PORTRAIT OF ELLEN

September 25, 2020  •  Leave a Comment
I met Nellie for the first time at her cottage at Ballyvisteen in 2012, when I was researching a book I was writing for her cousin, John Magnier of Coolmore, and for a few years I became a regular visitor to her home. I knew I’d ‘made it’ when, one evening, she invited me to sit down for a chat. It wasn’t my first time being asked in, but it was th...
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IN MEMORIAM

October 14, 2019  •  Leave a Comment
I spoke yesterday with an artist I know whose young daughter died in May. I only heard the news very recently and didn’t want to merely text or message, so I made a phone call. We had a brief chat and, as sad as it was, I’m glad I made contact. Her daughter, Rachel, died just weeks after being diagnosed with a serious illness. ‘It is what it is,’ h...
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HAPPY NEW YEAR

December 31, 2018  •  Leave a Comment
LET ME SHARE A LITTLE STORY that I've not shared with many but at this moment the time seems right. We weren't at home on New Year's night 2016 and neither were we at home on New Year's night 2017. That wasn't our choice. Both of those weeks between Christmas and New Year’s Day were spent entirely or in part in the Bon Secours Hospital in Cork wher...
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COFFEE AT ELEVEN

April 24, 2018  •  Leave a Comment
A very dear friend of mine died on this day 17 years ago. He was 96, a great age as they say, but I still miss our chats and the times we spent together. When he died, I founded a small committee that set out to erect a plaque in his memory. We planned to raise €2,000 but the fund reached €10,000 within a couple of months and we had to ask people t...
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LINES WRITTEN IN PLUGHOLE STREET, BELGIUM

January 02, 2018  •  Leave a Comment
"Here as I lie in the trenches, I gaze at the bright shining moon, And I ask myself the old question, I wonder will God end it soon? Or why doesn't he cry out 'Cease firing!' Aloud from His high throne above, And get out out of this damn spot, and back to the friends that we love.... These were lines written by an Irish soldier from Newmarke...
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FROZEN IN TIME

July 24, 2017  •  Leave a Comment
My life-long interest in the past brought me to my passion for photography. In the beginning, I regarded my camera as a tool to record things. My early interests focussed on churches, graveyards, castles and old buildings. These record shots, so much frowed upon by the arty photographers, were my stock in trade. I still photograph them but not as m...
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WHAT REALLY MATTERS

December 25, 2016  •  Leave a Comment
Dinner is in the oven. The presents are opened. All I ever wanted for Christmas was turkey, cranberry sauce and brussels sprouts. I've learned that even those simple things don't matter. 2016 has been a bol..x of a year for my family. I have not written about it previously but writing is my craft and the temptation to commit thoughts to the written...
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PUBLISH AND BE DAMNED

January 25, 2016  •  Leave a Comment
Writing is not everyone's cup of tea - writing two books at more or less the same time is what I’ve been at for the last while. Although I sometimes describe it as 'working' I don't really feel that way about it. But still, that's probably what it would be if I didn't enjoy what I was doing. So, sometimes my life is taken over by editing, fine-t...
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SLOWING DOWN

May 15, 2015  •  Leave a Comment
I've been very busy this week (again) and the next few days will be even busier. So, just for a few minutes this morning before reality dawned, I stopped, rested my two elbows on a wall in Fermoy, and decided to enjoy nature's free spectacle. I'm not religious, but I've always liked Cardinal Cushing's prayer 'Slow Me Down, Lord'. He asks for the a...
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THE LATE NELLIE QUINLAN

May 09, 2015  •  Leave a Comment
Nellie (Hartigan) Quinlan, of Thomas Street, Mitchelstown, who died on 21 July 2011 was the doyenne of local press correspondents. Her name will mean little or nothing to a generation of Mitchelstown people reared on the internet, local radio and mobile phones. But to those who remember a gentler age when ‘news’ came weekly through local newspapers...
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