Nigel Brendan Talbot

Nigel Brendan Talbot was my eldest brother. A year ago today (November 2nd), he died. I ceased contact with him in 2010, and with good reason: From the time I was seven years old, until I was thirteen – and he left our childhood ‘home’ for tertiary education – Nigel sexually abused me.  The last […]

Woman Up! Series 2 Episode 1 (Ceara Carney)

In this episode of Woman Up!, I am in conversation with the hugely impressive, and multi-passionate Ceara Carney. As an actor, Ceara trained at Bow Street Academy, after completing her BA in Performance Arts at Dundalk I.T. She has toured extensively in Ireland and Europe, and will be recognised by many from Vodafone’s Each Christmas. Currently, […]

ADHD And Trauma

As I mentioned here a few months ago, I was diagnosed with ADHD in August of 2022. In that post, I also made mention of how many of the symptoms associated with ADHD and Trauma overlap. Since then, I have produced a diagram to illustrate what I mean: In the thirteen months since my diagnosis, […]

Woman Up! Series 1 Episode 22 (Rosemary Murphy)

In this episode of ‘Woman Up!’, I am joined by the tenacious, generous, warm, intelligent, witty medical student (and mum of twelve), Dubliner Rosemary Murphy. Rosemary talks about her route to RCSI, her determination to make her dream come true. We also talk about people’s prejudices and assumptions when they realise she has a dozen […]

Woman Up! Series 1 Episode 22 (Rosemary Murphy)

In this episode of ‘Woman Up!’, I am joined by the tenacious, generous, warm, intelligent, witty medical student (and mum of twelve), Dubliner Rosemary Murphy. Rosemary talks about her route to RCSI, her determination to make her dream come true. We also talk about people’s prejudices and assumptions when they realise she has a dozen […]

Woman Up! Series 1 Episode 21 (Dr Claire Cunnington)

In this episode of ‘Woman Up!’, I am joined by Dr Claire Cunnington. Claire is a researcher at the Department of Sociological Studies, University of Sheffield, UK and a survivor of childhood sexual abuse (CSA). She is interested in interpersonal violence, inequality and stigma, with a particular focus on CSA and trauma. Her Wellcome Trust funded doctoral research asked adults recovering […]

Woman Up! Series 1 Episode 20 (Orlagh Reid)

In this episode of ‘Woman Up!’, I am joined by Psychotherapist, Relationship Therapist and Addiction Counsellor Orlagh Reid. Orlagh has a special interest in psycho-sexual issues and is a huge advocate of what she terms ‘self-intimacy’, which is a bit more than merely masturbating with orgasm as the goal. Listen in to find out more!

More Blacks, More Dogs, More Irish?

I’ve just listened to Steo Wall, and Toshín singing ‘More Blacks, More Dogs, More Irish’. I’ve seen signs, T-Shirts, Sweatshirts, and tote bags with ‘More Blacks, More Dogs, More Irish’ on them. Now, this song has the slogan as a title. It is my understanding that this all well-intentioned, and very much an anti-racism push-back […]

New Year, New Word

Every January, rather than make a list of things I’d like to do, or change, or achieve, , I choose a word to guide my year. This year, my word is play. In the first instance, it was inspired by one of the best books I read last year: ‘Why We Play‘, by Joanna Fortune. […]

Stuff For Kids That Adults Might Love, Too

‘When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.’ — 1 Corinthians 13:11, King James Version.Yes, I know, nobody comes here for the Bible verses, but this one has stuck with me for decades. […]

Zan, Zandegi, Azadi (Woman, Life, Freedom)

The following words were written by a friend of mine, who is Iranian. Were she to record, or publish it herself, it could be dangerous for her family who are still in Iran. So, I’m doing it instead. The hope has always been there that one day, I could go back to Iran to see […]


‘Hope springs eternal’‘Where there’s life, there’s hope.’‘Hold On Pain Ends’ I don’t know about you, but I have been on the receiving end of these platitudes, and fake ‘positive psychology’ messages more times than I can count. I have a complicated relationship with hope. For many years, I sat in the quagmire of hopelessness, and […]

Grief (Part Two)

Last week, I wrote about grief, and about how I do not believe it is ‘love with nowhere to go’. This week, I want to write about grief following abuse. As people who were abused as children, it can be difficult to identify grief in the myriad emotions we are containers for. We have much […]


For many reasons, I’ve been thinking a lot about grief recently. Well, when I say recently, I mean in the past few years. There are a few reasons for this: The recognition of Covid as a pandemic had more of us thinking about and – sadly – experiencing grief. There was the national (and, to […]

Experts By Experience

In the interests of full disclosure, I was a See Change Ambassador when it launched, in 2012. At the time, I was fully onboard with what they proposed to be doing: Using people with histories of mental ill health to smash the stigma that exists around these issues. In the years since however, I have […]

This week’s Guest – Niamh Ní Chonchubhair (S1, Ep3)

This week, I’m talking to Niamh Ní Chonchubhair on the Woman Up! podcast. Niamh is the CEO and Director of Axis: Ballymun, and – I have to be honest – this episode really sounds like a love letter to Ballymun. And, sure, what’s wrong with that?! I asked Niamh to join me on the podcast […]

The Trauma Of Parentification

Were you parentified when you were a child? By that, I mean were you given the responsibilities of parenting your parent/s or guardians? Of course, it is entirely correct to encourage, and support, children to undertake tasks and chores around the house as they get older. It is only right and proper that children are […]

Woman Up! Episode One With Aoife Martin

Nine year old me is thrilled with herself. Forty years ago, I dreamed of having my own radio show. In a desperate attempt to make that dream a reality, I spent the few pennies I had on low-quality blank cassette tapes. On these, I recorded myself (sometimes with a less than enthusiastic younger sibling joining […]

DONMs Liberation Course

Narcissistic mothers poison their daughters: They lie, undermine, ridicule, invalidate, and gaslight, us. For that, the DONMs Liberation Course is the antidote. This eight-week course will run from Monday October 3rd, until November 28th, from 7pm until 9.30pm (Irish time). Each session is packed full of learning, information, and the opportunity to practice what you’re learning. […]

Doula Services

Back in 2005, I returned to Ireland, and realised there were no practicing doulas in the country. As the only practicing doula here, I brought Doula Training to Ireland for the first time that year. Doulas are no longer an unusual feature in lives of families. I continue to practice, but I only work with […]

The Lilac Programme

For Parents Who Were Sexually Abused As Children For people who were sexually abused as children – roughly 20% of the adult population – certain life events can be particularly difficult. Among these are pregnancy and birth, as well as their child reaching the age at which they (the parent) were first (or first recall) […]

Choosing A Guide For Your Healing

  Amid all the chatter on- and off-line around ‘reaching out’; acknowledging that ‘it’s okay not to be okay’; ‘ask for help’ etc. etc. finding the appropriate healing guide for you is not always an easy task. What Do You Need?I think the first place to start is deciding the type of professional you need: […]

What Does A Rapist Look Like?

‘Monsters!’ Monster is one of the words that is often used to describe men who are guilty of sexual violence. The problem, though, is that they are not monsters. You cannot tell, merely by looking at someone, that he is a rapist, or child abuser. There is no ‘look’ that they share – if there […]

‘Too Damaged By My Mother To Have Children Of My Own.’

Earlier this year, I surveyed 1,722 Daughters Of Narcissistic Mothers, with a focus on their own experiences of motherhood. This post is the first of two that provides an overview of the responses of women who completed the survey. Like many forms of child abuse and neglect, the truth of these relationships is bound in […]

Smear Campaign

CW: Child Sexual Abuse, Pregnancy Loss This year, European Cervical Cancer Awareness Week falls from January 28th. As a result, the past few days have seen my Twitter feed full of reminders that smear tests save lives; that cervical cancer is an awful way to go; that it is preventable; that a few minutes’ of […]

Baby Boxes Won’t Raise Birth Rates

(This is not a Finnish baby box!) A week ago, Katherine Zappone announced baby boxes would be given to all new parents in an attempt to increase the birth rate in Ireland. Baby boxes were first introduced in Finland in 1938, when infant mortality stood at 65 per 1,000. The boxes contained clothes, nappies, a […]


For a number of years now, I have been choosing a single word to guide my coming year.  It’s a word I refer back to over the course of the following twelve months if I’m stuck, or feel I need to get back on course. For 2022, my word is Pathways. This year, I am […]

The Two Norries

I was very honoured to have been a guest on the award-winning podcast The Two Norries, hosted by James Leonard and Timmy Long for their 95th episode. You can listen to it here. As of now, I hold the record for the longest interview broadcast by The Two Norries! (Although we only managed to discuss […]

Be A Cycle Breaker!

One of the things I hear a lot from people I work with is that they’re afraid to have children because their own parents were abusive – whether that abuse was psychological, emotional, physical, sexual, or a combination of all four – and my clients are concerned that they, too, will be abusive. Sadly, I […]

Sex Education For Teenagers

I offer sex education for teenagers that moves beyond what is offered on the RSE curriculum. I address the issues of abuse, and – knowing that children and teenagers are more likely to disclose to a peer – offer participants information on how to deal with disclosure. Aware that teachers aren’t empowered to know how […]

Back To School

Yesterday, in Ireland, those who have completed their final exams at secondary level (known as the Leaving Certificate – or ‘the Leaving’) received news of whether or not they were being offered their most preferred course at third level. For many, it’s a day of relief, joy, and pride. For others, it’s a disappointment. I’m […]

It Takes A Village

Earlier today (March 23, 2021), I was privileged to address the NS218 students at DCU. They were very indulgent, and allowed me to witter on for almost an hour and a half. I was honest about my experiences, but they were generous with their ability to bear witness. The link to the talk on You […]

Sex Positive Parenting

More and more frequently, in my discussions with other parents about sex positivity, parenting, and being sex-positive parents, I hear mention of how they are so sex positive that they have condoms in their homes for their teenaged children to use. ‘Better under my roof and using protection than out in a field, and not,’ is […]

Soul Song

Over on Facebook, Phil Kingston invited me to take part in the Poetry Exchange Initiative. I was, to be honest, very flattered to have been invited. Sometimes I forget that I am a published poet! I recorded the video and shared it on Zuck’s platform. A few people liked it, so I thought I’d post […]

Misogyny, Double-Standards and Witch-Hunts

As a woman, Ireland is not a great place to be. Not just because of the patriarchal hierarchy but because of the blatant denials that the patriarchal hierarchy exists in the first place. I’ve been giving this quite a bit of thought lately – not least because I am a woman and I have two daughters. […]

10 Lies Women Hear in Irish Maternity Hospitals

Women in Ireland are, finally, realising that they have – for the longest time – been sold a pup when it comes to how they are treated with regard to maternity care in this country. For as long as I can remember, I have had an interest in mothering, maternity, babies and birth. Before I’d […]

Embrace Your Madness!

In Istanbul in November of 2005, I had one of those rare ‘aha’ moments. One of those moments where I saw myself as others might see me, and realised why even those who like me refer to me as ‘mad’. Personally, I prefer the term ‘eccentric’ – but we all mean the same thing; that […]

Life Without Santa

Another Christmas day has come and gone, and I am pleased to report that Santa did not make an appearance. He never has. There is no such thing as Santa, as you well know. In Ireland, however, as in much of the Western world, this imaginary creature is a bigger, more important fixture in the […]

What Will Matter…

Tidying up my desk-top this morning, I came across the following poem. For some reason, I felt like sharing it:   What Will Matter Ready or not, some day it will all come to an end.There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days.All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass […]