• Reviews

    Fred Johnston reviews The Hollow Woman on the Island

    Whoever penned the jacket blurb unfortunately employed Pentagon-speak with the phrase ‘existential threat’ to describe O’Mahony’s latest collection. I’ve never been sure what the phrase means, politically or otherwise. The threat here arises from O’Mahony’s brush with ovarian cancer and how this experience raised questions about womanhood and ‘female identity’. I suppose for those of us who’ve had prostate cancer, similar male issues ought arise. Do they? Perhaps not quite to the same extent. But one must concede that the ‘hollow woman’ of the title might diagnose a psychological point of view relevant to women, which men do not experience. Unsurprisingly, the second section, which treats of the medical experience,…

  • Reviews

    First review for The Hollow Woman

    Many thanks to John McAuliffe and the Irish Times for including my latest poetry collection, The Hollow Woman on the Island, in the latest reviews round-up. Here’s the link and text: New works by Nessa O’Mahony, Catherine Phil MacCarthy and Patrick Deeley Fri, Aug 30, 2019, 06:00 John McAuliffe Nessa O’Mahony: her work has a confident grasp on family and inheritance. Photograph: Frank Miller Creation and inheritance are at the heart of Nessa O’Mahony’s The Hollow Woman on the Island (Salmon, €12). Although O’Mahony’s style generally aspires to plainspokenness, the book includes a pattern poem or calligram, Simple Arithmetic of the Human Egg, which takes the shape of an egg and counts…

  • Features

    Guest post by poet Colin Dardis on poetry and mental health

    To coincide with the launch of his latest poetry collection, ‘The Dogs of Humanity’, I’m hosting poet Colin Dardis, who discusses here the overlaps between poetry and mental health in his work:     “I have not been named, so they never talk of me. I call myself runt, a title earnt through exclusion.” (‘Runt’) I’m twelve, and sitting in my doctor’s GP clinic, waiting to be seen by a nurse for an appointment. The reason why I am here exactly have been lost through the distance of time. However, a new reason for future appointments will soon appear. I’m on a cushioned bench, on my own, outside the nurse’s office. The colours are…

  • Blog

    Launching a new poetry collection – The Hollow Woman on the Island

    We had great fun launching my fifth poetry collection, The Hollow Woman on the Island, at Poetry Ireland on 28th May. I was in excellent company, as Jo Slade and John Murphy were also launching new volumes with Salmon Poetry, our publisher. I was also incredibly lucky to have the amazing Katie Donovan as my ‘launcher’ – here’s her very generous comment on my new book, which can be ordered online from Salmon’s website at https://www.salmonpoetry.com/details.php?ID=509&a=281 “Themes of family, mortality, faith and art inform this new collection from Nessa O’Mahony. Although the title, The Hollow Woman on the Island, suggests loss and limbo, the book rings with birdsong, the fluting of…

  • Blog,  Features

    Discussing the creative response to historical events in early 20th century Ireland

    I recently gave a paper at the inaugural Association of Writing Programmes Ireland conference at University College Dublin about the challenges of writing historical fiction – I was part of a panel with novelist Mary O’Donnell, who discussed the writing of her recent short fiction collection, Empire (Arlen House 2018). There was some fascinating discussion afterwards so I’m posting my paper here:   FINDING THE FICTIVE SPACE WITHIN CONTESTED FACT As our abstract has suggested, the current Decade of Commemoration has brought into the open many stories previously hidden from the narrative mainstream of received history. In my presentation I am focussing on the creative response to the convulsive events…

  • Reviews

    Mayo’s Marlowe: The Branchman reviewed in Dublin Review of Books

    A Marlowe from Mayo Pauline Hall The Branchman, by Nessa O’Mahony, Arlen House, 362 pp, £26.95, ISBN: 978-1851321896 In her new novel, The Branchman, Nessa O’Mahony turns to recent Irish history with a fast- moving yarn set in the jittery period shortly after the Civil War. It is an inventive touch to focus on the Civic Guards, whose title echoes the recent troubles. In the town of Ballinasloe, as throughout Ireland, the Garda Síochána are an important group. They stand in many ways at the forefront of efforts to calm and normalise life for a society still traumatised. Yet they too ‑ as individuals and as a force – are divided…

  • Blog

    Crimereads features The Branchman

    Thanks to Paul French who included The Branchman in a Crimereads feature on Crime-writing about Galway – here’s what he said: Finally, there’s poet and teacher Nessa O’Mahony’s The Branchman (2018), a political thriller set in Galway in 1925 and featuring Detective Officer Michael Mackey of the newly-created Special Branch. Mackey has been sent to the Garda Barracks in Ballinasloe (a town near Galway) to root out subversives. The book is rich in detail thanks to the fact that O’Mahony, who is a Dubliner rather than a Galwegian, has previously meticulously researched the life of her own grandfather Michael McCann, who was an early member of the young Irish Free State’s Garda Síochána…

  • Blog

    Where to buy books

    Signed copies of the The Branchman are available direct from the author, at a cost of €22 (including post and package) within Ireland, €27 for other territories – payment to Paypal PayPal.Me/nessaom1964 and emailing details of addressee to omahony.nessa@gmail.com. The Branchman can be bought in the following good bookshops: Hodges Figgis, Dawson Street, Dublin 2. Gutter Bookshop, Cow Lane, Temple Bar, Dublin 8. Gutter Dalkey, Dalkey, Co. Dublin Books Upstairs, D’Olier Street, Dublin 2. Chapters Bookshop, Parnell Street, Dublin 1. The Company of Books, Ranelagh, Dublin 6 Raven Books, Blackrock, County Dublin. Rathfarnham Bookshop, Rathfarnham Shopping Centre, Dublin 14. Antonia’s Bookshop, Trim, Co. Meath. Maynooth Bookshop, Maynooth, Co. Kildare The Blessington Bookstore,…

  • Reviews

    Splendid review of The Branchman in The Irish Times

    Declan Burke reviewed The Branchman in Saturday’s Irish Times (1st December 2018) and offered this wonderful appraisal o the novel: The Branchman Poet Nessa O’Mahony publishes her debut crime novel with The Branchman (Arlen House, €15), which opens in 1925 with Michael Mackey, a detective officer in the newly formed Garda Special Branch, sent to the Garda barracks in Ballinasloe “to root out subversion”. Mackey, a veteran of numerous conflicts, isn’t fooled by the beauty of rural Galway: “It all looked innocent enough, but who knew what old animosities were lurking in those green fields?” There’s enough animosity to deliver a murder, certainly, and Mackey quickly discovers himself investigating the…

  • Blog

    The Branchman gets its Belfast launch

    My new novel, The Branchman, got a splendid launch at the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast on Friday 16th November, alongside new works of poetry by Natasha Cuddington and Grainne Tobin, also published by Arlen House. Introducing the novel, Belfast journalist, novelist and memoir-writer Malachi O’Doherty called it ‘a rattling good story’ that ‘more than being just a story … is a profile of Ireland at a dodgy time, a comment on who we are and where we have come from’. The full launch speech follows:     “Imagine a time in a country’s history after it has agonised for years about its place in a Union of nations. Some…