Friday, June 25, 2010

"Don't Pick Those Blackberries!" by Victor Sullivan

"Don't Pick Those Blackberries!"

© Victor Sullivan 4 May, 2010

The long Summer holidays were drawing to a close. In a few

days I would be leaving my Grandmother's farm near Castletown Bere in West Cork, to return to school. It must have been 1946 or 1947— which ever was the great year for blackberries.

Blackberries were rampant on every wall, fence and hedge, great big, juicy, fat ones and my face was permanently purple from ear to ear from eating them.

"Here boy!" called my Grandmother from the kitchen door.

"Yes Granny?"

"How about filling this with blackberries instead of yourself? That way we'll all have another blackberry and apple pie on the table."

"Yes Granny!" (My Granny's blackberry and apple pie was an experience not to be missed, even if we had only just finished the previous one).

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Boots by Marie Guillot

The essay below is an adapted excerpt from the book “Friends and Friendibility” (2009, Bad Kitty). Text and illustration by Marie Guillot. © Marie Guillot


Working on farms to assist local vets, I decide to treat myself with a professional pair of rubber boots, otherwise called wellies. These wellies are to be used under adverse conditions: water, mud, muck, rocks, nails, animal kicks, or any combination of those.

At the local Coop Super Stores, I choose a box saying: PRESTIGE / Quality Wellingtons / Resistant to animal and mineral oils and fats, to acid and petrol. I try a pair, they fit perfectly. Back home, at the bottom of the box, I discover a little booklet called User’s Manual, in thirteen European languages.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Vocation by Greg Butler


© Greg Butler

BROTHER Vincent was feeling weary and discouraged. The monastery parlour was quiet, but inside his head the noisy voices were there again… voices of doubt and regret.

He thought about the last class that day. Maybe he’d over reacted. But Horgan was a stubborn boy, like his brother. His mother said there were problems with him at home. “Don’t spare the rod,” she sanctioned.

Brother Vincent was a big man with a formidable reputation. He got results. No one questioned his methods, least of all the parents.

He was a handsome fair-haired man, broad shouldered, and stood over six-foot tall. He moved quickly and elegantly round the classroom… with the leather strap tucked into the waistband of his black soutan- like a gunslinger- with the ever present threat that it might used to deadly effect.

His quiet voice and shy smile contrasted with his reputation. The boys knew him as Vincy. He called everybody John, sometimes with menace. When he said, in a low voice, “Out to the line- John,” the boys knew trouble was brewing.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

I am Ruth by Máirtin Ó Connallan

On a clear September day, a young Cork woman and her child left Logan airport in Massachusetts, and what happened 25 minutes later, embedded itself in the minds of the civilised world, and East and West minds tried to entangle the reason for such callous slaughter, some understanding exactly, others utterly incredulous.

It was 9/11 as we now know it, and for the family of that Cork woman an incredible series of events were to follow, only typifying what each family involved of the 2,973 people who died that day, must have gone through.

I knew that girl young and vibrant, I knew her brothers, I do not know their pain, all I can ask are questions about all of us, and the following are some of these.

© Máirtin Ó Connallan

I am Ruth

I am Ruth

Of Ireland

From a suburb

In Cork

I am Ruth

Of Palestine

From an enclave

Among refugees

I am Ruth of Afghanistan

Near Kabul

I am Ruth of France

Saint Etienne

Mon Village