January 20, 2013


If you’re looking for interesting plays to go and see this year, you could do worse than Theatre@36 at the Teacher’s Club.

It’s where we stage our La Touche Players productions and I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s a wonderful little venue in the heart of Dublin city. It’s so good they even had the President go to see a play there last year!

Visit the bar upstairs for a post-show drink and a chat in a beautiful Georgian room overlooking Parnell Square.


E not A

September 17, 2010

The Morning Ireland interview this week with An Taoiseach made headlines all over the world, for all the wrong reasons.

I don’t want to get into the rights and wrongs of what he did or said or, indeed, what anyone tweeted.

The commentary online was immediate and interesting but it also led me to various agonised moments, silently screaming ‘arggghhh’ at the screen.

Spelling matters, to me anyway.

I would like to point out that his name is Cowen, not Cowan. Cowen.

Weather not in Alpha Beat’s favour

September 14, 2010

I saw a headline on the Irish Times website today and clicked into the story, only to discover it was a story about horse racing. This happens too often so I went looking for some more stories with interesting headlines and they have inspired some haikus.

And the moral? Don’t judge a news story by its headline, I guess.

Weather not in Alpha Beat’s favour
It’s pouring rain now
as the sound check starts up slow.
Fascination’s first.

Giving Phileas Fogg a run for his money with a TV remote
A strange kind of race,
Relayed through the medium
of small screen. Phil lost.

Strauss plays captain’s role with century
Composer takes the
Lead. One hundred solo years
laid bare before him.

This day in 1997

August 25, 2010

On this day in 1997, my Nana died in Loughlinstown Hospital. I still miss her a lot, for the record.

On this day in 1997, I was offered a place in college. It was my first choice, for the record.

I like to think she would have appreciated the bittersweet juxtaposition.

She lived with us, my father’s mother, until she was ninety years of age, roughly two years before she died. She was a constant presence in my life until I was eighteen and my memories of growing up are full of memories of her.

There was the time she wrapped the packages for a game of pass the parcel at my birthday party and she only put on one layer of gift wrap – we stopped the game so my mum could re-wrap all the parcels.

Every day, while she was able, she went to the park to meet her friends, people she first met when she moved to Rathfarnham aged almost seventy-five.

There were many Sunday mornings that she made a pot of tea and buttered slices of bread before she walked upstairs to wake my sister and I to go to mass and us dragging our heels and giggling over the silliest things.

Coming home from school, outside the house on the footpath, you could hear the TV blaring – Thelma and Derek presenting Live at Three, her watching intently, dog-eared prayerbook in her hands.

There were days she was reading to me and she fell asleep in the chair and I, mercilessly, childishly, shook her back to wakefulness.

I miss you, Nana.

Pyjama Girls

August 24, 2010

I went to see Pyjama Girls in the Irish Film Institute this evening.

It was massive.

Living in the city centre, I sometimes see pyjama-clad girls around the place. It’s a Dublin phenomenon and one that’s deserving of Maya Derrington’s documentary treatment in this film.

What was interesting from the film was how self aware the girls were. How they knew that their style was anti-style but they were confident enough to continue on regardless.


Twas the night before the LC results

August 17, 2010

It’s a little known fact that the Leaving Certificate results are delivered to schools on behalf of the authorities by the wizened Saint Joseph of Cupertino. He works quickly and quietly over the course of an evening, and it’s said to be bad luck to cross his path on the only night of the year he comes out of hiding.

Twas the night before the LC results, when all through the school
Not a creature was stirring, not even an owl.
The dusters were lined up by the blackboard with care,
In hopes that St Joseph soon would be there.

The swotters were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of A1s danced in their heads.
And the headmistres in her nightgown, and the dog on his bed,
Had just settled their brains for a short evening read.

When out on the street there arose such a clatter,
She sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window she flew like a flash,
Tore open the net curtains and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen dew
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to her wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny examdeer.

With a little old driver, so lethargic and slow,
she knew in a moment it must be St Joe.
More tardy than badgers Joe’s coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Now English! now, Bus Org! now, German and Hist’ry!
On, Latin! On, Spanish! on Physics and Music!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the school-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of results, and St Joseph too.

And then, in a twinkling, the headmistress heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As she drew in her head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Joseph he came with a bound.

He was dressed all in feathers, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Leaving Certificates he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like posies, his nose like a berry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a moon,
And the beard of his chin was as white as ‘la lune’.

The stump of a cigarette he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a fat face and a horrid pot belly,
That shuddered when he laughed, like strawberry jelly!

He was flabby and fat, a right ugly old foot,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of my gut!
A blink of his eye and a nod of his head,
Soon gave Headmistress to know she had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the envelopes, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But she heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Exam Results to all, and to all a good-night!”

(Apologies to Clement Clarke Moore and good luck to all those getting their results tomorrow.)

Commas and capitals and apostrophes, oh my

July 28, 2010

I’m a stickler for grammar and spelling, despite the advent of the digital age. My text messages are usually made up of full sentences and feature punctuation and phrases. I’d use paragraphs if I could.

I’ve been thinking lately about my favourite infractions, the ones that make me dig my fingernails into the palms of my hands, and I shortlisted these five.

1. Endless sentences that go on for quite a long time and as well as rambling and repeating themselves seem averse to ever using a phrase or even a comma and the thoughts of splitting into two or more sentences is just to much to bear and dear God will it ever end?

2. How difficult is it to remember to use a capital when writing about yourself in the first person – i’m really irked by this one and i think it’s getting more common so i despair.

3. In the same vein, please think about a capital letter for proper nouns, words like Kilkenny and Mary don’t look right when they are cast as kilkenny or mary.


5. Its particularly aggravating when someone goes to the trouble of writing a sentence, an email, a report and can’t be bothered to put the apostrophe in it’s correct place. Added to that, the good old greengrocer’s apostrophe deserves a mention. I particularly like it when a company commissions a sign for their shop front and the errant apostrophe is dancing there for ever more: Paddys Potato’s Place indeed.