Friday, October 17, 2014


Hello Blog! Hello Blogosphere!

The long Summer lead me to a long absence from this place. 
Now, rooted in the deep seeded Autumn I return. 

Maybe there will be words of my Summer adventures 
or words of my Autumn journeys in the deep places where Winter awaits. 

Maybe there will just a photographs and words that work together, 
complimenting and contradicting each other to bring out each others best.

Maybe I will just reflect and share, as is the essence of the Autumn/Winter season.

I am back, whatever that holds, and I look forward to interacting with everyone who has stopped by here before and hopes to meeting new people along the journey.

..........sinking deep into the Autumn.......

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Prawn Tales ~ Storytelling Festival IS TODAY!

There is a fantastic buzz in the house this morning as we prepare to put on 
Prawn Tales Storytelling Festival.
It will be one whole day of Stories with something for everyone!

Sea Speak Junior Storytelling Club for Kids is doing
Shrimps at 2-3pm at The Little Shop of Books on Harbour Road, Howth

Join us in Fishing for Stories from 4ish-5ish
all around the Pier, where the fish are you'll find the Storytellers 
Try to catch a Story!

Sea Speak Storytelling is dishing up
King Prawns from 7:30-9:30pm up at Kruger's Pub, Main St.
(across from the Church) Howth

Butterflies stirred and fluttered last week when I opened up the 
Official Dublin Bay Prawn Festival Brochure 
only to find our contribution with full listings for 
The Sea Speak Projects Prawn Tales Storytelling Festival!!!
A broad smile came over my face that was impossible to erase!

Even our little Lorcan the Lamb is on board.......

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Prawn Tales Storytelling Festival ~ 26th April

It's The Sea Speak Storytelling's First Storytelling Festival!
We're over the moon and full of excitement.

Saturday 26th April we'll be serving up some "Prawn Tales" alongside the very popular Dublin Bay Prawn Festival with 3 sessions in 3 locations and yarns being spun by our Sea Speak Storytellers:
Daria Marie Walsh
Paul H. Tubb
Brendan Nolan
Joe Govan

Dishing up starts at 2pm with 'Shrimps'
Sea Speak Junior at The Little Shop of Books, Harbour Road, Howth

Then we go 'Fishing for Stories' from 4ish-5ish
 Pierside, wherever you find the fish you'll find the Stories, 
or at least the Storytellers ~ Go Fishing for Stories! 
Find one of our Storytellers and try to catch a Story.

Next we're up the hill to Kruger's Pub, home of Sea Speak Storytelling,
 for 'King Prawns' 7:30-9:30pm


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

"It started in Ringsend"

I have a treasure box. One in which I keep some of my most precious tokens and special things. As an Artist, working as a Storyteller, Writer and Photographer my view of what is and isn't precious may be a bit different to that of others. You'll find no diamonds or pearls, no sapphires, rubies or emeralds in my treasure box. You'll not find any money, nor silver or gold. You will, however, find things that I believe to be far more precious. You will find gifts, tokens, notes from people I have worked with, people who have viewed or purchased my Photographs, people who have listened to my Stories, people I have taught and talked to, people who have seen the beauty in the things I have created and gave something in return, something from the heart.

It all started in Ringsend. Prior to that I kept these treasures amongst other things. However the happenings one sunny Autumn day in Ringsend Library would forever change the way I preserved these treasures. I was Storytelling as part of the Childrens Books Ireland Festival in Ringsend Library, Dublin. It was a spectacular Autumn day. Brightest of blue skies, fresh crisp autumn air, even a few fallen leaves to crunch under foot. This is the day which I stood before a large class of girls and told the Tales of Lorcan the Lamb and Saoirse the Fairy.

Storytelling is a special art. If done correctly it creates a symbiotic resonance between The Teller and The Listener(s). This was such a special occasion. I remember having a sense of something 'other worldly' in the large room, specifically to my right up near the windows. Perhaps I too was about to be swept away in the Story. Just having finished the part in the Story where Saoirse creates the rainbow for Lorcan, two small girls in the front row and to my left began quietly murmuring to each other and looking carefully at each others hands. "Miss", they said, "I think Saoirse the Fairy is here." I will never forget this moment. They both stuck out their hands, holding them up high and stretching out their fingers as they slowly stood and walked up towards me. "Look. It came from under there. Under our chairs." "What is it"? I said "Look all this glitter. It must be Saoirse the Fairy." I looked at their tiny hands to see that they were, in fact, covered with glitter. Suddenly, the girls started to gather around to confirm whether or not glitter had magically appeared underneath the chairs. They were every convinced by the evidence. The Teachers stepped in to usher them all back to their seats. Many hands went up with questions about Saoirse. I answered all their questions. Quietly, one of the 'glitter girls' rose and came to me. Holding out her hand she said, "Can I give you  this? Please, it's for Saoirse." It was a small piece of blue wool yarn and a few specks of glitter. "Yes, of course you can." She smiled saying "Tell Saoirse Thank You for coming" as she gave me the wool and glitter, which I promptly placed into the Saoirse's pink bag. When I looked up the girls had smoothly formed into a long que waiting their turns to make offerings and give gifts to Saoirse. I received many strings of blue and other colour wool that day, some glitter, some felt and other little bits and a few small bits of broken crayon for "making colours", the little girls said shyly. At the end of it all I had one pink bag filled with little offerings.

We got back to the Stories. As the girls left I had many "thank you's", as did Saoirse, many hugs, as did Lorcan and many wonderful comments from the pleased Teachers. Most amazing to me was my discussion with the Librarian following the Storytelling in which she divulged the following information:
She did not know where the glitter had come from, as there had been no arts & crafts there in well over a week, after which the had been taken down and rearranged and thoroughly cleaned at least three times for the other engagements. Additionally, the girls had nothing with them from which they might 'place' the glitter.

Perhaps a mystery, perhaps not. I do believe in magic and I do believe that Storytelling can create a magical atmosphere. And, YES, I do believe that Saoirse the Fairy was there that day with us.

Later that night I left all these things, the pink bag and all it's contents, out on the front room table. There was blank card paper there, as I had been making cards. When I awoke the next morning I found this on the table:

This now sits safely in my Treasure Box. Knowing the Story, I'm sure you will agree it truly is a Treasure.
It lives in my Treasure box with other special things. Among the more recent additions are: a beautiful diamond-like ball given to me by Allanah to help me when I get writers block (Allanah was in my Creative Writing Class and the School Completion Program Writers Group at St. Louise's Primary School), two delicate flowers one very thoughtful boy, from St. Louise's Primary School, picked for Lorcan the Lamb and a very bright and colourful bracelet one girl gave to me to give to Saoirse the Fairy after my Storytelling at Ballyfermot Library on International Children's Book Day.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

"Exchanging champagne for coffee and tea in a pink limousine"

If I go missing after next Thursday, you might begin your search by looking in pink stretch limousines.

The Girls from my Writer's Group, in protest at the news this week that our Writer's Group will be coming to an end for this school year, have notified me that they will be kidnapping me in order to continue Writer's Group; so wonderful has been their experience. Am I alarmed? Absolutely NOT. In fact, this is not the first mention of a kidnapping. The scheme was first hatched at the ending of our first six weeks together. Luckily, my contract was renewed and our Writer's Group extended. The kidnapping scheme have evolved from it's first, near miss of a necessity. It began with a simple car filled with cozy blankets and pillows, evolving with each threat of an end to Writer's Group. Next I was upgraded to a caravan.

After being with my Girls since October of 2013, they have graciously upgraded me to fantastic captivity, in extra Girly Writers Style. I have been promised a "very non-scary capture", followed by luxury captivity in an extra long, pink, stretch limousine, with sparkles on the sides. Towards the back a cozy sleeping area with lots of blankets and pillows, with one girl even offering her One Direction blanket; which any of you will surely know is a treasured and extra warm commodity. One wall will house a multitude of books and all the notebooks/journals and pencils and pens in all colours (including sparkly ones) that I could ever need. I will have at my disposal, I am informed, any food I want. I was told I would have a grand supply of champagne as well. However, after I thanked the girls for the offer of champagne, I did have to ask if I could please make an exchange of the champagne for a supply of coffee and teas - as champagne can make you "a bit loopy and so not really the best for writing". The girls agree saying, "ah, yes, good point"! I am informed that my Husband can come and stay with me, because the girls "don't want me to be sad for missing him."

As I prepare myself for the last meeting of The Writer's Group this school year I would be lying if I did not mention how truly sad I am at the ending of this project. But, as I told the girls last week when the bad news was revealed, "don't be sad because it's over, be happy because we had the chance to do all of this." I am sad, but I am far more happy. Happy that I was given this opportunity. It's not every Writer that gets to do this. Happy that I had the chance to work at such an incredible school and with such dedicated and talented Staff. Happy that I made new friends. Happy that I learned so very, very much during this experience. Happy that I had the opportunity to work with such AMAZING GIRLS!! Happy that I was invited into the classrooms to Teach. Just face-breaking-smile HAPPY! Because, when good things happen, you have to embrace them and cherish them and be happy while they last.

Exciting new things are already in the pipeline and will no doubt keep my mind occupied and hands busy. Only two weeks after finishing up Writer's Group I will be Launching Sea Speak Storytelling's first ever Storytelling Festival. It will be one, wonderful day full of Stories for all ages! Other projects are inked into my Diary for the next few months, including (as a teaser) my return to The Irish Redhead Convention 2014 in August.

So, it's a busy spring/summer I've ahead of me. It's only a good thing that I'll be writing and planning out of the comforts of my, soon to be, captivity in that sparkly stretch pink limousine......sipping coffee, of course!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

"An UNhappy Mother's Day"

We are sometimes as if covered and suffocating in cement. 
Being pulled and dragged down into depths unknown. 

We are sometimes as if wearing masks.
Masks of perfect form and detail, but lacking in expression.

We are sometimes as if alive, our shell being so life-like.
Yet it is but a shell, eyes closed, mouth closed, nose barely breathing - barely living.

We are sometimes as if gray.
Life existing without colour.

Ten years ago I found myself wishing for an unhappy Mother's Day, wishing for any kind of a Mother's Day. I had survived a nine week whirlwind which took me from Bride to pregnant with Twins, to losing one baby, then weeks later losing the second baby and a few weeks later surrounded by the throws of Mother's Day in a land which worships The Mammy. 

I wished for unhappiness because that would have been so superior to the pain that was ripping my heart into shreds. It had all happened too fast. It had collided with disastrous outcome into a day celebrating the things, the Beings, I had just lost. They were not with me, and I not with them. They were not who they should have been, alive and growing and strong. I was not who I should have been, incubator, nest, Mammy. 

Everywhere I looked there was happiness, gorgeous smiles, hearts bursting out of beaming  faces, arms embracing, eyes so full of love and adoration that you could feel it by looking into them, flowers of every colour, best dresses, little suits, round protruding bellies, hands held, bizarrely beautiful handmade cards with inscriptions and drawings only a Mother could understand, bright beautiful colours exploding everywhere you looked. 

There we were. Pain so intense words escape. Gray, colourless mounds of hurt. Hearts ripped open.

Ten year anniversaries bring a rip in the heart, when that anniversary is not a fond one. When that anniversary commemorates a pain, a death, a loss, then it can be nothing less than a reliving of that first heart-shred. Your mind and heart meld together to touch into the past and in doing so, my mind, does not just take in today, or ten years ago, but eight years ago as well. February and March took my three babies from me. 

I have always thought Mother's Day at the end of March a particularly cruel joke.
A day which, from ten years ago onward, became day for which my aim has simply been to survive. 
Mother's Day in Ireland has never been far enough removed from the loss of my babies for me to have been able to digest it. It's never been a cause for celebration for me. It has only been a call for survival.

To all the Mother's who never held their babies or felt their breath on their skin, but who knew and loved those babies from day one, know that this too is YOUR DAY. It's just a little bit different to the rest. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Sea Speak Junior Storytelling Club for Kids ~ March Storytelling Session

Saturday 22nd March
At The Little Shop of Books
Harbour Road, Howth

It's no longer Wolrd Storytelling Day, but we Sea Speakers just love any opportunity to CELELBRATE Storytelling. Come along and join Storytellers Daria Marie Walsh and her friend Lorcan the Lamb for an afternoon of Storytelling with Sea Speak Junior. 

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

"Meet Me Under the Clock at Clerys" - Dublin World Storytelling Event

World Storytelling Day ~ Thursday 20th March 2014

World Storytelling Day is Thursday 20th March and Sea Speak Storytellers are JOINING Storytellers of Ireland, and other Dublin Storytellers and Dublin Storytelling Clubs to bring you a CELEBRATION of Storytelling in the iconic setting of The Tea Rooms at Clerys!

JOIN US for “Meet Me Under the Clock at Clerys”
Thursday 20th March
The Tea Rooms
O’Connell Street


We offer you a fantastic LINE-UP for the Evening:
MC – Daria Marie Walsh
Daria Marie Walsh
Catherine Brophy
Brendan Nolan
Jack Lynch
Nuala Hayes 

Because Storytelling is Wonderful....
Because Storytelling is Important....

As Committee Member of Storytellers of Ireland, Sea Speak Storytelling Founder, Daria Marie Walsh, prompted the participation in the worldwide celebration of this precious and ancient Art of Storytelling, encouraging Storytellers and Storytelling Clubs to organize special events for the day; herself organizing for Dublin. 

Additionally, we WELCOME to the Dublin Events Listing:

St Joseph's Junior School Ballymun, Dublin 

Storytelling with Storyteller Aideen McBride from
11am - 2pm (But not open to public) 

St. Louise's Primary School, Ballyfermot, Dublin 
(This is a Closed Event)
Storyteller Daria Marie Walsh will be Storytelling throughout the day in The Hall and Classrooms and after school Writers Group. Additionally, students in the School Completion Program – Writers Group have been practicing and will JOIN Daria to Tell their own Tales as well!
It promises to be a GREAT DAY in Ballyfermot!

Today Ireland JOINS the World Storytelling Day Celebrations for the first time.

' World Storytelling Day'  ~ Thursday 20th March 2014

World Storytelling Day is and is our All-Island Events Listing!

It's going to be GREAT!

JOIN the CELEBRATION: Contact Daria Marie Walsh - Narrative and Visual Art through FaceBook, this Page or at to GET INVOLVED

Because Storytelling is Wonderful....
Because Storytelling is Important....



St. Louise's Primary School, Ballyfermot, Dublin 
Storytelling with Storyteller Daria Marie Walsh, joined by Members of the S.C.P. Writer's Group. Telling two sessions in the Auditorium (private); and Storytelling in the Classrooms.

St Joseph's Junior School Ballymun, Dublin 
Storytelling with Storyteller Aideen McBride from
11am - 2pm (But not open to public) 

“Meet Me Under the Clock at Clerys"
Dublin World Storytelling Day Show - A coming together of Dublin Storytellers and Dublin Storytelling Groups 
At The Tea Rooms in 
Clerys, Dublin O’Connell St., Dublin 
6:30-8:00pm FREE
MC – Daria Marie Walsh
Daria Marie Walsh
Catherine Brophy
Brendan Nolan
Jack Lynch
Nuala Hayes


Tullycarnet Yarnspinners
Featuring Storyteller Liz Weir 
Tullycarnet Library, Kinroos Avenue, Dundonald, Belfast at 8pm.

The Playhouse Theatre
5-7 Artillery St., Derry / Londonderry

Storytellers of Ireland and The Playhouse present 
"World Storytelling Day" 
At The Thatched Cottage, The Craft Village
Thursday 20th March 8pm FREE
Storytellers of Ireland present a unique evening event as part of a province wide celebration of World Storytelling Day.
10 Storytellers from across Ireland tell their own unique 10 minute tale.
Kate Murphy 
Nandi Jola
Joe Brennan
Frances Quinn 
Doreen McBride 
Declan Forde
Bernadette Layden
Patsy Devine
Madeline McCully
Danny Aughey 


Moth & Butterfly
A Monthly Night of Storytelling and Improvisation
Wednesday 19th of March 2014
Upstairs @ Ard Bia, Spanish Arch, Galway
Doors at 8PM - Admission €5 - tickets on the door
The Theme for March is: 'Bright and Beautiful'

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

"Word Day"

Wednesday, 15th January

Dear Diary,

Today was about brain-work, about making plans, playing with ideas and daydreaming. Tomorrow will be about word-work.

Yes, Thursday 16th is going to be a Word Day from start to finish. Tomorrow I'll be Teaching, Facilitating my Writer's Group and Storytelling at the first Session of the new year for my monthly Storytelling Night 'Sea Speak Storytelling'. Tomorrow is going to be a big day! I am delighted to be back Teaching Creative Writing again this term. Yesterday I finished up with 6th Class. Tomorrow I begin new course work with 4th Class which will expand on our lesson from last term. I am full of enthusiasm for the lesson plan and for working with the Girls of 4th Class and their wonderful Teacher. These are a particularly creative set of minds and I'm a lucky lady to get to spend time in their classroom.

My mind races at a mile a minute tonight. Teaching, Writer's Group and Sea Speak Storytelling mean the words will flow all day. The ideas will be mighty! As will be the craic. I simply can not wait to see my Writer's Group Girls again. The Girls were insistent that I return to Facilitate Writer's Group this term so much so that, in the event that I did not return, that had devised a plan to kidnap me and keep me as their own!! Kidnap you say!! I was not alarmed. The Girls were very thoughtful in their plan. They asked me what kind of vehicle I would like for comfort (that's where they were going to keep me, if the School denied them) assuring me that I would have all the blankets and pillows they could secure, books, notepads for writing, a small light and hot beverages. They even had plans to try to secure a caravan if possible. Now, I ask you, how could I be scared? Really, I could not be anything but heart-meltingly honored. So, in the end they were not denied and did not have to go to the trouble of kidnapping me, keeping me warm and well stocked with blankets, pillows, books and notepads. When I told them that I would be back this term they broke out in a screeching scream and encircled me, all hugging me at the same time; no doubt partially because this would save them the hassle of having to execute the Kidnapping Plan. I think we gave a brand new meaning to group-hug that day. They spontaneously stopped the hugging and, as if in one mind, broke out into song and dance. Two of my Girls put their arms in front of them and started bouncing in that all too familiar 'Gangnam Style' way.
You know the one, by Psy:
Except they had converted it to, well, Me. It was "Daria Style", complete with the hand gestures of someone writing!!!! Seriously, they did the whole song......"Whoop, whoop, Daria Style". Does it get any cooler????
I think not!! We laughed and had a great last session together. That very same day we also filmed, with the help of Anita and Lynda, our message to the Children at Temple Street Childrens Hospital in Dublin.

As creative, talented, fun, funny and fantastic these girls are, they are also that kind-hearted. Our project last term was to write Christmas stories for the children at Temple Street Childrens Hospital that would be too sick to go home at Christmastime and have to remain there. I pitched this idea to the girls on the first day. I thought I might have to 'sell-it'. I was wrong. No hard sell, no sell at all. I simply explained my idea to the girls and they overwhelming agreed and felt they wanted to do something for the children to let them know someone was thinking about them. The kindness just poured out from them. We made our plan to have a set of Stories ready for delivery at Christmastime. What I never bargained on was the sheer commitment of the Girls. By the time I made my delivery to Temple Street I quite literally had a Bag Full of Stories! I had typed up all of the Girls Stories and individually packaged them in envelopes with messages and sparkly stickers on each. The idea being that each child get their own Story-Present. I also put all of the Stories into a Storybook and presented that as well. The Storybook would be for all to share in the Playroom, giving the children the chance to read the other Stories on offer, and allowing the Staff and Parents and Siblings and chance to have a read too. And what was our final delivery you may ask? I delivered that day 6 Gorgeous Drawings and 18 Fantastic Stories!!!! I might add this was all accomplished in just six weeks! These Ladies are a most talented and kind bunch and I'd say one's to watch for sure! Now, that's what I call REAL Girl Power!!! Here's a little peak at the delivery.

"Brightness on a grey day"

Tuesday, 14th January

Dear Diary,

Today I started back at school. Like the first day of school when I was a child, like my first day of Teaching, so too was today a swarm of excitement and nerves. I woke early and happy. My mood did not fit that of Mother Nature's. She seemed quite down and eager to share her fowl mood by casting the sky a bleak grey, adding a touch of cold winters rain for good measure. I boarded the DART with a stomach full of butterflies, reviewing my lesson plan in my head, making mental notes of the older age of today's class.

I followed my usual route from my Howth home to my Ballyfermot School of walk, DART, walk, Bus and walk again. I know the Bus Drivers now and had a lovely chat when I boarded, this time with the very chipper Bus Driver who always charges me a 'special' "Just for you today, because you're so lovely with that gorgeous red hair." He says as he smiles and charges me the same fare as everyone else. He's an awful flirt who could put a smile to anyone's face. If he can't, I'd say it's your problem.

I entered the school with a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils in my head ready to teach Creative Writing to 6th Class. I popped in to the S.C.P. Department to say "hello" to my co-worker friends and have a quick chat before class. We had so many laughs in such a short time, hugs and happiness to be back was I. Up the stairs and I made my way to my class, down the long hall, passing a group of students moving from one room to another with Teacher. I had a lovely chat with the Teacher, who's class I'll be teaching Creative Writing to from Thursday. One girl, from my Writer's Group, was waving enthusiastically and I waved back to her. The girls were busy querying me as to where I was headed. She popped right up to me, saying she was so happy to see me back and could not wait for Writer's Group on Thursday. Then she spontaneously gave me the biggest, warmest hug! She looked up at me with a face splitting smile and added, "You'll be Teaching my class today, so don't start till I get back!"

Class started and we quickly got down to the business of exploring the foundation of all good writing, the difference between hard Journalism and Creative Writing, exploring the spectrum from fact to fiction and answering those six important questions: Who, What, Where, When, Why and How? Then, as a class, we brainstormed and built Stories! The Girls of 6th Class had wildly fantastic answers to the above questions. They were imaginative, insightful, creative, poignant and funny!

When I left the school, it was still grey outside and the icy rain continued to fall.
But all I could see were RAINBOWS!

Monday, January 13, 2014

"Lorcan the Lamb on Belleek"

Who would have imagined such a thing? 
But there it was Christmas morning, the gift I could have never imagined. 

My Husband was nearly at bursting point by the time Christmas morning arrived. He handed me a large package, his hands shaking with excitement. I tore open the beautiful wrapping to see that trademark dark green Belleek box, with Belleek scripted in white. I took a deep breathe wondering what beautiful piece awaited my eyes. There is nothing in the world that could have prepared me for what I was about to see.

I opened the lid, very carefully pulling back the layers of tissue paper to reveal a classic patterned Belleek plate. What brought me to tears was what lay between the shamrocks. My creation Lorcan the Lamb, the main character in my Stories, brought to life in the Illustration of my Husbands talented hand, alongside a quote from my Stories which sums up Lorcan's philosophy so perfectly. 

There is something amount a gift like this that takes you to new places inside your heart. My creation Lorcan the Lamb, as interpreted, perfectly, in Illustration by my Husband, using one of my favourite quotes from my Story all on a Belleek plate, incorporating another Art I love. I collect Belleek, I adore the artwork. To find three pieces of original, handcrafted arts entwined together like a thick fruit bearing vine demanded the only response possible......a long stream of tears. Tears of joy, tears of the beauty of the gift, of all the work and thoughtfulness that my Husband had put into this beautiful piece. It will forever be something beyond precious to me.

Here it is. I thought it would be cruel not to share. 
I doubt you'll love it the way I do, how could you. But I hope you can see, at least a small glimpse, of what it means to me.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Kiss a Ginger Day

The Poet kisses the Ginger Storyteller.

This is one of my favourite photographs from our Cork Wedding, the tenderness just oozes out of the picture.
I thought it only perfect for the day that's in it, 'Kiss a Ginger Day'. 
My spiral red curls drape down my face and my mouth and his kiss a gentle, soul touching kiss, as we prepare to cross St. Brighid's Girdle. This photo just takes me right back there and I could not imagine a better expression for Kiss a Ginger Day.

I am forever loosing track of 'International Days of......', I usually get a reminder through some FaceBook posting or e-mail. Today it was FaceBook. I was reading a post from The Irish Redhead Convention. I was the Official Storyteller for the event this past summer, 2013. It was one of the most liberating experiences of my life!! I promise to post more about it in the coming days and weeks. I suspect January's Blog to be occupied by my upcoming 10th Wedding Anniversary, Christmas and Winter's End and the journey that took me down to Cork to Tell The "Redhead #11" Stories. And isn't that enough?

I read the post on FaceBook, and my Husband reading over my shoulder, immediately leaned down and smothered me in KISSES!

This Ginger Elf was given a Kiss today as well!

The Christmas Tree came down today. About half of the Christmas ornaments are already packed away. The rest sit patiently on the table awaiting the same fate. This Ginger Elf was given a hug and kiss from me, just one Ginger to another, then left on the table for one more day of freedom. He is so special to me, as are all our ornaments. They each have their own story to tell. They each carry a special memory of a special person or place or time. This is one of the ornaments that hung on my Nanie and Seanathaire's Christmas Tree. He hung there for longer than all the Christmas's I can remember. He is more than half a century old. 
He is my Ginger Elf and I love him. He reminds me of the goodness of a Family Christmas long, long ago.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

"Sweets for Baby Jesus"

Well, he looks content enough, Baby Jesus that is. 
He must have really enjoyed that sweet!

After the Christmas Eve Children's Mass the Teacher was handing out sweets as a reward for a job well done. I, along with other adults and children had made my way to the front of the Church to have a look at the Manger. I know what I'm going to see, I just feel like something is wrong if I don't, a bit of tradition I suppose. Many children, especially the little ones, have many queries as to the where-abouts of  the 'missing' Baby Jesus. There were many Mams, Da's, Grandparents and Aunties and Uncles explaining that Baby Jesus hasn't been born yet. Most children accept this.

One little guy made a second trip to the Teacher for additional sweets "For my Brother, he's only little", said he and I don't think the Teacher believed him anymore than any other adult over hearing. Except he proved us all wrong, and we should have known better, after all Santa Claus was still watching and any last minute indiscretions could still be seen and noted. Older brother hands sweets to little brother who promptly heads over to the Manger. Little brother has all the familiar questions at the noticing of the 'missing' Baby Jesus. As with the other children all questions were answered. He was not so willing to accept this response, so promptly went over to the crib (empty of course) in front of the altar and found another Mystery of the Missing Baby Jesus. With a rather perplexed look on his face he darts his eyes between the two empty cribs and quickly, and with purpose, darts over to the Manger. He leans down, in the way only toddlers are capable of doing, you know, it's a kind of squatting of sorts. He takes what can only be a very warm sweet from his tiny hand, placing the remainder in his pocket. He lays the sweet down in front of the statue of Mary, in between herself and the empty crib. He places it with extreme care, going so far as to carefully rearrange it's position. He then speaks quite directly to Mary, he is eye level with her, and says "This is a sweet for Baby Jesus. He'll be hungry when he gets here tomorrow morning." He pats Mary on the head and runs off to meet his family.

I turn to the older woman sitting next to me and we both smile an ear to ear, mouth splitting, heart exploding smile. "Isn't that just the sweetest thing ever", says she. I agree noddingly. "Well, that's Christmas" says she. 

Indeed it is!

Friday, January 10, 2014

"Winter's End"

Winter's end is mystic. 
It is an ethereal time that lingers between that which is dead, and that which yearns to be born. It is a time of shifting, you can feel the energies moving if only you stand still. You can see the evidence; dead branches hosting bumps of buds yearning to burst out of the death grip of the cold bark, sunset casting golden passages to a new world over old trees, tiny little birds chirping a new song that appear and disappear as if ghosts. The transition is all around us. It is the fight between the last curmudgeonly grip of winters death and the yearning of new life to burst free and breath. 

January is a time of endings, of new starts and of planning. Winter's end, Spring waiting patiently in the wings, a whole new cycle of life to plan for; and for me and end to my 9th year of marriage and a start to my 10th year of marriage, an end to my Christmas break and a start to my Storytelling Season and my Teaching, making Lesson Plans for Teaching my Creative Writing Classes and for my After School Writer's Group in St. Louise de Marillac School in Ballyfermot are in the make; and ideas and schedules for my idea-baby, The Sea Speak Project my Storytelling gem, and all those joggling-act plans for making my Arts Dreams come true. 

Is January really a time of death or a time of life?

Whist pondering and planning I partook in my favourite past time, one I have spent a life time perfecting to an Art form, that of Daydreaming. I stared out the window, casting my eyes to the trees behind my house only to find delight of delights. I ran outside with my camera and snapped the sun casting golden drapes and haunting shadows of light on dead trees.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Mystery of The Lost Wheels (Nancy Drew style)

I learned something today, I need 'stretch' time. I need fresh air, fresh sea air, any air! I need good walks, good chats, good mysteries, you know the kind you only come across by sheer accident. I need my Photography, as in I really do require snapping at least a few shots a day; and of course I need to write and all the above helps me to do that.

How did I come to such a revelation you may ask? 
Simple. I did NOT do some of the above, and was not entirely impressed with the items I did manage. 

This has happened to us all. The bad nights sleep, the getting up much later than you wanted to, and in the middle of a nightmarish dream at that, followed by an off-putting feeling that copious amounts of coffee just can't fix. And that is how it all started, and proceeded downhill from there. 
Downhill, hits rocks and falling off ledges, downhill. 

And here I sit at 7pm, still in my PJ.jammies, feeling like a megaton of anxiety. No walk, no photography and let's just say the stuff I wrote today will not go down as my best work. I might as well add a helping of housework-guilt to this heaping mess of a day. I got very little done. I'll be honest. I put a load of laundry in and forgot about it! Yes, it's been a stellar day for me.

I lost my wheels! I did, and the stabilizers too. Those wheels fuel me, give me wings and motion and rock out the ideas that come from new experiences and chance encounters. They make my mind solve bizarre mysterious I come across in the course of my day. I won't be forgettin' my wheels tomorrow!

I snapped this photo on a better day. 
The Mystery of The Lost Wheels (Nancy Drew style).

One good thing did happen though, I have a New Follower on my Blog....YAY!!!
It seems that whilst neither I, nor the bike, have our wheels, I've got a New Stabilizer : )

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Pour a cup of Friendship

I ventured out for my walk this afternoon and headed down to the strand. Walking towards the beach I ran into an older gentleman and his lively dog, who kindly let me know that the tide was coming in so to "mind yourself" as he patted me on the shoulder. It was coming in, but there was still scope for a short beach walk.

Being the only person on the beach can be an incredibly moving experience, particularly when you have a day such as today. The sea was remarkably calm, considering the recent events. I took in the solitude. I welcomed the calm relaxation the sea offered me. The Winter sky cast haunting colours upon the sea, soft winter blues and pinks left remnant hues like ghosts. One lone mackerel fishing vessel lingered in the still water, not daring to disturb the silence. A small gathering of gulls and other birds drifting softly in the gentle waters. I stood, breathing and listening to the hypnotic lapping of the sea, finding myself breathing symbiotically with it. Evening and high tide were fast approaching and with it rapid, visible changes. Pinks and blues shifting in the sky and reflecting on the waters, the horizon nearly disappearing as the sea and sky became one, the heavily pregnant sea waters growing deeper as the tide reached further in with each lap. Off in the distance, a fishing vessel is making it's way out to sea, disappearing into the non existent horizon. I am now in a state of complete calm, my mind making Poetry of it all.

The glass sea, the hushed tones, the gentle rolling tides that fall like dominoes, the deep, deep breaths....

I walk back to my home, happy residing in my head. So much in my head that I do not see my friend calling for me from across the road. A mad wave, friendly smile and "hello" awakens me from my daydream. It is my friend Anne. I am so happy to see her and we laugh loudly at my 'absent' state. A quick chat and we are off for a cuppa and a chat. She has a delicious smelling coffee and blueberry muffin and I a chamomile and lemon tea and apple cake (I've already had two cups today and it's late, as much as I love coffee if I were to indulge in a cup, which will no doubt become two, I'll never sleep tonight!). We talk and laugh and eat and drink and, yes, our cuppa does turn into two. We share stories and I am so happy to have a friend like Anne!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Wild Winds, Waves and Words

Wild winds and waves cascaded over Howth and the entire Island of Ireland these past days.
Dangling out in the wild Irish Sea, Howth was covered in thunderous sounds of winds and waves crashing in on rocks, pulling them back into the sea and hurling up into the sky to the land ahead. I was out in it, taking it in, ingesting the food that feeds my soul.

The wild winds and waves cascaded into my mind and surged a Word Fury that is a storm still stirring.

This is a spectacular wall of sea crashing over the East Pier in Howth, County Dublin on 6th January 2014.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Nollaig na mBan ~ Women's Little Christmas

Today is the 6th of January or Nollaig na mBan, Women's Little Christmas. 

It is the last day of Christmas. It is also the day of a wonderful Cork Tradition, one which I was introduced to many years ago when I first came to Cork. Nollaig na mBan is Women's Little Christmas, a delightful day when the Women CELEBRATE, whilst the menfolk take care of the all the cooking, cleaning and other chores of the home. I made my friends laugh when I kept referring to it, mistakenly, as Little Women's Christmas. I suppose my love of that book, the feisty March Women and the idea behind Nollaig na mBan resulted in my own personal translation. Which, knowing all, really was a greater compliment to the idea; and not just a silly mistake. I always think of my wonderful girlfriends down in Cork today and how blessed I am to still have them in my life. 

 Sadly, I no longer live in Cork. Luckily, I live in the gorgeous peninsula fishing village of Howth, in North County Dublin. The village comes alive with delightful spirits each Christmastime. There is a very festive Lighting of the Tree ceremony, greatly attended by the community, and the Great Man Himself! Indeed, it is Santa Claus who comes, amidst great fanfare including our own Pipe and Drum Band and a Parade, to turn on the Lights on the Christmas Tree. The Church Choir sings, a Reindeer driven carriage complete with some of Santa's Elves and Santa's Helper's handing out sweets and treats to all. It kicks off in early December and the Christmas Tree, covered in decorations with hand written messages from the local school children dare not come down until after the 6th of January. 

The Christmas atmosphere here in Howth would simply light a candle in your heart! 

On the 1st of January I took a walk. The air was crisp and fresh and cleaned my lungs thoroughly. I took with me my pen and paper, as every good Writer does and my camera as any good Photographer would. Well bundled and supplied, I set out to stretch my legs. Below is one of the things that greeted my eyes. I had walked by this sign many times before, but that night it looked particularly delightful to me. I promptly photographed it and laughed to myself a bit. The sign read Fiacloir, Irish for Dentist. The laughter inside me was great for the thought of the many mouths filled with chocolates and sweets, much to the pleasure of the Fiacloir patiently waiting with open doors to receive the mouths-in-need of redemption.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

A Passion for Storytelling, and THAT Article

I entered into the creation of my 'Idea-baby' with sheer delight! So, intense is my passion for Storytelling that I believed intrinsically that my Storytelling Project, to be named The Sea Speak Project, could and would flourish here in Howth. I set out at the beginning of 2013, January to be exact, to make it happen. I decided I would start with a two-part Storytelling approach, one for adults and one for children. And so, we began with Sea Speak Storytelling and Sea Speak Junior Storytelling Club for Kids. Each would be different from each other and cater to the appropriate ages involved.

12 months later and with many successful Storytelling Sessions under the Sea Speak Belt we find ourselves entering December 2013. This finds us preparing our last shows of the year, nearly delusional with the amazement that I had managed to succeed in my goal. That's down to Passion! That's down to determination! That's down to really good people believing in me as much as I believe in the power and magic of Storytelling! Wonderful people got on-board our Story-train to give homes to Sea Speak Storytelling and Sea Speak Junior Storytelling Club for Kids, incredibly talented Storytellers came along to, very generously, lend us their words, their time, their talents, their Stories, fantastic Listeners came along to both sessions and listened and made the Stories come alive by giving them ears to live in, and interested people paid attention and took part giving Stories at Open Mic and Building new Stories along the way.

One person, who joined us in October and November, Christine Ryan, gave us a brilliant gift. She came, she listened, she believed. Then, she turned her wonderfully talented writing skills to our project and gave us a wonderfully warm, descriptive and enthusiastic Review. Our first official Review and nothing more could I possibly want. Christine totally "gets it"!! I mean, really gets it; and not just gets it, but put it into words so that other could 'get it' too. Christine, THANK YOU, such a wonderful gift you gave with your pen! Christine, You are now as intricate a part of The Sea Speak Project as any of it's moving parts!

Here is that wonderful Review, as printed in "The Upside" Magazine:

......and now we enter 2014 and we find ourselves preparing for The Sea Speak Project's 1st Birthday Party and all the it will evolve into in 2014!

We do so hope you will join us for Stories this year and become new Sea Speakers too!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

An Open Letter on Sea Speak Storytelling

On a very chilly January night in 2013 we, Brendan Nolan, Daria Marie Walsh (Idea-Master and Founder of The Sea Speak Project), Paul H. Tubb, The Oh-Aissieux and Catherine Brophy, came together to LAUNCH Sea Speak Storytelling. And Launch we did!!!

I managed to keep my Storytelling Dream alive for an entire year!

Reflecting upon Sea Speak's 1st year, and making plans for it's 2nd year, I composed this "Open Letter" and posted it on the Sea Speak FaceBook Page for followers to view. Here it is for Blog-followers to read.

I would like to extend a warm INVITATION to ALL to Join Us for Sea Speak Storytelling. We meet the 3rd Thursday of January each month at Kruger's Pub on Main Street in Howth, County Dublin.

"An Open Letter on Sea Speak Storytelling"

Dear Sea Speakers,

It’s New Year’s Eve and time to usher out the old and welcome in the new. It’s time to reflect on 2013 and with that in mind I would like to take this opportunity to say, “THANK YOU”, for a wonderful year of Stories. I can hardly believe we made it, Sea Speak Storytelling lived a full year of Stories! We shared an entire 2013 of Storytelling together, and all the magical moments that Stories create. 

We must THANK Joe for Hosting us at Kruger's Pub; that wonderful space by the fireplace and bookshelf that just cries of sharing Stories. Kruger’s Pub is a place where the Stories run free, the perfect space for spinning yarns, making friends and sharing the magic of Stories. We are very grateful to Joe for giving us this space and allowing us each month to grow our Community Arts project.

THANK YOU to all our incredibly talented and generous Guest and Featured Storytellers this year!! “Thank You” to the wonderful Storytellers who helped us Launch Sea Speak Storytelling that first night in January, Brendan Nolan, Catherine Brophy, The Oh-Aissieux and Paul H. Tubb. You all generously brought your own unique styles and wonderful words to help Launch us and you made the night simply magical! “Thank You” to all our Guest and Featured Storytellers this year – Joe Govan, Brendan Nolan, Fiona Dowling, Gemma McGowan, Sara-Marie Reinke-Wilson, Paul H. Tubb, Francis Devine and Santa’s and Snowmen. Each and every one of our Guest and Featured Storytellers gave generously of their time and words to help make Sea Speak Storytelling truly special. Thank you to all the fellow Storytellers who have been so generous to me with their time, their words and their advice. It is truly appreciated. 

A big “Thank You” also goes to all our Sea Speak Listeners. “If a Story is told and no one listens to it; is it still a Story?” We would be nowhere without your ears! “Thank You”, to everyone who contributed in the Open Mic. Please come and share again in 2014. We thoroughly enjoyed all your Stories and Poems. And a big “Thank You” to the Kruger’s regulars for all your support!! We’ll get you down off your stools to share some of those FANTASTIC Stories yet!!

Oh my, we nearly forgot to thank Lorcan!!!!
Heavens NO. Well, thank you very much Mr. Lorcan the Lamb for joining us and inspiring us.
Don't forget to visit his FB Page. Lorcan loves LIKES.

We have Listened and Told and Shared and Laughed and Cried. Stories are MAGIC. Stories are our culture and our tradition. Stories are our PASSION. Thank you for helping us in our first year, we hope you’ll continue to join us in our second year.

Well, until 2014, this is Sea Speak Storytelling signing out.

Stay tuned to our FaceBook Page, spread the news and help us get more LIKES and be sure to check this channel for more wonderful Storytelling News.

Yours in Storytelling,

Daria Marie Walsh

Friday, January 3, 2014

An Open Letter on Sea Speak Junior

On concluding our first full year of Stories, I enclose an Open Letter regarding Sea Speak Junior.
One half of The Sea Speak Project, Sea Speak Junior is a Storytelling project/session just for kids.
I adore Storytelling to the children and their parents and other 'children at heart' adults who come along. It is great teaching the children to build their own stories and seeing where they go as a group. 2013 has been such a wonderful experience in Storytelling and Sea Speak Junior is a major part of that. I am delighted that we managed to make it a whole year and am planning and looking forward to a 2014-in-Stories!
Myself Storytelling at Sea Speak Junior alongside Lorcan the Lamb and Rosie Bunny:

"An Open Letter"

Dear Sea Speakers,

Thank You for a magical year! I can hardly believe today was so wonderful, nor that we have just wound up our very first full year of Storytelling!

We must THANK Anne for Hosting us at The Little Shop of Books, providing such comfy blankets and cushions for you all to curl up in, sweets and Storytelling prizes, and most of all for giving us the Space and encouragement to Share, Build and Tell our Stories this year and to BE Sea Speak Junior.

Thank you to all my Sea Speakers! You are all fantastic and talented Junior Storytellers. It's been a real pleasure working with all of you and getting to know you and hear your Stories over this past year.

And, we must Thank all the wonderful, Story-loving Parents, who brought the Sea Speakers each month and join us on the Story-train.

Oh my, we nearly forgot to thank Lorcan!!!!
Heavens NO. Well, thank you very much Mr. Lorcan the Lamb for joining us each month for Storytelling. Don't forget to visit his FB Page. Lorcan loves LIKES.

Well, until 2014, this is Sea Speak Junior signing out.

Stay tuned to our FaceBook Page, spread the news and help us get more LIKES and be sure to check this channel for more wonderful Storytelling News over the Christmas Holidays.

Yours in Storyloving,

Daria Marie Walsh

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Year’s Eve/New Year 2014 at Home

It all begins with a Feast!

The Feast has long been a part of my New Year’s Eve Celebrations. It’s as important as other traditions. Things like Midnight phone calls and banging pots and pans whilst screaming “Happy New Year” to the top of your lungs outside, sipping champagne (or other bubblies) and to a newer extent dancing with my Husband at the stroke of Midnight, and of course singing ‘Auld Lang Syne’.

We do these things out of a sense of tradition, a sense of bringing the best of the outgoing and each past year, forward with us into the new one. They are like touchstones for us. They are like “home”. Home is an interesting and evolving word. It means so much more than bricks and mortar. Home is a much bigger concept than a simple postal address. With these things on my mind I posted the following on FaceBook in the early hours of 2014:

“Just a thought.....
This morning I rung in 2014 in Howth, Ireland with my Hubby; I stayed up and rung in 2014, 5 hours later, with The NYC Ball Drop in Times Square on Live Stream. I am totally amazed at what new tech provides. To think, when I first emigrated tonight's activities were IMPOSSIBLE; sharing this Post, also IMPOSSIBLE. When I emigrated there was No Live Stream, No YouTube, No FaceBook, No other varieties of Social Media and CERTAINLY NO Skype!! Social Media in its present form truly allows you to live in two places at the same time. To me, it's amazing. You can literally emigrate, without missing a beat. It's like emigrating without leaving home. There is now an entire generation that knows nothing of steeply expensive phone calls that meant hearing actual real voices was something that only happened every few months. Seeing faces meant waiting for the postal package containing the photographs. Photographs, remember those? Everything is INSTANT and Home really is two places at once. I am happy for this generation's emigrants that they will never know the pain and hardship that went before. But, if I'm honest, I'm also sad for them. For it's also an opportunity lost. It's awfully hard to spread your wings completely with one feather still touching the nest.”

After I posted this on FaceBook, I could not help but have a thought for my family of past generations who emigrated from Ireland in very different circumstances than the one which saw me immigrate into Ireland. I have always been nothing short of amazed by their tenacity, strength and sheer determination. I heard over and over, always in the midst of a Story, that “you come from strong stock”. The Stories taught me that. But, it was not until I emigrated myself that I fully appreciated it. But, to be honest, compared to them I am spoiled! You can not, in a million years, compare the two Immigrant Stories. Immigration is not what it was, nor are Immigrants. Our experience is like a 5-Star Hotel compared to their Box on the Street. I can never express the awe I have for them, nor the appreciation for what they did, the chance they took and the “strong stock” they were made of. If not for them, there would have been no ‘return’ generations later for me. I look at this generation of Immigrants, with one feather still in the nest and I realize that to past generations, even with the absence of Social Media, they would have branded my experience as much the same. Could I do what they had to do? I don’t know. I would like to think there is enough of the “strong stock” still present to make it so. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Here we are in the wee beginnings of 2014. Everything is small and new and fresh. 
But beware, the time will continue to tick-tock endlessly, relentlessly even. 
There is not a moment to waste, for time is a precious and fleeting gift; a gift to be treasured and cherished, each moment to be savored. 

2014 see's my desire to revive my Blog from its sleep state. 
I begin, where we start, The Timepiece.
"May 2014 bring you seconds, minutes, hours, days and weeks filled with wonderful words! May you have Stories, Poems and brilliant words to light you through all your days like a beacon of warm light guiding you to the next line of your life" - Daria Marie Walsh

The Pocket-watch pictured was my Christmas gift to my Husband. It’s something he has wanted to some time now, but I never found the right one. I didn’t plan on this for him this year, and yet there it was behind the glass case waiting for me to notice. It was perfect, not too fancy for flashy, as that’s not his taste or style at all. Hand engraved cover and classic design were what I had always pictured when he spoke of his wanting. This piece, sitting quietly on the glass shelf, behind the glass door was the perfect fit for my darling. And isn’t that really all that a gift should be? A something special someone desire’s, that reflects a piece of that person, spotted almost by accident by the giver and filling the giver with a special stirring of glee knowing it will be loved and appreciated just as they love and appreciate the person to whom it is going?

As Midnight struck turning 2013 into 2014 with its magical hand we danced, just as we always do. We toasted to new possibilities. I went outside and banged my pots and pans screaming “Happy New Year”, just as I’ve done every year since being a child, sharing greetings with neighbours and passers-by. Upon reentering the house, there is was ticking and tocking in the seconds and minutes of the New Year. Just over 10 had passed already! I quickly noted and photographed. Time is fleeting, as is life. We must be vigilant not to waste a precious drop of this elixir!

By Daria Marie Walsh