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My Favourite Thing about Ireland

Ah, summer in Ireland. It’s my favourite day of the year. But my second favourite thing about this beautiful country is roving through her towns and villages … and celebrating the place-names. It’s something I do with a mixture of pride and bewilderment, like watching your infant son picking up his first forkful of food before smearing it all over his face.

Wexford is a good place to start. That handsome county has always attracted its fair share of randy holidaymakers. You’ve got Heavenstown, which sounds nice, and it’s just up the road from Fannystown, of course. Except it’s all downhill from there. Literally. Take a left in Horetown and you’ll soon end up in Bastardstown. Woopsiedasies. Is it any wonder tourists find themselves bolting to Effin Limerick?

Ever been to Kinsale? It’s where my older brother threatened to take me when I irritated him. He was saving up for a Nintendo 64 and said he wouldn’t have use for me any longer. Marginally better than Kill, I suppose. Or Nobber.

Yes, Nobber, home to the legendary Muff Crescent. Not the town. The road. I like the town as well. Mind you, I often wonder what life is like up there in Muff. How’s the traffic? And the weather? Is it hot and sweaty, or icy cold this time of year? And tell me, does Muff have a diving club? (As it happens, yes.)

By the way, what sort of gal lives in Hackballscross? I know a lady who’s never been to Cum. (I’m not brave enough to Google Cum, Mayo). And then there’s Kilbrittain. Michael Collins country.

And Cavan, eh? A toddler’s dream address, with Legwee, Fartrim and Fartan. But Meelick is the genius child of Galway, not too far from Willyrogue Island. Beat that, Cavan.

And home, at last, to Dublin, with its wealth of suburban retreats. When I get sick of Stillorgan, I go straight to Curly’s Hole. It’s near the Bull Wall. And why did Dollymount Strand? To get a Fairview of Curly’s Hole. Don’t blame me. Blame history, darling. Embrace it. Or move to Shepherd’s Bush.



(originally featured in the Sunday Independent’s “Favourite Things About Ireland”)


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I’ll be doing 4 events at Taste of Dublin this weekend, focusing on energy-boosting foods.

And I’ll be gushee-ing loads of my energy grenades too.



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See you at The Book Doctor, 2pm May 23rd

So, apparently I’m a Book Doctor this weekend. And even get a prescription pad! What craic!

As part of the International Literature Festival, a “clinic” is being set up across various Dublin book stores. I will be taking the pulse of your reading habits, and prescribing you a brand new book.

Other Book Doctors include Ryan Tubridy, John Banville and Paul Howard (aka Ross O’Carroll-Kelly).

You can book here, with all proceeds going to the extraordinary charity ALONE. There are only 20 places available for each Book Doctor, with a suggested donation of €5 per ticket.

Tickets on sale now. 

If you can’t join us at The International Book Festival, but would like to make a donation to ALONE, I’d be whoppingly pleased to send you to this page here.

Grá mór. 




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