Flame Life

A series of flames gush and erupt in an operatic fanfare of applause, clapping and flapping their way up the chimney walls into the cool night air.

He scrapes the shovel sharply, and sweeps up shards of yesterday’s ash into the old cow bucket and throws them out the back door.

“Fling in some sticks later”

“Mind your fire”

“Keep it going”

He warns.

“Yeah, Yeah yeah” We moan in unison.

The once golden orange cat, since turned strawberry blonde thanks to the long forgotten summer sun, hatches on the icy sill outside.

He longs for the amber ribbons to twist, wrap and warm its body, to be let inside.

“Will I put more sticks in?”

“NOOOO” A collective groan comes his way, each of us slumped down on whatever rickety chair,couch or broken bean bag that takes our fancy.

Yet, he swings the stove door open already with a log or two in hand, they crunch against the withered briquettes.

Sparks explode like confetti, while bits of ash tumble to the floor. Stamp, stamp, stamp, “Ah money is coming your way” We laugh, at the burned out joke.

The Late Late Show comes to a halt, they gradually abandon their awkward , yet comfortable seats, the lights dissolve, one by one.

“Right, pull back the clothes horse before you go down and plug out the television”

The fire is losing its rustic colour, orange and purple turn to a sickly grey, its heat is lukewarm, like a single breath. There’s only small raisins of light left flickering and bickering, fighting to survive.

I clutch my hot water bottle and switch off the light and glance at the holy water font pinned by the front door. I step forward, but step back.

I walk down the carpeted hall.

I do not know.




Write Like Nobody’s Watching




Next week I will begin my journey into postgraduate studies. Sometimes I wonder am I prepared? Or should I be studying Irish literature or Women’s Studies under the glow of a hot lamp in a musty university? Instead I am choosing an MA in Journalism. For those who know me well, this MA is an obvious choice. While at the beginning of my undergraduate career at University College Cork I imagined myself getting into heated debates about whether Heaney was more superior a poet to Yeats, it was through extra-curricular activities that I discovered my true passion and calling- writing.

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Review: A Date For Mad Mary




Everybody knows a mad Mary. It could be the “harmless” neighbour next door whose gaze you prefer to avoid whilst taking the bins out or the general gadabout in town who everybody claims to know but in fact nobody really knows at all. Heck, they don’t even have to be called Mary or be a woman at all!

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An Autumn/Winter’s Tale




Ever since the resurgence in popularity of choke-chains and preppy mini-skirts in 2013, 90’s trends have become a staple feature of Autumn/Winter wardrobes, with 90’s hair trends currently experiencing what we call a ‘moment’ in fashion.  Double buns and messy hairstyles add funkiness to demure winter outfits and are the perfect partners for thigh- high boots and long trench coats. While balayage is typically a summer trend, two-toned hair brightens up most winter looks and is a welcome counterpart to chestnut brown and raven colour styles. Straight hair is also making a comeback this season thanks to models, Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner’s straight-laced locks, however for those of us with naturally wind-swept hair, volume never goes astray, especially in winter months. If the weather ups its volume, surely we can too!

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Keeping up with Kilkenny

Kilkenny castle

Last weekend I ambled east to Kilkenny along with my trusted side-kick, Aoife.  Apart from fuzzy memories of a Fifth Class school tour and a desperate trip to find silver stilettos for my Debs ball three years ago, I hadn’t properly explored Kilkenny without being on a mission of some sorts. Freed from the childhood ties of bossy teachers and a looming ball, I could finally discover the magical delights of one of Ireland’s finest urban centres.

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Manley’s World


 Claire Fox chats with Irish design success story, Emma Manley

Passion, patience and persistence. According to Irish designer Emma Manley these are the three fundamental qualities needed to succeed in the fashion industry and considering the 28 year old set up her own label Manley at the core of the recession in 2010, it’s clear she possesses these qualities in bucket loads. Although the designer admits that Ireland’s economic instability “isn’t over by a long shot” she believes if you can survive during the hardest of times, you can thrive during the best of times. “I think if you can make it in the depths of a recession you can hopefully reap the benefits when the good times come around” Continue reading “Manley’s World”