Thursday, September 1, 2022

Irish Eyes


By Mattie Lennon

A Kiss, Good News for Home Burials,
and Irish Mammy in Your Pocket

A Kiss is a collection of haibun, haiku, and senryu, a literary form originating in Japan. The work is by a man of many parts Gerry McDonnell. The title piece A Kiss is a moving piece of writing and the 56 pages of this volume take the reader through Dublin city, the marginalised, and nature. The author captures every emotion known to the human race and also features literary figures from the past, including Wilfred Owen, D. H. Lawrence, James Clarence Mangan and Patrick Kavanagh.

Gerry was born in Dublin and still lives there. He attended Trinity College, where he edited ICARUS, the college literary magazine. He also attended Dublin City University. He has had four collections of poetry. He has also written for stage, radio, and television. His play in Making It Home, a two-hander father and son relationship, was first performed at the Crypt Theatre at Dublin Castle in 2001. A radio adaptation of this play was broadcast on RTE Radio 1 in 2008 starring the acclaimed Irish actor David Kelly as the father and Mark Lambert as the son. His wonderful play Song of Solomon is a theatrical revelation. The Kiss covers a lot of ground. Poet, novelist, and critic Fred Johnston sums it up when he says, “ McDonnell has utilised Dublin as an intimate canvas.”

George Meredith wrote, “Kissing don’t last” But when you read The Kiss it will stay with you.

Don’t miss The Kiss. Details from Alba Publishing;

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Barack and Michelle Obama serve are executive producers on the Netflix thriller, which has been partly filmed at my native heath..

Fagan's Bar in Lacken

Bodkin, the working title of the first scripted TV series from the Obamas' production company, Higher Ground ( An appropriate name since Lacken is 700 Above Ordinance Datum.!), is a darkly comedic thriller. Tommy Richardson’s shop was converted into “Fagan’s bar” for one scene. Bodkin is a darkly comedic thriller which features a motley crew of podcasters who set out to investigate the mysterious disappearance of three strangers in an idyllic, l Irish town.

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Some good news about home burials

Martin Neary, Mullenmadogue, Swinford applied to Mayo County Council for permission to be buried on his own land He was refused on the grounds that he “Did not prove to the satisfaction of MCC that the proposal would not pose a risk to groundwater.” The council also, “. . . must consider the precedent that such a proposal would set throughout the County.” Mr. Neary’s comment to that was, “They reckoned I would poison the water. I’m only about 10 stone. I don’t think I would cause much pollution.” The council’s decision was overturned by An Bord Pleanála and Martin was given permission to be buried on his own land, “ . . . “in accordance with the said plans and particulars based on the reasons and particulars . . .” An Bord Pleanána inspector Lorraine Dockery said, “Martin's wish to be buried on his land did not raise any issues of principle.”

Martin, an atheist, says, “ All my arrangements for the hereafter have been finalised.” His “grave” is ready, complete with coping and a tombstone, and when his time comes he will be laid to rest beside his beloved sheepdog, Van Gogh, who is already interred. He says, “It will be nice to be buried close to a cherished friend.” And, “I thought it would be better to have my wake before I die.” He has bequeathed his 37-acre holding for community and recreational purposes.

And now, I’m asking Irish songwriters at home and abroad to please, please write a ballad about this wonderful man.

Aftering is the only radio show and podcast in Ireland exploring mortality. Every week, Valerie Vetter talks to a wide range of special guests exploring the past, present & future of dealing with death. Previous progammes have included looking at the history of keening and traditional Irish funeral practices to learning about the complexities of 21st century digital afterlives plus shows on palliative rehabilitation, green burial practices, termination, being a death doula, importance of coroner’s court reform, and coping with grief and loss. The Aftering radio show is on 103.2 Dublin City FM Mondays at 2 pm and can also be listened to live online via and podcasts available on

Irish Mammy in your Pocket.

World–renowned for her unique look at life there is no one quite like the Irish Mammy. She has a quotable comment for every situation. If there’s a hurricane she is likely to say,” There’s great drying out.” An offspring climbing or indulging in some other hazardous activity is likely to be told,” If you break your two legs don’t come running to me.”

The weather, the economy, clothing, or any bit of local (or not so local gossip) the Irish Mammy will have a memorable comment.

The quintessential Irish Mammy has something to say on every subject. This handy collection of Mammyisms will ensure you are never without an Irish Mammy’s words of wisdom. Kunak McGann and Sarah Cassidy, have compiled a worthy collection of ” mammyisms” in this small compact 160-page hardback. Buy it. You won’t be short of a laugh when you have the Irish mammy literally in your pocket. Irish Mammy in your Pocket is published by O’Brien Press.

See you in October.

Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

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