16 from ’16

Sadhbh over at Where Wishes Come From has been running an end-of-year blog round-up for the last few years. I tend not to participate in these as I’m a lazy-arse and my blog seems to embarrassingly wander all over the place. But never one to miss out on a re-visit to the sound of my own voice, I had a browse through my blogging efforts for the past year. Despite the hap-hazardous feel to it all, I’ve noticed a few themes emerging over the years. So, here goes…

  1. Mangled lyrics post of the year 
  2. The obligatory Breda O’Brien bashing post of the year 
  3. In which I made it to one decent gig. Phew 
  4. What I got up to when I was left on my own unsupervised that time 
  5. Another break-up 
  6. In which I insult another hero 
  7. Indulgent chin-stroking
  8. In which I was actually happy 
  9. In which I was happy and sad at the same time
  10. This year’s brush with the law
  11. Sigh. Not the Rose of Tralee again? Yes, the Rose of Tralee again 
  12. The cliched letter to my…daughter 
  13. The unavoidable letters from a daughter 
  14. Re-blog of the year 
  15. Bono-bashing post of the year that wasn’t even written this year 
  16. Road-trip of the year

I will strive to maintain consistency in 2017.

Do join in the round-up. Sadhbh is very friendly. And she will also tell you how to pronounce her name.


(Not Sadhbh)


Edge of Seventeen

Next year will be different.

Next year I will combat the creeping suspicion that integrated  education is merely a subtle form of middle-class Unionist assimilation. I will do this with steadfast determination to tether it to my own terms. I will sheepishly deliver our girl to class after the Remembrance Assembly but this time armed with an unapologetic reason why, if asked. I will swerve to avoid collisions with groups of more than one parent in the yard and forbid myself the possibility of a re-run of Facebook-Gate 2016. I will suppress the pleasure of taking the piss out of myself at all costs for fear I will re-awaken the sensitivities and antipathy of other parents. I will defiantly goose-step over landmines of emoticons, smiles, thumbs up, likes, and all manner of paraphernalia of the passive aggressive and paranoid. I will restore some of my credibility by refusing to wear clown-feet red boots when striving to be taken seriously.


Could you wear these and stroke your chin at the same time?

Next year will be different

Next year there will be more women than Lynn Ruane single-handedly serving as a vital visible counter-point to prevailing mainstream middle-class feminism. Traveller women, working class women, and women for whom English is not their first language but for whom Ireland is their first shot at stable family life, will not be confined to the following:

  • 10 minutes of air-time on open-air trucks at annual marches
  • 10 hours of patronising twitter admiration following the above
  • 51 weeks of obscurity till the next time

There will be plain English to rival the paradigms and intersectionality and tone-police-policing of the custodians of public discussion on equality.

Next year will be different

Next year there will be more films, less vengeful fantasies involving neighbours hatched in response to the casual erection of their corrugated monstrosity impeding my view of sun-set. There will be more maybes, less yeses, and more emphatic nos.

Next year will be different

Next year I will no longer labour under the notion of reconciliation. As the final tranche of European Peace monies pour into the coffers of local government, I will confidently, and correctly, predict the successful squandering of same. At a ratio of three managers to every one community worker. The most successful reconciliation will be Sinn Fein with their insatiable sense of entitlement. Where I live, anyway. Aided and abetted by deference of weak-willed management with imagination institutionalised out of them. There will be fewer fucks given. Just a steely resolve to rise above the bullshit through the ancient scientific application of rolled eyes and a reasonable day’s work for a shit day’s pay at the end of it.

Next year will be different

Next year will be lined with coastlines. And coast-hangers. And ward robes with mountains of closed bags filled with skirt-arounds never worn and ill-fitting dressing-downs and scuffed shoo-ins.

Next year will be different

Next year I will go wherever the keyboard takes me. The words will take the wheel while I continue to enjoy the scenery.

Happy New Year.

You wouldn’t sell your hen on a wet day

From the kitchen, the Irish language channel shouts down the everyday English hemorrhaging from the TV across the hall through perpetually open doors. Between the deteriorating hearing of the older residents, and their obsessive, high-pitched, fear these will provide a passage way for A Terrible Draft, a Siberian dog has its paws permanently shoved in its ears.

Between impassioned pleas from Gaelgeoiri to rescue our native language, and raised brows from others at the dead-horse approach to same, a third language is quietly under attack. One that is lively, expressive, and economic: the mongrel tongue of colonial English and sideways Irish. A combination producing an index of euphemisms readily deployed to elegantly ridicule a person, lampoon a notion, or nail a nugget of wisdom in less than 140 characters.

Say that again?

Would you lock the back door please

Lock? The back door? Whad’ya mean?

Yeah, the keys are on the kitchen window 

The kitchen window?

We’ve reached the point of our stay in a predominately euphemism-speaking area of Ireland when the most straight-up assembly of words is fast becoming a challenge. But I want to stay here and luxuriate it in a while longer before returning to the Real World.

Between excessive flexing of intellectual muscles, and casually revealing mental muffin tops on social media, the Plain People of Ireland mutter on from the sidelines; sometimes seeming to occupy the more sophisticated and least self-regarding high tables of chat of all. Many of them know the value of silence. And the importance of not selling their hen on a wet day.

Round-up: Favourite blog reads of the year

Admittedly, I miss writing, but I’d miss reading more if I couldn’t do it; and 2016 was the year of a few quality blog finds.

Here lies a handful of toppa the head reads. Some of the subject matter is serious, the matters diverse, with certain posts straying from the author’s main bag; but all are united by a wicked way with words, a lightness of depth, a depth of laugh, and a reservoir of chin-strokes to share out among their readers.

In order as random as they were read and written..

Prince and The feels by Tara Sparling

Other people’s children by Different Shores

A few words from our sponsors by Blathering About Nothing 

Musings on mumhood – feminism, love and grief by The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive

Different Worlds, Same Place by Little Steps to Somewhere

An Open Letter from Santa by Maxburbank

Virtual Advice by Elan Mudrow

Letter to My 70 year-old decrepit self by Aine Carson

Hospitality by Awfully Chipper

As for the forgotten – just take it that I take it that they know which ones they are. And feel free to share yer own.

The Blue Nile

Ken Sweeney’s new radio documentary on the quintessential Glaswegian band.

Great to hear a nod of recognition to Mark Cagney – the man responsible for bringing them to the radio listening masses of Ireland, including a night-time day-dreaming girl in Donegal with a smuggled transistor radio under her pillow.

Includes some acoustic Walk Across the Rooftops. Rejoice. Collapse. In equal measure.

Why did we ever come so far?


He’ll be home soon. Better get on with fixing dinner. Hang on, who the hell ‘fixes’ dinner apart from characters in American novels and her after he’s had a hearty go at preparing it. Best tidy up first, but not overdo it.

Terry says it’s OK not to dump her shit on him. She tried it already by text this morning. HI. CAN’T FACE WOR… Delete. HIYA. Delete. HEY GONNA GIVE WORK A… Delete. CAN’T FUC…. Delete. HAVE A DECENT DAY. SEE YOU LATER x.

Relax. She doesn’t really text in capital letters. She might be off her head but she’s not THAT deranged.

Christmas tree lights on. Off. On. Having no lights on is too much of a give away. Like the deserted breakfast bowls with rapidly encrusted cereal boasting the stubborn adhesiveness of a fossil. Radio on. Dishes in sink.


[Door slams shut]

Hi. I’m in the kitchen.



How’s it going? Busy day?

Aye. Usual. You?

Did you it make back from work OK?

Grand, yeah.


She suspects he suspects. Maybe it’s because she forgot to put her shoes on. She will maintain a breezy tone.


The road’s been closed since 10 this morning. Pipe-bomb.


He offers to fix dinner.