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Posts from the ‘Ireland’ Category


Spring?…it doesn’t feel like it!

Nothing was going to stop me from biking this morning…not even a spot of rain! I covered the camera in plastic, pulled my cap on and connected the IPOD to my audio book. Yes I got wet but the feeling of my leg muscles burning off the pandemic pounds was worth it! Update: 5 week no sugar, coffee, alcohol, buttered toast and jam…
I had a difficult day yesterday…urge for sweets….so grabbed a grapefruit…sweetest thing in the house! Wind mild 8kts (11kph, 7 mph) temp 6 C (42 F). Sun was doing its best…but lost the fight with the clouds!
If you look closely at the previous photo you can see a single bird.…drifting in the water. It is a common merganser (North American) or goosander (Europe)… a large seaduck. It is the first one I’ve seen. I loved the contrast of his beak and ‘crazy hairdo’ with the diagonal lines in the water. You can even see the pearls of water rolling of his back! This has to be my “lucky shot” of the day!
May be art of tree
Covid: 2020…2021 so many things have been cancelled. But one thing is sure: “Spring Cannot Be Cancelled” by David Hockney. Happy First Day of Spring! I could look at this painting for hours!
On turning eighty, David Hockney sought out rustic tranquility for the first time: a place to watch the sunset and the change of the seasons; a place to keep the madness of the world at bay. So when Covid-19 and lockdown struck, it made little difference to life at La Grande Cour, the centuries-old Normandy farmhouse where Hockney set up a studio a year earlier, in time to paint the arrival of spring. In fact, he relished the enforced isolation as an opportunity for even greater devotion to his art.
David Hockney’s new book “Spring Cannot Be Cancelled”  will be published on 27 April 2020 with 142 color illustrations
Decided to take my chances and climb this lookout post. Steps were slippery… but  I got some great photos from this vantage point!
I think this a my “lucky shot” of the day...beautiful duck surrounded by a golden pond. The illusion is … seems the duck is swimming in the reeds not water! Stunning!
This is my “lucky shot” today…the lines of the trees, the perspective... the emerald green grass…and the sun slipped behind some clouds to give the photo a diffused light. The church tower in the distance draws the viewer’s eye, just beautiful! I’ll take this photo again when the trees are in their summer glory. Time now for tea…. I have survived 4 weeks without coffee, sugar and chocolate. That means…just 20 more days….then Lent is over and I can celebrate with a cup of JAVA on Easter!
Celebrated #ReadingIrelandMonth21 hosted by @cathy746books:

March 2021

  1. Poem:  “Still”  – Felicia Olusanya (aka FeliSpeaks)  #ReadingIrelandMonth21
  2. Anseo – Úna-Mingh Kavanaugh  REVIEW  #ReadingIrelandMonth21
  3. Why the Moon Travels– Oein DeBhairduin  REVIEW#ReadingIrelandMonth21
  4. Ulster American – David Ireland  REVIEW  #ReadingIrelandMonth21
  5. Irish Short Stories – J. McGahern, W. Trevor, C. Keegan   REVIEW #ReadingIrelandMonth21
  6. Don’t Touch My Hair – Emma Dabiri    #ReadingIrelandMonth21


And of course….I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in lockdown!

May be an image of one or more people, drink and text that says 'Put some whisky in my coffee because it's Ireland somewhere. som ee cards user card'



#ReadingIrelandMonth21 Irish Short Stories

  1. There is nothing more soothing than reading Irish short stories
  2. at 0400 am when you are jolted out of sleep.
  3. Claire Keegen, John McGahern and William Trevor guided me
  4. back into a ‘literary dream world.”
  5. PLAN:
  6. I’m reading 3 short story collections.
  7. By rotating one story from each book I want to feel
  8. …the different writing styles.
  9. List of Challenges 2021
  10. Monthly plan
  11. List of Plays
  12. #ReadingIrelandMonth21 @cathy746books




  1. I will have to choose William Trevor the best of these three writers.
  2. His stories are moving, concise tightly structured and still in just a
  3. few short pages he manages to present “living and breathing’ characters.
  4. #Bravo
  5. John McGahern was so disappointing.
  6. His novels and memoir are much better.
  7. McGahern’s strenght is his novels and he tries to
  8. explore multiple events with a complex plot in a short story.
  9. It just does not work. McGhahen should stick to his day job…novels.
  10. Claire Keegan is a rising star!!
  11. Keegan’s writing is delicate: not prudish, but exact.
  12. I look forward to reading ALL her books!
  13. #BestIsYetToCome


My Notes:

Keegan: The Parting Gift

  1. Strong pointindelible images
  2. her father’s shadow crossed the floor — puppies — and a bathroom stall at an airport
  3. Strong point:  the small details
  4. “The saucepan boils
  5. …three eggs knock against each other. One cracked, a ribbon of streaming white.”
  6. “…cord of the electric heater swinging out like a tail from under the bed.”
  7. Ms Keegan uses a first person “observer”. But restricting the viewpoint to the “observer”it
  8. actually makes the protagonist (we don’t even learn her name) more mysterious.
  9. She remains a mystery because we have no access to her  innermost thoughts and feelings.
  10. The girl’s  reasons for going to America will become evident in the story (no spoilers).
  11. We feel her secret loathing towards an uncommunicative  and cruel father.


Walking the Blue Fields

  1. Beautiful story….
  2. A priest catalogs the evidence of a
  3. bride’s uncertainty on her wedding day:
  4. “…the light, shaky signature in
  5. The bride’s hand was shaking”…why?
  6. This short story was a page-turner.
  7. I wanted to know the meaning of the quote early in the story:
  8. “There’s pleasure to be had from history.
  9. What’s recent is another matter and painful to recall.”


McGahern: Parachutes

  1. A short story should be a slice of life…to fit on the pinhead of a needle.
  2. McGahern makes some classic mistakes in “Parachutes”:
  3. Weak point: Too many scene breaks: I counted 11 including  3 flashbacks
  4. Weak point: Too many characters: 8
  5. I would have preferred McGahern had concentrated only on
  6. the lovers who are ending a relationship.
  7. Weak point: the title did not connect to the story as strongly as it should.
  8. The thistledown felt like an aside…a digression.
  9. Weak point: Vague ending:  I invested my time to follow the story to is end and
  10. felt cheated…he end doesn’t offer a conclusion to the plot.
  11. This is not a stellar short story…by any means.
  12. #TerribleDisappointment


McGahern:  The Ballad

  1. Weak points: The story was pointless!
  2. Four males  live in Mrs. McKinney’s boarding house.
  3. One of them, O’Reilly, has put one local girl “in the family way”
  4. He tries to avoid marrying her….but ends op doing so.
  5. They live happy ever after.
  6. Where is the plot, tension?
  7. Where is the conflict between characters?
  8. Yet again McGahern uses 7 different scenes!
  9. To complete my disappointment the title “The Ballad” makes no
  10. connection with the story. I did not read about a song or a ditty.
  11. I rest my case.
  12. #TerribleDisappointment



Trevor:    Three People    (Vera, Sidney and Mr. Schele)

  1. Strong point:  …you can feel the tension on the pages!
  2. ‘They do not talk about a time that
  3. …was a distressing time for Vera, and Mr. Schele too.” (?)
  4. Strong point – structure of the story
  5. …put together like pieces of a puzzle for the reader to discover.
  6. Strong point: Trevor peppers his story with clues that increase the tension.
  7. The reader is getting a ‘glimpse’ of a break-in,
  8. but the evidence doesn’t seem to be believable!
  9. Why is Vera’s photo in the newspaper!
  10. Strong point: has ALL THE ELEMENTS of a memorable short story!!
  11. It felt like reading a novel…so engrossing.
  12. #ExcellentShortStory!


Trevor:  Good News

  1. Strong Point: Characterization: Mr Trevor does not rely on physical appearance but rather
  2. thoughts, feelings, and interaction to describe the characters.
  3. Dialogue: Light conversational dialogue between Bea (9 years old)
  4. and her mother Iris and father Dickie.
  5. Her mother is “a pushy stage mother”
  6. reliving her bygone days as an actress while her daughter films a movie.
  7. Theme:  Harassment: The story zooms in on
  8. …Bea’s inner thoughts and her fears
  9. while taking part in filming a movie.
  10. She feels it is an unsafe environment (no spoiler)
  11. Strong point: Title reflects core message:  
  12. Good News – always brightened things up between
  13. her parents before they were divorced.
  14. Bea’s acting job was good news.
  15. But Bea is torn between admitting her fears (unsafe on the acting set)
  16. …and or say nothing.
  17. She sees her parents interact in a loving way again
  18. ….and she does not want to ruin that.
  19. She chooses to suffer in silence.
  20. #ExcellentShortStory!

#ReadingIrelandMonth21 Why the Moon Travels

  • Author: Oein DeBhairduin
  • Title: When The Moon Travels
  • Published: 2020  (pg 120)
  • Genre:  Traveller  folktales
  • Travellers: Ireland’s indigenous nomadic people and an ethnic minority
  • Trivia:  Shortlist for the KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards 2021
  • List of Challenges 2021
  • Monthly plan
  • #ReadingIrelandMonth21 @cathy746books
  • #DiversityInIreland



  1. Why the Moon Travels contains twenty folktales
  2. …from the Mincéirí or Traveller community.
  3. It is the first known collection of Traveller folktales
  4. …that has been written by a Traveller.
  5. In these tales  separation  between
  6. …the human and natural worlds does not exist.
  7. This is an example of  an oral culture.
  8. This oral culture has a deep understanding of how
  9. nature can speak to us and offer healing.


What are the primary aspects of telling tales?

  • put into context and space in which they are shared
  • as entertainment
  • are always truthful and real



  1. First impression: the introduction is a work of art.
  2. Breathtaking in its lyrical beauty…and provides a sudden
  3. enlightenment about the Travellers, their language, Gammon, and core values.
  4. The author hopes “…this book be another crack in the
  5. …wall that all to often divides us.”
  6. These are tales about the ancient world, the otherworld
  7. …some speak of the dead and others name the living.


Strong point:

The Yew Tree

  1. This is a story of grief that resonates so profoundly in this pandemic.
  2. The author uses the setting of a graveyard…a sacred place
  3. where a wall marks the boundary line between the living and the dead.
  4. Word choices establish the tone:
  5. brambles of ancestry
  6. trees beaten by age and waves of grief
  7. solitary and bewildered figure, his bright future in ashes
  8. grief that binds us into a rigid loss
  9. I was speechless after reading the very short tale.
  10. The author introduces the story  and bookends it
  11. with his thoughts…about the Travellers rituals to celebrate the ancestors.
  12. #AbsolutelyStunning


Strong point:

  1. Oein DeBhairduin addresses the reader directly.
  2. He  draws the reader into the tale with a personal revelations:
  3. He spends time in graveyards (“The Yew Tree”)
  4. The simple things of his youth…the joy of his mother’s garden (“Why dandelions Grow”)
  5. He lived beside the Seuleen river a place of connection (“The Birth of Rivers”)
  6. Stargazing brings great joy to his heart (“Where the Stars Come From”)
  7. Debhairduin extends the world of the story
  8. …to provide us a the illusion
  9. …that the reader is included in it.


Strong Point:   so many quotes that linger…so beautiful

  1. My mother always said there were
  2. three things that men NEVER understand:
  • the sharp edges of a broken heart
  • the mind of a woman
  • the value of the dandelion.


Who is Oein DeBhairduin?

  1. Date/place of birth: Near Tuam, County Galway/1985.
  2. Education: St Jarlath’s College, in Tuam; NUI Galway, Psychology.
  3. Home: Clondalkin.
  4. The day job: Manager, Education Centre in Clover Hill, Clondalkin.


#ReadingIrelandMonth21 Anseo

  • Author: Úna-Minh Kavanagh
  • Title: Anseo  (120 pg)
  • Published: 2019
  • Genre:  biography
  • Title: Here! (describing a location of a person) Anseo
  • Info:  Úna-Minh Kavanagh is a Gaeilgeoir from Co. Kerry. Her book, Anseo, is about growing up in Kerry, the Irish language, identity and racism in 2019. Úna-Minh now edits and is a member of the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Committee. She also live-streams broadcasts in both English and as Gaeilge.
  • List of Challenges 2021
  • Monthly plan
  • #ReadingIrelandMonth21
  • #DiversityInIreland


Who is Úna-Minh Kavanagh?
Freelance Writer, journalist/editor, freelance content creator and Kerrywoman.
She has been working as a regular on streaming giant Twitch.
There she plays the latest video games in Gaelic for a dedicated audience.

Ms Úna-Minh Kavanagh is a media professional.
She noticed there were NO Irish-language streamers
…and decided to do something about it!
Here is just a look at what she does!  Lovely to hear the Irish language!!

What makes Úna-Minh Kavanagh so fresh and exciting?
She has used her positivity and media savvy to make a difference to celebrate
diversity in Ireland!
But Ms Kavanagh reveals how rampant racism is on
Twitter, Facebook, Trolls and Doxxers.
This is scary stuff!



  1. This a a gem of a book!
  2. I really enjoyed reading Ms Kavanagh’s life story
  3. …and her stand against racism!
  4. Today’s phrase of the day is:
  5. ní ghlacaimid beag ná mór le ciníochas
  6. Meaning: we have zero tolerance for racism
  7. #Gaeilge #FrásaAnLae


Best quote:
“…the false deduction that what a person looks like
is the equivalent of how a that person identifies.”



  1. 1-35 % birth, adoption, life 1-15 years… and a love letter to her grandfather
  2. 36- 45% college life (2009-2012) in Dublin…and a love letter the the Irish-language
  3. 46-55% casual racism and physical attacks
  4. …the corrosive ‘drip, drip, drip effect’ it has on her life


  1. 56-60% what is going on with Irish identity today?
  2. …it is a multicultural society should be celebrated
  3. “Where are you really from?” a question that infuriates Úna-Minh Kavanagh.
  4. “All strangers care about is my physical appearance
  5. …nothing deeper than how I look”


  1. 61-63% working life (2013-2015) as freelance journalist
  2. prolific in Irish and English language
  3. 64-67% entertainer as a live-stream gamer “as Gaelige” (in Gaelic)


  1. 68-70% grassroots social media diversity project (2017)
  2. on Twitter and Facebook.
  3. ….stories of people like Úna-Minh Kavanagh who spoke to
  4. the beauty and diversity in Ireland and how
  5. they had been challenged about their “Irishness”
  6. The hashtag...
  7. #WeAreIrish
  8. #IsÉireannaighMuid were born.
  9. HAVE A LOOK ON Twitter!!


  1. 71-76 % TROLLS…and the dark world of
  2. This is one of the scariest corners of the wild and weird web.
  3. It is an image based forum
  4. …all users are anonymous and approximately 70% male.
  5. It gets pretty dark quickly
  6. ….and the users corrupted images of Úna-Minh Kavanagh to exploit.
  7. 22 million people use the website each month
  8. ….42 billion users have visited the site since its inception in 2004.
  9. Úna-Minh Kavanagh does not shy away from the darkish….trolls.
  10. Good advice:
  11. …if the are not bots, they are entrenched in their views.
  12. Their goal is NOT to change a user’s mind….it is to upset the user.
  13. Don’t waste you precious energy, time and headspace
  14. to engage in any amount of discussion with them.


  1. 77-86% passion for learning a language. Is Gaelic a dead language?
  2. No….it is useful because it can connect you to your ancestors’ culture.
  3. I agree with Úna-Minh…the key to learning a language is immersion.
  4. My own experience living in The is the only way to learn Dutch.
  5. When I first came to this country I took a job “immersed’ with people
  6. ….a grocery store cashier!
  7. Within 6 months I could hold my own in Dutch conversation.
  8. It took a few years after that
  9. to master the written part of the language….at night school.
  10. Jumping into a new language can be daunting
  11. …but attitude is everything.


  1. 87-89% “term on the day” project
  2. …tweeting Gaelic phrases that are short, snappy and humorous
  3. The hashtag…. #FrásaAnLae is born!


  1. 90-100% Úna-Minh Kavanagh concludes her book with
  2. the hope she can give people real reasons to communicate in Irish.
  3. Through ups and downs, Irish had given her shelter
  4. …it is an innate part of her.
  5. Irish is hers to cherish!



#ReadingIrelandMonth21 “Still” (poem)



  1. RTÉ commissioned  STILL to aptly describe and capture
  2. Ireland’s reaction to the deadly virus.
  3. It puts forward the reality of our current uncertainty.
  4. Ms Olusanya was born in Nigeria and moved to Ireland with her mother.
  5. She has settled  in Longford where her application for refugee status was accepted.
  6. Core message:
  7. Covid-19 virus It is touching us all in different ways and different degrees.
  8. The only thing we can do for each other right now
  9. to remain as still as possible.
  10. It is how we can save each otherl



Covid came.

And Ireland stood still.

Shocked at how much could gather at our doorsteps – like dust.

We wrestled with what we might, What we may, How life would continue, the ways it must.

Stood still.

The virus ate through limbs of every family tree,

It choked out the lives we’d built roots around,

It emptied out purses; cutting money by the foot,

Rendered hearts bruised and persons forgotten, Left us breathless. For dead.


We closed into ourselves.

We folded behind lock and key, Inhaled through the fogs of uncertainty,

We found fun in the walls of our homes,

Made it work, Fashioned it for play,

Carved out sections we can fill joy with,

So we can hold it firm on the days we didn’t know what we next, what could happen.

Stood still.

For those whom age had known beyond a golden jubilee,

whose eyes glaze with film reel memories,

whose daughters have vowed to love them in their sunset,

whose sons have kissed them in their sunrise.

We want your vision of us in full colour.

Stood still.

For the Frontline workers armed with nothing but faith,

For the emerging minds that must dare to dream in high definition,

For the lonely minds that are glaring at love through a screen,

For the bodies that create homes in cardboard shelters.


For you. Ireland is standing still.

But tomorrow, when our knees get soft with impatience and the gates of our homes swing open,

Which way will our legs go?

Which path does our heart know?



#Ireland Don’t Touch My Hair



  1. Ms Dabiri’s book begins with her upbringing in Ireland,
  2. moving through to pre-colonial West Africa,
  3. to the slave trade in America.
  4. She discusses the market dominance of beauty products
  5. how black hair is valued and misunderstood.
  6. Hair texture and style have no bearing on one’s ability to succeed.
  7. Black hair has been and continues to be judged by white standards
  8. …used as a tool to discriminate.



  1. Black identity is told through the prism of African hair.
  2. Historically, the way you wore your hair
  3. signified your marital status, your tribe, your class
  4. …and your position in society.”
  5. Black hair is much more than just hair….!
  6. Hairstyle  is an embodied visual language.
  7. Ms Dabiri gives White people this advice about African hair:
  8. “…our hair is spiritual. Look but don’t touch!” (pg 47)


  1. Strong Point:  Ms Emma Dabiri KNOWS  what she is talking about!
  2. She attended the prestigious school  SOAS University of London .
  3. SOAS is one of the world’s leading institutions for the
  4. study of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.


  1. Strong point:  this book made me look more closely at art….
  2. …and the hairstyles represented in it!


  1. Strong point:  I thought I was going to get a book just about hair
  2. but Ms Dabiri has touched on many themes relating to hairstyles.
  3. Themes of personal identity,
  4. cultural traditions, modern aspirations,
  5. and social and political issues.
  6. She deleves deeply into her own Yoruba roots
  7. … Benin Africa.


  1. Strong point:  Personal…describing life in Ireland as a black girl:
  2. “…an environment characterized by a pervasive and
  3. constant refrain of black inferiority...
  4. I was bombarded with it.” (pg 88)
  5. But Ms Dabiri  did add some humor into her story….
  6. “being black and Irish in Ireland
  7. …was to have almost unicorn status” (pg 5)


  1. Weak Point: I was not very interested  pages 103-122
  2. …about A’Lelia Walker (1885 –1931)
  3. She was the only surviving child of Madam C. J. Walker,
  4. popularly credited as being the first self-made female millionaire
  5. promoting hair products for  African-American women.
  6. I skimmed this section.
  7. Chapter 5:
  8. …honestly, not interested in Shea Moisture,
  9. Madonna or Kim Kardashian’s  cornrows.


  1. Strong point:  chapter 6 
  2. Ms Dabiri discusses complex geometric shapes used in braiding.
  3. Braiding was used also in ‘intellignce networks’.
  4. Hair was used a a form of mapping
  5. …a means of communication.
  6. The hairstyle was a form of  signal
  7. …so escape could happen in blocks of slaves.


  1. Strong point:  TITLE!!
  2. …Solange on Spotify   “Don’t’ Touch My Hair”
  3. Somehow these lyrics just give expression or emotion to
  4. …the deep feeling  of African hair.


Don’t touch my hair
When it’s the feelings I wear
Don’t touch my soul
When it’s the rhythm I know
Don’t touch my crown
They say the vision I’ve found
Don’t touch what’s there
When it’s the feelings I wear

Last Thoughts:

  1. This book was more scholarly than I anticipated.
  2. Ms Dabiri has completed her PhD and her expertise is apparent.
  3. She uses a mixture of scholarly and popular sources.
  4. But Ms Dabiri has produced a very readable book about
  5. looking at indigenous cultures from a new perspective.
  6. She  emphasizes the strengths of African society in divination,
  7. architecture design, entrepreneurship and…so interesting
  8. the unchanging tradition of hair braiding!
  9. #AbsoluteDelight  to read!

#Non-fiction: Say Nothing



  1. The books concerns the Troubles in Northern Ireland
  2. …beginning and ending  with the 1972 murder of Jean McConville.


Strong point: 

  1. This is a very good book if you want
  2. …to know what it felt like during The Troubles
  3. fear, omertà, code of silence  title: “Say Nothing”.
  4. Keefe’s writing style is cinematic.
  5. — POV meant to simulate the experience of watching a movie.
  6. setting, characterization, structure
  7. create visually dynamic scenes
  8. London car bombs, ch 11
  9. force feeding Dolours and Marion ch 14
  10. gruesome hunger strikes (Dolours, Brendan and Bobby Sands)


Strong point:

  1. Keefe realizes that this book has its ‘edgy sides’, unpleasant to read...
  2. …but he also knows the only way to keep the reader (in this case…me)
  3. engaged from cover to cover it to use the “glue” of empathy.
  4. Dolours is mentioned 525 x (…thank you Kindle).
  5. I keep reading because I feel connected to Dolours
  6. …interested in her plight.
  7. …wondering what makes a girl become so revolutionary, political?



  1. Hook1972 – chapter one as Jean McConville is dragged
  2. out of her house
  3. ….and thrown in a van by masked thugs.
  4. Her body was finally found 43 years later in 2003.
  5. The crime remains unsolved.
  6. This book was slipping away… from me but
  7. …on page 50 things started to change!
  8. Chapters alternate between the Prices sisters (Dolorus and Marian)
  9. ..and the McConville’s (Arthur and Jean….and their children)
  10. …top-ranked IRA Gerry Adams and Brendan Hughes.


  1. This is a lot to take in
  2. ….it is almost numbing to read about  The Troubles.
  3. Many key players are dead,
  4. Brendon ‘the Darkie’ Hughes (1948-2008)
  5. James Martin Pacelli McGuinness (1950-2017)
  6. Dolours Price (1950-2013)
  7. …one is still living Gerry Adams (1948)
  8. Irish republican politician who was the
  9. …President of Sinn Féin until 2018.
  10. He advocated for a political movement to run
  11. parallel with the armed struggle.


Last Thoughts:

  1. I learned more about a period in recent history
  2. I hadn’t known much about.
  3. It was a loose framework for a historical look at
  4. …some of the everyday people who got caught up
  5. in the violence of the IRA.
  6. It’s a sobering book
  7. It is a hard read so…
  8. …prepare yourself to be drained
  9. ….when you close the book.
  10. #HistorySeenInRearViewMirror

#ReadIreland 2020 Tom Murphy


  1. The Wake is set in the 1990s.
  2. Vera is a lonely, exiled prostitute
  3. returning from New York to her native
  4. …town to mourn her grandmother.
  5. But she has also inherited a family hotel
  6. …which her siblings covet.
  7. When Vera learns the true
  8. …circumstances of grandmother’s death.
  9. she decides on an unusual course of action.


  1. Now, after reading this introduction I wanted to
  2. find out what did Vera really do with her hotel?
  3. That was my only smart move.
  4. The play was a slapdash of arguments,
  5. singing, swearing and a grande mélange à trois
  6. …to shock her family and the reader.
  7. The play was a mess on paper.
  8. I can’t imagine having to sit it out in a theatre.
  9. At least I could  read it with a toothless comb.
  10. No, Tom Murphy can do better.
  11. Here are two of his plays worth reading!
  12. Alice Trilogy and Famine.

Last thoughts:

  1. The kindest thing I can say about this play is
  2. enjoy the journey, but realize
  3. you’re going to roll your eyes
  4. in disbelief a lot on the way.
  5. #WasteOfTime

#ReadIreland 2020 Jennifer Johnston

  • Author:  Jennifer Johnston
  • Title:  The Christmas Tree
  • Published: 1981
  • Genre:  novella (168 pg)
  • Reading time: 4 hours
  • List of Challenges 2020
  • Monthly plan
  • Trivia: Jennifer Johnston (Dublin 1930) was awarded a
  • Lifetime Achievement Award 2012 from the Irish Book Awards. 
  • #ReadingIrelandMonth20
  • #Begorrathon20
  • Rating: A+++++++



  1. Jennifer Johnston is not a trendy read.
  2. She is 90…so she is not on the best sellers lists
  3. But my goodness…don’t let her writing pass you by!
  4. I won’t even give you a clue what it is about
  5. …I want you to discover it from page 1 by yourself.
  6. Her books are about relationships.
  7. This book was IMO about the sister-sister connection.
  8. I got goosebumps when I read the following lines….about
  9. a sister you really cannot get close to
  10. …try as hard as I have done:
  11. “We have a lot of genes an some memories in common.”
  12. Her stories are low key and personal but far from sentimental.
  13. Jennifer Johnston is underappreciated.
  14. But she is very good at what she does.
  15. Roddy Doyle considers Jennifer Johnston Ireland’s greatest writer.
  16. I had a ‘Trevor-shiver’ after reading the last page.
  17. The same feeling I have  when I read a William Trevor short story….
  18. #Unforgettable
  19. PSTwo Moons is another one of her books…not to be missed!

#ReadIreland 2020 Oscar Wilde

  • Author:  Oscar Wilde
  • Title:  Woman of No Importance
  • Premièred : 19 April 1893
  • Genre:  “skeleton-in-the-closet”  play
  • Reading time: 2 hours
  • List of Challenges 2020
  • Monthly plan
  • #ReadingIrelandMonth20
  • #Begorrathon20


Finished: 05.03.2020
Rating: A+++


  1. Woman of No Importance satirizes upper-class English society
  2. at the end of the 19th C.
  3. It takes place, for the most part, in the homes of
  4. the rich and powerful, where Lord, Ladies,
  5. and Archdeacons socialize and gossip about their contemporaries.
  6. In this play the gossip is about Mrs. Arbuthnot
  7. …a woman of no importance.
  8. How many of us have this play in the bookcase
  9. …in The Complete Works of Oscar Wide?
  10. I have overlooked Wilde’s plays
  11. ….and I am the lesser for it.
  12. There’s a difference between the play as cultural work of art
  13. …and the play as entertainment,
  14. …in the same way that there’s a
  15. difference between a classical symphony and a musical.
  16. No, this play does not have the
  17. …gravitas of Death of a Salesman (A. Miller)
  18. …but is does have the emotion of the heart of a man (Oscar Wilde)
  19. …who has known joy….but also great suffering.
  20. The play touched a heart-string.
  21. #Bravo…Oscar Wilde