Tag Archives: Ireland

Poem (A Turn of Events) in Cyphers Magazine


Cyphers magazine has published one of my poems – “A Turn Of Events” – in their Spring 2017 issue. I am really pleased about this, it’s a short poem but it’s one of the few that I have written that I don’t think needs to be fixed in some way. Cyphers is a Dublin based print only magazine which has been in existence since 1975. I have been subscribing to it since that time and I cannot recommend it enough. The current issue contains a number of tributes to Leland Bardwell, one of the founders of the magazine, who died in 2016. She was by all accounts a fascinating character and an original and playful poet. Here are a few lines from her poem “The Party Ended Yesterday”:

The sea in party frock

punched the air, slapped in the new.

The mountain moved across the light.

This and two more of her poems are included in the Spring  issue.

Cyphers can be found at http://www.cyphers.ie

If you want to subscribe to Cyphers magazine, you can do so by writing to the following address:

Cyphers Magazine, 3 Selskar Terrace, Ranelagh, Dublin 6, Ireland.

Subscription rate is €21.00 for three issues including postage

In Britain £20.00 for three issues including postage

US $36.00 for three issues including postage

Patrick’s Irish Pub, Medellin, Colombia

bangers and mash

I have to admit that when I first moved to Canada from Ireland I used to dread St. Patrick’s day – the fake Irish accents, the green beer, the where’s-me-lucky-charms awfulness of it all. I have since learnt to embrace it.

I never felt quite like that about Irish pubs, I have always regarded them as oases of something approaching familiarity when I found myself in a foreign country. I once got quite sick from food poisoning in Nicaragua and when I was well enough to eat again, I had a longing for Irish stew which I found in an Irish pub run by an ex farmer from Limerick, but that’s another story.

I was recently in Medellin, Colombia, staying in the El Poblado district and I dropped in to Patrick’s Irish Pub to sample Ireland through a Colombian filter. The pub had the usual collection of Celtic bric-a -brac, Gaelic geegaws, Paddy paraphernalia, Shamrock gimcrackery. As is often the case in Colombian bars, one wall was half covered with television screens showing mostly football/futbol/soccer; though there was one screen devoted to UFC and another showing old MTV videos – Rob Zombie, Deborah Harry, Metallica , Eric Clapton singing “Cocaine”; oddly appropriate, Pablo Escobar once lived in this neighbourhood, his house is now a civil engineering office. Yes, this was the soundtrack of Patrick’s Irish Pub. Occasionally, the screen would go blank and they would play “The Rocky Road to Dublin” as a reminder.

The waitresses were young and wore short kilts, I found myself wondering what they thought of this strange universe they found themselves in every evening – a heavy metal Ireland full of tattooed bruisers. I ordered bangers and mash, which is technically more of an English dish, and it was spectacularly bad – two chorizo sausages on a soft bog of mash potatoes. Still, the beer was good -craft roja from BBC (The Bogota Beer Company).

Outside it was a beautiful warm evening and locals and tourists were pouring into the area to sample the restaurants and salsa bars – a mass of colour and pounding drum beats, the feeling that the party was getting started and would not stop until the early hours of the morning. Back in Ireland, the pub is a warm convivial place that people go to,  to get out of the weather ; here in Medellin , Colombia,  Patrick’s Irish Pub felt more than a little redundant.


Rust/ The Irish Dilemma/ Radiohead



The Irish Dilemma (a slimverse)

we can not

decide if

we are blessed

or damaged.


Radiohead (a triku)

The night howls, fog curls

a thin cloud bisects the moon

at the graveyards’ edge


an abandoned well

from the bottom of that well

Thom Yorke cries for help.


The dead wake slowly

grey fists punch through mounds of earth

Thom Yorke cries for help.


I,ve Got Your Back (2)

This photo was taken in the late evening, walking south on Sandymount Strand, Dublin. We had just come from Mulligan’s Pub where we watched Ireland tie with Sweden in the first round of Euro 2016. The plastic shopping bag is from Tesco’s and contains comfort food – bags of Tayto Chips (Ireland’s national potato chip) and Cadbury’s chocolate bars.

The chocolate bars in question are Cadbury’s Boost (formerly known as Moro) and Cadbury’s Flake. A Cadbury’s Flake is not really a bar, in that the word ‘bar’ implies solidity, rigidity, the flake is a fragile thing and starts to disintegrate as soon as the package is opened. When Phil Lynnot of Thin Lizzy complained of getting “chocolate stains on his pants” (Dancing in the Moonlight), he was probably eating a Cadbury’s Flake.

There is a feeling of opportunity lost captured in the resigned slope of the shoulders of the people in the photo, Ireland should have won the game against Sweden and at that point faced an uphill battle to reach the next stage of the tournament. In the next game we were thumped 3-0 by Belgium and then needed a win against Italy to make it through. It was looking like the game would end in another tie, when about five minutes from the end, Wes Hoolahan gets the ball inside the Italian half, Robbie Brady, in one of those moments of telepathy that happens between players that have played together for awhile, runs towards the narrow gap between the two Italian center backs which is exactly where Wes puts the ball. Robbie’s head meets the ball and in a flash it’s in the back of the Italian net. The whole Irish nation, scattered across continents like green confetti, jumps from its seat with a collective roar; grown men with beer bellies and heads like bowling balls blub like small children; the Irish players pile on top of Robbie Brady in a tangle of beards, tattoos and expensive haircuts; the Irish manager and assistant manager – two men who would have previously considered a handshake to be excessive intimacy – grapple tearfully like emotional Olympic wrestlers and why not, why not! We are a small country, we have never felt that winning is our birth right, so when we do win, well, catharsis doesn’t begin to describe it.

Take it away, Phil.



I’ve Got Your Back (1)

Photo taken above Lough Tay, Co. Wicklow, Ireland. Down below is where the television series “The Vikings” is filmed. Most tourists bypass Wicklow and head down to the Ring of Kerry, Cliffs of Moher, Galway, Clifden, all great places, but 45 minutes max. from Dublin you have this and much more.

My parents’ ashes are scattered near this spot, they were great walkers (they would not have used the term “hikers” or “hill walkers”).

Just don’t get lost in the mist.