Wednesday, 8 March 2023

New Titles | Funny Incidents by Kay Morrison

Funny Incidents by Kay Morrison

– tales too good not to tell; too funny not to share –

Front cover of Funny Incidents by Kay Morrison
Funny Incidents by Kay Morrison

Funny Incidents or, why no good deed goes unpunished! by Kay Morrison is the author's second book. In it, she draws together a collection of stories and anecdotes that serve to demonstrate just how much we miss when we fail to stop and take notice. Life is what happens when we are busy making other plans.

Of her first book, Patient Number 360993 (published by Original Writing, 2010), she says that it deals with

… a pretty sad story about my son, Darren's struggle to survive in a Dublin hospital after a dreadful mistake. So I needed to move on and write something funny. I decided to compile a few true stories of my own first. Then, I invited family and friends to send me their funny incidents. This took all of about five years and when we were all confined to our houses with the pandemic, I finally got it all written down and sent out for a publisher.

With stories that vary between the fun, the frivolous, the occasionally cringe-inducing, it speaks to the heart and soul of the human condition, in all of our interactions and our comings and our goings.

"What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare?" as poet, W.H. Davies (1871-1940) acutely questioned and observed.

Kay Morrison is married mother of six children, all grown up, who lives in Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin. She hopes that anyone who reads her book will get a laugh out of it. She certainly has form in this regard: Kay is also a member of a comedy-acting group called Raging Hormones, who write their own sketches that they have performed in and around Loughlinstown and Dún Laoghaire over the years.

Funny Incidents or, why no good deed goes unpunished! by Kay Morrison is published under the imprint of The Manuscript Publisher and available to buy online, in print and e-book editions.

Thursday, 9 February 2023

Brendan Behan (1923-1964): Born One Hundred Years Ago Today

Brendan Behan (1923-1964)

A Legend that Was Born One Hundred Years Ago Today

Brendan Behan (1923-1964). Watercolour painting.
Reginald gray,
Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Brendan Behan (1923-1964), the Irish author, playwright, poet, memoirist, storyteller, raconteur would be 100 years old today were he still alive. However, anyone familiar with the legend that surrounds his name would understand why this was never on the cards for such a larger-than-life character. A drinker with a writing problem, he passed from this world at the tragically young age of 41 but, having already lived more life than one, it could be argued.

Brendan Behan was born in Dublin's inner city (the family would later move to what was then the 'cow-and-culchie' land of Crumlin) to an educated working class family that was also steeped in Irish republicanism. His father participated in Ireland's War of Independence, while his uncle on his mother's side, Peadar Kearney wrote the lyrics to A Soldier's Song which, when translated into Irish, became Ireland's national anthem as Amhrán na bhFiann.

Behan himself would become involved in political activities quite early in his life, becoming a member of a member of Fianna Éireann, an Irish republican youth organisation, whose activities were mostly clandestine and supportive of those sections of Irish nationalism that rejected the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1922. For these activities, Behan would serve several periods of confinement in jails across Ireland and Britain, most notably, in the Hollesley Bay borstal institution in Suffolk, England. The experience of this latter period of detention would serve as the basis for his celebrated memoir, Borstal Boy, published in 1958.

Other works of note by Behan include two plays, which also dwell on themes of imprisonment and incarceration: The Quare Fellow (which includes the song, The Auld Triangle, which has firmly embedded Behan in Irish popular culture) and An Giall, a play in Irish, later translated into English and performed as The Hostage.

Much of Behan's work addresses social and political themes, openly critical and often confrontational of authority, for which reason, he was a controversial figure in his day, coming under the scrutiny of the censor on more than one occasion.

Another aspect of his life that made him controversial (albeit well-liked by many) was his flamboyant lifestyle influenced by more than a taint of alcoholism – 'not an act of God but an act of Guinness' was how the actor, Jackie Gleeson reportedly described a certain interview that Behan gave to the English TV presenter, Malcolm Muggeridge in the 1950s.

"Behan was notorious and, in his pomp, was known to expound boisterously and tempestuously in 'wild Irishman' fashion on a plethora of topics. He was a larger-than-life individual with a somewhat unpredictable nature. He exhibited the drunken Paddy to the world and it certainly did him no favours," says Dennis McIntyre in his recently published Customs House to Howth Head: A History and Guide to Dublin's North Bay Area.

He loved an audience and he could be a nuisance and a bowsie, truculent and repetitive as he tended to celebrate his reputation as a boisterous boozer and a jailbird. The Behan myth often marred his work but his overall generosity and bonhomie, together with his disregard for convention, were enough to maintain a certain popularity. – McIntyre, Ibid

If Behan's background resembles much of the 'shabbygenteelism' of a contemporary Irish author, Seán O'Casey, his sharp wit recalls that of an Irishman of an earlier vintage, Oscar Wilde. That "there is no such thing as bad publicity – except your obituary," is among the epigrams he produced that Wilde himself would have been proud to call his own.

Tuesday, 24 January 2023

Book Launch: Customs House to Howth Head by Dennis McIntyre | Wednesday, 1 February at Clontarf Castle Hotel

Customs House to Howth Head

– A History and Guide to the Dublin North Bay Area by Dennis McIntyre –

Front cover of Customs House to Howth Head by Dennis McIntyre
Customs House to Howth Head by Dennis McIntyre

A newly published historical account of Dublin's North Bay area will be formally launched on Wednesday, 1 February at Clontarf Castle Hotel, Castle Avenue, Clontarf, starting at 8pm.

Customs House to Howth Head: A History and Guide to the Dublin North Bay Area is author, Dennis McIntyre’s latest contribution to Irish, local, social and cultural history. The trek – from the stately Customs House in the city centre to the wild and charming Howth Head – is documented in all its facets, angles and aspects. Exhaustively researched, the book comes across as both informative and entertaining, in addition to being copiously illustrated with a well-chosen selection of images.

Dennis McIntyre is the previously published author of Meadow of the Bull: A History of Clontarf (1987) and has also written about other aspects of Irish history, such as in Bram Stoker and the Irishness of Dracula (2013) and Irish Nationalism, Irish Republicanism and the 1916 Easter Rising (2016).

This is not just a local history but rather, a series of local histories, covering Dublin's Customs House and Docklands areas, North Strand, Summerhill, Ballybough, Fairview, Marino, Donnycarney, Clontarf, Killester, Raheny, Kilbarrack, Bayside, Donaghmede, Baldoyle, Sutton and Howth. It has everything that local history should have – and that bit extra.

Customs House to Howth Head: A History and Guide to the Dublin North Bay Area is published by Shara Press. It is available to buy online (RRP €19.99). It will also be on sale at the launch at Clontarf Castle Hotel on 1 February, where the author will be on hand to sign copies. Joe Harrington of Sunshine Radio will provide the keynote address while Ciaran Murphy, of Near FM radio, will perform the introductions.

Dennis McIntyre is an author, historian, tour guide, broadcaster and former teacher. Originally from Sligo, he has lived on the northside of Dublin for a number of years and he has established a reputation as a local historian. In addition to his writing, Dennis McIntyre also serves as founder and director of Dublin North Bay Tourism and the Stoker Dracula Gothic Organisation. Previously published works are also available to buy online.

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