“When birds do sing … “ – Mongoose live

MongooseTripping in like troubadours from some far Faerie galaxy, Mongoose hit the stage amid a barrage of rapid-fire ripostes, disarming any of the audience not yet acquainted with them, and charming those who are: glorious.

Firstly, there was that promising stage … not everyday does one see instruments such as a cello and a double bass nestling cheekily among the requisite guitars and keyboard. There’s even a mysterious blue casket thing that I later interpret as some kind of post-modern glockenspiel.   (more…)

Birthday Wishes to Val Mulkerns

Birthday wishes to author Val Mulkerns – my favourite Irish lady of twentieth century letters, 90 years today:  pictured here last week, on a morning walk near her home.  Starting out in the literary world as Associate Editor working with Seán O’Faoláin in The Bell, she has published five novels, three collections of short stories, two children’s books and many published essays and critical writings. The third edition of Val’s 1984 novel The Summerhouse was published last year, and a new edition of her 1986 novel, Very Like A Whale follows this Spring.   For more see: www.valmulkerns.com

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The discrete charm of a new hotel room

Farm-Window-WEB

New Hotel room: The Farmer’s Kitchen, Wexford

What is it about opening the door to a hotel room, modest or five star, that inevitably inspires a mild rush of  joy? Last night, opening Room 22 at The Farmer’s Kitchen in Wexford, I closed the door behind me, set about settling in and enjoyed the whole one-night stay unreservedly.

Having had a job for many years where long-distance travel was a monthly if not weekly occurrence, I never tired of booking in to a hotel room, in whatever city – placing bags in wardrobes, moving the furniture around (!) so I had somewhere comfortable to put my computer and then settling in.

Hotel Room, Zanzibar

Hotel Room, Zanzibar

It’s got something to do, I think, with the fact that for 20 hours, or even 10, you have a new start – a new home where  you and your space are fresh and anonymous and full of promise.

And it makes no difference, for someone who travels frequently, anyway, that there isn’t a pool or gym or a dimly-lit spa somewhere around the building – sometimes the nicest places are just clean, pleasantly lit rooms that contain the essentials:  soft white towels, crisp sheets, a desk, broadband and preferably – of course, a window with a view. (more…)