World Book Day was less hectic this year than in 2016, when I wrote One Good turn, the Irish entry for World Book DayA. World Book Day 2017 was still an active day, however, and I had the pleasure of meeting pupils in Killicomaine Junior High School in Portadown.
Great turnout at the O’Brien Press Spring launch of children’s books, and a chance to catch up again with Marita Conlon McKenna. (more…)
My radio documentary Park People was broadcast on Newstalk 106-108 fm on Saturday, November 19th, and can be listened to as a podcast at: ww.newstalk.ie/documentaryonnewstalk
Park People looks at the diverse and colorful range of people that live, work and play in Dublin’s Phoenix Park. From polo players and nuns at Mount Sackville, guides at Aran an Auchatarain, and kids visiting the zoo, to with map makers, bicycle renters and Gardai in the Depot – the Phoenix Park has room for them all.
From a private tour of his residence with the US Ambassador, to a look behind the scenes with the Director of Dublin Zoo, the programme takes the listener on a fascinating journey around the national treasure that is the Phoenix Park.
October 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…
I had a private tour of the US Ambassador’s residence, in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, as part of my forthcoming documentary Park People, due to be broadcast on Newstalk FM.
Ambassador Kevin O’Malley was a fascinating and gracious host who showed me around Deerfield, the residence that once housed the Chief Secretary for Ireland, and which has been home to successive American ambassadors since 1927.
We toured the beautifully landscaped walled gardens and as well as the interior of the house, which has had many famous visitors, including John F Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Barrack Obama.
Just back from Canada where Arrivals was launched in the grounds of Lakefield College School, by Mary Smith, the Mayor of Lakefield. Also present in the photo are John Boyko, former Dean of History at the college, and Phyllis Williams, Chief of the Ojibwe at the Curve Lake Reserve.
It was exciting to have the launch in the very location where so much of Arrivals plays out, and an honour to have such important dignitaries present. The event was covered by the Lakefield Herald and What’s on in Peterborough, with television coverage on Chex TV’s popular evening show, Newswatch.
The launch was followed by a reading, a lively questions and answers session, and drinks on the deck of the boathouse. Even the weather was perfect, with a golden sun dipping below the horizon just as the event finished!
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.
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!
My radio play The Last Summer will air on Newstalk on Monday May 2nd at 11.30.a.m.
The Last Summer is a drama about the relationship between a young Irish boy, Kevin Riordan, and an elderly English lock keeper, John Bennett, in late-Fifties Ireland.
Despite its idyllic summer setting, trouble is coming with the proposed closure of the local canal, and when Kevin discovers that Mr Bennett – a conscientious objector – had fled to Ireland to escape conscription in the Great War, both characters are faced with difficult moral dilemmas.
Starring Michael James Ford, Marion O’Dwyer, and Eoin Brady, the programme was funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with the Television License Fee.
Great event last week in the Draiocht Theatre when The Lucky Penny booklet was launched, by the Deputy Mayor of Fingal.
This was the culmination of a project in which a scene from my 1916 book, Friend or Foe, was the starting point for children in three Dublin schools to write their own cartoon stories, assisted by professional cartoonist Alan Nolan.
The children were from Scoil Thomais, Castleknock, Scoil Mhuire, Blakestown, and Mary Mother of Hope NS, Littlepace, and their artwork will be on display in the Draiocht Gallery until July 1916.
Congrats to everyone involved, and particular thanks to Sarah O’Neill in Fingal Arts Office, and Sarah Beirne, Emer McGowan and Nicola Murphy in Draiocht.