Posts

Showing posts from 2016

Home For Halloween

Image
Halloween is the hag at the gate ... ... apples gathered from the garden .... ... onions hanging in the trees to dry .... ... and their nourishment combined to make spicy chutney. It's toasted brack with butter and blackcurrant jam, eaten after long walks on shining October beaches .... ... and jelly snakes in a bowl in the porch, waiting for those who brave the hag and come knocking.   Visit Felicity Hayes-McCoy's Author Page on Facebook

Libraries at The Edges of The World

Image
The protagonist of my latest book is a local librarian called Hanna Casey and I’ve created a fictional county for her to live in. It’s on the south west coast - say somewhere between Cork, Kerry and Clare - Wild Atlantic Way country where the stunning scenery brings hosts of summer holidaymakers and the local council is bent on keeping the tourist numbers up.  We’re talking feelgood summer reading here, so Hanna starts out as a sad divorcee living in the back bedroom of her monstrous mother’s retirement bungalow, and ends up independent, re-empowered and reinvigorated, taking her time before taking the plunge into an affair with a younger man.  So far, so fictional. But as well as writing what in effect is pastoral comedy, I wanted to explore the realities of contemporary rural Irish life and the importance of focal points like librar y buildings and of the mobile  services that brin g library books to those who can't otherwise access them .

Bábóg na Bealtaine: Mayday Ritual In Ireland

Image
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 n

The Big Walk

Image
As the 1916 centenary commemorations continue, two things become increasingly evident. First, that the Dublin-centric version of Ireland's Easter Rising on which many of us were raised has obscured a far wider national story. Secondly, how many personal stories have yet to come to light. Marion Stokes. Cumann na mBan. Enniscorthy garrison Easter Rising 1916 My book A Woven Silence: Memory, History & Remembrance was inspired by a sense that I ought to know more about my grandmother’s cousin, Marion Stokes, one of three Cumann na mBan women who raised the tricolour over Enniscorthy’s Athenaeum in Easter Week 1916. County Wexford rose late, confused at first, like the rest of the country, by MacNeill’s order countermanding the rising, then responding to subsequent orders from the GPO to destroy the eastern railway approaches to Dublin. The Athenaeum garrison was the last to surrender, holding out stubbornly until its commanders were brought under a white