Toll. Bright tolls that hideous bell, varnished edges biting at the collarbone, unprotected by the cheap white shirt, damp from the last wearing of the cassock, burning incense from the dark interior, lacquer from the brass handles, cloying and heavy in the heat, last night’s fighting as raw, as the nervous marks on my left... Continue Reading →
Valletta.Sun burns down on city streets,bringing in the light, beauty,in the shadows, mystery,lost in ancient rows of homes and steps,cracked flagstones balanced one upon the other,or rooted into living rock,tight alleyways frame views of a wave tossed harbour,an artist might go blind from the wonders,or mad from the ceaseless wind.
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The 7th Annual Winter Warmer weekend has already begun and I am really looking forward to reading in the closed mike session at Kino, Washington St., Cork tomorrow from 2pm. Thanks to the wonderful Ó Bhéal: Cork Poetry Events and its tireless Director and outstanding poet Paul Casey for the invitation to be part of... Continue Reading →
A letter for Amina on it's way to Armagh Robinson Library (@ArmRLib) to hopefully take part in #fillingthevoid with Maria McManus (@maria_mcmanus) & co. Another fantastic and innovative project, which it is a real pleasure to have the opportunity to take part in. https://mariamcmanus.wordpress.com/2019/10/30/write-us-a-letter-filling-the-void/ As Maria outlines on her page: 'Through this project, we want... Continue Reading →
Really enjoy the poetry and writing of Damien B. Donnelly, an Irish exile in Paris, however I believe he will be home to these shores again soon.
A short tale of fancy and fear.
And so he waved back, and, as if brushing back the years, he remembered when they cycled through the lanes together, well, not exactly together, but in their group; he was there and she was there, though, in truth, it was not this particular woman, the woman who had waved to him as the train passed but the tracks and the wave lead him back there somehow, that time when he watched a girl’s hair in front of him as it caught the breeze and the sunlight above them as wisps of leaves leaned from trees overhead as if to touch her and he remembered how much it hurt. How much he resented nature in that moment, on that perfectly ordinary day in the countryside when everything, it seemed, reached out to touch her but him while he peddled to keep up with…
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At the age of 19, Dermot Cosgrove had a taste for adventure, and the call of la Légion Étrangère brought him to France, over the next six years he served with great pride and distinction across the globe; including service in the First Gulf War. He even served twice in Somalia with UNTAF & UNOSOM, while there he met his fellow countrymen deployed with the Irish Defence Forces. Although he has long hung up his kepi blanc, this native of Ennis has continued to work as a security consultant for over twenty years mainly in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia; he also has combined his two lifelong loves of hiking and birdwatching into a guided tour business, where clients can avail of his expert ornithology knowledge and his vast walking wisdom by joining him on tours in Ireland and across Europe.
The loss of loved one is one of the most tragic experiences which can befall a family. If that loved one is not recovered, then the grieving process can be made all the more difficult on those left behind. There is in Cork, a dedicated team of volunteers who have since their foundation provided hundreds of families with the solace of having their loved one returned to them.
Ever Present Danger. The smoke is acrid, thick and hot. It forms an oppressive layer above the lurid yellow helmets of the firefighting team. Heat radiates from the burning fire in the corner of the cabin in front of them. The noise of the water as it bounces of the deckhead and deck is deafening, the steel structure reverberates and the team leaders shouts out his commands through the life persevering facemask of his breathing apparatus. All commands have a purpose, each given with an intensity befitting the seriousness of the situation; while each response is repeated quickly and verbatim, once the command has been executed the team leader is informed immediately. There is no place for an individual here; only by working as a team will these five sailors fight their way through hatches and down ladders, deeper into the burning vessel they press on, negotiating the total darkness to find the seat of the fire. Their shipmates’ lives depend upon it.
Something in the Water.
There must be something in the water that nourishes writers on this Great Island of ours, as it has such an abundance of them. Perhaps, as the Lee flows along, it gathers stories from its many tributaries and courses, tumbling them in its stream as it flows ever onward on its journey to the Atlantic. Or maybe it’s the nature of living on the harbour, where for centuries ships have sailed and sheltered as the flow of commerce from across the nation has funnelled goods and people to its quaysides; then onward to new horizons waiting out past Roches point.
Something draws them to come to rest, like so many grains of sand, onto the shores of Cobh. This never-resting, ever-changing harbour has borne witness to the heartache of the emigrant and the excitement of unknown adventures for those drawn to a life on the ocean. Cobh’s every corner is etched with history and the endless search for fresh possibilities seems to stimulate the creativity of the local writers. They wait like Heaney at his desk, ‘Between my finger and my thumb, The squat pen rests. I’ll dig with it.’, and what a range of stories our local writers unearth in their digging.
A Changed World.
In 1919, the war to end all wars was over. The 19th of January saw the start of peace negotiations in Paris, which would culminate in the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in June. This momentous year saw the drafting of the covenant of the League of Nations, the surrender and scuttling of the German high seas fleet in Scapa Flow. It also on the 21st of January saw the first Dáil sit in the Mansion House in Dublin, where they declared Irish Independence in fulfilment of the goals of the grand heroic failure of the 1916 Easter Rising. Also on that fateful day in Soloheadbeg, volunteers of the 3rd Tipperary Brigade under the command of Seán Treacy and Dan Breen, ambushed and shot two constables of the Royal Irish Constabulary. The first two dead men of an estimated 1,400 deaths between 1919 and 1921. While most of the fighting occurred on land across Ireland, the sea had a major role to play in both the Rising and the War of Independence.
Lonely Edge of Europe.
Ireland holds a geostrategic maritime position on the lonely edge of Europe, facing out into the North Atlantic where the European and North American sea lanes veritably bustle with all manner of shipping. At the turn of the century, Ireland's seas and maritime domain where under the firm control of the British Empire and the might of the Royal Navy. The ports and deep sheltered harbours of Cork, Berehaven and Lough Swilly, protected by massive forts and coastal artillery batteries, had played their part in centuries of British domination of the high seas and from these ports where shipped troops to fight in Britain's many wars. Many a period of rebelliousness across Ireland was subdued by forces shipped from these Naval installations, helping to underpin the British presence in Ireland as the dark clouds of war gathered on the European horizon. Those clouds burst in August 1914.
She was 93 years old,grandmother of all agitators,immigrant teacher's words stirred men to action,she wrote her story down,passing labours flame from Pennsylvania,from coal mining heartlands built on the bones of union,tales of the silk children's knight crusader,charging the power of the mill.
The call of the woman of the north side,fell into the ear of the ragged trousered wretch,growing straight in the regimented pines,arrayed through the ruins of famine homesteads,hemmed in by the meandering dry stone walls,built from their shells,pray for the dead,fight like hell for the living,in mines and bogs or dockyard slips,the boot seeks a neck,the company scales the pocket picked,join a union