Do you need an editor, writer, proofreader or indexer?


Details of my service, and how to contact me, are laid out here. I have 27 years’ publishing experience, and will be happy to discuss your requirements with regard to large or small editing, proofreading, indexing or writing projects.

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To Sean, on his 25th birthday

[I wrote this in July but forgot to post it here then.]

You should be here in these times
To tell us what you’re thinking:
To show how your sweetness has developed
And your sharpness has increased.

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Filed under Death, Ireland, Memories

To Sean: Six Years On

This unholy blur started with shivers:
Our lives’ coldest spell.
You were gone for no reason;
Time passed slowly while snow fell.
Ireland froze, except for rivers of tears.

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Filed under Death, Ireland, Memories, Philosophy of life


A new song that I’ve written.


I lie awake and I’m pondering


Where the money goes

I think of times I was following


The Emperor’s new clothes

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Filed under Music, Uncategorized


My latest song …


I remember you told me

You were born on a ship at sea

All the oceans we’ve explored

Since the day I climbed on board

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Filed under Ireland, Music

Holiday in Ireland: August 2016


On Tuesday we found ourselves at Lissadell House, the ancestral home of the Gore-Booth family, six years after we first visited it and Co. Sligo. Back then we went to see and hear Leonard Cohen; this time the house itself – famous for its connection with Constance Markievicz (née Gore-Booth) and W.B. Yeats – was the attraction. We looked out at the rain through the windows of which Yeats wrote (and Cohen recited):

The light of evening, Lissadell,
Great windows open to the south,
Two girls in silk kimonos, both
Beautiful, one a gazelle.
(from ‘In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markievicz’)

There’s an extensive and excellent Easter 1916 exhibition in Lissadell at present, including a lot of Markievicz paraphernalia. There is also a wealth of material related to Yeats and his brother, the prolific painter Jack B. Yeats. Continue reading


Filed under Ireland, Literature, Memories, Poems, Politics


A new song that I’ve written.


You can’t drive a straight mile on a crooked road
Or walk away from reaping what you’ve sowed
Or fill your head with other people’s stuff
Because their dreams will never be enough

You will try
To live a life of peace
With love that will increase
The summer’s golden glow

When the dark
Of night will take its toll
The hope that’s in your soul
Will let you

Echoing the songs of long ago
Love will grow
When it’s time to start again you’ll go
With the flow

All the things you’ve done are in the past
All the days are flying by so fast
Still you try to read another sign
The time has come for crossing one more line

Soon the sun
Will bring another day
The night will fade away
New flowers will start to grow

And the life
That brings them out to play
Will find some other way
To flow


Filed under Ireland, Music, Uncategorized

Christy Moore and tribalism

I watched the second part of the Christy Moore Journey documentary tonight, having watched the first part at the weekend. I’ve always liked Christy and his music: he is a man who clearly cares about a lot of people, but I wish he were not so selective in his caring.

A teenage girl who dies giving birth in a grotto will have a song written about her; names of the Birmingham Six and the victims of Bloody Sunday will be recited in songs. That is right and proper. But teenage girls killed by the IRA in Birmingham and children killed by the IRA in Warrington will not have a song written about them. Their names will not be recited. They are of the wrong tribe for compassion or for outrage. Neither will members of the ‘right’ tribe have their names recited if they were killed by the same tribe. Mary Travers, a 22-year-old Catholic teacher, was murdered by the IRA as she left a church. Christy won’t be writing a song about her.

Christy cares about injustices in Latin America, and that’s good. In our own situation, though, his songs show that he cares only about Irish nationalist victims – not about the victims of Irish nationalism. This is tribalism.

If you want to be a tribalist, that’s fine. Just don’t pretend to be something else altogether – a humanitarian, for example.

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Filed under Ireland, Music, Politics