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Recently I took a stroll through the lovely Garden of Europe. Several lovely trees came down in the February 2014 storms.
Two men were working clearing the fallen wood on the day I visited.
They told me that they were using the wood pulp as mulch for the remaining shrubs and trees.
These hardy daffodils were blooming on regardless.
Two dogs were enjoying the early spring sunshine.
I spotted these on a tree on the path from the Garden to Gurtinard. Nest boxes?
This is definitely the end of my WIM Weekend coverage
I know that that is not really a headline but I thought it might be a relief for some of my faithful followers to know that normal service is bring resumed next week.
Before that I have to tell you that I met my friend, Evelyn O'Rourke in Ballybunion.
Me with Evelyn O'Rourke
Evelyn with her mum Peigí, her aunt Eileen and friend Mairead
Evelyn has written a book, Dear Ross, telling the story of a year in the life of her family. Evelyn was still on maternity leave with her first son, Óisín when she discovered she was pregnant. She was thrilled. The thrill only lasted a very short while as, within a week, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Evelyn wrote a series of letters to her unborn son, Ross, telling him how much she and his dad, John loved and wanted him and wanted to do everything possible not to compromise him in any way.
In the book we read of the horrors of chemotherapy compounded by the discomforts of pregnancy and the trials of looking after a small child.
In Ballybunion we saw Evelyn, the surviver, read movingly from some of the letters. We met Evelyn, the campaigner, passionately promoting the cause of breast cancer research. We met Evelyn, the family woman, wallowing in the love of her old and her new family. And we met Evelyn, the great communicator standing before us, a testament to the triumph of will, of love and support and modern medicine over this terrible disease.
During the weekend the local Creative Writing group took the opportunity to sell a collection of their works, A Little Life Music.
As part of the weekend too we got a taster eco tour of Ballybunion.
Danny Houlihan is a man of many talents. He told us about history and wildlife in a really interesting trip to the Cashen and the Castle Green. Below are a few photos from the tour
Writers Week 2014
The programme was officially launched last night in The Seanchaí. Great night, lots of photos to come but I had to share this one.
"Come and verbally attack me"
I wrote that headline because I was in Ballybunion on Sunday last April 13 2014 and I learned the importance of a headline.
I was attending the marvelous Women in Media Weekend and a man called David Labanyi gave us a lesson in the current state of mass media in Ireland. He was brilliant, well informed, a great communicator but what he had to say was a little bit frightening.
This is David Labanyi on the far left with Mary Dundon, Head of Journalism at UL and local native, Shane Phelan, Public Affairs Editor for The Irish Independent.
On Sunday morning they gave us a glimpse inside the newsroom of the future. The pace of change in this area is dizzying to someone like me who remembers a time when I nearly had to bring a wheelbarrow to Flavins to bring home the Sunday papers. The newspaper of the future (and the future is yesterday so fast is this happening) is a platform agnostic medium. I picked up a bit of the jargon while I was In Ballyb and this means that we don't really care where we get our information, but we want it now.
Newsrooms now are employing as many developers as journalists and journalists nowadays have to be able to photograph, make podcasts, video, write live blogs, create data visualization graphs etc. etc. The days of the liquid lunch are long gone.
Our attention span is about 5 seconds so we have to be hooked at the first chance, i.e. the headline. I am so bad at all this that I didn't, until recently, write any headlines at all. Today I have resorted to pure sensationalism but it does have relevance, if anyone is still with me when I get to it.
I am going to give you the words of Mickey MacConnell's great newsroom song. I'm sorry I couldn't find any clip of him singing it but here are the words;
Deirdre Walsh of The Radio Kerry, who introduced the panel, remembered back to when she started her career in The Kerryman. Her tools were a typewriter and a landline.
Finally I'm back to my headline. The online editor of The Irish Times told us that getting the headline right is more important than being first with the story. Most people nowadays don't go directly to the Irish Times page to get the news. They come on the news through Twitter, Facebook or a search engine, so you must have the right words in the headline so that your platform is where the consumer will see the story. All newsrooms now have a studio to record live interviews. News stories are fed to us piecemeal. We don't want to wait for Prime Time anymore. We want to see our resigning chief executive or embattled minister grilled now this minute.
When I came home from Ballybunion, buzzing with all my new found knowledge of how we "consume" news stories nowadays, I settled down with my cup of coffee and my Sunday Independent.
"Come and verbally attack me," bayed John Waters from page 5. No, of course he did not say that in so many words but he might as well have done. What he actually said was, "I don't believe in Depression. There is no such thing. It's an invention. It's bullshit. It's a cop out."
Unable to believe my eyes, I went to the internet and there was a living example of my new found knowledge of media…online the live interview with Niamh Horan. I now had not only read that John Waters had made these awful statements. I saw him and heard him making them.
( more from WIM Ballybunion tomorrow)
The next Michael Flatley?
These ladies with their teacher, Priscilla Sweeney, are doing a needlecraft course under the VEC in Listowel Family Resource Centre. When I visited them on Friday they were working on their Listowel quilt project. The ladies are taking well known images of Listowel and working them into a patchwork quilt.
Each pupil keeps a journal of the project. The journals themselves are works of Art. Here is one example of such a journal.
Another of their patchwork projects is a life-sized two dimensional horse. Here is an account, from the journal, of the processes involved in that project.
A sample of patchwork The completed horse Each student made their own smaller horse. This is Angela's. The process
This is Edel Clancy of the 50/50 Group and she argued the case for gender quotas in politics at Women in Media Weekend in Ballybunion. Mary O'Rourke and Mairead MacGuinness were her "opposition".
Bernie Carmody and Jackie Goddall Bernie Carmody and me with Miriam O'Callaghan Jimmy Deenihan, Katie Hannon, Deirdre Walshe and Mary Dundon Mothers and Daughters at WIM Ballybunion
It was Saturday, April 12 2014 and instead of reading Róisín Ingle in the Irish Times, we were sitting in Kilcooley's Country House in Ballybunion, Co. Kerry listening to her talk about another favourite journalist and author, Maeve Binchy.
Vourneen and Keelin Kissane with Róisín and Anne Ingle
Róisín Ingle is now Daily Features Editor of The Irish Times, a mantle which sits lightly on her shoulders. She was in Ballybunion to take us back to another editor and to help us live again the enjoyment we got form Maeve Binchy, the journalist. Róisín has recently edited a collection of Maeve's pieces for the Irish Times and so she is a bit of an expert on Maeve's best bits. She described getting this job like getting a job in quality control in a crisp factory.
Róisín did not give us my favourite anecdote about Maeve on The Late Late doing battle with a formidable lady on the necessity of etiquette and decorum but she read for us Maeve's account of an incident when she encountered a business man sitting in the Ladies' Toilet in a posh hotel. He had mistaken it for the lobby.
Maeve's description of her first dress dance at age 16 is still hilarious today. Maeve's coverage of Princess Anne's wedding made us all regret that she had passed away before the recent state visit.
Róisín decided that Miriam Lord with her "irreverent but affectionate" approach to serious subjects is Maeve's best successor today. I think that Róisín Ingle with her ability to mine the minutiae of everyday life and produce entertaining and self deprecating pen pictures has a lot of Maeve Binchy in her too.
This is Róisín with a local lady called Christine. Christine came to Ballybunion to meet Róisín because Róisín once wrote about her. If anyone reading this knows Christine will you get that story for us please?
(more from WIM tomorrow)
This is Listowel man, Tim O'Loughlin
Sue Townsend R.I.P.
So sad to hear of the death of this wonderfully entertaining witty writer. If you haven't read the first Adrien Mole book, you have missed a gem.
New tenant in 25 Church St.
These controversial e cigarette shops are popping up everywhere these days as vaping takes over from smoking. I still can't get used to the sight of people puffing on these indoors.
Women in Media
This is me in Kilcooleys in Ballybunion on Saturday April 12 2014. I was rubbing shoulders with some of the top women in Irish media at the annual Women in Media weekend. With me in the photo are Joan O'Connor, newly elected Mayor of Ballybunion and organizer of WIM, Róisín Ingle of the Irish Times and Katie Hannon of RTE.
I had a great 2 days and I was totally starstruck so you'll be hearing more of this during the week.
While in Ballincollig I visited the grave of rock legend, Rory Gallagher.
New crafter in the shop, Eileen Moylan was in store assembling her glass cabinet.
Namir called in to help with the set up.
Máire Logue of Writers' Week gets a sneak preview of Eileen's Listowel range, which is still at the planning stage.
Glamping is coming to Listowel
This is a photo of Dublin in the 1960s from a collection called Photos of Dublin.
It looked pretty much the same last week when I visited for a theatre break. I was staying in an area a phone's throw from Dublin's digital hub. I felt ancient. "This is no country for old men."…not this Google area anyway.
Clíona Cogan on our way to Warhorse at The Bord Gáis theatre.
There was a bicycle tied to every post in my part of town.
I relied on public transport and shanks mare. This proved a very satisfactory way to get around.
This is Albert on Joey, the warhorse. From the moment that horse puppet galloped onto the stage the audience en masse was in love with him. Everything about this theatre experience was amazing. If you get a chance to see it, do. And bring tissues.
These photos are from the show's official website.
I wrote about meeting Joanne O'Riordan recently at Kanturk Arts festival. Her brother's film about her extraordinary life so far is due for release on April 11. Be sure to catch it if you can at all.
Joanne played a little April Fool's prank on her many Twitter followers. She tweeted that she had been invited to the Whitehouse because the Obamas had loved the film so much. Such is this lady's charisma that lots of people took it seriously and were disappointed to discover that it was a joke.
But the good news is that her robot, Robbie, is coming along nicely and her beloved Cork footballers had another victory at the weekend.
This was another April Fools' spoof ad. for interns to work on Byonce's team, but again it was so outlandish that it was nearly believable.
Jimmy Moloney, Fianna Fáil local election candidate visited the Knitwits on his campaign trail.
Left to Right: Joan Carey, Anne Moloney, Namir Karim, Mary Cogan, Kelly St. John, Jimmy Moloney, Patricia Borley, Maureen Connolly, Una Hayes and Pat Barry.
On tomorrow night, April 10 2014 Séan Lyons will be reading from his new book of poetry in John B.'s at 9.00 p.m. The performance will be recorded for a cd to accompany his book. All welcome.
Date for the diary
Thurs April 17 2014
Official launch of the 2014 Writers' Week programme
More from April 3rd's horsehair
Wigs and jigs
World Irish Dancing Championships are closer to home this year.
The very best of luck to Sean Slemon who is carrying all our hopes and dreams into this huge arena. Whatever the outcome in London this little lad is some dancer!
Well done to The Listowel Arms on winning the prize for best wedding venue at the Munster wedding awards 2014
Last week we celebrated the anniversary of the founding of Cumann na mBan. These woman were out in force in 1916 and worked side by side with the men to set up this nation.
It appears to me that after that, women were cast into a very inferior role. They were put in their place (the home) by the constitution and denied many basic rights until people like Mary Robinson fought very hard for them.
I remember when women couldn't serve on juries, had to give up civil service, banking and other jobs when they married, were paid less than men for doing exactly the same job, were refused membership of certain clubs, were not allowed into certain bars unless they were in the company of a man and we won't even talk about the right to contraception or divorce since these affected men too.
Cumann na mBan in 1916
The print appeared in the 1942 edition of ‘The Capuchin Annual’, which included articles marking the 25th anniversary of the Rising.
People at Listowel horsefair, April 3 2014
Beautiful Handmade jewellery
This beautiful solid silver cross is the latest in Eileen Moylan's Claddagh Designs collection. Watch this space for some really exciting news of Eileen's collaboration with Craftshop na Méar. Details will be announced very shortly.
You heard it here first!