THE FAILED GENERATION

PHOTO: Franklin / AP “I was a child in the sixties Dreams could be held through TV With Disney, and Cronkite, and Martin Luther Oh, I believed, I believed, I believed Nanci Griffith – It’s A Hard Life I’m in my mid-fifties and I was a child of the sixties. I […]


BOOK REVIEW: DARK HOLLOW

  TITLE:  Dark Hollow AUTHOR: John Connolly BLURB: A young woman, Rita Ferris, and her little son die at the hands of an unknown killer, and the past and present collide violently for Charlie Parker. Still raw from the brutal slayings of his wife and daughter, and the events surrounding the hunt for […]


REVIEW: ONE MILLION DUBLINERS

                I had the occasion to visit Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin the other day and took my camera along with me. Strolling around I watched people visit the museum, take part in a tour, take their daily constitutional and one lady was walking her […]


BOOK REVIEW: HEART SHAPED BOX

TITLE:  HEART SHAPED BOX AUTHOR: JOE HILL BLURB: Aging, self-absorbed rock star Judas Coyne has a thing for the macabre — his collection includes sketches from infamous serial killer John Wayne Gacy, a trepanned skull from the 16th century, a used hangman’s noose, Aleister Crowley’s childhood chessboard, etc. — so when his […]


MY GRANDFATHER’S UNIFORM JACKET

The legend of my maternal grandfather has survived almost 90 years of retelling down to his great grandchildren and yet we actually know very little of the man himself. Pretty much everybody in Ireland, especially last year which was the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, lays claim to having […]


BOOK REVIEW: CITY OF THE LOST

TITLE:  CITY OF THE LOST AUTHOR: KELLEY ARMSTRONG BLURB: Casey Duncan once killed a man and got away with it. But that’s not why she’s on the run. Her best friend Diana’s ex has found her again, despite all Casey has done to protect her. And Diana has decided the only way she’ll […]


MEANWHILE…#3

This is what I’m getting up to lately… Reading: I’m reading two books at the moment. The first is the latest from John Connolly Game of Ghosts and the other is for work Professional Development As Transformative Learning (!) by Patricia Cranton. Watching: Coming down from a staple diet of DC and Marvel […]


IRELAND: THE STAR WARS CONNECTION

The Ban Cheile* and I were fully charged and ready for our three-day adventure to South West Kerry to see if the Star Wars™ influence had changed the area in any way and also to enjoy a seriously chilled extended weekend break. If you’re a Star Wars fan you’ll know […]


BOOK REVIEW: EVERY DEAD THING

  TITLE:  Every Dead Thing AUTHOR: John Connolly BLURB: Haunted by the unsolved slayings of his wife and young daughter, and tormented by his sense of guilt, former NYPD detective Charlie Parker is a man consumed by violence, regret and the desire for revenge. But when his ex-partner asks him to track […]


IRELAND: VALENTIA – ISLAND AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD

While the Ban Cheile* and I were on our Ring Of Kerry trip last month we based ourselves in the Valentia Royal Hotel on the small island off the Kerry coast. The island is just 11km long and 3km wide with a population of only 665 permanent residents – about the same […]


BOOK REVIEW: NORSE MYTHOLOGY

  TITLE:  Norse Mythology AUTHOR: Neil Gaiman BLURB: In Norse Mythology, Gaiman stays true to the myths in envisioning the major Norse pantheon: Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki―son of a giant―blood brother to Odin and […]


TRAVEL: VALENTIA ROYAL HOTEL

The Ban Cheile* and I were really looking forward to our three-day stay on  Valentia Island (Kerry, Ireland). We jokingly decided we’d go to South West Cork to see if we can follow the Force as it were.  All true Star Wars fans know by now that the amazing scene […]


BOOK REVIEW: BRYANT & MAY-PECULIAR CRIMES

  TITLE:  The Bryant & May Series AUTHOR: Christopher Fowler BLURB: Arthur Bryant and John May are Golden Age Detectives in a modern world. They head the Peculiar Crimes Unit, London’s most venerable specialist police team, a division founded during the Second World War to investigate cases that could cause national scandal […]


PICTURE MIX #1

Here is a new crop of photos from Instagram that caught my eye. Hover on each one to see who the photographer is and where to find them and scroll down to read why I like these terrific photos. AndyHud lets his love of Blackpool, UK, shine through in each and every […]


BLACK & WHITE

I recently purchased a cluster of picture frames to revamp some of the walls at home. A small gallery wall in the hall is planned and given the white walls and white frames I thought some monochrome shots would be in order. That led me to compare some shots I’d […]


MEANWHILE…#2

This is what I’m getting up to lately… Reading: I’m reading two books at the moment. The first a thriller I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes. The second a very interesting book called Quiet by Susan Cain. Both are on my #BigBookChallenge list. Watching: As well as the usual gogglebox fodder I’ve been watching […]


BOOK REVIEW: THE SEA OF SHADOWS

TITLE:  The Sea of Shadows AUTHOR: Kelley Armstrong BLURB: In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire’s worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of […]


GALWAY: A WEEKEND TRIP (Part 2)

In Galway: A Weekend Trip (Part 1) I took you through the food and accommodation highlights of our recent weekend trip to Galway. In this instalment, I want to share some photographs of the first leg of our tour of the Wild Atlantic Way.  The Lonely Planet™ describes the route as […]


GALWAY: A WEEKEND TRIP (Part 1)

A couple of weeks ago The Ban Chéile* and I went to Galway for a three-night weekend in the Ardilaun Hotel. We hadn’t been away for a weekend in ages and high on the agenda was a lot of rest, food and booze. It proved to be just the right […]


6 THINGS I’D LIKE TO THANK YOU FOR MR.TRUMP

www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/11360949604 I was always told in polite company to steer clear of discussions about sex, religion and politics. Of all of these I can’t seem to steer completely clear of politics and now is probably not the time for me to start. On this occasion, I want to thank the […]


BOOK REVIEW: THE GREEN ROAD

TITLE:  The Green Road AUTHOR: Anne Enright BLURB: The Green Road is a tale of family and fracture, compassion and selfishness―a book about the gaps in the human heart and how we strive to fill them. Spanning thirty years, The Green Road tells the story of Rosaleen, matriarch of the Madigans, a family […]


THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT DASHA & KLAUS

Paparali (www.paparali.com) wrote a couple of posts profiling her “fur babies” and so I thought why not do the same for my canine companions, Dasha & Klaus. Dasha & Klaus are littermates (two from a set of triplets) born on 11th November 2013 in Kells in Co Meath – where […]


BOOK REVIEW: THE BOOK OF LOST THINGS

TITLE:  The Book of Lost Things AUTHOR: John Connolly BLURB: High in his attic bedroom, twelve-year-old David mourns the death of his mother, with only the books on his shelf for company. But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness. Angry and alone, he takes refuge in his […]


MOVIE REVIEW: SOLACE (2015)

  Director:  Afonso Poyart Writers: Sean Bailey, Ted Griffin Starring:Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Colin Farrell, Abbie Cornish BLURB: A psychic works with the FBI in order to hunt down a serial killer.   This movie is most memorable for me because it once again allows Colin Farrell demonstrate the fact that he […]


THE BIG BOOK CHALLENGE – UPDATE

Okay so I’ve wracked my brain to come up with a list of books for the Big Book Challenge (see my earlier post for details). Given the fact I have two years to complete the challenge I’m sure some of these will fall by the wayside, but a good start is […]


WORD: VELLICHOR

The website World Wide Words gives credit to the creation of this recently coined word to John Koenig on his website The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. Koenig describes Vellichor as meaning – the strange wistfulness of used bookstores, which are somehow infused with the passage of time — filled with […]


BOOK REVIEW: BAZAAR OF BAD DREAMS

TITLE:  Bazaar of Bad Dreams AUTHOR: Stephen King BLURB: Magnificent, eerie, utterly compelling, these stories comprise one of Stephen’s finest gifts to the constant reader—“I made them especially for you,” says King. “Feel free to examine them, but please be careful. The best of them have teeth.”   I’ve been one […]


THE BIG BOOK CHALLENGE

I’ve never been someone who rose to the bait of a challenge but when paparali.com challenged me to read (and review) 20 books over the next 24 months I couldn’t refuse. Having worked most of my adult life in adult education and principally adult literacy, I feel this is a […]


ALBUM: THAILAND 2012

Check out my latest album upload from Thailand 2012.               You can find the album in the albums list in the sidebar or click the link on this post.


MEANWHILE…#1

This is what I’m getting up to lately… Reading: The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. I’m a huge Connolly fan and think the characters that populate his Charlie Parker novels are amazing. This novel is more fantasy/fable type than supernatural crime drama like his other books. Just started […]


IT’S ALL PORK PIES…

You know the old joke: “How can you tell if a politician is lying? His lips are moving!”. We’re about to embark on three weeks of a general election campaign where a lot of lips will be moving. The last time the Irish people went to the ballot boxes to […]


SUPER POWER

I came across a video promoting a private university in the US that describes itself as a university for heroes (check it out here). It’s an intriguing idea and it got me thinking about superheroes and super powers. If you were to be offered a super power what would it be? […]


WHY SOME OF US DON’T HAVE ONE TRUE CALLING

I came across this TED Talk and it helped me understand why I think like I do (up to a point). I always thought I had butterfly brain and despite trying to find a single lifelong burning passion I’ve flitted from one to another for practically my entire life. Pity […]


MOVIE REVIEW: PAY THE GHOST (2015)

TITLE:  Pay the Ghost DIRECTOR: Uli Edel STARRING: Nicholas Cage BLURB: A professor frantically searches for his son who was abducted during a Halloween parade. IMDB   There’s nothing new here – a couple, a kid, a ghost, an unbelieving cop, a broken relationship, a psychic (shades of poltergeist) and a lot of […]


MOVIE REVIEW: HIDDEN (2015)

TITLE:  Hidden DIRECTOR: Matt Duffer (as The Duffer Brothers), Ross Duffer (as The Duffer Brothers) STARRING: Alexander Skarsgård, Andrea Riseborough, Emily Alyn Lind BLURB: Fear will find you RATING:  7 out of 10   This is a story about a husband and wife who are trapped in a fallout shelter with their 7-year-old […]


DUBLIN MADE ME…

Grey brick upon brick, Declamatory bronze On sombre pedestals – O’Connell, Grattan, Moore – And the brewery tugs and the swans On the balustraded stream And the bare bones of a fanlight Over a hungry door And the air soft on the cheek And porter running from the taps With […]


MEN AT WORK…

In an effort to work out why I bother writing this blog (yes I am struggling a bit with the apparent futility of writing a blog for my own amusement) I decided to do an in-depth piece of research of existing blogs written by men. When I finally finished Googling […]


TV OR NOT TV? THAT’S THE QUESTION…

I’m not going to lie to you I watch way too much TV and none, or at least very little of it would be seen as genuinely intellectually stimulating. After long days stretching my brain to meet the needs of the day job, by 9pm all I’m really good for […]


I’VE SEEN A SIGN

I’ll be the first to admit we all have strange pet hates that we either can’t explain or refuse to admit to because there’s no rational reason for entertaining them and I’m no exception. I freely admit I have a serious dislike for the use of the @ symbol instead […]


DAY TRIP: CHARLES FORT

How often do you get the chance to have a day out with your Grown Up Children – especially when there are no grandchildren involved? Not too often in our case and so we were delighted when last month, The Ban Chéile* and I teamed up with GUC No. 4 […]


JUST DO IT!

It’s great when your children reach an age when you see them do things you would never pluck up the courage to do. My children are all in that category and frequently make decisions, have adventures and generally just do things that I would never have the nerve to do. […]


EVERYONE MATTERS

Once upon a time, in the land of Hush-A-Bye, around about the wondrous days of yore, they came across a kind of box, bound up with chains and locked with locks and labelled “Kindly do not touch; it’s war.”  Kendrew Lascelles (in John Denver’s album- Poems, Prayers and Promises) I […]


TAKE THE NEXT STEP

“I dream of men who take the next step rather than worrying about the next thousand” Theodore Roosevelt. Have you ever been busily working towards something and then suddenly find yourself hesitating just before the finish line? I think if we’re honest most of us have been right at that […]


BORN TO STAND OUT

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out” – Dr. Seuss. Isn’t it amazing how we spend so much of our time trying to fit in and the rest of it trying to stand out? Most of us spend our formative years trying to work out what we […]


LIFE IS SHORT

“Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” – John Lennon I blinked once and 20 years had passed. Okay I’m obviously exaggerating to make a point but you can see where I’m headed. I remember thinking when I reached 50 that I had passed the point […]


JUNK MAIL

“No Junk Mail” – Probably the three most ignored words in any language. No matter how often I’ve tried to get this message across I seem to fail. Increasing numbers of leaflet droppers are choosing to completely ignore the helpful signs I put up especially for them. Given the fact […]


TIME

“We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.” -Nelson Mandela. It’s totally subjective I know but in my opinion I think you have to pass the point where you know for a fact you don’t have as many years ahead of […]


THE STONE

I recently wrote a post about a semi-conscious image that intrigued me enough to write a short “poem” posing an important question. The image was based on the notion of whether I believed I was best represented by a stone, a rock or a mountain. I wanted to use the […]


SHADOW

  “To light a candle is to cast a shadow.” Ursula K. Le Guin Shadow is hugely under-appreciated. Shadow protects us from the bad UV light of the burning sun, it gives the things we look at depth and it even gives our imagination something to look into and see […]


THE STONE, THE ROCK AND THE MOUNTAIN

There’s a stone in the road just turning and tumbling A rock in the river fighting the flow And on the horizon there sits a mountain Ignoring the passage of time The stone is a mountain that stays on the move At the mercy of weather and wind Facing no […]