A Day Spent Mitching

The only thing I remember about my school days was the day I went mitching with my brother Vincent. Somewhere between our house and Boyhan’s Forge we decided we would go mitching for the day. Heavens only knows what put the thought in our heads: perhaps I didn’t have my homework done and knew I

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A Faerie Invitation

We are a small fishing club on a stream in Westmeath, Ireland. We are hopelessly biased, but consider it the finest angling water in the entire fairy kingdom. For hundreds of years membership did not change – it was a case of waiting for ‘dead fairies’ slippers’. During that time we enjoyed our sport in

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A Brave Dolphins Tale

How Vin lost his fin … Well, where do I begin? This story starts in a tangle of nets Vin’s memories are of being trapped and distressed Squeezing himself, so desperate, so tight His little heart beating wildly with fright With heroic strength and the will to survive He forced himself through that net to

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Corrib Holy days

Inchaguille Island is a wooded place of three hundred and sixty acres. Once a place of holy ancient people, more recently owned by the Guinness Family, Lord and Lady Ardilaun. They owned a large boat and the island had a small quay, at that time. The Guinness family and their guests travelled to the island

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Days of our Lives

I often wonder how today’s kids enjoy themselves. I mean really have fun. In an age where every mystery is quickly explained is there a need for Nancy Drew or Enid Blyton? Do they wake every Saturday morning with the same plans and exuberant energy that we had when we were kids? Will they ever

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Desecration of a World Treasure

There is a lake in Ireland once regarded as the finest trout water on earth. Anglers came from far and wide to fish it. Fifty years ago, it was poisoned to death’s door by sewage from a nearby town. Since then, it has been slowly, lovingly, nursed back to health by those who care for

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Lough Ree

She was feared and fearless. The Queen of Connaught. Meabh rode her black stallion from county to county in the search for property. There were many warlords who were seduced by her beauty. Once she had him in her lover’s lair and his property signed over, she killed him. No one could resist her beauty

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My Friend The Shannon

The River Shannon has been described as majestic and mighty, which it is, but to me it is an old friend. I find the water healing and consoling. I talk to it every day and I tell it things I wouldn’t tell another soul. I love to watch, as birds swoop and call to each

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My Watery Westmeath Childhood

When I think back on my childhood, I quickly realise that so many of the stand- out moments for me revolved around water. Growing up in Athlone the Shannon was always a massive presence. Crossing the town bridge as a child meant negotiating the noisy, and quite frankly frightening, Bailey bridge which was in place

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Riverside Magic

To have been brought up on the banks of a river – for me, the meandering Shannon – was a privilege granted to few only, I didn’t realise it as a child. To be sure, I had a vague notion of the river’s probabilities – a place to paddle, swim, fish in, stroll along its

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The Bargeman

My grandfather was born in the late 1930s. He lived in Athlone Co. Westmeath. His parents (my great grandparents)owned a cinema beside the river Shannon in Athlone town bridge. When he was 4 years old he had the easiest job in the cinema. His job was to check everyone’s ticket. To check tickets, you had

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The River and The Sea

There is a certain point in any conversation with a local, where my lack of knowledge of a particular person or place makes it obvious that I am not a native of these parts. “Where are you from?” “Galway.” “What part?” “Salthill.” “You must miss the sea…” Of course, I do miss the sea –

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