The Ballad of Dollar Bay

As promised, here are some images to accompany the next poem to be posted.  The old boat returning to nature is known locally as the Saltmills boat, her last voyage was to that stretch of the Wexford coast and now she slowly becomes part of the shingle, eventually to be some flotsam and jetsam, perhaps a few rusted bolts and nails among storm tossed seaweed, bleaching in the summer sun. I’ve been watching her slow decay for many years now. Leaning on the parapet of an old bridge, hundreds of years old, while musing upon the shifting sands of an estuary can be soothing, meditation in it’s way.

The rigging you can see is part of the mainmast of a Famine -era sailing ship, “The Dunbrody”, moored in New Ross.  The poem I will be uploading to accompany these pictures is about a ship from that era, “The Earl of Sandwich.” There is, to my eye, something stirring about the majestic sailing ships. It is to be heard in the lovely poem “Sea Fever” by John Masefield.

“I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky.

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;

And the wheels kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking

And  agree mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.”


More to follow!!!

Galloping Children

Galloping children

The ageing grey tenement released

it’s children on a fine day; bright, clear skies

and gentle breezes, one of those perfect days

in childhood, often recalled in fond

memories.  A white van pulled up and

my father and uncle, finished their

workday early for once, simply scooped

up all who played on the street, bundled

them in the back where they bounced around

happy in the mystery of where they

might land.  When their drive was done, released

once more, they looked around, wide eyed.

A stream rushed and tumbled over great

granite rocks while Scots pines soared so tall

and proud.  Specks of white fluff moved slowly

across the green heights of the hills above.

“They’re sheep,” my father explained before

turning to his brother, adding, “children

need a gallop every now and then.”


The sound of one hand skipping

The sound of one hand skipping

Out I went because I wanted to play

with a hop, skip, jump and a one, two, three,

they said half-an-hour is all I could stay

even when there’s no-one else, just me.

Johnny at his window looks sad today

he can’t come out because it’s my turn here.

Mary’s mother just shoo’ed me away,

think she was afraid I’d come too near.

Flapping his wings landed a big black crow

I asked out loud “would you like to play?”

He looked at me, and wouldn’t you know

he said nothing at all then flew away.

In the garden shed where they keep the tools

I found some old rope no-one else wanted,

They taught a rhyme before closing our schools

so, I skipped and out loud I chanted –

don’t forget coughs and sneezes spread diseases

always remember you cover your mouth,

don’t touch your face, sneeze into your elbow

all because coughs and sneezes spread diseases

and that’s how we’ll make this old virus go.

A wonderful evening at the Old Forge on The New Line Road, County Wexford. People gather and share music, tales, poetry, tea, coffee and sandwiches. I hope to post some video from this shortly so keep an eye out. Also, St Brigid’s Day, 1st February, is nigh. That is the first day of Spring by Irish reckoning and is the date of the Ancient Celtic Festival of Imbolc. I will have special work posted for that day. Looking forward to a good years blogging in 2018.

Old Scars

Old scars

Dead men tell no tales

but old scars do.

Each one begins in violence

then settles over time

into another forgotten one.

Scattered around out of sight

some of them, others not

really invisible, more

likely so familiar

as to be unnoticed,

almost unseen.


There are times when some flare

to life.  Time heals

it is true, but

changing times, if for the worse,

can revive old weals,

as arthritis in bad weather

becomes again a curse.


I hear that old crackling creak

getting to my feet, finding the remote,

switching off the sound

of an election debate,

silencing those damned old scars

never quite gone away for good,

once and for all.


Here be whales

It’s not often you get a chance to get so close to whales, dolphins or even seals in their natural habitats.  Depending on where you live it could be the result of a once-in-a-lifetime experience, or something completely unexpected.

For others it could be relatively common, something almost unnoticed.  I posted a poem, “The Tholsel, Kilkenny”, here on that very topic, one person’s exotic being another’s normal.

This was my response to a painting by Paul Henry RHA of the ancient Toll House (Tholsel) in my native Kilkenny City, Ireland.  The first time I saw this I was astonished that a sight as familiar to me as a wristwatch could be seen and painted in such a beautiful way by someone from elsewhere.  The poem includes the couplet

So my familiar seems exotic to you,

as my exotic is your familiar too

Perhaps this is an uncommon call to be prepared for astonishment in a wonderful world.


Searching for ‘whale watching tours’ will direct you to various scattered locations such as Alaska, California, Boston, Hawaii.  Perhaps other evocative names appeal to you?  How about Madagascar, Newfoundland, Vancouver Madagascar?  Ireland will be familiar to some, distant and imagined to others.


Walk down the street where I live and you will come to a busy fishing harbour.  Trawlers come and go, fish are offloaded and truck heavily-laden pass through the village carrying the haul to the next destination.  Two piers make up the harbour.  The outer one is larger and is built in deeper water.  The inner pier creates a small harbour generally used by the smaller craft, including charter boats.

‘The Rebecca C’ is a catamaran which is moored in our inner harbour when it is not at sea or berthed in similar ports along the coast.  She has a yellow hull, white deck and cabin and is skippered by Martin Colfer. In season ‘The Rebecca C’ is chartered by angling groups who spend time at sea pursuing their passion.

There is another season in Martin’s work.  He is also a leading light in the Whale Watching World.  Nature enthusiasts, TV crews, photographers, both professional and amateur, pursue their prey with his help, out beyond the Hook Head Lighthouse.


January and February seem to be the best months to catch sight of the migrating whales.  Travelling out towards likely viewing sites you can often pass through large pods of dolphins or be watched by curious seals

One trip in 2016 brought us through a pod of dolphins so large we gave up trying to count beyond a hundred.  What was particularly touching that day was that they seemed to be clustered in family groups, trios mainly of mother, child and father.  Playful animals that they are it is easy watch them race the boat, chase each other towards or sometimes simply showing off.  We have even seen individual fish skimming along beside us, escaping from their pursuers.


Without a doubt the most memorable experience to date has been meeting a Humpback Whale in January 2017.  We were so close not only could we hear her breathing but even see the droplets of water falling from her body, her flukes, as she disappeared into her other home in the depths below.  Gone for now, out of sight, but lingering in our memory for a long time to come.


UCD Festival 2016

June 20th 2016 had a fascinating day wandering around the first UCD Festival with Catherine.  We toured the Veterinary Hospital, fascinating all the incredible technology used there.  I have often seen references to Dublin Zoo sending animals to UCD for examination and treatment, a truly marvellous facility.  In an agricultural country like ours such a research centre is obviously of great importance.


a return, 41 years laterThere was so much to do and see we couldn’t take in everything, sadly missing out on friends and family of the late, great, Maeve Binchy talking about the wonderful writer she was, next year perhaps.

Robert Grogan gave a mighty performance of an action packed fun-filled tour through James Joyce’s Ulysses.  Great show and can be seen all summer here -Strolling Through Ulysses! @ the Stag’s Head Parlour Lounge, Dame Court, D2

There was what one speaker called a “poet rich audience!” (wonderful phrase) for the poetry and song gathering.  As part of that event they invited poets to handwrite and sign a poem of theirs to add to the Poetry Wall.  It was without doubt an inspiring event and one I will definitely list again next year, as the UCD motto has it, “ad astra”

This links with the poem I offered “Duncannon, a stranger called.


kevin at poetry wall


book cover

Pools of Light, poetry, prose and photography is now available on iTunes in an iBook version.  This is an enhanced edition which includes both video and audio.  The recordings of the poetry made at the Crossroads Studio, Kilkenny are included, just click and play.  Hope you enjoy this and spread the word widely. Thanks, Kevin.



the following is the relevant link

eBook available now

“Pools of Light”, my 2015 collection of poetry, prose and photography is available now for purchase online, in eBook format.  I know this will make it easier for readers across the globe to access and I look forward to hearing your comments.  My thanks to Diarmaid O’Riordan, who is responsible for all the technical magic behind this eBook.  Any mistakes are all my own responsibility, of course.

Don’t be shy about sharing this!

Saturdays Child is Loving and Giving

Minutes ago finished writing Children’s Novel or perhaps novel about children, we’ll see how it goes.  Have been working on this for a few months hence my absence from here.  Delighted to be thus far. Voluntary  readers most welcome.  Formatting for submissions happening now, by the way, any publishers out there interested, call, all contacts answered. I’ll keep y’all posted.last sentence kids novel.JPG

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