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A Kind of List

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Kindness is like sprouts and silence – underrated. You rarely see it promoted in laws or tested in exams. It fails to reach the Hollywood heights of beauty, brains, courage and wealth. It’s not a gift bestowed on Sleeping Beauty at her christening. And the frog wins his kiss through guilt not generosity. Why is […]

Telling Tales

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Doing the rounds of Children’s Book Festival this month is a reminder of the joy, comfort, escape and pure wild fun that books can bring at any age. But there are always a few children who say they don’t like reading. I hugely admire their courage and honesty in admitting that in front of teachers, […]

Wonder weaving in Gort

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How much do local legends shape a place? If Gort in South Galway is anything to go by, a lot. The legacy of King Guaire lives on in both the magazine named after the 7th century ruler of Connaught and the minds of his young Gort descendants. To celebrate its 40th anniversary next year, Guaire […]

Blown away by books in the west

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A brilliant day launching Children’s Book Festival in Clifden and Inisbofin. http://www.familyfun.ie/the-childrens-book-festival/ They’re avid young readers in Clifden, spurred on by their book-loving teacher fresh from the 40th Clifden Arts festival. Then across the very choppy sea (even the captain said rough) to beautiful Inisbofin to launch the first ever One Book, One Island month, […]

Raising the flags

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Check out the new United Nations at dlr LexIcon. Flags created by primary school children during our Nation Creation workshops in June are now hanging proud, thanks to Deborah von Metzradt who created this wonderful wall hanging in record time for Culture Night. The Nation Creation workshops, designed and run by the Irish section of […]

Secret Service

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Thank you, old man who picks up litter round our part of the village. You’ve taught me more about caring for the planet than any scary statistics, shouty politicians or noble environmentalists. I used to think litter-pickers were fuddy-duddy, finger-pointing fusspots with marker pens up their bottoms. But this small man’s big heart spills all over […]

Nation Creation on RTE

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Lots of fun this week creating nations with RTE’s News2day. New countries included Dolphin Island, where everyone owns a dolphin from the age of 12, to Siciliene where an underwater tunnel gives safe passage to refugees arriving on the island. See the RTE New2day report, 4 minutes into the link:   http://www.rte.ie/player/ie/show/news2day-30001385/10730844/#_=_ The Nation Creation workshops have […]

Creative righting

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One of the best things about running writing workshops is watching young imaginations slice through status, stick out their tongues at competition and kick privilege in the butt. In the last couple of months, I’ve worked with children in one of Ireland’s most expensive schools; a direct provision centre; a hospital, and libraries in different […]

Take Heart

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The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season! Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason. It could be his head wasn’t screwed on just right. It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight. But I think that the most likely reason of all, May have been that his heart […]

Super-scribes

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Hooray for the heroes of Clondalkin! Once a week for the last four months I’ve been working with nine wonderful children in direct provision to write their ‘Handbook of Heroes.’ They’ve worked so hard, imagining themselves as superheroes, inventing superschools and superpets, writing about their real-life heroes and, best of all, deciding how they will be […]