(As Perceived Quarterly, Volume 1, Number 1, November 2016)
St Patrick’s Park, Dublin … where the soft drift of mellow voices wafts over me.
Summer girls in summer dresses and young men rippling with confidence and expectation. They are the ones I mostly notice anyway on this rare sun-splashed day in Dublin city as I revisit old haunts and take in new delights.
An unhurried man in my inconspicuous fifties, I am invisible to these youthful creatures as I stroll up the broad O’Connell Street boulevard.
Looking across at the massive GPO, its six granite columns glinting in the sun, I am thinking of Patrick Pearse standing outside its smouldering doors in Easter 1916 proclaiming the Irish Republic.
A hundred years of myth and legend have since weaved their emotive colour into history’s fabric and marked this country forever. Not something today’s strolling natives or camera-clicking tourists are likely pondering on for long.
(Short story broadcast on Tramore Community Radio, July 2016)
I was only eight years old and deep in the fretless days of an untroubled boyhood – but copped on enough not to be completely taken in when old Pop Linnane asked if I wanted to keep his dog Spot.
Granted this little wiry white-haired terrier mix with the black patch over his right eye had been practically living at our place, but I knew Pop’s generosity had more to do with the fact that Spot had a penchant for going at adults, especially ones dressed in black.
And our town was full of nuns, priests and Christian Brothers.
Pop – Mr Linnane to his face – was probably in his late Seventies then, but to me he was just vaguely ancient. Like Methuselah without the long beard. He always wore a grey gentleman’s hat, and was only bald every Sunday during 9.30 Mass.
(The Irish Times, March 11th, 2013)
It was very early and there was no-one else there – the whole manicured green wilderness before me was mine!
I was playing quite well early on and mind and body were light and blithely unencumbered. But around the fourth hole a spectacularly wayward drive followed by a fluffed recovery from the gnarling rough darkened my mood just a bit.
(THE IRISH TIMES, June 16th, 2015)
Reality hits after leaving full-time job to work from home
I’m dicing onions in my kitchen to make a shepherd’s pie but I’m really dissecting Enda Kenny’s latest Dáil appearance, berating that carefully enunciated delivery of something written by someone else.
I can just see our leader as a schoolboy, earnestly telling teacher that, no, he and his pals did not break that window . . . if there was glass on the ground, it was the other crowd, playing there before, who actually did the damage.
I slice faster and faster. Chop, chop, chop. I’ve noticed some household chores lend themselves to the flow of ideas, and even shape their expression. I find myself actually thinking faster as I do more energetic jobs, such as mopping the floor – or indeed chopping vegetables – words and rhythm building together.
(THE IRISH TIMES, July 29th, 2000)
- Tiger Woods raises the Claret Jug after winning the 2000 British Open at the Old Course at St Andrews.
As one of the multitude that watched bewitched as Tiger Woods bestrode the Old Course at St Andrew’s like a serene colossus of golfing brilliance, I was aware like so many others that his performance was about so much more than propelling a small round white ball into a small round cup in as few strokes as possible. No, this was about watching genius going about its work; confident in its application and routine in its realisation.
The crowds swirling tight along his appointed path parted and regrouped to strain from the next vantage point as this one-part Asian, one-part African American, and all parts talent, continued on his way.
Touching of the royal Nike garment was strictly limited by the phalanx of security and golfing officials and this boy-man seemed to be at once feeding off the adulation that greeted every prodigious drive, soaring iron shot or unerring putt, and yet somehow above it all.