From yesterday’s Irish Times – a decade on in the recession – however, I was much more upbeat about my future. I have turned the corner, I am proud of my achievements, and the future is looking very rosy! Irish Times Jillian Godsil lost her home in the recession and was one of the the first women to go bankrupt under Ireland’s new bankruptcy regulations. “Until 2008, life was very good. I was happily married, or so I thought, running my own PR and marketing company, living in a big house we’d bought in 1996. “Then two things went wrong. I discovered to my horror that I wasn’t happily married, and we started separation proceedings. The second thing was that my ex had got into property. The house had been worth €1.6 million at one stage, and it seemed to make sense to release some equity. So we had huge debts that we couldn’t pay. “It happened so quickly. My husband went back to the UK and declared bankruptcy. I made a video to try to sell the house on YouTube. The video was quirky and it went viral. I got a cash offer of €500,00 in 2011, and I put […]

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Humans of Dublin

“I exited bankruptcy in July 2016 and was questioned on RTE news about what would now change. ‘Nothing’ I said and it was true at the time. If anything I was in a harder place than when the banks repossessed my home and my business collapsed six years ago. I was heart-broken and good for nothing. I wrote an article about homelessness in the Irish Times and the next day a friend offered me a cottage to rent. One year later it feels like home. My tiny cottage sits snugly in the hills overlooking the pretty village of Shillelagh. I have work in PR and as a freelance journalist. I pay my bills. I even go out to dinner on occasion. I have never been happier. My children live nearby and they are amazing young women. I get up each morning with gratitude in my heart. I have put the survival mode behind me and I am shining now. Every human being deserves to shine and this time is mine.” LINK

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Twitter = The Modern Machine Gun

The speed at which moral outrage can circle the world can be measured in mouse clicks. Six degrees of separation is all that divides us from Cecil the Lion; that and a few million tweets. For a story that barely grazed the pages of the Zimbabwean newspapers, it had generated an angry online mob complete with death threats within hours. It had swiftly mutated out of social media and mobilised into an on-the-ground band of protestors complete with placards and news cameras. It had even become the source of Jimmy Kimmel’s normally comic opening to his show. The dentist is in hiding with US police checking out the death threats. There are calls for him to be extradited to Zimbabwe to face criminal charges. He won’t be looking at too many dental cavities for the next little while. His five seconds of fame with Cecil might have put him out of a job permanently. This is not the first time Man versus the Twitter machine loses. In fact, the solitary human being is no match for the thousands, nay millions, of bullets from self-righteous online activists.   I am reminded of world war one when the machine gun emerged as the […]

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Travel writer, South Africa: Swimming with hippos and other adventures from the veld

In a series of reader submissions to the Irish Times Amateur Travel Writer competition, we meet Jillian Godsil, who finds herself in the midst of adventure on an equestrian safari           Sometimes, oftentimes, the things you really should do never feature on the average bucket list. For example, it would take a random ideas generator to put hippos and swimming together. The category of ‘swimming with’ usually includes non-violent animals such as dolphins or whales, and maybe sharks but that typically includes a cage or two. I was on an equestrian safari in South Africa in the Waterberg region when I met my hippos. We had done all sorts of activities on horseback; witnessed giraffes up close, viewed any number of gazelle take fancy and flight, watched pronking sprinkbok with our mouths open (and our mounts firmly on all four legs) and had even ridden in a cloud of wildebeest as they whirled in formation across a dusty plain. We once rode softly past a white rhino and her calf, the quieter of the African rhinos, and she barely looked at the horses and riders as we tiptoed past, trying to balance cameras and click pictures […]

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Fifty Shades started surge of Mammy Porn in Ireland

first printed in the Sunday Independent on February 2, 2016 Jillian Godsil, who wrote ‘The Cougar Diaries’, has interviewed people about the impact of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’. With the film adaptation of the book about to hit our screens, she reckons men in the audiences could be in short supply           PRIOR to the publication of Fifty Shades of Grey, what might be considered deviant sexual practices were not discussed at the dinner tables the length and breadth of Ireland, much less practised in the bedroom. But following on from the book’s publication, the conversation went mainstream and in between the sheets. I started interviewing people and talking about the impact and found to my empirical knowledge that sex had mushroomed in Ireland. Taxi drivers, hotel porters and bartenders – the true barometers of Irish society – were having more sex than ever before and the women were driving the train. Which is somewhat ironic since the protagonist in Fifty Shades is submissive and very passive. The very Irish women turned on by the book appeared to be tying up their men – and sales of rope in Woodies are going through the roof without […]

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On Being a Student – Again

Confession time: I am a student again. I am studying a Masters in screenwriting in IADT in Dun Laoghaire. It is a demanding course with full time lectures on Monday and Tuesday. The rest of the week you are meant to spend in the library. Of course as a mature student I spent the rest of the time doing the things I have to do; look for business, pitch writing gigs, do writing gigs, look after my kids, mind house, cook the odd dinner, sing with my choir, preside over my alma mater, learn to run and plan world domination. And that is only on Wednesday. It is a wonderful thing being a student again. It is a long time since I was a student and while it is different as a mature student, it is still wonderful. The biggest surprise is how much I don’t know. That sounds a bit foolish but life after university is often an exercise in using limited knowledge to navigate difficult tasks. The older you get, the better you get at navigation. But when you go back to college, the world sense you may have gained does not always parlay into expert navigation. For […]

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The Fighting Irish are taking over the world of MMA

Never since the glory days of gladiators has there been so much interest in hand-to-hand combat. It hasn’t happened overnight, it is rare that an overnight sensation actually happens overnight, but Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has passed the point of being a niche sport and is now officially the fastest growing sport on the planet.  21 years ago the first ever UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) fight was staged in Denver, US, on a limited pay-as-you-view channel.  The beauty of the new sport was its diversity, linking as it does the different disciplines of martial arts into a hotchpotch of a sport – a fascinating, visceral, ambitious, primeval spectacle.  Taking the highly structured moves from each martial art and then putting them together created an explosive combination. In the first televised competition in 1993, in which there 8 fighters, the expression was coined – two men enter, one man leaves – to hype up the fights. But as local MMA coach and legend John Kavanagh adds. ‘Followed by the other man leaving shortly afterwards.’ And that is why this sport is different.  Being a young sport it was humorous, cross culture, highly addictive and making up the rules as it went. […]

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NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge 2014 – I got an honorable mention in the Semi Final

 Semi final. I made an honourable mention in this high-profile, fast-paced International Short Story Writing Competition. Below in the email I received today with the honourable mention, followed by my story Welcome to Marstown. Below that is the first round story, In Full Pursuit which led me into the semi final. If your story placed in the top 5 below, congratulations, you are among the 40 writers advancing to the 3rd and Final Round kicking off at 11:59PM EDT this Friday, May 2nd!  Choosing the top 5 in this round was incredibly difficult and there were many outstanding stories that didn’t place. Regardless of how your story placed, you should be proud of completing two very tough writing challenges and we hope it was inspiring! #1 ‘The Fading King’ by Melissa Brand SYNOPSIS – The one who bears the Mark, will repossess The Fading King’s crown and become his successor. He clings to what is left of himself as he awaits The Repossessor. #2 ‘The Alignment’ by Jonathan Ochoco SYNOPSIS – A man journeys to a magical valley to witness the alignment of his world’s twin suns and moon. #3 ‘Lady of the Black Irons’ by Jamie Campbell SYNOPSIS – […]

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A Twitter Tale…@Ireland for a week – let’s write

We all know the Irish can talk for Ireland. We all know that every single Irish person has at least one book in them. Well, let’s get collectively writing on Twitter. Here are the first two lines – send me your line and the number where you think it might run. Replica lines may be juggled somewhat. this is fun! Send your lines to @ireland   1. The man at the corner shop did not look up when the gun went off @jilliangodsil 2. it was as if he was expecting it @paudimac 3. He was used to gunfire. The army taught him that. @islandgooner 4. He had powers to illude gunfire. @cybercalci 5. He’d learnt the noise of bullets tearing flesh too, the gasp of shock. She collapsed, eyes blank. He folded his paper, walked away. @GuyleJeune 6. As he walked, something glinted in the corner of his eye @islandgooner 7. and still he walked on neatly tucking the receipt into his wallet. @beanmimo 8. Not in his wildest dreams did he ever expect a hardback copy of Larouss’se reference for wine lovers, to be of any use to him @fleurman

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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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