Writing

A Better Version of Ourselves

I’m in West Kerry, on holidays. I’m standing outside Paudie Ó Sé’s pub catching my breath after a fervid two hours of championship hurling magic conjured out the air by Tipperary and Wexford. Sandmartins weave a dreamy thread of air above me. A benign sun pulses light and heat, easing away the dark intensity of the match inside. I check my pulse: 89 bpm – good. When Séamus Callanan scored his transcendent goal after ten minutes of the game – delaying and delaying and delaying the hit until the ball was the apex of its third bounce – I felt my breath catch and my heart lose purchase and my ears buzz and I had to put a hand on the counter of the bar and calm myself. The fitbit showed my heart-rate then at 103 bmp – not good.

The Corkman who loves Kilkenny and looks up to Women’s Sport

What time should we hit the road on Sunday? The bloody road works in Naas still aren’t finished. Before we get to that, I’ve a bit of news. Oh. Is it the prostate again? The prostate is fine. It’s this: I love Kilkenny. Jesus, keep your voice down. What are you on about? I’m reading a brilliant book at the moment called Amateur. It’s by Thomas Page McBee and he’s a transgender man who took part in a boxing match in Madison Square Garden in 2015. In the very first chapter of the book, he describes the fight and his opponent. He writes: ‘The truth was, I loved him even as I danced around him with my hands in the air.’ The purity of revelation in that statement floored me.

The Dingle Diaries. 4: Rain

We rose early, in the dark. I was bringing Padraig to the train in Tralee. He had a meeting in Dublin. It had rained all night, a westerly lashing against the exposed windows of our house above the town. It rained still as we drove east along the road past Lispole and Annascaul and Camp and into Tralee. It rained when I dropped Pad at the station and turned the car around. It rained when I parked in Tralee to get a good coffee.

The Dingle Diaries. 1: Arrival, Feeling Raw

I’m in Dingle. I nDaingean Uí Chúis. It’s no hardship to say those particular words. Whether it’s February or August, wet or dry, cold or warm. I’m trying to write. And walk, between bouts of rain. After the few days I’ve had, with the funeral and everything, heading off on Sunday morning had a surreality about it. Any journey has a leaving behind, but this one – well, death is final, it’s the last ending so it’s hard to look forward at all, but we must. Mostly, we can.

Profane Time and Sacred Time in Sport

It’s February 3rd 2019. I’m at the Cork Wexford National Hurling League match in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. And I’m thinking about time. I’m thinking back to a different time, six months ago on July 29th, 2018, when last I watched the Cork senior hurlers play – against Limerick, in Croke Park in the All-Ireland semi final.

2018 Interviews and Articles about The First Sunday in September

This is my last post of 2018 and it’s been some year. My first book The First Sunday in September was published in August by The Mercier Press. I’ve been busy, finishing the editing process for the book and reading and writing as much as I could. Thanks to everyone who supported me, I’m so grateful. Thanks to everyone who read my blog over the year and special thanks to those who took the time to follow, like and comment on the posts. Not to mention those who bought my book and read it. Some who read it were even good enough to contact me with kind words. You have no idea how much that means. Onward and upwards to 2019. I’ve a draft of a crime novel on the go and I’m now working on a book of essays on sport. The next few months will see a lot

Publicity for The First Sunday in September

A chairde, welcome to the August 24th, 2018 meeting of the Committee. The Rúnaí can’t be here tonight, he’s asked me to deputise on his behalf. First item on the agenda. The PRO wants to pass on the following information, though the chair:   Tadhg Coakley’s novel in stories, The First Sunday in September, was shortlisted for the Mercier Press Fiction Prize, 2017 and was published by Mercier Press in August 2018. It tells the story of a fictional All-Ireland Hurling Final Sunday, from the points of view of several recurring characters, exploring recurring themes.

What I Feel when I’m on The Pilgrim Path to Croke Park

All of the 71,000 souls who took the pilgrim path to Croke Park yesterday to live the moment in Limerick’s exquisite win over Cork experienced a scatter of emotions. Not just those who travelled, either – but hundreds of thousands of others who watched or listened in. Here are some of mine before the game. A sense of intention, of purpose, when I wake in the holiday home five minutes before 6am. Up and at ‘em. Here we go, here we go, here we go, and all that. Mount Brandon is stretching itself up into clouds, as it usually does. The gate leaves a creaky grumble when I free the latch. The water on Smerwick Harbour is a slate grey, waves flecking the surface.

To Win Just Once – The Game Is On

So, anyway, I wrote this book. I got down off the ditch and into the game. Great view from the ditch, you can hold forth in high judgement and you can hide there, in the crowd. Not easy being inside the white lines, against tough opposition, making a show of yourself with everybody looking at you. Nowhere to hide. But I did it, anyway.

Margo and the Snakes

Margo, our innkeeper, wanted to talk about snakes. This was at breakfast, in Galax, North Carolina. In fairness, the Canadian woman, Lori, brought them up. She and her husband, Glen had a close encounter the previous day when cycling on a trail. At the inn, you have breakfast with other residents. 8am. Breakfast on the table.