Lost in Kilkenny & Writing Wisdom


Ruined Church and Tower at Hugginstown, I love ancient ruins, there's always a story behind them . . .

Hubs and I got lost on one of our Countryside drives last week. Although it took us by surprise and I felt as though I should be alarmed, I was secretly delighted. There we were in the wild depths of County Kilkenny (we knew that much) not knowing what was going to happen or where we would end up. It felt like an adventure.

Wandering down narrow lanes we exchanged animated exclamations of ‘I wonder where we are now?’ and ‘Ok, this road really is winding.’  Then the car made a loud clunking noise. We stopped, we checked, nothing was wrong. I sometimes think that car has a mind (and voice) of its own.

And so we continued on and on until we came to a ruined church and round tower. A sign out front supplied us with some information about the place. I’m ashamed to say I’ve forgotten most of it, except the bit that said ‘the tower is only equalled by that of nearby Kilree.’

‘Where’s Kilree?’ I asked.

‘I don’t know,’ shrugged Hubs.

‘Can we go there?’


Cue childlike sulk.

It only lasted for a minute though because discovering the church and tower just seemed so romantic to me and was already becoming a powerful metaphor for life’s mysteries, confirming that you really never know when a little bit of magic is on its way. You just need to keep your eyes open . . .

Going home, we did just that and spotted a perfect horseshoe of campanula on a stone wall and a buzzard in flight. It was like being in our very own wildlife programme. Maybe we should invest in a video camera and capture some of these moments. The trouble is even a mild brandish of our digital camera seems to trigger a turn or duck of the head and eventual exit as our subject runs, swims or flies away . . .

The pictures are stored in my memory though and I’m sure I will use some of them as inspiration for a poem or story in the future. Something else that inspired me at the weekend was an article I read in the Irish Independent on Man Booker Prize winner: John Banville. He sounds like your archetypal writer: dark, introspective, a little lonely, all too wise.

Many of his comments struck a chord with me including: ‘Everything I do is a failure. It has to be. Because what I’m after is perfection.’

Ok, so now I know what all that tortured keyboard tapping has been about, the constant conflict between the part of me that wants to write and the part that says nothing I write will ever be good enough. It happens to other writers, it happens to great writers. Maybe I can get there.

He also talks about the early days when he was making little money but writing from his heart: “I didn’t feel badly about it because I was writing the kind of books I wanted to write. And I had no one but myself to blame if I wasn’t making money, that wasn’t anybody’s fault. Nobody was obliged to buy my books.”

This is so true and as a writer who doesn’t think commercially and writes instinctively I just like knowing that people (regardless of their number) are out there reading my books. Through that we have a connection and that’s real magic. 🙂

Picture sourced at: http://www.geograph.ie/photo/206920

John Banville quotes sourced at http://bit.ly/KpywZ8



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *