Lord Mayor of Dublin visits PACE

We were thrilled to welcome The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Mícheál Mac Donncha and PACE CEO Dr. Lisa Cuthbert for the launch of our new Mug Shots Coffee mobile unit. We were delighted to get funding for 3 full-time positions and the new part of our Social Enterprise initiative will provide valuable training and work experience to many future aspiring Baristas at PACE.

I have attached a short video of the speeches from our two guests.


The new polytunnel

In our ever increasing expantion of the Social enterprise aspect of PACE we have been working for the last couple of months to install a new and larger polytunnel to increase our capacity. So much work was put in by all the trainees and of course the two Brendans from the Woodwork and Horticulture departments. I knew this great effort was worth documenting so i popped out once or twice a week to take a few snaps of the progress.

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Alarm clock by Frankie

On Frankie Annemarie said, “Frankie brought to the workshop the kind of energy and openness that all teachers dream of. A natural poet, Frankie has a great understanding of the human senses as they relate to writing. And more than that, he has a truly poetic grasp of the way in which time passes as we remain. When I read back over JFD’s writing, I was amazed at the elegance, beauty and gentleness of his words. In his poem ‘The Alarm Clock’ he writes “I wait for the warm from the sunlight rays, shivering through my window with the dust dancing””.


Alarm Clock by Frankie

You wake up to my ring each morning.
The noise breaks the darkness and stillness.
I’m waiting for the lamp to be switched on,
the heat from the light bulb to warm me up gently.
My time is tick-tocking quietly.
You can hear me ring.
But I too hear you
laugh, talk, being silent.


I sit on the desk next to your bed,
waiting as time goes by
to be touched,
waiting for you to touch my button
Then I feel you know I am here.
I wait for the warm from the sun-light rays
shivering through the window
with the dust dancing in the sun rays

I have not tasted anything and never will.
My tick-tocking time goes by quietly,
not knowing what taste means or feels for you.
But I do wonder, wondering I do,
Tasting food, what a joy to have.
I cannot see outside the window
that’s high above one of the walls.
I do dream and dream about seeing
what’s outside that small square in the middle of the wall.
I dream of the dust dancing forever in the sun rays outside.
as my tick-tocking time goes by.

I smell the food on your plate,
the nice smell flows in through the air within this room.
Nothing left but a smile.
I sit and wonder about what smells will bring tomorrow
As my tick-tocking goes by.
Quietly, so quietly, time goes by.

Sure I had to and The Swim, by John.

Annemarie also had this to say about John’s writing John’s writing is driven by his own unique voice, his unique language, his unique turn of phrase. He has a poet’s eye for detail and a poet’s sensitivity for the small, stunning details in the world around him. In his poem ‘The Swim’, John brings swimming bodies to life with “a flurry of arms and the soles of white feet”.

Sure I had To by John

I was shown a photograph of a man. He reminded me of a character who used to frequent our pub, and this is an example of his conversation as I served him his pints over the years.


Me name is Ned Whyte but everyone calls me Snowy.

I’ve been workin on the South Docks all my life. Born and raised in Ringsend in the Cottages, down near the cattle pens. Never went to school, or if I did I mitched, like everybody else. I took up boxin at a young age and bet everyone. Includin some of the girls. Sure I had to.

I don’t remember me mother. She died when I was just a chiseler. Me granny reared me. She never let me go hungry. A big bowl of porridge for me breakfast every mornin and fried bread, done in drippin. Me father, he left. Sure, maybe he had to.

I got married young: 17 and a bit. She was older, at 18 and a bit. We had a son. It was like… let’s go to the pictures, a bag of fish and chips, tea in her house, Ringsend Church, got married, went to work the next day. Sure I had to.

Everyone knew everyone else where I lived, same on the Docks. All the barmen in the early houses knew me; the pawn-brokers, the grocer, the doctor, those in the labour, the priests, the coppers. I knew then all. Sure I had to.

What nobody ever knew though was, I was always afraid, terrified, deep down. Even when I became Leinster Champion Heavyweight. I was so proud when I won the fight. But sure I had to.

She went off to Birmingham when the drinkin got bad, took the son with her, never wrote. I think he was about six. I’d love to see him now. He’d be in his 20’s, I think. But I don’t know where they are in Birmingham. I just kept drinkin anyway. Sure I had to.

Me biggest fear now though is, that somebody will look be in the eye, see the hidden fear, point the finger. Yeah, sure, they’d have to.


The Swim

At Watling Street Bridge
on a summer’s eve,
the balmy air,
poised beside my opponent Steve.

The mercurial Mr Donegan,
the official starter,
counted us down.
With a splash, there goes Arthur!

The Liffey swim has just begun,
an annual carnival of great moment,
top class swimmers and novices galore
for a race subsidised by The Independent.

I count the bridges, one by one,
a flurry of arms, and the soles of white feet.
I take a breath, a quick look around,
who’s in the lead? Why, it’s my club-mate Pete.

We reach Capel Street Bridge,
dedicated to Grattan,
it’s bottle-green balustrade
and brick-walls half rotten.

Crowds line the quay wall
white faces, flags waving,
take a great gasp of air.
It’s energy saving

We pass beneath the Ha’penny bridge
Supposedly reminiscent of Venice
another half-mile of Herculean effort
who’s that leading? It’s Charlie Ennis!

O’Connell Street Bridge
as wide as it’s long.
One final effort.
I’ve gotta stay strong.

Liberty Hall on my left,
the old Scotch House to my right.
Butte Bridge comes closer.
The end is in sight.

Three swimmers abreast.
The boom looming larger.
The crowds are screaming
Who’s the winner? they wonder.

Our supporters surround us
as we climb up the ladder.
We long for a hot bath
carbolic soap, lots of lather.

And now for the prizes
First ten home on the river
friends and family clap proudly,
as we receive awards of pure silver.


The final Bell by Paddy.

Annemarie  in her introduction to the pieces of work made a few comments about working with each of the writers. She said of Paddy’s poem The FINAL BELL that Paddy has a keen awareness of the human body as it stands its own ground in the world. He brings to his writing a boxer’s style, poise and confidence. In his poem ‘The Final Bell’, Paddy introduces us to Hector and Achilles in the sands of the colosseum as he writes “Who are chosen? Only a few”.


The Final Bell  by Paddy

The temperature is high

It makes my breath shallow

My knees are weak.
The colourful creatures in the crowd

are full of blood lust

It’s the two warriors’ pain that they seek.
I feel passion.

I desperately want to win.

Get in those six rounds.
It’s a fight of equals,

Man v Man,

at 175 pounds.
My colours are fire and passion red.

Hectors weapons are dark.

Sky moody blue.
Hector and Achilles in the sands

of the Colloseum.

Who are chosen? Only a few.
Forget the winter nights

and early morning runs.

It’s really me v myself (no intended puns).
Get up Prince of Troy!

I’ll not have a slip

on the wet canvas steal my glory.
Jesus, he’s up!

and his right catches me flush!

It looks easy to the creatures outside the ropes.


Inside it’s a whole different story.

City West Hotel,

Dublin’s Southside edge.
Big open space.

12 weeks of torture,

mystery.No more long distance race.
The training beforehand

is close to hell.

Fuck it! Nothing matters now.

I’ve just heard

the final bell.

Creative Writing at PACE

Creative Writing Classes
A series of creative writing classes were run in PACE HORTICULTURE PROJECT in November and December.
The Donegal poet Annemarie Ni Churreain led a group of students through a series of classes. It was thoroughly enjoyable and in the end we were all delighted with the work produced.
On Monday 11th December we had a reading which was attended by Tom Shortt, the IPS Arts Officer from the Writers in Prison Programme which funded the classes. It was a great opportunity and the lads who participated in the writing workshops were delighted to be presented with a copy of AnneMarie’s first poetry collection, Bloodroot.

Anne Marie in her introduction to the pieces of work made a few comments about working with each of the writers.

Find out what she said and read 3 great creative works in the next 3 post’s.