Glanaphuca on stage in Rehearsed Reading

Glanaphuca, my stage play based on my novel The Lake will be in rehearsed reading in my local town of Dalkey at 7.30pm on Friday 9th June 2017. Come along, and be a part of the exciting process that is the development of new Irish theatre.

See contemporary stars of the screen and stage, including Mary Murray, Fiona-Lucia McGarry and Eric O’Brien work under the direction of Stephen Murray (below), all in the comfortable environs of The Vico, above The Queens pub.

Free admission, a voluntary contribution of €5 will go towards production costs.

castle and Queens

With thanks to Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Arts Office Emerging Artists’ Bursary.

Open Mic Success!

Last night I was lucky enough to be at Dalkey Creates’ Open Mic event in Finnegans’ pub, Dalkey (where Michelle Obama hangs out when she’s in Dublin, dontcha know).

It was a fantastic success, not least because of the diversity of work being read. We had local ladies reading their poetry, stand-up comedians, short stories and rap. This guy, Alex, even showed up and wowed the crowd with his stuff. (He’s in the TV show Vikings….get with it, people.)


We had a Patrick Kavanagh Award winner, a local pharmacist, Maeve Binchy’s husband Gordon Sewell and a young writer who brought the old craft of story-telling back to life, and managed to quieten an entire rowdy pub as she did it. All writers, some experienced, some starting off, all listening to and enjoying each other’s work.

It was the perfect example of how an Open Mic event should be – complete with a few spot prizes thanks to local businesses and the wonderful host Al Finnegan.

This is why I write. This is why I want to be a part of this life. These people came to share their work with strangers, to entertain, to get a reaction to their writing and to react to another’s. It’s scary – I know – it’s difficult to leave your writing desk and put your work out there to be heard, to be judged.

But do it. Share your work. Share others’. This is what it’s all about. This is life.

Dalkey Creates Writing Festival October 2016

I am super excited to be helping out at the 3rd annual Dalkey Creates writing festival this coming October!

There are workshops and classes planned for every level of writer, from beginners to those ready for publication, and all priced really reasonably. One exciting new event this year is a Meet-the-Editor event with Ciara Doorley of Hachette on Saturday 15th October – an incredible opportunity to meet a real editor in person, and ask the questions you’ve always wanted answered about submitting your writing work!

And no writer should miss out on the Open Mic event being held on Thursday evening, the 13th October in Finnegans pub. It’s free to register, and you will have the ears of the locals (some of whom are famous writers themselves) as you share 5 minutes of your own writing with them. The winner of the Dalkey Creates short story competition will also be announced that evening. With a prize of €1,000 up for grabs, I’m thinking the first round will be on them! LOL.

Some classes are already booked out, and as many of them are limited to 10 places, you have no time to waste in booking yours.

So get creative! Click here for easy online booking or for more info on how to reserve your place at one of the many exciting writing workshops.




Hey, Author!

Hey, Author! is my new place to find out things about my favourite authors that other blogs just don’t ask. The nitty-gritty. The dirt. The skinny.

Not stuff about their forthcoming books, or their writing process, none of that high-brow shenanigans thank you – no – Hey, Author! is about getting to know the person behind the bestseller.

So let’s get to it.

The next author in my Hey, Author! line-up is Sam Blake, author of the very creepy-sounding Little Bones, the first book in the Cat Connolly detective series which is already being hailed as a bestseller.

Sam Blake

It’s been some launch week for Sam, who is AKA Vanessa Fox-O’Loughlin, one of the most influential book and publishing advisors in Ireland today. Not only have acclaimed Irish crime writers like Niamh O’Connor and Alex Barclay been singing the praises of Little Bones, many bookshops around the country have embraced the sinister premise to the book by displaying wedding dresses in their windows next to their rapidly diminishing piles of stock.


But never fear, I will stop at nothing to get my Hey, Author! readers the information they need to know, and so using my own investigative prowess, I managed to track Sam down in between her launch parties and book signings last week, and I made her talk. It wasn’t pretty. There were secret passwords and cocktails involved. But I did it for you.

So, Sam Blake! We like the look of your book. We might even buy it and read it. But first, there are some things we need to know. What is your:

Favourite night out in your hometown?

I think my favourite place in my hometown, a wine bar called Scotties, may not exist anymore – it’s been a loooong time since I lived in St. Albans (over 20 years, ahem). Here in Dublin it’s Ragazzi restaurant in Dalkey, makes me feel like I’m in Italy, or Jamie’s in Dundrum where we’ve had some great girls’ nights out!

Favourite skincare/haircare product?

I use Boots No 7 for everything, fabulous – for everything!

Favourite book of all time? (Just one!)

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, no contest


Favourite clothes shop?

I am totally dedicated to House of Fraser online where I check Ted Baker and Karen Millen MUCH too often, but their service is unbelievable, you can order online at midnight, get everything delivered to Dundrum almost the next day (or when suits), try it on and if you don’t like it send it back!! It takes all the pain out of shopping (and the time, which I’m always short of).

 shopping 1

Karen Millen have managed all of my styling for my book launch events too, and they have been amazing! (I was wondering where that gorgeous little black number came from – and how convenient that Sam and I are the same size….- Ed.)


Favourite restaurant anywhere in the world?

Ragazzi in Dalkey.

Favourite bar anywhere in the world?

Corinthia Hotel, Whitehall, shortly followed by Langhams in London (they have crazy golden spider yokes climbing up the wall, haven’t got to the bottom of them yet!)


Favourite movie?

Tricky one – Pretty Woman I think, but also love Notting Hill (romantic at heart)!

pretty woman

Favourite band/musician?

Like everyone I love Adele, but I also love Jess Glynne and I’m a closet One Direction and Beiber fan but I couldn’t confess to that in public.


Favourite meal?

I love monkfish but whenever I’m out I seem to order a chicken Caesar salad, I’m a creature of habit (like this guy below – Ed).


Favourite tipple?

Gordons & Schweppes or Baileys with ice. That should be an ‘and’ not an ‘or’ of course.


Good gurrl yerself, Sam. Not the average Belieber tipple, I’d guess, but the perfect choice nonetheless for a St. Albans girl who at this stage truly must be more Irish than the Irish themselves.

So readers, you have all the important info now, but if you need to know more about Sam Blake and her detective Cat Connolly, you can follow her here on Twitter and on Facebook and don’t forget to get your copy of Little Bones before they get sold out!

little bones

Until the next stalkingly-good Hey, Author! post,

Sheena x

Hey, Author! – Bernice Barrington

Hey, Author! is my new place to find out things about my favourite authors that other blogs just don’t ask. The nitty-gritty. The dirt. The skinny.

Not stuff about their forthcoming books, or their writing process, none of that high-brow shenanigans thank you – no – Hey, Author! is about getting to know the person behind the bestseller.

So let’s get to it.

The honour of being the first author in my Hey, Author! roll call falls to the gorgeous Bernice Barrington from Longford in Ireland, whose debut thriller Sisters and Lies is out 24th March 2016.

Bernice Barrington photo


So, Bernice! We like the look of your book. We might even buy it and read it. But first, there are some things we need to know. What is your:

Favourite night out in your hometown?

I want to say something fabulous like dinner in L’Ecrivain, then dancing in Lillies in Dublin’s city centre. But, really, my favourite thing is a casual bite in Dalkey (see pics below – Ed.), followed by a trip to the cinema in Dun Laoghaire.

Favourite skincare/haircare product?

I adore IMAGE skincare, but I’m pretty agnostic about haircare products (basically because I have such a huge mop myself I’d bankrupt myself if I bought the really expensive stuff.) I love the smell of the Aussie range though!

Favourite book of all time? (Just one!)

Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes


Marian Keyes


Favourite clothes shop?

I’m very fond of House of Fraser in Dundrum Town Centre – loads of choice plus it’s close to the Laura Ashley concession, which is an added boon!

Favourite restaurant anywhere in the world?

The most amazing restaurant I’ve ever eaten in was Indego by Vineet in Dubai (the meal included edible gold!) but if we’re talking the place I go most often and where I feel most comfortable, it would be Harry’s Café Bar in Dun Laoghaire. It’s just a little café/diner place but the food is lovely, the service always excellent and I just associate it with happiness and relaxation.


Harry’s Dun Laoghaire

Favourite bar anywhere in the world?

I’m not really a bar person – I much prefer coffee/tea shops. Having said that, I do love Dunphy’s in Dun Laoghaire. It’s an utterly unreconstructed, old-school pub with lovely staff and entirely free of pretension.


Favourite movie?

Oh Lord, so many to choose from, but I have a DEEP affection for Four Weddings and a Funeral.  fwaf9

Favourite band/musician?

I love Nina Simone – her music is so raw and energetic but also so accomplished.

 Favourite meal?

I’m obsessed with Asian food – so it would probably be a Japanese Teriyaki dish followed by Italian ice-cream.

 Favourite tipple?

I do love a good gin and tonic.



Don’t we all, Bernice? Don’t we all?

So now you know all the important details about Bernice, but if you want to know more, you can find her on Twitter @beebarrington

Thanks for sharing Bernice, and best of luck with Sisters and Lies!


Be sure to follow me here to read more Hey, Author! posts. Where else will you get this kind of insider information? Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to invest in some Aussie shampoo. Seriously, have you SEEN that girl’s hair?!

Sheena x

Dalkey Creates Writing Festival

After a fantastically successful inaugural festival in 2014, the Dalkey Creates writing festival is returning in October 2015, with a programme packed full of opportunities for writers.

dalkey-creates-cover twitter facebook 2015

The three day festival includes seminars and workshops on ghostwriting, advanced fiction writing, writing for TV, advanced blogging and buckets more. With a list of teachers and facilitators that includes Ferdia MacAnna, Liz Nugent, Martina Devlin and Sue Leonard, this festival is a must for anyone with an interest in improving their writing skills.


Of course, it’s no hardship to spend some time in the most picturesque little seaside town in south county Dublin which was home to the beloved Maeve Binchy. Attendees will also have the chance to enjoy the town’s many cafes and shops, not least our own Gutter Bookshop, before and after the festival events.


You might even deserve a pint in Finnegans after all that hard work writing, and while you are there, you can take part in the Al Finnegan’s Live Mic event – just bring your best writing, and the microphone and the audience will be yours for 5 minutes!

castle 2

And if the physical act of writing isn’t your thing, there is still plenty to enjoy at Dalkey Creates, including Shay Linehan’s adaptation of Maeve Binchy’s ‘Aches and Pains’ which will be premiered in Dalkey Castle over the festival weekend.

Dalkey is already well-known for its Book Festival, and Dalkey Creates is fast becoming as popular with writers from Dublin and afar, so come along, meet other writers and learn from the best! You can book tickets online by clicking here.

The Lake in The Gutter

For a while there, you had a choice of almost 20 places to buy coffee in my local village of Dalkey, and no place to buy books from. Then along came The Gutter, and following a successful pop-up stint at the infamous Dalkey Book Fair, Bob and his team decided to stay. (Well, Dalkey really is a lovely place. You should visit sometime.)


And from Thursday, the 7th May, my new novel, The Lake, will be gracing The Gutter’s shelves. So as if you needed an excuse, get yourself on the Dart, hop off at Dalkey station, and walk down the hill to The Gutter to acquire your very own copy. Then off with you to read it in one of the village’s lovely coffee shops. You’ll have plenty of choice.