The impression many Irish people have of the Burning Man Festival is of dreadlocked hippies causing chaos in the desert. I almost tripped over a threesome conducted outdoors – in broad daylight, my first hour there, so I can’t say the image is wholly off the mark…

But, like our emigrants in Oz, it only takes a shower of ingrates to tar the good name of thousands. Anyone who has gone to ‘the Man’ – as it’s known – with an open mind, will most likely have had it blown, thanks to the sheer force of artistic innovation, goodwill and the positive ethos fostered by the festival.

Full Article Irish Independent

We Irish have a great knack of exporting our problems.

Be we short on spuds, or stuck for spondulicks, we herd our own onto coffin ships and Stenna Lines, in the hopes that they can make a better life for themselves… so we don’t have to. Some of those emigrants started lineages that reached all the way to the White House. Others wrapped themselves in cardboard boxes and sleeping bags, ending up in care homes, or in the grave, from varying addictions and mental maladies.

There was a drop off, during the boom, in the number of people seeking assistance from organisations like the London Irish Centre, who helped get indigent Irish back on their feet. Provisions were even made to bring older emigrants home via The Safe Home Program, set up in 2000, to assist those who had left the country to return to live out the end of their days near the homes they were reared.

But there are over 400 Irish living rough on the streets of London in 2014. And, as our government continues to fluff the figures of those signing off the live register, we can expect to see that number rise.

The boat, like the needle and the bottle, has long been a cause of death among us Irish. Prolonged, state sponsored, with no warning.

Full Article Irish Independent

Palliative Play

June 28, 2014

According to the ‘New England Journal of Medicine’, those who receive palliative care live longer than those who do not. Yet, for many, the thought of going near a hospice is akin to waving the white flag, a surrender to one’s illness and an invitation for death to come claim its prize.

This week WillFredd Theatre stages CARE at the Project Arts Centre, following a fictitious patient’s journey from entry to exit at the real life St Francis Hospice in Raheny, with whom they collaborated with on this show.

Full Article in the Irish Independent

CHRISTMAS can be tough at the best of times, but it is particularly difficult for parents who have lost a baby. As other families prepare for Santa Claus, they are reminded of their loss and can struggle to see the joy and wonder of the season.

December 1 marks the fifth anniversary of a carol service for bereaved parents. Held in St Joseph’s Church, Cork, at 4pm, the candle-lighting ceremony allows those who have lost a child – through stillbirth or neonatal death – a chance to mourn and honour their child with others who have suffered similarly.

It was the opening salvo of what was to become Feileacain – the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Association of Ireland, which provides support to anyone affected by the death of a baby during pregnancy or shortly after.

Full Article Irish Independent

The average human being has up to 70,000 thoughts a day. Clinging to slights, peeved at politicians and fearing for the future, it’s a wonder we get anything done as the currents of continual thought pull us under, distracting us from focusing on the now. We go into an auto-pilot, as destructive as HAL in ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ and work ourselves up, up and away from what should be getting our full attention in the present moment.

Habitual beings, we plough this pattern into our brain. But we can change it over time. Mindfulness is about creating a new pathway so that the traits of calm become our natural state.

Studies have shown it decreases stress in those who suffer from anxiety, depression, sleeplessness and agitation. It has also been shown to aid recovery in serious illnesses, while it also yields results for the able-bodied.

But in the sacred words of Helen Lovejoy, ‘what about the children?’ As adults rebuild already damaged neurons, what’s the benefit to those who have yet to destructively soil their consciousness?

Full Article, Irish Independent February 3rd 2014

Scotch on the Rocks

June 27, 2014

The islanders of Inis Oirr relive the dramatic rescue of the crewmen on board the MV Plassey… and the salvage of her precious cargo of whiskey.

Originally Published in the Irish Independent

Come Into The Light

June 27, 2014


Before Christmas became a commercial festival, it had a spiritual purpose. Houses across the country would light candles in every window to welcome strangers in from the cold, a metaphor for the birth of Christ.

This has evolved into flickering fairy lights and festive displays that can be seen from space. While some deride these light spectaculars as garish, those behind them often have the most Christian of motives.

Here we meet five of them.

Originally Published in the Irish Independent

Peaches and Queens!

June 27, 2014

Unlike most women, Mimi Rouge couldn’t leave her peculiar craving behind her after giving birth. “I went to see the movie Party Monster when I was three months gone and I was overwhelmed by this desire to attend a club like the one portrayed in the movie.” She obviously wasn’t going out much at the time so watching club kids like Michael Alig and James St James pushing sexual and social norms through costume and make-up excited her. “I wanted to get dressed up and push boundaries on the dance floor in the same way they did. Such a place didn’t exist in Dublin. So I made it.” –

Full Article from Irish Examiner, Monday December 16th 2013

From Camp to Lamp

June 27, 2014

It’s an hour before curtain in the Cork Opera House and everyone’s stirring in preparation for their first sell-out show of the season.

Interns peg it out of the venue, returning with supplies for the props that are still being built in the Half Moon Theatre — now a half-way house for the overflow from the theatre’s biggest money spinner.

Full Article from Irish Examiner, Monday December 16th

What A Crock!

June 27, 2014

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Oh the green hued irony of it all. As cities around the world dye hair, faces and food products to emit a shamrock sheen, it’s not just the rivers of booze-propelled vomit that have taken on artificial colouring. Having corrupted the spiritual celebration of Samhain into that candy and carnage bacchanal (Halloween), the Yanks have tarted up St ‘Patty’s’ Day as well. Now it’s less to do with our national identity and more a commercial enterprise, where people celebrate their ‘Oirishness’ by dressing up like Disney-fied versions of our fable folk.
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