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Portia Coughlan - Old Red Lion Theatre
The relative harmony of Julie O'Hagan by Annette Sills

Annette Sills

Annette Sills was born in Wigan, Lancashire to parents from Co.Mayo, Ireland. Her short stories have been longlisted and shortlisted in a number of competitions including the Fish Short Story Prize and the Telegraph Short Story Club. Her first novel, The Relative Harmony of Julie O’Hagan was awarded a publishing contract with Rethink Press after it was shortlisted in their New Novels Competition 2014. Annette currently lives in Manchester with her husband and two children.

The Relative Harmony of Julie O’Hagan

Julie O’Hagan is worried. It’s time for daughter Bridget to start school. The ordinary Manchester suburb where Julie was raised is not that ordinary any more. Organic eateries and wine bars have opened everywhere and the Broccoli Brigade have moved in, education and media vegetarian types in beanie hats with hummus guzzling kids who are taking up all the places at Broadoak the best primary.

Husband Billy is loving, clever and looks like an Irish Jim Morrison but he is prone to depression and mood swings. He is adamant Bridget will not go to St. Joseph’s, the local Catholic school, and Julie is equally determined she will not end up in Priory Road, her old primary.

The hunt for a school for Bridget triggers memories of school days for both Billy and Julie. This is the story of their struggle to make sense of what happened to them in the past.


The squeeze on primary school places is topical. Manchester based writer, Annette Sills, whose parents hail from County Mayo skilfully weaves this and a number of other themes in her book, ‘The Relative Harmony of Julie O’Hagan’ about Julie and Billy O’Hagan’s struggle to get their daughter, Bridget, into a good school – and one they agree on.

The novelist was deservedly shortlisted in the 2014 Rethink New Novels Competition.  The story is cleverly told in alternate chapters from the perspective of both Julie, second generation Irish and Billy from Galway. Each harbours secrets and the pressures of modern day living weigh heavily. Yet, there is humour as they jointly despise the ‘Broccoli Brigade’ who have infiltrated the ordinary suburb where Julie was raised, pushing up house prices and taking up the coveted school places.

As a reader, I felt empathy with both parents as their evident love for one another was dented by economic hardship and malevolence from others.  The author was unafraid to tackle hard hitting and contemporary problems such as child abuse, very much to the fore as victims are encouraged to come forward today and reveal past suffering.

Despite the gravity of some of the themes, I felt a sense that the woman in the title was finding strength and that green shoots of recovery were possible helped by a healing visit to her late mother’s native Ireland. A well observed story, recommended by Irish Spectrum Radio.

The Firmdale Hotels group operate a number of fantastic hotels. Many of those in London have their own cinema screening rooms. This is a film club but open to anyone and the film is shown as part of a package comprising brunch, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner – check the website link below for times, dates and venues.

For those of you looking for inspiration to entertain children, why not treat them to an outing to The Soho Hotel for a buffet lunch and a current film? It is just £20 per head and there’s a glass of Prosecco for the grown ups and ice-cream and popcorn to take into the auditorium for younger guests.
Call 0207 539 3000 for reservations at The Soho Hotel for the Children’s Club.
Visit to check for upcoming movies and meal options within the group.
Firmdale Hotels Soho Hotel


Derek Ryan 2015 UK Tour



Nathan Carter Live May 2015



 Lord of the Dance Dangerous Games

JL Money Short Term Loans

Potters Holiday Resort IrishRadio Special

Microfibre Store Doggy Bag

Guided London Walks with Sean Boyle

Sean’s Walks:

Saturday January 31st
Literary Mayfair . Meet Green Park Tube. North Side. 12.00 noon.
This walk is not just about Oscar although the “Wilde” man features prominently..
We meet several other literary greats in the courts and alleyways of St James and Piccadilly.

Saturday February 14th
Sherlock’s London. Meet Westminster Tube. Exit 4. 12.00 noon.
He has not gone away -you know! He is now a sharper edgier character for 2015. The deerstalker and the pipe have been replaced with jeans and a nicotine patch but the old logic mixed with lunacy remains. This tour embraces both the traditional and modern Sherlock. We visit locations from the films and stories.

Saturday March 7th
The History of English. Meet Temple Tube. 12.00 noon.
English is  spoken and read by two billion people. Within one kilometre of  Temple we can locate at least ten literary/linguistic landmarks in the story of English. From Gower to Donne and from Chaucer to Dickens. (This walk was the hit of 2014.)

Interview with up and coming children’s author Emma R McNally on The Spectrum Radio:

The team from Irish Spectrum Radio met Children’s Author and Illustrator, Emma R McNally at The Ideal Home Christmas Show – see her details below. Emma has written books with the central character, Harold Huxley, featuring. They are available on Amazon. Facebook: Harold Huxley and the Twitter handle is @HaroldHuxley. Email:

The Craic Is Back Magazine March 2015

Katie's Bar 350 Neasden Lane NW10

In Katie’s Bar every Sunday for 25 card drive in the afternoon and at night for great country music.
Every Wednesday night for 25 Card drive and every Friday night just for fun/work.
Katie’s Bar
350 Neasden Lane
NW10 0AD 
Tel: 07980 793920
*No entrance fee and a very warm welcome!




Irish Heritage

Irish Heritage is a voluntary arts organisation established in London in 1974 to promote Irish arts and culture to the widest possible audience in Britain, particularly through music. It is committed to promoting and supporting the finest young Irish classical musicians, providing performance opportunities in London to help establish their international careers. It also promotes Irish composers – young and established, well known and lesser known.

Irish Heritage organises and promotes its own events in established music venues in and also supports events of other organisations which share its aim in music and the arts. Its events are open to the public and are supported by Friends of Irish Heritage who can join for a modest annual donation.

Irish Heritage Events Programme 2015

  • Thursday 12th February 2015. Irish Opera Stars of the Future, artists to be announced, Bolívar Hall, 54 Grafton Way W1T 5DL 7.30 pm.
  • Thursday 23rd April 2015. London debut recital of Royal Dublin Society Music Bursary 2014 Winner, Clara Daly Donnellan (trombone) with Alison Proctor (piano) and other musicians. Royal Over-Seas League, St James Street, SW1A 1LR. 7.30 pm.
  • Wednesday 13th May 2015. Fundraising Dinner, with Guest Speaker and musical entertainment. The Savile Club, 69 Brook Street, W1K4ER. Reception 6.45 pm.
  • Tuesday 2nd June 2015. Summer Recital. Gavan Ring (baritone) and Simon Lepper (piano), Leighton House, Holland Park Road, W14 8LZ, 7.30 pm.

 [All the above events will include a wine reception]

Other events may be added and advised



‘Irish Dancing in London 1880 – 2014′ by Dr John Cullinane and his other publications are available directly from the author.

Each are priced at £9 plus postage and packaging.

Contact Dr John Cullinane via email:
Cheques payable to him may be sent with orders to:
Dr John Cullinane
55 Bandon Road
Cork City

Photographer: Gerry Molomby, pictures reproduced by kind permission of ‘The Irish World’
Mind Yourself works to improve the health and well-being of Irish people in London. Based in Angel Islington they work throughout London. They provide one-one health related advice, information and support, accompaniment to health appointments and a wide range of group activities including choir, yoga, film and book groups, and meditation. They also have monthly Carers and LGBT support groups. For more information, call 020 7354 5248; email:


Back to the Gaff.  Available on
Excel Oven Cleaning
If you’re spring cleaning but can’t face the one job we all loathe- cleaning the oven- call in a professional, Simon O’Neill  from Oven Excel. He will restore your oven to a sparkling condition using specialist equipment and safe caustic free cleaning products.

Oven Excel are fully insured and clean all types of ovens, hobs, extractors, microwaves & barbeques.

Call Simon at Oven Excel on 0203 0868651 or 07456 638418

Website:  Quote Irish spectrum radio for a 10% discount.

Call Simon now on 0203 0868651 or 07456 638418.

Listen here to Annette Morrisson discussing “Home from Home” with Gerry:


Available from Amazon at £8.99

and from the Killarney Book Shop, Main Street, Killarney

The Lark in the Bower Sang Sad Songs

Tony Horgan

Irish Spectrum Radio review: Tony Horgan’s autobiography, The Lark in the Bower Sang Sad Songs is receiving acclaim from The Irish Post, The Kerryman, Radio Kerry and others.  Irish Spectrum Radio have posted a review of our own  at and would highly recommend the book.  It skilfully, yet charmingly, tells of life in 1930s Killarney, taking in every facet of Irish life – the landscape and local architecture, education, sport and leisure, music, industry and commerce, family life and military experiences.  Of course, rich and colourful descriptions of the local characters are key.  It progresses to Tony’s experience of emigrating to Fulham in 1946, meeting his late wife, Mary, at The Garryowen and details his happy family life with four children and grandchildren, who are proud of him for compiling this significant record of social history.  It also tells of his contribution to the Irish community in west London.  Tony does not shy away from the hardships of the era.  This is not a tale told through rose tinted spectacles and yet it is not a depressing read but highly entertaining.  As Tony says, “I am putting pen to paper because the worst ink survives the best memory.”   You can also still hear the podcast of Tony Horgan’s interview with Radio Kerry at  The book is available on Amazon and from The Killarney Bookshop.

 Synopsis: A social history and autobiography of an Irish boy growing up in Killarney during the hungry 1930’s who eventually boarded the cattle boat from Dun Laoghaire to England.

So gracefully written, so full of interesting and evocative detail. Making so many connections with literary and historical figures. It’s a real tour de force. What an amazing memory he has for places and people… Such an enjoyable read. Priscilla Thomas. Historian. “I read this book in one evening .. it is outstanding ..  it has economy, purpose, character and lyricism .. a lovely homage to Killarney .. important as social history (incredibly, photographically detailed) .. a joy to read”            John Hart  “A rich social history…His memories of old Killarney are still vivid and it shines through in his book” Kevin Hughes,The Kerryman   Satellite Steve View all the World Cup action!!! **** For TV aerial and satellite services call Satellite Steve on 07776 143608.  Steve can help you get peak performance from your HD TV and multimedia technology.  Call Steve now for friendly advice and a no obligations quote, including provision of channels from all over the world, including Ireland. To view the best movies and shows available call Steve – satellite, aerial and international channels provider on 07776 143608 or email ****


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The Craic is a full colour magazine packed with interesting, informative features, which is widely available at leading Irish venues – ask your local pub landlord for a copy.  The Editor of The Craic welcomes contributions (publication is at her discretion) and there is also the opportunity to take advertising space and promote goods and services.  Contact the approachable Editor with enquiries at
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Call 0845 880 0689 (using a debit card; a volunteer will speak to you or leave your contact details on The Passage’s answer phone for a call back).
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