Secret Lives

Repeal the 8th

Wasn’t it great when we owned the women we married, when, effectively, they were our property? ’Twas. Proper order, made things a lot simpler. We owned our daughters too, and they were very useful, in forging alliances with other men of power and means.

Listen to the robin

As I write this, the robin is singing outside. The sun is slanting up over the hedge. I can hear a rook on the roof. I heard a lot of robins in Dublin too last weekend. It’s time. The days are lengthening. We have daffodils and snowdrops and crocuses. It’ll be Lá Fhéile Bríde in a few days. Listen to the robin. It’s worth your while.

Four Brothers in The Ossau Valley, Day 5

They go low, so we go high. We drove south past Laruns into the mountains up to the Lac de Bious-Artigues at 1400m altitude. We were shocked, shocked I tell you, to find the car park by the lake full, with well-equipped and, worse – fit-looking – hikers setting forth. We were most aggrieved, having had the forests and mountains to ourselves the previous two days – well, except for the cattle and horses, but they didn’t clog up the paths, they weren’t smugly thin and they didn’t have hiking poles and expensive walking gear.

The Hipster and the Rory Gallagher Square Rook 

I’m a rook, like, and I mainly hang around Rory Gallagher Square in Cork. I pecks away around the square, getting the odd bits and pieces that people drop on the ground. I’m what you call a polyglot. That means I speak a lot of languages. I mean a lot of languages. It comes easy to birds, us rooks especially.

The Echo Boy

I’m the Echo Boy on Patrick’s Street. No, not that one, I’m the one across the road, outside the old Examiner Offices. I’m the statue. I didn’t know I was a statue for a long time, actually. I used to be over on Cook Street and one day I heard a woman tell her daughter what I was, so that’s how I found out.

Autumn Leaves

It’s been dry, it’s been very dry in Cork City by the Lee, my hometown here in the deep south.  [APPLAUSE] Yes it’s been a very dry Autumn, and very still too for weeks now, hardly a puff of wind, which means that we have a spectacular Autumn array of colourful leaves on the trees, even though we’re coming into November and on past All Soul’s Day.

Five Days Walking in France – Day 4: Words of Love

Thursday came with our first clear dawn and a hard frost. I put on a hat and gloves for the short haul down to Madame Aldi – we weren’t quite on first name terms yet, myself and the woman who opened it up in the morning, but we were getting there. Light had been filling my East facing bedroom since well before eight and I went outside with a cup of tea to enjoy the sun’s rising over the glen. It came up clear under a blue sky ribboned with aircraft contrails, my breath misting in the cold Autumn air, long shadows appearing behind the garden chairs and the porch column and on the pages of my notepad and my pen was enshadowed now too, and the back of my cup. Funny how the shadows are longest at the dawn and the dusk. Mist from my nose and mouth in

The Old Cinemas go for a Pint

All the old Cork City cinemas get together now and again, for a few jars in a quiet pub, and to reminisce about the good old days. Capital is in great form tonight – they’re making a retail centre where he lay derelict for years, and he’s proud of that. Capital – Come here lads, what was the best fillum ye ever showed? I can go back to the forties, but still, I think for me it was Jaws  in ’75. That was a great show, a big breakthrough for Spielberg, and I had queues all the way ‘round to Oliver Plunkett Street. The screeching of the girls when that shark came out of the water, you never heard the like of it. And the John Williams music when it was going to attack. Dadum, dadum, dadum. Great show. What about you, Savoy?

The Shawlie

“Onions! Onions! Three for a penny.” Once I sells off the last of these, I’ll go over to the Market and get a nice bit of tripe for Joseph’s tea. He loves the bit of tripe boiled up in milk. He be’s starving after taking the horse and trap all the way to Ballycotton, to get them poppies and carrots. I hope to God he don’t go into that dirty pub and lave everything on the cart outside like he done a few weeks ago.