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From the Hill of the Wild Berries

Extracts from an anthology of original work by the K.T.A.C writers was published in 2008. It comprised of a lively mixture of poetry, prose and monologues. The book sold out quickly but continues to be available through public libraries.


From the Hill of the Wild Berries

Anthology of New Writing from County Wexford


This publication was produced by the writers from the Arts Ability creative writing programme, based at Killagoley Training & Activation Centre (K.T.A.C.) in Enniscorthy.

From the Hill of the Wild Berries is an exceptional and captivating collection of new writing. Funny, engrossing, quirky and quietly moving, this book brings together over thirty-five new voices, storytellers who have all taken part in the series of workshops, delivered over three years, by writer and editor Sylvia Cullen.

The creative writing programme has been running in K.T.A.C. since 2006 under the direction of published playwright and short story writer Sylvia Cullen.  ‘More than forty writers have taken part in these workshops,’ Cullen explains

Working with words in a variety of forms such as monologue, poetry, memoir and the short story. As well as jigging around with language, creating characters and dramatic dialogue, the writers have had the opportunity to steer their own creative course in terms of what themes they wanted to explore and which form they wished to express themselves through.

From the Hill of the Wild Berries draws on themes from a broad range of sources, it is a timeless anthology full of vitality and gentle perception, offering individual moments from life for the reader to mull over and enjoy.

Selected poems

Spring is a new beginning.
Foxes awaken to life in Spring.
The leaves on the Oak tree are green
and give a fresh atmosphere to Spring Life.
The swallows return from foreign lands
to the pleasant island of Ireland.

The yellow daffodils are bright and blooming.
The mornings are precious with the beautiful
sound of different birds singing.
The beauty of the afternoons is followed
by the bright evenings,
Which resemble a new scent of life.

Farmers feel the sweat on their brow after ploughing the land,
And sowing and spraying corn.
Their preparation for the harvest begins in earnest.
People of all professions are carefully
planning their summer holidays.
The lack of the Spring Show is evident in Ballsbridge…

The caterpillar changing to the butterfly, which is a fresh start,
Is almost equivalent to Spring.

© Michael Bolger

They can’t smoke.
They mustn’t curse.
They shouldn’t go with men.

Some had to get their hair shaved off,
Years ago. But not now.

They are supposed to wear a habit and veil,
And bring invalids to Lourdes.

I would like and love to be a nun myself,
Because they have time to pray.
What I wouldn’t enjoy is kneeling on a boarded floor,
Getting a pain in the bones of my two bare knees.

© Bridget Murphy

Hot san beneath our toes.
Sun beaming on our heads.
Crowds down on the beach.
Red sunburn on their backs, legs and bodies.

Colourful bikinis on girls, size twelve, fourteen and sixteen.
Pink with envy…
Blaring rock’n roll radios.
Screams for Joe “Isn’t he gorgeous? What a swimmer!”

Smell of coffee from the restaurants.
Lovely salad sandwiches.
Candy floss melting in our mouths.
Classy clothes in shops.

Sun going down.
Time to go home.

© Moira Naessens

I see their eyes and face.
They look at me,
Staring beyond me, calculating.
There isn’t a comment,
Just their ice-cube eyes,
Melting into my mind.
Now I see the bed, white sheets.
I, like some sort of sandwich between them,
Waiting to be swallowed into
A vacuum of confusion.
Then the syringe
The sharp steel ready
To stab into my existence.
It happens, the surgical spirits,
The movement, the sting,
The chemical pulsating into my brain.
The mind staggers beneath reality,
Rainbows weep from the electric light.
I lie there, locked in prescribed mind cuffs.
It doesn’t make sense, no meaning a threat,
The rainbows staining my thoughts
As colourful as darkness.

© Pat Rossiter