Friday, March 16, 2012

Music, Poetry (and a little prose) at Cavan Museum

A very enjoyable evening of music and readings at Cavan County Museum last evening. A great venue with history and music all around. We read in one of the upstairs rooms with a Ceomhaltas display on the walls and a room dedicated to Percy French close by.

And we had Percy's Come Back Paddy Reilly to Ballyjamesduff played by the wonderfully lively musicians, John McBreen and Pete O'Connor, and sung by the enthusiastic audience. Paddy Smith of LitLab was volunteered to be MC for the night and he did a great job setting the tone with just the right mixture of respect and ribaldry.

LitLab was well represented by Pat Devaney, Mairéad Donnellan, Honor Duff, (pictured above) Paddy and myself. Pat led the way with two well-chosen, well crafted poems, one on a cherry tree and one suitably on shamrock. Mairéad read her amusing They're only here for Heaney which went down very well as did her Noah's wife poem. Honor's sharp piece on 1916 and current economic troubles wasn't funny but was well received.

Paddy read his story dealing with an insurance salesman trying to figure out if his potential customer is Protestant or Catholic. I've heard a few versions of this and it just keep getting better - thanks to my suggestions! I read two new poems, the translation of Tadhg Dall O hÚiggin's poem and my St Laurence O'Toole's heart poem. Reading aloud is a good way of testing the poem. Both passed the test though the translation needs a little more work.

Then the special guest, Ailis Ní Ainle, a post-primary teacher, read three of her poems in Irish. I really enjoyed these. Nice bi-lingual introductions but no attempt to provide a full translation which is great. I always think that if the poem is being translated into English what's the point of reading it in Irish at all. I particularly liked her poem on her visit to the Aran Islands and its effect on her with its reference to the well-known Irish language poet Mairtín Ó Direain.

Thanks to the organisers of the evening, Honor Duff of LitLab and and Savina Donohoe of the Museum.

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