Saturday, July 2, 2011

Trim Swift Festival: Reading Gulliver's Travels

Day two, or is it three, of the Swift Festival. The reading of Gulliver's Travels is progressing well and it should be finished tomorrow before three o'clock at which time the Battle of the Books is to take place. Among the readers today was Irish Times columnist John Waters, pictured above with listener Joe Barry who himself was a prizewinner in our satire competition a year or two ago and is a contributor to the Farming Independent.

The free satire marquee beside Trim Castle had performances from noon to 8pm and seemed to be crowded all day. Trim Drama Society kept the Poetry in Motion going and found many willing readers among the public.

I attended only two lectures at the conference today both to do with graveyards. Greg Hastings gave a fascinating account of a unusual mausoleum in Castlerickard churchyard, Co Meath entitled The Esquire, his Wife, her Lover and the Mausoleum. The mausoleum contains the remains of Godwin Swift (d. 1814) and his wife Jane Sophia (d. 1851). These were distant cousins of Jonathan Swift. This was followed by Fionnuala Parnell's discussion of the eighteenth century headstones of Dublin, Meath and Louth in which she pointed out the importance of these items and the sort of information they contain and made a plea for their better preservation.

And now rest and preparation for the Battle of the Books. I met the captain of the other team today and the happy smile he wore suggests that their secret weapon is in place and their confidence is high. We of course have resigned ourselves to defeat this year but next year - now that's another matter! In the satire marquee today I got a brilliant idea for my piece next year.

Lots of pictures from the festival launch here.

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