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.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

To a Home I Found | A Poem



I find myself on the stairs,
Head weighed in my hands,
Derail, recall, relive memories 
Back;

That summer's night I walked home
Wrapped
Surplus to worry, ignorant
To an end
In your brown suede jacket.

I brought it with me
To hand by the door
Along with the new fresh paint
And pictures of other unknown 
Faces assorted
On walls.

I am brave around a
Glass of wine
Ten cents for the thoughts
In my mason jar,
Questions bubble and swirl in a haze -
Threaten to rise
Milliseconds apart.

One word misplaced,
An error of mine that honestly
I am used to happening
Most of the time.
And I choke, I run from this,
The pictures, the walls
That hold our cinema-scope 

I turn my head up,
Two planes in the sky,
Parallel to each other;
An affirmed, beautiful
Commitment
In flight.

I started to think how alone
We must feel,
If one plane above our head
Holds at least
Eighty people.

Just then at this thought 
I stopped
In my tracks
I felt that homely warmth
Thrown on my back.

You waded the green
And jumped over ditches
To just wish me
Goodnight
In your brown
Suede jacket

That I gladly wore
All the way home
As the rosy sun slipped
Between the valley;
An image even the saddest
Could love.

You tried to assure me
That everything that I said
Was valid and true,
Not misinterpreted.
And I did not tell you

That I fail to believe,
I am found to be
The slightest bit
Endearing in the comforts of 
Dim Lighting

In our world of promise
All we can do,
Is tread carefully. lightly,
Lulling our voices to the moon

Aesthetic may be secondary
In the Eyes of the Sun,
If I ask why you are still here
I do not seek or ask of any validation.

I am trying to believe you,
Everyday

(I am using snapchat a lot more to have the chats with you all, if you want to join in on the conversation add us up!)

Monday, 11 July 2016

The Wake | A Short Story


The plot and all characters are completely fictional

The delph clattered harshly in the kitchen as I was making my way through the hall. I spotted the fine China that was “only taken out for the visitors” in the hands of people I knew well and others who were complete strangers. Before I said anything to anyone, I could already feel an exhaustive lull in the house, something that demanded immediate attention. It was hard to know where it was coming from in a situation like this. People had spilled into the corridors as the rooms could not hold everyone. The hedges had managed to be trimmed and the lawn mowed in quick fashion earlier on in the day, I had noticed as I had entered. Sophie tugged at my dress, her eyes widened at the sight of so many people in the house.
“Why is everybody dressed in black, Mammy?” she asked.
I sighed, patted her strawberry locks that she got from me and gave her the excuse I had been handed down with, “You’ll understand when you’re a big girl,” I assured her, “Go and find your cousins and play in one of the bedrooms. Be careful not to make too much noise, I’ll check up on you shortly”. With that, she clutched her teddy and skipped down to the bottom of the hall to find her comrades. Her innocent attitude to death was heart-breaking to see, but when children are oblivious to tragedy, us adults are in a better position to cope ourselves.

I found my mother in the kitchen, fussing and fretting over the guests in her usual style. She attended to everyone in quick fashion. I started to make my way towards her through the commotion to tell her to slow down. New cream, plain wallpaper replaced the brown covering we had for years, a tragic coincidence. Despite her short and sturdy build, I could tell she was beginning to fatigue. For someone that who only after losing a sister, she was not giving herself a chance to get to grips with it all.

Freshly baked bread, scones and sandwiches were laid out with the tea. Sunny-Joe from up the road was nodding by the stove and keeping a sod on the fire. My aunts and uncles from all over had collected in the same room, keeping fierce conversation with people they pretended to like. I felt a bit at odds with this sea of neighbours, I was the “Young Wan that had hiked up to the Big Smoke as soon as she got the chance”. Admittedly, I had not been visiting home in Belmullet as much as I would have liked. When Sophie had come along it became more of a chore. After I got married, I simply set up my life elsewhere.

“You’re working yourself into the ground, Mother, go down and have a rest”.
I thought my mind was playing tricks with me; it looked like she had gained an extra few wrinkles and grey hairs between her bottled-dyed auburn mane since I had seen her the day before. She chewed her lip, looking unconvinced at me, and wavered her hand around the empty air, “I know but sure look, Róisín, it’s only today. Who will look after this gang?”
I took a gentle hold of her arms and tried to calm her down in a way she used to with me, “There are plenty of hands on deck. You need to give yourself a chance, you are still in shock,” I said.
She looked as though she had said too much as soon as she agreed with me, “If only you knew the half of it,” she sighed, “I’ll have forty winks and see how I am”.

I took the nearest tray to my right and juggled it through the hall to bring it into the sitting room. I laid it down and offered everyone something to eat and drink. I was eager to get out as soon as I could but Sissy, Sunny Joe’s wife and her posy had cornered me. After we lamented about how long it was since we had seen each other last, we agreed that Aunt Margaret had “gone awful quick altogether, at the drop of a hat almost”. I soon realised that my small-talking skills had weakened in times gone by. I had become so accustomed to discussions on traffic, mortgage rates at my job in the bank and child-minding costs – it was challenging to readjust to cattle prices, the Hopper turf and death itself.

After I had spoken to a handful of familiar faces, I finally made my way over to her. Margaret looked as though she had simply fallen asleep after an evening reading by the fire, her usual night-time ritual. Her silver hair permed around her heart-shaped face. I had a very similar bone structure to her. It was always commented to me that I was the “fierce cuttin’ imager of her”. She was only sixty-eight, but “a young sixty-eight by all accounts” according to our neighbours who knew her. She held a set of familiar-looking rosary beads in her small hands. I honed my eyes in closer and noticed they were in fact my own set I had used to make my Holy Communion. I usually found wake-houses an incredibly awkward scenario to find myself in, embarrassed almost to be close to the person who had died. Although on this occasion, I felt an instinctive urge to pull a chair closer to Margaret and keep her company. When she would come on her holidays from England, her visits happened to co-inside with the winter flu or whatever cold was going around. Many nights she had spent staying up late with me to cool my forehead or fill up a hot water bottle. Aside from that she was the Fun Aunt by all accounts; I thought it was only right to stay beside her.

I sat back in the armchair beside her and gave myself a moment to have a look around. Through the north-facing window, darkness painted the sky as the clouds bid farewell to another day lived. November’s moon teased its appearance on the left hand side of the shore line and caused a stir of “you’d miss the stretch in the evenings” comments from all corners of the room. Pictures of Margaret had been hung around the cream walls. There were from her infant and teenage years, and more images of her in her mid-twenties and upwards. In each one she was on her own, with friends or her siblings. No husband, no children, no significant events could be picked out. There was a gap, I noticed, between these two phases of her life witnessed by the walls. 

A cluster of relatives collected in the sitting room. My uncle Harry made himself comfortable on the settee beside his brother, John and sister, Bernadette. Harry was becoming more and more American-ised every time I saw him. He was the most animated character and largest of life in more ways than one out of the five of them. He applauded his American regime as much as he could with whoever would listen. Eager for some source of entertainment, I tuned my ears to their conversation to their hushed tones across the room.
Bernadette took in a deep breath and scanned the room, “There’s a good turn-out anyway.”
“Oh Lord God, you couldn’t disagree with that,” Harry agreed with her, “Pity though at the same time for her, she kept a lot to herself for the majority of her life.”
“Aye,” John nodded, “and no children either to recount her nature for the funeral-“
Bernadette hushed her voice, thinking not a soul in the world could hear, “Well, it is that way and it isn’t. That’s not entirely true.”
Harry almost jumped in his seat like a Jack-in-the Box, “Now Bernadette, you know jusht as well as I do, we promised we ruled that kind of talk out altogether when it all happened.”
“You’re right there” she said as she studied her hands, but I knew she was not letting it slide that easily. She continued in a croaked, anxious whisper; “Do you think Róisín will ever know?”
“The girl is getting on grand the way she is,” John cooed to her, “She has a good pay in her back-pocket with the bank, married, and a little girl at her an’ all – the works. What would it be worth to disrupt all of that, ha? Who would we be doing the favour? What about Mary, the woman who reared her? We would be causing more harm than good, no point causing destruction in our wake.”
Bernadette let out a sigh, “Look it, sure I know all that. Can you think of anything more tragic, to be sitting beside a woman overboard, thinking she was an Aunt, when all along she was your mother? I would not be able to rest in my own grave knowing Róisín was in the dark, and I reckon Margaret would be the same.”

Before time had managed to stop, it brought itself to an unbearable drone. Everything I knew, everything I had believed in, everything I heard, everything in my life was presented to me on a plate that was shattered into mere atoms, completely dispersed. The cream walls, photos of my supposed mother felt like they were going to swallow me up into their frames. The lush, brown carpet under my feet had never felt as cold as it did then. Every face I could see wore the label liar, liar, liar. 

Have you ever had to worry about the credibility of your own identity? 

I darted up from my seat. Bernadette caught my eye, and she knew what I knew. We were now both equal with our knowledge on a family’s best-kept secret. Her jaw opened and closed, but no words came out. Harry’s usual flamboyant facade was brought right down to the most subdued nature, whereas John simply buried his head in his hands. Disgusted, I fled the room, not able to look at the people I was supposed to call my flesh and blood. For all I knew, they could be ordinary neighbours to me at this stage. 

***

Six months later and I was into my usual corporate routine. One particular Friday evening, on my commute home on the DART, I was surrounded by a throng of families. Being part of a unit was something I always thought I had, whereas it was really all make-believe. The rain splintered on the window to my right, piercing through my thoughts, making them unavoidable.

I did not go to the funeral, how could I? Being lied to for the best part of thirty years or more was not something I could willingly accept and move on from in a hurry. I received a letter from Mary the week after I left, but up until that Friday afternoon I did not have the courage to open it. I took it from my red leather hand-bag, flipped open the envelope and began reading. I could tell she was nervous when she wrote it; her handwriting appeared more shaky than usual:

Dearest Róisín,
I knew that there would come a day that this would all happen. I know you are hurting, and that breaks my heart more than you would ever know. I wanted to tell you sooner, years ago even – but you have done so well for yourself and I could not bear to hinder your happiness. Margaret never wanted you to know, that is as true as day. All we did was try to abide by her wishes.

Margaret had you when she was eighteen years of age. Your father was in the army at the time, and sadly I cannot tell you where he is or what happened to him. Your mother had no choice; she was snookered from day one in the situation. Our parents flew her over to England, so she could go through her pregnancy out of the neighbours’ eyes. When you arrived, I went over and brought you home. It almost destroyed her to be apart from you, but she also knew it was the best thing at the time. The only orders she left were to look after you and love you like you were our own, and to name you Róisín, her middle name was Rose.

I will tell you everything you need to know if that is your wish. All that I would ask is that you do not let this drive us away from each other. We both know now how that has already happened with Margaret, we are still family, and you are still my daughter.

You are more than welcome to come home when you feel ready, I’ll understand if you need time.

With love,

Mary

A half an hour after reading the letter I am in Heuston Station purchasing a train ticket to bring me to Mayo. I found a quiet seat at the back where I could let the tears flood the letter and smudge the ink to form an outline of two figures holding hands, almost. 

(I am using snapchat a lot more to have the chats with you all, if you want to join in on the conversation add us up!)

Sunday, 26 June 2016

In Flight We Soar, A Nation Recalls | A Poem



This is a poem I wrote earlier on in the year to mark the celebrations of the Easter Rising. It is a slightly different viewpoint on these events. I submitted it to various publications and competitions, but it's pretty clear that it was not a contender! So, I thought it was about time I shared it on the blog. Let me know what you think, do you have any thoughts on the Rising?

In Flight We Soar, a Nation Recalls | A Poem
It was Easter 1916, 
Leaders believed and followers wondered
To share the same heavenly spirit?
Enriched, embedded, embroidered 
In pride –
A technicolour of hope to dust
Our hearts for an age.
A simple case of empowerment of
The Soul,
Iridescence of the Mind,
To purify a cause,
Soldiers ran freely,
Luck being the only weapon.

What do we have to show
These comrades?
We are still scraping through
Iron gates of monetary 
Value;
Controlled, puppeteered through
Blissful ignorance
From the chambers,
Intelligible.

A steadfast yearn for stability
Both liberal and moral,
One promise rings out
To call
Another rising;
To Cherish All Children,
Ripped, ridiculed, repressed
In hands that 
Slipped through time

I would visit them,
Share stories in a glass house
In the scoop of a mountain
Where the mist of March
Comes down to meet
The greenest hue
To show the world
All the reasons 
This should not have been;

Born, bred, brazed and beautiful,
A young soldier,
His helpless mother,
Their tears shake the land.

(I am using snapchat a lot more to have the chats with you all, if you want to join in on the conversation add us up!)

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Hope is the thing with Feathers




I am here. I am alive and breathing (no pun intended). I am content. I am relieved and currently feeling ridiculously happy. Why you may ask?

I participated in two years of study, the latter being at a speed too quick for any human to go through, I sat in classes, block classes, extra classes to get coursework completed. I worked my ass off for one French oral exam, where I had to cram and memorise phrases I probably won't use again. I made sacrifices; socially, mentally and physically. I was tired, I had to make deadlines and essentially six years of study boiled down to one big memory test over the span of twelve days.

But sure look, that is the Leaving Cert is it not?

In view of the fact that it has all been said and done, the title of this post is the name of a poem by Emily Dickinson, a poet I studied. I would not read her poetry to find any solace to lift your mood, but I am drawn to this one in particular. It is one of her lighter pieces 

For anyone that doesn't know, the Leaving Cert is one big set of exams that take place towards the end of your time in secondary school. Your grades are translated into points, your points then determine where you study your preferred college course afterwards. Nowadays it is not as black-and-white as that, there are countless routes to get to where you want to go career-wise. That is fantastic and there is a certain level of comfort in that. However when you're studying and preparing for them it is a whole different ball-game, particularly when you have a certain course in mind for afterwards. Considering I have extra bits going on with my health, I am proud of myself for getting through it, and I'm proud of all of my classmates and to anyone else who completed it that might have done it, too. Great job kiddo!

All jokes, sarcasm and general-giving out aside, I am delighted to be finished. I cannot put into words the relief that has showered over me since I finished my last exam. I have heard past Leaving Cert students describe it to me before and I never quite believed them. But kids, it's real, and it is one of the realest things you will experience, possibly ever.

It has been challenging though, as I have said across Facebook/Twitter/Snapchat (all social media links will be linked below), and I am sure people are tired of me talking about it. Having said that, it is all I have been asked about and all that has been happening.

I have truly missed writing, not just blogging but the act of getting a pen out and jotting in a notepad about non-school-related, mundane things. I would describe writing like a muscle, the more you use it, the better it gets, it can get stiff and slightly weaker, but with a little time and perseverance it will come back to itself again. Well, that's always the aim, at least. My actual muscles have become stiff and weaker after the year which was unavoidable. So the plan is that I will go on a stereotypical health kick, look up the #Fitfam hashtag for inspiration and download countless healthy recipes that I I may or may not consider bringing the pots and pans out for. Time will tell, although  I would like to think I am being serious about this "New Beginning" in my life that I am constantly trying to adult-ify.

On a lighter note, what has got me through it? Music, music, music. I still tried my best to keep up with making my monthly playlists. I will make a blog post highlighting my gems since January but in the meantime you can have a listen yourself over on my Spotify, here.

I also called my cousin, Kate regularly considering she went through the year herself last year and also factoring in that we are practically the same person when dealing with the grand aul journey that is life. I generally "checked-in" with a small group of people from time to time just to make sure everything was ticking over as best as possible, not only academically, but mentally too. I rewarded myself with hot baths with an unnecessary amount of hot water and an obscene about of bubbles. 

I learnt many things over the last few months, things, no doubt I will document here in the foreseeable. What I would say is though, it is like I have been drowned in a pool of rich, tecnicoloured hope. Which is a bit of a mouthful to come out with but it really is true. Usually when summer commences I feel a certain, edging dread, mainly knowing I have to head back to a fixed routine in the same place five days a week. Cabin fever you might say? This time though, it's all very different. There will be many changes happening, many of which I have no idea how they will materialise themselves but I am hopeful.

I reckon that I have held myself back to a level both personally and creatively down through the years. Why? I'm afraid I can't pinpoint that to a pulp for you. I am not mainstream, I am not "run-of-the-mill", because of these differences I never felt completely understood by a lot of people. That is changing because I'm changing and delving into my person-hood at a much calmer pace now. Or growing-up for the want of a better turn of phrase.

My own micro-ism is expanding, becoming interlinked with the world's macro-ism and that can only be a good thing, surely?


"“Hope” is the thing with feathers - 
That perches in the soul - 
And sings the tune without the words - 
And never stops - at all"


(I am using snapchat a lot more to have the chats with you all, if you want to join in on the conversation add us up!)

Saturday, 5 March 2016

February Playlist | Podcast Round Up



This month may have been quite all over the month, but at least I could one thing right; the aul monthly playlist. Honestly, putting together these playlists have been the most thing getting me through my study sessions of late. As anyone can appreciate, keeping the momentum going day-in/day-out can be quite difficult. However, knowing that I have a new list of tunes to listen to every week makes me more inclined to want to sit down and get the work done. Win/win.

I did think that last month would have been difficult to top, in terms of what I listened to. Admittedly, I'm very fussy. My listening pattern is quite stringent. I won't add a song to a playlist unless I have listened to it three times, and liked it (that's important).

One band in particular, that I have been raving out, pretty much everywhere; FORTE (pronounced Forté, not Forte, as yours truly got mistaken with). They had to be included after all the harping on I did? If you listen to the podcast I recorded with Maeve from Thrift O'Clock, you'll hear the background story as to how I came across the lads (from about the 37 minute mark onwards of that podcast you can catch it).

"Goosebumps" is a solid tune, it is nothing quite like anything I have listened to before - which is of course, both a nod and a credit to their originality. Have a listen to it and let me know what you think yourself!

Another band you should be keeping an eye out for, "San Scout" are included, also. Originally, I came across their song "Get Me By" - which I fell in love with while I was pouring over balance sheets and poetry essays. Unfortunately, that particular song is currently taken down as they are hoping to re-release it and "make it sound better", which - I am not sure how that could be done, I thought it was brilliant. Nevertheless, their latest release; "Render" should get you by (no pun intended) in the meantime. Again, very different to what I normally listen to. Although, there is something incredibly calming and familiar to it. I'm very much looking forward to their future material.

Can we take a second to talk about MATT CORBY? Why have I not heard about him? How has he managed to remain under the radar of my ears until now? Who knows. This guy is a genius, lyrically, musically, vocally - generally, in all aspects. I indulged a great deal of time in his live version of "Runaway". If I'm being honest, I tend to prefer studio recordings as opposed to live renditions, however this was an exception. He manages to conjure up so many damn chills in the spines of his listeners, I genuinely have no words. And his song; "Brother"? I sold my soul at that point. He will definitely be featured in future playlists. I can't quite even deal every time I think about his music.

I have also recorded a couple of podcasts with both Maeve from Thrift O'Clock and filmmaker, Adam O'Dwyer from This Guy Called Adam. You will find the links to those below. It was a pleasure to chat to both of them. Put on the kettle and lie back for an hour and have a listen. We would love to know what you think!

I was also a guest with the guys over at ThinkSink. Meredith and Adam were very kind to let me have a chat with them. You can find links to the playlists and podcasts below.

Those have been the main highlights of this month's tunes and chats. I would love to know your recent jams that you've been a fan of. Let me know in the comments below.










Thursday, 11 February 2016

"Six" | A Poem



This is something that I wrote recently - and with many things like this, it means a lot to me to throw out on the interweb. I might explain this more in-depth in another post or a podcast.

This is a HAPPY poem - I hope you enjoy it :)

I took an hour out of a
Routine of motivelessness and
Overbalance of subjects,
To go down the road,
Enjoying a handful of waves,
Nods of the head,
And twist of some words.

I came across a herd of cattle,
Some way down
Past the bridge,
Laying back as they decided
Which way they would
Heave their weight

I saw the children jumping
Walls in nearby fields
Dodging tulips and
Bluebells to land on
Green grass and
Hay

I cupped my hands around the mountain
And I heard a lark call
Across a pierced sky;
Burnt orange and crystal pink -
I thought what it would
Be like to stay here until
It fades to a bokehed beam
Translucent

Like this skin of mine
That I have worn since
The World cried out against
Mainstream convenience. 
Six small white dots
Arrived for a visit on a tiptoe;
Comfortable,
Familiar,
Homely,
Sparkling on my right hand.

Is this a case of circumlocutory?
There are only pale moons
Arranged haphazardly.

But there are omnificent to demand
The scrutiny of skilled eyes,
Also resting politely with their
Sisters on my neck and
Neighbours on my arm
(All equal in residency)
Unified and unassuming
If hardly noticed,
Remaining as delicate accidents. 

Their anchors may have faltered
At one time or another,
Though they stand to chance another day
The tulips still unscathed,
The bluebells blowing 
Without worry.