Green shoots force their way through the debris of winter storms.
Sunlight freckles on green growth in the ditches.
And here in the westernmost mainland parish in Ireland, the St Patrick's Day celebrations crackle with energy and excitement, amalgamating the triumph of the Christian saint over the druids with the triumph of the Good Goddess over darkness, and the joyous return of life to the land.
However, St. Patrick's personal association with the colour green and the dear
little shamrock isn't altogether straightforward. In fact, wearing red, not green, for St. Patrick's day has a time-honoured heritage in Ireland. It was recorded in 1681 that 'the poorer people' in Ireland wore
shamrock on St. Patrick's Day. But others, we're told, wore crosses -
and the first reference, in 1628, describes Irish soldiers wearing St. Patrick's Day crosses made of red ribbon 'after their country manner…
Only a year before we moved in, the site of the Dublin house that I grew up in was a field. Down the road, after the house was built and the developers had moved on, there was a scrubby patch of trees. They've disappeared now, under concrete and more housing. But when I was a child a spring rose in the scrubland, flowing briefly between two oaks and disappearing again among their twisted roots. I remember hours spent swinging out over the water on a rope tied to a branch, and
letting go at the crucial moment to land in squelching mud on the other side.That survival of the countryside, hemmed in by two roads, was a favourite playground for us local kids. We called it St. Bridget's. And at the time I never asked myself why. I don't know now if Bridget's name survives there. But I know that for thousands of years before I swung out across that water, people had come there to pray. It was the site of a holy well. Wells dedicated to Bridget are found all over the country. Sh…
One result of a lifetime of writing in different genres and media is that you end up with transferable skills and systems. Now, with the third novel in my Finfarrran series about to appear in the bookshops, I can see just how useful that process of transfer can be. Much of what I've learned in my career has been passed on to me by other writers, so here are some hints that I thought I should pass on myself.
#1. I started out as a freelance writer in radio and television, where deadlines are paramount. Whether you're writing scripts for dramas, documentaries or features, the bottom line is that it must be delivered on time. A reputation for reliability is one of your greatest references, and that applies to print publishing as well. #2. Because novelists work alone at a screen, it's easy to feel that writing your book is a private enterprise. But if you're working on a series commissioned by a publisher, it's not. Just as plays or projects for broadcast media, books …