Category Archives: Thoughts

I carry an Organ Donor Card – why don’t you?

Donor Card
Donor Card

Don’t ask me why or when it hit me but some time over the past few weeks I finally got myself a Donor Card. It’s been something on the long to-do list for an age & something very easy yet worthwhile to do. Why get one?

  • You are 3 times more likely to need an organ transplant than be a donor.
  • Transplant operations are becoming more & more successful thanks to advances in medicine yet the number of patients in need outnumbers the number of donors available
  • You could give someone an incredible gift
  • Putting your wish to be a donor in your will is simply too late

So how can you get one? It’s very easy – there’s several different ways you can get your card, all listed in the Irish Kidney Association website. Once you get your card it’s very important that you do the following:

  • Sign the back of the card yourself
  • Get your next of kin to sign the back of the card
  • Carry the card with you at all times
  • Tell people that you carry the card (and maybe even convince one or two of them to do the same!)

There’s plenty more information available on organ donation and transplantation at the Irish Kideny Associaton website at

Concert in tribute to the late John O’Donohue in Clare this Friday

Concert poster

Concert poster

This Friday, April 17th, a very special evening of music and song will be taking place in St.Michael’s Church, Ennistymon, Co.Clare in memory of the late John O’Donohue. 

The choir will be performing Mozart’s Great Mass in C minor. They will be joined by more than 75 members of the London Symphony Chorus and The City of Dublin Concert Orchestra under the baton of Joseph Cullen, Principal Conductor of the LSC. Also performing on the night are Sopranos Naomi O’Connell & Anne Byrne as well as Baritone Alistair Ollerenshaw, Tenor Peter O’Donohue and the young Soprano Katie O’Donohue (nephew and niece to John). 

I am privileged to be able to call John family and although I sadly didn’t get to know the man behind the beautiful writings such as Anam Chara, I have very vivid memories of him from my childhood when he was parish priest in the local church for a brief period prior to leaving the church and pursuing a career in writing. I remember the effect he had on people when he met them – there were always smiles and laughter and an infectious warmth that I can almost sense again when I try to take in the words he has written that so many have found inspirational.

Tickets for the concert are still available and can be booked over the phone by credit card by calling the Burren College of Art on (065) 707 72 00. Check out the blog at

Ye must be born again

I’ve played around with domains and blogs of various varieties for the past 12 months or so and finally settled on this one. CloudSteph, my Blogspot blog that I’ve been trickling random stuff into for some time now is a chapter closed. I’ve been turning over  a new leaf lately and this is just another one of those things that has been sitting on the back  burner awaiting attention.

I’ve met some wonderful people in the past few weeks that have collectively & individually given me a kick up the arse to sort myself out and start re-discovering the things I love that I’ve lost sight of in the past few years.

Something many people may not know about me is my love and appreciation of choral music. I’m not sure if it’s from growing up in Catholic rural Ireland or the family genes that gave me and many family members the gift of rhythm and vocal chords or both but I’ve always loved listening to groups of people singing for the love of singing. As a child I sang in the local church choir while it lasted and once it was found out I had a somewhat decent grasp of it, I was thrown into singing solo for everything from funerals to Sunday mass and everything in between. I alone took on the task of being the musical accompaniment to the Sunday mass for a while in my late teens when nobody else was bothered and the parish was adjusting to a new music-loving priest arriving on the scene and literally singing his way through mass. The singing continued in school with a weekly choir class and annual school musical. My first semester in DCU was a delight having wonderful guidance in the music society from David D’arcy who worked on campus with the National Chamber Choir. Sadly, David was unable to continue to lead us and nobody managed to take up the baton properly and it all fizzled away. I’ve been on the long waiting list for audition places for the beautiful and inspiring Gardiner Street Gospel Choir for about 6 months now so fingers crossed it might come to something. For now I’ll be trying to dust off the chords in the shower or when I’m in the car alone :)

I hope to attend the Cork Choral Festival at the end of this month to soak up some performances from local and international groups. Tonight I was at our local church in my hometown of Ballyvaughan, Co.Clare where they’ve finally, after many many years of occasional gatherings, pulled together a choir of beautiful singers and wonderful potential. My iPhone is giving me major problems but I managed to record some tracks that I think is not a bad start for a group that only started singing together 2 weeks ago. Hope you enjoy.

In the meantime…

Still not decided on how I’m going to doll this place up – I’ve got lots of ideas floating around!

Here’s some stuff to look at and maybe give me some feedback if you feel like it!