• 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…

  • 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,…

  • 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…

  • Blog,  Poems

    Remembering Our Dead

      100 years ago today (24th October 1918), my great uncle, Michael Walsh, a Private in the 115th regiment of the 3rd Battalion of the US Army, was killed by shrapnel during the Battle of the Meuse-Argonne. He was three weeks past his 30th birthday, and had only arrived in France the previous June. Members of my family, led by my sister, Finola, who has done extensive research into Michael’s life and death, are visiting his grave at the Meuse Argonne American War Cemetery.       Age shall not weary them in memory of Private Michael Walsh, 24/10/1918 St. Enda’s in its prime; sky clear, air crisp, the sheddings…

  • Blog

    The Branchman debuts at Dublin’s Brand New Crime Writing Festival

    Dublin has a brand new crime writing festival. Murder One takes place over the weekend of 2nd-4th November, at the Smock Alley theatre, and features some of the leading crime writers from Ireland and abroad. Headliners are Michael Connelly (whose show is now sold out), Lynda La Plante and Peter James, but there’s plenty of home-grown talent too. I’m delighted to say I’ll be reading as part of the Speakers Corner sessions that take place throughout the weekend. I’m up first on the Saturday morning, at 11am, and will be reading from The Branchman, my new crime novel. http://www.murderone.ie/author-programme/free-readings-in-the-banquet-hall/ This is the first time an event like this has ever happened…

  • Blog,  Features

    The man behind the Branchman – Michael McCann

    Five years ago I began to research the life of my grandfather, Michael McCann, a man who has haunted much of my creative writing since I first heard my mother’s stories about his exploits during the War of Independence and Civil War, not to mention the first World War. I’d written about his war record in two poetry collections, but now I wanted to explore his fictional potential for a piece of crime fiction, and so honed in on his experiences as a policeman in newly independent Ireland. Grandad left the National Army in 1924 and, like many other ex-soldiers, joined the nascent Garda Síochána. To get further background on…

  • Blog,  Features

    A novel new experience

    Although I’ve focussed on poetry throughout my writing career, I’ve always been an avid reader of fiction, and much of my poetry has tended towards the narrative. So it was only a matter of time before I ventured into the brave new world of fiction writing. That I should want to write crime came as no surprise to me; my earliest reading as a young teenager was the novels of Agatha Christie; I worked my way through P.D. James, Ruth Rendell and though I never read Colin Dexter’s novels, I became addicted to the TV adaptation of his Chief Inspector Morse (and the sequels and prequels that followed). I’ve always…