Rathlin Island HostelBlog 4: The Island Sometimes Known As Raghery

Week 6

2015-09-05 15.12.30

2015-09-03 14.09.54
2015-08-30 20.58.50

2015-08-30 20.27.082015-08-29 21.58.22
2015-08-26 17.48.11
2015-08-24 20.36.19
2015-09-06 15.42.23
2015-09-07 15.24.40

The sense of camaraderie at McCuaig’s, the sheer craic, and personal investment, coupled with beautiful landscape made my time on Rathlin second to none. Special mentions to the hostel-runners: Fergus and Tania; but especially Sean, Patsy and Rohan, who made me feel like a member of the family. How could I not take another
week? On my final day we spotted blue whales jumping in Mill Bay, right in front of the hostel.


DVD for Always Sunny in Philadelphia Series 1-2 arrives. Check out the box’s audience warning marks.

2015-09-08 13.30.53

Sean (McFaul) reckoned I’d experience culture shock on return to Belfast. At first, little things; then the rising noise of the traffic, the internalisation of city folk, and a return of claustrophobia. Still, Rathlin’s weather taught me to appreciate the colours and patterns closer to home.

2015-09-28 19.30.09.jpg
2015-09-15 12.27.06

Enter, Sean Duffield, cartoonist of Paper Tiger Comix, who I’d invited to come from Brighton and be my guest in N. Ireland. Sean had one request.

Week 7

2015-09-15 14.56.37.jpg

Belfast to Ballycastle, often it’s needed to change buses at Ballymena. We discovered a small park five minutes from the station with these beautiful Four Seasons statues.

2015-08-23 15.55.59.jpg
2015-09-20 13.37.48
2015-09-16 15.38.46
Sean gets comfortable seal-spotting down at Rue Point, earning the nickname ‘Manimal’.

We take the round-island coach trip.
2015-09-17 11.28.25

Even saw a peregrine falcon at West Lighthouse. It’s a pleasure having Sean D around. His sticking to daily writing exercises provides the perfect context for professional practice myself. Sean is also an awesome cook. There’s not much pub time, as Sean wants to walk e v e r y w h e r e.

2015-09-19 15.57.27.jpg
2015-09-17 11.28.33.jpg

We do make a visit to Yvonne Braithwaite’s Breakwater Arts Studio, hosting Rathlin’s first ever Culture Night. It’s an intimate evening of songs and stories from islanders, handed down through generations, as the sun goes down accompanied by deelish cheeses and warming wines.

2015-09-18 20.05.03.jpg

2015-09-18 20.30.07.jpg

Watershed Cafe Suzie shows us around some caves.
2015-09-19 15.06.03
2015-09-19 15.06.51.jpg

andy vs sean

And we’re introduced to a healing pool, legend having it that if you bottle this water and give it to a friend, it will clear foot ailments of all descript. Though you can’t use the water on yourself…

healing pool

…No. It really has no effect.

We set sail for home like every visitor to Rathlin, forever changed.

I’ll be returning this weekend (5th December), for a few drinks in the bar. You’re invited to join us.

If you’d like to keep a closer eye on Rathlin, there’s a host of stuff around the web, including the Rathlin Community Page, and the regularly rewarding Friends and Residents of Rathlin page on Facebook.


RathlinHostelBlog 3: Everyone doesn’t want to leave.

Week 5

Hristina and I meet in nearby Ballintoy to coo at Bendhu House, eat at harbour, shriek at divers in rocky waters.

2015-08-28 14.18.56

2015-08-28 14.43.44There’s a pub there with a Game of Thrones room, apt, as they shoot at the harbour twenty minutes walk.

Back on the island, 520 people come in for the Rathlin Run. Special Guest Star: Rathlin chum Moira Morton arrives. Sean and Patsy take us for a look around West Lighthouse.

On the way back, I’m inspired for a horror short and home, we’re made Sunday dinner and treated to many stories. Throughout the week, I’m talking to four islander writers, hatching plans for a writer’s retreat. Beer and burgers for a fiver!

2015-09-01 18.30.05

Writing: End of month deadlines: Sloppily prepped, I do submit an article on writing I am pleased with, five poems and a piece on behalf of Richard Barr, storyteller supremo. 2nd draft my horror piece and continue with the space opera.

Special Guest Stars #2: Donna Traynor and BBC Newsline. I appear in cafe background, but will it make the edit?

Answer: Usual ole nuisance associated with film crews. They might not show up, they show up late, they don’t want to shoot in the cafe, they do want to shoot in the cafe, they’re setting up for ages, or are they filming, I’ve already drank two cups, the marshmallows, the hot chocolate and I can’t order another because they’re still here, directing everything. Annoyed. Filming or not? Apropos of nothing, I drink from an empty cup because this is amusing to me. This ends up on five seconds of the broadcast.

There’s been a problem with the volunteer due to show up on Saturday. Will she? I might stay on. To be continued.

2015-08-30 20.26.08

RathlinHostelblog 2: A kitchen of seals

Week 3

Sean and I kick it off by getting quite polaxed. Jasus, it’s half three! Pretty Barbara has a staggeringly good technical drawing of HMS Drake. 26 beds to change at the weekend!

Special Guest Appearance #2: Mum and Dad find Rathlin breathtaking but get hit on Day 2 by crappiest weather in ages. Oh well, they’ll be back.

Writing: Slack week. Abandoned re-write of Pixels, (shit I can’t shine it seems), diary, postcards. Reading Joyce’s Ulysees and Asimov’s Youth, really short dose of ace.

Sightings: Guillemots, Oyster Catchers2015-08-18 20.21.33 2015-08-23 14.17.08

Week 4

Special Guest Star: John AKA Jackfirecat! From Oxford! To See me! And the island! John stops to film every moth, we watch the seals with beer (72!), we get more drunk than gentlemen over 40 should and visit Rue Point/Pertwee Lighthouse. We brave the Lamas Fair and insert yellowman into strawberries. No really sir, a younger boy told us to do it. It’s quite good.

Bonding with Hristina from Zurich: toasties, pubbing, stargazing. Meanwhile, I book a holiday to Spain with islander Susie (of Watershed), and play ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’ on my lips to the amusement of all in the pub.

Writing: Space opera

Sightings: Stonechat, 2xUFOs, turn out to be ships with very tall lights, and this double-rainbow

2015-08-23 15.45.52

2015-08-23 15.48.26 2015-08-23 15.50.39 2015-08-23 15.51.02 2015-08-23 15.51.42 2015-08-23 16.28.37 2015-08-23 16.47.22 2015-08-23 17.05.33 2015-08-24 14.35.49 2015-08-24 10.55.30

RathlinHostelblog 1: Camera-Eye Returning

Well, it’s been an amazing month on Rathlin, my baseline depression default setting raised to: Oh I’m a bit sad, everything around me is beautiful. Oh, I’m not sad. Cruel world, get a dose of this infection.

Week 1
Arrival, and I lock myself in the caravan to finish an 8,000 word supernatural war story. Emerging at midnight, ‘AndyLuke’ greeted at the bar. Hello website visitors! Tough transition making leap from holidaying on Rathlin to working here. Epilepsy playing up a bit. Lovely family (Martin, Katia, Luciano & Sofia) from Holywood help take the sting out and I’m settling to know more locals; therapeutic bunch.
2015-08-07 23.51.22

Oh, and I get a mohican.

mohican 2015

Week 2
Best Guinness ever, Rathlin Red ale great, Martin shaves my head, for it was becoming weed-like. Meet a localauthor, who speaks on writing as eloquently as the best.

Rathlin 1

Surprise guest appearance #1: Sarah and the previous assistant, Marianne. Hard drinking. I almost burn the hostel down but am saved from Hell by a quick-witted scout leader.

Massive bonding w/ my bosses Sean and Patsy, and two Germans, Pia and Sarah, who share my nonsensical imagination and we watch the meteor shower til 6am and I’m probably a tiny bit in love. But they never call. Everyone leaves but it’s okay.
Writing: a romance, a western, and a short called ‘The Call’, which I’ve mentioned previously on here. It had been in the works since 2009.

2015-08-10 20.57.22 - Copy - Copy

2015-08-11 18.01.27 - Copy

2015-08-12 20.41.34