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Two weeks in Sydney with family. The flight is long so I usually fly with Singapore Airlines and break the journey at Singapore Changi Airport. Here, you can book into an intransit hotel and book blocks of six hours at a time. Just long enough to get the head down. There is also a small openair swimming pool, gym, prayer rooms and numerous cafes serving a variety of national dishes

Fastnet Film Festival: Wednesday 23 May - Sunday May 27

Thursday May 24: my piece in The Irish Times all about the Corona Fastnet Short Film Festival now celebrating its tenth year. Festival is held in Schull in West Cork. A truly wonderful film fest and quite an achievement for a village of 2000 people and which doesn't have a cinema. Films are projected on to any available space and that includes the gable end of a house and the wall in someone's bedroom. David Puttnam will be there - that's how good it is.

Wednesday 13 June to Sunday June 17

Immrama festival of travellers and travel writing. Inspiring as always. Held each year in Ireland's Lismore. A lively town full of lively people. Tom Crean is the hero this year. The play about him is unmissable. I was honoured to be invited there one year and enjoyed meeting again Jan Morris who I knew in another life.

Saturday June 16

Bloomsday. The day Leopold Bloom met Mollie. And the day James Joyce met Nora Barnacle. On that day, there'll be a lot of men walking round Dublin sporting a black eye patch, a walking stick and a bow tie.You can't miss them. Make for the Martello Tower just beyond Dun Laoghaire. Things kick off there with a reading from Ulysses. Then saunter down to Glasthule where there'll be music and some light refreshment. Just turn up. I'll be there.

Friday June 22 - Sunday June 24

Wanderers on two wheels: this is Leitrim's very own cycling festival in Manorhamilton. Run by people who like to go slow as well as fast. Delighted to be invited to speak about my travels round Syria before the war. Always enjoy doing that. Syria - great country, great people. See my book My Home is Your Home A Journey Round Syria. Details on

Also speaking is Limerick man William Bennett, just back from a three-year world cycling tour.

For Leitrim's cycling festival:


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