A Galway Halloween

Halloween (or Ducking Night as we called it) was one of the best times for children 60 years ago in County Galway. A few days before, the older children would cycle out to Cnoc Ma (the Hill of Maeve) to collect hazelnuts in the woods. The old women, who spoke Irish among themselves and called that night Oiche Samhain, told us about how Maeve, the queen of the fairies, was buried standing so she could look out over her dominions. Everyone reminded them about taking salt with them, so their souls couldn’t be taken by the fairies. Continue reading “A Galway Halloween”

The Great War in Memory, Writing and Drama

The Literature of Irish Exile 17th Annual Autumn School took place on Saturday October 15th at the Mellon Centre for Migration Studies, Ulster American Folk Park. The theme was The Great War in Memory, Writing and Drama  and featured writing by Fermanagh Writers and the Omagh Robins WW1 Drama Group which had been developed in the Living Legacies 2016 Writers’ Summer School.

Continue reading “The Great War in Memory, Writing and Drama”


You know, I never learned to shoot worth half a damn
but I could tote a bucket with the best.
The Flanders mud was firm to me beside Fermanagh glaur,
and in my hands those canvas buckets
rested light and easy as the feed for calves. Continue reading “Tommy”

Coming Home

Trimble’s Horse was a squadron of cavalry raised for the UVF by the then owner of the Impartial Reporter. When the Great War broke out, many of these farmers and tradesmen joined either the Inniskilling Dragoons or the North Irish Horse.  Those assigned to the Western Front served in the trenches for most of the War, but in the closing months some rode again. Continue reading “Coming Home”