Robbie in the crown

Friends in the North

We have had thoughts of returning to the North-East corner of Ireland for some years now, in fact our last trip in that direction was about 17 years ago when we travelled to Castlewhellan in Co Down to stay in some wonderful traditional style cottages in the Mourne Mountains. I have some friends from Co…. Read More


Talking Estuary Irish

One day earlier in the year I was in the Sheephaven Bay pub in Camden Town talking to the guvnor Pat Logue about Aisling and other things and I mentioned that the house we always stay in in Donegal would no longer be available to us this spring. Straight away Pat said, ‘you can have… Read More

The Wind at our Backs

We were in a bit of a pickle. John had come down with a strange and painful virus which had turned him into a human radiator. He had been off work for weeks and was standing in his house afraid to move and exhausted. We didn’t want to let on how worried we all were… Read More


The Wild Wild West

We were in Mulranny again for our pre-Christmas trip and it was great to be back but we were lucky to make it at all. There was torrential rain and howling winds all over the country and particularly on the Irish Sea. Before we left on the Friday evening we had called the ferry company… Read More


Dry in the sun

I thought it was going to be easy bringing a group of non drinking returnees on a holiday to Ireland. I mean, how difficult could it be? I was thinking that this was going to be a doddle and we would get to have a relaxing time by the sea-side without a care in the… Read More


Tipperary Far Away

Aisling began with a conversation between friends working with long-term Irish emigrants. We recognised that there was a hidden army of Irish people who had lost contact with home and were suffering loneliness, isolation and trauma as a result. Our big idea was to bring a group home to Ireland for a holiday. The very… Read More


Rising in the East

This year we headed for Aughrim in the south of Wicklow and scene of several stages in the Rising of 1798. On the bridge leading into the small town is a plaque dedicated to Anne Devlin, cousin of Michael Dwyer and supporter of Kevin Barry. She suffered the most horrible torture as the British forces… Read More


Heading Back to the Shore

Before this trip I got a call from Tony who used to live in Arlington House. He wanted to see me because he was unhappy in the hostel he was living in now: he was being bullied and was feeling very unsettled. I visited him in his little room where he sat sadly on his… Read More


Doolin Days

I have known Sean for over 12 years. When I first arrived at Arlington House he was one of the Irish residents who kept a low profile in the house but nevertheless had the respect of the other Irish men. He liked a drink but kept it in moderation. Like the other men, he could… Read More

Paul_Pat_Jack_John _ Jim

Contacting the Living

Henry had visited his cousin in the deep rural splendour of Leitrim last year (see Sligo Champions) when we took an excursion there from Sligo. And he had been planning a return this May while Aisling was travelling to Killybegs in Donegal. This was to be another of our regular stays in Cloghey Cottages, Fintra,… Read More