“I have great sympathy for W B Yeats, who went to such trouble to achieve sexual arousal, late in life, submitting himself to an exotic vasectomy in order to raise his libido”

I was standing at the window of Hodges Figgis in Dublin recently and saw the full text of Sailing to Byzantium by Yeats in the window. The older I get(...)

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

I had lunch in Mullingar recently with two old friends. Tommy is a shy gentleman who eats his dinner alone in the hotel restaurant every day. On his w(...)

Photograph: Thinkstock

It will soon be winter, I thought, as I walked on the dry hills with the heather yet in bloom and the meadow pipits limping through the grey Septem(...)

Photograph: Thinkstock

I went to Galway last week to buy shoes in Foot Solutions. Inside I met a young Polish woman who examined my feet and wrote on a clipboard a lot of(...)

Michael Harding at St John’s Point, Dunkineely, Co Donegal. Photograph: Declan Doherty

Bundoran is only an hour away from where I live, but I don’t stop to savour an ice-cream on the beach, or the fresh fish in Caroline’s Cafe. Instea(...)

‘One weekend I got so uneasy that I fled to the hills above Lough Allen on a Saturday afternoon. But when I got there I didn’t feel happy at all.’ Above, Michael Harding at Lough Allen. Photograph: Brian Farrell

I think it’s the proximity of others that makes me feel alone, because I never feel any pain in the wilderness. I could walk the mountains for hour(...)

‘The poor creatures haven’t evoved far enough to conclude anything ontological about the nature of the universe’

I was on the balcony of a de-luxe hotel room in Kilkenny on the day the sun was eclipsed in March. And just beyond the balcony was a tree where two cr(...)

Though the trees are still bare they move differently. They are supple in the wind as the sap rises. Photograph: Getty

This week we offer inspiration to put a spring in your step in time for that extra hour of daylight on Sunday 29th On the first day of February(...)

Turlough O’Carolan on the old £50 note

I really enjoy my life on the road, travelling from town to town giving readings. I feel like an adventurer, a nomadic troubadour. And it gives me a c(...)

A yellow bittern. Photograph: Thinkstock

The house is empty. But I am happy to boil my eggs in silence and make watery tea in a single mug, because solitude is a strange pleasure. I ha(...)