Last year, I had the lovely job of being commissioned by Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership to work with a number of community groups, local experts and organisations to firstly research and then script a number of stories, which would be made available for visitors to listen to via two "listening posts".
The first listening post was for Victoria Lock in Newry and I got to research and talk to people about the history of the canal, how the restored lock actually works, the local history of seafaring from Fathom, the Flagstaff Fiesta and wildlife in the area.
The second listening post was for beautiful Camlough Lake, and while I was busy researching the area and its history I discovered my good friend Cathy and her family are from Camlough so it is a small world indeed! This post has stories about secret tunnels and outdoor swimming, and I am feeling very inspired to get in for a splash this summer - though, perhaps not as inspired as some of the locals who have competed in Siberian ice swimming challenges...
Anyway, although my part of the project was completed in 2017, the scripts then had to be recorded and the posts made so I was delighted to get an email last week to let me know they have now been installed. So if you are visiting the gorgeous Ring of Gullion area over the summer (and you should - it's class) and you get a chance, please go and have a listen!
This week we marked the conclusion of 2018's XBorders: Accord project with a reading event at the Irush Writers Centre, showcasing completed work and work in progress from the 18 writers who completed the programme.
I have learned a lot from taking part in this programme and I have had the privilege to meet some incredible writers and all round humans from across the island and around the world. I hope to be able to draw on my newly honed editing skills and all the MANY ideas I now have on borders for years to come. With thanks to Maria McManus who facilitated the course throughout, Patsy Horton for her work with us and feedback, and to Irish Writers Centre and Arts Council NI for their funding which allowed it to happen.