Published Work

DoDublin Articles

During my time working for the sightseeing department of Dublin Bus, DoDublin, I have worked on producing content for the company website. Articles aimed at engaging new customers in our sightseeing tour and many of the great attractions Dublin has to offer it’s visitors.

 

Dublin Cinemas with a twist

https://dodublin.ie/city-sightseeing-tours/events/christmas/cinema

 

Dublin does Christmas Markets

https://dodublin.ie/city-sightseeing-tours/events/christmas/markets

 

#NewDublin

https://dodublin.ie/top-news-travel/dublin-city-in-2018

 

You can find more at http://www.dodublin.ie

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Short Stories

Foundation

“What are you doing in here?”

“I just needed a moment. You?” Sam asked with a grin, knowing the 2 men were there for the same reason. “I just needed a minute”. They circled each other between the stalls and the urinals, as if sussing their counterpart before a battle. They stopped, both comforted that they were alone. “You looked trapped” Mark teased as he nodded back towards the party. Sam curled his body “I’m happy to be a part of your family and all but your cousin is pretty intense Mark.”

“Dans not my cousin, hes my second cousin.” Sam hit back

“I thought he was Deets son?”

“No Deets son died last year. Dan is my Nanas nephew.”

“Nana Callaghan or Nana Fury?”

“Nana Callaghan.” Sam stated. His confidence in the facts seemed to wane the further into the explanation he found himself.

“I thought the Callaghan side were all unmarried, save for your grandparents.”

“They are, but Great Uncle Jim had a baby out of wedlock, it was all very scandalous. Dan is one of our many skeletons in the family closet. Now funny thing about Dan is, he’s not actually related to my Nana. You see…”

 

“No. No. I love you but I can’t enter your family forest again. Too many branches to wade through.”

 

A laugh, a beat, and they ended that conversation.

 

Both dressed in black, the men looked like blemishes on the mahogany interior of the bathroom. Sam had his back to the unusually long stall doors. Each reaching from the floor to the ceiling. They dwarfed him. Mark on the other hand, stood with his back to the 5 white urinals, each tucked in their own compartment. His frame blocked one of the bowls from Sams view.

“The cake went well don’t you think? Everyone loved it” Sam was proud of his choice of cake.

Mark looked to the mirror between them, “Yea everyone lapped it up.”

 

The thing about a marriage, whether it is 30 years old or 6 hours old, you always get a sense that your better half is hiding something.

 

“You didn’t like the cake did you?”

“What? No. Of course I did.”

“No, I can tell you’re pronouncing vowels differently. Longer. That’s what happens when you lie.”

“That’s not -”

“Was it the icing? Do you not like icing?”

“Sam stop. The..”

 

The door blew open a crack. Both men froze. The world they had escaped, the world they had created, was seeping back in. The door returned to it’s frame.

“Why are you in here and not out there?” Mark was desperate to move on.

“I just wanted a minute. To take it all in you know? It’s been non stop all day and I haven’t spent any time alone to just think.”

 

Mark knew the man he married lived in his head. It was sometimes impossible to take him out of it. Like trying to wake up in the morning, Sam never fought to stay awake, he often let himself fall. It was one of qualities Mark found so endearing, but his years observing and learning meant he knew how to counteract it. “Who was going to be your wife?”

Stunned, Sam surfaced “My..”

“Your wife. We’ve talked about how we once lived on a default setting. A certainty of our future when we “grew up”. When you were younger, who did you imagine your wife would be?”

Quick to rise to the challenge Sam smiled “Well initially it was Daphne from Scooby Doo, the live action one not the cartoon.” He blew air out his nose in laughter “But when I was 12, I always imagined I’d be with someone smarter than me. She would correct my statements, read the most respected books. I knew I wouldn’t feel inferior, even before I knew what that feeling was. I just wanted a wife that would impress me by being herself.”

They paused for a minute, when eventually Mark spoke up “So you wanted to marry Velma?”

Sam hoisted up his finger “Velma wasn’t played by Sarah Michelle Gellar, I was an horny idiot, leave me alone. Who was your wife going to be?”

 

Although he had concocted this game, Mark hadn’t been prepared to answer the question.

“Well if we’re talking about the girl I fancied, it was Sonya Byrne. She was a girl in my class when I was four and I loved her. She always gave a huge lump of her marla when I was making a snake. I remember telling my Mam one night that I was going to marry Sonya, and you know what she said? She said ‘well does Sonya want to marry you?’ So I went back into school the next day and walked right up to Sonya Byrne and said ‘you and me are gonna get married.’ and you know what she said? ‘No, we’re gonna play chasing’ and then she ran away”

 

Sam held his hand over his mouth to muffle his laughter, but Mark continued “I loved her more for that. We grew up and our Mams kept in contact. I met Sonya in the smoking area of some club when we were 22. We laughed about the Valentines cards we made each other when we were 6. It was nice, she got engaged last year.”

 

“So she didn’t play chasing with him then?”

 

“No I guess that will always be our thing.” Mark concluded and moved closer to Sam “We lucked out not marrying those two, we got something better.”

 

Sam tied his fingers with Marks “I married someone smarter than me.”

Mark tilted his head “And I married someone strong willed and generous”

Sam blew more air through his nose “I am generous. I was especially generous with the servings of the cake.”

They broke away and Mark walked to the other end of the room. Sam continue “Did you eat the styrofoam?”

Mark swiveled around, his leather shoes creating little friction on the tiled floors. “What?”

 

“One layer of the cake is styrofoam. That’s how the baker could make a tiered cake. The sponger layer was incapable of supporting the chocolate biscuit layer so the baker made one layer with styrofoam as a foundation of sorts. She just threw some icing over it so it blends in.”

 

Marks mouth hung open “Logically I get it. But I can’t- we paid for an inedible cake?”

 

“No we paid for an impressive tiered cake that looks great in the picture. But in order for the cake to look like that, sacrifices were made.” Sam corrected.

 

“Unbelievable” Mark was pacing the floor, breaking his pace to move passed his husband and towards the sinks. He laughed at himself in the mirror before hanging his head.

 

They stood in silence. “Did you get a corner piece? Because the corner piece is the best.” Mark was defeated.  “No I didn’t get..”

Cutting him off, Sam continued. “A corner piece has double the icing, double the cream, we should go back out and get you a corner piece.“ He began walking towards the door but he was caught by Marks hand. “I don’t like chocolate biscuit cake.”

 

Mark dragged the man back into the centre of the floor. “It was one of our first dates. We went to that coffee shop in Bray. I got the biggest chunk of chocolate biscuit cake, it may as well have been classed as its own cake. I wasn’t going to eat it but you were in the middle of some story or rant and I didnt want to leave. I was so invested in you and the words you said, how you spoke that I ate the whole thing. Just before we left..”


Remembering Sam finished “You ran into the bathroom. You vomited the whole thing back up.” Turning away in shame, Mark broke the tension “I mean I had the flu for the next week after so it was probably just my first symptom and had nothing to do with the cake itself.. But it’s like when you’re really hungover after drinking something and you can never drink it again.”

 

“Like me with Sambuca” Sam whispered.

“Exactly. You can’t drink Sambuca, I can’t eat chocolate biscuit cake. We’ve both been robbed of life’s simple pleasures.”

Sam shot around to face his husband “That’s why you’re in here. You were vomiting? Oh God, I’m so sorry” Rushing towards him, he held the face of the man “We haven’t even been married a day and I’ve already made you ill.” But all Mark could do was laugh. “You’re here. That’s all that matters. You’re here, in sickness and health.”

 

Face to face, with only the slightest distance between them, the two men broke down into laughter. Their foreheads kissing. “Those vows are rubbish anyway. I wanted to write my own.” “Sam if you wrote your own vows, we’d still be in the church.” Sam tilted his head slightly in acknowledgement that he was right. Eyes closed, Mark spoke in whisper “I vow to always be smarter than you. To listen to your long winded stories. I vow to be honest with you about your choice of desserts. And I vow to always love you.

 

Smiling, Sam responded “I vow to be generous with you. To chase you wherever you go. I vow to never feed you poison and I vow to always love you.”

A kiss sealed their promises.

“Take a breath”

“Do I have to?” Mark appeared to be more aware of his surroundings than Sam.

“Seriously, take a breath. Smell that? That’s clear air. We are above all the worry and panic and crippling anxiety. We made it. We have reached the summit and we are breathing clear air.

“All I smell is the lemon scented urinal cakes”

Laughing, Sam persevered.

“I just…I meant like we can relax now. We’re here. We don’t have to worry about life. Anything we do now, we do together.”

“Together.”

Another kiss and they peeled away from each other. Side by side, they faced the mirror. This moment captured in the frame. “Let’s do this”.

Short Stories

The Company We Keep

“Kev, I need to tell you something” He sat at the end of Conors dining room table. Just to the left of me. Headphones, jumpers and empty muffin casings littered the table. Why did they make such a mess? Was is instinctive. Did they even notice. Or was it some sort of way to build a wall between them and me?

To my right (directly opposite Kyle) was Conor. He was looking down at his phone, although it wasn’t on. In between both men was Aine. She held her hands in the cufflinks of her green knitted jumper. Her hands held her face, like one does when coughing. But she was silent. I was offered tea when I walked into this room twenty two minutes before. I was the only one with a cup.

I knew something was off as soon as I got the invite. My curious mind trumped my pride. So instead of coming up with some excuse, or even a direct rejection “Sorry can’t tonight!” I arrived at another exclusive group meeting. Unnecessarily exclusive most times but tonight I learned that it was better that none of my other friends were there. Not for my sake, or theirs, but for her sake.

“Ok” My heart realised what was happening before the rest of me caught up. It beated faster. But I remained relaxed. Unaware of what news, what gossip, what joke I was in for.

A breath left the room as the nervous man put both his hands on the table before him. A pit stain in his dark blue t-shirt was exposed. “So you know the way me and Lindsey didn’t work out?” I nodded, he had informed me of this very fact a month before. “Well after all that, I started seeing Chels.” I think he wanted a response from me, but my face had less expressions than a statue. He took this as an indication to continue. “She and I…..we had slept together. Before I kissed Lindsey. But it was just friendly stuff. We were just having a bit of fun. So it was cool when we stopped when I started going out with Lindsey.” Still I remained unmoved. My eyes fixed on him. “We didn’t want to tell anyone, yeas would have made a big deal out of it. I really liked her Kev. She’s great. But now…she and I are not in the best place.”

Biting my tongue although that was not apparent to the room. I pushed away any comments or opinions that had burned in my brain since he began.

He looked away from me, I think he looked at Aine. Just as a child looks at a mother during an apology to a grown up. The look that says “Is that ok. Are we done. I’ve said enough” I didn’t see what Aine’s inaudible response was, or if there even was one. My line of vision had not changed throughout his entire confession. “I wanted to meet up with her after everything with Lindsey but she was angry with me. I thought we were cool. Like it was just a bit of fun. Nothing serious. Now I think I’ve fucked things up with her.”

He was speaking in the present tense. His recital of the facts was over, now his story was over. I would have to talk now. Thats what he expected. My mouth shut. Locked by the gritted teeth. Dogs claws scratched the floors. Buzzing of the fridge was a guideline for my breath. Expelling air in a long stream through my nose. Kyle looked back at the others once again. He knew he was done. But I hadn’t reacted. This must have messed up the linear plan in his head. What he expected would unfold tonight. Maybe he imagined I would shouted at him. Maybe he imagined I would do my usual “You did what’s best for you”. Maybe he expected me say something important or meaningful. But I spoke the only sentence that wouldn’t come with a trail of fury anger and tears. “Why…Why are you telling me this?”

None of this information was new to me. But he didn’t know that.

“We’re worried about Chelsea” Aine had said this. I had forgotten she was there. Oh and Conor was there too, it was his house, but his presence was belittled by my thoughts. I shot a look to her and began to laugh. No one else joined in. “Kev…” Kyle asked in a broken voice. Had I upset him? But I couldn’t stop myself. The situation comical. “Kev, we’re worried she’s hurting herself!” Kyles voice sounded like he was the victim. He made himself small, to be pitied. I didn’t buy into his act. “I’m sorry, but you have to laugh really” my voice returned in the midst of laughter.

Clearing my throat I regained composure “You’re concerned? A little late for that!” I spoke with a smile, my eyes widened. Just as I would at a party. “Where was your concern when all this happened? Where was you compassion for Chelsea huh? You slept with her, then ditched her the second Lindsey threw you a bone. Where was the concern then? Why now. Why do you suddenly feel that now is the time to be concerned? Why now?” Kyle looked taken aback by my outburst. Although it wasn’t loud, nor was it soft, it made an impact. “We think she’s been hurting herself…” Aine had been crying, choking on her words. Storing this nugget in the back of my mind along with everything else I was dealing with I continued to look at Kyle. “Why are they here?” I pointed to Aine and Conor but didn’t receive an answer in the 5 seconds I allowed before answering myself. “Is it because you didn’t have the balls to tell me yourself. Just as you don’t have the balls to talk to Chelsea directly about this. Are they your support? You could have told me this over text. We could have gone for  a walk. But no. You chose Conors house, with these two as your back ups. Why? Because you can’t deal with confrontation. You know that whatever I say now, I’m going to want a response and you’re scared that you want be able to form a rational thought to save your life. That’s why they are here, to jump in whenever they see you overwhelmed by simple questions like what the fuck is wrong with you.” I pushed back my chair and stood up looking at the three faces, all horrified by what I was saying. But I had nothing to lose. “I can’t believe you two went along with this. You’re are supporting him!” I shouted that last line. Conor fought me “Kev, he’s trying to fix it. We’re his mates of course we want to support him!” Once again I laughed but only for a moment before turning back to rip that statement apart. “You are supporting him because he is your mate. Right. And I guess Chelsea is just a problem you want to pawn off on me? Something you want me to deal with so that you three can still be mates and feel good about yourselves because you help her. Here’s the thing, this. This little ambush of a confession only helps one person, him” I pointed at Kyle who was teary eyed. “You think y’all are doing the right thing. The selfless thing. You think you’re doing the right thing now Kyle? Bullshit. This is to clear your conscience. You tell me my friend is upset and you expect me to run off and help her. Thanking you for bringing it to my attention. None of you care one fucking bit about her. If you did you wouldn’t be here right now. If you care about her Kyle you’d be dealing with this with her. Aine you support him after he treated her like that? You both are acting like the parents that still give their child desert even if they didn’t eat their vegitables.

Where the hell is your human decency? A girl is hurting herself because YOU made her feel like she had to. You made her feel like she was nothing more than the sock at the side of your bed. And you two are telling him that that’s ok! Sitting here with him, defending him and his actions, makes me think that both your moral compasses have been thrown against a wall. Sitting here, By his side, is like saying ‘You made an oopsy, but we are here for you’. What does he have to do for you to finally wise up and form your own Goddamn opinions? ‘Hey guys I murdered someone, I feel bad about it…sorry’ It’s laughable really.”

The room was silent. Conor couldn’t look at me. Both Kyle and Aine had been crying. I took a breath and picked up my phone. I looked at Aine and asked “Were they fresh?” She seemed confused so I explained “Who saw her and thought she was cutting herself? Were they fresh cuts? Did they look crusted and bloody? Or were they white speed bumps like mine?” Aine shot her head to the side, shocked by my questions. Kyle wipe his nose and looked at the table. “They were like yours”

Smiling I began walking out of the room. “Well then all this was pointless. Because if you actually took two seconds to listened to her before you shoved your dick in her mouth you would know that she has survived alot of shit. She has done some things she isn’t proud of, and she stopped. So no she is not hurting herself. Although it’s interesting to see how highly you think of yourself. That not being with you would drive someone to hurt themselves.”

Looking back at the messy table, I wanted so badly to tidy it. A minute job to regain some sort of control on a situation. That’s when it dawned on me. Why I was here, why the table was a so disordered. I’m their cleaner. They know I can’t resist a mess.

“Where are you going Kev” Conor squinted as if he was angry with me. Like I disobeyed orders and went off script. “I’m going to get my mop! Because once again I have to clean up another one of Kyle Deans messes.” Spinning around I left the room with a slight spring in my step. I was furious at them. I had known this secret for weeks. My acting tonight, flawless. As I left the room I laughed a small bit and shouted back “Cleanup on Aisle Chelsea!”

The door closed behind me.

Short Stories

Writing Challenge: Today I Noticed #1

Day 1

Today I noticed the life I want to live is always on the other side of a cloud. My eyes strain to see what seems so clear in thought. Yet when I focus, the life seems to blur. The life I want is tea on a couch in a warm apartment. The apartment has a book case full of book I have finally read, the bathroom has facial products that I have finally used. The kitchen is full of ingredients that do not vanish in a week, rather they wait for when inspiration strikes, or an impromptu Sunday night supper. The walls clutch photographs of countries visited, people loved, occasions celebrated. The window is blank, with outside artwork to be announced. I stare at this life through the fog and while it appears to be all surface, my desires fill it with a life well lived.

Short Stories

Writing Challenge: Today I Noticed #2

Today I noticed that I notice a lot of things. I noticed the pretentious Cambridge customer who wanted to drag me into his whimsical existential crisis. I noticed the joy of co-workers and their added value to my life. I noticed that caesar mayonnaise is a hybrid of 2 flavours I am not fond of to create one flavour I am alright with.

But I also noticed that when I listen to a love/breakup song, I still associate it with the same person from years ago. I noticed that autopilot only allows you to remain calm for a time until you are suddenly jolted into action.

I noticed that I live in my head and in my head we notice everything. We pick it apart and relate it to meaning and hold it with us like an extra bit of air filling my lungs. But today I noticed that my observations and interpretations are the cause of the tightness in my stomach. Today I noticed that noticing something that causes a different emotional response may be a challenge in and of itself.

Published Work

Realign

 

Realign was a practice based research project that aimed to tackle stigma in Irish Media. The below is a documentary that tells the real stories of those living with schizophrenia through the use of actors.

 

Once we gathered the first-hand accounts of the lives of people living with schizophrenia, I began writing a script. As those we spoke with wanted to remain anonymous, we decided to write a script that would use their real world experiences, and time their actual words, to communicate their stories. This was effective in that it creates a narrative, while also remaining authentic. The script contains four people, each with different ages and stories.

Chin Music

#2: Man

Recently, two scenarios about the future were made by my nearest and dearest and I couldn’t help but think how incorrect these backdated ideas were.

Scenario 1: When discussing my future career, a family member made an argument for why I should be invested in a company such as Google or Facebook. Why? Because I could work my way up the ladder, embed myself in the company and gain a higher salary. Their confidence in me was endearing, but what followed was less so. They reenforced their point by stating that my “wife” would absolutely encourage this. “Why wouldn’t she?” was the feeling at the dinner table. Yet, as I have made clear to my entire family in the past, I will never have a wife. In fact I think my future husband may not take to kindly to the prospect of me having a wife. So yes, the ignorance surrounding my sexuality reared it’s head,  but hey, at least I’ll be successful.

Scenario 2: Another discussion, this one I was eavesdropping on. As family members discussed a child without a father. How “totally fine” it’ll be for this child to grow up without a “strong male figure”. These were the exact words uttered and they stung as they slapped my face. I spend a lot of my free time with the aforementioned child and plan to be in their life throughout the next few decades. But yea sure, I’m not a strong male figure.

Big picture, there are a number of reasons why the thought process behind these two scenarios is flawed but on a personal level they’re just insulting. To categorise me as a weak man incapable of setting a good example or leading a “normal” tells me that you seriously misunderstand who I am as a man.

Of late I think, what is the true measure of a man? We have a culture which, if we allow it, dictates how we think and act. So it is somewhat forgivable that many still believe in these ideals. However, as someone who spent his teen years questioning his masculinity daily, I have my own idea of what it means to be a man. What I have found is that the majority of traits are not gender specific.

Compassionate, hard working, respectful, supportive, all these qualities make up the pillar in which I stand upon. Yet it seems this pillar is as insecure as I am. For when I think of my own masculinity and compare it to societal norms, I am scared. Scared that by defying the box in which I was put in, I am not even thought of when it comes to the notion of what is a man.