Back to School – End of the Summer Madness

For once, and this is very unlike me, for once I am cheering for the end of the summer holidays and the welcome return to normal life now that we are all going back to school tomorrow, indeed some pupils have already returned. Typically I cherish a child-like horror of school being mentioned while still technically in August and the recent years’ slippery slide of returning to school before September has greatly saddened me for all sorts of nostalgic reasons and very few practical ones. It is like Christmas being flagged before Halloween is over; to my mind it is just not right.   But as the dying days of summer drew to a close I can only say that I have witnessed a wave of misogyny spreading across the globe, creating a scourge as nasty as any plague, and infecting people in despicable ways. In some ways, this misogyny was accidental and haphazard but it was no less disturbing for its seemingly unpredictable eruptions.   First off was #slangirl. While her actions were less than clever, it was the singling out of the young girl for such vitriol that was frightening. There was no #slaneboy or even #slanecouple. I […]

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Slim Shady at Slane

Slane Castle – Eminem         There is a vast difference between attending an Eminem concert from the VIP halls and from the grassy knoll with the rest of the hoi polloi. For starters you tend to get there much earlier or you have no chance of a spot up at the barriers, which is still separated by yet another strip of grass and then the posh barriers which corralled the uber VIPs (Mary Coughlan, Twink and Gerald Kean according to some reports were giving it their all in those quarters – or perhaps they remained in the castle overlooking the stage where it was dry and not full of screaming fans – who knows).   We arrived with the biggest baddest rain storm you could imagine. Luckily we had been delayed and still parking as this happened. We stayed put eating our sandwiches. Champagne was not served in the plebeian jeeps sadly. We had to do with cans of diet coke, laughing as the windows fogged up and the rain torrented down. Following that shower, sales of ponchos was brisk with the local touts.   Apparently, entrance to the VIP area was met with a strict body […]

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Retreating … not drowning

There was about twenty of us ranged in a circle in the Wilderness Lodge in Glemalure, Co Wicklow, of different ages, nationalities and backgrounds. We were on a retreat, for some of us our first ever such experience, on an Internal Alchemy and Qi Gong workshop which was to last two days.     We were asked by our instructor, affectionately referred to as the Mayo Monk, for our reasons for attending. One by one we gave our answers and they hit a refrain of wanting to de-stress from our busy lives while connecting with our inner selves.   We were glamping in the field beside the centre, in bell tents beautifully decorated and furnished – only luxury surroundings for our poor stressed bodies. And the food, well we were to be fed like kings for the weekend with home-made dishes and salads and bbqs and endless cups of green tea.     Ok, first let me explain the theory about Internal Alchemy. In this ancient Chinese discipline, it defines the five essential elements that make up the body; fire, water, wood, metal and earth. Each element is attached to a primary organ; fire to the heart, water to kidneys, […]

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How to lose a Home in Ten Easy Steps …

How to lose a home in Ten Easy Steps On August 7, 2013, the sheriff will officially seize my house, my former home. Unlike some other high profile bankrupts, I don’t have secondary houses to fall back on. I haven’t relocated to America or I don’t swan around the world on yachts. I had one home and on August 7th I will be officially homeless. Now, don’t worry, I only mean homeless as in lacking a home that I once had. In fact, for the past four years I have been renting a cottage nearby with my two children and various animals. I rent a very beautiful cottage with panoramic views across the local little hills. My old home has panoramic views also, but across to Mount Leinster as befits the central house of a townland, for Raheengraney House is named for its region. I don’t think I will be there to witness the surrender of my once beautiful home. It has been a long time since I was there, maybe January of this year, and I don’t relish the thought of a sheriff changing locks or putting up yellow tape to stop trespassers. On August 7th, I will become […]

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Interview with Aoife Brennan, author of The Cougar Diaries

I have been working with South East Television and recently they asked me to interview Irish writer Aoife Brennan, author of The Cougar Diaries.         Aoife’s book is fascinating in that she writes from the heart. It is not your normal erotica, in fact it is it quite the opposite as her character faces real life situations and troubles as she tries to discover who she is post divorce. It is also very funny in parts and a little sad in others.     Aoife explained that this book is all about Sex and Divorce, but book two is all about Sex and Austerity. And funnily enough, it works. A real page turner. Watch here to see my interview with this lovely author.     Sadly we had to take down the YouTube link HERE (NSFW). but here is a transcript of the very funny interview – lots of laughter and frank discussion!  Buy the book here (.com) or here (.co.uk)     Jillian: The year is 2013 and the book title Fifty shades is synonymous with erotica or Mummy porn. People said it started off with ereaders – women could buy the most salacious reading materials and no […]

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The Irish Hospice Foundation – Cycling Safaris 2013 – Atlantic to the Med

Supporting my friend Sean Melly’s fund raising cycle for The Irish Hospice 2013. (most recent entries upfront) donate HERE watch his progress on GPS map HERE             FINISHED! I could not believe it. We had made it. We arrived at Narbonne sur plage (on the beach) in the afternoon after completing our 112km cycle.  We were wrecked but exalted. Some cyclists ran straight away into the water in their riding gear, others changed into shorts, but we all piled into the Mediterranean which felt cold after the hot sunshine and the long ride. The water was wonderful and cooling. Then we had lunch on the beach before cycling the 25km back to Norbonne city itself. Tonight we shall have a celebratory dinner and then fly home tomorrow. So, over the five days we have cycled a total of 650km with climbs of 7500 metres. The climbs were the tough part of the trip, cycling on the level is easy but elevations are a killer. Last year I did the Lyons to Nice race which was hard, but this trip was definitely tougher. There are rumours of which route they will take next year with San Sebastian to Barcelona […]

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Happy Birthday Aspire Magazine

ASPIRE Magazine is officially one year old and is the top selling business magazine on iTunes. It is a business magazine with a difference.  On its first birthday last month, Nick Broadhurst, editor and founder, came out with a new and improved mission statement. The mission of the magazine and its contributors is to help people become GameChangers. Nick defines a GameChanger as someone who wants to make a positive mark on the work. “They put their mission first and are driven by empathy rather than ego. They create change in the world because they care,” he explains. “How they meet their mission is inconsistent. Rather than following an existing path, they create their own and leave a trail. They embody resourcefulness, the courage to disrupt and the commitment to pursue the unreasonable.  “What they create is the infrastructure for a new paradigm. They recognize Einstein’s sage advice that the greatest problems we face can’t be solved using the same level of thinking that created them. Thus, they focus on building a new model that makes an existing model obsolete.   Your interest in this magazine is a telling sign that you recognize a new model of business is being […]

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Fear versus Courage

I first discovered fear when I was about eleven years ago. Don’t get me wrong, I’d had the usual childhood in which I was frightened by scary stories at bedtime, imagined monsters under the bed and once a particularly thrilling piece in Enid Blyton’s Five go to Finniston Farm. The scene which scared the pants off me was a mysterious face at the window at night. Truth be told, that idea can still give me the willies. And as a codicil, that particular expression, the give one the willies, comes from the Willow tree, often associated with sadness, graveyards and fear. There, I never knew that either until I wrote that line and had to go and google it, for it looked so strange on paper. But true fear happened when my younger brother and I visited family friends one summer. The other family were holidaying about an hour outside of Dublin and my parents were invited to visit for the day. The other family had a boy who was a year or two older than me, and he had a number of covert magazines. These magazines, he had purchased with his own money, were hidden under his mattress but […]

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Uniquely Dublin

Ok, I didn’t win, I didn’t even make the long list but there were some 500 entries and only 10 in the long list, of which one, my good friend Robert Duffy was chosen. I enclose his entry after mine (lol – this is my blog, sorry Robert, lol) So we were given the task of writing about Dublin, and it’s uniqueness, in just 100 words. I came up with this: Freezing winter nights, laced with Dublin particulars, and hazed with orange lights around the Green. Slipping into a warm hostelry, sipping cold stout, the antithesis of comfort yet warming within. Oh, go on, a whiskey chaser then. Spring days come stretching slow. We are green because of our rain, ample amounts of it and temperatures mild and cunning. Sudden sunshine too, rainbows over the Spire. Tourists take quick pictures in the glare. Summer, because of calendar dates not weather, gushes over us and more green. Tourists loving it. Autumn, sometimes Indian, more often not. More rain. Repeat! It didn’t cut the mustard! But Robert’s did – go Robert! What about the wonderful gush of imagination surging from the slabs of Westmoreland Street? Bright book upon book, our declamatory Pat, […]

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