He Lost Himself Completely: Shellshock and its Treatment at Dublin’s Richmond War Hospital, 1916-1919. An engrossing account of the post-traumatic stress experienced by WW1 soldiers, and treated with surprising success, in Grangegorman Hospital.
Broken Circle Breakdown, a harrowing Flemish movie about the interpersonal heartbreak of a Belgian band singing American country classics.
Tulca Festival of Visual Art, 2014, in Galway. A genuinely dynamic, large-scale exhibition of contemporary art that seemed totally relevant and accessible, and not narcissistic or self-obsessed.
Antediluvian CDs. Spotify is amazing, but the choice is too bamboozling. I’m both frustrated and reassured by the limited nature of my CD collection.
The panache and brio of Bully’s Acre (a trad, funk, folk, Argentine-flamenco group consisting of Robbie Harris Peter Browne and Lucas González) is gobsmacking.
Sacred Heart Hotel, a gravitational-bending album from 1986 by the Stars of Heaven, a Dublin band considered, rather extravagantly but potentially truthfully, at the time, to be Ireland’s answer to The Byrds, Gram Parsons and the Velvet Underground.
Never owned a TV and never will. A crass and manipulative medium and a parasite on free time.
I used to adore Irish radio, but American podcasts have totally wooed me, especially all the podcasts in the Radiotopia.fm stable, not to mention the aural and intellectual wonders of Radiolab and Fresh Air.
The performer Neil Watkins has had many incarnations: as author-performer of ‘A Year of Magical Wanking’, and creator of the drag-queen Heidi Kunt, but his vibey, disco-infused band, Buffalo Woman, has the potential to really soar.
Just back from dog-sledding and hunting for the Northern Lights in Tromso, Norway. Cold and captivating.
Having a wound, which I just got from a dog with rabies; being chewed at by piranhas in an Amazonian river; or being chased by a mountain gorilla in Uganda. The sheer adrenalin that ignites upon realising one could be part of the food-chain again is unbeatable.
A hand-stitched, white linen shirt from flax spun in Co Antrim, by The Tweed Project in Galway. €250.
I finally relented and got a Smartphone; I use it to text and email, as I distrust phone calls. Nothing else has really wooed me, other than, I suppose, the phone’s sat-nav, on the odd occasion I’m completely lost.
Stitcher — a phenomenal podcast-gatherer and organiser, which gives one the opportunity of listening to intriguing audio storytelling.
I’m a freelancer without kids and so I don’t differentiate weekend from weekday. I play when I want and work when I want… mostly work!
I run through my forest most mornings, and cycle around north Westmeath most evenings. My days are spent eating salad and drinking coffee.
Burrenbeo, a tiny charity in Co Clare working with local farmers to try to keep the prehistoric agricultural landscape of the upland Burren intact for the next generation. It’s genuinely inspirational what they’ve achieved so far — urging farmers to keep the ancient herding practises alive as a way of slowing down scrub incursion and erosion.
Women rule the world.