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.

Review of the Year 2013 on

It’s been amazing how busy my year has been. From hanging and learning at writing festivals and workshops to attending launches and lots and lots of reading and reviews in between.


I attended the Irish Blog Awards in style!
I attended the Irish Blog Awards in style!

I’m going to start right back at the start of 2013. Yes, you’ve guess it. I’m starting my review of 2013 in…

My Christmas present from my husband was a holiday to the city of Bath from. I was looking forward to lots of reading! We stayed in a gorgeous country house hotel up in the hills above the city. During the day, we saw the Jane Austen Museum, the Roman Baths and spent too much money in Mrs B’s Reading Emporium-the most fabulous of fabulous bookshops. I got a great recommendation there for a three-part novella/short story collection by Italian author, Pietro Grossi. I devoured it and reviewed “Fists” on the blog. Back at home, The National Emerging Writers’ Programme released a set of DVDs in conjunction with

A Rozzie became ill and Simon attended the Dalkey Book Festival by himself. He treated me to the anthology of very cool and diverse anthology “Best European Fiction 2012” and I promptly gave it a thumbs up and a glowing review on the blog. You have to be nice.

There was an obsession on my blog with the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Prize 2013. I downloaded the 5 short stories and loved, loved, loved Mark Hadden’s “The Gun”. I predicted it would win but Junot Diaz’s “Miss Lora” scooped the prize. I liked it but didn’t love it. Not to worry, Mark, there’s always next year.

My favourite Lit Crush, Kevin Barry won the IMPAC Prize of €100,000. April was also a month for winning with the Hennessey Literary award for Best Emerging Fiction went to a short story, “Shelley” by John O’ Donnell. That story certainty stayed with me.

Dave Lordan at the launch of his First Book of Frags.
Dave Lordan at the launch of his First Book of Frags.


I also got out and about and attended Dave Lordan’s launch of his new book entitled “First Book of Frags” I really enjoyed the frags, a unique mix of full-sugar calorie, Dave-style and proud. His launch was open and fun, ending in an Open Mic where I read a short piece.

We saw the beginnings of the festivals that cover Ireland for the summer months with the Dublin Writers’ Festival and I applied for a masterclass with Colum Mc Cann. He handled the packed class of students well and was a chilled out performer.
2013 really was Kevin Barry’s year(Every year is?) and in May, he edited the “Town and Country” short story anthology. I was torn with trying to get to my nephew’s communion in Mayo and going to the launch in Dublin. In the end, after a public vote, I got to both. In heels.

It was a month of reviews for and I reviewed “The story of before” by Susan Stairs, “Bloodlines” by Joyce Russell and “Telemetale”, anthology put together by the Irish Writers’ Centre to commemorate Bloomsday.
June was also jam-packed with events. The Carlow Writers’ Cooperative published and launched their own anthology, “What Champagne Was Like” and I had two shorts featured within. The very lovely Jamie O’ Connell launched it for us. We raised over €1,100 and were pretty proud.

Jamie O Connell launches our group anthology, What Champagne Was Like. An excuse was had to get hair made big by Rozzie.
Jamie O Connell launches our group anthology, What Champagne Was Like. An excuse was had to get hair made big by Rozzie.

I also checked out the brilliant Festival of Writing and Ideas in Borris House. We had Ben Okri, PJ Harvey, Anne Enright and Donal Ryan to name a few. Hugo Jellett, the organiser has created the top literary festival with a unique setting. A must for any reader or writer. Honestly. It finished off a pretty brilliant Carlow Arts Festival. We are lucky. You should be jealous of Carlow.

This month is always the month of the West Cork Literary Festival and we headed off to Bantry again. I sat a week-long workshops with John McKenna and it involved lots of movement and chat and homework! The week flew. My highlight of the festival events was Deborah Levy, reading from her cute book “Things we don’t want to know” and “Black Vodka”, both of which I loved and reviewed on

Off to Bantry in July to read, chat and write!
Off to Bantry in July to read, chat and write!


A historian friend( you know who you are) dragged us to the surprisingly cool History Festival in Ireland in Duckett’s Grove, Carlow. We saw “The Great Hunger”, Patrick Kavanagh’s one-man play. It was excellent and we followed it up with an event  with Nicky Byrne. He of former Westlife. Turtle Banbury, the host interviewed him well and Nicky told us everything he had found out about his family history in the archives.
I also volunteered for the Kilkenny Arts Festival and sat in on Ron Rash, Kevin Barry(whoop!), Paula Meehan and a evocative and moving performance of the river voice in Finnegan’s Wake in “Riverrun”
I also somehow got the chance to review David Constantine’s new short story collection, “Tea at the Midlands”. Loved.

This month was the result of a summer holiday of reading with lots of reviews. I reviewed “Siege 13”, “Testament of Mary” and “The Herbalist”. Carlow Libraries gave us the annual Penfest Literary Festival and I caught up with Nuala Ni Chonchuir and she shared her wisdom on the short story. Kevin Barry  arrived in Carlow and he read and chatted about his writing life. He revealed he was heading out of Ireland for a while but he will return. Phew!

It was all about the literary magazine. Bohemyth announced its new editor, Michael Naughten-Shanks. Wordlegs magazine announced they wouldn’t be around forever and Dave Lordan et announced a new magazine, Colony. Coming soon!
I reviewed the very cool “Psychotic Episodes” by Alan Mc Gonagle and Simon reviewed the novel “Mount Merrion” purely because he loves Justin Quinn.

November was longlisted for “Best Arts and Culture” blog and I attended the awards ceremony in style, dressed up as a flapper girl.

New Planet Cabaret anthology was launched by editor, Dave Lordan. Him again! We attended the launch which was recorded live on RTE radio 1 Arena show.

It was festive with an entertaining night in Cafe Formenti, Carlow Town. John Mc Kenna and Angela Keogh hosted the event and we were treated to mince pies, turkey and cranberry balls and sweet potato and cinnamon fritters alongside readings and music. It inspired me to host my own Open Mic. Readers were asked to read, rant, sing for 5 minutes on the theme of Yuletide. Loosely. Madeline from the Tearooms gave us her new popup tea rooms as a venue and it was wonderfully festive and sweet!

The last month of 2013 was finished off with a review of Ron Rash’s “Nothing Gold Can Stay” and much anticipated “Young Skins” by modest man, Colin Barrett. Hyped up but fully deserved. I was sad when I finished it. Colin had one of his stories nominated for the Bord Gáis Short Story of the Year award but he lost out.

The last few days of my 2013 are being spent reading Carve Magazine and looking forward to writing some new reviews to come in the shape of “The thing about December” by Donal Ryan and “Baracuda” by Christos Tsiolkas.

Life is good and is a busy, little blog! I’ve hoped you enjoyed the year with me and it’s given you some inspiration to get reading, it really is the new black. Happy New Year!

West Cork Literary Festival 2013-Part Two

It has begun raining here and Bantry is a memory of heat and sun and niceness.

Bantry was brilliant this year, probably because I sat a class with John Mac Kenna. He gave us homework, which seemed like a pain at the time but it was hugely beneficial and created lovely memories sitting with my husband at the top of the Maritime Hotel looking out over Bantry Bay. Pure bliss.

Deborah Levy was a recent read of mine, I had been sent her short story collection Black Vodka from her publishers and other stories and was on a mission it to finish it before Bantry as Deborah was going to be reading there.

She read a few of her stories in the Bantry Library. She definitely was my reading of the festival. Her stories were emotionally heightened by the way she read them, she is a witty woman and was utterly relaxed as she performed. We got to ask questions after and I had to ask about one of her stories. She answered it well and I wondered if authors get annoyed by the fact that readers don’t sometimes get their meaning fully and may interpret something else from it instead. She signed my book afterwards and I spotted her mingling with the biggies, Ann Enright, Nurrudin Farah and Louise Doughy in the Maritime Bar afterwards.

Also, that week we went to the Launch of Organico Cafe’s Letter Writing Cafe with Phillip Hensher speaking on the merits of handwriting.

The cafe gives out free letter writing kits every year and will even post your letters during the festival I sent one to my Aunty in Canada, it does feel off to hand write! I am not sure if Phillip convinced Simon as he wrote him a letter speaking about the benefits of technology. We haven’t heard back yet but I will keep you posted!

I couldn’t possible talk about all the other things in Bantry like the morning walks down the harbour, the fish and chips and visit to Bantry Museum. I’ve put a montage together of all the moments so enjoy! Get yourself down to Bantry next year!





A gutted and distraught Rozzie cannot go to Faber launch event

Faber Socials is on the Saturday, 25th May and am so not going to miss it.

Except I am. It coincides with a big family event at home, in the West and my sister would cut me off if I missed it for a book launch.

But, this is not just any ol’ launch. It’s a brand new anthology of Irish short stories. Edited by the man,  Kevin Barry, Town and Country  is featuring contributors like Patrick McCabe,Paul MurrayNuala Ní ChonchúirEimear Ryan andMichael Harding.

Apparently, everyone is going to be there. Like, everyone.

One has to even buy a ticket to attend so it must be all very special. It’s going to be launched in the Clarence Suite in Dublin at 6 p.m.

Hey, wait a minute, I don’t have to be in the West until 10:30 a.m. the day after. I could go to the Faber event, mingle and quaff nice drinks for a couple of hours and then either travel to the West that evening, arriving after midnight. Or, I could get up at 4:30 a.m. the next morning and arrive in perfect time for the West event. A third option would be to make someone dress up as me for the West event and I would take their place at the Faber event. A fourth option would be to write to the Dublin Writers’ Festival and demand(ask) that they switch the event date to the Friday instead of the Saturday. The most important thing is that I am there.

The final option is that I don’t go and just go to the West and enjoy that family day, and I will enjoy it but I would love to have two enjoys.

What do you think I should do? Click on  the poll below to help me decide. [polldaddy poll=”7068965″]


The very beautiful city of Bath:Where books were bought and read

As my Christmas present from Simon this year, I received a trip to the city of Bath!

The location was a surprise but I had hinted vaguely at the notion of going on the car ferry, driving to a country house hotel outside of some pretty city in England so was delighted with it!

We stayed for three nights in the very lovely Homewood Park Hotel, just 6 KM outside of Bath and in the deepest, darkest countryside of Bath. The hotel was delicious, small with a fab spa, restaurant and great big fire to have hot chocolate in front of!

The hotel
The hotel

We spent our days sauntering around the city and took a trip out to Stonehenge. It was a let down and it sounds silly but it really is a load of rocks standing up in a field while millions of people walk around it taking snaps. Like us. I think they are building a centre there next year, which is really needed as we just rocked up, stuck on some incredibly boring audios and got out quickly.

However, the Roman Baths in Bath are a different thing. We loved them. They have managed to do a brilliant job of preserving as much as they could of the baths and a Bill Bryson audio commentary really helped us alongside the visual screens around the site. We spent over an hour here and could have spent more.

The baths were super hot!


Bath is full of lovely and quirky shops, lots of alleyways dying to be investigated. They have three main bookshops-WH Smith, Waterstone and their own independent Mr. B’s Emporium of Reading Delights. The staff in here were excellent and the guy shared his love of short stories with me. We spoke about how Ireland are really whipping bottom in the area of short stories. He gave me a new short story writer to look at, Pietro Grossi. I bought Fists, a book made up of 3 novella type short stories. Will be reviewing this soon. I also bought Write, a reference book packed full of insights into how and why authors write. Short and snappy. Liked and read it in one helping!

We took a visit to the Jane Austen Centre. Jane Austen set two of her six published novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, in Bath and made the city her home from 1801 to 1806. So, the people of Bath rightly love her. They also love Mr. Darcy aka Colin Firth a lot as well. The shop there is made up of Jane Austen quotes, books and anything you can think of with Mr. Darcy on the front! I picked up a ravishing bookmark of Mr. Darcy.

Even though we only stayed for three nights, I got loads done. I read lots and wrote a bit too! A lovely Christmas present and would highly recommend Bath as a literary destination!


Holiday reading

I have spent the last two weeks in the beautifully cool city of Santander, in the region of Cantrabia, Spain.  I still had a couple of new short story collections to read at home and was debating to bring them with me but then I thought of using my kindle instead.

I downloaded “Solace” by Belinda McKeon and “Selected stories” by William Trevor and”Broken harbour” by Tana French.
Some explanation is needed, I think! Solace is a novel I have been meaning to read for a while. I hate reading a book just because it’s popular or won some type of award and Solace seemed that type of book. No, I would wait until I felt like reading it. That time came after the West Cork Lit festival in Bantry. Belinda Mc Keon was reading and staying at the whole event in the same hotel we were in. I saw her at breakfast every morning and noted she looked using iPads and twitter and was fascinatingly to look at. Sounds, like I was a bit obsessed, I wasn’t. She just happened to be an early riser like us! So, her little face stuck in my mind and when I downloaded the sample first chapter from Solace, I liked and wanted more. I read Solace in barely two days! Belinda really gets Ireland but especially rural Ireland. I had never thought of the pull of the father and the guilt of the son as they leave rural life, farming and land behind them.  She also seems to write very descriptively about modern Dublin life and having a baby! Solace is a must read that reminds me of what a good short story is about:nothing but everything. The novel opens with a prologue which makes you carry on reading until the end. I’m giving nothing away!
The second novel I read in ultra quick time was Broken Harbour by Tana French. She is an Irish(well, we have claimed her as Irish!) crime writer whose first two novels scared the bejesus out of me! This one is as compelling though it seemed to go on a bit too much towards the end and didn’t scare me as much. Maybe, I’m becoming less nervy in older life! I enjoyed it, a very light read that those type of women might bring to the beach. Tana French is no Belinda Mc Keon thought I’m sure both women are happy with their own genre and style. Worth a read but not as good as her first two, though disturbing observations on the Celtic Tiger and what went could have gone wrong.
I am only half way through William Trevor’s Selected Stories. I’ve noticed that be seems to be a very formal, gentlemanly type of writer and his stories could be easily lengthened out into a novella. I’m enjoying him though and learning from him as the master of the short story. He was born in 1928 but he can do it all-old style, modern, funny, sexy…Jealous?
The holidays have been great for not only reading but for writing. Since, my time in Bantry, I have written 9 individual short stories, with two of them becoming the longest I have ever written. Now, the next step is to draft, redraft and then show to the writers group. We have a reading coming up at Penfest Carlow 2012 and hoping to get one into a good state for that!


Day 3 of West Cork Literary Festival in Bantry

I was becoming very sad…my last day at Bantry but was also really excited/nervous. Simon had got me tickets to hear Kevin Barry read that evening for my birthday. I had also managed to grab a few minutes with Kevin. I’ll upload the interview I did with him but in those 20 minutes, there are a huge amount of advice and tips for would be writers. He was very generous with his time and extremely easy to chat with, which is good.

Derek, our friend had recommended that we go listen to Gerard Dawe read from his new book “Selected Poems”. so, when I finished up with Kevin, we made our way to Bantry Library. Slightly late but brave, we skulked at the back until a nice librarian offered us a seat. When we went up to buy his book, Simon got chatting with Gerard. Gerard is a fellow of Trinity College Dublin, he is associate professor in English and Creative Writing, and inaugural director of the Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish Writing at Trinity College. Turns out, he is also childhood friend with Simon’s Uncle, Eon, who now lives in Canada. Yes, we know, Ireland is such a small place. Simon was chuffed with this connection!

The main event was at 8:30 with Kevin Barry and Sri Lankan author, Romesh Gunesekera. Claire Kilroy compered the event, she did a fantastically relaxed job of it! Kevin read from his new short story collection “Dark lies the island” He read just one story, everyone loved hi. He reads as well as he writes, very dramatically and full of humor and emotion. It was one of my favourite moments of Bantry 2012. Romesh read from his novel “Prisoner of Paradise”. Afterwards, Claire interviewed them with some questions from the audience. Kevin and Romesh seemed to gel really well together, even though their writing is totally unconnected. They gave lots of practical advice and wisdom, Kevin was the same as when I spoke with him-motivating and encouraging.

Was beyond sad to leave the next morning early. But, I will absolutely be back, that is a promise! Bantry is a superb little town, people are friendly, food is delish and the literary talent is pretty good too!

Day 2 in Bantry, the West Cork Literary Festival

We had to check out and check in again due to a long and uninteresting story which I can tell you about, if you really want to hear! We took a walk along the marina, I wanted to reach the Hollywood-style sign that spelt out BANTRY on the hill across from our hotel, the Maritime. We reached it in record time of about two minutes and it started to rain. So, back to the car and up,up,up to Bantry House. We could/should have walked it but I didn’t want to wreck my hair.
Bantry House is gorgeous, apparently it is one of the Top Twenty Houses to visit in the World or Europe. We stood and posed for couple photos and got some nice shots of the gardens. We were getting hungry so attempted to head into the Tea Rooms, which looked rather nice as they overlooked the view of Bantry and the marina. The lady on the desk told us we normally would have to pay €5 to get into the gardens and you couldn’t visit the TeaRooms without seeing the gardens…hmmm. What she said before was quite pointless as then she told us we didn’t have to pay as the rain would mean we couldn’t get a proper look at the Gardens.
So, we went to the TeaRooms free of charge except I don’t think anyone would have cared if we had paid to see the Gardens or not.
We grabbed a quick bowl of soup and I felt all virtuous as previous lunches had involved too much food. When we were finished, we took off into the town again to have a little stroll around the shops and streets. At precisely, 2:53, Simon informed me that we needed to check in to our bedroom. Great.
It was great! In our room, (it’s my birthday on Monday) Simon had organized a big, fat chocolate cake with my name iced all it, a bottle of something bubbly and cold in a bucket of ice…these products were situated in the top of the Maritime Hotel, in one of the Penthouse Suites! Wowee, we had a stunning view of the bay and the Hollywood sign. Life is good!
I didn’t want to leave the room but a very nice and well mannered and tuned out author, Jamie O Connell was reading from his book in MA Murphy’s. Plus, the flyer promised prosecco so the choice was clear! As well, as Jamie reading, there were two other poets. All three are published with Bradshaw publishing. There was a great atmosphere and Jamie read one of his very comic short stories ” On eating grass”. It was hilarious and we all laughed along to the perfectly captured voice of a child who has a crazy life. You can read this very story here on the Lonely voice blog
I got to chat to Jamie after, a very nice, pleasant and unassuming guy. He currently working on his first novel but I hope he intersperses that with some more short stories!
I had to get back to the suite, the view from the balcony was calling me. Nah, let’s be honest, it was the iced bottle of something calling me! Derek joined us for a special “Julie’s fish and chips” takeout. Nice. We talked about dreams of living in Bantry for 6 months,then London and then New York for the remainder, one day, we said. In the meantime, we’ll enjoyed what we have!
I had gained enough nerves to read at the Open Mike and with a freshly cooked short story about a horrible man and my well-read Kitty stories, I made my way to the Open Mike. Michael Parkinson had just been interviewed, all the tickets had sold out but we didn’t really mind.
I read 2 of my Kitty stories and my new one about a principal. A sweaty principal who hates his job and life and doesn’t stop to think he should really let it go. No one booed me or walked out so I was happy! Simon and Derek got up to read twice and local comedian, Martin got up to read about his struggles dealing with a paranormal universe. It must be difficult, alright.
I left the lads with music and general song singing, I was tired and happy. I had read at Bantry.
Tomorrow, Kevin Barry is reading and I hope to meet with him to ask him a few questions. Tune in!


Day one of my first time at the West Cork Literary Festival, beautiful Bantry

Bantry-my first day of the festival

I’ve heard so much about Bantry and the West Cork Literary Festival that is held there every year. Our good friend, Derek from our writing group is always telling us to go, this is his fourth year in attendance. But, it is only my first so I was over the top excited when we hit the beautifully “everything an Irish town should look like” Bantry.

The first thing that caught my eye was the Hollywood-esque white letter signs spelling out BANTRY 2012. Placed on the hill above the marina and directly across from where we were staying, in the Maritime Hotel. Lovely idea. Most of the workshops and talks are held in the Maritime Hotel so the backdrop of the marina and the white sign make for ultimate photo opportunities! And, I used this prop well, taking hundreds of photos at different angles!

A stroll around the town of Bantry and a bit of letter writing

The weather was stunning when we arrived, we walked about, taking in the vibe-outdoor cafes with homemade ice cream, seafood eateries and old school pubs. We randomly came across a cute Coffee Shop called Organico, plenty of space and nice food. We got a spelt scone and strong coffee and sat and read. Bliss. As part of the festival, Organico are encouraging people to write letters. So, I received a complimentary writing pad, nice pen and wrote a letter to my family in Canada, something I’d been meaning to do for ages. The Coffee shop had left a letter box for any post, saying they would post it for me too! What a nice idea! It felt strange to write, my handwriting is appalling as I am so used to typing but I think my family will be happy to receive it!

Dr Diarmuid Ni Mhuirithe and his research on the death of Anglo Irish language

We decided we would go to one of the afternoon talks, Dr. Diarmuid Ni Mhuirithe was giving a lecture on Hiberno English or Anglo Irish, depending which side of the fence you are on! I did my Irish and English degree in U.C.D and Diarmuid had been the lead lecturer in the field of Hiberno English, he was one of the guys I really enjoyed attending and learning about the history of how we speak English and why. The talk was good, with lots of funny examples of phrases that we use and what they mean in standard English! There was a question and answer at the end and Simon asked him about where the word “craic” came from. Simon seemed to have hit Diarmuid’s raw nerve. Diarmuid spat out the answer( in a nice way) he told us that craic, in fact is a Scottish word and it simply means “good chat”. He seemed annoyed that this word has been changed into an Irish way of getting drunk. Diarmuid ended his talk by saying that Hiberno English would be dead very soon, adding that he didn’t really know how to save it. Simon and I debated this very subject later on, coming to the conclusion that language only stays alive if it is needed and is in flux all the time. Still makes me sad though as I hope that Hiberno English is not replaced by some other random culture or sayings.

Fish Anthology 2012 launch

Fish were launching their 2012 anthology of stories and poems. Fish is an Irish publishing company that runs( among other services) an annual competition. Prizes are pretty nice, but the biggest one has to be reading at the Bantry Festival and being published in their anthology. The evening was really enjoyable, I loved the mix of genres and voices, we heard poetry, flash fiction, memoirs and short stories. We never heard more than a page, which is perfect for my attention span! I bought the anthology for €10, an excellent price for the amount of excellent and diverse reading you will get. Go pick up a copy on the fish website and even better, enter the competition next year! They offer a critiquing service, for a fee, which might be a good idea to start off with.

Seafood eating and a drink with a Welsh man

After this event, we headed off for a bite to eat. We ended up in a place called “The Fish Kitchen”, which was divine! Service was warm and chilled out, while we waited for our table, the owner sent us across the road to the pub, Ma Murphy’s. This pub is the real deal, reminding me of my own local, childhood pub, Dinny’s Ferry Bar and shop in Rossport, Mayo. We had a quick drink in Ma Murphy’s, chatting to the lovely Welsh man who owns the place. When our table was ready, the owner from “Fish Kitchen” nipped over to us, telling us to come along! The food was excellent. I went for haddock and chips, Derek went for monkfish and Simon went for trio of fish. We finished off with proper home-made desserts, me a chocolate mousse, Derek a baked lemon cheese cake and Simon an Eton mess. I’d recommend this place.

A shy Rozzie just didn’t get to read at the Open Mike!

Then it was back to the hotel for the Open Mike session, which is held every night as part of the festival. Most of the Fish anthology winners took up the audience and all wanted to read, which is fair enough but us newbies were dying to have a go too so we waited! Derek read some of his poems and did very well, Simon even got the courage up to read some of his Jewish poems and he did extremely well.

Simon reads his stuff!

He read like a pro, giving some little details to add to the understanding. I know I am biased but he has some interesting things to say about religion and the effect it can have on people’s lives, sometimes negatively. It was nearly 2 in the morning and I hadn’t plucked up the courage to read. I am going to try again tonight! Wish me luck!


Schoolhouse Hotel, Dublin

I’ve always wanted to sleep in a school.

Em, no I haven’t but thought it was quite a good hook for this post.

I’ll start again.

I’ve always wanted to sleep in the Schoolhouse Hotel in Dublin 4. It looks cute and is uber near the city dublin. So, a couple of weeks ago, we decided we would achieve that life long ambition.

It is a pretty cool idea, the bedrooms are all named after famous Irish writers. i was hoping to get Joyce or Kavanagh or someone creative to inspire me. Instead, we for Wolfe Tone. I haven’t read any of his stuff but I hear he is pretty popular in the “chick lit” reader community.

The rooms are really cute, full of character and funky wallpaper by some famous print designer by the name of some guy who is rather famous in that area. I’m sure you have heard of him but you’ll have to go and stay there to find out. I had the best sleep ever, the duvets, pillows and bed were absolutely scrumpious!

For €99 a night, no breakfast, it’s not bad seeing how near it is but the parking is awful and the Manager needed…hmmm.How do I put it?…needed to charge her personality a bit. Probably suited to an office position or something that involves not dealing with human beings. Maybe, not an office worker then. I’m being offensive to those people.

A pop-up food market had set up minutes away from the hotel and we had a fab, italian themed barbequed burgar for lunch, sitting on the canal.

I’d recommend, absolutely.