Only a year before we moved in, the site of the Dublin house that I grew up in was a field. Down the road, after the house was built and the developers had moved on, there was a scrubby patch of trees. They've disappeared now, under concrete and more housing. But when I was a child a spring rose in the scrubland, flowing briefly between two oaks and disappearing again among their twisted roots. I remember hours spent swinging out over the water on a rope tied to a branch, and
letting go at the crucial moment to land in squelching mud on the other side.That survival of the countryside, hemmed in by two roads, was a favourite playground for us local kids. We called it St. Bridget's. And at the time I never asked myself why. I don't know now if Bridget's name survives there. But I know that for thousands of years before I swung out across that water, people had come there to pray. It was the site of a holy well. Wells dedicated to Bridget are found all over the country. Sh…
Well, look at this. My North American debut. When I was an actress I thought that word only applied to performance but, no, it's what publishers say about books as well. Actually, the dictionary definition is as follows:-
A person's first appearance or performance in a particular capacity or role.
Synonyms: first appearance, first showing, first performance, launch, launching, coming out, entrance, premiere, beginning, introduction, inception, inauguration. informal:kick-off.
I love "informal:kick-off".
I may substitute it for "debut" in conversation from now on.
I've always been a sucker for synonyms and dictionary definitions, which is one of the reasons why working with my US editor on The Library at the Edge of the World has been such fun.
The book, the first in my "Finfarran" series of novels, is already available, with two others, across Europe, and in Australia, China and South Korea. In the case of the latter two, the covers are stunning but I…
May Day, on May 1st, is celebrated throughout the northern hemisphere as the first day of summer. In Ireland the roots of the festival lie in ancient Celtic rituals held at the turning point between the seasons of Imbolc and Bealtaine.
Here in Corca Dhuibhne May brings a new awareness of the garden. Each day, from first light, the air rings with birdsong. Nesting crows creak past overhead. Bees hum on blossoms and tiny, blood-red fuchsia buds shine against deep green foliage. One year behind the old byre I found flowers on a pear tree which, two years previously, we'd liberated from a supermarket. It had been a sad, dry stick with its roots wrapped in plastic. Now each year, as the sap rises, it promises baked fruit puddings flavoured with ginger and honey.
The word Bealtaine (Pronounced something like 'Bee-owl-tin-neh'), said to come from Bel Tine which means 'Bel Fire', is the Irish language word for the month of May. Bel was one of the names of the Celtic sun g…