Monthly Archives: October 2010

Snow time


Filed under Death

Death in the country

Our son, Seán, was buried yesterday. We are told that it was the largest funeral in the parish in living memory. A guard of honour was provided by my daughter’s (and Sean’s former) school. The choir sang … I had picked the hymns. A rugby ball, his camera and a Bob Marley poster were brought up to the altar to represent his interests. After communion, I addressed the congregation briefly to thank everyone for their marvellous support and to tell Sean’s friends that my wife and I care about them, and that they will always be welcome in our house. Continue reading


Filed under Death, Ireland

Sean O’Brien … 28/7/1991-17/10/2010

Sean died suddenly and unexpectedly yesterday morning, possibly on account of a heart condition that nobody knew about. He was a lovely young man in every way, and will be sadly missed by a great many people. Everyone he ever met was his friend.

We love him, and we always will. RIP, Sean.


Filed under Death

Flann O’Brien

It’s a beautiful sunny day here in rural Ireland. My wife and daughter are in Italy, as I mentioned to Cymbeline; my son and his girlfriend are still in bed. I have not yet had breakfast but have almost finished a pot of coffee.

There are various things I could be doing. I need to finish editing a paper on schizophrenia. I need to rebuild part of a dry-stone wall that has collapsed. I must walk the dogs at some point. Later I shall watch Munster v. Toulon and Saracens v. Leinster – the Heineken Cup, important stuff.

I had intended to post an extract from Flann O’Brien’s novel The Third Policeman, but the text does not appear to be available online, and typing it out laboriously does not appeal to me just now, although I have done this with extracts from other books, including Ernie O’Malley’s. Continue reading


Filed under Ireland, Literature

Mink menace

A few months ago, I noticed that the two dogs were barking madly at a car parked in front of our house. After they had been brought inside, a juvenile mink, which had taken refuge in the undercarriage, jumped down and ran away (it looked just like a black stoat). I have also seen adult mink near by.

Recently, some idiots released 5,000 mink from a fur farm in Co. Donegal; this has potentially catastrophic consequences for local wildlife. Mink are gradually colonizing the country … there are calls for their eradication, but this would be difficult and expensive (estimated at over €1 million for an area of just 800 km2). Continue reading


Filed under Ireland, Wildlife


[Previously posted on MyT]

He was sitting on a rock at the edge of the sand, playing with a piece of bladder-wrack he’d picked up – bursting the bladders, and thinking about this and that.

‘Medusa,’ she said, ‘had seaweed on her head. Instead of hair.’ He looked up and saw her – a slight, smiling, dark-haired girl, his own age or close, blocking the dim sun.

She sat down on the rock to the right of his, uninvited, and continued to speak in a strong country accent … probably a traveller, he thought as he inspected her, which he was free to do as she was looking out to sea. The wind blew back her ropes of hair and showed her face. Continue reading


Filed under Stories

War in Ireland, 1921

This is another extract from On Another Man’s Wound, by Ernie O’Malley. I posted one here; a post dealing with similar themes appears here. This incident – the execution of three British officers in reprisal for the killing of prisoners – occurred in the same part of South Tipperary as this and this.

We walked into the closing-in darkness, riflemen in front and behind the trap, until we were at a distance from where the officers had been captured. I expected a big round-up in which the countryside would be combed by troops from Cahir and Clonmel – both strong military posts. They would probably converge in the triangular area of which Fethard was the apex.

We came to a farmhouse up in the fields some way off the main Clonmel road. Sentries were posted. The girls and women of the house got ready supper; they did not ask questions. A fire was lighted in the room where the officers were. After supper I went into the room. The blinds were drawn so that they could not look out. It was a large room. They were seated at a table. One had his head in his hands. Continue reading


Filed under History, Ireland, Literature