Poetry Decoupage: Breakfast at Dan’s

I’ve never been quite sure what to do with my poetry. I post it online, two or three people read it, then it fades into obscurity. Yet I always get very positive feedback, so it seemed a shame to not do more with what I write. I don’t feel a poetry collection is really the right way to bring poems into their own, they’re better displayed on a wall. It occurred to me to write them in calligraphy, but still it didn’t feel right. The idea then evolved to turn into making the poetry part of a work of art, but the problem is, I’m no fine artist. One day, I had the idea to use decoupage.

Here is a scan of the first canvas I made of one of my poems. It’s called Breakfast at Dan’s, and was written here:

…while I waited three hours for my kids to finish at summer camp in Carlingford, at the Adventure Centre just around the corner. I made it into this:

I am rather proud of myself.



Hooking in Strange Places: Slieve Foy (in a near gale)

Slieve Foy, or Carlingford Mountain, is not that impressive, as mountains go. It would be dwarfed by many peaks in mainland Europe, and sports no sheer cliffs to provide a nerve-twanging ascent by super-people hanging from one fingernail at a time. Instead, the slopes of the Cooley range Slieve Foy is part of tend to have relatively gentle gradients, the peaks rounded. You need no more than a few hours, walking boots and a bit of determination to scale it. Even so, it is not known as a popular destination for hookers, which made it the perfect destination for me.

I’d never walked up Slieve Foy before, and because I can get lost in my own bedroom, I thought it prudent to go with a guide. Husband Micky is not only a lifelong rock climbing enthusiast, he also does a lot of hillwalking. On an unusually pleasant winter day, we decided it would be fun to tackle the peak. I tucked a ball of red wool and the 3.5mm hook I always used into an outside pocket of his rucsack. Continue reading

Breakfast at Dan’s

They love it, love Mac Cumhaill’s face’s
craggy slopes, these pastel walls
and moss-blest grey slate roofs.

They love to nestle snug against
the wilder greens, the rougher greys
(his weathered skin, in truth).

They laugh their warmth ‘gin morning chill,
‘gin soggy clouds the cobalt sky
reminding who is king.

Black iron curls hold oval clay,
mosaic tiles in it inlaid
of brightest brown and blue.

I would forgive, should you forget:
though art, this lovely chair is naught
but sand, and fire, and ore.

Dundalk/O’Meath/Carlingford trip

I went on a lovely cycling trip today. It was meant to just be a short, leisurely outing, but it turned into something much, much more. To start with, I headed North, in the direction of the Cooley mountains.
I turned toward O’Meath just after the Carrickdale Hotel, on a path that takes me past Flagstaff Viewpoint.

Up near Flagstaff, I sat on a stone wall, enjoyed the amazing view and a snack.

From there I headed for O’Meath, where I had another rest – scandalous, it was hardly around the corner from the previous rest stop.

I went through Carlingford from there. Didn’t feel like taking the big, busy main road from there to Dundalk, so I went along another road which I thought wound its way along the flanks of the mountains to eventually pass Ravensdale Forest Park. Um, I was wrong. I soon realised I was on the wrong road, but with beautiful scenery all around, I didn’t much care.

To my great amusement, I ended up above O’Meath again. Higher up this time, with different views from earlier.

I went back the way I’d come, past Flagstaff Viewpoint, up an utterly brutal hill. At the Carrickdale Hotel, I had a cup of tea. A moment of sentimentality: this is the exact spot where I’d parked my old bike so many times when I cycled along here.

In those days, the Carrickdale used to be my ultimate goal. I’d never have made it the current distances on the ole thing, but it served me the best it could.
Distance: 74.44km
Average: 18.5km/h
Max: 43km/h
Odometer reading: 1 511.2km