ON THE 33rd COUNTY 👹🚩✊🌈💥😁🎈
“I grew up on Bog Road in Clonakilty, the capital of West Cork, the 33rd county. I was so lucky to grow up among so many hard-working, talented people. People who kept horses, dug holes, built houses, served meals, cleaned floors, stacked shelves, baked bread, cleaned streets and so on and so on, who all had a sackful of songs or poems or riddles or sad or happy stories to share around.
I remember my neighbour Mick Donohue whistling and singing as he walked by in the dawn on his way to tend to his horses before he went to work.
I remember the great hubbub of Fossett’s and Duffy’s circuses and Mcfaddens magnificent travelling funfair as they went up overnight in the fair field across the road from us.
I remember the painted smile on the face of the furious off-duty clown as he beat my friend Tommy up for laughing at him. I remember the caged, filthy tigers and elephants, long after the circus had fled from us, the lonely sorrowful field littered with the skulls and rib cages of the cattle – slaughterhouse rejects – the jungle animals had been fed…
…I absorbed most of what I know about storytelling, poetry, performing simply from being among my friends, family, neighbours and those summers full of travelling performers as a child. Later in my teens, I took apprenticeship with a local poet, Sonya Lovell, and joined the mighty Craic Na Caoilte street theatre group. I am without question a product of my environment, and gladly so!”