On her 49th Birthday Michelle Dooley Mahon lay alone on a couch wrapped in cardigans, stroking 3 chins and a neck beard, crying.

On her 50th she sold out her own headline show “The Eff Word” at The Spiegeltent on the opening night of the Wexford Opera Festival, standing in a red velvet dress in a red velvet tent, obese and exhausted, but moving the audience to shouts of laughter, gasps of shock and tears at the finale.

Stories that began with “Why is there always a shitty underpants at a lake?” segued into observations of the human condition, mental health, illness, awareness and the temporal nature of all life.  Stories about pitbull pups with sticky eyes, mute Dutchmen and a man with TeddyBear Eyes (who tried to top himself in a hostel kitchen), morphed into a monologue to the hushed audience about her beloved Mother, Siobhán.  A woman whose decade long battle with Alzheimers wreaked havoc on a family as they witnessed her "crucifixion from this bastard of an illness, a death by a thousand cuts".  The closing lines of the show being “Stop it!” she said, so I will”  moved the audience into a spontaneous sustained standing ovation.

Siobhán died 12 weeks later.

On her 51st birthday, 9 months after Siobhán's “battered body was blown off the side of the world in a hurricane and carried home on a breeze”, Michelle stood beside her 87 year old Father launching the Memoir “Scourged” about her Mother.

The book received critical acclaim.

Being described as “groundbreaking and remarkable, as intimate as a diary, a gourmet soup of passionate prose, beautiful, shocking, hilarious, a triumph”. “Scourged” has achieved cult status and word of mouth publicity all over the world.

Eoin Colfer described her as a “cross between Joan Didion and David Sedaris, delving deep into the seam of the everyday, mining the ores of tragedy and comedy, shining a single headlamp as she digs, until the unsuspecting reader, laughed out and cried out, is forced to go for a lie down

She has also been described as  a “female Flann O Brien” – Robert McKenzie – Broadcaster.

And a “philosophical wordsmith”  Ben Moore – Blogger

Having used the analogy of the illness being cuts, it is perhaps fitting that MDM’s writing has been described as “using words like sugar dipped razor blades” – John Holden, Photographer

And “not a smooth pane but rather shards of glass coming at one from all angles” – Ben Barnes – Theatre Director


After reading "Scourged" in a single sitting the Director of  Wexford Art Centre, Elizabeth Whyte, who witnessed her first performance of “The Haemorraging Humourist” (a 6' 3” clown who bled to death in her arms on a cross channel ferry), saw fit to commission her to adapt the memoir into a stage play called “The Scourge” which was performed at a world premiere in the Wexford Arts Centre in April 2018 nine times to nine standing ovations. .

For the performance which she called a "Novena" she was directed  by Ben Barnes.  

"The Scourge" is 90 minutes of poetry spoken by a woman on fire" - K. Kane. 


MDM is a well known advocate for Alzheimers issues, recording radio interviews, pod casts, filmed interviews and short movies as well as being “The Voice of Carers”.  Michelle outed herself on a public forum as having struggled with her own mental health for years, being diagnosed as Manic and sedated on Lithium then becoming morbidly obese, and Diabetic.

Her blog at www.shellakeypookey.blogspot.comdescribes her condition, her addiction to sleeping tablets and her coping mechanisms of meditation and visualisation, enabling her to lose a vast amount of weight and reverse her diabetes, which garnered  20,000 views in 24 hours.

On her 54th birthday she raised a glass of whiskey at an after party in an apple strewn garden at  the last show of the second run of "The Scourge" at the Festival Fringe. 






"The Scourge" is touring as part of the FirstFortnight Europe/Mental Health Art & Culture Festival in January 2019 and MDM and Vonnie Dooley will take the story of their lives to Dublin, Donegal, Waterford and Carlow. 









Alzheimer Society


Michelle is an avid supporter of the Alzheimer Society of Ireland.

Her debut novel Scourged is based entirely on Michelle's own experience of caring for a Mother with Alzheimer's. 

The Alzheimer Society endorsed her book on their Facebook page and to Twitter followers mentioning that it had received international attention since its launch and quoting from it.

Find out more


""to Vincent, a lifetime of shared history and nostalgia " she wrote inside it, and it is. There's the Da whitewashing the wall and the blind man singing 'joy to the world' is my cousin Tommy, and ...

Vincent Byrne

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