Out and About with Maria Nolan at Excited!

imageHad to share this on my blog today – so excited about this.

Short story I entered to timelesswisdomwritingcomp2018 early this year has been chosen and will be published in a Short Story Collection called Love and Loss and will be published in Ireland, the U.K., the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

How cool is that!




Out and About with Maria Nolan at The Library

Ireland`s Best Kept Secrets:

On Thursday evening 15th November I attended a fascinating talk at Enniscorthy Library about a librarian, a Nazi spy and Ireland`s secret role in turning the tide of World War 11.

Now beat that for fascinating!

Marc McMenamin teacher, author and documentary maker was at Enniscorthy Library to speak about his debut novel Codebreaker which tells with the true story of Dublin Librarian Dr. Richard Hayes described by MI5 as Ireland`s `greatest unsung hero` who cracked the Gortz Cipher – a Nazi code that had perplexed some of the greatest minds at the infamous Bletchley Park during World War 11.

Marc, a gifted storyteller introduced the library audience to a clandestine Ireland teeming with Nazi spies, Secret Agents and Codebreakers – in fact it appears that at the time Dublin was a hot bed of intrigue and espionage.

Not a lot of people know that – and McMenamin`s Codebreaker uncovers a `secret history that has remained hidden in plain view for the past 70 years.

The focus of Dr. Hayes attention was a German spy called Herman Gortz who was parachuted into Ireland in 1940, along with quite a few others it appears – one by the name of Gunther Schultz was even dropped in Wexford, near Taghmon.

Dublin became the Casablanca of the North with the IRA leadership of the day, Maurice Twomey and Sean Russell encouraging the Irish/Nazi link. Gortz was provided with safe houses and sent coded messages back to Berlin encrypted in a cipher to keep them hidden from MI5.

Hayes, a gifted mathematician and cryptographer, was given the go ahead by Taoiseach of the day, Eamon de Valera to work at cracking the cipher and intercepting messages sent by Gortz and a house in North Dublin owned by the German Embassy called Nazi House.

But because Dev and the new Irish State were eager to maintain a stance of neutrality much of Hayes work and success went unseen and certainly unannounced and until now he has been virtually unheard of in his own country.

But all that is about to change with this most intriguing tale told with passion, enthusiasm and admiration for an unassuming, mild mannered academic with an extraordinary mind.


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An Roinn Talmhaíochta, Bia agus Mara

Tá an t-eolais san ríomhphost seo, agus in aon ceangláin leis, faoi phribhléid agus faoi rún agus le h-aghaigh an seolaí amháin. D’fhéadfadh ábhar an seoladh seo bheith faoi phribhléid profisiúnta nó dlíthiúil. Mura tusa an seolaí a bhí beartaithe leis an ríomhphost seo a fháil, tá cosc air, nó aon chuid de, a úsáid, a chóipeál, nó a scaoileadh. Má tháinig sé chugat de bharr dearmad, téigh i dteagmháil leis an seoltóir agus scrios an t-ábhar ó do ríomhaire le do thoil.image

Out and About with Maria Nolan at the Wexford Literary Festival

Happy Birthday to Us:

Last weekend Enniscorthy hosted its 5th Annual Wexford Literary Festival and what an amazing birthday celebration was had, with acclaimed authors from all over Ireland and the UK converging on the town for a fantastic feast of fabulous prose, poetry, art, film and drama, making our Festival one of the most popular and most visited in the country.

The feedback from visiting writers, readers and potential writers has been phenomenal, complimenting both the Festival, the town, and the welcome they received here and pledging to return again for next year`s event.

The Festival opened with a flourish on Friday 2nd November with the introduction of a new and innovative collaboration between local authors and artists with Artists, Nadia Corrigan, Lar O`Duinn, Oonagh Latchford and Kate Tyrrell creating beautiful pieces of art in response to 4 pieces of prose by Festival Committee authors Carmel Harrington, Caroline Busher, Sheila Forsey and Shane Dunphy and the results were stunning and on display at the Presentation Art Centre.

Opening Night continued with dramatic readings by Enniscorthy Drama and Wayside Players of the final 4 plays in the Billy Roche International Short Play Award, with Wexford`s Declan Dempsey`s excellent play A Sergeant and A Gentleman being chosen as the winner by an astute panel of judges – Elizabeth Whyte, Carol Long and Andy Doyle. Declan was presented with his cheque and trophy by the man himself Billy Roche who also did the honour of officially opening the Festival.

Chairman of Enniscorthy & District Council Willie Kavanagh complimented the Festival Committee on an excellent line up of both events and distinguished authors saying that the Festival has been such an asset to the town and so beneficial to existing and aspiring authors and he wished it every success going forward.

Saturday at the Riverside Park Hotel was an oasis of literary talent with panel discussions chaired by South East Radio`s Karen Tomkins, IMG_9724IMG_9730IMG_9745IMG_9784IMG_9801IMG_9854IMG_9841IMG_9865FullSizeRenderIMG_9882IMG_9913IMG_9929IMG_9976IMG_9999IMG_9969IMG_9872beginning with The Short Story: Life at a Slant delivered very eloquently and most definitely at a slant by slightly left off centre and extremely authors Sinead Gleeson and June Caldwell, Horror & Science Fiction Masterclass with Dr. Sarah Cleary who has a PhD in Horror ( who knew anything like that even existed!), our own adorable if scary Caroline Busher and the remarkable Andrew Cartmel Script writer for Dr. Who joining us all the way from the UK.

And if we weren`t scarred enough by horror fiction the next discussion – Cracking Crime with acclaimed crime journalist Paul Williams, (whom I might add was the most charming and entertaining lunch guest) the lovely Jane Casey looking who proclaimed to be a feminist `in the gentlest non scary way` and our own Inspector Wexford – Shane Dunphy, who likes to end each novel on a cliff hanger, proved yet again that real life is often stranger, more scary and definitely more horrific.

We invited in Adele Parks from the UK who has written 18 novels in 18 years to talk to us not just about her latest novel I Invited Her In but to discuss her writing life and share her journey with us from the beginning to being published in 26 different languages.

This was Adele`s Irish debut and this blubbly, friendly, warm hearted and extraordinarily honest lady was an immediate hit with her first ever Irish audience and is already planning her return trip next year with her husband and family.

New Voices another innovative addition to our Readers & Writers Day produced some wonderfully performed and exquisitely written pieces from Sheila Forsey, Tina O`Callaghan, Mary Cotter, Stephanie Hanley Baird, \Karen McDonnell and Derek Flynn.

The inspirational trio of Wexford Literary Festival Chair and Best Selling author Carmel Harrington, Historical Fiction Best Selling author Hazel Gaynor and Best Seller and Co- Founder of the Inspiration Project Catherine Ryan Howard provided us with invaluable insights on How to write a Bestselling Novel, from beginning, middle to end.

Saturday concluded with a magical, candlelit evening at Enniscorthy Castle where the soft spoken, gentle and positively frank Liz Nugent was interviewed or should that be ginterviewed by the probing Carmel Harrington with questions on life, childhood, writing, books, and finally one from the beyond `when you arrive at the pearly gates and God is there to met you what would you like him to say?` `The Cocktail cabinet is to your right` was Liz`s quick retort. A woman after me own heart!

Sunday the iconic Athenaeum was the venue for our Awards Ceremony with Jupiter Jones from the UK claiming first prize in the Colm Toibin International Short Story Award for her entry Moth. A Joseph Black from Antrim came in 2nd Place for his entry The Price of Everything and Michael Harnett in 3rd place for his very moving tale Tell Me.

Prizes were presented by Chairman of Wexford County Council Mr. Keith Doyle, who was lavish in his praise of the Committee and the Award winners saying that the Festival has truly gone international and is most professionally organised.

Judge June Caldwell applauded the winners and the standard of writing of the entries saying that she thoroughly enjoyed reading the beautiful stories presented and commending the winner as truly outstanding.

Poetry prizes were presented by Anne Haverty the wife of the late Anthony Cronin who said Anthony would have been delighted to have his name added to the prestigious competition. Judges John Kelly and Denis Collins appraised the entries saying that the quality of the writing was top quality.

Joan Morrissey from Tipperary took first prize in the Anthony Cronin International Poetry Award for her poem Wash Day, with James Leader of the UK and Luxembourg coming in second with his entry Europe 1945 and Margaret Galvin originally from Tipperary now living in Wexford took 3rd prize for her piece Flying Pigs.

An extremely full and inspiring weekend of writing including a wonderful Children`s Book Trailer Competition at the Presentation on Saturday morning with Best Selling childrens authors E.R. Murray and Caroline Busher enthralling the young minds and hopefully instilling a love of books and reading in them.

There was certainly something for everyone at the 5th Wexford Literary Festival and most definitely cause for celebration of a very successful five years, an ever popular and growing Festival and another major attraction to the town of Enniscorthy.

So here`s to the next five!


Out and About with Maria Nolan at Bellefield GAA Ladies Medal Presentations

Ladies Presentation Night at Bellefield GAA:

Chairman Ronan Furlong ably assisted by Secretary Seamus Doyle hosted a most enjoyable Medal Presentation Ceremony for the Ladies Section of Rapparees/Starlights GAA in the Clubhouse on Sunday evening last with a very large turnout of mentors, parents and players in attendance.

Medals were presented by the clubs County hurlers Liam Ryan and Kevin Foley, who were thanked profusely by Seamus Doyle for getting back in time from a County training session and match at Portlaoise to do the honours.

It was a successful year for the girls, doing well in both Camogie and Ladies Football, the highlight of course being the County Final title at U/16 in Camogie and U/12 Ladies Football.

There were also 3 special awards at each grade, Most Improved Player, Team Player of the Year and Player of the Year.

Good to see this tradition of rewarding excellence and effort maintained by the Ladies Section and it was smiles all round as the girls received their trophies from Liam and Kevin.

Ronan Furlong said it was great to see both the work and the success in 2018 with all teams progressing well and competing well at every age group. He looked forward to more of the same in 2019 and thanked all mentors, parents and all who assisted in any way in 2018 encouraging others to come forward and offer their help for the new season.

`All are welcome` he said `we need everyone in the Ladies Section both on and off the field`.


Out and About with Maria Nolan @ Sive


A Most Successful Sive

Sive the John B Keane classic is currently enjoying a most successful run at the Presentation Art Centre, Enniscorthy under the creative and inspiring guidance of Director Jimmy Kavanagh and the talented Cast and Crew of Blackstairs Mountain Theatre.

Not a play I am particularly fond of I have to say telling of a tragic time in Ireland when poverty was the only evil and money, land and financial security the only true Gods.

Sive, sympathetically portrayed by Ellen O Gorman is a young girl on the brink of womanhood about to be sold off in wedlock to a man many years her senior, cleverly understated by Myles Mulally as Sean Dota, by her distraught and mentally torn Uncle and conniving and penny pinching Aunt Mena played expertly by Peter Canning and the lovely Julie Fox who both bring so much energy, passion and anger to these two roles. My compliments to both actors for the fantastic job they’ve done on the more violent and explosive scenes. Often when actors are in the zone of violence, anger and temper something gets lost in their diction but every word from these two was perfectly delivered and heard. Remind me never to cross Julie Fox – a formidable lady when roused.

Madeline Breen plays the sometimes cantankerous and sometimes pitiful grandmother, mother and mother in law, with a good performance making you love and hate her all at the same time.

Anthony Finn is perfectly cast in the role of the young lover Liam Scuab his youth, blond curls and good looks a stark contrast to the twisted, old Sean Dota.

The travelling tinkers Pat Bocock and daughter Carthalan bring colour, life, vibrancy and an element of fun to this otherwise tragic tale as they burst on stage with vigour and outrageousness.

But the best shall be last and in truth John O Gorman as the desperate, manipulative Matchmaker Thomasheen Sean Rua commands centre stage with a portrayal of the John B Keane traditional Irish character that l’m sure would delight the man himself. His movements around stage, his facial expressions, his body behaviour and his crisp, clear delivery display his total understanding of the part and the character and give this classic its wit, wile, humour and vile all in one.
John O Gorman you were outstanding.

All in all a most enjoyable evenings entertainment and a well presented, well directed, well performed and extremely well received Production.

Sent from my iPad

Out and About with Maria Nolan @ Hope & Dream Launch 2019

Hope & Dream 2019 Goes Live:

Hope & Dream 2019 went live last night as the 2019 Red & White Tee Shirt was launched at Enniscorthy Credit Union Buildings, Abbey Square, Enniscorthy.

Organiser and MC Michael Jordan said that 2018 had been a huge success with approximately 2,244 participants and realising €145,120 bringing the overall total to €974,034 since Hope & Dream began.

Michael thanked the 250 volunteers that work diligently every year to make the event happen guaranteeing that `every penny raised goes to the charities involved`. Michael went on to say that the Board of Hope has again decided to work with Hospice for 2019 because of the wonderful work they do and he was lavish in his praise of sponsors Enniscorthy Credit Union and media partners South East Radio and People Newspapers thanking Editor Darragh Clifford and Padraig Byrne who have pledged 14 weeks of coverage in the run up to next year`s event.

Editor of Enniscorthy Guardian Darragh Clifford said that events such as Hope and Dream do so much on so many levels and need to be championed at every opportunity encouraging people of all ages to come together developing community spirit, supporting a great cause and creating an uplifting experience for all who participate. `People Newspapers are delighted to be associated with it and will begin weekly coverage the first of January`.

Liam Waters, Enniscorthy Credit Union confirmed sponsorship for 2019 quoting the Credit Union motto `Together we`re stronger` saying that the proof of that pudding is definitely apparent in Hope & Dream which has continued to grow each year with participation now from all corners of the county from Mount Leinster to Rosslare Harbour very much the same as the Credit Union membership.

Eamonn Mernagh thanked everyone on behalf of Hospice for including them once again in Hope & Dream and looked forward to working on the 2019 event to make it the best yet.

Una Doherty Chairperson of Hope complimented the Organising Committee and the people of Wexford for their continued and outstanding support quoting the Hope & Dream motto `If we do nothing, nothing will happen – and there`s no fear of that happening in Enniscorthy with the generosity of its people both with time and money, so it`s onwards and upwards for 2019 ` Una said.

Hope & Dream 2019 is now live so don’t delay go online and register and let`s make 2019 the biggest and best to date.


Out and About with Maria Nolan at Coiste na nOg AGM 2018

imageimageimageRespect The Children:

`Respect and safeguarding the welfare of our children` was the big message coming from Coiste na nOg AGM 2018 with Guest Speaker National Childrens Office Gearoid O`Mulvihill stressing the importance of controlling parents and mentors at our underage games.

`As an Association we can`t afford to have lunatics on our sidelines `he said `our games must be about enjoyment, where`s the fun in a child being berated from the sideline by either parent or mentor or both. This is only doing yourself, the child, the team and the club no good at all`.

`A noisy parent leads to a noisy child` Gearoid went on `a respectful club is a happy club and the onus is on the club to take responsibility for the people they appoint to underage teams. The problem is not with the children the problem is with the adults and we must change their mind sets or give them another job in the club`.

`The expectations that parents and mentors have of our children must be handled and a positive approach must be taken to get all to adhere to acceptable, good behaviour. We must adopt a policy of constant positive coaching, encourage our children to shake hands at the end of every game, welcome the Referee into our club and on to our pitches and show example to our children that the Ref is a friend not an enemy and should be treated accordingly.`

Gearoid suggested an Open Night at the beginning of each season for team, mentors and parents outlining exactly what the club expected of them at games and training sessions with a penalty for anyone not adhering to it.

Coiste Chairperson Marguerite Furlong thanked Gearoid for his excellent presentation asking all to be mindful of the welfare of our children in 2019. She paid tribute to her Committee and to Childrens Officer Des Croke who made a presentation to Gearoid. She thanked everyone involved with underage, clubs, referees, County Chairman Derek Kent and outgoing Secretary Margaret Doyle and a presentation was made to Margaret in appreciation of all her work on behalf of Wexford GAA.

Marguerite read a lovely poem by local poet, songwriter and author Michael Fortune titled `We Are Wexford` to remind us all to be positive and know who we are and why we do what we do.

Chairman Derek Kent thanked Main Sponsor People newspapers for their very generous sponsorship of Wexford underage and a framed photograph of each of the winning teams in 2018 was presented by People representatives Brendan Furlong and PJ Banville to the clubs.

St. Martins was awarded Underage Club of the Year Award with 6 clubs in Joint Second Place – Shelmaliers, Oylegate/Glenbrien, Taghmon, Glynn/Barntown, Naomh Eanna and Lady`s Island. Jack O`Brien received Club Person of the Year Award and Luke Roche was acknowledged as Feile winner 2018.

Only one Motion was carried on the night proposed by Glynn/Barntown and seconded by Castletown `Both hurling and football U/13 games shorten from 30 minutes per half to 25 minutes, total of 50 minutes excluding extra time in knock out stages`

The evening ended with new County Secretary Gearoid Devitt introducing himself to delegates after which tea, coffee and mince pies were served.imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimage


Tá an t-eoi dteagmháil leis an seoltóir agus scr le do thoil.

Out and About at the Christmas Tree Festival at St. Mary`s.

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree:

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree how lovely are thy branches – and all the branches are beautiful at this year` s Christmas Tree Festival at St. Mary`s Church, Enniscorthy which opened to the public last evening and is scheduled to run until Sunday 9th December.

The Christmas Tree Festival is now in its third year and tells the story of Christmas and the story of the Enniscorthy community through the medium and wonder of the Christmas tree.

With over 40 contributors from all walks of Enniscorthy life including Schools, cafes, community groups,and  local businesses pulling out all the stops marrying nature, tradition and Christmas with creativity, imagination and community to produce beauty and magic.

Such a lovely tradition bringing the entire community together in a celebration of Christmas as well as raising funds for St. Vincent de Paul and St. Marys Church Fund.

A stunningly beautiful event and a unique Festival part of the gift of Christmas at Enniscorthy .- dont miss it and dont forget to leave your own unique message on the tannenbaum at the back of the Church.

Well done St. Marys and Rev. Nicola Halford.



Out and About with Maria Nolan at the last Penny Bank

The End of an Era:

What has annually been a most cheerful and festive experience for the past 60 years in Enniscorthy was tinged with sadness, resentment and regret as St. Patrick`s Penny Bank paid out it`s final Christmas cheques at the IFA Centre last night.

Many traditional Christmas savers were almost in tears as they collected their last Penny Bank cheques with all expressing the sentiment that it was a disgraceful situation being forced on them after so many years of diligent and meticulous saving.

St. Patrick`s Penny Bank was established in 1958 under the auspices of Fr. Tony Scallan and has been growing every year since and has if you like become a victim of its own success.

`This year we have 1200 members and savings of 1.4 million ` Committee member Jim Kearney told me `and at it`s peak the Penny Bank would have had a membership of 2,500 and 1.7 million in savings`.

`It is so sad to see it go` fellow Committee member Phil Kearney said ` as it was more than a savings club – it was a social outlet for many, many people, with collectors calling to homes on a regular basis for the weekly savings and those collectors meeting and mingling with each other and the Committee every Friday night. Many people will miss it and not just for the Christmas financial security it offered, they will be at a loss for something to do and people to meet on Friday nights`.

Phil went on to thank everyone involved over the 60 years `saying that the Committee are devastated and will miss it as much if not more than everyone else` . A presentation was made of the original saving box to the Murphy sisters in memory of their late father who a member of the original Penny Bank Committee.

As savers enjoyed tea, coffee and delicious treats so many said how much they were going to miss Penny Bank and were currently exploring the very limited ways now of `saving the few bob for Christmas`.

But whatever new savings schemes they may come across all were of the opinion that Friday nights would never be the same again and nothing will ever replace St. Patrick`s Penny Bank which was in the town, of the town and for the town and a friend of its people in the best of times and the worse of times.IMG_6865IMG_6856IMG_6859IMG_6857IMG_6858IMG_6860IMG_6861IMG_6863IMG_6864

Out and About with Maria Nolan at Civic Reception

Highest Honour for Wexford Greats:

Wexford County Council bestowed its highest honour on Wexford GAA Greats hosting a Civic Reception last night at Council Buildings for All Ireland winning teams of 1968.

Members of the Camogie and Minor and Senior hurling teams were welcomed by MC Gerry Forde before introducing Wexford County Council Chairman Keith Doyle who being a staunch GAA supporter and Umpire said that he was delighted as County Chairman to have the honour of recognising and acknowledging the achievements of these outstanding teams on the 50th Anniversary of their All Ireland success.

Chairman of County Board Derek Kent thanked Keith and Wexford County Council for honouring Wexford GAA and the 1968 teams and applauded all three teams on their accomplishments.

Teresa Shiel accepted the Presentation on behalf of the Camogie team, displaying her All Ireland medal around her neck she thanked 88 year old Eileen O`Brien for keeping camogie going in the county for many years saying that back in 1968 things were very different for camogie teams they had no dressingrooms, no toilets and no money.

Tom Byrne, Captain of the Minor hurlers said that he remembered the noise level on the day in Croke Park causing the hairs to stand on the back of him neck – with the two Wexford teams playing he said the atmosphere was electrifying. `Things were very different back then too in Coke Park` Tom remarked `the Minors didn’t even have seats for the Senior game and were told they could sit on the steps in the aisles. I held the Irish Press Cup between my legs for the entire Senior game`.

Dan Quigley Senior Captain on that day back in `68 had his own memories of the dressingroom at half time and Jack Berry`s goal just before the half time whistle putting a slightly better complexion on a dismal first half performance. When asked about training and steak dinners he replied ` our training was mostly just hurling and we were lucky to get Bill Peare`s sandwiches afterwards`.

A presentation was made to each member of the three teams including selectors and everyone was treated to clips from the games courtesy of Ed Rowsome and rousing renditions of Cu Chulainn`s Son and Boolavogue from well known GAA supporter and talented vocalist George Lawlor.

It was an honour for me to be present with my mam Maeve Doyle in memory of my late father Martin Doyle who was a selector with the Minor team along with Michael Murphy, Pat Murphy and Dominic Murphy and I would personally like to thank Chairman Keith Doyle and Wexford County Council for organising the memorable event.IMG_6816IMG_6790IMG_6792IMG_6793IMG_6806IMG_6809IMG_6810IMG_6812IMG_6821IMG_6822IMG_6819