Waiting for Gavin

By Francine Cunningham Foxgloves, which used to grow wild in the shaded orchard behind my childhood home in County Tyrone, have always been a favourite flower. So, when we returned to Ireland after many years on the continent, I dreamed of a meadow-like garden full of native plants and humming with bees. It would beContinue reading “Waiting for Gavin”

A Fairytale of Wicklow

By Francine Cunningham Many of us dreamed of giving our house a complete makeover during lockdown.  I don’t know whether they wished upon a star, but for a few of my neighbours in County Wicklow, this dream has just come true. In the village of Greystones just south of Dublin, which we moved to sixContinue reading “A Fairytale of Wicklow”

A tale of tweets, trolls and true courage

By Francine Cunningham When I read the press announcement last week about the decision by the Sunday Independent to terminate the contract of polemical columnist Eoghan Harris, due to his involvement in at least one fake Twitter account, I knew it was only a matter of time before “Lady Macbeth” would be blamed. True toContinue reading “A tale of tweets, trolls and true courage”

[Dog] Shit Doesn’t Just Happen

By Francine Cunningham It might be called the perfect storm: an upsurge in people buying dogs to keep them company at a time of social distancing, combined with more people out walking and travel restrictions keeping them confined to built-up areas. A perfect shit storm. Walks around the pretty seaside town of Greystones, County Wicklow,Continue reading “[Dog] Shit Doesn’t Just Happen”

Separated at birth? A St Patrick’s Day nod to our continental cousins

By Francine Cunningham On 17th March every year,  it seems like everyone in the world can find some trace of Irish ancestry, at least enough to raise a glass or two in honour of St Patrick. Yet if the roles were reversed, which nationality would Irish people identify with the most?  Could it be theContinue reading “Separated at birth? A St Patrick’s Day nod to our continental cousins”

Sunday papers and windscreen wipers

By Francine Cunningham There is a strange Irish phenomenon that has only intensified in corona times. For some reason, Irish people like to drive to the coast, find a parking space just in front of the sea and…. sit in their cars. No, they don’t drive there to have a walk at the seaside. TheyContinue reading “Sunday papers and windscreen wipers”

Time to lighten up about Oirish accents

By Francine Cunningham C’mere till I tell ye. If there’s one thing that the Irish like more than giving out about the British claiming any of their own who becomes a star (note to all UK eds:  Saorise Ronan is not English), it’s getting all indignant about actors putting on phoney Oirish accents. So, everyoneContinue reading “Time to lighten up about Oirish accents”

Small town with a big name

By Francine Cunningham Something about those hollow eyes, the serious but suspicious gaze and that pallid skin, speaks to me across the generations. It’s a picture of my hometown of Strabane in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, taken after the flood of 1910. Look closely and you can see the boy’s jumper held together by aContinue reading “Small town with a big name”

Welcome to the neighbourhood(ie)

By Francine Cunningham Walk down any shopping street in Paris or Brussels and you will spot scores of women wearing the standard female uniform – a trench coat with a Longchamp bag slung over the shoulder or carried in the crook of the arm. Stroll through the streets of Dublin and you will see thisContinue reading “Welcome to the neighbourhood(ie)”