Published by : Damian Counsell

Ophelia was an angry lady

  Well, Ophelia came and went. Ireland was in lock-down, with public transport cancelled and schools closed. The advice was to stay indoors until the storm had passed. I went out before the storm arrived and found the supermarket busy with people stocking up for a siege, but there was a hush in the air,

INSPIRE weekend for speakers

  Just had the most amazing weekend of speechmaking and Barbershop singing. It started with a day at the annual Conference (INSPIRE) of the Professional Speaking Association, which I co-founded in 1999. It was the first time I had been given a speaking slot at the annual gathering, and used my 20 minutes to talk

October already. Christmas soon

The leaves are changing colour. Spectacular reds and yellows are livening up the mottled green of trees in autumn, and curly leaves litter the pavements, skittering along with puffs of wind. There’s a chill in the air, overpowering the diminished efforts of a fading sun, often reduced to what P.G, Wodehouse would call “a weak


It’s my birthday this week. Monday, in fact. I don’t celebrate the occasion much, these days, but we gave a party last week-end and were invited to a dinner party this weekend past, so it feels like a double celebration. Highlight was a chat on FaceTime with my son and his daughter in Australia in

Educated out of creativity

  Just watched again Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk of 11 years ago, in which he asked if schools are killing creativity. He said every public education system is predicated on academic ability, in relation to what is useful for getting a job. Children, he said, are benignly steered away from subjects (such as art,

Is THIS how our Brexit future is being negotiated?

  On the front page of The Sunday Times is a piece headlined, “May secretly agrees to £55bn Brexit bill.” As if that were not bad enough, the article quotes a source saying that the opening bid will be £20-30bn, but they expect to settle for around £50bn. My jaw remains on the floor. If


When I came to live in Ireland, last year, I hoped to keep in touch with England through The Times. It was, however, never quite the same paper as I’d get in London. And then, quite recently, they abandoned all pretence and made it an Irish paper: The Times, Ireland edition. It was, in effect,

Males and females competing together

  Was at the RDS last Friday, for the Aga Khan trophy for showjumping. The USA won with an all-female quartet of riders. Showjumping seems to be the only major sport in which men and women compete together, and on equal terms. That applies to the horses as well, with mares, stallions and geldings all


So, no happy-ever-after for Usain Bolt, or for his army of followers. His final solo race did not end in the expected victory. Even worse, the gold went to the much derided Justin Gatlin, the American runner with two drugs-related bans on his CV. Bolt looked past his best, even though he will be only


Brexit is on everyone’s lips in Ireland. When people hear my English accent they quickly want to know what I think of the whole sorry mess, and how it will impact this country. The Northern Ireland border is much on their minds. It links directly to concern about the Good Friday agreement and to the