Friday, January 15, 2016

Orfhlaith Ni Chonaill - Ohr-la Knee Kunnill

Ór                 +         Flaith            =      Órfhlaith
Pronounce "Ohr"                                Pronounced Fla                            Pronounced Ohr-la

   Órfhlaith is an Irish name that means golden princess. It is a combination of two words Ór – gold and Flaith – prince or princess. (We use the word flaith quite regularly in Hiberno-English – flaithiuil or flaithiulach – meaning generous or princely.  Oh yeah, sez you, I know that one!) Putting the Ór before the Flaith, silences the f, so it becomes Ohr - la, rather than Ohr –fla.  The symbol over the O is called a fada (meaning long in Irish) – so that means it’s a long O, like the exclamation Oh! (Oh! So that’s how you say it!) And the last la is short like that in Pamela.

   And the Ni Chonaill – ni (pronounced like the knee in your leg) and Chonaill (pronounced Kunnill with a scratchy K sound – like gargling – in the back of your throat) simply means daughter of O’Connell.

    I have agonized over the years about whether I should anglicise my name to reach a wider audience with my writing.  Recently, my friend Nuala Ni Chonchuir changed her Irish name to Nuala O’Connor for the release of her book, Miss Emily, which was published by Penguin. But the common anglicisation of Órfhlaith is Orla which unfortunately translates as ‘vomit’ in Irish.  And there are many Orla O’Connells around.  Whereas, in internet circles Órfhlaith Ní Chonaill is almost uniquely me at the moment.

If, after all that, you still can’t pronounce my name and you can’t remember it, you can also access my website through the portal  It works!                                                                     

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Strandhill Summerfest Creative Writing Weekend July 3-5 2015

Strandhill Summerfest is a weekend writing retreat that celebrates writers and writing. It nurtures new work in a gentle, safe and supportive environment. Suitable for writers of all ages, beginners or established, writing in any genre.


Orfhlaith Ni Chonaill Ted Deppe Annie Deppe Joe Kearney
Orfhlaith Ni Chonaill Ted Deppe Annie Deppe Joe Kearney

Whether you are looking for:
  • A weekend writing retreat in the West of Ireland
  • A safe haven to begin writing for the first time
  • A poetry masterclass with Ted & Annie Deppe
  • Feedback and guidance for your work
  • Inspiration for new writing
  • A cure for the dreaded Writers’ Block
  • Amherst Writers & Artists (AWA) workshops with Órfhlaith Ní Chonaill
  • Time for you and your writing
  • Multi-genre writing workshops with Joe Kearney
  • An opportunity to share and celebrate your writing with others
  • A weekend away for your Writers’ Group
  • A safe and supportive environment in which to write
  • A break away in the beautiful seaside village of Strandhill
  • A return visit to old friends at Strandhill Summerfest
  • A friendly and fun weekend in the company of other writers
  • A gift of writing to give to a friend or loved one
  • (And all at an affordable price)

Strandhill Summerfest is here for you!

“Genius is hidden everywhere; it is in every person, waiting to be evoked, enabled, supported, celebrated. It is in you.” Pat Schneider

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Brenawn O'Connell: An appreciation and letter to the truck driver who was also involved in Brenawn's accident

Brenawn in Dingle 2006
Dear Friend,
                       You met my brother on a Donegal road.  That collision changed lives forever – his, yours and ours.  I have no doubt but that road haunts you and it can haunt you forever if you let it.  Roads like these are treacherous.  They can go on destroying lives long after the debris has been cleared away, the masses said, the coffins covered.

But there is another way.  And I ask you to do a favour for me, in honour of my darling brother.  You needn’t go to Donegal; you will carry that scene forever in your heart and in your mind.  But, please, when you visit that road again, lay down your burden of regrets, of what ifs and if onlys.  Leave them there behind you on the road.  He would not want you to carry them.  He was a man of few burdens.
While you’re there, please pick up my brother’s smile.  It was there he lost it.  He left it there for you and would have wanted you to have it.  Use it, as he did, to bring joy and sunshine into the lives of everyone you meet.
You can also find, there, his generous heart, filled with love for friends, family and strangers such as yourself.  It is his gift to you.

Another thing my brother left behind was his love of life, his joy and enthusiasm.  Please take it.  But be careful, it is catching.  It has infected us all.  He would want you to live every single day of your life as an adventure.  Joy is the most precious gift that he bestows and he would hate to see yours stolen from you by him.

My friend, you and I were strangers until you met my brother in the Barnesmore Gap.  His passing has left a bearnas mor – big gap – in our lives and yours (he was fond of the Irish language too).  My dearest wish is that, when you or I visit Barnesmore (that road as we hold it in our minds), we will find a Phoenix rising from the ashes of his loss.  That Phoenix is hope.

My brother died attempting to bring hope to the 800+ potential victims of suicide in Ireland every year.  Both he and I would wish that hope would rise up and embrace all of those people, all of his friends in the Cycle Against Suicide and you and me in the process.  Let it start with you and me.

I didn’t get to meet you at his funeral, but I would like to thank you for your presence there.  Maybe in happier times we will meet and you will reflect back to me Brenawn’s smile.  I hope so.

                                                                                                              Órfhlaith Ni Chonaill

Monday, July 15, 2013

Strandhill Summerfest 10th Anniversary July 26-28 2013

Strandhill Summerfest is a weekend of inspiration, encouragement, guidance and liberation for writers and would-be-writers at every stage in their journey to self-expression. The 2013 Summerfest will be held on the weekend of July 26th – 28th.
The Summerfest is held annually in Strandhill, Co. Sligo. Workshops are led by a team of inspirational facilitators: poets, Ted & Annie Deppe, novelist and documentary maker, Joe Kearney, and multi-genre writer, Órfhlaith Ní Chonaill. The weekend also includes a forum on Truth or Fiction: Self-revelation through writing.  On Saturday, there will be a social evening with dinner and an open mic for participating writers.

·  Take time out for you and your writing
·  Discover the genius within you
·  Write with inspirational facilitators
·  Work in a safe, supportive environment
·  Find your unique writing voice
·  Share and celebrate your writing with others
·  Write in any genre: poetry, fiction, memoir
·  Enjoy a beautiful seaside location
·  Avail of the weekend at an affordable price
·  Get feedback on your writing
·  Participate in small workshops in a private house
·  Relax in a lovely garden with patio, pond and labyrinth
·  Overcome writers’ blocks
·  Use your own voice with confidence

This year, the Summerfest is celebrating its 10th anniversary. It began life as Caomhain and the Flowering Oak, a festival of creative writing which was originally held in St. Angela's College, Sligo. In 2006, it moved to Strandhill and changed its name. The weekend has been thriving since, attracting a great mix of writers and continuing to inspire wonderful writing in a safe, relaxed and easy-going atmosphere.

The cost of the weekend is €125 and includes snacks, light lunch on Saturday and Dinner on Saturday evening.

   For further details you can visit:,  contact:, or phone: 0872799108.