaged in an activity that would so obviously end with me buried alive in a shallow grave in the hills of the west. I thought about this on the bus, on the way home from work on Wednesday.

I understand people’s concern about this means of transport. A few horrible stories of murdered travellers about twenty years ago seems to have ended its popularity. It is a rare sight to see someone thumbing a lift these days.

It was not always so. Way back in the mists of time, during and immediately after college, it was my preferred method of getting from point A to point B. Firstly it was free, which was always a consideration for a poor student. Secondly it was what people did back then. There was no scandal in hitching a ride. It displayed an element of courage and practicality (even back then though people had justifiable misgivings about its safety). And you’d meet some interesting people along the way, who hopefully wouldn’t dismember you and feed you to the fishes.

I’ve had some interesting lifts. Continue reading Hitching a ride