Let’s Have a Hooley

So, I posted several weeks ago about my mom’s dementia. She’s with us now in Florida and she really misses home in New Jersey. One night after dinner, I was racking my brain to think of something to do because (like everyone else) we are pretty much homebound due to the pandemic. Then, it came to me: Let’s have a hooley.

Image of my mother, Mary.
Mom

What is a hooley? By the way, I love this word. Hooley has two definitions: (1. a party – an Irish night of traditional music and dance. 2. a strong wind or a gale as in “it’s blowing a hooley'”). Okay so I had the idea. I knew my mother would love a hooley (the party kind) because we grew up surrounded by relatives in the Bronx who played the accordion and sang all the old Irish songs. My dad was always a featured singer at the gatherings. My mother never sang but she loved to dance. My brother John and I went for Irish step dancing lessons when we were kids.

Image of a dog with hair blowing in the wind. Used as an illustration of "it's blowing a hooley" - strong gale winds.
It’s Blowing a Hooley (Image: PROCarlo Scherer under CC BY 2.0)

So, here we are (Bill, me, and my mom) sitting in the living room and I get the idea. Now all I had to do was find the music. Enter Alexa! my hooley hostess. That’s right. I turned to our Alexa dot that usually sits in the living room (doing nothing – well maybe she’s listens) and I asked her to play one traditional Irish song after another. Bill closed his eyes and tapped his knee. Mom’s feet were moving and I sang along with the music. We asked Alexa to play many of the songs my dad sang. Songs like Black Velvet Band, Wild Colonial Boy, Paddy Reilly, and I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen.

Musicians in an Irish pub - an Irish music session.
An Irish Music Seisiún

Overall, our first digital hooley was a success. My mom said it was fun. And, boy we do want her to have fun and be happy here with us in Florida. What are some of the things you are doing to pass the time together? I’d love to hear from you.

Thank you so much for reading my blog post today. I hope you enjoyed it. Please use the buttons below to share with your friends. If you haven’t already, sign up for my monthly newsletter with stories and updates about Star O’Brien’s adventures in County Mayo, Ireland.

Plotting a Poisoning

What finally drives someone to murder? Passion, anger, jealousy? What kind of person uses poison to commit the deed? Of course, someone who likes to plan! Someone who knows their way around the kitchen maybe? Or the garden? Or an antique shop? Or garage sale?

A is for Arsenic

According to Lucy Zahray, aka The Poison Lady, any number of sinister plants, herbs, and elements can be used to “cut the threads of life”. Looking for arsenic? Go to an antique shop or garage sale and buy fly paper. Yeah, grandma had arsenic hanging around the kitchen in the form of fly paper.

Arsenic Fly Paper

Or, how about that mixed green salad that hubby insisted he make for you this evening? Are you sure, he hasn’t mixed in some datura seeds masquerading as red pepper flakes?

How about some red pepper flakes?

Have you guessed? I’m working some poison into my latest Star O’Brien County Mayo Mystery Series? Still deciding how and whom but I’m a planner so who knows how I’ll sneak the pinch of toxin into the mix. You’ll have to read the book!

Thank you so much for reading my blog post today. I hope you enjoyed it. Please use the buttons below to share with your friends. If you haven’t already, sign up for my monthly newsletter with stories and updates about Star O’Brien’s adventures in County Mayo, Ireland.

Ireland’s Autumn Equinox and Book Giveaway

Hello Star O’Brien fans, click on over to my blog post to learn about my autumn equinox book giveaway.

If you’re like me, it’s been a year in which finding balance was and continues to be challenging. But looking to our Irish roots and the ancient Celts for guidance, I’m celebrating the autumn equinox (when there is an equal amount of day and night) by thinking about how to find more balance in my life.

So, Star O’Brien fans, let me know how you plan to find some balance in your life (by posting in the blog’s comment section at the bottom of the page) and I’ll choose one random winner (on Tuesday, September 22) to receive a free ebook format of the first two books in the Star O’Brien series. http://martha-geaney.com/books

Loughcrew, County Meath is home to a series of cairns, dated back 4000 years B.C.. It is believed that Neolithic farmers built the series of passages topped by mounds of stone. Interestingly, the cairns align with the rising sun of the autumn equinox.

Image of two people standing atop one of the cairns at Loughcrew, County Meath, Ireland
Loughcrew, County Meath
Image of an apple orchard in Ireland during autumn harvest time.

For later generations of farmers, like some of my grandparents and great grandparents, the autumn equinox celebrated the nearing completion of harvest and the hope for bountiful crops in storage for the winter months.

So, here’s what I plan to do…enjoy the early sunrises and start my day with appreciation for life. Carve out a few minutes each evening to enjoy the sunset and be grateful for the people in my life. What do you plan to do? What helps you find balance these days?

Thank you so much for reading my blog post today. I hope you enjoyed it. Please use the buttons below to share with your friends. If you haven’t already, sign up for my monthly newsletter with stories and updates about Star O’Brien’s adventures in County Mayo, Ireland.

Autumn Days in Ireland

And all at once, summer collapsed into fall.

Oscar Wilde

September 1 marks the beginning of autumn in Ireland. It’s a time when the weather can be beautiful. Cooler but not too cool. Or blustery towards the evening. All good as far as I’m concerned whether it’s a walk along Barney Road in French Hill or a hike along the Wild Atlantic Way.

Sheep grazing in a field.
Field along Barney Road, French Hill

Just one year ago this week, Bill and I were in County Mayo, Ireland. It was a wonderful ten days. A time when I got to see cousins and friends at my book signing.

Of course, there was the daily trip to Cafe Rua on Spencer Street for coffee and a sweet for my sweet, Bill.

Bill at Cafe Rua

One year later, the world has changed. For many, the changes are drastic, tragic, and on some days incomprehensible. But for now, I am grateful for my life, my family, and the blessings we have. I hope all who follow and read my blog can find a moment of peace.

Thank you so much for reading my blog post today. I hope you enjoyed it. Please use the buttons below to share with your friends. If you haven’t already, sign up for my monthly newsletter with stories and updates about Star O’Brien’s adventures in County Mayo, Ireland.