Last Sunday(25th April) I was the guest on Niamh Bagnell’s regular Sunday Scrapbook proramme on our Lucan local ‘Liffey Sound’ station (96.4FM). It’s a weekly show at 4.00-5.00pm which features various writers dealing with various themes . The show has featured many excellent poets in the past few weeks (Raven, Anamaria Crowe-Serrano, Steve Conway, Ross hattaway…) so I had to be on my toes with at least passable stuff. You can hear the programe on <>

I took ‘Politics & Poetry’ as a ‘theme’ because a lot of my work strays into


 the worlds of buying and selling, marketing and hoarding, the environment, political partying (as distinct from just partying, though sometimes the two go together), the R-Word (we’re all not suppoesed to SAY that terrible word, remember?… because it might get even worse if we do), and all the things of the daily life we all must lead, whether we like it or not. And we have to like it because the alternative is … oblivion!  And who wants that? Nobody’s a Zen freak around here, right?

The oldest poem I dealt with was ‘Campaign’ from my first collection (‘Dispatches and Recollections’, publ. by Lapwing) way back in 1998. It was a reflection on some political work I was involved in around that time as a member of the Workers Party and examines the ins and outs of electioneering on behalf of a small left-wing party and the attempt to get across a ‘socialist’ message. If the poem draws any conclusions it’s probably that these types of attempts are really difficult, even given the high level of unemployment and job-losses that existed then, and exist now again. How much a party can spend on its campaigns is a huge factor, some would say the ONLY factor.

But don’t go away! It’s not all poems about party political politics on my radio show! There’re others on various topics, political yes, but in the sense of dealing with people and their concerns. One of these poems, written around the same time as ‘Campaign’ dealt with the headlong pursuit of consumerism which began in real earnest in Ireland around the end of the 80s when the mantra was The More We Spend the Better Off Everyone Will Be. Also I tried to get a dig in at the notion of ‘brands’ and ‘labels’. The poem was called ‘Come Live with me and be my Coke (TM)’ and it was published ina  UK magazine in 1994. Here it is:


(or: The only good thing on the box is the ads)

I would arise and go where sun-tanned people

drink Seven-Up (™)* all day, chew Juicy Fruit (™)*,

where the requisites of life are very simple:

a swimsuit, a Swiss bank-account — and youth.

I long to chase Californian, unclad ladies

along a waters edge where palm trees lean,

then lie for hours in sun-creamed meditation

until it’s time for Sugar Puffs (™)* and cream.

Come live with me and be my Coke (™)*, my darling —

or better still I’ll climb up on the box —

Quick, before this adverts over, pull me

down and in and safe aboard your yacht!

We’ll drink our Coca-Cola (™)* in the sunshine

and soar the surf and talk of Dear Old Ireland (™)*

where it’s 1.00 am November (weather’s awful)

and the only thing that soars is unemployment.

*(TM) Registered Trade Mark. All rights reseved

And so it’s a big thank you to Niamh for her invitation. It was great to be on the show. Some of the other poems  will appear in my forthcoming book ‘And Suddenly the Sun Again’ to be published next month by Seven Towers Ltd. I absolutely expect you to run out and buy it.

Me again.



Just to record that the last ‘Finnegan’ programme of the present series went out at 9.00 pm as usual last Friday 18th. We’ll be back in the New Year. Edward, Micheal and I had lots to say about the Irish Bishops/ Irish Catholic Church Child abuse fiasco and the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference fiasco. Edward also did a spot on a film from 1956 (or did he say 1946?) which was shot in Ireland called ‘I See a Dark Stranger’. It starred Virginia Kerr as an Irish girl who wanted to become a Nazi spy because of terrible things done on her family by the British in Ireland. I am completely unacquainted with this type of Irish cinema history/heritage and really must do something to make a hole in my ignorance.


Comh maith le sin agus abhair eile mhalartaiomar ar gcomhbhroin faoin mbas Ciaran Mac Mathuna. Craoiltoir den chead scoth ab ea e, agus rinne se a lan obair maidir le ‘ceolta tire’ (ainm clar iontach eile a bhi Radio Eireann fado) agus an ceol tradisiunta. Thosaigh ‘Mo Cheol Thu’, a chlar fhein,  ar an radio gach Domhnach timpeall tosnu na seactadai agus ta cuimhne maith ag daoine (cuiseach) aosta air. Ar a dheis De go raibh a anam.

I have been remiss in not blogging about our radio programme which goes out every Friday at 9.00pm on Digital Hub radio 94.3. We started back last month for another few sessions and with the usual suspects, viz., Edward Delaney (genial host), Micheal MacAonghusa (raconteur and current affairs guru) and myself (resident poet and court jester). One or two guests also, among them the very worthy Ronnie Byrne of St catherine’s Boxing Club in nearby Marrowbone Lane (our radio studio is off Thomas Street). And yes the club is for girls as well as boys, and no you don’t have to do the boxing. It can be just ‘keep fit’ and games if you like. It’s had its funding difficulties in the past, says Ronnie, but it’s come through those and is simply bursting at the seams with youngsters wanting to get involved. It’s more than a boxing club. It’s a social networking base. Any night you pick you could have 30-40 kids there doing training and other activities. For €20 once a year, and €8 per week it’s a great outlet, says Ronnie, and I believe him. I also believe that this type of thing would not be happening were it not for Ronnie’s commitment and dedication and you can see now why I began this piece by calling him ‘the very worthy’ Ronnie Byrne.

Ronnie Byrne of St Catherine's Boxing Club

Edward has been delving into films made in Ireland by Ardmore studios (fado’, fado’) and I have been surprised at the number of Abbey Theatre people who featured in them. Also according to Edward it was the Irish in America who created the ‘musical film’, starting with a film called ‘Sally’s Irish Rogue’. All this sounds fascinating and I hope I can get some time to have a look at this Irish Cinema History.

Back on air with ‘Finnegan’, Edward Delaney’s one-hour programme (Fridays 9.00-10.00pm on Digital Hub FM 94.3) of discussion, music and poetry. At the moment one can only listen to it live on the website, but we are working to set up the archive.

Edward, Micheal Mac Aonghusa and myself are looking forward to another few weeks of enjoyable broadcasting. Last Friday I read out a poem called ‘OHM’ which has just this week been published in ‘Shop’ magazine (I will set it up in the ‘My Poetry’ section as soon as possible) and all three of us had something to say about Thierry Henry, somethings he mightn’t like to hear!

Did a short interview with Brendan Nolan last Friday (18th) for his radio programme on WDAR FM96. It goes out on air on Saturdays (‘Telling Tales’ 1.00-2.30pm) from Ballyfermot Community Civic Centre and is in the process of being archived on We talked about poetry and my forthcoming book and I read ‘Is It Possible to be Elegant on a Bicycle in Traffic in the Rain’.
 Brendan himself is an accomplished storyteller and has a number of books out, the latest being ‘Barking Mad’ (Tales of Liars, Lovers, Loonies and Layabouts)’ published by Fresh Appeal, Dublin 2008, which (as the title suggests) is full of unforgettable characterisations and events.

Brendan Nolan
Brendan Nolan


  Took time to walk around Ballyfermot for a while afterwards and revisited memories of the time I used to live there, just down the road from the Civic centre. There was no Civic centre there 40 years ago! and not much of anything else either: very few shops, a tiny one-room public library.Just a very resilient and hard-working people who overcame many obstacles to build up a strong, vibrant, inclusive community spirit.

Thanks also to David Spain, who did sound engineer, and also hosts his own show ‘Words and Music’ (Mondays 2.30-3.30). AND ALSO makes great coffee!


David Spain
David Spain




Our last bi-lingual programme yesterday evening (31st July) for this session until we return in the Autumn. This week’s programme a bit heavy with discussions between me and Edward about NAMA and the new traffic arrangements in Dublin (yawn) but we do our best to inform the nation. The programme was saved by the input from Sarah Williams and her friend Natasha who talked about the best tourist attractions in Dublin. You can see from the photo how much they brightened up the show. Edward did his usual trawl and commentary through the TV films on show this week , with special reference to Joe Lynch, the much beloved Irish actor (and singer) who died not so long ago. I read a poem of mine about St.Mary’s Church in Mary Street which you can find in the Acorn Magazine Website at

Anyway, it’s time to say slan libh go leir go dti an Deireadh Fomhair seo chugainn nuair a bheimid ag ple ceisteanna agus ag cur danta and ceoil ar fail aris. Arrivederci!

Natasha and Sarah add some glamour to the evening
Natasha and Sarah add some glamour to the evening

Me, trying to look important
Me, trying to look important

Another session with Edward Delaney and Micheal Mac Aonghusa. I read out a poem called ‘Little Boy and Tricycle’ which provoked some discussion on the horrors of war, ‘ultimate war’ that is, in the shape of atom bombs. My poem just lays out one example of those horrors and it hopes that it has some effect on the listener or reader. One-sided ‘polemical’ poems are tedious. We also had some diospoireacht maidir leis na ‘freagrai’ a thainig as ‘Bord Snip’. Sea, ta’s agam go raibh an argoint ceanna againn an tseachtain seo chaite, ach nil aon ealu on t-abhar. Gach einne ag caint faoi. Ach tada deanta fos! Edward did his usual review of TV films coming up during the week but couldn’t find much to please him, and yes it did seem like very lean fare. Maybe the cuts are already in action and we don’t know it? Stay tuned.

Micheal ag labhairt go daingean
Micheal ag labhairt go daingean