My piece is about Dublin’s Glasnevin Cemetery, which I strongly recommend everyone should visit when Dublin emerges from the current Covid-19 restrictions and it’s safe again.
Here is a short quote from my essay, Among the Bullets and the Angels:
Glasnevin Cemetery is three kilometres north of Dublin city centre. The high walls of the cemetery are studded with watchtowers built in the 1800s, during the golden age of bodysnatching, the one era of history for which you’ll never need to produce a themed costume on short notice for a party. Behind the walls you can see the O’Connell Monument: a tall, elegant round tower which looks as though it was transplanted from the more famous Glendalough to the south, a fantasy of early Christian Ireland commemorating Daniel O’Connell. The sacred and the profane, the bodysnatcher and the Liberator. Welcome to Glasnevin.
I’m delighted to have a new essay in Banshee Issue 10! It’s always an honour to make it into Banshee, and I’m especially honoured to be there alongside two of the most exciting writers working today – Germany-based American poet Demi Anter, and novelist, essayist and rocker of blue hair, E.R Murray. There are so many other amazing voices in this issue, some of them new to me, and I’m eagerly watching the postbox for my issue so I can get stuck in.
My essay, Violets, is one of the most personal I’ve written, as it deals with the death of my father. It lived on my hard drive for a long time before I was ready to send it out into the world and see if it found a home. Violets was strange to write because my dad’s death isn’t my story, and it belongs in part to everyone who loved him. I write a lot about death, and I listen to “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story” on the Hamilton album a lot too, but no definitive statement has emerged yet. I’ll keep you posted.
I read Violets at an open-mic event in the Irish Writers’ Centre a while back. Afterwards, an audience member approached me and said “I wasn’t sure if I should laugh, but in parts I wanted to. I hope that’s OK.”
For the purpose of clarity, I hereby confirm: it is OK.
I hope you enjoy it. It is strange to say “I hope you enjoy my sad words about my dad dying; I hope my pain makes your day better”, but what the hell else is there in life, but trying to make each other’s day better? Sometimes we do that with sad words, so that people join with us in fellowship, or empathy, or head-nodding, or the Holy Grail I chase as a writer – “I thought I was the only one…” Better doesn’t always mean cheerier. Someday I will write a happy essay about cheerful things, I promise. In the meantime, have this photo of some bright, sweet greengage plums.