Michael Harding at Lough Allen, Co Leitrim. Photograph: Brian Farrell

The brother in Ireland sometimes called Chicago, although the two spoke little except about the weather

James Joyce: ‘A writer who wore language like a straitjacket, trying to burst his way out in every cadence.’ Photograph: Lipnitzki/Roger Viollet/Getty Images

A trip to London led me to the National Theatre’s brilliant ‘King Lear’ and to ‘Riverrun’, Olwen Fouéré’s show based on texts from(...)

Michael Harding at Lough Allen, Co Leitrim. Photograph: Brian Farrell

I began gardening on St Patrick’s Day. It was a strategy to avoid parades and then I started to like it

Photograph: Thinkstock

The General says exercise can be bad for your health

The old man in me was thinking she should go and have a wash. The young man in me was regretting we hadn’t more time

‘I love Patsy Cline (above) and Sinéad O’Connor, Anna Netrebko and Eleanor Shanley and all the other voices that have caught my heart at the turn of a stairs over the years.’ Photograph: AP Photo/TBS

My earliest recollection is of women chattering above my cot. In adolescence, my greatest comfort was the soft, posh voices of fem(...)

Michael Harding at Lough Allen, Co Leitrim. Photograph: Brian Farrell

Sometimes I find stillness in old people. They sit in kitchens, pretending to watch the television, or wait on verandas in wheelch(...)

One night during January, a badger  squeezed himself in through the cat flap

I’m always amazed at who I bump into when I’m out and about – and by what they might say

Michael Harding at Lough Allen, Co Leitrim. Photograph: Brian Farrell

There were huge waves in Mullaghmore on the day my friend died

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