Off to Listowel with thanks to Carlow County Council Arts funding

I received word today that an application I sent through to Carlow County Council for Arts Service funding this year was successful. I had applied to attend the Listowel Writers Festival in June and taking a place in Danielle Mc Laughlin’s short fiction workshop, which runs for 2 days.


I greatly admire Danielle, her writing and her helpfulness as a writer to other little writers like me. I have a sneaking feeling that she will be as good of a teacher as she is a writer.



Aumtun Royal-written by Kevin Barry is COMING! Full excitement overload!

A new play by Kevin Barry (Beatlebone and City of Bohane) is a-coming! Here is the story below…..


May and Timothy are looking after the father – the father has long since taken to the bed.  Their own lives are curtailed, closed down, and they’re not getting any younger. Should they stay or should they go?

A dark, dark comedy, set on the northside of Cork city, Autumn Royal is a play about life and death, love and hate, hysterical dependency, jealousy, rage, horror, and homicidal notions – or, in other words, it’s a play about a family.

In case you did not know, Kevin Barry is the multi-award winning writer of the novels Beatlebone and City Of Bohane and the story collections Dark Lies The Island and There Are Little Kingdoms. Autumn Royal is his first piece written originally for the stage.

On in the Everyman Theatre, Cork: 


Project Arts Centre, Dublin

07 February 2017-11 February 2017 7.45pm

The Dock, Carrick On Shannon

Thu 23 February, 8:30pm

I am hoping to get there if the M-boy can be cared for nicely by some kind girl or family member.

Get excited, bound to brilliant and dark….


Over the Edge shortlist New Writer of the Year 2016

Gosh, I kind of find these posts odd and ego-ridden and cringey to read so here goes….

One of my stories has been shortlisted for the Over the Edge New Writer of the Year award 2016, got the news this morning via an excited husband holding a mobile screen in my face! It was a lovely way to be woken up and then a coffee and then a coffee and pretzel chocolate thing in Costa with my lovely M-boy.

overtheedgeshortlistI have been working on this story for over two years and the first draft of the story has morphed into an entirely different one. Even the title has changed! I have been writing for quite some time and only feel that this story and others I have written recently have started to show me as a person, writer etc and how I think other people might think about the world. I am proud of this story because of those things. It is me and what I like to read and it just makes me feel all delighted to see that someone else might think it is okay too.

I would love to be at the fiction slam in Galway in October but we are booked to go away to Munich and Salzburg to see my most loved cousin, Trina and her lovely, Australian husband.

Life is good. Back to the work.

Was this odd, ego-ridden and cringey? Comments below, please. Send good thoughts. x


Culture night 2016 in Kenny’s Bookstore, Galway

A fab time was had in Galway city for Culture night 2016. I was reading a story of mine which had been longlisted for the Over the Edge New Writer of the Year competition and Simon was judging the Poetry Open Mic. Elizabeth Reap was there reading from her debut novel, Red Dirt and Karl Parkinson was reading from his new novel, The Blocks. They are both excellent readers of their work. Karl’s book is hilarious, great stories in there and well-told by Mr. Parkinson.


The next day, we went back to Kenny’s Bookstore to spend my winnings(I came third in the Open Mic Fiction) and Des, the owner took me around the massive bookshop and showed me his top pickings. I will post on these later.

Thanks, Galway, Fun was had, for sure!

A picture of us here that was taken by Dean Kelly, the gallery and event organiser there in  Kenny’s. Apparently it will adorn the walls along with Roald Dahl, Edna O’ Brien and thousands more who have visited this very cool bookstore!



Over the Edge at Culture night in Galway

Heading to one of the best cities in Ireland on Friday-Galway, of course. This Friday is Culture Night all over Ireland and Galway are celebrating it with one event-The Over the Edge open mic for fiction and poetry readings in Kenny’s Bookshop from 4 p.m.

Simon is reading from his poetry collection there as well as Karl Parkinson and Elizabeth Reapy so it should be a great evening.
I have had a story long-listed and will be reading some of it too at the fiction open mic so it is all fun and games if you want to hear me read.
See you there, maybe.

West Cork Literary Festival 2016

Bantry is the only place to be for the writer who wants to…write!

This is our third year attending the literary festival and it is, without doubt, our favourite of all the lit fests we have attended in Ireland. Ths year was different too, we were bringing our lovely toddler boy, M-boy with us and were staying in a lovely little apartment on Slip Lawns, a ten minute walk otuside Bantry.

There would be no open mics.

There would be no all nighters raving and cavorting through the streets of Bantry and there would be no week-long writing workshops.

But, instead we got a trip on the ferry to Whiddy island, two trips to the lovely beach at the end of Bantry Harbour, a toddler group at Cafe Organico and some really special family meals outside Stuffed Olive and dining in the lovely and very child-friendly and understanding O’ Connor’s Restaurant. We even got two separate days in the beer garden (with Emrys being on his best behaviour) of Ma Murphy’s Pub. Win!


Simon went to the Theo Dorgan, Sarah Howe and Jo Shapcott poetry event and I attended Danielle McLaughlin, Maire Gethins and Bairbre LEahy speak about their writing group, what to do, what to avoid and how to make them work and keep working. I will post separately about this.

Simon is reading tomorrow morning at 11 in the Bantry Bookshop and we are excited but sad as we have to leave the gorgeous Bantry straightafter.

Until next year…

The Hay Festival 2016:Kells

This was my first time at the Hay Festival in Kells. I have never even been to Kells and it is a pleasant little town! I was attending the festival as a V.I.P with Simon who was reading there too as a first!

We stayed with friends so were able to nip in quickly enough to the town. There was loads of events on for kids so Emrys got to listen to stories and scribble away to his heart’s desire.

They had many, many big name and a mix of commercial, literary and a focus more so on the reading element as opposed to the writing. The organisers were really warm and welcoming to us and it is possibly the friendliest Lit festival I have attended yet.

The Green Room was located in a wonderful treasure cave of a second hand bookshop cafe and we had plenty coffee, fruit and biscuits. We were also treated to a lovely lunch in the nearby hotel.

I went to see Simon who was a guest speaker at an Amnesty International event with Colm O’ Gorman, Exec Director and they spoke about the refugee crisis. Colm is so passionate and cares so much about human rights issues, I was delighted that Emrys was kept very quiet with a bag of baby books the event organisers gave to him!

Simon took Emrys off the next day and I got to enjoy a full hour of Kevin Barry and Matthew Spangler talking about how Beatlebone should be directed if Matthew were in control! For the last half an hour of the discussion, Kevin and Matthew discussed the various ideas that had been floated on staging Beatlebone, the musical options, the actors and the budget! It was simply a unique format and I was glad for it as sometimes the typical reading of the novel can get a bit yawny.

This was all we managed to get to but we did well, just sauntering around the town and taking it in. I would definitely recommend it, the festival brochure is thick and chunky and full of events for everyone, a real inclusive one.

Thanks, Hay Festival and all who run it! From what I saw, you rocked!



Carlow Arts Festival 2016

The Carlow Arts Festival used to be in the town only. Then, it moved and stretched out to the wonderful Festival of Writing and Ideas in Borris House and the stretched further to the River Barrow and the Barges on the Barrow Festival.

I still see them as three separate and brilliant festivals and I got to attend two out of three this year! You have read my post on Borris so here is the lowdown on the Big Weekender in Festival HQ in Carlow town for the Carlow Arts Festival.

Big Weekender?

Festival HQ?


Yep, the Carlow Arts Festival or Eigse as everyone really calls it was christened with two new titles this time around- The Big Weekender was jam-packed with big names like Hothouse Flowers, Lisa Lambe, Le Galaxie DJs and Foils, Arm and Hog comedians among many more. There was the usual exhibitions from local artists like Lily O’ Rourke, Blue Print(Bob Frazier) and Carlow Photographic Society and a fringe event from our writing group, the Carlow Writers who brought an Open Mic and a Poetry Slam to the Teach Dolmain, home of the writers’ group.

This year the festival and its HQ and its Big Weekender took over the beautiful grounds of Visual Centre and Saint Patrick’s College. This is the central spot of the town and actually the perfect and only location for an arts HQ so well done to whoever thought of that. There was lots of ale/beet tents, food tents, sweetie tents and a huge, retro playground area for kids and toddlers. M-boy, the babba boy had a great tumble and toddle around the place and would have stayed all day only we had to go home to sleep and cramp his style.

The HQ also hosted outdoor cinema, fireworks, foot magicians up in the air(acrobats) and a human library alongside the energetic Dublin Ukulele Band. I cannot mention everything I saw or hoped to see but the Big Weekender might stretch itself quite nicely into a Big Week next time! Small things like more signs, allowing small trickle of the Big Weekender onto Tullow and Dublin Street and more,more,more local talent for next year are to be suggested right now by me!

As usual, it makes me sad to say another Carlow Arts/Eigse Festival is over. Goodbye, see you soon. See you in 2017.

Belfast Book Festival 2016

We had a nice city break in the compact and cool city of Belfast. Mum came with us and the M-boy and Simon was doing his poetry thing. He was reading with the Doire Poets showcase in the Crescent Arts Centre. Mum stayed with M-boy very kindly as he really does not quite dig poetry just yet!


We arrived in and the lovely and very poetic Stephen Connolly welcomed us to the lovely Green Room. It was a super Green Room full of nice beverages, treats, dips and sweet things to munch on and drink while we waited.

Stephanie Conn and Michael J. Whelan were also reading with Simon and we had a lovely chat with them and their families who were up to support them.

Simon’s Uncle and Aunty were in the audience to listen to Simon, which he was delighted with as they live in Canada but were in Belfast that week.

Stephanie read from her debut collection, the woman on the other side and Michael’s collection is called Peacekeeper. Stephanie reads very well, I discovered she is a teacher so that explains her excellent reading voice though Michael read his poetry about his experiences of war with emotions well too.

Simon read 6 of his poems and it feels like Ground hog day as over the last five years of him writing these poems, I have heard them again and again. He was still great and sounded very fresh!

Afterwards, we had a drink with Stephen Connolly and we talked about all of the inside gossip of the fiction and poetry world. He walked us to a Japanese restaurant called Sakura in the University District that he recommended and it was really good.

It was a shame I didn’t get to the Short story talk but it was on at the same time as the Doire Press folk and I had to make a choice. Jan Carsen and other new Irish short story writers were speaking but I am sure I will catch them again.


The Belfast Book Festival is one I would love to see more of but we took time to explore the Black Cab tours of political Belfast and Long’s Fish and Chips restaurant too. A girl cannot spend her time obsessing over books, you know but No Alibis Bookshop was sussed out in the end as was a really nice coffee shop that did refined sugar free goodies in it called Kaffe-O. A Hotel Chocolate shop may have been visited too.