Last year two friends gave me a banjo for my birthday. But it sat in its swanky black case for a year getting dusty. I tried plucking a few strings(...)

The Pajero was 10 years old last week so I went into a garage and asked a salesman what price was on the nice little Toyota Freelander with the 2009 r(...)

Last week two old magpies were sitting on an ash tree drenched with red berries. I don’t know if they eat berries or were just having a discussion (...)

‘It wasn’t Garth Brooks that they were afraid of.’ Photograph: Mario Anzuoni/Files/Reuters

I was in the back of a taxi in a seaside town. The sun was shining. The taxi man was telling me his life story. “I have four sons,” he said, “a(...)

‘My favourite film of the week was Voice of the Voiceless, a black-and-white masterpiece about a deaf girl dancing on the New York subway as she looked for money from commuters’

I bought a coffee in a cafe. That was the beginning of a story. It could have gone anywhere. Then I drank the coffee while talking to a waitress, w(...)

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

I was in Clonmel last week at the Junction Festival and I attended a very avant-garde piece of street theatre presented by young people from the lo(...)

Body and Soul at Ballinlough Castle, Co Westmeath. Photograph: Allen Kiely

Donegal is unreal. That’s what young people say. Although they don’t mean that it’s not there. The mountains and rocks are definitely there. They were(...)

Dermot Healy: love was the root of his books

I tell a story sometimes that I heard from Dermot Healy. He went into an old bachelor one day. “Do you not be lonely sometimes?” Dermot wondered. (...)

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

I was counting apples in the fruit section of a filling station near Mullaghmore in Sligo. I have a theory that if the coffee machine hasn’t been used(...)

‘I never read as much of James Joyce’s work as I pretended to, and one night in bed a woman caught me out.’ Photograph: C Ruf/Archive Photos/Getty

I was in a chip shop in Belmullet talking to a beautiful woman and it was almost midnight. Apart from the two men with white hats behind the counte(...)