Oughterard Cemetery, Co. Kildare, Ireland

To my shame, considering I’ve spent a sizeable part of my life in Co. Kildare, I only found out recently that Arthur Guinness was buried up the road in Oughterard Cemetery. I had never made a connection between the man behind the iconic pint of Guinness and the county of Kildare. Read more

Ballinafagh Churchyard Cemetery, Co. Kildare

The tiny cemetery that sits in the grounds of what has to be the most photographed church in Co. Kildare is a haven for a handful of local parishioners. Read more

The Friary Cemetery, Clane, Co. Kildare

Around the thirteenth century, the Franciscans came to the village of Clane and build a new abbey on the site of the old one founded by St Ailbhe eight centuries earlier. Visits from the Vikings and the Normans had put paid to the missionary work emanating from the holy site.

Read more

St Michael and All Angels Cemetery, Millicent, Co. Kildare, Ireland

I’ve always loved Millicent Church and the rectory that went with it. Some years ago, when I had the chance to meet Charles Handy, the management guru whose father had been rector at St Michael’s back in the day, I told him how much I’d wanted to marry into that family just so I could live in the rectory. Read more

St Michael’s Cemetery, Bath, UK

Reading up on St Michael’s Cemetery on Bath recently, I came across the term ‘non-conformist burials’. Read more

Town Cemetery in Sümeg, Hungary

To fully appreciate the roll-call of greats buried in the town cemetery in Sümeg, you need to know the history of the place and its players. Names like Kisfaludy (Sándor and his nephew Móric, the poet and the soldier), Darnay (archaeologist), Eitner (MP), and Ramasetter (Vince, who introduced the world to wines from the Balaton) are spoken with reverence. But I was more taken with the statuary. Read more

Szent Mihály Domb, Vonyarcvashegy, Hungary

Climbing the hill to the church of Szent Mihály (St Michael) in Vonyarcvashegy, it was hard to believe that 136-metre-tall dolomite was once an island. I read that but I’m not how true it is. Read more

Arbour Hill Cemetery, Dublin, Ireland

The last people I expected to find in Arbour Hill were Padraig Pearse, James Connolly, and Sean McDermott. I would have bet money that they were all safely ensconced in Glasnevin. But I’d have been wrong.

Read more

Villánykövesd cemetery in the Villány wine region of Hungary

In southeastern Hungary, near the Croatian border, we stopped at Villánykövesd, one of the five villages that comprise the Villány wine region that stretches 25km to include the twelve settlements of Siklós. Hard as it is to imagine in a village with two streets, we got lost and ended up driving (very slowly) on tractor paths looking down on the village and where we should have been.

Read more

John the Valiant

Three hundred and seventy verses with 1480 lines make for one hell of a long poem. But I read them all, cover to cover, the first time I picked up a copy of Petőfi Sándor’s book János Vitéz (John the Valiant). I did the same the second time, and the third time, and the fourth time. What’s more, remembering back to 2007, I think everyone on my Christmas list got a copy of John Ridland’s 1999 translation. Read more