Tullamore Rhymers (Library of Dreams)


At Christmas time

Over 9 years ago.

In the library of dreams

A light bulb did glow

One man had an idea.

A vision of what might be

For a literary meeting place

Where we could all flee

The pull of the world

For an hour or two

Our words on paper

To discuss & peruse

The perfect setting

Surrounded by books

Cosy and intimate

Was immediately hooked

So, full of excitement

And positive vibes

He divulged his plans

To 2 fellow scribes.

Who shared his passion

for the written word

Without whom my book

Wouldn’t have occurred

He shared his ambitions

With his mum & his dad

Who’d laid the foundations

For this since he was a lad

So the meetings began

In the ‘Hume Library’

The “Tullamore Rhymers”

Were born with us 3

Exchanging poems

Doling out advice

Something was stirring

But 3 wouldn’t suffice

Word soon spread

As it inevitably does

Across the Web

Creating a buzz

A stir, a curiosity

An interest was piqued

Our numbers grew

After a few weeks

3 members

Soon became 4

Five and six,

Seven and more

An unrealised hunger

For the written word

A dormant talent

They’d hid from the world

Now given the freedom

The space in which to dance

To fully express itself

Through ink & perchance

Stoke those embers once again

To create something new

Thus giving them confidence

From this potent brew

Of paper and the pen

Mightier than the sword

Painting of pictures

Hoping to strike a chord

From various backgrounds

And corners of the county of Kings

And from further afield

With a diverse range of styles

That made you think; laugh & sing

Satirical; romantic;

Observational too

Whimsical; eloquent

Full of anarchy & blues

Rooted in country

With an historical twist

We’d travel the world

From our chairs

It was pure bliss

The time came though

When the it became too small

It was time to evolve

Or else we would stall

Ideas were shared

Opportunities came

Doors were opened

We were never the same

From the Tullamore Court

To the Bridge House Hotel

Supporting Mike Denver

And Brendan Grace. It was swell.

From the Hill of Uisneach

To the Castle in Charleville

From The Tin Jug Studio

To Joe Lees, it was a thrill

Speaking of Joe Lees

I may as well come clean

It was there that the Rhymers

Became a crime scene

Or Scene of the Rhyme

As many now know

With a veritable feast

Of performers on show.

No blood was shed there

Just jokes; rhymes & beats

Which arrested our audience

On monthly repeats

But that’s another story

For another day

How we evolved once more

Onto a higher plain

But all things come to an end

We knew it wouldn’t last

As some have moved on

While others have passed

We remember them fondly

Along with that time

When things were more simple

And the perfect rhyme

Was all that we cared about

Was all that we yearned

And the fire for the words

It brightly burned

Within our minds

And deep in our souls

Spoke into people’s lives

Made them laugh and consoled

All who heard them

And all who read

And will still endure

Long after we’re dead.

So many journeys

So many themes

It all started

In the library of dreams

In the Library of Dreams

Dedicated to Anthony Sullivan; Thomas Carty; Seamus Kirwan; Cormac Lally; Richard Brennan; Derek Lowbridge; Camillus Boland (may he rest in peace); Lorraine Dunican (our solitary and brave female member); James Delaney; David “Mally” Mallaghan and our honorary member from the capital: Mr. David Hynes.

New Poems Update


Hey folks. How are things? Just a little update for ye on the poetry side of things in case ye were wondering. 😀

Am currently working on 3 new pieces of poetry: “3 Wise Men (Library of Dreams)”, a poem about the origins of the Tullamore Rhymers Club; “Funny Bone”, a tribute to my much better and funnier half: Anne-Marie and finally “Up & Down “, the joys of a trampoline from our girl’s perspective.

I’ll keep you updated as I complete each piece so be sure to keep an eye out for them. 😁 Mind yourselves and stay safe.

Ken.

Book Review Update


Hey folks. Just wanted to thank you all so very much for ye’re wonderful response to my latest blog post yesterday, my review of Rory O’ Connor’s latest book: “What’s the Story Rory: My Unexpected Journey to Self-Belief.” 28 views of this particular post alone and 32 views in all. You may say: “Sure, who’s counting?” Me. I’m counting. I’m always counting 😛😂 And ye’re support means the world to me!

To cap it all off though and put the icing on the cake, the man himself: Rory O’Connor aka “Rory’s Stories” tweeted me back after me tagging him in my review: “Thanks Ken. Great indepth review of the book. Delighted you enjoyed it. Best of luck. 👍” I could scarcely believe it! The man whose videos I watch, like and laugh at, whose mental health posts I relate to and share; who single handedly got a lot of us though the last few lockdowns, replied to me. I was buzzing; over the moon; elated, what ever superlative you want to throw at it. It meant I was on the right track with this blog and doing the right thing & that I need to keep going with it! And I will, I will keep going and keep writing them as long as ye guys keep reading and liking them.

In light of that, I’ll carry on with my book reviews. But the next one will be something a little different. We’ll move away from autobiography to fiction, fiction with elements of reality and that will be: “The Beekeeper of Aleppo” by Christy Lefteri, an enthralling and heart rending book I’ve been reading on and off for the past year but am hoping to finish by the end of the month. Yes, I’m a notoriously slow reader even with the best of reading material! I’ll keep ye posted so keep checking back in for updates. Mind yourselves and stay safe! 😁😁

“What’s the Story Rory?: An Unexpected Journey to Self-Belief” by Rory O’ Connor: Review


Hiya folks, how are ye all doing? One of the promises I made to ye and myself in this blog, at the beginning of the year, was to turn off social media earlier in the evening and read more books. So far, I’ve done my best to keep that promise.

The first book on my list had been: “What’s the Story Rory?” by well known Irish social media star; comedian & mental health advocate: Rory O’ Connor, author of the much loved & viewed Facebook page: “Rory’s Stories” which features short videos and vignettes on comic/serious escapades from everyday life such as family life; GAA; living with Covid 19 & mental health struggles etc. I got it as a Christmas present from my wife and read it in the space of a week from the 7th of Feb to the 14th. That’s how much this particular story from Rory had me hooked! 😁

I found his self-depracating; straight-forward approach to writing this book very much a reflection of the man himself; utterly refreshing and completely relatable. From his academic struggles to hanging around with the wrong crowd; his love for the GAA and physical exercise to his regular mental health struggles, ranging from self-doubt to anxiety and panic attacks to full blown depression; his addiction to gambling, (a journey that began on a failed electrician apprenticeship), hitting rock bottom and reaching out for help, Rory tells his unique story in a completely no-nonsense; honest and humorous style that doesn’t sugar coat or glamorize the effects that gambling can have on your life or the folk around you nor minimise the paralysing effects of depression and anxiety.

He was born & raised in Ashbourne, Co. Meath along with his sister Carol with his Dad: Michael “Joe” O’Connor coming from Coolagh near Geashill on Laois/Offaly border and his mam: Marie Daly hailing from Collins Town, Co. Meath. He hated school and struggled academically, always joking around and telling stories. He was encouraged by some but written off by many others, as” thick”. Even his long-suffering parents worried about him, as they do with him being sent home from school regularly for bad behaviour.

He found some peace & happiness though, in between classes, out on the GAA football pitch where he went on to play for school; County and club (Donoughmore/Ashbourne) level. The physical exertion and camaraderie found there enabled him to excell and he looked forward to participating in the games. He was a tall lad, literally head and shoulders above his classmates and teammates, great attribute for catching high balls but something, you sense, that contributed to his feeling awkward in himself.

The theme of struggling in his studies yet excelling on the football field was a recurring one throughout his school and college days, so much so it was suggested to him to do the LCVA, otherwise known as the Leaving Cert Applied. This was a much more relaxed learning pace for Rory allowing him to be more himself. He completed the LCVA in 2005. He then, along with a friend of his called Willie Milner, decided to apply for a sports and recreational course in Colaiste Ide in Finglas but only lasted 6 months. The course wasn’t a complete waste of time though as it was there where he met and fell in love with Emma, now his wife, with whom he now has 3 kids.

He was now at a loose end though with no idea what to do and his father putting the pressure on “master a trade”. But what trade? As he wasn’t a “hands on” person or anyway mathematically inclined, he was a people person who loved the chat. Sure at 18 years of age, I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do with my life at this age either, choosing to do a social studies plc course for a year which didn’t lead anywhere. So I can fully relate to Rory’s struggle.

He ultimately went in as an “apprentice electrician” in BMC Manufacturing which it’d be a bit like me doing carpentry, to please his dad but was utterly unsuited to it. He stuck at it for the year, did the FAS course but was let go after that. Not without a new found fondness for the auld bet, a fondness that would lead him to a very dark place via Quinn Direct; Board Gais call centre; trip to Australia and a job as a credit controller. It was the thrill of the bet that called him; that reeled him in and it didn’t matter what he was betting on. GAA; the horses; football, whatever.

On and on it went until he hit rock bottom after a club match loss and a day on the beer in Dublin. He couldn’t resist the lure of a gamble so he left the gathering early to head to the casino even after being in and out of the bookies all day. It wasn’t long though before he lost all his remaining money in a desperate attempt to recoup his losses. Soon, the self loathing kicked in and the suicidal thoughts but thank God or whoever you believe in, something kept Rory from acting on his impulses. And he knew he had to reach out for help.

I won’t spoil that part for you, you’re going to have to read that for yourself suffice to say how he got from the lowest point in his life to where he is today was through a passion for making people laugh along with a sheer doggedness; determination and willingness to make a few mistakes along the way. This is Rory’s unexpected journey to Self-Belief. This could be a lot like all our journey’s to self-belief. I highly recommend reading this book and found it nothing short of inspirational & life affirming showing you don’t have to be the most intelligent; confident or richest person in the room to follow your passion and fulfil your dreams, just be honest; have a laugh at yourself and never give up!

Liverpool: We’ll Never Walk Alone


I don’t normally write about Liverpool in my blogs as my support for them is taken as a given and I prefer to focus on my poetry and reviews. But I feel that given their current decline in form; the team’s horrendous luck with injuries and the recent bereavement of Klopp’s mother his inability to attend due to Covid 19 travel restrictions, it’s a topic worthy of discussion.

I’ve never been to Anfield to see my beloved Liverpool play a game but that is still a burning aspiration of mine once this awful pandemic is over and fans can go back to games. Before you go saying anything either, that doesn’t make me any less a fan of the Mighty Reds! Why, you ask?! Because following Liverpool is not just about supporting a football team though it’s a massive part of it, nor is it just 11 players running around the field kicking a football! #YNWA isn’t just a cheap tagline that us Pool fans post up to get a few likes and follows on our social media platforms but is a belief system; a philosophy; a way of life that I aspire to and try to live by! It’s about saying to someone going through a rough time (“when we walk through the storm”) , that “you’re not on your own pal, I’ll walk with you.” It’s about having each other’s backs when the going get’s tough.

And boy is the going tough at the moment! We’ve lost the past 4 games at home, having not conceded a game there in the previous 68; the frustrating draws away against league strugglers: West Brom and Fulham; lost our whole central defence in Van Dijk; Matip and Gomez to long-term injuries along with our make-shift defenders in Fabinho & our captain Henderson, who is normally the fulcrum and driving force of our midfield and the goals (apart from Salah) have dried up. There’s bad luck and then there’s our luck at the moment, most especially with some of the VAR decisions going against us recently. But, that’s a whole other blog in itself!

That aura of invincibility and indomnitability we possessed over the past 2 years seems to have has faded away along with that relentless; never say die; “mentality monsters” attitude which carried us through many a difficult game in the same period and overwhelmed opponents. That intoxicating; oft exhilarating winning formula which had every Liverpool fan completely enthralled; on the edge of their seats and jumping for sheer joy when Henderson lifted our first league trophy in 30 years and our 1st Champions League Trophy in 14, now all seems so elusive at the moment, so distant and so frustrating. We are really struggling right now, in football and in human terms.

Yes, it hurts me and upsets me to see Liverpool go through this just like it would hurt me to see any of my family suffer. It actually effects my mood when they lose. Because that’s how deep it goes folks. And it should hurt you too if you’re a true fan, if you truly buy into the philosophy. However instead of jumping on the frenzied social media bandwagon full of drama queens and Johnny come latelys who are calling for #FSGOut or #KloppOut or criticising the form of our players, how about you show a little compassion; empathy and patience & remember that they are just humans too and walk with them through this rough patch, this storm, until we come out at the other end of it.

And we will come out at the other end guys as the old cliche is true: “Form is temporary but class is permanent.” We are Liverpool and we “never walk alone.”

Book Review Update


Hey guys and gals. How are ye all doing? Just to let ye know that I’m currently working on a review of “Rory’s Story: My Unexpected Journey to self-belief” by well known author; comedian; social media star and mental health advocate: Rory O’Connor, the genius behind the famous Facebook page: “Rory’s Stories”, which features mini videos and vignettes on comic/serious every day life experiences from family life; GAA; living with Covid 19; homeschooling the kids and mental health struggles.

And if you haven’t heard of it or him, then where have you been burying your head for the past 5 years?? Seriously though, hope to have the review ready for posting up next week so stay tuned! Mind yourselves and stay safe.

Studio Creator: Video Maker Kit


Hey folks. How are things going? I know I’ve been a bit quiet on the video making front the last couple of weeks. But was waiting for this video maker kit (refer to attached pictures) to arrive in the post, courtesy of my wonderfully supportive wife, before I started working on the videos properly. It came last Wednesday, but my focus was on my mam’s 2nd anniversary so I waited till now to tell ye guys about it! 😁

The plan for the next week is to figure out how to work it; do a few test runs until I’m satisfied with the quality and then put up a video of me reciting “Sit Down on this Couch”. It’s based on my own experiences with mental health; talking to counselors; what that was like and how it helped me. I believe it’s a very relevant and important issue right now and we can’t brush it under the carpet like we do with so many other issues here in Ireland.

I struggle with anxiety a lot and it stops me from doing an awful lot of things that I otherwise would love to be doing. By doing these videos I’m trying to break out of that metaphorical straight jacket; build up my confidence and help other folk struggling with their mental health in the process. In light of that I would like to do a review of Rory O’ Conner’s aka (Rory’s Stories) latest book: “Rory’s Story: An Unexpected Journey to Self Belief”, which I found completely relatable and inspirational, later on this week. More on that in my review!

Until then, mind yourselves; talk to each other; stay safe and well.

For better, or: Worse


The skeptic's kaddish

Embraces life he;
"Two sides of the same coin we-
They need us both, see?" Extends fantasies;
 Sells souls heavens to fancy
 Over drudgery;  Extinguished are we,
  As all souls are born to be-
  Shed of misery;   Embraced and set free;
   Inevitability-
   An infinity


The above poem is my take on d’Verse’s Quadrille challenge #121.

The quadrille is simply a poem of 44 words (excluding the title), and it can take any form. This week’s challenge was to use the word “embrace” in a quadrille.

Notes:

  • This poem was inspired by the phrase ’embrace, extend, extinguish’, which was first introduced in the United States v. Microsoft Corp. antitrust trial;
  • This poem is structured as four haikus

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YouTube Channel update


Hey folks. How are ye all doing?? Sorry I didn’t get to put up a YouTube video this evening but I’m planning to record a vid of me reading “Sit Down on this Couch” tomorrow evening.

The hope is it’ll help someone who maybe suffering from #mentalhealth problems. Tune in around 9pm. In the meantime, mind yourselves and take care.

P. S. Want to thank all of ye guys so much for ye’re amazing support with regards to the “knock back” blog that I posted last Friday! Nearly 100 views of it already! 😮😯 Blown away and deeply humbled by the lovely comments; feedback and encouragement shown me by ye beautiful people! 😁😁♥️♥️ I’m now more motivated than ever to keep writing and to make my poetry; blogs and YouTube channel a success! Love ye all! ❤️😁

YouTube/Instagram Poetry & Spoken Word recording.


Just a reminder folks that tomorrow: Sunday 31st, I’ll be recording a poem recitation: “Bare Knuckle Writer” and posting it up (hopefully) 🤞🤞 for ye fine people. Bare with me as I’m not used to using the platform and can be quite nervous with anything public like that. So it’ll be a bit of trial and error to start with until I get the hang of it! 😁

All going well, I hope to make it a weekly feature of my creative output every Sunday thereafter. And when I get my confidence up after a while I might even do a live poetry reading but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. All feedback and comments will be greatly appreciated, even constructive criticism as I take this new step. Mind yourselves and looking forward to reading ye’re comments tomorrow.

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