Festival Fever Flattened

Artists at work during the Cruthú Arts Festival in Longford in 2019

Every summer Ireland comes alive with music, dancing, parades, agricultural shows, exhibitions and much more during the many festivals that are put on for tourists and locals alike. Nearly every city, town and village take part in this summer madness which creates some magical memories for the long winter nights. Sadly this won’t be the case this year with the long reaching effects of Covid 19.

One of the local festivals that I and the Longford Writers Group have attended over the last few years is the Cruthú Arts Festival. This festival involves all age groups, many art forms and is good for local expression of the many talented artists in the area. It also boosts the local economy and brings tourists to the town.

Cruthú Arts Festival gave out this following statement in March…

‘It is with a heavy heart that we have decided due to the current pandemic situation and in the interest of Health & Safety not to proceed with this year’s Cruthú Arts Festival 2020 in Longford.

We explored all avenues, from date changes, to running staggered events and so on, but we were unable to come up with a viable alternative that would satisfy local and national guidelines.

We do have a couple of things planned for later in the year, and we will keep you updated on that.’

Here are some of my memories of the Cruthú Arts Festival and I look forward to taking part again in 2021.

Me at the festival in 2017. Photo by Lalin Swaris
Photo exhibition around Longford during Cruthú Arts Festival 2017
Readings by Esther Göbl Uí Nuallain in Irish aided by some English, in Ardagh Heritage and Creativity Centre, as part of Cruthú Arts Festival, Longford 2017
Members of Longford Writers Group reading at Torc Tales
My cousin, Nina Hynes singing in St. John’s, Church of Ireland church, Longford during Cruthú Arts Festival 2015
My children’s books on display in the pop-up shop in Longford during Cruthú Arts Festival 2015
Dan Flynn, at Local Artists’ Exhibition during Cruthú Arts Festval 2016. Photo by Maggi Mckenna

In 2014 I took part in this….Dream Catcher Workshop with Aisling Children’s Art Festival followed by Book Reading by local author Eileen Moynihan, Saturday 2nd August from 2pm, Earl Street.

This event is suited to children aged 4 to 10 years. It is a drop in workshop, younger children will need to be accompanied by an adult if workshop is very busy as they may require help.

The Aisling Children’s Arts Festival was founded in 1998 and its aim was to provide an annual multi disciplinary week long arts festival totally dedicated to children and young people in County Longford. The ethos of the festival is to nurture and develop an artistic appreciation among young people by introducing them to a wide range of arts disciplines such as drama, music, dance and the visual arts through the medium of workshops and performances. The festival is still run by a committee of local volunteers and is dependent on funding from grant agencies and local businesses.

Map of events happening during Cruthú Arts Festival 2014

Am I Good Enough As A Writer?

Straight away I want to say… Don’t answer that question!

People who write are always having doubts about whether their writing is good enough. I am sure this is true for many other artists and craftspeople. We can be our own worst critics; we let that little nagging voice whisper accusations in our heads. We compare our writing against others whose writing we admire. This is not good for our creativity.

If we want to compare ourselves to others we should study their work, see what they did to gain a good reputation as a writer, even ask them for pointers. We can learn from others but our writing must be our own unique voice.

If you are worried about technique, plots, dialogue or whatever, maybe do a course or workshop to up skill. None of us is so perfect that we can’t learn and develop our writing skills.

It is important to open up to others, share our work, get constructive feedback and be willing to look at our work critically, not to destroy our belief in our writing but to acknowledge what is good and what needs improving.

The fact that you are writing and producing work means you are doing more than many who dream of being writers but never sit down to actually produce a blog, a poem, or a story. Give yourself a pat on the back. Everything we do is a learning curve and the process of writing is no different. Dream big, set goals, take the small steps to try and achieve those goals. Believe in yourself, be kind to yourself, learn from your failures, and enjoy your writing journey.

A Guide To My Children’s Books for Parents, Grandparents Or Others Who Play A Role In Children’s Lives

A parent reading a book to their child.

As a parent, grandparent and former teacher, I have tried to make my books fun, inspiring, imaginative, educational and I have included vocabulary that is age-appropriate but also sometimes challenging to stretch the child’s learning and reading skills. Below I will give guidance and an outline of my books in age order starting with the ones aimed at the youngest readers. If you do read these books and enjoy them it would be great if you could leave a review.

The Reckolahesperus

Age group: To be read to 4-8 years old. To read themselves 6-8 years old

What is it about ? Sam is an only child who lives in the country. He loves to explore and play outside, but his mother isn’t fond of his messy ways. One day Sam’s mother says something strange to him, which leads him to make friends with an extraordinary creature.

Themes: Imagination, play, friendship, dreams, adventure, nature

The Dreamsmith

Age group: To be read to 5-8 years old. To read themselves 6-8 years old

What is it about? Eleanor wonders where dreams comes from. Her mother tells Eleanor about the Dreamsmith. Eleanor meets the magical Dreamsmith and learns all about the special ingredients that are used in dreams and how dreams are made.

Themes Dreams, the senses, feelings

Rory Gumboots

Age Group: To be read to 5-9 years olds. To read themselves 7-9 years old. This is a book with short chapters so it can be read one chapter a night or day if chosen.

What it is about: Rory Gumboots is a hedgehog who wears red gumboots, and lives in the quiet tranquil area of woodlands known as Noddinghead Nook. One day the peace of Noddinghead Nook is shattered by the threat of Monster Machines…..

Themes: Woodland animals, wild flowers, conservation and environmental protection, diggers.

Hattie And Jacques Love London

Age Group: To be read to 5-8 years old. To read themselves 7-10 years old

What it is about: When Hattie a mouse from London England, meets Jacques a mouse from Paris France, a wonderful friendship begins. They join the French au-pair Sophie, and the twins Bobby and Bella on a trip around London. They visit many landmarks and have some adventures on the way.

Themes: Mice, friendship, London and London landmarks, Paris, twins, geography.

Frances Darwin Investigates:

Age group: To be read to 6-9 years old. To read themselves 8-12 years old. This is a book with chapters so it can be read one chapter a night or day if chosen.

What it is about: One day Frances Darwin finds a bit of torn paper on the ground. This excites Frances as she would love to be a detective. This bit of paper sends France on a ‘wild goose chase’ that leads her to find a stray dog called Bouncer. Finding out about Bouncer leads her onto to find his owner, who becomes a big part of Frances’s life. Before Frances knows it she has become involved in an investigation to find out who is dog-napping dogs in the local area. During her inquiries she meets and makes friends with the Randall children Tom and Cindy, who help her capture the dog-nappers. As well as this, Frances’s formidable Gran becomes friendly with Bouncer’s owner, and Mrs Marsh next door makes friends with Hannah Mortimer, a retired teacher. They both had dogs taken, and help with planning to foil the dog-nappers.

Themes: dogs, friendship, adventure, mystery

A Posy of Wild Flowers

Age Group: To be read to 6-9 years old. To read themselves 7-12 years old

What is it about? A children’s book of poetry by Eileen Moynihan about wild flowers and trees found in Ireland, with Irish names added. It is Illustrated with fabulous flower fairies painted by Angela Corkery.

Themes: Wild Flowers, Trees, Nature

Kids and Teens Fan Club


I am very happy to welcome you all to the new, Kids and Teens Fan Club. I know some of you have read my books and enjoyed them, but also that there might be new members here. I hope you and I can have fun here, and that I also will get some feedback and ideas from you.

Below is an illustration from my new book, A Posy of Wild Flowers. It is a picture of the Rose-hips of Rose Rugosa flower fairy. All the illustrations were painted by my sister, Angela Corkery.

Below that again is my poem about the flower. Look at each one carefully and then I am going to ask you to do a few things.

Rose-hips of Rose Rugosa
              Mogóir Róis
Rose-hips bright and gaudy,
Orangey-red autumn glory,
Hanging off rose-bush, thorny,
Feeding birds in frost.
Birds swoop in a flurry,
To feed themselves in a hurry,
Smaller furry animals
Feast briefly, swiftly scurry.

We gather hips to preserve
In syrup, jelly or jam conserve,
 For Vitamin C in reserve, to
 Beat the colds we might observe.

Things to do:
1. Decide what is your favourite wild flower in your country.

2. Imagine what the flower fairy for your favourite wild flower looks like and draw or      
     paint it.

3.  Write a poem about your favourite wild flower.

Now the exciting bit!

There is a competition. Send me your flower picture and poem by email 
to by Monday 17th August 2020. 
Make sure I know your name and age and what country you live in. 
There are 4 age categories: 
4-6  years old,  7-9 years old, 10-13 years old and 14-18 years old. 

There will be a free copy of, A Posy of Wild Flowers
 for the winner of each age group. 
I will list the winners here and contact you by email for your address. 
Good luck!

News! News! Read All About It

First of all, my sister, Angela Corkery Bickley and I are very excited to reveal that with the launch of the book, ‘A Posy of Wild Flowers’ with its flower fairy illustrations, you can now get flower fairy greeting cards as well.

Some of the 20 cards available. Photo by Aoife Moynihan
Some of the book illustrations as cards. Photo by Aoife Moynihan

And… Not only that… you can also get A3 and A4 prints of the illustrations as well. All cards and prints can be ordered here

And… my sister is currently working on a colouring book of the illustrations, plus a 2021 calendar… with accompanying poems… Watch This Space!


I am going to get more organised about this blog. I will try to get out a weekly blog aiming at different audiences. So next week I will try to appeal to children, week 2 will be for parents, grandparents and anyone interested in buying children’s books, week 3 is for those interested in writing, and week 4 will be about my local area or local people. Any of these weeks might have an interview with one of my characters, a local person, another writer or someone involved in one of my books. So, I will try to follow that pattern over the coming months.

Success – What does it mean to you?

As a writer, there can be personal success and public success. Personal success could be mean creating something and getting a feeling of achievement when you finish it. It could be self-publishing a book and seeing the finished product for sale. This is where personal success crosses over into public success. To see a child read and enjoy one of my children’s books gives me a great deal of personal satisfaction. Good reviews from people I don’t know personally, and especially good reviews from my writing peers means personal and public success to me.

To be printed by a traditional publisher would make me feel like ‘a real writer’ and would give me public recognition that I am a ‘professional’. If I made money while enjoying writing books that would be a great thing, but it is not my main motivation to write.

Personal success for a writer would be to love what he is writing and to write out of the joy of his heart. He feels that he couldn’t live without writing and, because of that belief, he actually writes, not just thinks about doing it someday – Sierra Close,thinks%20about%20doing%20it%20someday.

Successful Moments

At the book launch of my first children’s book, ‘Rory Gumboots’, at Ardagh Heritage and Creativity Centre, Ardagh, Co. Longford. A successful moment for me.
My second cousin’s grand-daughter, Emmaline Lecroy, who lives in the USA, four years ago. She was very proud to talk about her family and share her books with her classmates on Dr. Seuss’s birthday. She wanted to dress as Jacques from my book, ‘Hattie and Jacques Love London’. I was very touched by this.

This quote from my friend’s grandson made me feel very successful.

It was that good that I didn’t want it to end. So I stopped in the middle and went back to the beginning – 11 year old, Karl Adam – about my book, ‘Frances Darwin Investigates’.


Well over a year ago, I was admiring the photographs taken by my friend, Margaret O’Driscoll. They were beautiful pictures of wild flowers and trees from around her home in West Cork. They gave me an idea: wouldn’t it be lovely to write poems about wild flowers and trees? Poems for children, but which adults could enjoy as well. As I started to write, I remembered reading books about flower fairies when I was young. I knew the ideal person to do illustrations of flower fairies to accompany the poems, my sister, Angela Corkery, who from her youth has been a brilliant artist. When Margaret, Angela and I met to discuss the project, one could feel the creative magic in the air. This cemented the relationship between us.

The magical meeting of creative minds: Eileen Moynihan, Margaret O’Driscoll, and Angela Corkery Bickley

I researched each poem I wrote to give a bit of the background and history of each plant. Angela read each poem, taking elements from them, along with her own research, to shape her artwork. Thanks also to Rose Moran who contributed to the editing of the poetry. Her deep knowledge was much appreciated. She is also a friend and a member of Longford Writers Group.

One of the illustrations my sister, Angela Corkery Bickley painted
Poet, Rose Moran who helped with editing my poems. Photo by Sally Martin

We then thought about a cover and I asked my friend, Dan Flynn, if he would be willing to try, as he has done a few covers for books prepared by members of the Longford Writers Group, of which we are both members. He agreed on the understanding his work was accepted as a contribution to the project. Another friend and member of the group, Sally Martin, photographed Dan’s cover design to prepare it for printing.

Book cover art – Dan Flynn. Photo by Sally Martin
Sally Martin who photographed Dan Flynn’s art for the cover.

This has been a collaboration of love for what we do and an appreciation of the concept of the book: seek wonder in the world around you.


A Posy of Wild Flowers is out now!

To buy in the USA or the rest of the world

To buy in the UK or Ireland