News

literacy association of ireland book awards

Very exciting to have Pawns short-listed for the Literacy Association of Ireland book award 2019, in the 10-13 Children’s section.

The ceremony took place in St Patrick’s College in Drumcondra, and the overall winner was Bright Sparks.  It was an honour to be invited to the prize-giving ceremony and to be presented with a cut glass trophy as the author of Pawns.

wigs on the green

My new radio documentary, Wigs on the Green, is scheduled for broadcast on Newstalk 106-108 fm.

St Stephen's GreenExploring the stories behind Ireland’s most popular park, St Stephen’s Green.

This weekend, Documentary on Newstalk airs the premiere of ‘Wigs on the Green’, in which IMRO-nominated producer Brian Gallagher looks at the lives of those who work and play in the vicinity of Ireland’s most famous park, St Stephen’s Green.

Wigs on the Green will be broadcast on Newstalk 106-108fm on Sunday 21st July at 7am with repeat broadcast on Saturday 27that 9pm

Using a lively mix of interviews, location recordings, sound effects and music, Wigs on the Green explores the stories behind Ireland’s most popular park, St Stephen’s Green.

Historian Arthur Flynn tells how the Green was originally used for pubic executions, before becoming a private park that in time was gifted to the people of Dublin by Arthur Guinness. Therese Casey, the Park Superintendent, talks of the challenges of running a city-centre park that gets 4.6 million visitors annually.

The programme looks at the human interest stories associated with institutions located on the Green, such as Adolf Hitler’s half brother working in the Shelbourne Hotel, and the canvas from the portrait of Queen Victoria in the College of Surgeons being used to make bandages during the 1916 Rising.

Sinead O’Kane and Pat Rooney reminisce respectively about being a boarder at Loreto on the Green, and visiting the 1500-seater Green Cinema, while Arthur Flynn tells the story of the little-known Huguenot cemetery at Merrion Row, and its link to the family of Samuel Beckett.

Niall Burgess, the Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Affairs, gives a fascinating look behind the scenes at the historic Iveagh House, while Raymond Mooney tells of the changes that have taken place at the Hibernian Club, which was originally a gentlemen’s club founded by Daniel O’Connell.

Contributors reminisce light-heartedly about their memories of Stephen’s Green, while Edmund Lynch, one of the founders of the Irish Gay Rights Association, recalls the important role played by Rice’s, one of Dublin’s first gay-friendly pubs.

We hear of the social changes to the area, as observed by Eddie McEvoy, who has been a barber on Grafton Street for fifty-five years, then Bridget Spain explains why she loves her job as the minister of the nearby Unitarian Church.

Looking to the past, Arthur Flynn tells of Dublin’s first Catholic University at Newman House, while looking to the future the impact of one-way streets, pedestrianisation and the Luas system is reviewed.  The programme concludes with contributors expressing what Stephen’s Green means to them, and their hopes for its future.

BROADCAST ­TIMES: WIGS ON THE GREEN will be broadcast on Newstalk 106-108fm on Sunday 21st July at 7am with repeat broadcast on Saturday 27th July at 9pm

PODCAST from www.newstalk.com after the first broadcast.

CREDITS: WIGS ON THE GREEN was produced by Brian Gallagher, and funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with the Television License Fee.

Quotes from WIGS ON THE GREEN:

“Adolf Hitler’s half brother, Alyious Hitler, worked here.  He would have washed the pots in the kitchen.”  Denis O’Brien Concierge, Shelbourne Hotel.

 “I started in ’64 and I’m still working there – I must be the oldest working in Grafton Street,” Eddie McEvoy, barber.

Trying to get the work done safely – with 4.6 million visitors it’s impossible sometimes to get grass cut,” Gerry Donaghue, St Stephen’s Green Parks Service Manager

“For a lot of people, going into Rices was the start of their journey to their full freedom as a person.” Edmund Lynch, founder member, Irish Gay Rights Movement.

“We employ over seventy nationalities, speaking forty languages, working in almoist every time zone.  So this is a global organisation, working for Ireland, centred and headquarted, in a quiet house on the south side of St Stephen’s Green.” Niall Breslan, Director General, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

easy rider

My new radio documentary, Easy Rider, is scheduled for broadcast on Newstalk 106-108 fm.

Easy Rider: Documentary On Newstalk

New Irish Radio Documentary Celebrating 60 Glorious Years of the Honda 50

This weekend, Documentary on Newstalk airs the premiere of ‘Easy Rider’, in which IMRO-nominated producer Brian Gallagher looks at the social and transport phenomenon that is the Honda 50.

Easy Rider will be broadcast on Newstalk 106-108fm on Sunday 20th January at 7am with repeat broadcast on Saturday 26th January at 9pm

Using a lively mix of interviews, location recordings, sound effects and period popular music, Easy Rider explores the story of Ireland’s love affair with the Honda 50.

Sixty years after the first Honda 50s were produced in Japan, the programme explores the huge social impact that mass-produced, affordable transport had on Irish life, with the Honda 50 going on to become the biggest selling vehicle in the history of motor transport

Our narrator takes us on a journey through early-Seventies Ireland – with music and news snippets of the period recreating that world – beginning with the day he buys his new Honda, and ending when he gets his first car, and sadly bids the Honda farewell.

Side by side with the narrator’s story we hear from a fascinating array of individuals whose lives have been shaped by the Honda 50, from playwright Seamus O’Rourke, who used real motor cycles onstage during his play Ride On, to Niall D’Alton, who has traversed Route 66 from Chicago to LA on four occasions for charity, to bike enthusiast Alfreda O’Brien, who travelled by motorcycle in her wedding dress on the day of her marriage.

Conal Newman talks entertainingly about running the annual Nifty Fifty race in Mondello Park, while Jason Plunkett tells of setting up the Leinster branch of the Vintage Japanese Motor Cycle club, which holds an open day each year at the National Exhibition Centre

Contributors reminisce colourfully about their first motor cycle experiences, we hear of the clever marketing strategy employed by Honda to popularise the Honda 50 – and how versions of it are being manufactured in Asia to this day – and we close the programme with people’s final memories of a bike that has become both a firm favourite and a transport icon.

Quotes from EASY RIDER:

“When I’m out on the bike I’m not seventy any more.  I’m still seventeen.”  Conal Newman, Nifty Fifty Race organiser.

“In rural Ireland women were on the lookout for bicycle clips.  If you were seen putting down a helmet in the corner of the dancehall – then you were on your way!”  Seamus O’Rourke, playwright and actor.

 “The only person who gets an escort like we get, is the president of the United States of America.” Niall D’Alton, Route 66 charity fund-raiser.

 “I see some of the undertakers now have converted a sidecar into a hearse.  Not that I want to go anytime soon, but I can imagine that if I’m going, I wouldn’t mind going in something like that!”  Philip Carey, Goldwing rider.

“He’d pulled out the wires, and I said ‘get off, that’s my Honda Fifty.’   And he said ‘How do you know?  They’re all red and white.’”  Mary Mulherin, retired teacher.

“And I just got on the back, in my wedding dress, with my bouquet, and we cruised off, all around Glasnevin and back to the wedding party.”  Alfreda O’Brien, motor cycle enthusiast.

“You could actually start the ignition with a lollypop stick, and once you got the ignition on you were free to go.” Niall D’Alton, Route 66 charity rider.

LISTEN LIVE: EASY RIDER will be broadcast on Newstalk 106-108fm on Sunday 20th January at 7am with repeat broadcast on Saturday 26th January at 9pm

PODCAST: The podcast will be available at http://www.newstalk.com/documentaryonnewstalk after the broadcast.

CREDITS: EASY RIDER was produced by Brian Gallagher, and funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with the Television License Fee.

that will never catch on

Chinese take-away menuMy radio documentary THAT WILL NEVER CATCH ON   was broadcast recently on Newstalk 106-108 fm, and can also be listened to as a podcast via the link below.

https://www.newstalk.com/podcasts/Documentary_and_Drama_on_Newstalk/Newstalk_Documentaries/229167/That_Will_Never_Catch_On_Documentary_On_Newstalk

When did Ireland go from being a country with very limited cuisine to every town having a pizza parlour and Chinese take-away? And how did people react to the change? When did smoking go from being all-pervasive to being frowned upon? Is the convenience of the mobile phone outweighed by its capacity to be disruptive socially?

These and other, wide-ranging questions are examined in lively fashion by a disparate group of contributors in THAT WILL NEVER CATCH ON.

From Seventies banking practice, when men were recruited in the autumn and women the following spring – to give them time to train for their role as typists – to present day technology etiquette among twenty-somethings, the shifts in how Irish people live their lives are explored.

The programme looks at work, the arts, food, technology, religion, holidays, sport, and the elderly

Ranging from light-hearted recollections of changes that were only fads, and colorful memories of people’s first experience of take-away food, to serious discussion of social isolation and the effect of technology on children, the programme combines entertainment with thought-provoking reflection.

Coming for a wide range of occupations, and with ages ranging from their twenties to their seventies, our contributors look back on the best and worst change in their lifetimes, ending the programme with their aspirations for what they would like to see in the Ireland of the future.

Quotes from THAT WILL NEVER CATCH ON:

“Dogs in the office is a big thing. In San Fran Cisco there are more dogs than children.” Peter Rogers, marketing worker.

My first sweet and sour chicken – I can’t tell you how awful I thought it was. The idea of putting something sweet like pineapple with chicken just destroyed meat. And rice on top of it – rice was something you had for a pudding.” Pat Moylan theatre producer.

“One husband told me his wife didn’t know anything. And he was terrified he’d pass away first.” Mary Rooney, computer trainer.

“You counted the rings – if there were four rings the call was for you If the phone rang it was ‘shush! Count the rings!’” Clare Garrihy, Doolin Ferries.

“There were these older ladies who served the meals, and they’d shout ‘Gent’s liver!’. The guys got a bigger portion than the ladies.” Miriam Rogers, banker.

Everything is over-packaged. You can’t get a bar of chocolate you can open any more.” Pat Moylan, theatre producer.

“This is the best time to be alive, from a music, movie, television perspective – this is the golden age of television.” Peter Rogers

THAT WILL NEVER CATCH ON was edited and produced by Brian Gallagher.  The programme was funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with the Television License Fee.

 

children’s book festival

clonmel-libraryOctober was a very busy month, with the Children’s Book Festival running in schools. libraries and bookshops all over Ireland.

It was a hectic time for me, starting with fifteen talks in five days spread across libraries in county Tipperary. It was great to meet so many enthusiastic young readers, and the hospitality from the librarians was wonderful – I certainly piled on the calories from all the cakes and buns I was offered!

The rest of the month was taken up with meeting readers in counties Clare, Galway, Kildare and Dublin, many of whom had been reading Friend or Foe as part of their schools’ 1916 centenary commemorations.

By the end of the month I had done thirty-nine talks and had an array of different throat tablets! It was tiring but also great fun. And now that I’ve had time to catch my breath again, all I can say is roll on next year…

BROTHERS AND SISTERS

Image for Brothers and SIsters

Brothers and Sisters

My radio play Brothers and Sisters will air on Newstalk on Monday June 6th at 11.30.a.m. and can also be listened to as a podcast after the broadcast.

Brothers and Sisters looks at the tensions arising in the staff room in an eighties Dublin school when it’s suggested that a Christian Brothers School and a convent should amalgamate because of falling pupil numbers.

Starring Denis Conway, Karl O’Neill and Marion O’Dwyer, the programme was funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with the Television License Fee.

 

 

VISITING BLACKROCK COLLEGE

I gave a talk to Transition Year students in Blackrock College on writing historical fiction, drawing on themes from Friend or Foe and One Good Turn, with particular emphasis on the topic of looting during the 1916 Rising.

The students were engaged and had lots of questions, and I even had my picture taken beside the plaque to the infamous Ross O’Carroll-Kelly!Following in famous footsteps

Blackrock visit

Blackrock College Transition Year talk

Blackrock talk