writer in residence – decade of centenaries

I was pleased to work with two Meath primary schools, Lismullen NS, Navan and Scoil

Cholmcille Skryne, over a two-month period, to help the children explore the history of the revolutionary period in their local areas. 

The project is an initiative of the Meath County Council Decade of Centenaries programme,and is managed by the County Library service.

The picture shows  l-r Brian Gallagher, Maedhbh Rogan-McGann, Ciarán Mangan, Dympna Herward, Tom French, Cllr Nick Killian, Cathaoirleach of MCC, Barry Lynch DoS, Jackie Maguire CE MCC.

high density

Drama on Newstalk recently broadcast HIGH DENSITY”, my comedy-drama about the housing crisis that explores the tensions that arise in a community when one resident in a small cul-de-sac refuses to sell her home to a developer who wants to build apartments on the site.

HIGH DENSITY” is told partly from the perspective of Councilor Benny Kelly, a shifty local representative who is in cahoots with the developer. He also writes an anonymous weekly newspaper column called The Secret Councilor, a juggling act that enables him both to comment on, and drive events.

Deirdre Finnegan is the only resident in a crescent of cottages who is holding out against a developer.  The developer is offering the owners 150,000 Euro plus one of the new apartments – but only if all eight cottage owners agree to sell their sites.  As a member of the local residents’ association Deirdre clashes with the reactionary Mick Delaney, who is keen to take the inducement.

With other committee members divided on which outcome would be best for the area, the stakes are raised when Emma Johnson, a journalist who is also on the committee, writes an inflammatory article for her paper.

With past resentments and betrayals coming to the surface, the conflicts go beyond housing, and battle lines are drawn.  But just when it seems that matters might be resolved, a dramatic intervention takes place, with the outcome twisting in a direction that none of the participants expected. 

Starring Marion O’Dwyer, Claudia Carroll, and Mark O’Regan, “HIGH DENSITY” was written and produced by Brian Gallagher and was funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with the Television License Fee.  HIGH DENSITY can be listened to as podcast on Documentary on Newstalk. See link below.

https://link.goloudplayer.com/s/pGIfpyuDnY72

Millie and the Magical Moon

My latest book, Millie and the Magical Moon is out now. It is my first picture book and is illustrated by Phillip Cullen.

Mum, Dad and Millie are off on their summer holidays to beautiful Inis Oirr. With a little help from the not-so-shipwrecked MV Plassey, Millie has a magical moonlit adventure!
Maybe it’s not quite so long since the Plassey’s last voyage after all…

trinity

Documentary on Newstalk recently aired the premiere of ‘Trinity’, my radio documentary about the lives of the many people who live, work study, and play in Trinity College.

Using a lively mix of interviews, location recordings, sound effects and music, TRINITY  explores the stories behind Ireland’s oldest university.

Patricia Mc Cormack and Paul Kelly tell what it was like to medical students in Trinity during the Seventies, while current chaplain Julian Hamilton gives an insight into his job.

Head of Sports, Michelle Tanner, talks about the huge range of sporting activity taking place in the college, and Linda Doyle explains the role of provost, and the fact that she’s the first female provost in the college’s 430 year history.

Aoife Lucy tells about being awarded the coveted role of scholar, with its benefits of academic opportunity – and free food.

We hear how Trinity has produced four Presidents and two Taoisigh among its graduates, and Leah Keogh from the Students Union discusses the issues that affect today’s students.

Linda Doyle tells what it’s like to live in the provost’s house at Number One Grafton Street, and librarian Helen Shenton talks about the stunning Long Room in the library and how the college is a repository for over five million books.

A vox pop features a colourful selection of people’s memories of Trinity, while Leonard Hobbs reveals how the college, despite its fabled past, is at the cutting edge of research and innovation.

Student Oisin O’Reilly enthuses about Trinity Players, one of the oldest college drama society’s in the world, and we hear of the many famous writers and actors who are graduates of the university.

Kathleen O’Toole-Brennan talks about the Trinity Access Programme and its success in opening up a college education to those who previously would have seen Trinity as out of their reach, and Daire Hennessy, a graduate of the programme, tell how he now mentors others to follow in his footsteps.

Aoife Lucy reminisces about her time living in rooms on the campus, while attendant Alan O’Keefe talks about his job, and the many changes he’s seen in the college in his 44 years of service.

Domhnall Fahey recalls social life in Trinity, while Patricia McCormack tells of her wedding in the historic college chapel.

We hear of the many films and tv series that used the campus as a location, and botanist Jane Stout then looks to the future, explaining Trinity’s role at the forefront of biodiversity.

Provost Linda Doyle gives an overview of the college’s many roles, and we finish with other contributors reflecting on their hopes for the future of Trinity.

Quotes from TRINITY:

“It was like a gateway into Wonderland for me.” Patricia McCormack, former medical student.

“He thought to himself: ‘God – I’d love to be there’, but didn’t think it was possible.” Kathleen O’Toole-Brennan, Deputy Director, Trinity Access Programme.

“The social side is probably more fun than you’ll ever have in your life.” Domhnall Fahey, business graduate.

“If you say: ‘What’s a university there for?’ I’d say to you ‘A university is there to change the world’.” Linda Doyle, Provost.

“We’ve got 850,000 maps – it’s so rich, what we have.” Helen Shenton, archivist and librarian.

“The best thing is seeing people flourish.  That for me is the reason I get up every morning.”  Michelle Tanner, Head of Sport.

“I’ve always thought of Trinity as this giant treasure chest, with resources that we can open up to the wider public.” Kathleen O’Toole-Brennan, Deputy Director, Trinity Access Programme.

“It’s a little green oasis in the middle of the city.” Jane Stout, botanist.

“My hope for the Trinity Access Programme is that we get to the stage where it’s no longer needed.” Daire Hennessy, graduate via the Trinity Access Programme.

Trinity can be listened to as a podcast on Documentary on Newstalk. https://www.newstalk.com/podcasts/newstalk-documentary

writer in residence

For their Decade of Centenaries project Meath County Council appointed me Writer-in-Residence.

Over a very enjoyable six-week period I worked with two schools, Boyerstown National School, near Navan, and St Patricks’ National School in Slane.

In both schools we did a collective creative-writing project based on events from the Civil War.

This picture was taken outside Navan library to mark the occasion, and features Tom French of Navan Library, Councillor Sean Drew, Cathaoirleach, Meath County Council, Dympna Herward, Meath Library Services, myself, Ciaran Mangan, Meath County Librarian, and Jackie Maguire, Chief Executive, Meath County Council.

castleknock video

Recently I wrote and directed a video on heritage sites around Castleknock village.   Filmed by Conor Diskin, and with original music by Doc O’Connor, the film had its premiere at Castleknock Tennis Club, where it was launched by the Mayor of Fingal, Seana O’Rodaigh.  The video has had thousands of downloads on YouTube and has been viewed as far afield as in Britain, Canada, China, the USA, Australia, and Singapore.

The film is fourteen minutes long, and here’s a link for those who would like to view it.