The Brick – a Prequel

In the summer of 2001 I decided to build a low red brick wall around the back garden of my house in Enniskillen. Being a money-canny Ulsterman I looked for the cheapest cheapest bargain bricks I could find.

Those are all the seconds, the yard-man at Acheson and Glovers brickworks informed me, Their colours vary too much so they don’t match our best bricks.

They are all rejects I pointed out, and haggled a deal. Continue reading “The Brick – a Prequel”

The Vanburgh Quartet

The Vanbrugh Quartet (Gregory Ellis, Keith Pascoe, violins; Simon Aspell, viola; Christopher Marwood, cello) has enjoyed a successful international career throughout Europe, the Americas and the Far East. Based in Cork since 1986, it has brought string quartet music to audiences throughout Ireland and has given more than one thousand concerts in venues ranging from small country schools to the major city halls.

Continue reading “The Vanburgh Quartet”

New Beginnings?

I have seen it all before. Wars and rumours of… but let me not be too cynical. As one who has lived through the 1960s and seen the fall of the Soviet Union and the Iron Curtain, the Trump/Brexit/Refugees thing seems quite mild by comparison.

2016 reminds me of the 1960’s, when all that had been certain seemed under attack from all directions. At first the sights and sounds were distant: Kennedy – the first Catholic President in the White House, Civil Rights in America, Joan Baez and Bob Dylan, the Vietnam War. Continue reading “New Beginnings?”

Annie Proulx in Leitrim

The inaugural Iron Mountain Literature Festival, based in Carrick-on-Shannon, was held on Friday evening October 7th and Saturday 8th, 2016, replacing the John McGahern Seminar which had run for eight years (2007 – 2014). The programme was loosely themed around ideas such as the language of landscape, place and memory in writings. An archaeologist, geographer and architect were part of the talks and discussions. Continue reading “Annie Proulx in Leitrim”

Suiting Up

I had thought that the confirmation slap on the cheek was the only remaining ritual to mark the end of childhood. I was wrong. I have recently had the experience of being part of a new coming of age ritual which young men of about 17 years go through. It even has a name – Suiting Up – and it is, as you might guess, the buying of the first formal suit, usually to coincide with a school debs.

Continue reading “Suiting Up”