Business in Dublin

It’s two years almost to the day since I was last in Dublin Town. I love the feeling of knowing my way around a little bit, at least once I’m at Bachelor’s Walk or O’Connell Street. Being back with Jack and Joanne is fun, their love of this city is infectious, and they show me how to see it and feel it below the surface of the ‘dirty ole town’.

Joanne is away to her dear friend Helen, soaking up her company. Meanwhile Jack and I have business to attend to. Tuesday is our first work day here and we have important people to see.

Claire Doohan is an Archivist at the Irish Folklore centre at University College Dublin, she is a Donegal native and could not have been more delightful. From one random email sent across the world we have connected over our shared passion for saving the heritage for those to come.

Claire had laid out lots of archive materials for us to enjoy; some with Donegal connections, others to do specifically with Dohertys. We spent a wonderful two hours together, talking about Walking to Donegal and archives and Co Donegal and all sorts of stories and storytelling.

I gave her a couple of our business cards, and then handed her the whole pile when she said she knows lots of Dohertys, thinking to myself “Of course you do!” We exchanged gifts, it was really touching and then we were off out to the sunshine.

The weather was beautiful, and Jack and I picnicked by the lake among the sculptures with the new students in week two of their academic year. A fossick about the bookshop yielded plenty, that will be my hardest discipline while we are here in Ireland. I love to see and touch the books that aren’t easily available in NZ, if at all.

I met with another colleague/friend who is a professor at UCD and Jack read the Irish Times and caught up on Brexit.

All day everything went smoothly and exactly to time. The public transport system of Dublin City was our best friend as we went about our adventures.

It’s exciting and heartening to see others get as excited about Walking to Donegal as we are.

We had a good and productive day, there are doors open and imaginations sparked, and we feel pleased and supported. No blisters or trip-ups to report to date as we press on with the Walk.

If you are interested to know more about Irish Folklore check out the National Folklore Collection; Claire co-hosts a really great podcast called Blúríní Béaloidis.

The stories are listening in …

Tuesday 28 August 2018

I woke up today after another night of dreams with a common theme of confusion, mischief, chaos, unpredictable and disconnected people, places and events.

It’s a quite uncomfortable, if somewhat exhausting, way to wake.

That’s two nights in a row.

Something’s up. But how to locate that “something”?

While I was out walking this morning, it came to me: “It’s the stories.”


Sometimes my intuition speaks loud and clear – if you spend any time with us on this journey you’ll get used to that.


It made perfect sense.

The mischief, the mix-ups, the confusion. Like little hot-spots of chaos.

This past week I’ve heard myself saying: “We’re not going on a trip … it’s a story-harvesting-mission”.

We’ve also been talking about how we can pinpoint the stories on a map.


What if those very same stories don’t want to be “harvested” or “pin-pointed”?


What if they have an energy and a life of their own?

Who are we to step boldly and stir up these stories that have laid quietly in their place?

It’s got me thinking.

About the ethics of story finding, story collecting, storytelling.


Just because the people in the story are long-dead doesn’t mean we can do whatever we will with the stories.
Even if our motivation is good.


Story telling is not a benign activity.

I’ve understood this in the context of the people in the story being alive. But what about times long past and people long ago laid to rest?


Jack and I have talked about The Ancestors and their interest in what we are attempting to do.

So, this week we are off to have a cuppa with Barney & Lizzie at their grave.

We started this project with a visit to them back in February 2018.

It’s time for an update chit-chat and seek their protection for this next leg of the journey.

Celtic ways of knowing.

I’ve been thinking about the TEDx talk our cousin Pip Desmond gave about Ethical Storytelling. You might like to check it out:



About Jewarne

Joanne pink jersey
Joanne Doherty

I was born Joanne Mary McPadden, a kiwi with several Irish great grandparents. My ancestors left the Counties of Leitrim, Donegal and Clare and arrived in Aotearoa-New Zealand, settling on the West Coast of the South Island. Their Irish cultural, spiritual and historical influences linger for many generations.

I first lived in New Plymouth by Mt Taranaki, probably travelling on the same train as Jack to Stratford for the St Patrick’s Day athletics. But it was when I was sixteen and a student at St Mary’s College in Wellington that I first knew I was Irish. I read Leon Uris’ ‘Trinity’ and knew deep within that this was so.

Marrying this Doherty man, Jack, 45 years ago remains one of the best decisions of my life.  We live and thrive in an ongoing adventure of five adult children, 12 grand children, wonderful families and friends and belonging to Te Wakaiti marae.

We shared Walking to Donegal after Jack’s first steps there. Being alongside him for the multiple steps since, and those about to be taken, is symbolic of our rich life together.

Being from Aotearoa-New Zealand provides me with a unique Pacific and cultural view of this walk to Donegal. Working and living with Māori who are steeped in their culture and know their whakapapa or clan genealogy, has led me to discover my own identity and going ‘home’ to Ireland has enormous momentum because I live here.

I have been known affectionately as Jewarne since writing about living in Donegal and Dublin, in ‘Mind y’self now, Jewarne’, published in 2005.  My reflections about this particular Walking to Donegal experience in 2018 will be recorded as Jewarne.

In Continuum
In Continuum by Stephen King, Aotearoa/New Zealand