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(...)

Photograph: Siri Stafford/Getty Images

Sometimes I enjoy being alone, which I am at the moment as I go around the country to various venues giving readings from my memoirs. I have time t(...)

Photograph: Thinkstock

I used to think that men had their worst moments of anxiety and depression in the winter. But sometimes it’s just around now, in the spring, when t(...)

‘I could only hope that something would inspire me when I got to the city, to the hotel and closer to RTÉ.’ Above, Brendan O’Connor on The Saturday Night Show

It was cold in Leitrim the day I was due to appear on The Saturday Night Show on RTÉ. “That wind is coming straight from the North Pole,” a nei(...)

Spin the bottle. Photograph: Thinkstock

Since the cat died I have had no pet to hold, no feral thing to hug or feel connected with, although birds come to the bench outside the window for(...)

‘The Brigid’s cross is my talisman for spring, just as the icon of the Madonna carried me through the winter.’ Photograph: Declan Doherty

I stood in a field yesterday and plucked rushes to make a St Brigid’s cross. It’s only a superstition, but I feel the darkness of winter is over an(...)

‘There is something about Romania that feels like the beginning of the road to the east, or the end of Europe.’ Above, a street scene in Bucharest. Photograph: Thinkstock

I was flying across Europe as the children of Algerians were killing cartoonists down below. By the time I got to Bucharest the news was on every s(...)

Positively pornographic? Photograph: Thinkstock

One night in December I took down my computer and started looking for cheap flights in early January. I found a bargain from Dublin to Bucharest and p(...)

Love all. Photograph: Thinkstock

I heard a woman playing the flute in Donegal recently. She sat as straight as a sally rod with closed eyes, and her breath in the barrel of the ins(...)