Tell them the one about the fish

It was eleven o'clock on Sunday morning, and we'd been chatting to and entertained by our hosts, Jean and Dónal, for about an hour at that stage. We'd only met Dónal that morning but we'd meet Jean two days earlier when we'd arrived in her Airbnb in Ballybunion. She had welcomed us like old friends, although having ...

Snapshot of a woman in a house

After 18 months of searching, fourteen thousand buckets of tears when we walked away from our old house, seven nail-biting weeks from "sale agreed" to "here are the keys", and a month of almost-done refurbishment, we're finally in our new house. And it's bliss. Except for all the things that aren't working yet, like the oven, ...

Glue in my head (medical term: hayfever)

I can't think straight. I can't breathe. I feel like someone has poured glue inside my head. And the thing is, it's not "someone" who did it, it's me. My own dumbass system, over-reacting to pollen - producing histamine because it thinks it's under attack. "You're not under attack, dumbass," I tell my insides every ...

Christmas Through Their Eyes

My eyes water. Wind, sharp and stinging, pushes my hood down and  drives me back. I lean in, but not in a Sheryl Sandberg way. I've got 58 minutes and five tasks. Stocking fillers. A fancy gift box. A Secret Santa pick-up. Stamps. A book. Dark shapes huddle under hoods, rushing in all directions, maybe ...

Snapshot of a woman on the verge

Oh September, you crafty devil. From opposite corners of the ring, we faced each other, eyeing each other up, ready for the 30-day bout. You picked me up, you shook me, you slammed me down - over and over. But I knew you were coming for me, and I braced myself, and I made it through in one ...

Trains, Trains and (Strangers’) Automobiles

There’s something about the train. This is, granted, mostly if you almost never get the train. I suspect if you get it every day, there are frustrations like crowded platforms and delays and never getting a seat. But for people like me who only get trains every now and then, it’s very much an adventure ...