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Stories from the City: Circle and Square

International Literature Festival Dublin

The International Literature Festival Dublin, founded in 1998, is Ireland’s premier literary event and gathers the finest writers in the world to debate, provoke, delight and enthral. Described by the press as ‘boasting a stunning array of top international literary talent’ and ‘the country’s most successful and easily the best annual literary event’, International Literature Festival Dublin line-up is sure to impress.

Writer and editor Eileen Casey will present an evening of live readings from Circle and Square, an anthology of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, all inspired by experiences at The Square, Tallaght.

Date:  Monday, 22 May 2017
Tallaght Library
Admission:  Free (Book Here)

Confirmed contributors to the collection reading on the night include:Circle and Square

Michael Whelan
Mae Newman
Doreen Duffy
Susan Condon
Tony Sheilds
Vivienne Kearns
Orla Donoghue

Check out the full list of events which run from 20 – 29 May.

dublin unesco city of literature

Our festival box office is now open at The Gutter Bookshop on Cow’s Lane, Temple Bar (recently voted the best independent bookseller in the UK & Ireland!)

Pop in to book tickets or pick up a brochure, or contact us by phone on +353 1 969 5259. Opening hours are Monday – Saturday: 11am – 6pm and Sunday: 12pm – 5pm.


Short Story: The Tan-Tastic Four!

A touch of romance and a little humour in preparation for Valentine’s Day.

Serialised and published in InTallaght Magazine, 2011/2012

The warm glow emanating from the window of the Luas was far brighter than the January midday sun outside. Four beaming teenagers chatted and giggled as they headed towards The Square for their weekly shopping fix. Fellow passengers found their eyes drawn towards their perfectly coiffed hair and their sparkling Hollywood smiles which matched the whites of their eyes beneath the false eyelashes and layers of black eyeliner.

The Luas stopped and more commuters boarded. As the doors slid closed, the crowd pushed their way towards the few remaining seats.

“Jesus, Johnnie, come over here,” shouted a spotty, long-haired rocker.

The four teenagers; Lauren, Sarah, Kate and Debbie nudged each other, while they pretended to look out the window at the blustery day.

Bored commuters watched as a handsome guy, with dark, expertly spiked hair and striking brown eyes muttered “sorry”, “excuse me,” numerous times before eventually appearing beside his friend.

“What’s up, Luke?” he said, looking around.

“Put your shades on and take a look at who’s on board – none other than – The Tan-Tastic Four!” Luke said loudly.

Johnnie’s eyes scanned the nearby seats, eventually resting on the four cringing girls. He did his best to keep a straight face, his eyes crinkling up, while he coughed into his hand. All around commuters smiled and sniggered.

The Tan-Tastic Four cringed in their seats, staring out the window. Their blushes appeared to fan the flames of their tans to make them even brighter.

Two stops later and the four girls were the first to exit the Luas and head towards the haven of The Square. They didn’t say a word as their tanned bodies stomped beneath the bright fluorescent lights. They arrived at their favourite store and rummaged through the rails of clothes. For once, not even noticing the Saturday bargains on offer.

“The cheek of that Luke Connors!” said Lauren, “how dare he! He goes around with his long, lanky hair and thinks he can make a show of us, and of course John just had to be with him when—“

“What does he know about tans or looking good?” said Kate, putting an arm around her friend. “Although, maybe we were a little heavy-handed,” she sighed, looking down and grimacing at the dark brown patches around her right elbow and blobs of darker tan on her knuckles. The Tan-Tastic Four looked at each other and they all began to laugh hysterically.

“I think this calls for a strawberry milkshake and a new beauty regime,” said Sarah.  Three orange faces nodded up and down in agreement.

*   *   *

Lauren slammed the front door and ran up the stairs.

“I’m home gran,” she shouted down, hoping that the old lady might be dozing in front of the TV.

“Come on in and tell me about your day,” called her gran from the bottom of the stairs.

Lauren sighed, “just give me a minute, I’ll be down now . . .”  Taking a last look in the mirror she cringed, forget about getting browner – I’m just getting oranger by the minute, she thought.

“It just had to be today,” Lauren muttered, kicking the waste basket. “That’s all I need, a lecture on ‘the old days’ and how ‘back in the day’ we had to make do with . . .”

Her brother Ben, burst into her room, “mam says you’ve to make gran a cup of tea when you . . .”  Ben started to cough, “who’s been tango’d then?” he staggered from the room, bent over, eyes streaming with laughter.

She could hear the sounds of her grandmother filling the kettle.

“I’ll be down now gran,” she shouted, pushing past Ben and walking slowly down the stairs.

She braced herself for the comments as she took two mugs from the cupboard.

“Why don’t you get the chocolate biscuits from the secret stash and I’ll make us both a nice cup of coffee, the way my mother used to make it,” said her gran, taking the mugs from her and filling one of them with full-fat milk.

Lauren, needing no further encouragement, rummaged inside the slow cooker, pulling out a packet of chocolate biscuits. She didn’t know why her mother had a ‘secret stash’ because everyone knew where it was. She watched as her grandmother poured two mugs of milk into a saucepan and turned the heat up high. Hot milk, she thought, I don’t think I’m going to like this!

“Kids aren’t really supposed to drink coffee I suppose, but a little of what you fancy, once-in-a-while, isn’t going to kill you,” said her gran, smiling. Lauren had never noticed before how blue her eyes were, nearly the same blue as the Sunday-best china she used every week when they went to visit.

“The tip is to pour a little of the milk back into the mug, mix in the coffee and sugar and pour it back into the saucepan. Then bring it to the boil, stirring all the time.”  She whisked the saucepan from the hob just as it looked ready to boil over and poured the steaming coffee into the two mugs.

Lauren bent her head, sniffing the wonderful aroma.

“Right, let’s go Lauren, you bring the coffee and I’ll bring the biscuits. I have a brilliant movie just about to start, The Big Sleep starring your namesake Lauren Bacall, – I guarantee you’ll enjoy it.”

“Please say it’s not one of those old black and white movies that you and Mam love.”

“But Lauren, you don’t even notice that they’re black and white after the first ten minutes. Try it, even just long enough to have your coffee, and see what you think.”

Lauren blew on her coffee as she watched the old movie – she had to admit Lauren Bacall had something; the husky voice, the mannerisms and even the clothes were quite cool too – for ‘back-in-the-day!’ She dipped a chocolate biscuit into the hot mocha liquid and let it melt on her tongue. It tasted really good.lauren-bacall

Her gran dabbed her eyes with a tissue, “what do you think?” she sniffed.  “She married her co-star, Humphrey Bogart, you know.”

“I don’t know about the music gran, but it’s not a bad movie, and you’re right, you do kinda forget about it being black and white after the first few minutes.”

“I’m home!”  The door opened and her Mum stuck her head around the door.  “Ah, great movie, Raymond Chandler’s first novel, did I ever tell you we named you after Lauren Bacall?”

Lauren nodded, smiling, “only just about every time you watch an old black and white movie, but I hadn’t realised how cool she was.”

“Like I said, your namesake,” smiled her mam, as she sat on the arm of her chair and kissed her on the head. “I used to copy her make-up, a real case of ‘less-is-more’, but she had that look off to a tee. Look at her perfect complexion, the matt lipstick making the perfect pout and those eyebrows.”

Lauren looked up to see if her mother was inadvertently making a reference to her latest tan fiasco, but she was sitting forward staring intently at the TV.

“And I can’t believe you’re crying, Mam. Thank God it’s not that old Bette Davis movie you loved,” she clicked her fingers, “remind me to get a bucket for your gran and waterproof mascara for us, when we watch that one. What was it called, Bette Davis was a governess and there was a French guy, Charles Boyer, I think . . .”

All This and Heaven Too. They don’t make them like that any more,” her gran sniffed.

*     *     *

February rolled in and another Saturday morning found Lauren, Sarah, Kate and Debbie aboard the Luas. They noticed a few admiring glances from other commuters as they sat and chatted animatedly.

“Typical, we’re all looking good and no-one worthwhile to see us,” sniffed Debbie, flicking her glossy mane back from her shoulders.

Kate pouted, “and who, exactly, do you mean?” she asked.

Debbie ignored the question, instead pulling a DVD from her bag and staring intently at the cover. “You know, your gran is alright Lauren. Great idea for make-up tips with these old movies, and the movies actually aren’t too bad either,” she said, as she glanced down at Deborah Kerr on the cover of From Here to Eternity.

The Luas stopped and they headed towards Tallaght Library.

Lauren scanned through the DVD’s. She could see Debbie in the distance, as she tried unsuccessfully, to return her DVD on the self-service scanner. She groaned inwardly as she saw Luke heading towards her. Debbie would be in foul humour later – she hated to look anything but cool. It had been hard enough to talk the girls’ into going to the library in the first place! Not that they minded now, she thought, after they’d seen it wasn’t just books and that they also had a huge selection of DVD’s and CD’s at the end of their perfectly manicured fingertips.

“Not very gadget-friendly, Debs?”

Debbie turned to see Luke heading towards her. He did a double-take, “em, here, I’ll, eh, I’ll do that for you,” he stuttered, shooting bright red. x

Lauren reached towards The African Queen, but an arm brushed against her shoulder and snatched the DVD from the shelf. She turned to see John smiling at her.

“Didn’t think that would be your kinda movie,” he drawled, handing it to her.

“For my gran. I didn’t think that would be yours,” she laughed, as she noticed the copy of True Grit in his other hand.

“For my dad. When I’m borrowing books for college I usually pick him up one of his favourite movies. He’s a John Wayne fan,” he said, waving the DVD in the air. “It could have been worse I suppose, it could have been Bogart!” he said, nodding towards The African Queen with a grin.

Lauren laughed, “I don’t think you quite have the look of a Humphrey,” she said, tilting her head seductively, while arching a perfect eyebrow.

READING THE LINES : A 1916 Commemorative Event

Fiery Arrow in association with Live Encounters
invite you to

READING THE LINES A 1916 Commemorative Event
at Tallaght Library

6pm – 8pm on Monday, 7 November 2016

Readers will include Platform One & Guests
Music courtesy of Tony Bardon

Refreshments will be served.


“The idea behind Reading The Lines derives from William Butler Yeats’ Easter 1916. Poets  were invited to choose a line from this iconic work which resonated for them, either culturally, politically or historically. The chosen line was then given a new lease of poetic life, forming a transitional bridge from the now of 2016 to a century ago and the events which led up to or followed on from Ireland becoming a Republic.”
Eileen Casey, Irish Poet and Writer

Live Encounters Platform One Writers Easter

Writer Profiles

Poets and writers from writing groups,  including; Platform One in Rua Red, Lucan Writers, St Muirin’s Writing Group and Virginia House Writers, who read their work in Tallaght Library and were profiled in The Poet’s Corner in The Echo.

Find out more about them and read some of their work:Poet's Corner

Michael J Whelan:
The Echo, 26 April 2012 – Michael J Whelan

James Hyde:
The Echo, 5 April 2012 – James Hyde

Joan Power:
The Echo, 8 March 2012 – Joan Power

 Eileen Casey:
The Echo, 1 March 2012 – Eileen Casey

Brigid Flynn:
The Echo, 23 February 2012 – Brigid Flynn

Tony Bardon:
The Echo, 16 February 2012 – Tony Bardon

Jim Archer:
The Echo, 9 February 2012 – Jim Archer

Colm Keegan:
The Echo, 2 February 2012 – Colm Keegan

Ray Mullen:
The Echo, 26 January 2012 – Ray Mullen

Brian Kirk:
The Echo, 12 January 2012 – Brian Kirk

Áine Lyons:
The Echo, 5 January 2012 – Áine Lyons

Mae Newman:
The Echo, 29 December 2011 – Mae Newman

As an added bonus this week, The Echo have also published a short story called ‘The Rapping Penguin’ by Emily Whelan
(Michael J Whelan’s daughter, aged 9¾):
The Echo, 22 December 2011 – Emily Whelan – p1
The Echo, 22 December 2011 – Emily Whelan – p2

Trish Nugent:
The Echo, 22 December 2011 – Trish Nugent

Ann Marie Mullen:
The Echo, 15 December 2011 – Ann Marie Mullen

Kate Dempsey:
The Echo, 8 December 2011 – Kate Dempsey

Trish Best:
The Echo, 1 December 2011 – Trish Best

Gavan Duffy:
The Echo, 24 November 2011 – Gavan Duffy

Maria Wallace:
The Echo, 17 November 2011 – Maria Wallace

Marie Gahan:
The Echo, 10 November 2011 – Marie Gahan

Doreen Duffy:
The Echo, 3 November 2011 – Doreen Duffy

Susan Condon:
The Echo, 27 October 2011 – Susan Condon

Louise Phillips:
The Echo, 20 October 2011 – Louise Phillips

Michael J Whelan:
The Echo, 13 October 2011 – Michael J Whelan

Eileen Casey:
The Echo, 6 October 2011 – Eileen Casey

Photos from Dublin Writing Events

A selection of photos with writers, from all genres, that I have had the privilege to meet.

I admire them all, not only for for their work, but also for their attitude and their willingness to help fellow writers.

And lots more to be added soon, I hope!

The National Emerging Writer Programme
Dublin City Library and Archive
9 January, 2013:

Annmarie Miles, Vanessa O'Loughlin, Susan Condon
Annmarie Miles, Vanessa O’Loughlin, Susan Condon

Hazel Gaynor, Paul Fitzsimons, Carlo Gébler, Susan Condon, Declan Hughes
Hazel Gaynor, Paul Fitzsimons, Carlo Gébler,
Susan Condon, Declan Hughes

Vanessa O'Loughlin, Hazel Gaynor, Paul Fitzsimons, Carlo Gébler, Declan Hughes, Susan Condon
Vanessa O’Loughlin, Hazel Gaynor, Paul Fitzsimons,
Carlo Gébler, Declan Hughes, Susan Condon

#TXS2 at The Westin Hotel
November, December 2012:

Louise Phillips, Jillian Godsill, John Ivory, Maura Donaghue, Susan Condon
Louise Phillips, Jillian Godsill, John Ivory,
Maura Donaghue, Susan Condon

Susan Condon, Trish Nugent
Susan Condon, Trish Nugent

After Crime Night at the Civic Theatre
November, 2012:

533511_10151163759547911_320014214_n (1)
Susan Condon, Fergus Doyle, Trish Nugent,
Ruby Barnes, Louise Phillips

553695_10151163759772911_668106002_n (1)
Shay Condon, Susan Condon, Fergus Doyle,
Tanya Farrelly, Ruby Barnes, Trish Nugent,
Louise Phillips, Declan Kerins, Rhoda Kerins

Three Voices/Three Forms
Loose End Studio, Civic Theatre
14 November, 2012:

Susan Condon, Colm Keegan
Susan Condon, Colm Keegan

Susan Condon, Colm Keegan, Eileen Casey, Louise Phillips
Susan Condon, Colm Keegan,
Eileen Casey, Louise Phillips

Louise Phillips, Susan Condon
Louise Phillips, Susan Condon

Eileen Casey, Susan Condon
Eileen Casey, Susan Condon

Jonathan Swift Creative Writing Awards
Saggart Heritage & Arts Centre
November, 2012:

Susan Condon, Michael J Whelan, Doreen Duffy
Susan Condon 1st Prize Short Story
Michael J Whelan 3rd Prize Poetry
Doreen Duffy 1st Prize Poetry

Susan Condon, Michael J Whelan, Doreen Duffy
Susan Condon 1st Prize Short Story
Michael J Whelan 3rd Prize Poetry
Doreen Duffy 1st Prize Poetry

SDCC European Week Against Racism Poetry Competition
SDCC County Hall
27 March 2012:

Mayor of Tallaght, Susan Condon
1st Prize
SDCC European Week Against Racism Poetry Competition, 2012
Deputy Mayor of South Dublin County Pamela Kearns, Susan Condon

Brigid Flynn, Susan Condon
Brigid Flynn, Susan Condon

Tallaght Library Writers Group
Rua Red
August 2011:

Doreen Duffy, Orla Coffey, Tanya Farrelly, Michael Whelan, Des McInerney, Paul Tylak
Doreen Duffy, Orla Coffey, Tanya Farrelly
Michael Whelan, Des McInerney, Paul Tylak

Michael Whelan, Des McInerney, Orla Coffey, Doreen Duffy, Tanya Farrelly, Susan Condon
Michael Whelan, Des McInerney, Orla Coffey
Doreen Duffy, Tanya Farrelly, Susan Condon

SDCC Bealtaine Short Story Competition
SDCC County Hall
28 May 2010:

Susan Condon, Mayor Michael Duff
1st Prize
SDCC Bealtaine Short Story Competition, 2010
Susan Condon, Mayor of South Dublin County Mick Duff

City of Dublin VEC Creative Writing Competition
Teachers’ Club, Parnell Square
29 April 2010:

John MacKenna, Susan Condon - 1st Prize - City of Dublin VEC Short Story Competition, 2010
1st Prize
City of Dublin VEC Short Story Competition, 2010
John McKenna, Susan Condon

John McKenna, Susan Condon - 3rd Prize - City of Dublin VEC Poetry Competition, 2010
3rd Prize
City of Dublin VEC Poetry Competition, 2010
John McKenna, Susan Condon

Out and About at Writing Events:

Susan Condon, Mick Halpin, Nell McCafferty, Louise Phillips, Liam Flood
Susan Condon, Mick Halpin, Nell McCafferty,
Louise Phillips, Liam Flood
After Inspiring Crime Writers
Dublin Book Festival
The Porterhouse, Temple Bar (15 November 2012)

Louise Phillips - Red Ribbons Launch
Louise Phillips
Launch of Red Ribbons by Louise Phillips
Hughes & Hughes Bookshop (5 September 2012)
Photo by Ger at Taken by Titch

Susan Condon, Arlene Hunt, Louise Phillips
Susan Condon, Arlene Hunt, Louise Phillips
Launch of The Wrath of Angels by John Connolly
The Gutter Bookshop (31 August 2012)

Jillian Godsill, Valerie Healy, Michelle Jackson
Jillian Godsill, Valerie Healy, Michelle Jackson
Launch of The Terrace by Maria Duffy
The Clarion Hotel (2012)

Jane Travers, Susan Condon, Derek Flynn
Jane Travers, Susan Condon, Derek Flynn
Launch of The Scarlet Ribbon by Derry O’Dowd
Hodges Figgis Bookstore (10 February 2012)

Susan Condon, Joseph O'Connor
Susan Condon, Joseph O’Connor
A private Reading of Ghost Light by Joseph O’Connor
at the home of Orla Coffey (13 April 2011)

Melissa Hill, Susan Condon
Melissa Hill, Susan Condon
Irish Women’s Fiction
Eason, O’Connell Street, Dublin (31 March 2011)

Dundrum Irish Crime Fiction Writers
Mick Halpin, Ann Usack, Patrick Fay,
Brian Roche, Laurence O’Bryan, Louise Phillips
Dundrum Irish Crime Fiction Writers
(only some of them and taken by me!)

The Written Word

Little did I know, as I walked into Eileen Casey’s Creative Writing class in September 2008, the world it would open – the Narnia of my childhood resurrected . . .

From the age of seven I’ve always been an avid reader.  Then, the libraries of my home and my grandmother’s, from North and South of the Liffey, were scavenged to reap the finest rewards.  The little bookcase above my bed, filled to capacity with birthday and Christmas presents, mainly Enid Blyton, in those early days.  Now, a bookcase in the family room sits three-deep along with an eReader I swore I would never buy.

I love books too much, I thought, but, it appears, I love the written word, in any shape or form, even more! 

I’d be very interested in your feelings on the eReader versus the book – if you have the time to comment . . .

I would be lying if I did not admit to missing the look, the feel and the smell of a book with my eReader, but, on the other hand, I can read six books while on holidays without having to extract a couple of pairs of shoes from my luggage to squeeze them in!  I can pick up the classics for free and borrow from the local library without leaving my house – and without incurring a fine when I fail to bring books back on time – they just magically return to the virtual world of the library, ready-and-waiting for their next reader.

And if I thought I’d captured the written word in all of its entirety I was wrong!

Hearing the written word, read aloud, preferably by its writer, really brings the world their words create to life.

I had the pleasure of being one of the many writers involved with the Tallaght Library Readings, facilitated by Eileen Casey, which ran from Monday, 5 December to Monday 19 December.

With Readings of poetry and prose from so many diverse writers; David Mohan, Louise Phillips, Brian Kirk, Mary Guckian, Mervyn Ennis, Doreen Duffy, Michael Whelan, Kate Dempsey and Eileen Casey herself, it was always going to be a success.  The fact that The Echo is currently profiling each of these writers has made it even more special; you can find out more about each writer and read a little of their work here.

I wish you a Merry Christmas and hope you have an opportunity to take a break, in this madly busy season, to enjoy WORDS, in every shape and form . . .

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