Monday, August 19, 2019

Belfast City Hall - Windows

My first visit to Belfast City Hall last Friday was eyeopening. I was very impressed by the stained glass windows, a wide range of themes and styles.

The centenary window was unveiled in 2006 to celebrate the many successes and achievements witnessed by City Hall during the previous 100 years.

"Included in the window are Titanic and the Harland and Wolff cranes . . . Achievements in the fields of sport, music and literature are also represented and the City Hall mural is represented by the John Luke inspired landscape in which we see a Massey Ferguson tractor and an ‘Electric Hare’ invented by James McKee of OD Cars Ltd. The multicoloured tree reflects the many different traditions and cultures found within Belfast."

More on the windows on the official site.

Designed by Ann Smyth, the window was fabricated and installed by CWS Design in collaboration of Karl Harron. The window was unveiled in 2006.

I was most interested to see the writers honoured in the window, detail below. I love the way Sinead Morrissey and Nick Laird are squeezed in at the end of the shelf!

Monday, August 12, 2019

Corran Herald 2019 - The Philosophy of Pat Gallagher

The Ballymote Heritage Weekend saw the launch of issue 52 the annual journal, The Corran Herald" published by the group. This, in over 90 pages, contains academic articles, popular history, photographs, poems and stories.

This journal has been published since 1985 and the group's website has copies of all the issues, except the most recent. There is a wealth of history in these pages.
http://ballymoteheritage.com/corran-previous-issues/

This year I contributed a poem called "The Philosophy of Pat Gallagher". Pat, pictured here, was my great grandfather and was secretary of the local branch of the United Irish League from 1901 until 1915. He contributed short report on club meetings regularly to the Sligo Champion. I took pieces from these reports and created a "found" poem from them.

I don't know if it works as a poem but it does give a flavour of the rhetoric of the times. Brief extract below.

"Each man must pledge himself to do a man’s part.
The people must be prepared for any sacrifice, even
life, any time their privileges and liberties are
  being tampered with.

Any member absenting himself without a satisfactory
explanation will be struck off and a new member put in his place.
We will not readily let down a man who is a consistent
  Nationalist, and his father before him.

He was a loving son and a faithful comrade, as was
shown on last Sunday when sixty-four young
men wearing white sashes carried his remains
to the grave"


The Corran Herald is on sale in shops in Ballymote and in bookshops in Sligo town.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Ballymote Heritage Weekend

I was delighted to be asked to give a talk at Ballymote Heritage weekend on the August Bank Holiday Monday. My talk on Sligo, especially South Sligo, in 1919 was very well attended and indications were that the audience enjoyed it.

Many people there were related to persons I mentioned in the talk and had information to add to what I knew. This list of contributions to the Dáil Loan published in the Sligo Champion in 1919 before the loan was declared illegal caused an amount of interest.

This was the 30th such weekend organized by the Ballymote Heritage Group and was as successful as all the others. http://ballymoteheritage.com/

The weekend also saw the launch of the annual journal published by the group, "The Corran Herald". This, in over 90 pages, contains academic articles, popular history, photographs, poems and stories.

This journal has been published since 1985 and the group's website has copies of all the issues, except the most recent. There is a wealth of history in these pages.
http://ballymoteheritage.com/corran-previous-issues/

The Corran Herald is on sale in shops in Ballymote and in bookshops in Sligo town.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

The Dogs of Humanity - Colin Dardis

Colin Dardis' latest publication, the chapbook The Dogs of Humanity has just been published by Fly on the Wall Press. The Belfast launch takes place this evening, 8 August, as part of Eastside Arts Festival, in the Eastside Visitors Centre, 402 Newtownards Road, Belfast.

This is an impressive collection for which I was delighted to write a review and provide a short note for the back cover: The voice in these poems is insightful, urgent but compassionate making the collection an enjoyable but unsettling read, with its call for perception, for engagement with the realities of the human condition and the lost souls of the early twentieth first century. - Michael Farry

My full review can be read here on Neon Books.

You can order The Dogs of Humanity online here - print | kindle

The cover is a detail from Brueghel's Studies of Dogs (c.1616).