Thursday, 25 May 2017

Coming of Age | A Poem

I write to try and find
the will to throw letters together
of words I should
have spoken
long ago -
But I was swallowed,
every fragment of my being,
not by walls, but rather
what was between them;

Whoever filled up the space
of a
Shopping aisle
Packed church.

An entire community,
Where I did not feel
To Dream.

If you want to
bring me somewhere
I have felt
If all else fails -
Take me to Dublin

Where I am no longer
known for being the success
story of a girl’s
nature defying science -
I only got here because
I craved

The lights do not owe
Me anything,
Hold my hand
as they set me alight
in the felicity
that is now
my youth.

I am a woman who will dance
In maroon brogue shoes
To any beat as I please,
I’ll waltz into Flannery’s in a ball gown
And dance with strangers
After I’ve simmered down a
Bottle of white wine
I bought for under a fiver
where I cradled it,
quite proudly,
down the Ballymun road.

I have rote-learned
recipes of cups of tea
for the masses,
My dining table is
a hub for your tales -
My couch is a cot
to rest your tired bones
As we kick back and dissect
the events of the
Night before.

I have entertained the sweetest
talk my ears ever did bear witness -
From a country mother’s son -
A tonic of some kind,
A sense of vivacity that I had
only imagined 
happened at the pens
of other writers.
Never have I felt more
encased in such a
Thunderous bloom
than listening

To recitals that came
out of his mouth like
rose petals,
Delicate in the weight
they carried,
Divine in the pictures
they grew
of life both
Lived and unseen,
At a pace
Where only
Gold dust
could keep up.

But yet, I step to my own
tune again,
A modest glow still

I will go home
to the island of whispers,
where the waves of the
Atlantic curl around
the cogs of my mind.

A heart once heavy
Now lifted,
Strengthened -

I will sit on the patio
and see him surge through
the clouds above my head -
Germany-bound at summer’s end
I will make a promise to us both;
Age is coming.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

To Leave, To Live | A Poem

In winter, my heart was warmer
In spring, bloodlines trickle down
To write a name so crisp and clear
Quite easily, faltering

Now is the time
To change with the season,
To be honest in nature,
To put the lights back in my 
Eyes again -

You cannot
Shelve yourself for
The year,
Far worse things happen
Across our raging seas.

If you leave your window open
You may hear my feet 
Dancing in the garden,
To dance away
A sense of finality
I am all too familiar with.

Sincere in strength,
True in intention,
A smile that
Could rip the tide apart.

Say my name and
Let it fall over the dusty myrtle
There will be a smell of rain
To send me away and
I’ll sing all along a 
Pebbled path to
A new ballroom

About promises that hung
On copper wires,
Bending over every
Which way,
Calls me now to consider;
Did you ever love, son?

Dearest scaltarín,
Arrows fall short and
Lanterns furtively
Get lost in their

A ruby glow is shadowed
At night when we leave.
It will make its way to 
Another home,
Unknown to us.

If it is to be the will
Of a future
Closing day,
It may be found on a 
Mountain top,
Sitting beside a blue ribbon
Tied to a branch of a hawthorn tree
That we once planted
In our 

*Scaltarín (scawl-tar-een)
Meaning a small bird in Irish
(A variation of the word you won't typically find in a dictionary. How convenient.)

Saturday, 22 October 2016

It Will Be Grand on the Day

I was not sure where I would even begin with writing here again. It has been a long time, fam. Much has changed, while other things have stayed the same. The wind still blows, the sun still rises in the east and sets in the west and we all still try and get those tumblr-esque #skypics for our Instagram feed.

While all of that sounds lovely, that isn’t what I am here to talk about and it isn’t what you probably want to read, either.

To sum up in thirteen words: I started university and I moved to the other end of the country.

Someone asked me during the summer what my philosophy on life was. I threw my head back and laughed to buy some time to come up with a decent answer; it will be grand on the day.

I received both my exam results and my college offer in August just gone by. I am studying a journalism course that many people know that I had my eye on for quite a while. It was, of course, a nerve-wrecking time to put it lightly. However much of the stress started for me after I got my college offer. I had to start making more concrete plans for moving to Dublin and getting one step closer to receiving my #CityGal badge.

For the most part, things started to fall back into place, once the dust settled. It did not come without its challenges but the doubts I had were swept away in the matter of a couple of weeks. I simply cannot sum up my “College Experience” to date in one single post. But what I can say is that I have been very lucky to meet some of the slickest people around, some of whom have already managed to taste the finest scones made by my mother.

Since I have started college, I have subsequently been called Kathleen by people I do not even know. That is a story for another day.

My course is great, the people on my course are great, too (gwan ye jurno gurlos). However, I did find some parts of the introduction to the course quite overwhelming, in the sense that I felt I was losing my creative writing identity, if we can even call that a thing.

The bare bones of news writing (although I find it to be one of the most enjoyable modules) is that the language used is restrictive and forced. No one wants to hear about the two cents you have to add to a story, unless you’re writing a feature or a column. You are providing the news for consumers, not for your own artistic benefit. Sin é, that is how it works.

This is not a criticism on the industry or those who teach us, it is merely an observation. I put my name down for the course, and this is what it entails. These are the Elements of Journalism (nice lil pun for my JR1 huns).

It made me think; can I still write creatively? What parts of my personality am I now willing to share across my platforms? Is it even wise that I maintain my blog, where I – dare I say it now – share my opinions? Do I completely deny myself of creative accessibility? Should I pack it in and start spelling my name with a K instead of a C because it looks more structured and sophisticated?

The answer to most of these should be pretty clear both to myself and to anyone who knows me well enough.

I have not written in my usual routine in months, and I can feel it just as much as the miraculous foot injury I acquired two weeks ago.

There is a pendulum swaying mid-air in my mind that goes from creative writing, poems and essays to hard-core, dig-up-the-dirt-show-me-a-good-intro investigative journalism. These are two heavy-weight, deeply engrained sides to me that bear equal importance.

All is not lost, because you’ll hear me laughing in some cackle around campus and I religiously wear my Mayo jersey once a week to keep at least one dream alive. By all means this is quite a long-winded stream of narcissistic consciousness that I can look back on when I am old, grey and full of sleep.

What will I do? I will more than likely boil the kettle and try and figure it out with some other soul over a cup of tea and scones that I bring up from home every Sunday.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

5 Irish Snapchat Users You Should Be Following

It comes as no surprise that Snapchat has fast become one of the leading platforms in the way we converse, share and utilise social media. Whether you are a domestic user, sharing images with friends or family, a business owner trying to "spread the word" of your latest product or advertising campaign or even a content creator, like myself - Snapchat has become an unavoidable tool that we have been encouraged to jump on the band wagon for.

In the wake of Instagram's latest update; an attempt to merge both platforms together, it has left many people confused as to whether or not to remain Snappin' their chicken sambos, sharing their wise words of wisdom or both. I thought now would be a good of a time as any to remind everyone what makes Snapchat an attractive platform. 

I have put together a list of a handful of fellow Irish Snapchat users who have taken the time to tell me what makes Snapchat great to them and how they use it.

EOIN CORBETT - (saoleoin)

Eoin is a filmmaker, originally from Tipperary, but he is now based in Dublin, working for media-based giant, Storyful. I first came across his Youtube channel a few years ago and in recent months re-discovered it again. He has been commended on numerous occasions for his work down through the years. A couple of months ago I talked about his latest short film, Blood Poppies over on my own Snapchat.

Eoin really tries to bring a variety to his content; whether it is trying to overcome the daily struggles that is adult life, documenting his adventures to Lidl, a first venture out to Coppers or IKEA - there really is something for everyone. All jokes aside, I do look forward to watching his story because you do not quite know what you are going to be handed with. On the flip side he can often bring up some more hard-hitting topics and deliver his message in a very clear, concise and easy-to-understand way. He thinks about what he says and he negotiates the ten second limitation particularly well. You may also see some behind-the-scenes of his filming and editing set-up.

Eoin says: "Snapchat has quite quickly become one of my favourite mediums for sharing video. The best thing about it, for me, is the whole premise of Snapchat; how instant it is. I can record a video and share it with my followers in less than 10 seconds. Creating a stream of videos and posting them is a really interesting way of telling a story. 

The medium is virtually limitless, besides the 10 second limit, of course, but I actually think the 10 second limit is central to the attraction of the platform to me. I have to stay within 10 seconds so I find myself thinking about how I phrase things and work my sentence structure, which overall adds to how well I tell the story."

CLIONA CONNOLLY -  (connolly_clio)

Cliona is a former journalist, originally from Monaghan who now works in PR as a press officer for the EPP Group in the European Parliament in Brussels. After following each other both on Twitter and Snapchat around the time of #Brexit, I quickly found out about all the reasons everyone should be following her!

Cliona explains EU policies, codes of conduct and news in an extremely easy-to-understand manner. Her stories are very informative and easy-to-follow. Some people might not be interested in the current affairs of the EU - but I do think, considering with the amount of change that is likely to take place in the coming years, it is vital to keep up-to-date. I always look forward to seeing and hearing what Cliona shares with us. For example, on the day of writing this post, she talked about the terms and conditions for EU shoppers, where she particularly focused on online shopping. 

She also shares snippets of Belgian life to keep a variety on the go.

Cliona says: "I think Snapchat is the perfect platform for journalists as it offers that behind-the-scenes insight and allows the user to broadcast to the world effectively. There is a lovely community on Snapchat and it is very enjoyable to use. 

I am a former journalist but now work in PR. I started snapchatting some stories a few months ago about the EU and clarifying misconceptions and received such positive feedback from followers all over the world, not just in Europe, that I decided to invest more time and energy into it. I usually provide factual information about the EU and the latest news topics, sometimes further afield too, and sometimes I offer my own opinion or insight as someone who works as a press officer for the political grouping the EPP Group in the European Parliament. However, I am clear about fact and opinion so my followers know they can rely on the information I provide. 

Sometimes I address big subjects, and other days lighter topics with a bit of life in Brussels, Belgium thrown in for good measure (lots of chocolate shopping!). I am really enjoying using Snapchat and have met some wonderful people via Snapchat."

ÉANNA WALSH - (eannaaah)

Éanna is the main man that has been pushing the #BareKnucklingBipolar initiative that some of you may have heard about in recent months. The hint is in the name although it carries a very strong message; that we all need to disregard the stigma attached to mental health in Ireland. Éanna has been very vocal and open, not only on his own Snapchat, but in the media in general on television and the airwaves in relaying his own story with his  mental health.

With all of this in mind, he always shows a great attitude on his stories and he is overall good aul' craic as they say! 

Not only this, but health and fitness are also a heavy feature in his content. Éanna has participated in the WimpToWarrior programme with SBG, which is an MMA gym run by John Kavanagh. For anyone that is looking for motivation to stay on track themselves, following Éanna is great in this respect as we see him getting up at all hours of the morning heading out training and we get a sneak peak at his meals. He is currently preparing for a fight that will take place later on in August. Best of luck Éanna!

ROSEMARY MACCABE (rosemarymaccabe)

Rosemary is a freelance journalist and blogger based in Dublin. I am always very engaged while watching Rosemary's stories because she is a straight-talking lady who knows what she is on about! She too, like Éanna, features health, food and fitness regularly. Everything with Rosemary is very "real", she talks about things that should concern us all; be it feminism, normalising the conversation around mental health or how we should be perfecting our attempts at an ooh-tuh-duh (OOTD).

She is an extremely smart and witty lady who can talk sense around almost anything. If this doesn't sound intriguing enough, her equally vivacious dog, Coileán is a common feature also - who manages to steal the hearts of all of us watching.

We see her go about her daily life and we get an insight into the life of a freelance journalist, which is something that has always interested me. 

Rosemary says: "Snapchat is the perfect social media. It's quick and off the cuff, and you can overshadow with relative abandon – knowing that your wittering will be gone within 24 hours. 

I love it because it's fast and it's fun and I think you can interact with people so easily. For me, it's been really rewarding because it's allowed me to connect with so many people. I feel like, in a weird way, I now have this huge network of friends that I didn't have before. You feel like you get to know people so you get a very human sense of connection from it."

CLIONA HILL (clionahill)

Cliona is a fellow Leaving-Cert veteran who blogs about beauty and fashion. I have been reading her blog ever since I began myself just over two years ago. We get a chance to see behind-the-scenes of her blog-work. She often does a "Get Ready With Me" where all of us gals (and garcons) can get a sneak peak into some of her favourite products. I find these great to watch as I myself can feel quite unmotivated and uninspired to come up with new ideas and looks for make-up. 

Cliona works extremely hard on her blog, and we can tell this by simply watching her stories. While her blog and Instagram are very well constructed and aesthetically pleasing to the eye, Cliona is not afraid to show us that she is like everyone else. That is what makes her relate-able and that is one of the main reasons why I enjoy watching her.

Cliona says: "Snapchat is the most intimate form of social media in my opinion. I love that I can share videos with no makeup on & messy hair. I think it's refreshing to step away from carefully constructed Instagram feeds and share my personality in a way that isn't possible on Instagram or Twitter."

FINALLY.. YOURS TRULY (catherinegal)

I have really enjoyed using Snapchat more regularly over the last few months in a vlog/chit-chat style. You can see and hear me ramble about mundane everyday things like forever not being able to reach food from the cupboards or telling a random story that made me laugh. On the other hand it gives me an opportunity to talk about things that I truly care about; equality, the portrayal of young people in Ireland and accessibility and attitudes towards people with disabilities of varying degrees. While I love writing and the act of hitting "PUBLISH" for a new blog post, there are things that I can express better and more easily by vocally discussing it as opposed to the written word. On a personal and honest level, after years of being unsure and not entirely content with the way things were going in my own life; it has given me confidence because there is a certain amount of liberation to be drawn from airing your own views and beliefs. Whether people agree, disagree, enjoy or dislike what I do, they cannot take away my voice.

Do you enjoy Snapchat? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.