Photo by Jeb Buchman on Unsplash

“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.” — T.S. Eliot

Once upon a time, not so long ago, there lived a man whose life had descended into ruins. He drank, used drugs and made endless plans. Nothing and nobody — least of all himself — made any sense. He wanted out.

When finally he realised that nothing could ease the fierce, unrelenting grip of darkness on his heart, he checked into rehab — the last resort, he thought. …


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“If I could get back my youth, I’d do anything in the world except get up early, take exercise or be respectable.” Oscar Wilde — The Picture of Dorian Gray

Growing Old. Why is it when we hear these two words, there can be an automatic association with physical decline, reduced abilities, lack of energy and our inevitable demise? Yet when I reflect on the term and break it down, I am struck by its beauty and positivity.


Photo by Denisse Leon on Unsplash

As I look back on my adult life, I am sometimes amazed at how I made it this far, given how ill-equipped I was starting out! But, thankfully, as I write, I find myself in good mental, emotional, physical and financial shape despite living a life of mistakes, quite a few regrets and experiencing my fair share of tragedy.

I guess you could say that I got by on my wits, figuring it out the hard way — albeit with the support of family and friends who’ve always had my back.

It shouldn’t have been so difficult. So many of…

Personal Development | Careers | Relationships

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“Some speak of the future,
My love she speaks softly,
She knows there’s no success like failure
And that failure’s no success at all.”

Bob Dylan — Love Minus Zero

Failure, Mistake, Error and Flaw are often grouped together and nearly always in a derogatory context. Many of us define ourselves by our failures and successes and take a black and white view of our lives. We associate negative emotions with failure and happiness with success.

However, nearly all success comes on the back of repeated failure, and there is a growing culture that encourages this, recognising the critical role…


Five simple ideas to help you stay on your path.

Photo by Mantas Hesthaven on Unsplash

“To thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

Polonius. Act 1, Scene 3. Hamlet — Shakespeare

This snippet from Polonius's advice to his son, Laertes, has stayed with me since my school days. The idea of being yourself and not subscribing to expectations has always made sense to me.

A real connection to people becomes possible when you allow yourself to be ‘seen’. …


Photo by Bjørn Nielsen on Unsplash

This is not a technical article.

This is an essay about people.

For over thirteen years, I have worked in the fire protection business as a senior technical consultant for a leading product manufacturer. I advise architects, engineers and contractors on how to design and construct safe buildings. I have worked on multi-million and sometimes multi-billion Euro projects from high-rise residential buildings to hospitals, schools and hotels.

Much of what I do involves inspecting work to ensure that it is of the highest standard and complies with strict guidelines and regulations.

Fire safety is a matter of life and death.


Age 2, 1976

Because I feel that, in the Heavens above,

The angels, whispering to one another,

Can find, among their burning terms of love,

None so devotional as that of ‘Mother’.

Edgar Allan Poe

I am adopted. It’s not such a big deal.

It sometimes comes up in conversation.

At the doctor, “Any history of heart disease in your family?” Socially, “Where did you get your curly hair — your Mum or Dad?” On holidays, “You’re Irish! Where are your freckles?”

My stock answer, “I’m not so sure. I’m adopted.”

It’s funny how many seemingly innocuous questions lead back to family and…


What if I told you about a legal drug that costs nothing, makes you feel fantastic, brings the world to life, and comes with no hangover or harmful side effects?

Oh, and you are already hooked up with a lifetime supply!

I’m talking, of course, about compliments — those little nuggets of joy that brighten up everyone’s day.

From casual conversations with strangers to everyday working life to our close friendships and relationships, a kind word of appreciation — given or received — can make all the difference to your day and the lives of the people you meet.



One Netflix Binge. Three Snakes. Four Skills.

An essay about people who give very little and take what they can.

Photo: IMDB
Photo: IMDB

“Snakes don’t hiss anymore; they call you Babe, Bro or Friend.”

Last weekend, I was bitten by a snake. As I sat on my couch, browsing for something to watch, it pounced, its venom paralyzing me for eight long hours as I binged on the truly captivating yet thoroughly uncomfortable story of ‘The Serpent’, Charles Sobhraj.

Sobhraj committed a spree of crimes during the glamorous party days of the 1970s, along the South Asian hippie trail, preying on unsuspecting backpackers…


Photo by Unsplash on Unsplash

This weekend, for the first time in over two years, I’m doing something that has me giddy with anticipation. I’m meeting a group of friends to go running!

I’m lucky that where I live, most sports and outdoor activities are once again allowed, and the rules around social distancing have relaxed quite a bit. I see more and more groups of runners out and about, and it brings joy to my heart to hear laughter once again on my favourite trails and see so many smiling faces. …

Niall O'Connell

Masters Athlete | Health & Wellness Advocate | Adoptee | Relentless Seeker | True Believer in the Constant Acquisition of Life Skills

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