Glendalough, Co. Wicklow, Ireland

When staying safe means staying apart, a lot of us are missing out on human touch. Non-sexual intimate self-touch can help.

On a Friday night five weeks ago I was seated at the only empty chair I could find in a crowded Dublin bar, scrolling through the news headlines while I waited for my friends. Ireland was one day out from its first official confirmation of Coronavirus, but already the media were heeding warnings of how the public should behave. One headline caught my eye: ‘Coronavirus advice: Wash your hands and avoid hugging, kissing and hand shaking.’ …


Our world may have gotten smaller, but you should see it an invitation to look more closely.

In the years before he died my grandad’s world shrunk. It wasn’t all that big to begin with; he wasn’t one for travelling, never understanding my incessant desire to leave Ireland each time I revealed to him the latest country that I would call home. A creature of habit, he found meaning in the known. Every morning before breakfast he would cycle to the 40 Foot diving point for a swim. He retired early at fifty-five, allowing him the luxury of a morning…


The dance of death: the careless and the careful by Thomas Rowlandson

At the beginning of isolation the bad days came once a week. They were tinged with a melancholy that, beholden in the right light, had the romantic quality of a Shakespearian play. On one or two particularly melodramatic occasions I even shed a few tears, luxuriating in its cathartic after-effect while shamelessly pity-texting a friend pining for sympathy.

“I hope this email finds you well during these strange and challenging times.”

When I first began using this email greeting, which has replaced standard emailing etiquette across the board, I meant each word wholeheartedly. I truly did hope the email found…


I must have struck an odd figure, a flat-bellied, white girl sitting alone amongst the pregnant Indian ladies and their husbands. Their bellies came in all shapes and sizes, some modest bumps, others round like melons. The woman sitting to my left had a belly swollen to the size of a beach ball. I thought about the little human she had growing inside of her, extending itself, taking up space in this world but insulated from the worst of its suffering.

I wondered what it must feel like to grow a person inside you. I wondered if this was something…


Last week’s series of ‘Failure to Launch’ showcased Karen and her mother Geraldine, who shared their experiences living together in South Dublin while Karen worked in a law firm. Since then Karen has been living in India for a year and a half, completing a fellowship at Ashoka University and training as a meditation coach while living in an Ashram. With the passing of distance and time this week’s follow-up interview is one of reflection and recognition between mother and daughter, and a rumination of the quality of life for Ireland’s younger generations.

Karen:

1. Looking back at the answers…


In part two of ‘Failure to Launch’ I chatted with Karen and her mother Geraldine, who spent six months living together in their family home in South County Dublin when Karen was twenty three. The conversations took place a year and a half ago, when Karen was preparing to move to India for a fellowship and contemplating a career as a barrister. In this revealing and insightful interview we talk money, fears of the future, and the difficulties having sex when you still live at home. Karen continues to live in India, where she is living in an Ashram and…


Moving abroad where accommodation is more affordable

This is part one of a three-part series about the impact of Ireland’s rising rent and house prices for Irish millienials. Next week’s piece will include an interview with a mother and her adult child about their experiences living together.

Within the space of a single generation Ireland has gone from a nation of independent homeowners, to renters and hangers-on living in the childhood bedroom of their parent’s abode. A confluence of factors brought us here, from the global economic downturn and nefarious banking practises, to lack of new properties and soaring prices in the rental and housing markets. For…


Like millions of women around the world, it is impossible for me to follow the story of Harvey’s Weinstein with the same distance that is afforded to most -but not all-men. For me, it brings up memories of sexual violence and sexual misconduct in the real world and the workplace that is all too commonplace for women.

As a young girl growing up, the burden of femininity is slowly impressed upon you. It begins with restrictions being placed upon your freedom and stories told by way of caution. …


It is unnecessary to spend much time rehashing the disturbing details of the Belfast rape trial, which has dominated news headlines in Ireland in the past two months. If you have been following the case closely you will be all too familiar with the facts. If you haven’t you can find a detailed overview of the case here, or a more succinct version here. In brief, the four accused stood on trial for the following offences against a then 19-year-old Belfast student; Paddy Jackson for vaginal rape, Stuart Olding for oral rape, Blane McIlroy for indecent exposure (he claims she…


Ireland’s Abortion Referendum and Its Inconvenient Truths.

Nothing in life is black and white. No one is ever completely wrong or completely right. So when we choose between people, between sides, always and inevitably, a loss is incurred.

The Irish referendum to repeal the 8th amendment and remove the legal barrier against abortion takes an issue of immense complexity and reduces it to a yes or no answer. It has taken place within the public forum, pitting one grass-roots movement against the other. Battle lines were drawn. Adversaries were marked.

The voting decisions of the Irish public were the spoils…

Eleanor Brooks

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