The White House –

Wind blew sharp, like razor blades you couldn’t see. The Polish mechanic had blue overalls and a worried look. It was just me and him but no one was saying anything.

The bonnet of the car was up and open, like a gaping mouth with an engine inside.

In fear of eternal silence, I said: ”Think it’s the airbag.’

He put his hand on the radiator, thought for a second, and said:  ‘Hmm….I think this engine is about to die.’

‘I wouldn’t go that far now.’

‘Your car is old.’

‘But well kept.’

‘It might be a faulty switch.’ He said.

‘That sounds more promising.’

‘Then again, could be oil pump.’

‘Still better than a dead engine.’

‘Big job all the same.’

‘How big?

‘We’ll have to take down the sump.’

I nodded, like I knew wtf that meant, then said: ‘Can you do it today?’

‘Very busy. Everybody want. Tomorrow.’

‘Bring it in tomorrow?’

‘Yes. Tomorrow. Day after today.’

‘Will it break down before then or can I keep driving it?’

‘Keep driving. No problem. No breakdown.’

‘Will it be expensive?’

‘Probably very.’


Great. Some days you think you’re getting ahead.

Selling a few books.

Teaching a few courses. But God has other plans.

Later, when the car broke down,  I pulled into an estate to see what could be done.

I got out and opened the bonnet and looked inside. It seemed like the right thing to do. Maybe there’d be an obvious pipe unhooked, or a lead disconnected. It might just need water.

After a few seconds, I stood back and looked around. Spring vauguely threatened, birds sang uncertain, daylight lingered.

There was a white house behind me and you could see a big family through the front window, all huddled around an open fire.

Then the front door opened and a girl came out and asked: ‘Are you ok?’

‘Car broke down.’

‘Is it bad?’

‘Not great I think. It might just need water.’

‘I’ll get you some. Come in.’

I went in. Followed her to the kitchen.

Kids books and half eaten dinners left around. A full ashtray and a tremendous smell of weed.

Suddenly there was a shout from the sitting room. Man’s voice. ‘Sheila! What the fuck’re you at?’

‘Helpin this fella?’

‘With wha?’

‘Givin him water for his car.’

‘Fuck him! Tell him to get his own fuckin water!’

‘Shut up you.’ Then to me. ‘That’s Paddy. Never mind him.’

‘You’re grand, I’ll go again. Water probably won’t make any difference.’

She handed me a jug, said: ‘Here. Take this. It’s awful cold out, isn’t it?’


‘I hope you get sorted.’

‘I’ll drop back your jug when I’m finished.’

She went back into the sitting room saying at the same time: ‘Paddy, will you ever shut up when there’s people here.’

‘Who’s people?’ Said Paddy. ‘What are you letting strangers in for…?’

‘He wanted water for his car.’

‘You’re an awful stupid bitch….’

‘Don’t you be calling me a….’

‘And what if he’s from the drug squad?’

‘With a broke down car?’

‘That’s the way they work you clown….’

‘The only clown here is you…..’

‘I’ll fuckin burst his head if he comes back here again.’

‘You wouldn’t burst eggs you lazy lump of shite….’

‘I’ll kill the him stone dead.’

‘Stop fighting!’ Screamed a young girl.

Back at the car, there was a smell of burnt oil and liquorice. The water was already full so it didn’t need any.

I brought back the jug to Sheila and she asked: ‘Would you like a cup of tea or anythin?’




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Click here for Details on Mick Donnellan’s New Writing Course on January 31st in Athlone Institute of Technology. 





Mick Donnellan to Lecture new Writing Course at AIT – Athlone.

Mick Donnellan to Lecture


New Creative Writing Module


Athlone Institute of Technology

**Wednesday January 31st **

**7.30 -9.30pm **

Duration: 8 Weeks

Course Fee: €160

Register Interest/Contact:

Tel:(087) 9422942

Aim of the course:

The aim of this course is to provide students with the tools on how to write, why to write, what to write about and how to get it published. Most budding writers often find they are burning to tell a story, but don’t know how/where to start. Once completed, each participant will leave with the necessary skills to enter the writing industry with confidence and direction. This will include advice/contacts on where and how to send to your work, as well as ways to self promote/produce your writing. An end of course assignment will also ensure each participant finishes with a publishable piece of writing to present to potential agents/publishers. (Students are also welcome to bring existing works in progress to the class to have it discussed, critiqued and developed. )

Course Outline –

  • Writing techniques. Styles of writing. Different genres. Thriller? Chick Lit? Crime? True Stories? What language to use. How to pace your story. Plot and suspense.
  • The Art of Fiction – Novel/Novella/Short Story?
  • Journalism – How to write for the media compared to the fiction market.
  • Screenwriting – How to write for film. What format to use. How to think visually. Getting the script produced.
  • Drama How to write good drama and dialogue. Developing an ear for the rhythms of speech. Getting your Play produced.
  • Poetry – A look at past and contemporary poets and how the art has evolved.
  • Memoir – telling your life story. How and why to do it!
  • Non Fiction – Historical writing. Biography/Auto Biography.
  • Publishing industry – Where to send your work. The right people to send it to. How to prepare and present your Manuscript/Screenplay/Poetry collection.
  • Chance for students to have their work openly critiqued and discussed by others in the class, if they wish to do so.

Intended for:
This course is ideal for writers at all levels of their career. It is particularly suited for beginners and those who need a channel to express themselves creatively.

No experience is required as the course will begin with the basics of writing and gradually move through the different stages towards publishing success. It will be an enjoyable, stress free course with one assignment at the end. It will also help those writers working in isolation and looking for a constructive environment to share and develop their work.

Duration: 8 weeks.

Commencing: Wednesday Evening

January 31st


Athlone Institute of Technology, Athlone, County Westmeath.

Time: 7.30 -9.30pm.

Course fee: €160

Contact Mick Donnellan @ (087) 9422942 or

Via E-mail:


About Mick Donnellan:

Mick Donnellan completed the MA in Writing at NUIG in 2004. Since then he has worked as a novelist, journalist, travel writer, teacher and Playwright. He completed his first novel, El Niño, in 2005 and immediately secured a literary agent. He left Ireland soon after and went on to live in Spain, Australia and Canada. While traveling he worked as a travel writer and Journalist and co-founded the Arts Paper – Urban Pie – in Vancouver. Upon returning to Ireland he went on to work with Druid (2009) and RTE (2010).

Most recently, he established his own theatre company, Truman Town Theatre.

All Truman Town Plays are written, directed, and produced by Mick. The company exploded on to the theatrical circuit in 2011 with their hit Play – Sunday Morning Coming Down. Following a national tour, they went on to produce (and tour) two more hugely successful Plays Shortcut to Hallelujah and Gun Metal Grey. These dramas eventually became known as the “Ballinrobe Trilogy.” More recently, the company toured a fourth Play Velvet Revolution and in 2014, Radio Luxembourg, his fifth Play, was bought by a London Film Company (Dixon/Baxi/Evans) and has been adapted for the screen.

The title for the movie version is “Tiger Raid”. Starring Brian Gleeson, Damian Molony and Sofia Boutella, it had its world premiere at the Tribeca film festival (2016) and was also seen at Cannes and Edinburgh and the Irish Premiere was screened at the Galway Film Fleadh.

El Niño is now published and Mick is currently in negotiations to sell the screen rights. Between that, he teaches writing while promoting his second novel “Fisherman’s Blues.” and keeping Truman Town on the go.

Most of 2017 has been working on the exciting screen adaptation of “Shortcut to Hallelujah” with Florence Films. Hot off the press, the screenplay is titled “Sam” and is based around the gypsy curse supposedly set on the Mayo Football team as they returned home as All Ireland Champions in 1951. “Sam” is set in the present day and deals with themes of Mayo life and the hope of bringing the Sam Maguire home. Drenched in Irish lyricism and modern day dark humour, the script has been been met with keen interest by film producers and actors throughout the industry.


Click here to buy Mick Donnellan’s Novels now!

Side jobs –


The writing wasn’t paying the bills. Imagine that?

Had to get some of what the experts called “real work.”

We were there to fix her wall. Her landlord had rang and said there was a big hole in it and could we do something.

 When we got there she couldn’t open the front door. Said the kids had lost the keys. I suggested we climb in the window.

‘No.’ She said. ‘Come around the back and I’ll let ye in.’

We walked round the back. Past an old worn battered couch, and a kid’s rusted bike, and muck, and a rotten old window frame with no pane of glass.

The back door was boarded up with thick slabs of timber. It took her a while to get them all down and let us in.

Inside, the kitchen was dark and there was bare tungsten wires where the lightbulbs used to be.

‘I’m sorry,’ she said. ‘Waiting for the landlord to fix that. Come into the sitting room.’

There was light here. And clothes drying on a clothes horse. And the walls were red and sparsely populated with cheap surrealist art.

‘I’m Sarah.’ She said.

She was young, about 22, and beautiful.

‘Sorry about the state of the place,’ she said. ‘I’m not long moved in. I thought you were here to install the internet.’

‘No, not us. Are you waiting for an engineer?’

‘Yeah – the internet and the channels. Getting myself set up – finally.’

‘Were you gone somewhere?”

‘I’m just out of rehab. I was an addict.’

‘You’re young.’

‘Started at 14. Heroin.’

‘Did you get a good deal on the internet?’

‘€25 a month, but it’ll probably go up then after a while. Do you want tea?’

‘You’re grand thanks. Where’s the hole in the wall?’

‘It’s over here. I’ll show you.’

We walked into the hall. Cold. Stone floor – decadent breeze like a dead man’s wheeze. A howl of dead generations. A smell like old wet wood and damp towels.

On the ground was an unwired socket. Screws and screwdrivers left around it like a half built thing.

Above it was a big hole in the shabby plasterboard wall. It had the gaping, terrified look, of a toothless man about to get hit with something huge.

‘He tried to do it himself.’ Said Sarah.

‘Do what?’ I asked her.

‘Wire the plug. But he got a big shock off it and started shouting. And then he kicked the wall and put a big hole in it and left.’

‘This won’t take us long. But there’ll still be a call out charge.’

‘I don’t mind – he’s paying for it anyway.’

‘We’ll throw a few bulbs in the kitchen too.’

‘Thanks. Sorry you had to come around the back. That’s a new door and the kids lost the keys somewhere. The last one was kicked in.’

‘By who?’

‘Said I owed them money – wanted me to prostitute myself to pay it off.’

‘They know where you live and everything?’

‘They live across the road. I grew up around here. We all did. You’d be walkin down the street and one of the girls would be like – “Hey, Sarah, do you want to go halves on a bag?” and I’m like “No, I’m off it.” And it’s all like how come, and why….and all that. You know?’



Buy Mick Donnellan’s novels in PAPERBACK here.







The Golden Parachute –

I was there to meet Anne.

Anne wasn’t there.

Debbie was.

The place was awful cold, like it had no windows.

There was a smell like turf and burnt cardboard and two scrawny puppies were trying to dislodge some left over pizza from a Dominos box in the fireplace.

Debbie had a cigarette in one hand. Phone in the other. Hadn’t had time to get dressed yet today. Still in her pyjamas, mining the social cryptocurrency of Facebook. .

Meanwhile one of the dogs pissed on the floor.

Debbie asked distractedly: ‘Would you like a cup of tea?’

‘No thanks.’

She seemed relieved, asked: ‘Is this your full time job?’

‘No. I’m also a writer.’

‘Oh yeah,…?’

She smiled at something on the phone, said: ‘Sorry, just doing something here.’

‘No problem.’

‘Mammy will be here in a minute.’

‘Is she gone far?’

‘I don’t know. She left to go to the shop.’

‘Was that long ago?’

‘About an hour.’

‘Where’s the shop?’

‘You can see out the window there – look.’

I looked. It was there alright. Then Debbie asked: ‘Do you like dogs?’

‘They’re ok.’

‘I’m doing a parachute jump next week.’

‘Really? For what?’

‘Dogs. Like dogs that are abandoned.’


I looked over and the puppies had taken the pizza from the fireplace but it had fallen into the pool of piss.


Debbie continued: ‘Will you sponsor me?’


The door burst open. Anne fell in. Eyes standing on her head. Debbie looked up concerned. ‘Mammy! What took you so long?’

‘How do you mean?’

‘You’re gone ages!’

‘I just went to the shop. Who’s this?’

‘That’s Michael. Remember you rang him and asked him to come.’


‘Are you drunk?’

‘I had one whisky.’

‘One bucket was it?”

‘Don’t be annoying me. Did you offer him tea?’

‘I did. He said he’s grand.’

Anne looked at me, said: ‘You look like a telly licence man.’


‘Do you want a drop of Poteen?’

‘I won’t, thanks. I don’t drink.’

‘You’re coddin me?’

‘I’m not, but thanks.’

‘You drank wan time, though. I’d know it to look at you.’

Debbie cut in with: ‘He’s going to sponsor me, Mammy.’

‘For what?’

‘The parachute jump.’

‘Sure you were supposed to do that last week.’

‘Shut up, will ya. Just find the forms.’

Anne left. Came back with the bottle of Poteen. Clear glass bottle. No label. She filled a dollop, said: ‘I need this.’

‘Did you find the forms?’ Asked Debbie.

‘No. They’re there somewhere.’

Debbie sighed and got up herself. Went to the kitchen. Anne asked: ‘Are you busy?’

‘Busy enough now. ‘

‘Do you like our Christmas tree?’

I hand’t taken any notice until now. It was a fairly big effort. Lots of lights, and decorations. Few presents underneath it.

Debbie came back with a sponsor sheet and a biro. ‘Most people give a fiver.’ She said. ‘But you can give more if you want.’

I rooted for change. Hoping not to pull out too much. One of the dogs was trying to eat my shoelaces.

‘Have you seen the bag of money, mammy?’ Asked Debbie. ‘I couldn’t see out there when I went to get the forms? You know the money that people already gave me…..’

‘I borrowed it.’ Said Anne. ‘I’ll put it back tomorrow.’

‘Fuck ya.’ She said. ‘I needed that to buy fags. Sure we’ve nothin now!’

And they both looked at me.



How to use Android Pay –


Lost my Debit Card. Had to set up Android Pay. This means you can make payments at shops by tapping your phone off on the yoke instead of tapping your card. Simple.

Later, when I was buying lunch, I tapped my phone and it made the payment.  The girl behind the counter said: ‘That’s mad.’

‘I know.’

‘How does it work?’

‘Just comes from your account.’

‘What if you lose your phone?’

‘There’s a lock on it so it’s safe.’

‘And can you still make phone calls?’

‘I can. It doesn’t affect your phone.’

‘Can you do it if you only have a credit phone?’

‘I’d say so.’

‘I have unlimited free textes on mine – but no free calls. Would it use up all my textes?’

‘You’d have to ask the bank.’

‘What bank are you with?’


‘I’m with the TSB. Do they do it?’

‘I don’t know. You could ask them. Can I get cashback there too?’

‘Oh, I better not, just in case. Do you mind if I don’t? I’d be afraid like.’

‘You’re grand.’




Later that evening. In another shop. Bought some shite. Got to the till, said: ‘I’m going to pay with my phone, is that ok?’

Fella behind the counter frowned, said: ‘You want phone credit?’

‘No. I want to pay for this using my phone.’

‘You want to….sell me your phone?’

‘Eh….no. No I don’t.

‘Oh. Ok.’ He tapped the counter in the same way he does for all the weirdos he sees everyday and said: ‘So that’s €8.46 please, are you using card or cash?’



‘Neither. See. I can pay with the phone, there’s a new APP called…’

‘We have Vodafone, Meteor, Three….which you want?’

‘I don’t want credit.’

He jumped on this. ‘We don’t give Credit. Money up front.’

‘No, I meant, I don’t want phone credit.’

‘You want credit for your electricity? Prepaid Electricity for you? We have Electric Ireland, Pinergy….’

‘No. Just this here.’

‘Ok, so you have €8.46?’


‘Ok. So  you pay now please?’

‘Do you do Tap and Pay?’


‘Ok, I’ll tap.’

He sighed, took out the machine, said: ‘Here…’

I opened my phone before he had a chance to protest, tapped it off the reader and it said: ‘Approved.’

His eyes went wide. He looked at me like a priest would look at a Satanist, said: ‘what is this?’

‘Android Pay.’

‘But where does the money come from?’

‘My bank account – same as Card Payments.’

The receipt rolled out with a whistle of triumph. He pulled it off and examined it for financial heresy. When he found none, he said: ‘You better sign it, just in case.’

So I signed it and left.


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Why to buy Litecoin?



‘They reckon Bitcoin is going to hit a million per coin?’

‘Maybe, maybe not. It might crash too.’

‘So what do you recommend?’


‘What are they?’

‘Alternative CryptoCurrency.’

Is there a particular one?’

‘Yeah – Litecoin is Mooning right now.’

‘Is that a good thing?’

‘Means it’s heading for the moon.’

‘Like in a rocket?’

‘No – metaphorically. It’s gone from sub dollar to astronomical prices.’

‘So buy that?’

‘Maybe. But it could dip. It’s a good policy to buy the dips. Right now it’s at A-T-H?’


‘All time high. But there’s a lot of FUD out there so there could be a drop soon.’

‘FUD is….bad?’

‘FUD is Fear/Uncertainty/Doubt. The head of JP Morgan, Jamie Dimon, spoke out recently against Bitcoin. Caused a lot of FUD. Said it was a scam. An unreliable investment. And any of his employees caught dealing with it would be fired.’

‘Anyone get fired?’

‘No, but the price dropped significantly and the next day JP Morgan invested heavily – on behalf of their investors. When the FUD cleared, the price went up again and JP Morgan made a huge profit.’

‘Hmm…So all you have to do is buy some Altcoins, wait for them to hit an A-T-H and try not to get overhwhelmed by the FUD.’

‘Yeah, you need to HODL that shit.’


‘Hold on for dear life. Someone somewhere in the past mixed up the word Hold for HODL and then it stuck as an acronym for holding out through the storms and watching the prices moon.’

‘Ok, so Litecoin is the way to go?’

‘That’s what I’d recommend. Avoid the Shitcoins too.’


‘Coins that are shit. There are respectable coins out there – based in real companies with exciting technology. Then there are clowns that just make up ICO’s and sell them to gullible idiots. Once they get enough of it, they close down shop and disappear. Adios.’

‘How can people get caught so easy?’

‘It’s common – greed, stupidity and FOMO.’

‘What’s FOMO?’

‘Fear of Missing Out. Everyone thinks the first two cent coin they see is the next Bitcoin Billion and they put their money on it to avoid regret. Even when they don’t know wtf it is, or where their money is going.’

‘So you need to trust the person selling it?’

‘Yeah, use trusted exchanges. Put your money into something like Litecoin and HODL until you’re ready to sell.’

‘Any other good Altcoins?’

‘XRP – Also known as Ripple is good. Stellar Lumens are also doing well. Some people suggest IOTA. It’s all about having an alternative to FIAT currency.’

‘What’s FIAT currency?’

‘Any established, government backed currency like the Dollar/ Euro/Pound etc is FIAT. What we’re talking about are Cryptocurencies. Although some governments are now embracing Crypto as their national currency.’

‘Like who?’

‘Venezuela for one. But it’s getting big in third world countries where people are unbanked. Crypto is overwhelmed with speculators right now but imagine all the people that can buy goods and services without needing a bank account, credit card, ATM, anything…..a truly decentralized financial system. With world wide reach. Instant communication. You can be your own bank. No one charging you interest, taking away your home, no need to ever deal with a crippling financial system again. The end of poverty.’

‘Are they banks not resisting?’

‘The banks will be dinosaurs soon. So who cares? You want a good link? Here it is brother.’

****Buy Mick Donnellan’s Novels here – *****















Advice from the Blockchain Billionaires –

English accent, tin of cat food, he said: ‘I’m off the grid, man.’

‘Off the grid?’

‘Yeah, not connected to the power grid. We just couldn’t afford the high bills anymore. Not worth it.’

‘What do ye do for Electricity?’

‘Leisure battery, and solar panels.’

‘How’s that work?’

‘A leisure battery is what they use in camper vans so they work on a deep cycle. They can last for 2-3 days.’

‘And you use the solar panels to charge it?’

‘Yeah, exactly. You can buy them cheap on a site called Photonic – then head down to Halford’s or somewhere and get your battery…..’

‘How do you plug stuff in?’

‘You need an Inverter. You can get them in Aldi or somewhere. Connect your panel to the battery, charge it, then plug your stuff in through the Inverter and off you go.’

‘Wow, sounds great. Why isn’t everyone doing it?’

He shrugged, said: ‘I don’t know. It’s genius.’

‘Can you plug in your washing machine?’


‘Your telly?’



‘Nope. You have to forget about all that stuff. Stack up on some good books – throw the rest out. The wattages are too high. We can plug in our phones and the radio, and a lamp. And my hair clippers.’

‘Who’s we?’

‘My girlfriend, she’s here behind you.’

I looked around. She was there. Glasses, fluffy jumper, erratic hair. Vague smell of feline piss.

‘Hi.’ She said.

‘Howya. He was telling me you’re off the grid?’

‘Yeah, it’s amazing. And we just couldn’t afford the bills anymore.’

‘Where’s the house?’

‘In the country. We’re miles from anywhere.’

‘Is it just the two of ye?’

‘And the cats.’

‘Oh yeah.’ Said your man holding up the cat food. ‘The cats.’

I nodded, said: ‘Cheaper anyway.’

‘Definitely.’ She said. ‘The world is changing anyway. Five years from now there’ll be no more money.’


‘No, Bitcoin will change everything.’

‘What’s Bitcoin?’

‘It’s a CryptoCurrency – digital money. Soon we won’t need banks anymore, or Euros or Dollars. We’ll be able to buy everything with Bitcoin. The whole planet will be using one currency. You should buy some.’

‘How do I do that?’

‘On the Internet. You change your money into Bitcoin. Like changing it into Sterling or Pesos, and then you can buy stuff with it. And they’re already talking about Bitcoin ATM’s.’

‘What would be the point?’

She shrugged, said: ‘It’s really cool.’

‘How much are they?’

‘They just reached $25.’

‘For one coin?’


‘How many have you?’

‘I bought a 100 when they were 2 dollars each. Check out’

‘So they’re like shares?’

‘Exactly.’ She said. ‘There’s only ever going to be 21 million in existence, so the more people that buy them, the more rare they become, and then more valuable.’

‘So ye might be a millionaires someday?’

‘Or Billionaires!’ Said your man.

‘And then ye can get back on the grid.’

‘No way brother, we got it solved the way we are.’

Let’s go,’ She said. ‘I’m freezing.’

‘Bye now.’ I said.

‘Bye.’ She goes. ‘Don’t forget to buy some Bitcoin.’

I won’t, I said, and I forgot all about them.

Buy Mick Donnellan’s Novels in Paperback here.

Mick Donnellan’s second Novel “Fisherman’s Blues” now available in Paperback from Amazon!

Buy Fisherman’s Blues in PAPERBACK now!

Fisherman’s Blues is the hilarious new novel from Mick Donnellan.Dark and audacious, written in a distinct West of Ireland vernacular, the book sings with the signature style of all Donnellan’s previous work and more. Delving into the lives of drinkers, lovers, thieves and scam artists, the story weaves a web of intrigue and curiosity that ends with an unforgettable bang. Not without its poignant moments, the plot hinges on the chaotic consequences of three unlikely comrade’s attempts to save their lost relationships, while unintentionally ruining the plans of a rising criminal’s efforts to take over the city. The question is: Can they succeed? And if they don’t, what then? And where have the women really gone? 

Click here to get Fisherman’s Blues delivered to your door!