Folklore: Sexuality in an Irish Graveyard

St Olann’s Cap is the name given to another station in the St Olann’s pattern (held on September 5th), located in the graveyard at Aghabullogue. Although the site where the graveyard is currently located was originally an important pre-Christian site (in other words, it existed pre-5th century) and records show two successive Church of Ireland churches located there… Read more »

Mise (Me): Drawing From the Well

Sometimes when you live abroad, the alien nature of where you’re located can come in at you from the side. Sometimes it’s incremental – particularly if you’re living in an English-speaking culture that’s not too different from Ireland – sometimes a bit less so. It’s at such times the homesickness kicks in, a kind of… Read more »

My Writing: Who was Liath Luachra?

Who was Liath Luachra? I’ve had a few people ask me whether my book Fionn: Defence of Ráth Bládhma is based on real characters and, in particular, whether Liath Luachra was real or not. I figured I’d focus this week’s post on that. There really isn’t much information available on the original source of the… Read more »

Satire and ‘Practical’ Magic

According to legend, the Irish poet Cairbre was the original ‘inventor’ of satire.  This ancient narrative ‘The Second Battle of Moytura’ describes how, during a visit to Bres – the Formorian king of the Túatha Dé Danann – Cairbre was hosted in a miserly hut without any furniture or a fire in the hearth. As… Read more »

Folklore: A Great Leap of Faith

Down on the Beara peninsula in West Cork, if you look hard you’ll find this beautiful spot called ‘The Priest’s Leap’ (although you’ll have to try hard as it’s poorly signposted). According to local tradition, a priest on horseback was being chased across these mountain by English soldiers and, from this particular rock, his horse… Read more »

Mise: The Bird Messenger

(Image source: James Barker at freedigitalphotos.net) [two_third_last] A funny thing happened to me on the way to this office this morning. That, in itself, is quite peculiar. My office – a basement separate from the rest of the house – is, literally, ten steps down from my front door. Anyway, there I was enjoying the sun,… Read more »

Stories: Death on the Mountain

Benbulben or Binn Ghulbain in Irish (the Peak of Gulbain) is a substantial piece of rock that dominates the country north of Sligo. I was lucky enough to catch it on a clear day and had the time to sit back and stare at it. It truly is an impressive chunk of granite. Like many… Read more »

Stories: Dancing on the cliffs

  One of the reasons I return home as often as I do is to collect stories, snippets of songs or local folklore that provide plot ideas or concepts for books I’m writing. Recently, I was out visiting Rathlin Island off the Northern Ireland coastline (offshore from Ballycastle) and came across a particularly striking ‘local… Read more »

Folklore: Stone Confessions

Actually, I have a bit of a confession to make. I am not proud … But the truth is … I am a closet stone freak, a Dolmen nerd. Oh, yes! Stone circles, standing stones, cairns, barrows, hillforts. If I had my way, I’d be out there clambering all over them every weekend, grabbing photos,… Read more »

Words into the Void

Starting a blog and releasing a post is a bit like throwing a stone into the bush. You never really know if you’ve hit anything. Until some angry farmer with a head wound comes striding out, threatening you with a very large stick!! Hopefully this won’t be the case with this blog. This blog is dedicated to… Read more »