Failing at being a grown-up in LA

It turns out the only working public phone in all Los Angeles is 300 feet underground, stuffed with rubbish and guarded by a sleeping man smelling like a urinal full of petrol. HONESTLY, I shouldn’t be allowed out of the house, let alone 8,000 kilometers away to Los Angeles where, when last heard from, I…

On the road to nowhere, from Malin to Mizen

At 2am on a soggy morning at Malin Head, the most northerly point on the Irish mainland, three mates began a grueling cycle south to raise money to help Leukemia sufferers. It was never going to be easy and sometimes cycling was the least of it, but it’s an experience none of them will forget. And…

Czech out these city idylls

It’s said that the Czechs and Irish are mirrors of the same soul – and I liked what I saw in the looking glass in both Prague and Brno SUNSET in the Golden City, the city of a thousand spires, Prague. Resting place of the Kings of Bohemia, birthplace of the Velvet Revolution; a maze…

Breakfast of champions

There’s probably very little that’s healthy about a big, blow-out breakfast – one of those mid-morning, mostly weekend affairs with creaking platters of bacon, sausages, eggs and slabs of fresh French toast sprinkled with powdered sugar, pitchers of juice and steaming pots of fresh-ground coffee. It’s not terribly good for the heart, in a coronary…

Good memories are for dipping into just when you need them the most

I’M guessing that, like me, a lot of people have a ‘happy place’ they sometimes visit in their heads, and that when the shutters come down, on some horrible train commute say, surrounded by people who, like us, hate counting down the precious, increasingly finite days of their existence feeling like an extra in someone…

Ice-cool in Iceland

‘…We stop to take in the view and get our first appreciation of the sheer scale of Iceland, its vast plains of solidified lava, soaring peninsulas of icy mountains that plunge into shimmering seas…’   JUST hours after leaving familiar Dublin, we’re revving quad bikes in a volcanic landscape of black lava, steam billowing from…

Fear and loathing with Liam Gallagher, Novi Sad, 2017

‘Old rockers never die, see, they just flag a little after 2am, when the ‘antibiotics’ start to wear off…’ I’M STANDING about as close to the front of the stage as you can without being part of the First Aid corps at Exit 2017, a music festival in the ancient Petrovaradin Fortress of Novi Sad,…

Touring the D-Day beaches of Normandy

A GHOSTLY mist enshrouds the distant ruins of one of the most extraordinary engineering feats in history in the seas surrounding Arromanches in Normandy. They are the caissons – concrete block structures which, 72 years ago, were towed at walking pace across the channel from England where they’d been constructed in secret, to form the…

Cruising to Gibraltar

I could end this review now by saying if I had choked on my maraschino cherry or fallen on the sharp end of my cocktail umbrella at that moment I’d have died a blissfully happy man.   THE Columbus Monument stands some 197 feet tall at the lower end of La Rambla, in Barcelona, at…