Short Fiction | Fault Lines

BusStop_moving crib

Fault Lines

A summer’s morning, a walk to work. A butterfly, a Red Admiral with its broken orange target, flutters to a stop on a greasy shutter. A chippers, shutters down but the main door is open to let out the smell of exploited workers.

A Spar on Dorset Street, a black bin flanked by a pair of pink trainers waiting expectantly for an owner to reassemble herself and reclaim them. The trainers ready to walk on, one foot ever so slightly in front of the other.

Boxing club and flats, neglected by class war, built by the corporation in the far off time when states cared about us. A brown leather headboard awaits collection, one of the few free remaining council services – they collect ‘large household rubbish’ but only fleetingly, guiltily, as if ashamed of their public duties.

The pavements are sticky with black grease that is never washed off except by rain. A stretch of cleaner pavement outside the Student Homes from which tourists spill onto the streets in search of the ‘real’ Dublin and its people. We are fading away, gone into hiding, sleeping in doorways, sleeping on other continents, walking to zero hour contract work from unregulated rental housing we are terrified of losing. Never mind. Go mingle with the other tourists. It’s not your fault.

A boy asleep in the doorway of a bookshop in Temple Bar. A woman inside distressed, on the phone. What to do with your dispossessed fellow human being when there’s a shop to run? At lunchtime, I see him asleep in the next available doorway. Problems shuffled around. It’s not her fault. It’s not his fault.

Outside my office window, an alleyway. Bright blood on a white tissue. New apartments on the other side – curtains, blinds, frosted glass. A drug service cleans up the needles several times a day. More tourists file out of the AirBnB rented apartments. And once every hour, on certain days, a coffee-coloured beauty, throws her keys down to ordinary men. It’s not her fault. Is it his? Whose fault is it?

After work, I get the bus home. I, we smell of sweat and cigarette smoke and mints. A terrifyingly mundane conversation at the back of the bus. A woman and two men looking for rocks and bags and deals over the phone. Pooling money. She has five kids somewhere. She can do sums better than I can, articulate and desperate. It’s not her fault. It’s not my fault.

It’s sweltering but the heaters on the bus blow hot air around our feet. I can’t breathe. Stop the bus, we all need to get off.


Stinging Fly Stories | Anthology 2018


I’m delighted to have my story, A Sin to Tell the Naked Truth, collected in the Stinging Fly Stories anthology edited by Declan Meade and Sarah Gilmartin. A collection of forty short stories by forty writers published in The Stinging Fly magazine to celebrate its first 20 years.

I also really enjoyed reading an extract from a story by Nicole Flattery (Hump) for a special Stinging Fly podcast in which Sarah Gilmartin joins Sally Rooney to discuss five of the stories collected in the anthology.

Over the years, I’ve had four stories and a few blog pieces kindly published by the Stinging Fly. The magazine, helmed by gifted editor Declan Meade, has been an invaluable resource for new and emerging writers. As an extra but most important bonus Declan always pays his writers! #paytheartist

New Year Rebellions

the old, the new, and the ruined…

A Gentrified Christmas in Smithfield

View this post on Instagram

Smithfield Square, Christmas. . Gentrified spectacle . Infernos of light but the modern concrete slabs disrupting the cobbles chill bones . A space sketched by planners for paper-plan people who have no need to sit and think for free . Paper-plan people in paper-plan apartments who worship cafes & festivals & smile happily as they pay out their future in rent to paper-plan landlords . At witching hour in the old market square listen for echoes of horse fairs, farm yards, a crush of accents, a riot of life . Now this space is hollow, unsure of its people, its purpose. Lonely for company, grass, trees, birdsong, benches, picnics, drinking, disorder, all the mess of life. #smithfield #dublin #gentrification #urbancleansing #prosepoem #regeneration #anticapitalist

A post shared by leona (@leonaleecully) on

Slipway |Belfast

Herbert Simms | 120 Years

2018 is 120th anniversary of the birth of Herbert George Simms whose wonderful public architecture and public housing for Dublin Corporation is still to be seen in the city centre, Cabra, Crumlin, Clontarf promenade, and many other areas.


We are now accepting your contributions for Simms120. We would be delighted if you could present a paper, share some stories or photographic and other artistic material under the general theme of public housing in Dublin today. This conference and the associated events are all about celebrating the work of H.G. Simms and looking at the legacy that he and his team at the Corporation left in Dublin city. It is hoped that this will reflect on the current housing situation in the city in a positive and challenging light. We hope you can come and contribute.

Eoin O’Mahony, chair

Mary Broe

Donal Fallon

Erika Hanna

Rhona McCord

Michelle Norris

Paul Reynolds

View original post

All the Secrets…

View this post on Instagram

A pause for breath, tidal stink and ozone. Sea-wall a bulwark against the swells and storms, at ease in summer low-tide. A century of memories clings to the stone. Promenades above sea-level full of kisses, lovers' quarrells, squalling prams, brawling fists, the laughter of children. Below the waterline, all the secrets. Drownings accidental and planned. Cables, ship ribs, buried treasure, the debris of wars, invisible flowing tides of radiation. The gods of the sea defeated by split atoms and gaudy plastics can only rage impotently and spit carrier bags, bottles, plastic-choked creatures back in our faces. #poems #Clontarf #dublin #seapollution #videopoem #sea #promenade #seapromenade #seawalls #marinelife #marinepollution #dublinharbour #irishsea #seashore

A post shared by leona (@leonaleecully) on