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(...)

Some clerics decided that to stay within the church was worth the effort, despite the catastrophe of child abuse and the convents full of weeping children

I keep wondering where all the priests in Ireland have gone: the ones who used to appear at concerts to do the raffle, presided over weddings, spok(...)

The General considers lettuce particularly dangerous – ‘especially if you’re driving a car’

I was at the Dublin Dance Festival last week to see a beautiful work called Tundra by Irish choreographer Emma Martin. It’s hard to say what it was(...)

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

Once upon a time there was a man from the country who was sick. He lived in the hills, near the forestry at the end of a long lane, and he never sp(...)

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

I think I spend too much time in my pyjamas when I’m alone. For a few weeks now I have had the house to myself, except for the cat who doesn’t mind in(...)

The 14th Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, in Kildare in 2011. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

This week the festival of Saga Dawa is celebrated. In Tibet they will be celebrating the Parinirvana of Buddha – or, as the Buddha described death,(...)

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

I dreamed that the president of Russia was a cuckoo on my roof and he was shaking the chimney. Our chimney is not in good condition, and sometimes in (...)

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

I spent an evening with Little Lotus, her Irish husband and their beautiful dark-haired daughter. It was Easter Sunday, and they were doting on(...)

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

I worry about everything. If I’m buying something in a shop where I can’t see the till, I worry that I’ll be overcharged. When I press my pin n(...)