In the town where I grew up, fishing and golf were the two local obsessions. Seldom did they go hand in hand, for the amount of time required to pursue either one with the devotion deserved rarely left enough time to practice the other. This weekend, that town is hosting the British Open golf championship. The media … Continue reading Golf or Fishing?
St. Patrick’s Day came early for me when I attended a Scottish-Irish poetry event during the week. One of the poets was a young Dubliner called Stephen James Smith. Without reference to paper or book, he delivered a long, lyrical, swiftly paced poem called, ‘Dublin You Are.’ He captured us. It was a love poem … Continue reading Ireland, My Ireland
I’m just back from a few days in Ireland, of the Northern variety. There was much talk of uncertainty. T. spoke about her father’s farm, the far fields of which run along the seam of the border. “There’s more talk of Brexit than there are cups of tea taken, and that’s saying something,” she told me. … Continue reading Brace Ourselves For Change
There is an expression in Scotland that might be unique to just here; at least I’ve not heard it anywhere else. It is the question, “where do you stay?” When I first moved across, it was never far from my ears as people welcomed me, then tried to place me. I interpreted it as an … Continue reading Home
My husband used to say, “we are all ethnic somewhere.” It is a true and wise leveller. Another favourite line of his, in response to someone asking him, “Where is that accent from?” was to bounce back in his soft, mellifluous Canadian tones, “What accent? I don't have an accent, you’re the one with the … Continue reading Everyone Has An Accent
Twenty years ago, about this time of year, I was sitting on the second floor of a fire escape on the gable end of a large red-bricked terrace in South Belfast. As usual, S. was with me; we shared the flat, and were making plans for a joint birthday party later in the autumn. It … Continue reading Black Mountain
I’m beginning to see Edinburgh as my town. Beginning to. The crowds have descended for the festival, and, as I weave my way through them, I think: “I live here. I know where I’m going (geographically speaking), while most of these people don't. I’ll still be here on Tuesday 28thAugust, when they’ve all disappeared like … Continue reading Our Town
I’m back across for a few days. Back in Northern Ireland, the province, the North, Ulster, the six counties – whatever it is you call it. For, remember, whatever name you chose to attach to this place can be loaded with meaning and interpretation - over here, anyway. But I’m beginning to think all of … Continue reading An Alternative Ulster