Whats App group for local dementia carers

dear friends,

i am starting a small whats app group for local dementia carers in north dublin

mainly howth, sutton, baldoyle, bayside, kilbarrack

other areas may have similar groups…….

(think Global, act Local!)

contact me at 0852548244 if you are interested

Migrating Minds 7

The new poetry anthology Migrating Minds 7 by the Bayside Writers Group and friends

will be launched on sunday May 28th, please God,

12.30pm in Bayside Community Centre

as part of the Bealtaine Festival

(Pentecost Sunday)

10 euro a copy

BIG thanks

Thanks to all who came to my 60th birthday party

or sent kind wishes

Thanks for the generous donations to Raheny Shamrocks athletics club also

God bless you all

See you for my 80th!

remembering joe kilkenny

Joe Kilkenny Remembered


Joe was a truly great character. I knew him through Antoinette Lawlor, his beloved late wife. I could never fathom Joe. He was deeply religious in a way but said he did not believe in Mass or God or at least he said we can’t understand these things. Yet he went to Mass and Communion. A complex soul. Antoinette was a real total saint so I am sure she brought him home safely to heaven. Joe always insisted that heaven was now. He is right now.

Joe was an architect and very proud of the work he had done. He was an extremely private man and managed to stay out of a nursing home even though his home situation was dire. He had fallen several times but stayed at home with help of carers even though he was in bits really due to broken bones. The red wine was his main pain killer. He had a lot of pain. Arthritis.

Many a glass we shared over many a lunch.

There was a lovely silence about his house and grounds. A certain deep holiness. He was austere in a way and held high standards. I held him in reverence. As I held Antoinette’s father, Tony, also. I am sorry i did not visit him more. He was always welcoming yet always distant. His was a very private universe. I think he liked me. I liked him. He was well matched to Antoinette. He always spoke very lovingly of her. I liked his honesty which was searing. He did not suffer fools but was a very kind man. Full of dignity and integrity.

He liked sailing and knew my Uncle Sean. When Antoinette died, Joe became friendly with Elva, a lovely neighbour. I knew him through Joe Kelly also and Brenda Kennedy.

remembering sean russell

Sean Russell – Rest in Peace

Sean, to me, was always a living surprise. He was different. Original. Prophetic, if reluctantly so. An extremely interesting man. He thought. He really did think hard.

And he tried a lot to pray. It was a desert for him.

He really wanted to believe.

Our great mutual friend, John Collins, when asked was whether he was called after St. John the Baptist or St. John the evangelist, replied “ Ah no. John of God!”

Sean had a lot of St. John of the Cross in him. He stared hard into the dark chasms of lonely doubt and wondered. And gazed.

His God was kind. He just could not believe in hell but he recognised the reality of human and natural evil.

Reality with a capital R. “THE ICY HAND” as he called it.

Job of the bible was like a brother to him. I liked him a lot.

He loved to debate and was very well-read to the point of arrogance. He suffered immensely in his sensitive mind because of his need to be genuine. That is what being a character means, in my book. He was extreme in his strong need to be true to himself. He wanted to be understood.

He loved good music and detested bad music. He loved humanity deeply and compassionately. Though he could not stand me. He tried to help the broken who called on him. He was hospitable to outcasts. Even very, very difficult people.

He passionately despised the wholesale corruption of youth by greed and impurity and deceit. He felt keenly the pain of suicide and that is what he feared most in his lifelong battle with severe depression. This constant blackness honed his spirit and intellect to the barest bone.

His contentment was very bleak. How could he let himself be happy in such a miserable world? He campaigned against torture

Still, he opened his heart to new friends and glimpses of pleasantness. He made a great stew. He loved boogey- woogey.

Mysteriously, he was, despite appearances, exceptionally sane and gently humourous. He kept in touch with reality in its darker aspects. And smiled knowingly. This can be one good source of healing. And do we not all need inner healing?

remembering john collins


(John Collins – Rest in Peace)

John liked to use the royal ‘We’.

His was a noble line, without doubt.

He spoke often of his beloved mother, Imelda, and father, Paddy.

He was a twin. His sister Mary and he were always very close.

The whole family were very close. Deeply affectionate.

His dog Jesse slept at the foot of the bed.

The priest in confession in Medugorje once asked John to write out five good points about himself. He could not do this penance because he could not think of any good points in himself.

Kindness, generosity, self-acceptance, good humour and good Faith.

He was close to Jesus, the Sacred Heart.

He loved the Rosary and Our Lady. This grew on him towards the end.

Once when he was chairing an AA meeting in St. Ita’s hospital, (his second home), he caused uproar by pointing to the Sacred Heart on his Pioneer pin and proclaiming strongly:

“That is your Higher Power. Your only Man”.

(It is not a ‘religious’ program, you see)

Jesus was his life from a young age.

In school, he was only good at art and religious knowledge.

I am biased, of course, but I think he was specially gifted in both things.

He was also a bit of a seanachai. Entertaining his visitors in No.6, St. Mary’s place constantly with stories of his life rehashed endlessly with hilarious and ingenious slants. Tragedy and comedy are close.

John chose to live in joy. He chose to smile.

How he tried to give up smoking.

Don Devaney found him trying to smoke a tin of deodorant once

in the early morning in his room in Medugorje having packed the smokes in yet again. He was never far from oblivion.

He was a deeply wounded healer. Suffering intensely with his nerves.

Able to listen. Willing to listen. Absorbing grief and laughing it off

with a little help from the music of Burl Ives and Tina Turner

“A little bitty tear let me down” but

“Big wheels keep on turning, proud Mary keeps on burning….”

 Ar dheis De go raibh a hanam.

Remembering Dolores Farrell

Dolores Farrell- a personal appreciation

Dolores’ qualities which struck me were her compassion, wisdom, gentleness and joyful Faith. She was a very plucky, determined lady. She had a will of her own. Firm in her beliefs. Clear about them. Forthright. And she was invariably positive and encouraging.

From her own real-life experience, she realised the importance of good human formation. Of our humanness. As Fr. Andre Rochais, Founder of PRH education calls it: ‘our humanizing’. She had a lovely sense of humour. Very discreet and sensitive.

I first met her in Bayside, Dublin, in 1988, at her first Irish PRH education workshop, ‘Who am I?’ She helped to foster my own personal growth. Slowly but surely. To learn the humbling necessity of self-appreciation. Building on the inner ground of our personality.

Recognising essential qualities of my being. Rejoicing in the goodness.

Determination to progress. Fortitude in face of obstacles.

Taste for truth. Happy humility. Inner honesty. Straight talking.

Docility to the voice of the Spirit and our deep conscience within.

I remember her starting out from a basement Sandymount flat in the early ‘90s. Her courage in the early days. Her hope. Despite illness.

Many chest infections. Learned to cope with weakness and fatigue.

Taking the mortgage on the house in Clondalkin. Stepping out in trust.

Giving up teaching in school. Her patience with the gradual process of self-discovery. Waiting through setbacks and false starts.

Essential courses of action  and essential  bonds of being.

Relationships that count. Above all having confidence.

I only discovered recently, through Kathleen, that Dolores had been a Mercy sister. Her name in religion was Sr. Celine, after the beloved sister of St. Therese, the little flower. Their common emphasis was on genuine interiority (simplicity) of Faith and devotion. No need for many words. Or signs. The heart contains all. An art of the Heart, as it were.

We can surely pray to Dolores. She never offended anyone, it seems. She was, in manners, a perfect lady. Her inner harmony radiated.

She listened with deep compassion and understood. She was very determined and confident in her own gift and mission.

Let us be confident in our gifts too and try our best to complete what God asks of us as Dolores, my friend, did so well.

She loved and cared for her own mother, Angela, despite difficulties. She stood by me too like Mary, Mother of Dolours, Dolores namesake, who also shares all our feelings with much affection. And a smile.