100 Days Of Swimming

SITTING in the NAC car park on a Sunday morning, hysterically crying, awaiting a motorcycle lift to Wicklow, I did begin to wonder how it came to this?

The previous morning at Seapoint, I’d rushed off to work a late shift and left behind my Arena kneeskin. People went back, everyone was called. It was, frustratingly, gone.

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Diary of an LOS Swimmer #1

The Water Humans

THERE is a competition in Irish open water swimming which seeks no such thing as swimming brilliance, but instead demands dedication, absurd perseverance, and a consistent state of average.

Behold, and welcome to, the Leinster Open Sea Swimmer of the Year league, a magical wonderland of mathematics, missed holidays, and mad dashes, that tests the most stable of stable minds.

The skinny is thus; From the end of May to mid-September, Leinster Open Sea (LOS) stages upwards of 30 swim races, in the Irish province of Leinster, largely in the Irish Sea.

The vast majority of these races are run as separate male and female events, with time handicaps allowing the slowest swimmers a head-start over the tuna fish and sharks.

The finishing order, is the final result and swimmers gain a sliding scale of points depending on where they finished, the minimum being three points, and the prize for…

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a christmas poem

This bizarre week in prose, by the talented Stephen Cass.

Site Title

It started on Tuesday, all stuffed from their dinner

The each-way thieves were on to a winner

Twisters grey horse was their number one guy

But he doesn’t go right, that Bristol de Mai

So on to the victor, the great rogue Might Bite

The Brits had a contender, to put up a fight

They’d win Gold for sure, at Cheltenham they reckoned

But wait! cried the hordes, Double Shuffle was second

And then came the Wednesday, would pain have no end?

The whip in the wrong hand, you dumbass Townend

While over at Kempton, with sales on at Zara

Head over heels, went Special Tiara

With Chepstow abandoned, the weather was dour

A grade one, for fucks sake, went to Whiskey Sour

Sharjah and Real Steel they fell with a dunt

Straight after the departure of the bauld Menghli Cunt

A new day it dawned, we thought ‘twould be…

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Water Human #2 | The sea is my cape

The Water Humans

THERE is deeply ingrained shyness and pessimism within me, that can only be cleaned by sea water.

Growing up, my confidence was any old horse, or my dog. When I went anywhere attached to them, it was like a superhero cloak.

Then it was my career; I had to talk to a lot of people every day that knew I knew a hell of a lot. Then other people read all I knew in the newspaper, and rubbed their chins, nodding.

For a while, my bike took over. A carbon fibre steed so strong we could tame mountains together. We were solid, and everyone knew it. That felt pretty good. Then everyone disappeared over the hill.

Now though, my power source, my sidekick, my confidence, is the sea.

I don’t remember not loving the sea. I remember being a poor swimmer. I remember the adrenalin of scared. I remember breast-stroking…

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Ode to the Sea

And, above all else, here I say to the lady that has carried us together;

She who has lifted, dropped, and turned us;
Who has swelled and toyed and slapped us clean in the face;
Over and over again.

Here, I say, to our greatest allay, our greatest friend, The Sea.


Spring Poem

Since Spring we waited, cool and damp;
Since Spring we sat, breathe abated, tongue a-coiled.
Now summer’s here, she’s flushed spring up,
Her freshness flown for a blanket heat.
All bellow its yellow warmth hath blushed;
Not least our fledgling, creeping, fruiting plant.
The first rouged hint of sweetness did colour today!
Not once, but twice! On nearly midsummer’s day!


Paper Poem

There is not enough space on this paper,
To write a year’s worth of love;
There’s not enough paper to tell all our capers;,
Nor enough to dictate our dates, but,
There is space to put a smile on your face;

When I dream up a plan,
And you say ‘yes I can’;
When I bumble about,
And you bumble along too;

When I’m too tired to speak,
And you prepare me a feast;
When I’m excited about nothing,
And you know it’s something;

That’s what still surprises me;
That’s what always reminds me;
That I will never have enough space on this paper.

New York for Recycled Equestrian

BACK-TO-BACK November hurricanes destroyed shot-lists, location hopes, equipment and morale, but somehow the phenomenal power of Emma Cahill came through in Recycled Equestrian.

Now the first short documentary of my directorial career has been screened at the Dublin International Short Film & Music Festival and is bound for the EQUUS Film Festival in New York this November.

It’s a baffling feeling, being horrendously disappointed that this short film is not what it could have been, and yet, overwhelming proud that it’s message STILL gets out.

That message is the story of Emma Cahill, a show jumper and veterinary student, who was paralysed by a horse riding accident while working in France.

She experienced paralysis, the darkness, the forced positivity, the revaluations and regroupings, and then she got up and walked.

This isn’t a fairytale, Emma is far from the physical person she used to be, and no amount of recuperation or fitness or strength work will change that; this is who she is now, and there’s no point in striving to get back to where she was, either physically or mentally.

That is the wider message she brings out in Recycled Equestrian, that we are never broken, just different; recycled.

And in that form, we can actually be better – don’t lose yourself in tragedy or grief for your former self, build the new you.


Recycled Equestrian will be available to view online after its US premiere at the EQUUS Festival in New York this November.


Translating Irishisms

IT’S been 10 years since I first came to Ireland, and six since I moved here permanently, but I still shake my head at the odd drizzle of Irishness.

This is particularly true when it comes to words and I’m now fairly good at definitively translating Irishisms. Stuff like ‘craic’, ‘your one’, and ‘go away will ya’, are easy enough for us foreigners to pick up, but there are four words and phrases below that I suppose I’m still confused by:

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The Showreel, Completed

The Showreel from Jessica Lamb on Vimeo.

WITH thanks to IrishTV and their weekend TV Presenters Course, held at the Ballsbridge Hotel, here is my Showreel, completed, finally.

I look forward to working with them more formally in the future, in the meantime, find their comprehensive coverage of Irish life on Sky platform channel 191, Freesat 400, Eircom’s eVision channel 191, free-to-air boxes and online at www.irishtv.ie and www.irishtv.com.

Sprinting Significance

Why speed is crucial to the long-term expansion of Longines Irish Champions Weekend

SUCCESS for this year’s second running of Longines Irish Champions Weekend could hinge on the outcome of the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes.

The sprint will be run as a Group 2 for the first time, making it Ireland’s highest-ranked sprint, and has doubled in prize money to €200,000 in a bid to attract the horses that could help it climb to that coveted Group 1 spot.

Reaching that point would give Ireland it’s first Group 1 sprint and open a new door for Irish Flat racing to draw the public in.

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Sligo’s Shelly Valley

Sea birds make the loveliest messes

BEHIND the gigantic sand dunes on Strandhill beach in Sligo is an otherworldly place, littered with the shells of eaten snails and sea creatures.

It’s a sandy valley carpeted with colour and flanked by long, thick green grass. Crushed shells in this graveyard catch the evening light, shaking off their deathly feel and beaming out pretty pastels – pink, green, blue, purple.

Tread lightly though. Slimy slow coaches still living trudge on in the grasses in their hundreds.

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