1224328186097_1Very sorry to hear that Dennis O’Driscoll has left us, and at the young age of 58. His work  always appealed to me,  because of its mixture of humour  and seriousness. His regular contributions  in the Poetry Ireland Review of ‘Pickings and Choosings’ , in which he listed out various ‘definitions’ of poetry, was always something I looked forward to reading. His ‘Stepping Stones’ book of interviews with Seamus Heaney is a fine examination of Heaney’s work and life and is eminently readable. Ar a dheis De go raibh a anam.

I’ve been contributing to the Riposte Broadsheet for many a long time and this year was delighted that one of my poems was chosen by readers as their favourite of the year. So, congratulations to me, and even more congratulations to the River Griffeen in Lucan which has been the source of much inspiration for me over the years. If my muse has a residence anywhere on this earth it’s probably situated somewhere in the Griffeen Valley Park.

The River Griffeen in Full Flood

Griffeen Valley Park, Lucan


Again this morning in December you’re

the bluegreen artery that pulses through

the Griffeen Park to scatter sparkle, mist

and twists of birdsong, breaking flints of light

off every rock would dare to staunch your flood.


No stick nor stone, no twig nor twisted weed

will tourniquet your rush down this last mile

of crash and foam before you gash the Liffey

to go under once again, again

begin the long ascent into the skies.



A very well-written crime thriller, this. It certainly travels at a fast pace and holds a

RedRibbonsreader’s interest to the end. A little above the usual too, as regards the psychology of the characters.  Can’t say much more because of the nature of the genre (well, the butler did it). If you liked Kay Scarpetta and Sara Lund, you’ll like this.

Louise gives a fascinating insight into the handling of the investigation by the police ‘behind the scenes’. Also for Irish readers it’s good to see our Garda Siochana and Dublin featuring, instead of New York and LA all the time.



Delighted that my poem ‘Blockbuster’ appeared in the Riposte Broadsheet published bimonthly by Michael O’ Flanagan. The poem is something of a protest at the hyping-up of films which are not much good (or downright awful!). Very often the poster / preview / trailer has all the good bits in it and gives the impression that this is one hell of a film you MUST see. Well, I suppose one can’t blame the advertising people for doing their best to sell the product. That’s why they get paid. Still, you must at one time or another have sat in the darkness wondering how on earth you were persuaded to spend your money on the rubbish flashing across the screen in front of you…


Cinema poster


She: Grand Canyon cleavage –

He: Rock of Cashel jaw-line –

Both: brandishing guns.

And in the background

several helicopters, one

descending in a ball of flame

and several villainous-looking types

with scars and attitude and … more guns.


There will be torrid love scenes (for the ladies)

There will be cars that crash through walls (the men)

and he will suffer scratches but

her make-up will survive intact.

‘Brilliant’ – Time Out.

‘Spectacular’ – The Sun.

‘Unmissable’ – The Mirror.

This film will glue you to your seat’ – Woodies DIY.

panamaDisappointed in The Tailor of Panama because I like John le Carre’s books. The plot is a bit jaded. Man with past is blackmailed into being a spy by those who know about the questionable bits of that past, etc. This is a mainframe on which a good novel can be built. Not here, though. Things take far too long to get going and although there are plenty of examples of le Carre’s wit and skill, they are weighed down by the very slow pace of the novel. It takes the first one-third of the book to get any action going, and while I am NOT a fan of ‘action-packed’ narratives, the story should pick up more quickly. As with Graham Greene, le Carre’s ‘heros’ are usually flawed and drift towards their fate. This is the case here with Harry Pendel and his character  is well drawn. Pity about the sluggish pace of his story.

‘Arguably his best book since The Spy Who Came in from the Cold’, says  The times Educational Supplement on the cover. Well, no.