Marie Louise McConville: So long and farewell, I've had a ball

I'm feeling very nostalgic this week as I prepare to leave The Irish News after more than two decades as a journalist
I'm feeling very nostalgic this week as I prepare to leave The Irish News after more than two decades as a journalist

They say time flies when you're having fun and not a truer word has ever been uttered.

When I walked into the offices of The Irish News in August 2002, little did I know it would be my home for the next 20 years, a place where I would grow up and where my colleagues would become my family.

It feels like the past two decades have gone by in the blink of an eye, too fast in all honesty, and looking back, I feel like I should have taken more time to stop and take it all in.

I'm feeling very nostalgic this week as I prepare to leave The Irish News after more than 20 years.

Of course, I've been so lucky these last two decades as I have worked alongside some wonderful people, especially my very supportive editor, Noel Doran, who has always been there for me to give advice, boost my confidence and fight my corner.

I've had some wonderful opportunities along the way – among them, meeting my idol Meryl Streep

I've also had the chance to fight injustice and I've had a front row seat as history has unfolded – and boy did it unfold.

If you are one of the many, many people who kindly shared their stories with me over the years, I thank you greatly.

I've been welcomed into the homes of people at the worst times of their lives and that is a privilege I will never forget.

I can only hope I managed to leave a positive mark and hope that if you ever think of me, it is with fondness.

I like to think I've made even the smallest of differences to some lives along the way, when I've had the chance to speak for the voiceless and hold those in power to account.

I have no idea what I am going to do without my Irish News family, the mentors who have guided me, the colleagues who have supported me and especially my circle of gal-pals in the front office who have made me laugh and picked me up when I've fallen.

I am indebted to them all.

As I leave to start a new chapter in my life, I take them all with me in my heart and I will look to them for guidance and support as I begin my new adventure – though I am absolutely terrified.

So thank you to all you lovely readers who have been so kind to me over the years. When you have reached out in support or with advice, it has meant the world to me.

Here's to new beginnings.

Wish me luck.


Is there anything nicer than a bit of chocolate?

Surprisingly, the answer is yes, especially when the chocolate is healthier.

Free'ist Chocolate, which was founded by Belfast businessman Gerard McAdorey in 2013, has just relaunched its original `no added sugar' milk and dark chocolate range, with a new and improved recipe.

Not only that, the range also includes a selection of new `dairy-free', plant-based chocolate bars.

Using the Fino De Aroma cocoa bean from Colombia, the best the world’s plantations have to offer, Free’ist has created the ultimate `better-for-you' chocolate which tastes great and melts in the mouth.

Check out the range at


Who fancies winning a "joyful, big-hearted read"?

Arthur and Teddy Are Coming Out by Ryan Love has been described as "gentle, honest and beautifully authentic".

When 79-year-old Arthur Edwards gathers his family together to share some important news, no one is prepared for the bombshell he drops – he's gay and ready to come out.

Arthur's 21-year-old grandson, Teddy, has a secret of his own. He's also gay but doesn't feel ready to come out yet.

Arthur and Teddy have always been close, and now they must navigate first loves, heartbreak and finding their place in their community.

But can they – and their family – learn to accept who they truly are?

I have three copies of Arthur and Teddy Are Coming Out to give away.

If you would like the chance to win a copy, simply email your name, address and telephone number – along with the answer to the question below – to

Closing date for entries is noon on Tuesday April 18.

(Q) Who wrote Arthur and Teddy Are Coming Out?

Normal Irish News rules apply.


The winners of the Deception competition are Michelle Downey of Lurgan, Damien Sloane from Belfast and Barbara McCann, also from Belfast.