Posted in Explaining ME

May and ME Awareness

ME Dail May 11th 2017On May 11th a wonderful group of Irish patients, their family and friends took to Dáil Éireann for a four hour protest highlighting the lack of services and understanding in today’s Ireland for ME patients.

The protest was run in conjunction with the international protest “Missing Millions” and those of us unable to attend were represented by pairs of our shoes (Mine were pink runners with my toe tag saying “missing from Athenry AC – my local running club”).

Thankfully some TD’s gave up their time to listen and TV3 News broadcast a segment on their evening bulletin and the Irish Examiner also published an article.

Every time I think we’re facing a brick wall, one piece gives way and reignites the ember of hope. Thankfully that ember continues this May.

In addition to the above, two wonderful pieces relating to life with ME appeared in the Irish Times and Irish Independent. Also, regional newspaper the Connacht Tribune gave up its print to interview me and on Galwy Bay FM, a patient was too interviewed.

Finally,  The Irish ME/CFS Association has arranged for Dr Ros Vallings, an ME expert from New Zealand, to give 3 Irish ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome talks this May. 

Dr Ros Vallings has written 3 books on the subject in recent years: (i) Chronic Fatigue Syndrome M.E. Symptoms, Diagnosis, Management (352 pages), (ii) Managing ME/CFS A Guide for Young People (144 pages) and (iii) The Essential Guide to CFS/ME which is being released this year. And brings a wealth of clinical experience from 50 years dealing with ME patients.

Admission is €5, on the door:

Wednesday May 24: 7:30 PM  – Maldron Hotel,  Sandy Road, ( off Kirwan Roundabout on Headford Road), Galway City.  

Friday, May 26: 11:30 AM – South Court Hotel, Raheen,  Limerick

Sunday, May 28: 2:30 PM – The Maldron Hotel Dublin Airport


Posted in Explaining ME

Are you not just Tired?

Ask any patient what ME is and you’ll find you’ve opened a can of words.

You see, ME is a life altering illness and so you’ll be told about a past life and a present one, the present one filled with limitations and regimented regimes. The past one forgotten.

Then there will be references to crashes and the ill effects of stepping beyond a body’s capabilities. As for the daily symptoms, there are a lot of those: headaches, nausea, the low tolerance to noise, the heightened senses, the sore muscles, bone pain, severe fatigue, electric-shock-like-pains, digestive disturbances, cognitive difficulties. The list is a long one. You see, ME patients aren’t just tired, or a little bit tired, we’re what I call absolutely whacked.

Now comes the puddle of horse poo. You see, like that of a piano keyboard, my ME symptoms differ everyday. There are days when my body’s dynamics are that of p for piano, the symptoms present but lessened and then there are the forte days, when everything is ramped up.

On the lessor days I can manage to do a few small tasks, be it writing for a short period of time, going food shopping with my husband, having a visitor for an hour or gentle weeding or light work in the garden. These tasks are done in spite of having ME, not because ME has toddled off and of course my symptoms will be exacerbated as a result of these tasks. Then there are tasks I simply can no longer do, like attending social events such as weddings or standing for long periods of time, or walking distances.

So you see, ME is a constant, an ever present. A debilitating illness patients have to learn to live with, to adapt to. ME is not just being a little bit tired or a little bit off, ME is living constantly within a limitation.

For more wonderful facts, jump to the category section or delve into posts such as this one: the-invisibility-clause

Posted in Observations from an Irish Window


The blackbirds coat echo’s off the hawthorn, its buds sit in waiting, this years leaves curled up inside.

Down below birds bounce on their feeder while daffodils and crocus and bluebell show themselves over ground, their heads fastened, their greening stalks increasing in size with each new dawning.

It’s February and an awakening is occurring in my garden as the sun rises earlier and earlier, her arms lengthening her grasp.

Her daylight calling out to all, allowing everyone and everything dream of a new.

Soon my garden bench will be pulled out from the sanctuary of the garden shed, its winter hibernation over and instead of taking to the varying views from behind my window panes, ill be able to sit outside and feel and see first hand the abundant changes within my world.

Of course, those on the outer fringes looking in have already begun their spring rituals. Comments of “Oh, Spring will help perk you up” and “The warming weather will help you” have begun.

I used to try and educate, to explain, to remind those tongues, that no, spring doesn’t change my symptoms, just as winter doesn’t change them either but I gave up.

Facing into my sixth spring, I do so aware of this broken body, aware of the limits but focused on the positives, just as I did during winter and autumn and summer and the spring before.

As with everything, especially where humans are involved, there are spaces for complication but I fill those gaps with the simple and so distance myself from those tongues. As for spring itself, meteorologists cite springs arrival on March 1st,  however astronomically speaking spring is February 1st.

Within this small space of earth one things for sure, spring has arrived.

Posted in Observations from an Irish Window

Between the Sheets

Between the folds of dawn and dusk my world is shared.

Shared with pairs of rooks, magpies and hooded crows, mating’s often made for life. And then there are the starlings, most notably those who sit on next door’s TV ariel and even more noticeable is the starling who loves to neigh like a horse.

As for the one who mimics the whistle of a referee during a match, he had me searching out our road for a hidden human playing a prank, that is until I looked up.

Then there are the wagtails with their high pitched calls and the finches and tits, flashing’s of sounds and fleeting’s of colour.

Within their beginnings at dawn and endings at dusk, I share my space with each of these characters but as the sun sets, my garden becomes someone else’s world, a secretive layer of vibrancy held between the myriad shades of blacks and grey.

Giving up my world, I retreat indoors allowing these creatures carry out their nightly duties without me as an unwelcome silhouette. When at dawn, I tip from my sheets peering out into a new days sky, sometimes, just sometimes, I catch sight of one of those night time creatures hugging my fence line as he makes his way back to his hidden den, his waking hours ended, mine just begun.

Posted in Observations from an Irish Window

Prehistoric Creatures

The sound strengthened.

Looking towards the narrow road where a large HGV lost of all co-ordinates was expected to be found, there was nothing but the bleakness of blankness.

Listening again, my ears turned themselves upwards into the bare morning sky reflecting the off-white frosting’s below. Standing still tucked between my wellington boots and crunching’s of icicles, I did so as the sound gathered itself like that of a prehistoric dinosaur and then suddenly as if falling from a hidden pocket in the sky, there they were right above my head.

Two grey heron flying side by side, their combined wingspan greater than the breadth of the road nearby. Their wings noising together, their heads bobbing as they loudly croaked to one another. All the while I stood beneath them spellbound, staring up into their grey torso’s the way in which a magician captures an audience before POOF, they were gone.

Posted in Observations from an Irish Window

Parachuting Fairies

As day length shortens and winter’s arrival is almost upon us, I sit wedged between a cacophony of colourful hues. Oranges and yellows and pinks, all taking to their stage for one season only.

Some sway lightly on tender hooking’s of the branches of half nude trees, while others gracefully float to the ground like parachuting fairies on delicate wings. While some thrust themselves forcibly out and up and down, dipping and diving, twirling like some untethered kite, until they reach the ground, where they glitter among the base of trees or the undergrowth of a hedgerow, peeping out like some rare unusual animal in hiding.

The more extroverted dance about the skyline of the lawn until their display is done and they bow toward their audience, shriveling up, waiting to be munched on by a passing hungry slug or caught between the sleeves of my bin liner, where next year they will be reincarnated as leaf mould. Mixed with compost to feed my many plants.

After all, autumn is but a stepping stone toward spring and re-birth.


Posted in Published Stories & Poems

NY Literary Magazine

Two of my poems “The Balanced Book” and It’s the not Thinking” have been published in the   NY Literary Magazine’s “ECHOES” Anthology – Collection of Modern Poems with Deep Meaning   and my poem “The Balanced Book” received 2nd place in the poems about life category.

As per Editor-in-Chief Elizabeth Harding: “Echoes” is a poetry collection featuring today’s most remarkable, modern poetry by both new and award-winning poets of all ages and nationalities.

In the current issue, deep meaningful poems about life and living, sincere poems about thoughts and feelings, dark & sad poetry, as well as inspirational poems and striking paintings will captivate you throughout the entire 54 pages.

This anthology is available as a print magazine and as a free-to-read digital magazine. Download and read for free the digital poetry magazine on Scribd or on Issuu.
Get the Kindle Edition here.
Buy the print magazine here.

Most of all, enjoy!

Posted in Published Stories & Poems

One Hundred Voices


The anthology One Hundred Voices (Centum Press 2016) contains short stories and flash fiction written by a varied mix of 100 authors and I’m pleased to have my fiction piece “The Giraffe Hunters” (previously published by The Nottingham Review) between its covers.

Should you wish to purchase the book, it can be ordered via the publisher here and also on Amazon.

Posted in Observations from an Irish Window

Musings from her couch – May Issue

Is privacy a word of our past? Something the next generation will hear about but never fully understand and will blame be placed on us for its demise?

After all, it’s we who allow social media sit with us at dinner tables, share intimate family dates, some even take this social tool away on holidays, posting pictures for everyone else to see.

Have we lost the capability to share a private moment with only those in that moment with us and how bettered are we for sharing our private details? Have the social media conglomerates misdirected our attention, and while we’re busy sharing all our information, their employees are busy constructing profiles of us, taking note of what it is we buy, where we go and who we go with. Do complete strangers know about those shoes you recently bought? Do they know how many people are in your family? Where you live? Do they have your e-mail address?

As a child I was told not to talk to strangers and never give my address or phone number to anyone I didn’t know, now everything appears to be shared with people we don’t know. And it’s our hands that have uploaded the photos, typed the comments and the tweets, we’re the ones who willingly broke down the veil of privacy. Something once cherished and minded. Something we’ve given away for free.

Were we conned into it? Perhaps but whether we did so willingly or unwillingly, we’re about to send privacy to a redundant dictionary. About to teach children what that word was, what it meant in our daily lives and we’re going to have to explain why we gave it up.


(As published in the Athenry News and Views Magazine, May Issue)

Posted in Observations from an Irish Window

The Tempestuous Bat

Did you know bats will come into your kitchen if you leave your backdoor open at twilight?

And it turns out, they don’t like to leave easily… those little wings and their twisting and turning above your head, at your head, to the side of your head will have you dipping and diving almost in awe, if it weren’t for the fact of the task at hand.

Losing the battle, I enlisted the help of my very unhappy husband, his job to hold up a bed sheet and help push the bat towards the open door, while I had a large bath towel doing the very same. One problem, two of us, a large kitchen/sunroom and one very deft flying bat…

As it turns out, our flying bat ended up requiring some rest and so que a stool and my hand in the towel reaching up to our kitchen cupboards…  a small squeal from my palm and the flying creature was soon back in the comforting surroundings of the darkened outdoors.