Monday 29 October 2012



Irish Examiner, on 20th October, 2012.

After school, Ciaran O'Driscoll joined the civil service; then he joined a religious order, leaving after ten years. He went to London where he worked as a secondary school teacher, before studying philosophy. Before retirement, he worked as a lecturer in Limerick School of Art and Design. 

All that time he was writing poetry. He has published six collections; and has written a childhood memoir, some radio scripts, and some essays on poetry. He has won the James Joyce Literary Millennium Prize, the Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship in Poetry, and he is a member of Aosdána. 

Who is Ciaran O’Driscoll? 
Date of birth: 2nd October, 1943, in Kilkenny.
Education: Rochestown College, Cork. University College Cork, BA, University of London, MA.
Home: Limerick City.
Family: Wife, and a son, aged 23.
The Day Job: Full time writer. 
Hobbies: Listening to traditional Irish music and opera. Walking, travelling, watching rugby.

Favourite Writers: Mikhail Bulgakov, Flann O’Brien, Stieg Larson

Second Novel: I’m planning to travel somewhere and live there for a while. I hope this will give me a setting, and some characters. 

Top Writing Tip: I believe immersing yourself into an unusual setting can give you inspiration for a novel. 

Web/Twitter: @CiaranODriscoll

The Debut Novel: A Year’s Midnight. Pighog Press: €13.20 
Kindle: €4.69.

George and his partner, Barbara, move to Italy. George is recovering from a breakdown, and hopes to find peace. But the rural scenery, and in particular, a field, starts to bother him. He falls apart, as memory of childhood abuse starts to surface. He turns to drink, develops obsessions, and has hallucinations about a child poltergeist. 

“We went to live in Umbria, when our son was about four. I went with the intention of writing a novel, and I did complete a first draft. I finished a version, but then the idea of a memoir took over. Recently I rewrote the novel, but in a darker form.” 

The Verdict: An atmospheric tale that toys with dark subjects, told with a lot of black humour.

© Sue Leonard. 2012. 

Friday 19 October 2012



Waiter, is this some kind of dupe?
I’ve found a Scobie in my soup.
He’s doing a breast-stroke towards the dole
across my bisque of lobster’s bowl.

He’s caused my peace to fly the coop,
this brat from the lowest income group.
I fear it will not be long before
his sneakers sully my parquet floor.

Waiter, please put me in the loop:
why is this Scobie in my soup?
It’s the social charge that you incur
for dining sumptuously, sir. 

Note: In Limerick slang, according to my son (who knows), Scobie is 'a lighter term for a scumbag'.  Lighter, therefore less judgmental, I'm presuming. Younger than a diehard scumbag, possibly heading towards scumbag-dom, possibly not. Socially deprived and therefore bolshy.

© Ciaran O'Driscoll, 2012.

Wednesday 17 October 2012


About five or so years ago, the committee of Cuisle, Limerick City's Annual Poetry Festival, decreed in their wisdom to offer their invited poets an annual outing on the Saturday of the festival, before the final evening readings at 8pm. This year a different itinerary was on offer: instead of travelling through the Burren's Karst landscape to lunch in Linnane's pub in New Quay, as we have always done previously, the trip was to Lahinch and the Cliffs of Moher, with lunch in Vaughan's pub, Liscannor. There were seven uptakers of the offer this year.

Here we are on Lahinch Beach, from left yours truly, Radharani Pernarcic and Iztok Osojnik from Slovenia, my wife Margaret Farrelly, Tom Slingsby from England and his partner Tila Rodriguez-Past from Mexico. Robin Parmar of Canada (living in Limerick) took this photograph with Margaret's camera.

The weather was uncertain, a few little spits of rain on a chill breeze in Lahinch, but by the time we got to the Cliffs of Moher, the day had settled into breezy sunshine, and everyone set off on their own explorations, unwisely not being given a time to return to the cars, so that.....

Cliffs of Moher with O'Briens Tower

by the time we got to Vaughan's in Liscannor, I was rather irritable with the hunger (can't speak for anyone else!). But as you can see from the photo below, I was soon set right - a couple of glasses of Pinot Grigio did the trick, even though my lunch was the last to arrive. Viva Pinot Grigio!

Tuesday 2 October 2012



Limerick-based poet Ciaran O'Driscoll will be launching his new novel, 'A Year's Midnight', published by Pighog Press, at the following Irish venues:

Thursday 4th October, 7pm: The Irish Writers' Centre, 19 Parnell Square, Dublin 1. Launched by Vincent Woods.

Friday 5th October, 2pm: The Players Theatre, Samuel Beckett Centre, Trinity College, Dublin 2. Reading and discussion. Introduced by John Davies, director of Pighog Press.

Tuesday 9th October 7pm: O'Mahony's Bookshop, O'Connell Street, Limerick. Launched by Jo Slade.

A Year’s Midnight is that rare beast, a truly literary page-turner. A compelling and witty black com- 
edy, it draws readers into the edgy relationship between George and his partner Barbara, as they at- 
tempt to spend a relaxing year in rural Italy.  
But their plans all go awry as between drinks, recriminations, a poltergeist and sinister childhood 
memories, their relationship disintegrates. Soon George is walking a fine line between mysticism and 
madness. His loving artist partner is alienated by his unpredictable mood swings. Failing to see why he 
pays so much attention to a mysterious nearby field, she is drawn into the arms of their landlord 

“A Year's Midnight is a wonderful and beautiful piece of work – written by 
someone who has the eye of a painter, the ear of a listener and the pen of a 
poet. A book that entwines sensual delight with wry humour, landscape with 
lunacy – a joy from first to last.” John MacKenna 
“Disturbing, heart-warming and with generous amounts of darkly funny 
moments, O’Driscoll’s despair has a witty and lyrical edge that means you 
never get sucked so far into the darkness that you stop enjoying the journey. 
Buon viaggio...” Shelley Marsden The Irish World