Saturday, February 7, 2015

Boyne Writers Group AGM

Paddy Smith, outgoing chairperson of Boyne Writers Group, stepped down at the AGM held recently in the Castle Arch Hotel, Trim.

Paddy has been a driving force behind the success of this group which holds regular fortnightly meeting, occasional public readings, publishes a widely-respected journal Boyne Berries twice a year, facilitates poetry readings for the residents of Knightsbridge Nursin

g Home, and has taken a prominent part in the Trim Swift Festival.

His final chairman’s address was a look back at his five year tenure which, he said, had been a most enjoyable time. He saluted the Group’s members for “the enthusiasm that constantly bubbles up at our meetings as members show courage and passion in presenting their material for comment by other members”.

He choose as highlight of his time as chairperson, not the most important event, but one which provided a couple of lasting memories. It was the Group’s celebration of the work of four Meath poets on all-Ireland Poetry Day 2013 at four locations associated with the poets. The fact that a local man, Christopher Gray of Higginsbrook House, read a poem by a famous relation of his, the poet F R Higgins, in Laracor where Higgins is buried, was a definite high point. Another on that same day was reading the poetry Of John Boyle O’Reilly in the spills of rain in a very exposed Dowth graveyard in east Meath at the memorial to the poet. The fact that it was raining so hard ‘made’ the occasion, Paddy felt, it is only right that writers should suffer for their vocation.

(Pictures: Top - A group at Laracor, Poetry Day 2013. Above: Paddy contemplating the John Boyle O'Reilly Memorial at Dowth. It started to rain when we began to read poetry.)

Paddy, a noted stickler for the niceties of grammar, spelling and syntax, (an ex-journalist!) ended his address with tongue firmly in cheek as he offered his apologies to any members he may have unwittingly hurt in his zeal to improve their writing. He has no come to realize, he said, how unreasonable it was to expect that writers should know how to spell and how to use correct punctuation in their work, how to construct a sentence correctly and how to obey the rules of syntax and grammar.

On behalf of the Group secretary, Michael Farry, thanked Paddy for the enthusiasm and dedication he had brought to the position and for his hard work during his five year tenure.

Paddy’s successor as chairperson is long-time member, Caroline Carey Finn, a frequent contributor to Sunday Miscellany.

The annual report which was presented at the meeting showed that 2014 had been a successful year for the Group with regular meetings being well attended and enjoyed, a number of new members welcomed, two issues of the Group’s journal, Boyne Berries, published, and many publication and competition successes for members.

The past year saw the editorship of Boyne Berries, pass from Michael Farry, who had been editor since the beginning, to Orla Fay. Both were congratulated by members on the work they had done to make the journal an important part of the literary scene in the country.

The two launches, in March and September, were very successful with contributors travelling from various parts of the country to read their contributions.

As part of the Bealtaine Festival which celebrates creativity as we age, Boyne Writers Group and Meath Writers Circle organized a very well-attended poetry reading in the Old Rectory, Trim on Thursday 22 May at the invitation of Martina Quinn of the Old Rectory.

Boyne Writers Group continues to lead a weekly poetry reading for the residents of Knightsbridge Retirement Village on Wednesday afternoons. This has proven a great success with many residents taking part by reading their own favourite poetry.

The secretary thanked the Castle Arch Hotel who accommodate the Group every second Thursday night and host the launches, the local press, Focus and The Meath Chronicle, who publish notices and reports of various functions.

Plans for 2014 were discussed and it was decided that efforts should be made to hold a small number of readings and open mics during the year.

It was also decided that the Group should mark the centenary of the 1916 Rising and it was decided that Boyne Berries for March 2016 might be a special 1916 issue with submissions invited on that theme. It was also decided to investigate the possibility of publishing a booklet of collaborative stories written by members based on the 1916 Rising.

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