The Minogue stories have been optioned several times for development into a TV series, and for film. The final step of actually making other or both remains unfulfilled. 

The most frequent explanation has been that the stories are too Irish in idiom. Tastes in crime fiction change too, and so does the readership. Irish crime fiction has been enjoying a boom in recent years and the are more than enough contenders for TV / film interest.



Research is more than fact checking. Stays in Ireland always offer ideas. Walking, watching, and eavesdropping offer up plenty.  

For a few very specific items, a phone conversation with a member of the Gardaí is enough. I have a contact is a sergeant stationed in Dublin, and he knows his onions.

The characters in the Minogue stories tend to elbow aside any plot. I hear them talking and bickering and laughing as I write. 




I pick names in the Minogue stories for what they evoke from my own experience, and the ear I have from growing up there.  

Matt Minogue 

Minogue is a name that immediately says 'County Clare.' If you drive into Tulla, a village that is also a shrine for followers of the Clare hurling teams, you will see from quite a distance the name Minogue on a pub.  

Matt is modelled after the father of a friend. That genial, kind and hospitable man’s manner of speaking, along with his stories and his temperament, inspired Minogue's.  

Many of Minogue's expressions came to me through my mother, who was born and reared in Clare. The surname Minogue may derive from the Irish work for monk manach, as do the more common surnames Manning, Mannion and Mannix. 

Kathleen Minogue

Kathleen is a Dubliner. She is plain-spoken and doesn't hesitate to remind boggers aka culchies - people from outside the grand metropolis of Dublin - that Dublin rules.  

I took the name Kathleen in a spirit of irony from sentimental staples of tear-stained Irish American warbling such as 'I'll take you home again Kathleen’ and ‘Kathleen Mavourneen.’

Minogue as a young man had wanted to be shot of Ireland and he keenly considered emigrating to America.  

Iseult Minogue

Iseult comes from folklore and legends such as Tristan and Isolde.  This name is gaining some popularity as Irish people renew their interest in Irish. 

Daithi Minogue

David - the young, upstart king of the Israelites who took down a giant. There may have been some Oedipal thing at work here. 

Éamonn Minogue

Éamonn  was the Minogues’ first child, who died a crib death. Éamonn is pronounced Eh-munn, which is close enough to Amen. As Minogue turned away from God, he formed an unconscious resolve to rescue the victims of murder by catching their killers and restoring some balance ti things.



The link below takes you to a  map of surnames in use in the 1890 census. It’s not a definitive report on the origins or the histories of the names there, but interesting nonetheless.

Each link opens a new browser window.  Searchable version  (  PDF

NOTE: This is a large file of 92 mb, a poster size print.    (‘Open’ in top right …)




A good test of a book is how it reads aloud. I get emigrant comfort from hearing recited the names of places in the Irish countryside. This is not as rare a quirk as I had thought either. 

In Ireland, there is a lot more to places and names for places than just geography. When the countryside was mapped for the Ordinance Survey in the early nineteenth century, many older Irish place names were anglicized often clumsily. That 'translation’ of place names gave the playwright Brian Friel his title for his landmark play 'Translations.’ 

Many of those place names names were rendered back to Irish/Gaelic names after Ireland became independent. Those restored Irish names are not always original.  

In the Minogue stories, the place names in the countryside are chosen for their power to evoke as much as for prosody. I invented several e.g. Gortagaoithe, which would be 'The Windy Field.’   


Here are useful guides to how and why places in Ireland are so named.

Logainm  (  

Commonly used words in Irish place names  (



I’m always writing new stories. The publishing industry has changed a lot since I began, however. My publisher went bust, so I’ve turned to self publishing. 



There are more Minogue stories waiting but it’s time to give Tommy Malone the lead. Later on I reckon it would be good to take Minogue back in time to the Seventies, say. Yes, when public phones didn’t work, when everyone smoked everywhere, and when, if you went looking for espresso, you’d be directed to the train station. Not sure I’m ready for a re-run of the 70s clothes.  



Every language changes, perhaps never more so than now, with viral memes from social media, canned PR phrases and pop psychology colonizing speech. 

In spite of these, Ireland retains a distinctive hold on its own version of English. A visitor to Ireland may at first be puzzled by what they will hear. Talk often makes easy use of contradictions, misdirections and irony. There is plenty of mischief involved, and sometimes conversation can be a blood sport. 

Some examples:

Dont be talking, sure.’  

This means the opposite. It can also convey disbelief, sarcasm, bewilderment and exasperation.  

Come here to me.’

This is the ace in the pack. It has nothing to do with place, space or geography. It’s a filler, a bridge, a piece of conversational suspension for rough roads.