Building Bridges

A friend sent me a much-needed text yesterday. Earlier in the day we had walked together and I had updated her on the very difficult period I was going through. Here is an edited extract: Darling, I’m so so sorry that your heart is so heavy. You’ll get through this…Keep thinking and living in baby […]

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Want the Change

And I know I am solid and sound; To me the converging objects of the universe perpetually flow; All are written to me, and I must get what the writing means. -Walt Whitman Change is hard. It’s one of the things we struggle with the most, along with zipping up our jeans after a night […]

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The Beginning

2017 was a turbulent, strange, unexpected year for me. The highlight was going home to Ireland for a month by myself. I’m still processing the journey and what it meant to me, and you can follow along as I write about it in installments. I’ve posted four already, and more will be on their way […]

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A Writer in Ireland: Part Four

In Crossmaglen the fire burns true The patriotic flame will never die And when you hear the battle cry It will be the fighting men of Crossmaglen. -“The Fighting Men of Crossmaglen”, IRA ballad, 1970s Armagh and Crossmaglen After a wildly comfortable night in a country B & B just outside Armagh (I had it […]

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A Writer in Ireland: Part Three

Newry Nestled between the Ring of Gullion and the spectacular Mourne Mountains, Newry doesn’t make many headlines these days. I drove into the city with a load of wet washing drying on the back seat and vague memories of grey stone and dullness and necessity. Over the next two days, however, I was to become […]

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A Writer in Ireland: Part Two

Castles are never how you imagine they’re going to be. You picture yourself wafting from medieval great hall to windswept rampart, the imagined accompanying strains of Enya or Clannad making you feel ever so slightly weepy, when in reality you find yourself in rubbish-strewn, freezing ruins with Sam and Betty from Wisconsin, their shell-suited thighs […]

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A Writer in Ireland: Part One

Born in this island, maimed by history and creed-infected, by my father taught the stubborn habit of unfettered thought I dreamed, like him, all people should be free. -John Hewitt, “The Dilemma” There was a surreal, joyful melancholy to this homecoming. As we punched through the haze above a sweltering London and soared left, easing to […]

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Before You

Once upon a time (actually, ten years ago today) I screamed and swore my way through 24 hours of excruciating labour before a disturbingly cheerful surgeon sliced open my stomach at 3am and pulled out a tiny wailing creature who would prevent me from sleeping/weeing on my own/having any peace/existing as an autonomous adult for […]

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An Irish family history

It’s now just over two weeks until I get on a plane to Ireland. In preparation for my trip back to my birthplace, I’ve been talking at length to my father about our life in County Armagh, Northern Ireland. Around two weeks ago I asked him to give me directions to our old house, my old […]

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Insta Bellbird

Who knew Instagram could be such a useful platform for a writer/editor? For a long time I discounted it, thinking that I was a words and ideas person, not a pictures person. But eventually, with the help of my daughter, I succumbed. And I’ve been surprised at how useful and interesting it has been. I […]

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