I was born in Galway in 1981.
I recently moved to Tower, near Blarney. It’s a beautiful, friendly little village, I’m really enjoying settling in here. Everyone walking past has been stopping to welcome us, which is lovely.
My husband Tim and I met when we were both 19. Now we’re in our mid 30s and we have four children, Fiach, aged nine, Cúán, aged six, Darach, aged five and Laoise, aged two. It makes for a household full of mischief and fun (and tiredness, for the parents!)
Since I came to Cork, I’ve been lucky to meet some amazing people and these deep friendships are the source of great joy in my life. Cork people are sound.
My earliest memories are of age four, my mother scrubbing my ears extremely enthusiastically in the kitchen before my first day at school. Our gaelscoil was only starting out at the time — our classroom was a storage room in a local hall — but our teachers were warm and encouraging and it gave me a great start with Irish.
Ruth Stone. Both of my grandmothers. Biddy Jenkinson.
Any and all of the radio hosts that focus on drumming up aggression, they drive me round the twist.
I don’t know. I wish I knew, I think we need someone with exceptional vision and courage to sort out the current situation.
This summer, we spent a week in Ardnagashel, near Bantry, while I taught a course at the West Cork Literary Festival. Ardnagashel is an extraordinary place, it was once an old estate but the house burned down. The grounds have an old arboretum full of interesting trees, a ruined walled garden, a waterfall, and a pebble beach. We stayed in the old stables; it’s said that they’re haunted, but I slept too deeply to notice any mysterious goings on...
I love documentaries about artists’ lives. There’s something about seeing the breadth of an artistic life that intrigues me.
I used to love John Kelly’s afternoon show on Lyric FM, and I was sad to see it go. He has a new show in the evenings, I must remember to switch on the radio at that time!
I love spicy food, so I tend to make recipes that involve flinging in plenty of veg, spices and noodles.
The Farmgate Café is my favourite place to eat. Kay and Rebecca Harte are such wonderful, warm, generous people, and you can’t beat the freshness and imagination of the dishes there. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!
I usually read a prose and a poetry book side by side. Recently, I’ve been readingby Andrés Barba, a short, terrifying novel about a little girl arriving at an orphanage. I also read Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh’s , a collection of luminous Irish poems in translation.
Much as I’d like to give a fancy example from literature, this has to beby Dr Seuss. It’s funny and creepy and weird. I adore it, and I read it to the children as often as they’ll let me.
I love Arcade Fire’s new album.
I have a soft spot for Zbigniew Preisner’s Van Den Budenmayer — Concerto In E Minor but I love all kinds of songs... I like Stevie G on Red FM, anything with hard, thumping bass is my kind of thing.
In my old age, I’m no longer so keen on large crowds, so I tend to avoid gigs. I like a quiet life.
A stray tabby kitten adopted us when we moved house. I named her Kitty O’Shea. She has been gifting us brutal blood sacrifices, yesterday I found half a mouse on the step in a pool of blood. Yuck!
Both. I have a very busy life juggling my writing around the children and other responsibilities, so I try to snatch writing time everywhere I can.
I’ve been known to write at dawn, after midnight, in the school car park. It’s hectic, but I make it work for me. I don’t really have any other choice!
Choosing a life as a writer is a weird decision, and I think it was probably pretty strange for my parents to see me (out of the blue) decide to walk this path.
When I was awarded the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature last year, there was a moment in my speech where I looked down from the stage and thanked my parents in the audience. It was deeply moving for all of us.
Saver. Out of necessity we live very frugally, scrimp and save.
No matter where I find myself, I would always try to plant more trees.
Books! Watching my children play. Growing a little garden. Going home to Clare. Seeing movies with Tim. Chocolate. A walk.
In both my writing and my life, I would like to be remembered as someone who brought in a little light and joy.
I’m writing a new poem about Cork, commissioned by UCC, and doing research for several commissions for 2018 — looks like I’ll be up and down to Dublin a lot. I’m also finishing my fifth book, a collection of poems in English about language, desire and domesticity. Busy!