Thursday Doors

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Thursday Doors comes from the Davenport Hotel in Dublin City this week, a former 17th century prayer hall, where I attended a conference co-hosted by Amazon KDP and Writing.ie. I was going to watch the day-long self-publishing event online, as all of the tickets sold out within 48 hours of being released, but I got an email from Amazon KDP asking me if I was going. They said they were hoping to meet me there. I explained about not having a ticket but they said they would put myself and Mr. R. on their guest list. I’ve never been on anyone’s guest list (apart from weddings) so how could I refuse?

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The inside is as elegant as the outside

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The program began at 9 am and ended at 5 pm with a break for lunch. The morning’s panel of guest speakers were interviewed by Rick O’Shea, broadcaster on national radio and host of The Poetry Programme, and Vanessa O’Loughlin of Writing.ie. The afternoon’s participants were interviewed by Darren Hardy, Head of Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing Programme in the UK. The event was live-streamed to libraries nationwide for the benefit of anyone who might be in a poor quality broadband area.

Here’s me, welcoming everyone to the event. Err…. no. That’s me anticipating a nice lunch at the pub across the road. See that hungry smile on my face?

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Kennedy’s Bar and Restaurant is steeped in history, has an old world setting and more importantly for me at the time (my stomach was growling at me, after all) the food is delicious. It was also a very apt place to have our lunch, considering we were attending a self-publishing event.

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This lovely old premises has been a favourite watering hole in Dublin since it’s establishment in 1850 and is steeped in literary tradition. In the past, while the back of the premises served alcohol, the front part of the pub operated as a grocer’s shop where young Oscar Wilde earned a few bob every Saturday afternoon, stacking the shelves. As he lived in the neighbourhood, not only did Oscar earn a few shillings from Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy but he also spent a few in there, too, musing over a bottle of Stout. Apart from its most famous employee, Kennedy’s has also enjoyed the custom of Samuel Beckett and James Joyce, during their formative years.

After a wonderful lunch, we made our way back to the Davenport to hear the afternoon’s sessions.

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Louise Ross, an independently published author, has been able to reach more than half a million people around the world in less than two years, through four consecutive bestsellers on Amazon KDP. Another panelist, Mark Dawson, recently announced that he has seen more than one million downloads of his work. Once you are happy with your book and its quality, publishing on KDP takes less than five minutes and the book appears on Kindle stores worldwide within 24-48 hours. Kelly Butler, a Technical Account Manager at Amazon UK, answered questions from the audience on formatting, which I found extremely enlightening.

At the end of the day, Lizzy and John from KDP asked me if I would like to be interviewed for an article in the Irish Times about my experience as a self-published author. Of course, I was delighted and it made the day even more special for me. If you are already  writing, or aspiring to, you will enjoy this video of the conference.

I hope you found this week’s Thursday Doors helpful if you are considering self-publishing. There are more doors and interesting posts waiting to be discovered on Norm’s Blog. Scroll down to the end of his post and you find a ‘blue frog’ link to click.

 

 

 

Posted in authors, book publishing., emerging authors, food, Historical buildings, Ireland, Thursday Doors, Writers Resource, writing tips | Tagged , , , , , , | 40 Comments

Thursday Doors

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This is more of an entrance than a door, to kick off this week’s Thursday Doors. The English Market in Cork city is where Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip dropped in to buy buy some sausages for their Saturday morning fry-up in May 2011, on the final day of the Queen’s State Visit to Ireland. Well, they didn’t exactly pay for them, as they were presented with a hamper packed with twenty different Irish artisan food products on offer at the various stalls. There are two entrances on different streets that lead into the covered market and it’s a hive of activity every day of the week. Here is the website description:

‘Small stalls sit alongside larger businesses. Fledgling traders beside long-established family businesses passed down from one generation to the next. Meats and fish, herbs and spices, fruit and vegetables, sauces and oils, chocolates and cakes, cheeses and pastas – the Market caters for all culinary tastes and all eating occasions. You’ll also find crockery, t-shirts, novelty items, clothes alterations and art – an eclectic mix itself creating a diversity of customers, adding further to the unique atmosphere of the English Market. Having experienced the sights, sounds and smells of the Market, customers can unwind and sample it’s tastes and enjoy the banter from the various café’s, deli’s and food plates from the atypical stalls.’  (1)

The ‘English Market’ was created in 1788 by the English (Protestant) corporation that controlled the city until 1841. The reformation of local government in 1840 saw the representatives of the majority Irish (Catholic) community establish an alternative indoor market, which became known as the ‘Irish Market’ differentiating it from its older counterpart.

The story of the English Market reflects the political, cultural and dietary history of the people of Cork over a span of two centuries. The changing tastes of the city has always been catered to but old Irish food traditions still remain. Alongside Spanish olives, Italian bread and French cheese you will also find the old working class Irish food staples like, tripe, drisheen, crubeens and salted ling. If you’re vegetarian, I’ll spare you the details. Let’s just say they are all much cheaper forms of protein than your average steak.

After watching this video by Partnership International you will see why I love to visit the English Market any time I’m in the city. It will also make you hungry – sorry.


Thanks for stopping by this week and if you would like to see more doors (or entrances, or even gates) from around the world, have a look at Norm’s blog.

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Swans On Anti-Depressants After Viewing Episodes Of EastEnders Through Flooded Derrytresk Man’s Window

Take note, all you Eastenders fans…

Tyrone Tribulations

682507383_4dd5c0fd4c_bA leading swan psychologist at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has confirmed he had to prescribe anti-depressants to a flock of swans who watched thirty-three episodes of EastEnders through the window of a house which had unfortunately witnessed high levels of flooding around it.

The swans, which were displaying heightened levels of agitated and violent behaviour towards their immediate families after viewing the programme, were said to be addicted to the goings-on in and around Albert Square and began impatiently pecking at the Derrytresk man’s window from sunrise, forcing Mr Quinn to stick on pre-recorded episodes of the English soap opera.

Professor Gilbery Mollyed explained:

“Because of the high levels of flooding, the swans were able to comfortably view what Dot Cotton and Phil Mitchell were up to on the fictional London community, through Mr Quinn’s good room window. However, the pessimisitc plotlines appear…

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Thursday Doors

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There’s a flavour of New England with my Thursday Doors post this week – but from Ireland. This is the only shot I managed to get of an unusual group of houses, as we drove past on a bus tour of  Cork city. I have to say, I’m getting better at these ‘drive-by’ shots as this one is surprisingly clear.

The six houses, set in private grounds, have attics, half-basements, dormer windows, open porches and timber conservatories to the side. They were built by the Buckley family of Donoughmore in 1935 and are a wonderful example of the American Colonial Revival architecture of New England. The houses are not identical to ensure a degree of variety, but they blend together very well, forming a pleasant and architecturally interesting enclave.

A large amount of the building materials was imported from America such as, brass and bronze door fittings from New York and American oak and pine timber. The houses were fitted with modern conveniences such as hot and cold indoor plumbing, central heating and even en-suite bathrooms, which were pretty much unheard of in the city in 1935. It took several years before all six houses were sold, possibly due to the £4,000 price tag (about £313,000 in today’s money).

If you would like to see some more images of these lovely old houses follow this link; American Houses, Cork.

And for a selection of international Thursday Doors, have a look at Norm’s blog.

Posted in Historical buildings, Ireland, Thursday Doors, Travel | Tagged , , | 34 Comments

Leonard Cohen – Musician and Poet

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Leonard Cohen 1934-2016

I have known Leonard Cohen’s music and poetry for over forty years, from my teens right into my fifties. I never did get to see him perform live at any of the venues he played on his visits to Ireland but last year made a promise to myself, should he play here again I would be there. That’s not going to happen now but his music and lyrics will always be with me.

On September 11 and 12, 2013, at the O2 music venue in Dublin, Leonard Cohen ran onto the stage with more energy than your average 79 year old, performing some of his best numbers, from Dance Me to the End of Love to Closing Time, for almost four hours each night. Accompanied by the Webb sisters, who also played guitar and harp, the gravelly voice of Leonard Cohen was as good as ever.

The man whose lyrics are soul searching was first recorded reading eight of his poems in 1957 by Folkways Records, when they produced the album, Six Montreal Poets. He used to say that he turned to music because he knew he couldn’t make a living as a poet. More than 50 movies list Cohen’s music on their soundtracks, with the song Bird on the Wire, being played in the film of the same name, starring Mel Gibson and Goldie Hawn. Thousands of cover versions have been made of his songs.

In his book, Flowers for Hitler, published in 1964, Leonard Cohen’s poetry changed from his early romantic style to the typical, bitter-sweet writing we see in many of his lyrics today. He was deeply affected by the Holocaust and this was a big influence on the direction he took with his poetry. His novel, Beautiful Losers, published in 1966, is full of Leonard Cohen’s obsessions along with his uncanny sense of the absurd. History, politics, religion and sex, feature in this work of radical fiction. It’s a book full of loss and the dynamics of relationships.

Leonard was a man of great integrity. For instance, during his UK and North American tours in the early years of the 70’s, Cohen and his band performed in various mental hospitals. These were private concerts for the patients and were never used for self-promotion.

Marianne Ihlen, the inspiration behind ‘So Long Marianne‘ and ‘Bird on the Wire‘ received a very prophetic letter from Leonard Cohen on her deathbed a little over three months ago. In it he said; ‘Well, Marianne, it’s come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine. . . . . . . But now, I just want to wish you a very good journey.’

A favourite song on his tours, Dance Me to the End of Love, originally released in 1984, was partly influenced by the Nazi death camps, where musicians were forced to play in string quartets while their fellow prisoners were being annihilated. The reason I chose this song to include in this post is because it is not just about death, but love and life and companionship. I’ve been with my husband for as long as I’ve known Leonard Cohen’s music and now that we are heading into our retirement years, the words and lyrics mean so much more to me than they did thirty years ago. I think this is the original Sony video released with the song in 1984. It brought tears to my eyes today.

Rest in peace, Mr. Cohen, you will live on in our hearts.

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Thursday Doors

This week’s Thursday Doors post is made up of photographs taken from the car as we made our way through Dublin City, so please excuse the quality.

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The Dominican Priory of St. Saviour’s in Dublin was first founded in 1224 on the site today occupied by the Four Courts (Ireland’s main courts building). The present church was designed by J.J. McCarthy and opened in 1862.

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Below is a less fortunate door belonging to this sad little building. There are so many old properties in the city that unless it has significant historical connections, I doubt it will be preserved.

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One house that is sure to be kept in good condition is the three story red-brick across the James Joyce Bridge in the image below. You can just about see the door in its arched entrance (my next shot was taken a lot closer but the car swung right and the image was blurred, sorry). Not to worry, the video I’ve posted will give you an even better view of the the house, including the inside.

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The James Joyce ‘House of the Dead’ at 15 Usher’s Island, Dublin City, was the setting of Joyce’s famous  16,000 word short story The Dead (made into a movie in 1997 by John Huston). It’s the last story in Joyce’s book  Dubliners He was a regular visitor there in the 1890’s as it was the home of his great-aunts. They were his inspiration for The Dead’s music-teaching Morkan sisters. Many of his childhood Christmases were spent there. The building officially dates from 1760 but the foundations are a lot older.

In this video, Brendan Kilty, storyteller and owner of the property, gives a fascinating account of the history of the building, which has roundabout connections to the Duke of Wellington and even Australia’s famous Irish outlaw, Ned Kelly.

On this day, November 10th 1926, James Joyce received news about the suicide of his brother-in-law, Frantisek Schaurek. Apparently, Frantisek had been embezzling money from the bank where he worked as a cashier. He met Eileen Joyce while taking English lessons from her brother, James, and they married in Trieste in 1915, where they set up home and went on to have three children.

Eileen was in Dublin at the time of her husband’s death and James Joyce couldn’t bring himself to give such bad news to his sister, when she paid him a visit in Paris on her way back to Trieste. By the time she arrived home, Frantisek had already been buried but as she hadn’t seen his body, Eileen refused to believe he was dead. His corpse was exhumed in order to convince her and she collapsed. She remained in Trieste, living with her brother Stanislaus Joyce, eventually moving to Ireland with her children in March 1928.

I hope you enjoyed this Thursday Doors post. Thanks for stopping by. You’ll find some more doors from around the world on Norm’s blog when you hit the blue link at the end of his post.

Posted in authors, books, Historical buildings, Ireland, short stories, Thursday Doors | Tagged , , , , | 25 Comments

Independent motion – can you help?

What a remarkable young man and such an inspiration.

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

What would you give to make a dream come true if you woke to find yourself living a nightmare?

What would you feel if you could never again walk on a beach? Or go out alone in the snow…feel the stillness of a wood or cross a field?

And then, you found a way…

In 2009, my son was a successful young man with a bright future… until he was stabbed through the brain in an unprovoked attack and left for dead in an alley.

He was found almost immediately by passers-by who saved his life. By the time we arrived at the hospital, Nick was being prepared for emergency brain surgery. We were allowed to see him, for a few minutes, to say goodbye. He was not expected to survive…


Over the past couple of years, many in the blogging community have come to know my son and know…

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Thursday Doors

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For a change, I’m on the inside of my Thursday Doors this week. McCarthy’s Bar is part of the  Old Imperial Hotel, one of the oldest accommodation establishments in the historic town of Youghal, County Cork. The hotel was built in the 18th Century and was used as a stage coach stop on one of the Bianconi lines.

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Carlo Bianconi was born in Tregolo, near Como in Italy, on September 24th. 1786. He was a wild youth, not very scholarly, so his father paid for him to be sent on an eighteen month apprenticeship to the art dealer Andrea Faroni. In 1801, along with three other young apprentices, Faroni and Bianconi crossed the French  Alps and traversed  France on foot, eventually arriving in Dublin in 1802. They were fortunate that their long journey was not in vain, as a fear of continental invasion, at the time, caused the British government to increase restrictions on the admission of foreigners.

They set up shop near what is now the Temple Bar area of Dublin and sixteen year old Bianconi continued to serve his apprenticeship as a street picture-seller. Every Monday his employer, Faroni, would send Carlo down south into rural Ireland with just four pence in his pocket, to cover his expenses until his return on Saturday. We know from the records that he was arrested in Passage East, Co Waterford and held in jail overnight, for selling pictures of Napoleon Bonaparte, Britain’s number one enemy at the time.

Carlo anglicized his name to Charles and in 1804, on the termination of his eighteen month apprenticeship, he decided not to return home but took to the road selling pictures and frames for himself, carrying his wares in a large box, strapped to his shoulders. He eventually settled in Tipperary, serving twice as mayor of Clonmel. He was a very enterprising man and became famous for his innovations in transport.

Bianconi was the founder of public transportation in Ireland, at a time preceding railways, and established regular horse-drawn carriage services on various routes from about 1815 onward. These were known as Bianconi Coaches and the first service, Clonmel to Cahir, took five to eight hours by boat but only two hours by Bianconi’s carriage. Travel on a Bian, as they were called, cost a penny farthing a mile and over the next 30 years a huge network  of transport and communications was established, with Clonmel, Co Tipperary as its hub. In 1833 the Long Car went into production from Bianconi’s coach building premises in Clonmel, enabling him to carry up to twenty passengers, along with cargo and mail deliveries for both  British and Irish Post Offices.

With the advent of railway in 1834 Bianconi realized that his coaching business had a limited future. He immediately began to buy shares in the different rail lines as they were being built and began selling off his coaches and long carts to his employees.

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Inside McCarthy’s the doorway leading you from the bar to the bistro, with its traditional stained glass screens, is the original and about 200 years old. Bianconi himself might even have walked through them.

 

 

You can see the reflection of the entrance doors in the mirror over a beautiful old cast iron fireplace, which is lit every day in cold weather. I just love those tiles, too.

The wooden ceilings are gorgeous and the old tiled floor is just beautiful. In fact, I love everything about this place, especially the food. We had a full Irish breakfast after taking a long brisk walk on the beach.

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Thanks for stopping by to view my Thursday Doors this week, I hope that last image hasn’t left your mouth watering too much. There are lots more doors in various locations to see on Norm’s blog by clicking the blue ‘frog’ link at the end of his post. Feel free to add some doors of your own, anytime from Thursday to Saturday each week.

The Old Imperial Hotel

Charles Bianconi and the Transport Revolution

Posted in Historical buildings, History, Ireland, The Good Things in Life, Thursday Doors, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Sheelah Moloney 2020 Art Gallery

I just love this………..

‘Tryst’ by Jenny Monks 8th of October to 18th November 2016 at the 2020 Art Gallery Cork

Source: Sheelah Moloney 2020 Art Gallery

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Histories in the Making – with David Lawlor

Great idea for those who want to bring their family history to life.

A Writer of History

historiesinthemakingWouldn’t you love to have a view of history personalized to your family? Well, listen up. Journalist, author and blogger David Lawlor talks about his new venture – bringing family history to life – and where the idea came from. Thanks for being here, David.

Histories in the Making – by David Lawlor

There are two routes I used to take to my office when I left the train station to go to work. They both passed a large 18th century building of Palladian, neoclassical design, which I used to admire as a child, long before I knew of its connection to my own family.

Now, as I pass it by, I study its pillars and façade for signs of bullet holes and shrapnel scars, and I imagine the men who died there.

I can almost hear the crack of gunfire, the screams of anger, pain, defiance, and the…

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