Friday, July 2, 2010

Trim Swift Festival: Thursday - Friday

The official opening of this Festival last night was an enjoyable affair. A great mixture of the academic, the official and the ordinary. It was held in the very impressive new headquarters of the Office of Public Works in Trim. The building is either a great example of official overspending during, or a wonderful legacy of, the Celtic Tiger years.

Speakers included the chairman of the Town Council Trevor Golden, the chairman of Meath Co Council Willie Carey, the academic director James Ward, the local government minister Noel Dempsey and the star of the night, Professor Andrew Carpenter of UCD, an eighteenth century scholar (OK that came out wrong but you know what I mean).

Andrew gave a witty rousing address which ranged over Swift being a Tory rather than a Whig and therefore against such building as the OPW headquarters, the delight in handling a completely hand-made eighteenth century book, Trim as the satire centre of Ireland, and Swift attitude to the men's toilets in the building.

The night continued with the final of the Stand Up Row in the Malt house. I didn't attend but am told that the house was full, the contest exciting and that The Steps pub team won in a close contest. James Ward the academic director of the Festival was a judge and I'm told some of his marking was quite severe. He is also a judge at The Battle of the Books on Sunday.

Some of the opposition Meath Writers Circle were there last night looking very confident and talking of secret weapons. Wait until they see our secret weapons! Two of their members Frank Murphy and Tommy Murray were shortlisted in the Swift Satire Competition and Tommy won third prize. So they have a lot to be confident about.

Today during the day we have short poetry reading in the streets. I've just been asked to read some poetry by Swift there so I'm looking at the Verses on the Death of Doctor Swift and finding a manageable piece.

Tonight sees one of the highlights: An evening with Alastair Campbell and other media and political figures. Confirmed guests are: Senator David Norris, John Waters, Noel Whelan, Minister Dara Calleary, Terry Prone, Senator Dan Boyle, Fergus Finlay, Dan O’Brien, Deputy Leo Varadkar, Brendan Keenan, Danny McCoy and Deputy Joanna Tuffy.


Paul O'Mahony (Cork) said...

Thanks v much for your blogposts about the festival. It's great to be able to read about what happened thru your eyes.

I'm curious to find out a bit about what happened at the celebrity dinner: how did Alistair Campbell do - did he speak satirically?

Any gossip?

Paul O'Mahony

Michael Farry said...

Hi Paul, I didn't attend the dinner, sold out quickly and have no gossip about it. He was interviewed by Ursula Halligan the following morning in the hotel. I saw them meeting before the interview. To be broadcast on TV3 sometime I suppose.