My Weekend: Catching up with family and friends is what it's all about

Tadhg Coakley, whose latest book of nonfiction, The Game, has just been published, will be at the West Cork Literary Festival for an Evening of Sporting Fiction and Nonfiction alongside Ashley Hickson-Lovence, author of Your Show, in the Maritime Hotel on Tuesday, July 12, at 8.30pm. See
My Weekend: Catching up with family and friends is what it's all about

Tadhg Coakley. Picture: Shane Cronin

Tell us a little bit about yourself

I’m a writer, living in Cork city with my wife Ciara. I was born and grew up in Mallow in the 1960s and 70s. I was one of eight children and we lived on the Cork Road until one by one, we moved away to live and work elsewhere. But we are all still very close and keep in touch. Most of us live in or around Cork city, and we get together often, thankfully.

I went to secondary school in St Colman’s College, Fermoy and then to UCC. After college I worked as a librarian, first in Cork City Libraries and then in Cork RTC (now known as MTU). I have also worked as an environmental researcher for the Clean Technology Centre in CIT, since 1992. I retired as a librarian in 2016, and I still work in the environmental world, but mainly I write.

My fourth book, The Game: A Journey into the Heart of Sport, has just been published by Merrion Press. My previous books are The First Sunday in September, a novel revolving around a fictional All-Ireland hurling final; Whatever It Takes, a crime novel set in Cork, and I co-wrote Everything: The Autobiography of Denis Coughlan.

What is your ideal way to spend a Friday night?

This time of year, my ideal Friday night would be to have some family and friends over for a barbecue out the back of our house, chat, have a laugh, catch up, listen to some tunes, have a beer and relax as the sun goes down.

Lie ins or up with the lark.. which is it for you?

I’m an early enough riser, even at weekends. Sometimes, if I’m on a deadline I’ll bring a cup of tea to my desk and do some writing or catch up on admin stuff. If not, my big weekend treat is that we have the Irish Examiner delivered on Saturdays and I’ll relax and read it with my tea, preferably out the back, again. That’s my ideal start to a Saturday. Bliss!

If money was no object, where would you head to on a weekend city break? And who would you bring with you?

London is great, Edinburgh and Dublin, too. But Paris is my favourite city and a long weekend break there with Ciara would be a very special treat. I missed travel so much the last two years. A big bucket list item of mine is to get the Eurostar train from London to Paris.

If I won the Lotto, I’d stay for a night (or ten) in the St Pancras Hotel in London, and stroll across the platform and get the train to Paris. It just seems a remarkable, almost fantastical, thing to be able to do.

Tadhg Coakley, Author. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Tadhg Coakley, Author. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Closer to home, is there some place you like to head to recharge the batteries?

West Cork is really lovely but West Kerry is my favourite place in Ireland. My family congregate there in July and we have done for many years. A walk up Cruach Mhártain, a round of golf in Ceann Sibéal, a drive around Slea Head, a stroll on the Beal Bán or a browse in Dingle is my idea of heaven.

Do you like to catch up with family/friends at the weekend?

Catching up with family and friends is what weekends are all about. I’m blessed to have many friends and family close by.

A walk down the Marina, lunch in The Marina Market, a pint or (and) a dinner out somewhere, or a gig (The Marquee is great) — we’re so lucky in Cork to have so many options.

Do you get to indulge any hobbies? Even as a spectator?

My days of playing sport are long over now but I do love to go to Páirc Uí Rinn or Páirc Uí Chaoimh and watch a hurling match. Club or county, it doesn’t matter, but Cork games in the ‘Park’ are very special. Trips to Semple Stadium in Thurles are a wonderful pilgrimage.

I watch sport on TV, Munster or Ireland rugby, Manchester United or Ireland in soccer, GAA, golf, or tennis — anything, really. It’s a great way to wind down of a weekend.

I read a lot too. I just finished Trespasses by Louise Kennedy and All Along The Echo by Danny Denton, both were brilliant. Next up are Negative Space by Cristín Leach, The Written World by Kevin Power and the poetry collections of John Fitzgerald (Time Being) and Molly Twomey (Raised Among Vultures). Really looking forward to those.

Entertain or be entertained? If it’s the latter do you have a signature dish?

Oh, being entertained for sure. I can cook but it’s fairly basic stuff. Ciara is a great cook, and going out is another


We have so many places to eat out in Cork where are your go to spots for coffee/ lunch/ special meal?

There’s something special about having an afternoon coffee outside the Roundy, Three Fools or L’Atidude 51, watching Cork flowing by. It’s a great city, especially in summer. The lunch is special in The Long Valley or Good Day Deli, can’t beat it. For a special meal, Paradiso is spectacular, and I love the Spanish tapas in Iberian Way.

Sunday night comes around too fast.. how do you normally spend it?

Usually relaxing over dinner and maybe watching The Sunday Game later. Winding down: the simple joys.

What time does your alarm clock go off on Monday morning?

Too early!

Anything else you are up to right now...

The Game is just published so there is a lot of media work around that right now, for which I’m very thankful.

I’m really looking forward to the West Cork Literary Festival in July in which I feature, then holidays in West Kerry. I’m currently finishing Everything She’s Got, a sequel to Whatever It Takes, and I’m looking forward to sending that to the publishers, and taking a month off to recharge my batteries. Maybe Paris beckons, who knows …

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