Fairy Tale Images - Free Download on Freepik



There are many fairytales about Old Trafford:


The fairytale resurgance of the club after the 1958 Munich air distaster and the courage and strength of one Matt Busby  to return to football and start all over again.

Alex Ferguson’s 25 year fairytale as the Old Trafford boss with the outstanding achievement of lifted 27 trophies – 12 Premier League titles, five FA Cups, four League Cups, two Champions Leagues and a Cup Winners’ Cup and and overseeing the rise of numerous world-class players including our own George Best and Roy Keane.

The fairytale careers of Roy Keane and George Best would also require mention.

Kevin Moran’s fairytale journey from being an All-Star in 1976, having played for the Dubs in Croke Park, to playing 231 games with Man Utd. in Old Trafford.


Free vector book with scene of knight and dragon fighting

On Saturday, December 23. 2023,  we read a new fairytale of Old Trafford, one written by Malachy Clerkin in The Sports Weekend, Irish Times. This one is a parody of The Pogues Fairytale of New York. Unlike the previous fairytales, this is a narratove of the dismal season(s) Man Utd have had recently.

Its been really difficult to remain loyal, (luckily my other “RED” club, Pat’s, stepped into the breach and gave me something to cheer about).

If you read the Clerkin article, there is also a very good Santa Baby take off, almost as good as the Miley Cyrus version. Neither of them are anywhere near as good as the Milis version sung at the Active Retirement Group in Naas at Christmas party.

My Crafting Journey (3)

Feltmaking with Feltmakers Ireland


Driving through the Phoenix Park one Sunday morning, I noticed a group of women all carrying large bags congregating at a small building. Curious, I found a parking space and approached them to find out what was going on.



And that’s when my adventure into the world of felt began, a world where you take some fibres, wet and agitate them, or prod them with specialized needles so that the fibres become entangled or matted, and thus create a completely new fabric.

Everybody who has ever washed clothes has, at least once, felted unintentionally – felting is another name for the shrinking that happens when you put that treasured wool jumper into “too-hot” cycle in your washing machine.

However, it’s the differences between accidental shrinking and feltmaking that cast the felting spell on you: in feltmaking, you take control of the results you achieve; you engage with a group of like-minded creative people; you learn through practice from craft masters as well as fellow practitioners; you make new and life-long friends and sometimes pieces of art that really please you.

Perfecting skill:

International Feltmakers Association, offer classes that are specifically designed to hone your felting skills. I did some modules of CIFT  (cert in Feltmaking techniques) and did see some improvement in my feltmaking.

(a) making felt from a variety of wools; (b)  different edges


Workshops with fellow felters

Many fellow members of Feltmakers Ireland (FI) share their felting skills and techniques at workshops and Sunday Sessions. (a) Gabi McGrath delivered a workshop on textures and embellishments on a book cover; (b) Tamzen Lundy led members in a Christmas Workshop Sunday Session that was televised on RTE; (c) Liadain Butler, Niki Collier and Caoilfhionn O’Hanlon demonstrated how to use “Stained Glass” technique in needle felting. The work produced by the many participants was presented in the Pearse Museum and then at a Felt Festival in Vienna.



Master Classes:

FI organises an annual  Master class, often with an international practitioner (a) Boots with Natalya Brashovetska (b) My Place in Space with Marjolein Dallinga


I also attended Master classes with Wendy Bailye (50 Shades of Grey) and Anna Gunnarsdottir (3D Sculpture with Icelandic wool).

During Covid, many master classes were delivered online. (a) Molly Williams presented a series of classes on making Contemporary Dancers.  (b) Aniko Boros  (Baribon) Workshops taught a technique of nesting pebbles (or other objects) into fine felted jewellry. I used the technique to create a beach scene. (c) Yaroslava Troynich, a textile artist who loves felt and animals gives regular online classes on making puppets. I’ve worked with her to create sheep, hedgehogs, hares and foxes. Great fun! (d) the woven felted ball used a very exciting technique with pre-felt and was one of the workshops presented at a felting retreat organised by Corinna Nitschmann  – a week of felting online with a variety of artists.







Annual Exhibitions, Art Sales

I support the annual FI Exhibitions by submitting pieces on a decided theme. My flower vase was an unsuccessful entry for the Something Red Exhibition but was later sold at a local exhibition.  Pippi Longstocking was one of three pieces accepted for a members exhibition “Colour My World”. The “Pea Piece” as I called it (officially “Torthúil”) was part of the Bountiful Exhibition and resulted in my first commissions.


Swapping works internationally

IFA organises an annual swap. The theme is decided in May and the various participants (across the globe) are paired. Their pieces are swapped before a closing date and the results of the swap are published on the IFA website. (a) Woven is a vessel within a vessel, the interior being woven. (b) Brooch was made using the Baribon technique of nesting one item within another and inspired by Yeats poem Aedh wishes for the Cloths of Heaven.

Group Projects

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of FI, all members were asked to submit flowers that would be displayed as a “Field of Flowers” at 2023 Exhibition as well as at future FI activities. I beaded my three flowers before submitting them. In the past, I participated in a Make Bunting project.


Passing it on

Lastly, but certainly not least, i loved the experiences and joy of sharing felting skills with the next generation. I made dolly blankets with 30 first class kids – a truly wet and wild experience. Here are some coasters I made with my grandson. I think any activity that involves sudsy water and throwing wet objects around is particularly pleasing to small ones.

That’s all so far!!!


My Crafting Journey (2)

Back to College

I retired in 2016. That September was the first, since I’d started Junior Infants in Warremount that I wasn’t at some school gate – Warrenmount for Junior Infants, Assumption, Walkinstown for the rest of Primary, Goldenbridge for Secondary, Carysfort College, Weavers Square to begin my teaching career, Ballycane as a mum with the lads, a number of Kildare schools as a sub and temporary teacher until my last permanent appointment to Scoil Choca, Kilcock.

Clare Island

Clare Island - Wikipedia

As a massive believer in lifelong learning, it was only natural in September 2016 I would undertake some learning experience.
I chose a course in weaving at Ballytoughy Loom, Beth Moran’s studio on Clare Island, Co Mayo. Beth’s passion for weaving came across in her advertising of the course. The island venue was also an attraction.

I had some limited experience with weaving. I had attended a week-long Teacher’s summer course in Gorey with Terry “the weaver” Dunne in 1998. The course was very much geared to providing classroom experiences for the students. We used very simple looms and I was delighted to come home with samples of bookmarks, placemats and pictures.

This time i wanted to experience weaving “just for me”. Beth’s studio was a treasure trove of yarns and looms.  Although she gave really clear instructions on setting up the loom, I had complete freedom in the choice of yarn, the colour and the design.



I decided to make a table runner.  Beth’s philosophy of “building a story, one thread at a time” was inspirational and she told lots of stories about technique and colour as we worked. I loved my choice of linen threads in reds, yellows and purples. I was particularly delighted that I completed my project and came home with a runner for my table.






Crochet, Knitting and Stitching

A recent comment about my Blog – “Kudos on blog; fun site; poked around but found nothing wool-related”! – prompted me to write something about my journey in craft.

A short piece about Ellen Lambert, my granny, would have to preface any talk of my craft interest as she was my inspiration.

Ellen Lambert was born in Kereight Co Wexford in 1900, one of 10 children. It was a household where of great love of Irish culture, arts and history was fostered. This where Ellen learned how to do Irish crochet from her mother. She was attended Bree NS and then the secondary in Loreto Convent in Wexford town.

She went to England where she worked as a monitor (teacher assistant) in a convent primary school in Chorley, Lancashire. She remembered the factory workers going to the mills in the morning with shawls over their heads and their clogs clattering along the cobblestones. When I heard the song Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs about Lowry’s paintings, I often thought of my Grandmother’s descriptions of the cotton mill workers in Chorley.

I met a childhood friend of my grandmothers, Annie King, who had some wonderful stories about Ellen’s visits home – the excitement of seeing her fashion: “She was tall and elegant – a model, she had beautiful hats and coats, long flowing hair, and such a joy to behold at mass in Galbally on Sunday. Ellen was a favourite at home and away.”


Ellen missed home, however, and returned to Wexford just as the civil war was starting. She immersed herself in the politics of the time, joining Cumann na mBan, frequently helping out the local Flying Column keeping look-out, delivering messages, finding hide-outs, etc. She later married the commander of that Column, Robert Lambert, who was the love of her life.


Celebration of Crafts and their stories

In 2022 I answered a callout from the National History Museum to submit craft items and tools from history with the relevant story. I submitted this story with a collar crocheted by Ellen about  2024, and a single bootee (so much the worse for wear) that was crocheted in Tully North Queensland in 1927.

I am Ellen’s eldest grandchild. I started to knit and sew at home and then in school when I was quite young. Knitting at that time was taught to children in 1st class (aged about 6). I loved showing off my various craft projects to my grandmother when she visited.

An Irish crochet doily made when I was about 12yrs old

Seeing my interest she taught me to how to do Irish crochet in the 1960’s- she wanted to ensure the skill went to another generation. I was always proud to visit her with examples of my work – doilies, gloves, collars, edges for hand towels. She also gave me some of her crochet tools which I have guarded carefully since.

I embroidered this tea cosy in 6th class (aged 12 ish). It had the same pattern front and back.



This year a participated in a stitch project where I’d to choose an old piece of work and “renovate it” – a take on the Japanese art of kintsugi. These illustrations show the old (c.1965) and the ‘renovated’ tea cosy (2023)



I used appliqué and some sashiko stitching on this old doily, probably done by my grandmother in the 1930’s as part of kintsugi project this year.



I continue to knit and crochet – it keeps the hands busy while I watch TV – I usually watch out for a charitable projects such as The Rotunda Octupus for Premies, Baby clothes for V de P, Knit a hat for the Homeless, etc and contribute.



The family 50+ years on

Taken in Kilakee early 1970’s – Canadians home on a visit and grandmother organised a family photo. What a crew – I’m one of 35 first cousins on Mam’s side of the family, and one of 32 first cousins on Dad’s side – some family!

A Lambert committee was established to organise a family reunion for 2020 – little did we know that the world would be pressed into isolation by Covid and that plans would not be implemented for two years. Here we are after Mass in Crossabeg Church on Friday 8th July 2022.

for And here’s the clan again, posing on the mound at Wexford Harbour before  Meal and sing-song in Riverbank Hotel on Saturday 9th July 2020.

The Doll’s House, Rathaspeck

Actually thought I had posted this and then realised it was on another platforms!!!!! Would you call that a broadening of media knowledge or just confusion!

Any way, at long last I got to stay in the Doll’s House, Rathaspeck where the Lamberts spent some time between their return from Australia and move to Fairfield House in Dublin.
Every visit to Wexford town as children entailed a trip out to Rathaspeck and stories of the Lamberts life there- dreams of fairy princesses, adventures to the manor House, naughty children, games, neighbours,…all conjuring up wonderful images of a life long ago.
And so a stay there was on my bucket list, and ticking it off was everything I thought it would be and more. My words would be inadequate to describe the wonder, the joy, the nostalgia. Even the dozens of photos cannot recreate the aura of the house.

Tokyo Olympics 2021

The Olympic Games are held every four years – you know it’s an Olympic year if the year is divisible by 4. So how come it’s 2021? Covid-19 meant that the games in Tokyo last year had to be postponed.

So tonight is the eve of the Olympic Games and although there will be hugely scaled-down attendance – participants, officials and some journalists only- it’s still a really exciting event. The whole country will start discussing minority sports with some expertise. 

The opening ceremonies will involve only a very small delegation of athletes. We will watch our Olympians, Boxers Kellie Harrington, competing for the first time and Brendan Irvine, who fought at the Rio Games who have been chosen as the Team Ireland flag bearers. For the first time each country is being asked to have two flag bearers in the parade of nations, one male and one female.

In my storytelling household, I had heard of Jesse Owens’ great success in the 1936 Berlin Games. His 4 gold medals caused consternation to the Nazi party who presided over the games. Irishman Ronnie Delaney’s gold medal win in the Men’s 1500 metres in the 1956 Melbourne games was also a sporting highlight to be celebrated. It was many years later before I realised that we had won many medals.

I got hooked on the Olympics of 1984, ‘running’ the streets of Los Angeles with John Treacy in the Men’s Marathon and watching him being presented with his silver medal.

Barcelona, 1992 coincided sadly with a family death and my memory is returning to Wexford from the funeral, getting a double puncture and being unable to find an open garage – everyone was watching the boxers (either Michael Carruth winning gold or Wayne McCullough winning silver).    

The excitement of the 1996 Atlanta games was unbelievable – night after night I watched Michelle Smith progress through heats and eventually win three gold and one bronze.

Two years after Atlanta, Smith was charged with adulterating an out of competition sample and received a four year ban. Despite continuing to plead her innocence through the process, she never swam again. She never tested positive for a banned substance.

Sidney 2000 was Sonia O’Sullivan games; three boxers medalled in Beijing 2008; London 2012 saw boxing victories with Katie Taylor the star; Rob Heffernan took bronze in the 50Km walk; unfortunately Cian O’Connor’s bronze in the Showjumping again brought us into ill-repute with a doping accusation.

The O’Donovan brothers “pulling like dogs” charmed us with their humorous interviews  having won silver in the lightweight sculls in Rio in 2016 and Annalise Murphy also won silver in the water, sailing. 

And now another Games begins, with Ireland’s largest delegation ever – what stories will we have from them?

1969 Theft of Leaving Cert Papers

Leaving Certificate students may rightfully be feeling hard done. I’m sure they’re fatigued with the isolation, the new ways of distance teaching and learning and the exam timetable uncertainty. I feel so sorry for them, especially the more disadvantaged ones who without either home or school support might just give up now. Four months is a LONG WAY OFF.


With the news of the extension of restriction because of COVID-19 and the rescheduling of the LC to late July or August, I tried to remember my Leaving Cert. I was part of the cohort of Leaving Cert students in 1969, the last year exam events were taken into state control when an almost complete set of Leaving Certificate papers was stolen from De La Salle School, Churchtown, on June 12th, 1969. (Naturally, the principal at De La Salle said he was “absolutely certain” that none of the boys from his school had anything to do with it.)


Because of the theft and to guarantee the authenticity of exam results, I was one if those unfortunate students who had to take their English and Maths exams twice. Amazing that with no such thing as twittering at the time, the papers made their way into other students’ hands at a rapid pace. About 250 students purchased the papers for between £1 and £20 at monied schools all over Dublin before the matter came to the attention of authorities. Goldenbridge did not have a privileged school population and the first we heard was when Sr Anne Philomena announced that the English and Maths exams would be retaken and, to allow supplemental papers to be written for all examinations, there would also be a delay in the middle of the timetable. I remember the tone of “how lucky you are to get extra studying time!!!!”


And so when we all expected to be finished and starting summer jobs we were hauled back in to examination halls on Friday, June 27th, and Saturday, June 28th to sit 2 papers each day. I’m not sure how much sympathy was either given or expected. It was a time when you put your head down and ‘got on with it’. For those of us doing the University matriculation exams, there was a further delay as they had to be postponed because of the late completion of the exams.
In an era when very few asked WHY? we had little need for Nietzsche and the context of why. Maybe we were as well off!!!!


And we had very particular supports: teachers telling us (gleefully) that our results would be in line with our efforts, early morning mass on the day if each exam (having also attended each Lenten morning as a kinda deposit or guarantee of being recognised by the Lord), mothers’ prayers and daily 10 o’clock mass and as the first grandchild to hit this crossroads in life, a grandmother’s prayers and masses. Who needed Nietzsche?


Do you remember the Reader’s Digest

On a recent drive through Portlaoise, I visited Tynan’s Restaurant in the Store Yard. The food was gorgeous but what was more exciting was the journey through The Store Yard premises to reach it. The Store Yard is like a large warehouse, full of salvage, retro, vintage furniture and curios. It is no wonder that it has prominently featured as a prop supplier for the film industry. Items of its stock featured in Little Women, The Widow, Ripper Street, and others.  I can also imagine that it has been the source of many interesting features for home and garden projects throughout Ireland.

Amid this trove of treasure, my find of an old edition of Reader’s Digest, might seem insignificant. However, it sparked memories of bygone days and very different publications and afforded me the opportunity to have a long chat with one of the dedicated sales team in whose home Reader’s Digest had featured strongly too.

cover of Jan 1964 Reader's Digest

I know Readers Digest is still being published – I think it can even be accessed on line now but I was really delighted to find this January 1964 edition. I’m not sure why or when my parents started to purchase Reader Digest but I know I was still in Primary school. My Fourth class teacher had a vocabulary enrichment programme: each of her pupils had to list “new” words and phrases every week into a Vocabulary Diary. At least one of these words had to feature in your weekly essay. Readers Digest had a page devoted to enriching your word power and so was a favourite of mine.

Vocabulary building

I remember hearing the story of DeWitt Wallace who while recovering from shrapnel wounds after WW1 came up with the idea of combining samples of favourite and interesting articles from many publications into one magazine. And so Reader’s Digest was born! The magazine’s format for several decades consisted of 30 articles per issue (one per day), along with a vocabulary page (It Pays to Increase your Word Power), a page of “amusing anecdotes (Laughter I, the Best Medicine), some personal glimpses (Life’s Like That), and a lengthier article at the end, usually condensed from a published book. These were all listed in the Table of Contents on the back cover. Each article was prefaced by a small, simple line drawing and sometimes a relevant quotation.


There was some criticism during those years of Reader’s Digest’s sales procedures. Large colourful mailings arrived in houses informing you that you were among a small lucky number worldwide who were now close to winning astronomical sums of money. It was insinuated that a subscription to Reader’s Digest for the following year or recommending it to a friend would enhance your chances further. This form of advertisement was forced to finish at the turn of the century.

New Reader's Digest  

Compare the 1964 edition to a 2019 (July) edition, with its flashier, more colorful eye-catching graphics throughout. There are still short bits of data interspersed with full articles illustrated with glossy pictures. The Table of Contents has been moved inside.

Somehow it doesn’t seem to be half as romantic or interesting and will probably never feature as “a ten year old’s favourite magazine any more. C’est la vie!


Some old photos

Photos now are stored on phones – many will be lost without ever having been seen. I have boxes of photos. Here are some:

The Lambert cousins – all named – in Kilakee with Granny and Grandad. This photograph was taken when our Canadian cousins were home on a visit BUT it was not unusual for all the rest to gather in Kilakee on a Sunday. Bread and jam was a great filler for children who were sent “out to play” for the afternoon!
This photo of me on the lane in Kilakee – note the style!
Shay and I on our Wedding Day – I made the dress during that summer hoidays; fabric and Vogue pattern from Cassidy’s in O’Connell Street (specially ordered in as mam knew one of the salespersons). Dad and I bought the flowers in the Market the day before and Mam arranged them that night while curling my hair.
My 5th class from Weaves Square were the choir! I had taught them in 4th so they knew the hymns from the year before.
Local cabbie Jim Houlihan was our driver!
Here we are heading off to the reception in the Dublin Sports Hotel, Kilternan “where the stars stayed (Muhammad Ali, Sean Connery and Paul Newman to name a few)”. It was chosen by us as a wedding venue as Dad thought it was important that guests didnt have far to travel!