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March 2024


Cross 100


Good Friday

"Look the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world"


Covered in blood

Every teen who bullied a peer

Every drunk who drank another drink

Every gang leader who ruled in fear

Covered in blood

Every exploitative capitalist gain

Every rich man within compassion

Every dealer who preyed on the pain

Covered in blood

Every lust his heart has flailed

Every angry thought without a gun

Everything - nailed

Covered in blood


Covered in blood

The flowery words I use to deceive

The serial killer inside my soul

And the days when I refuse to believe

Covered in blood

When my faith stands up too proud

My every selfish twisting of the truth

When my insecurities scream too loud

Covered in blood

All those times. my determination failed

And the failure to take a chance to fail

Everything nailed!





The Last Devil To Die

I so loved the first three episodes of Richard Osman’s Thursday Murder Club that I took this fourth one slowly. Rationing myself to about 20 pages a day (those little chapters make that so easy) I was able to move into Cooper’s Chase Retirement Village and hang with our favourite gang of 70 something vigilantes - Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron - for nearly two weeks.

After four novels Richard Osman has his Thursday Murder Club down to a T. You feel that you might be sitting on the set of his House Of Games or an old Pointless. The big lad with that laid back humour. So likeable. He brings it all to the pace and feel of his novels. It’s like he’s just there chatting with us.

Speaking at the 4 Corners Festival the writers of last year’s television police drama success Blue Lights spoke of how characters need to develop. “You can tell a good story by it,” said Declan and Adam. Well, if that is the case then this series of novels is a huge success because boy have these characters developed.

They develop to the point that as well as the murder and drug theft at hand we are now emotionally involved in the lives of our lovable characters. No spoilers but there are tears within these pages.

We are not done there. Osman has this way with him. On what seems to be your common and every day whodunit, he adds ethical dilemmas. He has a gentle roll of storytelling but don’t be fooled. He can write. He can write a good story.

Indeed, though I was rationing my time with my Cooper’s Chase buddies I had to read the last 80 pages in one sitting. I needed to see where it would take us, our characters and our stories. Like the old fruit pastel advertisement I couldn’t just suck. I needed to chew. 

I hope we find ourselves in Cooper’s Chase again one day. It seems that Osman is taking a break and giving us new characters and scenarios. We maybe need it but these were four books that I enjoyed at least as much as a guest appearance of Osman on Would I Lie To You.

Thoroughly enjoyable. 




Beki Hemingway in Fitzroy. Oh yeh!

Beki Hemingway is a gift to us Irish. When she and her guitar toting husband Randy Kerkman decided inexplicably to move from Colorado to end up in Dundalk we should have seen God's hand in it.

Beki and Randy are a live duo that turn a room. Boy can he play. Boy can she sing. When it comes to the quality of their songs I wrote this about their most recent record Earth & Asphalt:


Then there are dobros and pal steel and baritone guitars giving these songs more of a rich resonance than on Beki’s previous work. Beki’s performances are a revelation too. That awesome voice reaches further and has moments when she sounds more Janis Ian than Maria McKee. I am loving it.

The songs? Well I thought their last record Whins and Weather was a songwriting triumph but for me this one is a life work. The lyrics are so poetic, so evocative, so wise in strong songs that have you rocking, waltzing and almost praying that any good American record should.


If you are someone who attends the 4 Corners Festival you may have seen Beki multiple times. This will be the opportunity to see more than 2 songs here and 2 songs there as she gets her opportunity to do an entire gig. It will be a spiritual, artistic and entertainment treat.


Inspired To Act

Inspired To Act is a wonderful podcast hosted by Will Leitch and Diane Holt. In the most beguiling and light hearted way Will and Diane draw out intelligent thought, theology and praxis from their guests.

It was a pleasure to spend some time talking to them about 4 Corners Festivals. So here, give a listen to myself, Fr Martin Magill and Mylie Brennan talking about the history, raison d'être and highlights of this year's festival. It is really very good!



Rob and Julian


Saw you at Church on Sunday

As we shared our holy longing

But before we dream too far from reach

We spoke of our belonging

Now Friday here you are again

Where you promised you'd never be

The glazed gaze of guilt and shame

If you could even recognise me

Some may call it blasphemy

But I believe it to be true

God lay beside you in the gutter

Grace like a mother holding you.


Missed you at Church this morning

My belonging something less

My spirit left to find you

To curl up in your distress

Your head squeals in  the morning after

In an ocean of poison brine

It's bitter taste can't touch your soul

You are soaked in a dearer wine

Some may call it blasphemy

But I believe it to be true

God lay beside you in the gutter

Grace like a mother holding you.


You fell in love with someone

You called her Chardonnay

Thought you had her in your palm

But she soon had her way

How did we get to this grave side

I'll never ever know

One time, one night, one drink

The fall of your demons dominoes.


Some may call it blasphemy

But I believe it to be true

God lay beside you in the gutter

Grace like a mother holding you.


I wrote this song for the album that Sam Hill Jr and I released in 2001 - Stevenson and Samuel: Grace Notes LISTEN HERE  

Yesterday at the funeral of my dear friend Rob Lawson I realised it was something of a song about Rob. God loved Rob. Rob knew it. The disease of addiction took Rob but I believe that God never left his side. Loved him. Still does. That Communion cup, the dearer (more expensive) loving, forgiving wine!

I added the Chardonnay verse... Rob's word...









Stocki and David Dunlop

David A Dunlop will be launching his new novel When The Light Gets in in Fitzroy on March 28th at 8 o'clock. 

I was mesmerised by the book, set in a sectarian and religiously  legalist community in the northern counties of Ireland. It shines a light on the golden calf of pietism and judgementalism. It is fascinating.

In this podcast we hear about David as a rock singer, musical writer and novelist. It's a perfect lead in to the new book and the launch!






(This is the script of my Thought For The Day on BBC Radio Ulster on March 21st 2024)


I was taken by the story of an 83 year old man. He spoke about how he’d gone for  breakfast at the McDonald’s drive in. It seems that he is not driving fast or precise enough for a young woman in the car behind him. She starts tooting and shouting insults.

Unperturbed when he gets to the first window where he has to pay for his breakfast the old man also pays for the young rascal in the car behind. When the man at the window tells the young woman that her meal has been paid for it causes instant reconciliation and the young women is now shouting her repentance and thank yous.

When the old man reaches the window where he picks up his food…he also picks up the young woman’s food and drives off… leaving our young ageist driver to get to the back of the queue all over again!

His punchline is not to mess with the elderly. I love it!

You see as we laugh at the twist in the tale we should also look deep into our souls.

When the older man showed grace and paid for the young woman’s food we were taken with that. That’s a radical act of forgiveness. Good on you. Leave that young woman in penitence but grateful for a loving act of kindness.

However, when our sneaky octogenarian wrought vengeance and almost hilariously sends our public enemy Number 1 to the back of the line we kind of like that almost better. Good on you sir. Boy she deserved it.

Isn’t that our inner selves. We are torn between justice and love, vengeance and forgiveness. We hold love and forgiveness up as a powerful virtue but we grin with glee at vengeance.

The problem is that with most things vengeance that leads to vengeance that leads to even more vengeance is like a snowball spiralling down a mountain picking up snow and speed for a destructive end. 

Grace and forgiveness stops the avalanche of grief and sets us up for healing and peace.

So today when my McDonald’s drive through scenario strikes I pray that I am courageous in the choice I make between paying for the Micky Dee meal and sending that girl back into the early morning queue? 




I lived in Dublin between 1991 and 1994 and they were big, full and love stuffed. I became a part of the 78 Eaton Wood Green Community and out of it an arts festival at Ovoca Manor called Arklight. 

Today one of the community, Rob Lawson a real driving force in Arklight, passed away. I am back in my happiest place...


I’ll always go to that instant

A second caught in time

Here in the brightest photograph

My whole universe rhymed


We all smiled the biggest smile

Eight in one embrace

Last day before we all grew up

We hunkered in a joyous space

Smothered in love, so much love

Cuddled up in that one big bed

In every darkest moment since

I come back here to Wicklow instead.

Where we shone like an Arklight

When sang into the good night

When laughed away the dark light

Where we shone like an Arklight.


I’ll always go to that instant

A second caught in time

Here in the brightest photograph

My whole universe rhymed.




TUESDAY MARCH [email protected] 


Kiran Wimberly & The McGraths

Celtic Psalms 22



Worship with Norman McKinley & Peter Greer





Book Launch


David Dunlop Launch


FRIDAY MARCH 29th @ 7pm



Prayer Room available most evenings, before and after events... 




Luke Sital-Singh - Evening Sky

Don’t let this little gem of a release slip you by. Sneaking out with seemingly not even a hard copy format Luke Sital-Singh sends us the most gorgeous of EPs.

I have been loving young Mister Singh since his Nothing Stays The Same, his co-write with Iain Archer, from 2014’s The Fire Inside.

In the midst of some amazing records like A Golden State and Dressing Like A Stranger he has eased out a series of these cover songs. I utterly loved his Late For The Sky and the reworked from the ground up American Girl.

Here we get six new covers ranging from the Moon River right out of the American Song Book to The Verve’s The Drugs Don’t Work. There’s a range.

It seems that Covid was might have been a contribution. Fans suggesting some songs. Whatever drew Singh to these, we should be grateful. His Heroes is sublime. Chicago intriguing. Would Sufjan be a contemporary?

It all comes with that signature gentleness that we have come to love from Luke. He has the ability of inviting himself in with a sound at that is at ease but carries authority.

My wife asked for some middle of the night songs to help her sleep recently and I fumbled this one on, in my sleep, and it worked a treat. 

As I said, don’t miss it.