Category Archives: Blogging

For Sean, on His 26th Birthday


The windows are open;
Air from the garden
Will freshen your room.

A hurricane brought you
And took you away:
You are part of its force.

The shoreline before me
Recedes and advances;
My boat is becalmed. Continue reading


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Filed under Biography, Blogging, Ireland, Memories, Philosophy of life, Poems, Religion, Stories

New look for 2014 …

In keeping with the idea of ‘New Year, fresh start’, I decided to change the appearance of this blog by giving it a different ‘theme’ from the one it’s had since I created it in May 2010 (this is easy with WordPress blogs). I think it looks fresher and cleaner now. I have retained the photo at the top – one that Sean took, of the Nine-Eyed Bridge near Virginia, Co. Cavan.

Pauline and I want to make 2014 a year of change for the better, after several years of consolidation and ‘staying strong’ following the devastation of Sean’s death in October 2010. Change is unavoidable and renewal is desirable. We want to develop ourselves and fulfil our potential. Susanna has made massive progress in her life; Pauline and I, though at a different stage, need to forge ahead now too. On some levels, of course, we will never ‘move on’ – we will always love and miss Sean.

A headline in today’s Irish Times reads ‘Tears at Dublin Airport as emigrants depart after holidays’. Pauline and I sometimes reflect that we would love it if Sean was in Australia, say (he was considering going there not long before he died). Airport tears are understandable, but the families of emigrants are, relatively speaking, quite fortunate. Emigration may be seen as a form of ‘bereavement’, but – these days especially – it’s a very mild form.

As part of my resolution to make changes for the better, I’ve been seeking new work clients today. Pauline has been developing an idea of hers. I intend to be more creative in 2014 – to write songs, poetry, non-fiction; to start and perhaps finish a novel.

As Jools Holland and guests sang on his Hootenanny show the other night [clip is from the previous year] – ‘Enjoy yourself … it’s later than you think’. May we all have a happy and productive 2014.


Filed under Blogging, Death, Ireland, Memories


If you are visiting my blog because of RTE’s Nationwide programme, you are very welcome, and I hope you will like it.

I started this blog in May 2010, and at first wrote about miscellaneous things that interested me. Since Sean died of SADS on 17 October 2010, the blog has mostly been about him. If you wish, you can click on the links under the ‘Archives’ heading to the right to see what I was writing in any given month.

Details of my novel Larris & Me are given HERE.

I have written around 23 songs since Sean died (having never written any before). Three of these have been recorded with good-quality equipment and are on YouTube:

Sean and Clio in the Snow
Beating Heart
Come Back and See Me

The rest I recorded on a small Dictaphone-type device, sometimes with Pauline singing too. They are as follows (please click on a title to visit the post, and follow the link to listen):

Running in the Dark
Do You Hear Me When I Speak?
Pink and Gold
The Well
July to September
Nothing But Love
One Way
The Road
All Because of You
Devil’s Bit
Hey Sean
The Heat of Love
No Way of Knowing
Lament for Sean O’Brien
7021 Days
Gone Away
Love Remains
Losing You
Love You and I Always Will

Thank you for your interest! It is much appreciated. Please feel free to leave a comment if you wish (first you may need to click on ‘Nationwide’ at the very top of this post).


Filed under Blogging, Death, Ireland, Memories, Philosophy of life

Typing the above into your browser will now take you to this blog.


Filed under Blogging

Sean’s music 23 … Thin Lizzy

Sean liked Thin Lizzy … in particular, he regarded the guitar riff in ‘Emerald’ as the best rock riff ever. That was his favourite Lizzy song (it’s in his YouTube ‘favourites’); others he liked included classics such as ‘Whiskey in the Jar’ and ‘The Boys Are Back in Town’.

I wrote a piece on Lizzy on another blogsite a few years ago … here it is …

Thin Lizzy were arguably the best Irish rock band. They started as a three-piece in the early seventies … Phil Lynott and drummer Brian Downey from Crumlin in Dublin; Eric Bell, the lead guitarist, from Belfast.

‘Whiskey in the Jar’ is adapted from an old Irish ballad: I think they recorded it as a kind of joke or novelty track.. They expected nothing of it, but it got them on Top of the Pops and on the road to success, and excess. It’s still a great track, in my opinion … one of those happy accidents that manage to capture and preserve some magic from the place and the time and the people present. Continue reading


Filed under Blogging, Death, Ireland, Memories, Music

Six months

It is six months today since Sean died. That was a Sunday in autumn; this is a Sunday in spring, and the weather is beautiful. The leaves on the Norway maple were turning yellow then; now it has new green leaves.

I visited Sean’s grave this morning: the grass is growing and will need be kept in check. His Munster rugby jersey on the grave is fading, but the Bob Marley t-shirt is holding up well. I had been to mass – singing in the choir for Palm Sunday – and I saw many of the neighbours and friends who were so good to us on 17 October and subsequently. It’s a great community.

Three of Sean’s friends called to see us last Sunday – one of them, Mike, gave us a large, framed pencil drawing of Sean that he had done. I will not reproduce it here as that wouldn’t do it justice. It will always hang on our wall. It is beautiful, and it captures Sean very well. We are very grateful to Mike. Continue reading


Filed under Blogging, Death, Ireland, Memories

Blog rationale, and some diary extracts

The purpose of this blog, since 17 October last, has been to document the life of my son Sean, who died on that day at the age of 19. I hope to build up as detailed a picture as I can.

I will never manage a true representation of Sean … he was too complex and multifaceted for that, and I, like everyone else that knew him, knew him only partly. I loved him, as did many others.

The fragments I present on the blog – photos of moments and people in his life, anecdotes, poems, the things he liked, what he said, the games he played, his music, what people said about him – may form a kind of wall mosaic that, from a distance, looks like a reasonable likeness of Sean. Up close, only the fragments will be visible, but it’s the best I can do. The more fragments I add, the truer the mosaic … or at least that’s the theory.

It will be a sort of memorial to Sean, though the very fact that one is required still breaks our hearts. It will be good for me and, I hope, for others. I know that many people who knew Sean read this blog (they are very welcome to comment here, by the way). It won’t bring Sean back, but it may help him to be held in the memory, as he so deserves to be. Continue reading


Filed under Anecdotes, Biography, Blogging, Death, Ireland, Memories, The music of what happened

Another year

I’ve had this blog for eight months now. It’s had 57,000 hits in that time, and 3,900 comments … probably not bad for a one-person blog. I enjoy blogging, and it has provided a platform for posting thoughts and images concerning Sean, so I’m glad of that.

We had a good Christmas and New Year, although of course we missed Sean very much. Pauline and I had our first alcohol-free night in a fortnight or so last night, and feel much better for it. We intend to make positive changes in our lives in 2011.

I’ll continue to write about Sean and his life, likes and loves here. One of his friends wrote on Facebook this morning: ‘I’m very grateful for all he taught me in his life, which is a lot more than he would think.’

I wish everyone that reads this blog a happy and fulfilling 2011.


Filed under Blogging, Death, Ireland, Memories

To Cymbeline

Cymbeline, thanks for the note. Please feel free to comment here if you wish.


Filed under Blogging

Six months

I started this blog on 4 May, so it is six months old today. It has been a strange six months, which has seen the death of several people I knew or to whom I had some connection … notably our son Sean, about whom I have written here at some length.

Life goes on, and we need to face the future with optimism while missing and remembering Sean. I had been planning to post slideshows of him as a baby and young boy with his family and friends … we have a great many photos (fewer of recent times, unfortunately). But the Internet is a strange place and there are creeps out there; furthermore, there would be a risk of boring people and of self-indulgence or maudlinism. So I won’t do that. Instead I’ll write from time to time about Sean’s musical favourites and so forth. Continue reading


Filed under Blogging, Music