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  • Writer's pictureLara O'Brien

Off the Hooks and Reels ...

I'll be honest, I woke often in the middle of the night wondering how we'd meet expectations after the first fantastic Hooks & Reels performance at The Boathouse. Six of our writing workshop writers performed six - very emotional, sometimes hysterical, and at time both - pieces of their writing. The music was exceptional with Saltaire and the audience reaction just blew me away. I was holding my breath so it came just in time! But really, the applause and feedback was a wave of warm approval for all our efforts.

The theme of our second Hooks & Reels on Thursday evening was 'Family Ties'. Dearbhail McDonald was our fantastic MC. She is Ireland's Mistress of Ceremonies and she always delivers a wonderful off-script opening that sets the mood and tone.

On Thursday, Philip O'Connor, Jaco Costello, Eoghan Ryan opened the first half of the performance with writing that made the audience think, touched our emotional scale with the words, 'he could never say he loved me,'. With Eoghan Ryan's account of his wife's third birth, he brought the hilarity and then a punch of what alcohol realism looks like, for the close. Each writer brought their words and work and delivered a fantastic performance and the reaction was incredible to see and hear.


Genevieve Howard gave us her own story that lead to her work as an artist, jeweler, and musician. Her music and voice wooed us and captured the evening in magical performance. A perfect showcase of our talented local music.

Helen Lahert read her piece that she performed on Sunday Miscellany, a Soft, Fresh, Day. Always a treat to hear Helen's work. Catherine Whelan read her funny and heartfelt account of battling a blank page and a pen, and Melissa Campana delivered a wonderful performance with Night School and tackling her children's curiosity with the 'P word'

Not sure why I was waking worrying about delivering another stellar performance. As a friend once said, 'Lara, trust the process' and she was right, it was another magical night.

After sending off my own memoir for editing, I realize how much we change. I ended the memoir returning to Ireland after 25 years away. Now that I'm 'looking back' (that was 2019) I often wonder who was that? Who was that young girl or mother or struggling writer? Or more simply, wow, look at how much life has changed.

I just reworked the writing workshop website. The workshop is changing too with Hooks & Reels. Everything changes, and somehow, in trusting the process, it feels just right.

We've wrapped up the workshops for the summer. I'll be taking off to a bell tent in the forest to write all summer on the beautiful, peaceful island of Vinalhaven in Maine. Join me, it will be rustic, BUT nature always serves as our best muse.

Our new season of writing in Howth starts end of September.

Email me - magic happens and starts with a prompt.

photo credit Carlos - PaddyfromCaddi

Sound Chris Boland.

Thanks to Dave Murnane at Aqua

Fingal County Council for support.

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