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This is from an editorial piece on “Jupiter Ascending” starring Tatum Channing and Mila Kunis.

Though this is in fact an action packed sci-fi I suspect from the online trailers that it’s fair funny in an unintentional way!

This piece features in Augusts edition of Insert Title.

Pick one up for an entertaining update on what’s on in Cork and further afield.







North West Mayo was voted the best place in Ireland to go wild.

Not so long ago we travelled the narrow roads to Rossport to visit family.

The road brought us to Denny’s Ferry Bar, our destination.

A few yards down the remaining road the hedges part and the pier sits neatly to one side.

From there the view is energising!


Primroses on the roadside,

Small stacks of turf dress the ditches.

Water laps against the pier.

Homesteads worked into the rolling slopes.

Much sweat and saliva given to growing stone walls.


A few weeks ago as the summer holidays were coming to a close and my head was fizzing with back to school plans, I got a text. 

It was from a friend. 

Normally texts from friends, regardless of content, are welcome. 

I read it and found myself doing that thing where you suck air through clenched teeth while frowning and quietly shaking your head .

Not a good look! 

It was Paddy Gilley from Cork Commuinty Radio. 

Paddy is an old hand by now at the talk show having presented various shows with Cork community Radio for the best part of two and a half years.

He would be hosting a show called Open House on Sunday nights from 9-12 pm. 

The first hour or so was to be devoted to topical subjects from the point of view of women. 

So lets be clear this was NOT going to be a show about womens issues, but a show about issues, on which women would be commenting.

Paddy was recruiting contributors for the show- would I like to take part?


It’s been many years since I participated in anything that could be described as public speaking. In 3rd class my mother (bless her soul) seeing that I was very shy “volunteered” me for reading at Sunday mass. I did object- hugely. But like all objections at that age I knew I would not get out of it without giving it a try. 

Credit to the curate at the time who did practice sessions the Friday before curtain call. He shared a few tips with us nervous kids that were as valuable as diamonds; stand up straight, place your hands on the pulpit, pick a place to look in the crowd, don’t rush.

Success followed. I managed my fear for many’s the Sunday, stood up straight and delivered the text before me with very few stutters.

Inspite of this success I opted to work in the background for our secondary school play and not appear on stage or in the chorus. 

And so it went over the course of my life to present. Never being comfortable with what I would think of as “performing” I’ve said no to a lot of things, big and small.

But the older I get the more apparent it has become that this is your chance. Your chance to say “YES”, your chance to DO, your chance to “LIVE A LITTLE”


As I say my initial thought was “Gawwdd no”, this is not for me.

Then something transforming happened, there was a moment where a life worth of “Gawd no’s” flashed through my mind, carried along in a tide of disappointment and regret.

“Yes!” I replied  “would love to have a go”.


This show came about partly in response to the observations of the likes of Margaret E Ward that women are under represented on radio in Ireland, and partly because Paddy likes the idea of being surrounded by many beautiful women on a sunday night… Well Ok! So he didn’t say that , but surely, who wouldn’t?


Anyhow, three weeks in and I can actually say I am enjoying it. Enjoying meeting some new people- Niamh and Christine (so far). Enjoying exercising the ol’ grey matter and most of all so happy that I chose to say “YES”.


Open House is presented by Paddy Giley at 9-12pm Sunday nights on Cork Community Radio 100.5fm.

Tune in, take part, say YES.





The Carlow Arts festival is finishing up this Sunday 16th June. For anyone within walking or driving distance of Carlow town it’s well worth a visit.

In my last post I posted one of three images I created for the EXTINCTON exhibition. Given the interest in it I’ve decided to post up all three.

These pieces refer to verses 2, 3 and 4 .

Here is a link to the text…

Of course the exhibit itself is well worth a visit in person and will be running until September 8th (so no excuse!)

Running along side the EXTINCTION exhibit is Beasts of England, Beasts of Ireland, curated by Stephen Brandes, and Improvisations on the Theme of an Irish Wall, curated by Terry Martin.

Beasts  of England, Beasts of Ireland, features work from Ben Long,  Polly Morgan,Stephen McKenna to mention but a few.

Improvisations on the Theme of an Irish Wall, brings 20 artists together from around the globe to make a wall of wood based on an irish dry stone wall. This is a wonderful example of what happens when many people work together. Its witty, visually and conceptually. Not to mention a tactile delight..

I love wood I do!


“Extinction” is an exhibition curated by Derry Dillon for Visual Centre For Contemporary Art, Carlow. I had the honour to be invited to participate along with 6 other leading irish illustrators in creating work for this show. 

It opened Friday last, 7th June and runs until 8th September.

Each of the 7 illustrators have approached the subject of extinction from a their own unique perspective.

My own piece is based on the poem by Roger McGough, “Let me die a youngmans death”

This poem explains one mans wish to go out with a bang, living the high life and doing as he pleases, burning the candle at both ends as it were and happily paying the price.

It’s kind of dark but it has always made me laugh- probably says more about me than I care to know, but there you go.

The image above is one of a series of 3, this depicts the fourth verse.

Here is a link to the text

The full list of illustrators goes like this

Olivia Golden, Stephen Maurice Graham, Niamh Sharkey, Steve Simpson, Phil Mc Darby and The Project Twins.

Saturday saw a myself, Phil and The Project Twins giving a panel talk.

Our very kind audience even threw up a few questions. 

Verbalising what you do and why in that way is a really useful exercise- I wouldn’t mind doing it another time!


fiachra blog

Professional book illustrator Olivia Golden will be giving a course in Cartoons and Comic strips at CTYI in UCC this summer.

The course is suitable for children aged 8-12 years old who demonstrate high academic ability.

It runs from July 1st to 5th, 2013.

To see Olivia’s work visit

For more information on assessment and course bookings visit

CTY Ireland aims to allow all talented students to reach their potential both academically and socially by providing relevant and interesting challenges based on ability and interest rather than age.

CTY Ireland was established at Dublin City University in 1992 to meet the needs of high ability students aged 6 to 17 years from Ireland and abroad.


I spotted my first butterfly of the year yesterday. A red admiral sitting on a dandelion in the very centre of the lawn. My neighbour has a tremendously wild crop of buddleia growing at the very end of their garden. This serves as a big attraction for butterflies and I am thankful for that as it’s such a visual delight.

 Today the butterfly exists as a fashionable, fluffy, whimsical motif exclusively for girls. 

If you have had a baby girl enter your world you will be familiar with the staples of a little girls wardrobe. The key elements are the colour pink, floral motifs and not by accident, butterflies! Lots and lots of butterflies. 

Traditionally butterflies were regarded as a symbol of new life, the soul and transformation. Expectant mothers would adorn their new borns clothes and cradle with butterfly motifs in preparation for the new baby’s safe arrival whether the baby be male or female.

 Have I ever seen a baby boy wearing a butterfly motif- Not yet.

Do I expect to see it any time soon- unfortunately No!

 If you are awaiting your new arrival whether it be boy or girl… Good Luck.





I’ve always felt very sorry for the fox. It is a much mailgned creature. It features in scores of myths and folklore as the sly and cunning character who cannot be trusted. Cleverness is seen as something to be suspicious of.

In early folklore the fox was considered to be the devils spy. Some suggest this is where the practice of fox hunting began. Farmers chased the fox across their land to rid themselves of the devils influence. In favour of the fox – if you caught a fox with a magic pearl you were in luck.

To see one fox on it’s own is considered lucky…keep your eyes peeled no matter where you live. Foxes love the city just as much as the open countryside. Good luck.


Many have used the blackbird as a symbol in song and verse to represent the oppressed in society. Paul Mc Cartney and Nina Simone pop to mind. 


For me the blackbird is a magical bird.There is a very real elegance about the simple shape and colour that I find very pleasing. Petrol black plummage and a deep yellow beak. 


In my experience the magpie, crow and pigeon seem to dominate most urban gardens. So it brings me great joy to welcome the blackbird into my garden. 


Apparently they are very territorial. There is a belief that a blackbird on the roof of your house brings good luck. Two is even better as this territorial streak usually keeps them apart. 


Take time to enjoy the simple things such as this…and good luck!



I’ve spent many hours standing in the park after school surrounded by little boys and girls getting drunk on fresh air. There’s a few trees in the park that are not growing so much as struggling to get out of the shadow of the teams of school boys who climb them every day. Recently I looked over to check on my little guy. I was greeted by a sight that reminded me of a crop of strange fruits hanging off all available limbs. Boys do grow on trees. They become pirates, super heros, and explorers. This is a quick image inspired by that thought.