Irish PEN

I was asked to become chair of Irish PEN, the writers’ association affiliated to international PEN. Humbled and honoured by this trust, I have accepted the voluntary role depending, as I must, on the support of many. Stepping up to the plate is a phrase that means more and more to me. I hope that…

Leaving safety

Taking a risk is what keeps us alive. Leaping – leaving behind the familiar – may not come natural to us. But a wise guy I know told me that he never met anyone who regretted making life-changing decisions such as moving from one job to another, one career to another, when it was only…

The greatest omission in life is to risk nothing

“The greatest omission in life is to risk nothing. The person who risks nothing gets nothing, has nothing, is nothing. He may avoid suffering, pain and sorrow, but he does not learn, grow, live, or love. He is only a slave – chained by safety – locked away by fear. Only a person who is…

celibacy is not a higher path

Celibacy is not a higher path, even though that is often the line people pick up from the Church. You might ask: if it isn’t a higher path, a holier way, why would anyone in their right mind choose it? But it isn’t a ‘higher path’. Why did the Church teach in the past that sex…

Sex and priests

I wonder why the Church considered that priests couldn’t be married. Especially given that they were permitted to marry for a greater part of the history of the Church than the history of compulsory celibacy. Is it all to do with control? And preserving Church monies?

Sex

Sex is a good thing. I wonder why the Church frowned upon it so much through the ages. Why celibacy was deemed a higher path than marriage. What nonsense!

be thankful

Pause awhile today – now – to be thankful for all you have and all you are. You are magnificent. Your existence is a work of art, a triumph of evolution, a significant moment of creation. Breathe and realize your breath is transitory. A day will come far sooner than you expect when breath will not…

the open door

The Killers’ marvellous song Human has a line: ‘sometimes I get nervous when I see an open door.’ It’s a magnificent truth about the human condition. We do not know what lies behind the door. Is it opportunity or disaster? Freedom or enslavement? Leaving behind the familiar is always scary, like the baby in the…

Today is the day

I hear birds singing. There are blue skies outside. I’m enjoying the world cup. I’m healthy and happy, as is my missus and kids. Life is good. I’m growing, changing, learning. A mountain I decided to climb seemed daunting but, surprisingly, is proving simpler than I thought. Doors open. People are helpful. Things fall into…

Father’s Day

Being a Dad: the Top 10 Problems and Solutions By Joe Armstrong Problem No. 1: Time If you leave home before the kids are up in the morning and crawl home knackered when they’re in bed, it doesn’t take a genius to twig that time is your big problem. Tell me what you spend your…