You can buy my autobiography "No Time For Innocence" for 15 Euro or equivalent
(including posting charge)

Contact me at:




- "Goodby to the Hill"

- "Barleycorn Blues"

- "Dancers of Fortune"



The new book "DANCERS OF FORTUNE" comes out in Ireland on March 22 - we're launching it at Hughes and Hughes bookshop in the St Stephens Green Centre in the heart of my city - People are saying very good things about it already and we have high hopes its going to be big. It's a departure for me, being a historical sort of novel - don't know where it came from, just kept looking up while it was coming through telling my anonymous donor, just keep sending it pal, it feels real good. The same thing is happening now with the sequel - lucky me. Lots going on - great from a middle aged guy like me!"













B ARLEYCORN BLUES was a total blast - in the writing of it and in the way it turned out - I found it a great read when I went back to it - I'd been buried with other things and all I know is that I went on feeling grateful for what poured through me in that story. I was continually surprised and that made me feel good. It's selling well and has the stamp of a book that will be around for a long time. It was well reviewed and I got a letter from one of my literary heros, Alan Sillitoe, that I will cherish as long as I live.

I can tell you guys I’m delighted with the response to my first novel in a few years. Yes indeed, “Barleycorn Blues” is going very strong and looks like being an LDR – a Long Distance Runner. I’m delighted – it was such a gift of a book to write – not that I wrote it – it just kinda happened to me and even when I was weeping during the working of it, I felt so good to be at the coal face of such a good story. The book has been well reviewed and the word of mouth has been particularly good – can you imagine how thrilled I was when one of my literary hero’s Alan Sillitoe wrote me the following letter:
Copy of a letter from Alan Sillitoe sent to Lee - Dec 11th. 2004

”Dear Lee,
I’ve finished “Barleycorn Blues” and what an excellent novel it is. Once I’d started, of course, I couldn’t stop. My rationing system of so much a night went to hell and it was impossible not to keep on. The only trouble with such a novel is that it comes to an end, and in spite of the end being near and fitting one wants more – being only human. Like all writers I was a reader before I started writing and have been one ever since. Most modern novels I pick up I don’t want to go on with, and don’t, after the first few pages, but with “Barleycorn Blues” I recognise greatness straight away, a wonderful writer of vast experience, skill and imagination, with all the stops pulled out. It was a rare treat for me. A novelist’s immortality (whatever that means, and for what it’s worth) depends on readers remembering the people in a novel as if they’d known them in real life – well, I’ll certainly remember the people in “Barleycorn Blues.”
Keep on keeping on,
Alan (Sillitoe)”

This letter from such a distinguished writer, I have to tell you, it made my Christmas. Just before the big day, I had another big day MY 70th BIRTHDAY. That’s right, I’ve finally reached MIDDLE AGE. And in November I was conferred Honours MA in Scriptwriting from IADT, Dunlaoghaire and believe it or not, I came Top of the Class. I have to watch myself guys, I’m heading for respectable!
Last words for now – There’s film interest for “Barleycorn Blues” in New York, while “Goodbye To The Hill” the play I wrote from my novel (this book will be 40 years old on Oct 4 05 – I’ve talked a deal for a special birthday edition) which, incidentally is Ireland’s longest running play, has reared its head once more on the Broadway scene.
The Irish Film Board have given me a grant to develop my screenplay “Riley’s Bonfire” which helped me earn my Masters – Robert Quinn has shaken my hand as director and I’m into the current pass on the script and as keen as mustard to do a good job as I have been from the first day I began earning a crust as a wordsmith. One thing about this job, you don’t have to be able to run a four minute mile to get to the desk!
Now, go out and do yourself (and me) a favour and buy “Barlecorn Blues” – I promise those people that know my work “You will not be disappointed.” Happy New Year!



I’ve been Ireland’s most banned writer for three decades or more (in this country the Rosary gets in everywhere) – and I had a film that I wrote for a Hollywood producer banned because we saw a breast for a second and a half, a breast that should have been left on screen for the afternoon, along with the other one. Never mind. The censor in Ireland has made more than one boob in his time.

I also wrote the play “Goodbye To The Hill” (from my own novel of the same name) which is Ireland’s longest running play of all time and likely to hold onto that title for ever. It ran (six nights a week in a 280 seat situation) for two years and ten months, plus going on tour, and several other productions of it since then. It is arguably Ireland’s most popular play and I still light a thank you candle to whatever scriptwriter in the sky dictated it to me so that I could pay the back rent and the coal bill and a long line of creditors. Ten years after that main run of the play people are still talking to me about it on a daily basis. Unbelievable, I know, but I swear this is true and I will produce it again when I find an Angel who wants to back a sure thing.

The book “Goodbye To The Hill” is just now out of print for the first time since 1965.
Hutchinson (London) first published it in hardback, Arrow buying the paperback rights. The US Rights went to Houghton Mifflin of New York, and Boston, the paperback rights going to Ballantyne. The novel has since been published in many other countries, and I’m currently talking about a special hardback edition to be published in 2005 on its 40th birthday. I’m happy to record that the book is right now being reassessed and there is a growing opinion among those who decide these things that my novel is seminal to the 1950’s. Wouldn’t that be a bonus to the luckiest book any guy ever had come through the heart and the fingertips to put color into the cheeks of the blank page.

“Goodbye” wrote itself in 6 weeks. I typed it up – just the one draft - in three or four hours an evening sessions after I got home from day job as a London Taxi Driver. I put that in capitals because I was a Real Cab Driver, not a mini cab guy. I rode 7,400 miles on a pushbike On The Knowledge of London (which is really the knowledge of the twin cities of London and Westminster since you need to know both cities inside out to be a cabbie) and I have the Chalfonts (the Chalfont St. Giles = piles) to prove it.

In a while I’ll give you a list of the work I’ve done as a professional writer since 1964
B-E (Before Everything) – Before cell phones, videos, page 3 girls and all that followed, Before girls hitting on guys like guys used to hit on girls, Before girls dropping the hand to check out your lunchbox contents, Before everything guys, Before everything.

But first I just want to mention the picture of my wife Maura and me. The reason you get us both for the price of one is because she is the better part of me. I kid you not and I don’t make the claim lightly. Having earned my stripes as a Hell Raiser -such a creature being a pain in the ass masquerading as an adult – I was living alone and in no way looking for a partner. I was through being Jack The Lad – I was coming through the growing pains, having hit the big 50 a few years back, still, somehow believing that things would work out okay simply because I was me. Innocent sure. Naïve sure. But thank God for that streak of optimism that never quit running through me even when I was trying to wipe myself out with the booze and the smoke and the nose candy, my head still working pretty good, euphoric recall only allowed into the picture because it gave me pointers to some good stories that had helped me go on earning a living as a writer, a wordsmith, whatever, for a lot of years.

Then some decent skin of a Higher Power looked in, looked in at me and said, “This sucker needs an Angel.” And so Maura got the gig of helping me believe I was something very special. I say this without a single blush because when Maura began looking at me I knew I was made of the right stuff.
I’ve not written about Maura and me just yet. But you can read the lead in to our life together in a book called “No Time For Innocence.” The story covers the first 37 years of a life that was some kind of a wild river with me in there getting soaked to the skin most of the time.
If you’d like to read the book, send me the equivalent of ten pounds sterling and I will mail to you a copy of it as published by Gill &MacMillan (Ireland). I’d be happy to sign the book to you or a loved one – just enclose your need in this area with the bread, okay!
The story tells of my journey from a Dublin slum: We were a small family really, only seven of us living in two rooms not big enough to swing a cat in. So you had to break yourself of the habit! Sorry, I couldn’t resist that. And I love cats really. I once had nine when I lived in the country with a previous wife. Anyway, I left the slum and I touched for some kind of fame – Published in America by Simon and Schuster as well as Houghton Mifflin – hosted my own television show here in Ireland – became a household name – became Ireland’s most banned author – 7 books and a movie banned – my stage play of “Goodbye To The Hill” encouraged a demonstration from some Holy Women – and no, this was not in 1920 – it happened in 1990 would you believe? This protest stemmed from two lines in the play where a Dublin layabout called Harry Redmond is giving advice on sex and work to a young guy Paddy Maguire in the 1950’s.
The first rule – if yer work interferes with your sex life,
give up the job. What you need is a job in insurance.
Ah, I think I’d be happier as say, a carpenter.
Jeyzuz! Have you forgotten what happened to St. Joseph?
And he didn’t even get laid!

I went out of our hotel theatre and talked to some of the protesting women. I invited them to come and see the play. Some did. And they laughed so hard they put away the placards and left us alone.

The first of my novels to be banned was called “Paddy Maguire Is Dead!” In a way I contributed to this happening when I called the then head of the Censorship Board, a rather nice man called Judge Conroy, a cretin on national television. But my input to the banning started some way before this when I insisted that the book be published directly into paperback so that the ordinary guy in the street who didn’t have the bread to buy hardback books didn’t have to wait a year to read the story. Judge Conroy admitted that had the book been published in hardback it wouldn’t have been banned. I jumped on him over this – I was genuinely angry that the board consider a book respectable or clean or whatever the fuck they called it at the hardback price while the same work, word for word was deemed indecent and obscene at the paperback price.

I made a protest of my own over this. I stood at the top of Grafton Street and I still have the pictures to prove this, and I gave away (very slowly) one hundred copies of the book while I waited for the authorities to have me arrested for handing out an obscene publication on the streets of the city. What ensued is hilarious but its too long a story to recount here, suffice to say the powers that be spiked my guns even though I blocked up that street corner and cause traffic problems for a few hours. They screwed me royally by ignoring me completely though they were good enough to have a couple of cops standing by throughout the demonstration. Sadly, not one writer joined me in that protest though I had made it known, loud and clear, that I intended to make a stand.

A decent lawyer, Larry Murphy, RIP, took me to see Mary Robinson (ex President of this country) who was then a barrister, but we didn’t go on with the task of taking on Censorship. After this the censorship board banned six or seven more books, funny, sexy paperbacks, plane ride train ride books about a team of sexy London Cabbies. Books with titles like “Midnight Cabbie” – “The Day Of The Cabbie” - “The Cabbie Who Came In From The Cold” – “The Virgin Cabbie” – and my favourite “The Cabfather”. When you read these titles you surely know that these are intended to be funny books, with sex running second to the comedy inherent in the very titles.

I’ve lots more to tell you.
Like I’ve just finished a new book “Barleycorn Blues” and I am to direct a film I’ve written about The Granny and the Aunt Lily. The story of a marriage that wasn’t consummated for ten years because the Granny Dunne kidnapped her daughter from the church after she’d been signed up as a wife. This is called “Do You Remember Bray?”
There’s also a remake of “Goodbye To The Hill” very much on the cards. This was called “Paddy” when it was made in Dublin in 1968. As I’ve already told you, it was banned over Maureen Toal’s perfect breast being seen for a second as she took off her bra to get into bed with lucky Des Cave who was playing me, Paddy being my alter ego. I bought the film rights back and have rewritten my original screenplay and it will happen. The story is just such fun, the laughs coming out of pain and sadness, and all the better for that.
I’m up to my armpits in projects that I want to write and direct and produce. I’d also love to make an album before the voice starts to go.
And I will finish my Dublin musical in the next year or two. I know I will. I have a great show fighting to find the right way to come out of my heart. Thank God I have so much time. Like I’m ageing guys, but I don’t have anything to do with old. From the start you might as well know, I’m 39 and Holding!!!

Talk to you soon.