Base Camp

Fri, Nov 20, 2015

"I’m not going to climb it! I told you already, I don’t climb, I climb out of bed in the morning and that’s it. Anyway since when were you pagan?"

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Grace upon a time

Fri, Nov 06, 2015

He is sitting there, all alone, huddled in the chilly May dew upon a rock dressed in seaweed. His scruffy, woollen coat wrapped tightly around his frailing 84 year old body. The waves, roughly batter around his black, scuffed ankle boots as he licks on an icecream cone. A lonesome seagull is perched on the rock beside him trying to peck at the cornet. ‘Away with you,’ he flummoxed with his tar stained, crinkly hand. ‘Shoo.’ It has always baffled me as to where he can get an icecream cone for his breakfast. The town is a distance away and his feeble waddle would take him a good two hours to walk. I am convinced he lives in the icecream truck hiding behind the Burrishoole, Grace O’Malley castle, over towering beside us. I often hear the jingle of the icecream van but I can never see it.

‘Good morning, ma’am, like a lick?’ I shudder and shake my head, partly in disgust and partly in cold. He is a harmless old soul, but lonely, his balding hair in a Christmas bobble hat. He keeps to himself and no one bothers with him. They think he is doolally and he smells of moth balls and Sweet Afton.

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The Mayo Leprechaun

Thu, Oct 22, 2015

One beautiful June evening, after a hard day’s work turning a large field of hay, my friend and neighbour Joe Blewitt asked me would I go over to Tully’s for a pint. He didn’t have to ask me the second time because we had worked up a huge thirst over the course of the day. There was a large crowd in Tully’s that night, and all the events of the day were discussed at some length. It was the night before the Connacht final between Mayo and Galway and it was really the topic of the day. Who was going to win? There is always tremendous confidence in Mayo, and most people there that night thought Mayo would win; some of the older people issued a note of caution and said that there was no such thing as a bad Galway team and cited some examples of years gone by when Mayo were raging hot favourites only to come a cropper to an unfancied Galway team.

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Malt, melancholy and Mayo

Fri, Oct 16, 2015

Here I sit perched on a bar stool in Boston, a sprig of shamrock in my lapel. Like a poet in exile, I’m marooned in the quiet realm of recollection. On this day the pathways of my mind are strewn with memories of Mayo. It’s Saint Patrick’s Day and it’s the dreams of Ireland in which my mind does dwell. The procession of green pageantry passes by the window. Spectators assemble in huddled anticipation as men and maidens of the Gael, freckled and fair march with swagger and pride. I stare out the window and my mind does wander, across the perimeter beyond the yonder. I lift the amber jar in silent salute to old Hibernia and to my fellow diaspora wherever they reside. I see Mayo now through a pitcher of beer and with a swig and cig the picture becomes clear.

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A week without Mary

Fri, Oct 16, 2015

It had been a funny sort of a week, all told, thought Michael as he took his place among the mourners.  He slid a look at the shiny brown coffin at the front of St Joseph’s Church, but couldn't quite bring himself to think about what – who – it contained.

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Last Night In Mayo

Fri, Sep 18, 2015

“Pint, Pat?”

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The Visitor

Fri, Sep 04, 2015

After he knocked, the visitor entered the house through a small narrow hallway. He ducked to avoid hitting his head on the low door frame. "Ara, Michael, it is grand to see you at last. Your brother told me you’d come up. How are they all down there in Turlough? They must be delighted to have you home in Mayo. How long has it been? Three years?"

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