Who do you listen to – your heart or your mind?

I realize it was just a few weeks ago, but it seems like a lifetime – or maybe just a different lifetime – ago. Before social distancing gave me time to start reading all the books I’ve been …

Remember crowded rooms?

In bookstores? In my case, the call came from the far side of Woodbine Books in Kilcullen. A few weeks ago, just before we all went into hermit mode, I walked through Woodbine’s door to an instant call …

Does Easter bring you more memories than Christmas?

Yes, I know that both holidays have centuries-old pre-Christian roots that were glossed over as Christianity became one of the world’s dominant religions. But, for whatever reason, Easter brings me memories of various clergy I’ve dealt with through …

Familiar places, faces and feelings – in places I’d never been before.

Go west, old man – said my list of stores to see and books to buy. So just before we locked ourselves in our homes, I locked the car’s seat belt and hit the road for Kerry and …

You know those days when the stars just don’t align for you?

Do you ever find that things you planned on may not be available? And then stewed on the situation for way too long before learning you were mistaken in the first place? Sure, I’d been through Dundalk before, …

The isolated man – surrounded by family yet far from home

For better or worse, St. Patrick’s Day has become an international celebration of all things Irish and pseudo-Irish. But not all Irish émigrés found that crock of gold. Here’s the story of one of them, who happened to …

Remembering Dublin City in the Old Times

Let’s admit it. Our memories are selective. We may not remember what we had for lunch yesterday, but there’s a good chance we’ll remember the good deed someone did for us many years ago. Here’s one of my …

Is this the next generation of pubs?

Thurles: There’s a long table that starts next to the guitars, runs past non-fiction and ends near the children’s books on the back wall. A counter full of colourful knitting yarn separates it from the rest of the …

Did I find better stories outside the bookstores?

How many times has a bad movie led you to buy the book? Until now, I can’t remember a single instance – and my eyeballs have absorbed a lot of films and books through the years. I truly …

No, it was NOT a dark and stormy night.

It was a miserable, blustery, sideways-raining several days. Minutes of glorious sunshine punctuated rolling black storm clouds emptying themselves on all of us stuck below. Or, to put things another way, it was just a normal winter’s day …