Bealtaine. The merry merry month of May and other news.

A wonderful evening was had by all at the Helix, DCU Dublin, last Thursday when the debaters from Sacred Heart Clonakilty won the All Island Concern Debates final. They were quite simply the better team on the night. As well as individual cups and a trip to Malawi later in the year, the team were also presented with a team trophy. This they have name Donald in honor of the motion: That the Trump presidency will be a blessing in disguise for Africa. Once again the girls opposed the motion and did so with skill and aplomb. Well done everyone.

Came back to the news that one of my stories is shortlisted in ‘From The Well’ competition run by the Library and Arts service of Cork County Council. Think this might be my 6th time to make the short list. Could there be such a thing as sixth time lucky? I definitely hope so as the prize is a place on a workshop at the West Cork Literary Festival in Bantry in July. And that’s a prize I’ve coveted for some time. Cross all fingers and toes.

Lastly, for those living in the vicinity of Bandon I’m facilitating three creative writing workshops in Bandon library for Bealtaine. Beginning tomorrow and continuing on subsequent Thursdays from 3 to 4.30pm. No previous experience necessary. The workshop is fun and informal and will explore ways to express story in a supportive encouraging environment.

Bealtaine is the Irish word for May and marks the beginning of summer on the Celtic calendar. It is the month of age and opportunity, during which every town in Ireland will host workshops, talks, exhibitions, and events exploring all kinds of creativity for all ages. Do come along and join us in Bandon library tomorrow and unleash your inner story.

Until next time, keep on keeping on,

Happy writing.


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Concern Debates 2017

Well, folks, just have to share this wonderful news with all you kind readers out there. The debating team at Sacred Hear Secondary School, Clonakilty, Co. Cork, last night successfully debated their way through to the final of the Concern Worldwide Debates.  Well done to all as they’ve worked incredibly hard to get this far.

By the way, it is where I once attended secondary school and took part in debates myself. This is the first time the school has ever progressed to the finals.

Last nights motion: Torture is a just means of preventing terrorism. was opposed by the girls who defeated CBS Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

Pictured L-R Natasha Sutton, Meabh McCarthy, Captain Laura Walsh, Caomihe Ni Shuilleabhain and teacher Eileen Harte.

They now go on to meet CBS Carlow and will once again oppose the motion: The Trump presidency will be a blessing in disguise for Africa.SHSS through to finals of Concern Debates

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Life Long Learning

Well, folks its been a while, but just dropped by the blog to remind anyone living in the environs of Bandon that I will be facilitating a Taster in Creative Writing Workshop.  It is part of the Cork Lifelong Learning Festival: a week during which a myriad of activities are taking place in various locations around the town.

On Thursday, 6th April, at 2.30pm, at Bandon library, the Taster in Creative Writing takes place. For: all those who’ve meant to write, longed to write, wondered if they might like to write. For writers who’ve never written before, for secret scribblers who’ve never admitted their passion aloud before. In short, for anyone who loves words and loves making them work on the page.

No previous experience is required. It is an informal, fun session, among supportive like-minded others. However, booking is strongly recommended. So, do get in touch with the lovely staff at the library and let them know if you’d like to come along on Thurs. Look forward to seeing you there, if you live locally. If you don’t, then perhaps you’re living in the wrong part of the world and its time to consider a move to scenic inspiration West Cork.

Happy writing

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For those poor unfortunates among you not privileged enough to live in Cork, here’s the link to my article about the official launch of Fighting Words Cork. And the few minutes I managed to get with Roddy Doyle as per last week’s pic.

Keep on keeping on.

Happy writing.

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February 21, 2017 · 10:21 am

Roddy Doyle

Had a wonderful time at Fighting Words Cork yesterday. Roddy Doyle was there to officially launch the project at Graffiti youth theater. I had the pleasure of a short interview with him. Hopefully the Cork Evening Echo will publish my article on the launch and Roddy’s interview.

figthing-words-with-roddy-doyleThanks to Niall Cleary, of Fighting Words, for the pic and a great launch.

It’s an exciting time for things literary in Cork with Fiction at the Friary now happening on the last Sunday of each month.

Happy Writing

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Fighting Words

For those poor souls among you not fortunate enough to live in Cork, here is the link to the piece published in the Cork Evening Echo yesterday.

Keep on keeping on.

Happy writing.

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silence of the blogs

Well folks, as one kind reader pointed out to me in a Christmas Card, nothing has been written on this blog since June. That’s over six months ago the message continued, the sender being well aware of my difficulty with numbers. All perfectly true, but it got me thinking why did I stop blogging.

There is no simple answer. And I didn’t so much stop blogging, as much as it seemed there wasn’t very much to say. Perhaps in a world where everyone has an opinion, where Brexit and Trump prevail, it suddenly seemed there were too many words being bandied about. Both in cyberspace and every other space.

And of course my writing. Well, what a grandiose statement. My scribbles and meanderings were also at a standstill. So, basically kind readers, I didn’t have anything to share with you. And certainly nothing to take your minds off the state of the world in which we now live.

Then, that Christmas card woke me up, well three weeks later it did, I’ve always been a bit of a slow reactor. And, now, I do have a couple of snippets of news.

Firstly, am very excited to be volunteering with Fighting Words Cork. This is a creative writing workshop offered to schools to help children tell stories. Fighting Words was founded by Roddy Doyle and Sean Love in 1990 in Dublin. And now finally has come to Cork, thanks to Niall Cleary at Graffiti Theater. The Cork Evening Echo will feature a piece about Fighting Words Cork, written by me, sometime this week. So those who live in this wonderful part of the world may read it, if you feel so inclined.

Another bit of news is my short story ‘A little bit of heaven’ is included in ‘One hundred Voices Volume Two’ published yesterday by Centum Press and available to purchase directly from their website or from Amazon.

In the midst then of a world saturated with thoughts, opinions, news real and fake, there is still room for story.  For story tellers of all ages, for words that inspire and lift up and just generally entertain.

Thanks then kind reader (and you know who you are) for jolting me from the stupor of silence.

Keeping on keeping on.

Happy writing.


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Free online course from the grandmother of all creative writing courses – the University of Iowa


The very first creative writing workshops were pioneered at the University of Iowa in the 1930s and they still have a mighty reputation today.

They are now offering a free open online course to explore Walt Whitman’s writings on the American Civil War,  looking at how writing and image can be used to examine war, conflict, trauma, and reconciliation – in Whitman’s time and today.

American civil war-80541_640

Whitman’s Civil War: Writing and Imaging Loss, Death, and Disaster is open to everyone and they mean everyone. Erxperienced writers and absolute beginners can apply, people who are already experts in Walt Whitman and those who have never heard of the 19th century American poet are welcome.

That’s not all, the International Department at Iowa promise:

Participants who are nonnative speakers of English, new to online learning, and/or new to writing are encouraged to join this new international community. Our community moderators will actively support…

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Creative writing workshops with Billy O Callaghan

Billy O’ Callaghan, writer in residence at Cork County libraries, will do a series of workshops in Bandon library open to all. The first one will be April 16th at 11am. After that Billy will …

Source: Creative writing workshops with Billy O Callaghan

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A Lapse of Concentration

Episode #44

Winner of the Kenny/Naughton Short Story Award and the Golden Pen Short Story Award as well as a runner up for numerous others, Mary Rose McCarthy’s voice is beautiful, wise, and rich. We discuss her writing as well as her view of the world in this episode, after she reads her stirringly painful story.

Listen to “A Lapse of Concentration” by Mary Rose McCarthy

Having gone round in circles living in London, Sierra Leone and Dublin, Mary Rose McCarthy is now back where she started in West Cork. She writes in an attempt to make sense of the world.



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