Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everybody.

Some poems for the day and time here at Poetry Foundation.
My favourite has to be this one by Richard Hoffman.

December 31st

All my undone actions wander
naked across the calendar,

a band of skinny hunter-gatherers,
blown snow scattered here and there,

stumbling toward a future
folded in the New Year I secure

with a pushpin: January’s picture
a painting from the 17th century,

a still life: Skull and mirror,
spilled coin purse and a flower.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Christmas


Our First Christmas Tree 

The countryside his common
wealth: holly, ash plants
his to harvest as required,
kindling in spring,
mushrooms in summer,
blackberries in autumn.

That winter we insisted,
so he took his saw
into starless dark
far beyond the stables,
guided by barbed wire,
returned with a trophy tree.

We crowned it with a silver-paper-covered
cardboard star, hung homemade ornaments
and tissue paper novelties,
pretended to be happier.

I bought one this Christmas
daylight, sized and packaged,
legal, lacking the challenge
of something on the margin,
the tang of trespass,
infant irritant
on the noisome
vain empire of excess.

from Asking for Directions (2012)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

West Cork Literary Festival

The programme of workshops for the 2015 West Cork Literary Festival has been announced. If you book a place on one of these workshops before January 5th, you can avail of a special early bird price.  

The Festival has a new Director for 2015. Eimear O'Herlihy was formerly General Manager and Executive Director of the Everyman Theatre in Cork as well as Manager of the Cork Film Festival. The full programme will be announced in the New Year.

Workshops at the 2015 West Cork Literary Festival: Monday 13 - Friday 17 July 2015. Bantry.

Writing a Novel with John Boyne.
The Short Story with Tessa Hadley.
Poetry with Leanne O'Sullivan.
Memoir with Carlo Gébler
Investigative Reporting with Nick Davies
Playwriting with Deirdre Kinahan
Words Allowed with Dave Lordan
Wild Women Writing with Magi Gibson
Travel Writing with Anthony Sattin

For more details or to book online, go to Workshops.

Online booking is the only booking method available until January 5th 2015.

It will be possible to book by ringing the Festival office from January 5th onwards on +353 (0) 27 52788
Please note - the Early Bird price of €160 is for bookings made online before January 5th. The price is €175 for all bookings made from January 5th onwards.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Poetry Ireland Introductions

Poetry Ireland Introductions Series is a showcase for emerging poets working towards a first collection and with a track record of publication in journals and magazines.

This series offers emerging poets writing in Irish or English a public reading in the Irish Writers’ Centre in May or early June.

Introductions readers are chosen by an independent established poet who will lead a workshop focusing on form and craft.

A second facilitator will lead a workshop/master class focusing on the art of reading/performing poetry in public.

Submit now! For the 2015 Introductions Series. Deadline: 31 January 2015. Full details here.

To apply: Send a short covering letter accompanied by no more than 10 pages of poems. Poems may be previously published or unpublished. Poets submitting must ideally have work published in journals and magazines.

Applications should be sent to: Ayoma Bowe, Introductions Series, Poetry Ireland, 32 Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

Selected applicants are usually informed within two months and, depending on the number of submissions, approximately 12 poets are selected each year.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Bealtaine Writers Launch Second Anthology of Poetry

In the Irish Writers Centre on Wednesday, 10 December, at 6.30pm the Bealtaine Writers will launch their Second Anthology of Poetry.

The Bealtaine group have been meeting at the Irish Writers Centre every month for the past fifteen and a half years.

Macdara Woods says in the Foreword of the Anthology: "They are an autonomous, serious, supportive group of writers, who believe in poetry, there are many truly marvelous realities at large in these pages and for the reader the joy of finding them."

All are welcome to come along and celebrate the launch with them on Wednesday 10 December at 6.30.

Congratulations to the group and especially to member, Tom Dredge, who is also a member of Boyne Writers Group.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize

Just four weeks left to enter the Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize and win €10,000, or one of the three runner-up prizes of €1,000! You can write on any subject and there's no line limit.

The Prize is open to everyone, as long as the work is original and previously unpublished. The entry fee is €12 per poem, and you can enter as many poems as you like.

This year’s competition will be judged by the poet Michael Symmons Roberts. His most recent collection, Drysalter, has been widely praised. It won the Costa Poetry Prize and was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot prize. Guardian review here. He read at the Mountains to the Sea Festival in Dun Laoghaire this year and was very impressive.

You can enter online or by post. Closing date: 31 December 2014.   Full details, rules, entry on the website.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Cavan Literary Night - 2 December

Noel MonahanAT The Edge, Cavan, proudly presents: The Cavan Literary Night with Three Border Poets: Noel Monahan, Kate Ennals and Dermot Maguire

Tuesday 2 December 2014, 6.30pm – 8pm in Johnston Library, Farnham St, Cavan

Followed by Open Mic (one poem or one page of prose – register at 6.30pm –  first come, first served. Further information from )

The evening also includes the launch of a pamphlet of the Cana House Poets, 3rd series.

Event Free. Everyone welcome.
Supported by Cavan Arts Office

Friday, November 28, 2014

November "The Co Club".

Friday 28th November 2014. Creans Bar, Oldcastle, Co.Meath. 9:00pm - the November edition of  "The Co Club".

Music on the night will come from Brian Mooney and Dylan Tighe.

Art on the night will be displayed by local artist Michelle Boyle

Local award winning poet and publisher, Peter Fallon, is the special guest and he will read some poems from his latest collection 'Strong My Love'

It will be a night to remember so come along and enjoy a night of music, art and poetry. Free Admission

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Francis Ledwidge Awards Results

Inchicore Ledwidge Society
The Francis Ledwidge International Poetry Competition results have been announced. This is an annual competition organized by the Inchicore Ledwidge Society.

I was delighted to have my poem, Tidying after Visitors, highly commended. Last year's winner was Mairéad Donnellan of LitLab and this year three LitLabbers made the lists, Pat Devaney, Andy Jones and myself. A good show as well by Doghouse poets.

Winner: Ann Moriarty, Co Limerick. Poem:  Preparation.
Second Place: Orla Martin, Dublin. Poem: The Poets.
Third Place: Liam Ryan, Co Laois. Poem: Orpheus.

Highly Commended:
Kevin Lynch. Dublin. Catherine Ann Cullen, Dublin. Christine Broe, Dublin. Eamonn Lynsky, Co Dublin. Denise Ryan, Dublin. Mari Maxwell, Co Galway. Karen O’Connor, Co Kerry. Michael Farry, Co Meath. Dawn Sullivan, Co Kerry. Ray Mullen,  Dublin.

Gerry O’Donnell, Dublin. James Conway, Dublin. Aine Lyons, Dublin. Patrick Devaney, Co Cavan. Mary Melvin Geoghegan, Westmeath. Mary Jo Gibbons, Co. Meath. Patrick Waters, Dublin. Andy Jones, Co Cavan. Gearoid O’Brien, Co Westmeath. Margaret Zheng, Dublin.

The Awards Ceremony will take place at Donoghues, The Glen of Aherlow, 29 Emmet Road, Inchicore, Dublin, on Thursday 27 November 2014 at 8.00pm.  All are welcome.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Cafe Writers Poetry Competition

 Cafe Writers Poetry Competition 2014. Closing Date 30 November 2014.

Prizes: 1st  £1000; 2nd £300; 3rd £200; Six Commended Prizes of £50.

Entry Fee: £4 per poem; or £10 for 3 poems and £2.00 per poem thereafter.

The judge is David Morley, Professor at Writing at Warwick University and adjunct Professor at Monash University, Melbourne. His collections include The Gypsy and the Poet (Carcanet, 2013), a PBS Recommendation and a Morning Star Book of the Year, and Biographies of Birds and Flowers: Selected Poems (Carcanet, 2015).

Competition Rules: Maximum of 40 lines per poem (excluding title). Entries must be entirely the work of the entrant, in English, and must never have been published, self-published, published on any web-site or broadcast. Enter by post or online using Paypal.

Prizewinners will be notified in writing by 31st January 2015.

Full details on website.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

New Poetry Anthology - Fathers

I'm delighted to have a poem included in this anthology, fathers and what must be said. Thanks to the editors Michael Corrigan and Michael H Clay.

The launch date is Saturday 29 November at the Spinning Wheel in Castletownroche, County Cork.

Here is the full list of poets whose poems have been chosen for the anthology:
Bradley R Strahan; John Davis; Jim Gustafson; Liam Aungier; Peadar O’Donoghue; Helene Cardona; Joe Baldwin; Paul Ó Colmáin; Greagoir ODuill; Jim Lewis; Michael Farry; Nessa O’Mahony; Si Philbrook; Pete Mullineaux; Robert Lipton; Alan Halford; Andrea Potos; Rachel Davies; Jim Hart; Joe Healy; Karen Foster; Hugh McFadden; Tyler Tsay; Tim J Brennan; Derek Coyle;Philip Quirke; Muesser Yeniay; Nicki Griffin; Harry Man; Robert Harper; Simon McCormack; Janice Windle; Amanda Bell; Harry Owen; Ruairi Gough; Gene Barry; Anna Tannam; Roy Marshall; Saskia Stehouwer; Ronnie McGinn; Jeannie E. Roberts; Anne Elezabeth Pluto; Gina Nemo; Maurice Devitt; Michael Corrigan; Karen O’Connor; Michael H Clay; Shirley Bell; Miceál Kearney; Tory Campbell; Marie O’Halloran; Michael Brown; Erin Murphy; Rita Chapman; Liam Ryan; John Saunders; Darren Donohue; May Leonard; Steven F Klepeter; George Harding; Maria Whelan

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Reading: War Poets and War Poetry

In Flanders Fields - War Poets and War Poems An evening of history, poetry and poems with an introduction from guest poet and historian Dr. Michael Farry.

All Welcome. Come along and read your favourite war poem.

Venue: The Yeats Memorial Building, Sligo. Date: Tuesday November 11th. Time: 8.00pm

I was delighted to be asked to contribute to this - any excuse to spend some time in Sligo and the Yeats Society readings are always welcoming and friendly.

Not easy to decide what to say and read but I have decided to talk a little about what the term "War Poetry" covers and how this has changed since 1914. I'll talk about which poets are now regarded as belonging to the canon of War Poets. I'll read some lesser well-know war poems, some by women including Irish authors and some local Sligo writers.

Being in the Yeats Memorial Building I'll also make some reference to Yeats' attitude to war poetry and the war poets.

Lots of discussion and poems available online. For example:
First World War Poetry Digital Archive.
At the Poetry Foundation.
Female Poets of WW1 Blog.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Fish Short Story Competition

Short Story Prize: €3,000. The ten best stories will be published in the 2015 Fish Anthology.

This year's judge, Jennifer Johnston, has been described by Roddy Doyle as "Ireland's greatest writer." She is the recipient of many awards, including The Whitbread Award for The Old Jest, and a Lifetime Achievement from the Irish Book Awards, and has been short-listed for the Booker Prize. She has published 16 novels and five plays.

Closing Date: 30 November 2014; Word Limit: 5,000; Results: 17 March 2015; Anthology Published: July 2015; Submission Fee: €20 for first, €10 thereafter.

Critique of your story (optional): €45, available year round.

First Prize: €3,000; Second Prize: A week in residence at Anam Cara Writers Retreat in West Cork.

Please read the Full Details before entering. Read stories from previous Fish Anthologies

Writing tips at Fish

Submissions may also be sent by post to Fish Publishing, Durrus, Bantry, Co. Cork, Ireland.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Cafe Writers Poetry Competition

Cafe Writers Competition 2014: Deadline 30th Nov 2014 - Less than One Month To Go

There are £2000 in prizes and our sole judge this year is David Morley.  There is no sifting.
Prizes: 1st  £1000; 2nd £300; 3rd £200; Six Commended Prizes of £50; Funniest Poem not winning another prize £100

Entry Fee: £4 per poem; or £10 for 3 poems and £2.00 per poem thereafter. Full details and enter and pay online.

Café Writers is a Norwich based  grass-roots writers’ network supporting and  showcasing work by established writers in all genres. It also encourages and champions new work by emerging writers. It is run entirely by volunteers that are passionate about encouraging wider participation and excellence in literature.

Café Writers is run entirely by unpaid volunteers and the competition the only significant  source of funding to fund the programme.

Friday, October 31, 2014

A Centenary Hallowe'en Poem

English-born, Winifred Letts, spent most of her life in Ireland and is probably best known for her poem A Soft Day which regularly appeared in school readers of the fifties and sixties.

More recently she has become recognized as a war poet, having cared for many war casualties while working as a nurse in Manchester during the First World War. She published Hallowe’en and Other Poems of the War in 1916 and this was reprinted in 1917 renamed The Spires of Oxford and Other Poems.

She wrote at least three Hallowe'en poems. See this blog page.

Hallow-E’en, 1914
Winifred M. Letts

 “Why do you wait at your door, woman,
     Alone in the night?”
“I am waiting for one who will come, stranger,
     To show him a light.
He will see me afar on the road
     And be glad at the sight.”

“Have you no fear in your heart, woman,
     To stand there alone?
There is comfort for you and kindly content
     Beside the hearthstone.”
But she answered, “No rest can I have
     Till I welcome my own.”

“Is it far he must travel to-night,
     This man of your heart?”
“Strange lands that I know not and pitiless seas
     Have kept us apart,
And he travels this night to his home
     Without guide, without chart.”

“And has he companions to cheer him?”
     “Aye, many," she said.
“The candles are lighted, the hearthstones are swept,
     The fires glow red.
We shall welcome them out of the night—
     Our home-coming dead.”

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cavan November AT the Edge

AT The Edge, Cavan proudly presents Kevin Higgins, Susan Millar du Mars and Philip Doherty on Tuesday 4 November 2014 at Johnston Library, Farnham St, Cavan, 6.30pm – 8pm.

Followed by Open Mic: One poem or one page of prose – register at 6.30pm –  first come, first served.

Further information from

Event Free. Everyone welcome.

Supported by Cavan Arts Office

Friday, October 24, 2014

Kobus Moolman Dromineer

A few rough notes from the very enjoyable and productive Kobus Moolman poetry workshop at Dromineer Festival 2014.

Kobus at Poetry International
A 2013 interview with Kobus Moolman.

Stressing the importance of reading poetry he read these two poems which he used as a basis for general discussion of poetry:
Yannis Ritsos (Greek) “Day of a Sick Man”
Don McClennan (SA) “Poem”.

Poetry is not so much saying something as finding something. The otherness in a poem/the underside of a poem may be the moth important aspect. He used the analogy of an iceberg, more beneath the surface than above. But what is seen, what is above is important, something must happen on top in order that there be dialogue between the visible and invisible. So for the poet the question is what to leave out. The absences are most important.

He also work-shopped poems brought by the participants and invited comments from all the participants. This was done with sensitivity and honesty. In starting he stated the rules of the workshop. 1. Do not apologize. 2. Do not explain your poem beforehand.

Among poets he mentioned as being worth consulting, often with reference with a participant's poem were:
Mxolisi Nyezwa (SA), Paul Celan, Nelly Sachs, Ann Carson, Jori Graham, Louise Gluck, Marianne Boruch,
Alberto Rios

Monday, October 20, 2014

Poetry Prize - Best Poem for Children

The Caterpillar – the junior version of the arts and literature magazine The Moth – is launching a new poetry competition for adults writing for children (aged 7–11).

The magazine, which includes poems and stories for children – from the likes of Michael Morpurgo, Chrissie Gittins, Dennis Lee, John Hegley, Julie O’Callaghan, Brian Moses, Ian Whybrow and Frank Cottrell Boyce – is passionate about introducing children to world-class poetry, and to celebrate their first year they’re looking for a stand-out poem to which they can award a prize of €1,000.

The prize is open to established and up-and-coming writers alike, as long as the work is original and previously unpublished. It can be on any subject, and there’s no line limit. The winning poem will feature in the summer 2015 issue of The Caterpillar. Commended poems may also be published in the same issue.

The competition will be judged by the publishers of The Caterpillar and The Moth, Rebecca O’Connor and Will Govan, and the closing date is 31 March 2015. Entry details appear online on the website.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sligo Field Club: Autumn Conference

I'm delighted to be talking at this conference on Saturday.

Sligo Field Club: Autumn Conference 2014: SLIGO IN TRANSITION: Cultural, Economic, Political & Social Change in Sligo: Post-Famine to the War of Independence

Saturday, 18 October 2014. Venue: Sligo Racecourse Pavilion


09.30 Registration
10.00 The Decline of the Irish language: Ian Kennedy
10.30 Church of Ireland People: Change, what Change? Nicholas Prins
11.00 Refreshments

11.30 The Rise and Decline of a Rich Traditional Music Legacy: Séamus McCormack
12.00 The Changing Face of Business in Sligo town: John Mullaney
12.30 The Rise of the GAA in Sligo: Tom Kilcoyne
13.00 Lunch

14.00 Racing Events in Sligo since 1850: Dónal O’Connor
14.30 Yeats and the Invention of Irishness; language, placenames and the literary projects: Thomas Rodgers Endersby
15.00 Refreshments

15.30 Before the Rising: Designs for nationhood in Fin de Siécle Ireland: Laurence Marley
16.00 The North Leitrim by-election of 1908: Ciarán Ó Duibhir
16.30 The Transition from the Irish Parliamentary Party to Sinn Féin: Michael Farry
17.00 Open Discussion and Close of Conference

Conference Fee: €20.00 (Refreshments included). A buffet lunch will be available but not included in fee

All are welcome

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Bailieborough Poetry Festival 2014

Bailieborough second Poetry Festival was a great success. The new venue, Murtagh's Public House, closed for some time but used as an aution rooms, worked very well and was full for the Friday and Saturday evening readings.

Nerys Williams' reading was excellent. She opened by talking about Dylan Thomas and played him reading "And Death Shall Have No Dominion" which he wrote when he was nineteen.  She read her own poems, some from her collection "Sound Archive" and some newer ones. She was asked to read The Dead Zoo as an encore and later sang a Welsh song! Great open mic readings by LitLab members and others and the night ended with a few songs.

On Saturday morning Nerys conducted a workshop which was well attended and expertly delivered with feedback on poems submitted, a discussion of a Frank O'Hara poem, "The Day Lady Died", and a writing exercise based on the poem.

In the early afternoon the results of the Bailieborough Poetry Competition were announced and comments delivered by judges, Mairéad Donnellan and Michael Farry. Winner: Wisdom of the Origamist (Armel Dagorn, France), Runners Up: Mais Feliz (Patrick Cotter, Cork) and Shelter (Maureen Curran, Donegal). The shortlisted and winning poems will appear on the Festival website.

In the afternoon the Skirmish of the Writers Groups. Teams of three performed for ten minutes each and were judged by the other participating teams. A novel and most enjoyable event apart from the fact that my team - an amalgam of Meath Writers Circle and Boyne Writers - only came third. Photo of the winning team, which included Iggy McGovern, above.

And in the evening a full house to hear an excellent performance by performance poet Patsy McDermott followed by a great reading by Iggy McGovern. The audience loved both performers and the evening and festival finished with a few songs. Well done and thanks to all involved!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Short Story Competition

The London Magazine’s prestigious short story competition has returned. The London Magazine is always looking for new voices from across the world and their competitions provide emerging literary talent with an opportunity for publication and distinguished recognition.

The short story competition is open for submissions until the 31st October 2014. The winners will be announced in early 2015.

Prizes: £500, £300 & £200. Entry fee: £10 per Short Story. Judges: Polly Samson & Harriet Kline

The winner of the competition will also have their story published in a future issue of The London Magazine and the runners up will be published on the magazine’s website.

The current issue can be ordered for £6.95 in print or for £2.95 on Amazon Kindle. Both can be purchased here.

The following short stories are available for free on the website. Have a read to find out what they publish:

The Leanan Sidhe by Steven O'Brien (Featured in the June/July 2012 issue)

Three Tigers by Conor Patrick (Featured in the Dec/Jan 2012 issue)

Full rules and further information available here.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Nerys Williams Poetry Reading

Bailieborough Poetry Festival, Friday 10 October:

8pm: Reading by Welsh poet Nerys Williams to mark the centenary of the birth of Dylan Thomas in Murtagh’s Lounge, Main Street.

Followed by Poetry Aloud, an open mic night in Murtagh’s Lounge c.10pm.

Nerys Williams, a native of Carmarthen in West Wales, is a native Welsh speaker. She lectures in American Literature at University College, Dublin. She has published poems, critical essays widely and is the author of A Guide to Contemporary Poetry as well as study of contemporary American poetry, Reading Error.

Her first collection of poetry, Sound Archive, published by Seren in 2011 was the winner of the DLR Strong Award (in partnership with Shine) for best first collection at Poetry Now/Mountains to the Sea Festival.

Nerys Williams reads from Sound Archive on the Seren site.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Dromineer Poetry Competition 2014

I was thrilled to win the Dromineer Poetry Competition 2014. My winning poem was "A Blackfriary Burial". Thanks to the judge, Matthew Sweeney, (pictured with me above) and to the committee in Dromineer. Third place went to Pearse Murray for "Dream Notes" and second to Róisin Kelly for "Borderlands". Simon Lewis was highly commended. Well done to all. The prizewinning poems will be published on the Dromineer Festival website in due course, I presume.

Some extracts from Matthew Sweeney's comments about the competition at the presentation.
"What you’re looking for is best said by Frost. “Poetry is a fresh look and a fresh listen”. He also said “An idea has to be a little new to be at all true, and if you say a thing three times it ceases to be so”. So poetry has to find a way to be fresh and surprising and that’s what Frost is talking about. And all good poetry hits you in a surprising way. It hits you by showing you this world you live in in a way you never saw it before. That might seem a tall order but when I am judging poetry in a competition I’m looking for the surprising poems that show me things in a different way.

The winning poem, A Blackfriary Burial, was the poem that really stayed with me because it was very startling. Startling is surprise taken on a bit. The world of this poem was about an excavation in some kind of monastery graveyard in County Meath where all these bones and skeletons of babies were dug up and the whole thing seemed like some kind of a film made by David Lynch or something it was very very strange. 

But there was something about the poem that made it seem very real, real in a different way than the world is normally real. It was narrated by somebody digging up the bones. I Googled “A Blackfriary Burial” and everything came up. And there were these bits written by American students, architectural students, who’d come over from the States for this dig. 

I thought this poem was amazing and it’s the kind of poem that once you read it, it will stay with you and resonate for a long time". 

Thanks to the wonderful people at the Blackfriary dig in Trim for the inspiration. The Blackfriary Community Archaeology Project have already published some poems of mine based on the dig on their FaceBook page. The Dromineer winning one is a more recent composition.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bailieborough Poetry Festival

Bailieborough Poetry Festival 2014 – Programme of Events

Thursday 9 October:
Opening of festival and exhibition of work by artist Róisín Duffy in Bailieborough Library @ 8pm.

Friday 10 October:
Reading by Welsh poet Nerys Williams to mark the centenary of the birth of Dylan Thomas. @8pm
(Murtagh’s Lounge).

Poetry Aloud- open mic night in local pub @10pm.

Saturday 11 October:
Poetry workshop facilitated by Nerys Williams in Bailieborough Library Arts Space @10 – 12 am.

Presentation of Bailieborough Poetry Competition Prizes and reading of short-listed poems in
Bailieborough Library Arts Space @2pm.

Skirmish of the Writing groups @ 5pm (Murtagh’s Lounge).

Evening of poetry starting with local performance poet, Patsy McDermott, followed by a reading by
Iggy McGovern to close the festival @ 8pm (Murtagh’s Lounge).

More details on the website.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Boyne Berries 16 Launched

Boyne Berries 16 was launched on Thursday 25 September by former editor, Michael Farry, who complimented the new editor, Orla Fay, on her first issue. The launch took place in the Castle Arch Hotel, Trim and a large crowd attended.

Contributors attended from many parts of Ireland, including, Carlow, Cork and Galway and read their contributions. Boyne Writers chairman, Paddy Smith, welcomed everyone and complimented Orla on the magazine, and Rory O'Sullivan, the cover artist.

Copies of the magazine are on sale in Trim in Antonia's Bookshop and in Spar, Market St. You can also purchase copies on the website.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Boyne Berries 16 Launch

The launch of Boyne Berries 16 takes place in the Castle Arch Hotel, Trim on Thursday 25 September at 8pm. This is the first issue edited by Orla Fay of the Boyne Writers Group. The previous editor, Michael Farry (that's me!!) will launch the issue with some wise words.

Many of those featured in the issue will be present and will read. All welcome, free admission, Boyne Berries 16 for sale at a special price, tea and coffee as well.

Hope to see lots of you there!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wanted : Short Horror Stories

Regime Books, Perth, WA,  is publishing an anthology of short horror stories, Dire Bites, and has issued a call for submissions.

They want stories crawling with unease. "A truly original, suspenseful and frightening horror story is a great find. It takes a certain something to make someone shiver with dread and read to the end — a certain something that never leaves a reader, and entices them to push the tale onto friends.

Don’t think of the gory stories you spun as a child, no pools of blood or knives in the hand of every stranger. We want the reason you can’t look in a mirror when the lights are dim. The real reason you hate children. The reason tripping in the dark puts a cold pit in your stomach — and a real crick in your neck. What your mind taunts you with when you're alone is excellent fodder for putting the fear into others."

Submission Guidelines
Word limit is anything less than 3500 words. Deadline is 12 October 2014.
Along with your submission please include your own greatest personal fear to be added to your name should your submission be successful.

Info and questions:  More details and submission manager on the website.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Week in Cumbria 5 - Churches etc

These are all on the western edge of Cumbria and the first isn't a church but is a Quaker meeting house. This is Brigflatts Quaker Meeting House between Kendal and Sedberg. Built in 1675, it is the oldest meeting house in the North of England and has retained its lime-washed stone walls much of its original oak  interior woodwork, panelling, columns and balustrading.

The outside of the building is being repaired and was covered by scaffolding the day I visited. The building was open but there was no-one else around. There are books for sale, plenty of information leaflets and notices, tea and coffee making facilities, a library with a DVD player with Brigflatts related material for visitors to watch and a small display of materials relating to the poet, Basil Bunting (1900-1985).

Bunting's most famous poem is "Briggflatts" (there is some variation in the spelling) and he is buried in the Quaker graveyard near the meeting house. Brigflatts on "Visit Cumbria".

It is a most peaceful place, a must-see if you are in the area.

Just east of the M6 near Carlisle is the only church in Cumbria designed by the famous Victorian Catholic convert, the architect, designer and artist, Augustus Pugin. This is the small church of Our Lady & St Wilfrid at Warwick Bridge, a lovely example of Pugin's Gothic Revival style.

It is still in use as a church in Our Lady of Eden Catholic parish, Carlisle and I was delighted to attend Mass there on the Saturday evening. Beautifully decorated, the whole space is full of colour and light. Miraculously the church still has the original rood screen. Many of these were removed after Vatican II. I was also delighted to see the young priest celebrant use the original high pulpit. It also has a stained glass window to Saint Oliver Plunkett.

The Anglican church, St Martin’s, in Brampton also east of Carlisle, consecrated in 1878, contains a beautiful set of stained glass windows designed by Edward Burne-Jones, and executed in the William Morris studio. Burne-Jones (1833 – 1898) was a British Pre-Raphaelite artist and designer.

On the beautiful sunny day of my visit the windows were showing themselves off, the whole church was ablaze with colour. This is the only church built by the architect Philip Webb and he deliberately gave the building a fortress-like appearance to reflect its position near the troubled border region.

After World War I one of the chapels was dedicated as a memorial to those who had fallen and two windows, one to Saint Michael (left), were added, not by Burne-Jones. The church on Visit Cumbria.

And then there was Carlisle Cathedral and the church at Grasmere and of course the stone circles - I wonder if they count as places of worship?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Mary Lavin Season 2014

Meath County Council Arts Office has announced the return of the wonderful Mary Lavin Season 2014.

As part of this year’s programme the acclaimed Two Chairs Theatre Company is touring the much loved Mary Lavin book of short stories, "A Patriot Son". Actor Nuala Hayes will bring the stories to life while accompanied on the harp by Anne Marie O’Farrell.

Performance details:

Tuesday 23 Sept - Oldcastle Library - 4.00 - 5.00pm

Wednesday 24 Sept - Ashbourne Library - 3.45 - 4.45pm

Thursday 25 Sept - Navan Library - 7.00 - 8.00pm

These performances are free of charge and suitable for adults. To book a place please contact Meath County Council Arts Office on 046 9097414 or

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Week in Cumbria 4 - Wordsworth House

On the Sunday morning I visited Wordsworth House, a Georgian townhouse, in the Cumbrian town of Cockermouth, which was the birthplace and childhood home of William and his sister Dorothy. The family lived here in middle-class comfort while John Wordsworth, William's father, worked as legal representative of James Lowther, the Earl of Lonsdale.

William had a happy childhood here until his mother died in 1778 and his father in 1783 and the children were dispersed, William went to Hawkshead Grammar School and lived with a local family, Dorothy went to live with relatives in Yorkshire.

The house was lived in by many other families but finally it came into the ownership of the National Trust who restored it as a late 18th-century family home.

I was very impressed by the house. I used an audio guide which gave just the right amount of information. There were also a number of knowledgeable guides on the premises including a costumed kitchen maid. The Georgian kitchen was especially interesting - no electricity or running water in Wordsworth's time but all sorts of gadgets none the less.

The kitchen maid gave a talk on life in such a house in Wordsworth's time which was enjoyable and informative.

I loved the way the garden has been maintained/restored. It is packed with 18th-century vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers, and the River Derwent runs along at the bottom of the garden. It also has a poem tree where people can write poems and hang them on the branches.

A delightful place to visit and take in what life was like towards the end of the 17th century, well worth a visit.

I was disappointed when I visited the Wordsworth School at Hawkshead, it was closed for lunch and I couldn't wait until it opened. If I had checked the website I would have seen the opening hours. The village of Hawkshead is one of the most scenic in the area and has a very interesting church.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Week in Cumbria 3 - More Wordsworth

The Wordsworths moved from Dove Cottage in 1808 and lived in Allan Bank in Grasmere for two years. Then they moved to the Old Rectory in the centre of Grasmere where they stayed until 1813 when they moved to Rydal Mount, a large house between Ambleside and Grasmere which has a large garden and fine views of Lake Windermere, Rydal Water and the surrounding fells.

This was Wordsworth's family home until his death in 1850 at the age of 80. Rydal Mount is still lived in by descendants of Wordsworth but is open to the public. It's a great contrast to the narrow spaces of Dove Cottage and judging by numbers on my visits is not as popular as a tourist stop.

I found it fascinating, lots of the furniture, pictures and fittings which Wordsworth would have used are still there. There are very good guides to all the rooms and a friendly guide available to answer questions and show you around if you wish.

Dove Cottage has the official notification of Wordsworth being appointed Poet Laureate in 1843, Rydal has Wordsworth's original letter refusing the post. He later accepted on being assured he would not be required to write anything. He is the only Poet Laureate not to have written "official poetry" while holding the office.

While Dove Cottage is the more atmospheric house and more in tune with our image of the abode of a Romantic poet I like the idea of the great poet being comfortable in the larger dwelling for most of his life.

Wordsworth stands out among the English Romantic poets, he lived a long uneventful later life unlike Keats, Shelley, Byron, he wasn't addicted to opium as were his fellow writers and friends, Coleridge and De Quincey. He didn't even smoke, I learned in Rydal Mount!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Week in Cumbria - 2 Wordsworth

Cumbria, the birthplace of poet William Wordsworth, has a number of "must see" buildings associated with the poet.

First among these is Dove Cottage, Grasmere, where the poet, his wife Mary and his sister Dorothy lived. William and Dorothy moved in in 1799, he married Mary in 1802 and three of their five children were born there. In 1808 they moved to a larger house nearby, Allan Bank. While living in Dove Cottage William wrote some of the greatest poetry in the English language and Dorothy kept her famous 'Grasmere Journal'. Museum.

Dove Cottage is now owned by the Wordsworth Trust. They also own a complex of building around the cottage, the ticket office and shop, the Wordsworth Museum, the Jerwood Centre which holds the Wordsworth manuscripts, books and paintings not on show in the museum, a teashop, some function rooms.

I enjoyed my visit greatly. Guidebooks stress how small the cottage is but I was surprised how spacious it actually was. Irish railway cottages were smaller! It is dark inside and you can see why three adults and three children would have needed a larger place.

Because the cottage is small groups of about 12 are taken around in turns through the rooms by a guide. I have a dread of guides who assume you know nothing and go on and on. This was not the case. The guide concentrated on describing the house, telling us the use of each room, which details were original and which were not. The small garden at the back is well kept but not over elaborate and the museum is full of material and information.

The museum also hosts special exhibitions. The current exhibition is "Wordsworth and Basho: Walking Poets" and contained manuscripts and early printed editions of work written by Bashō, William Wordsworth, and Wordsworth’s sister Dorothy. It also features new works by contemporary artists working in a wide range of media in response.

The shop was small and tasteful - I couldn't find any sticks of Wordsworth rock but there were plenty of books and some daffodil mugs. The tea shop was spacious and the staff friendly and the Cumberland teacake very tasty.

A local writers' group, Dove Cottage Poets, meet every month at the Cottage for a workshop facilitated by the current poet in residence and visitors are welcome. I timed my visit to coincide and I joined in. The Poet in Residence for 2014 is Zaffar Kunial whose pamphlet is being issued by Faber and Faber as No. 11 in their New Poets series.

I really enjoyed the workshop, great to see how other groups conduct themselves. For the first half Zaffar shared poems on the theme of "The Edge" The fact that Zaffar's first three "sample" poems were by Irish poets caused some amusement and I was asked to read the first, Heaney's "Terminus". I put on my best Irish accent! The others were by Mahon and Muldoon.

The second half consisted of workshopping participants' poems. I hadn't thought of bringing something. Some great material from the participants. A variety of themes and treatments. I was impressed.

Not far from the cottage complex is the main part of the town of Grasmere which includes the churchyard where William, Mary, Dorothy and other members of the family are buried. The church itself is worth a visit and it has a memorial to Wordsworth.

Friday, September 5, 2014

A Week in Cumbria - 1 Accommodation

Just home from a great week in Cumbria. I took the ferry to Holyhead and drove there. The weather was reasonably good, heavy rain only on one day, and the roads and towns were not crowded.

I prebooked two places to stay both near the M6, one in the south of Cumbria, one in the north, both reasonably priced.

In the south I stayed at Days Inn, Kendal, Killington Lake at a motorway services area. This was good, beside an old reservoir which had swans, ducks and boats. Lots of swallows around, there had a nest just outside my window. The room was spacious, clean and comfortable. The WiFi internet access was excellent.

It was close to the town of Kendal on one side and Sedbergh on the other. Sedbergh is actually in Cumbria but is in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It regards itself as England's Booktown but it doesn't compare with Hay-on-Wye in Wales. I did find one exceptionally good bookshop in Sedbergh and spent a pleasant morning there.

In the north I stayed at Crossroads House Bed and Breakfast just off the M6 close to Carlisle. A most welcoming place with great advice on what to do and see locally. The house even has a Roman well in the hallway! I stayed three days, using it as a base for the north Cumbria area, Carlisle and north east to Hardian's Wall.

A great breakfast, full English (without the beans, please) including Cumberland sausage, yum! Excellent WiFi here as well.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Poetry Business Book and Pamphlet Competition

The 2014/15 Poetry Business Book and Pamphlet Competition has been launched.This year's judge is former American Poet Laureate Billy Collins. Entries must be sent no later than last post on the 28 November 2014, or online by midnight on 1 December.

The 29th annual international Poetry Business Book and Pamphlet Competition invites entrants to submit a collection of 20-24 pages of poems for the chance to win publication by smith|doorstop, a share of £2,000 and other prizes.

Four first-stage winners are selected and given the opportunity to submit a full-length manuscript to the second round of the competition, in which one of them can win book publication. The three first-stage winners will then receive pamphlet publication. All four winners will receive an equal share of the £2,000 prize money, and will have a launch reading organised by The Poetry Business and a selection of their poems published in The North magazine.

Full price entry costs £25. Subscribers to The North, Friends of The Poetry Business, and members of the Poetry Society are eligible for the discounted fee of £20.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Cavan Poetry Reading

The third AT The Edge, Cavan literary evening, takes place on Tuesday 2 September in Cavan Library, Cavan town. The featured readers are three poets, Heather Brett, Mary Melvin Geoghan and Jean Folan.

The event begins at 6.30 and ends at 8pm sharp. Everyone welcome, no entrance charge. The evening will also include an Open Mic session so arrive early and get your name down.

The, organizer, Kate Ennels, blogs about the experience here on Short Story Ireland.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Turn at Tara 2014

Feis Teamhra / A Turn at Tara 2014 takes place on Sunday 31 August, at 3.00pm at the Hill of Tara Visitors Centre, Tara, County Meath

This seventh annual Feis Teamhra / A Turn at Tara features readings and performances by internationally-recognized Irish writers and musicians.

The headliners this year are Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Hugo Hamilton and Christine Tobin, with contributions from Susan McKeown and Paul Muldoon, the co-curators of Feis Teamhra.

Presented in association with Poetry Ireland.

Monday, August 25, 2014


Poets are invited to submit short manuscripts of between twelve and sixteen pages of poetry to the iOTA SHOT awards 2015.

Up to three manuscripts will be chosen for publication as iOTA Shot Pamphlets. Submissions are invited from both new and previously published poets.

Closing date for all submissions: Monday 10th November 2014.

The winning writers will be notified in February 2015. The  iOTA shots published in early summer 2015

The Manuscript must not have been previously published but individual poems previously published in other publications may be included. Postal and online submissions are welcome from anywhere in the world.

Postal Submission Fee is £14.50 for each submission. Online Submission is £15.50 for each submission
Postal and Online Submission payments may be made online.

Full details and online submission.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

News from Prole

Issue 14 of the prose and poetry journal, Prole, has just been released and is available on the website: "Prole is a print magazine that publishes high quality, accessible poetry and prose. We aim to challenge, engage and entertain - but never exclude".
Submissions are now open. Guidelines here. Contributors receive a royalty payment.

Prolitzer Prize for Prose is now open for entries.

Prizes: Winner: £150, Publication in Prole 15 in December 2014. Publication on the Prole website. Two runner up prizes of £50, possible publication in Prole 15. Publication on the Prole website

Judge: Sue Pace has over 120 short stories, personal essays, poems and non-fiction articles published in regional and international formats.  This includes not only literary journals in the USA, but also journals in Australia, the UK and Canada.

Open for entries until 1 October 2014. Winners will be announced in issue 15 of Prole in December 2014 and on the website by 15 December 2014.

Word limit 2500. All work must be the original work of the writer and be unpublished.

Fees: £4.00 for first entry, £3.00 for any subsequent entries. Enter by email using PayPal. Details on the competition page on the website.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Poetry Now Festival

Poetry Now at dlr Book Festival 2014 is on from Thursday 11 to Sunday 14 September in Dun Laoghaire.

Poetry highlights include The Poetry Shed celebration of Dylan Thomas, readings with Vona Groarke, Don Paterson, Sinead Morrissey and Michael Symmons Roberts, Menna Elfyn in conversation with Nessa O'Mahony, a poetry writing workshop with Don Paterson and haiku writing workshop with Anatoly Kudryavitsky, the Irish Times Poetry Now Award and the Strong/Shine Award poetry reading.

Full programme details are on the Mountains to Sea website.

The shortlist for The Irish Times Poetry Now Award 2014 is: Tara Bergin "This is Yarrow" (Carcanet), Nick Laird "Go Giants" (Faber & Faber), Sinéad Morrissey "Parallex" (Carcanet), Conor O'Callaghan "The Sun King" (Gallery Press) and Billy Ramsell "The Architect's Dream of Winter" (Dedalus Press). 

This award is presented annually to the author of the best collection of poems in English published by an Irish poet in the previous year. The award will be presented at the Festival on Saturday 13 September 2014. The judges for this year's award are Katie Donovan, Nessa O'Mahony and Chris Morash.

The shortlist for the Shine/Strong Poetry Award 2014 is: Tara Bergin "This is Yarrow" (Carcanet), Paula Cunningham "Heimlich's Manoeuvre" (Smith/Doorstop), Martin Dyar "Maiden Names" (Arlen House), Nicki Griffin "Unbelonging" (Salmon Poetry) and Jim Maguire "Music Field" (Poetry Salzburg). 

The award is presented annually to the author of the best first collection of poems published by an Irish poet in the previous year. The award will be presented at the Festival on Sunday 14 September 2014. The judge for this year's award is Mary Shine Thompson.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Allingham Poetry and Flash Fiction Competition

Allingham Poetry and Flash Fiction Competition: Deadline: Tuesday, 30 September 2014

The Allingham Flash Fiction Competition will be judged by Donal Ryan, the Allingham Poetry Competition by Monica Corish.

The prize in each category is €250. The winners and runners up will be invited to read their work at the Allingham Festival on Saturday, 8 November 2014.

You may submit up to 5 poems, maximum 40 lines per poem; and up to 5 flash fictions, maximum 700 words each. Entries (whether emailed attachment or hardcopy) must not have any identifying name on them.

The entry fee for both competitions is €4 for 1 entry, €10 for 3 entries, €15 for 5 entries. Entries can be submitted by email or by post. Poems and flash fictions must be submitted separately.

Full competition details can be found on the website.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Blackfriary Dig Poem 3

They All Prepare to Leave

I am almost ready now for home,
the plans are drawn, photographs taken,
every find listed. I’ll miss this place,
the air of unreality, the hard physicality
of the work, the patience, tedium, delight
and the sky’s ever-changing patterns.

I am almost ready now for home,
my last bequest is here, a silk cantor’s cope,
flowers and foliage in silver embroidery
and my tomb finished, its panels crisp
on the north side of the high altar
where the word is read, psalms chanted.

I am almost ready now for home,
the site empty, a few stray tools
still to be stowed away, some exposed walls
to be wrapped but most have been secured,
and in the trenches and the empty grave cuts,
corners of plastic sheets flap in the wind.

I am almost ready now for home,
to be wrapped in a worn-out habit
lie in peace to face the perils of the end times
listen for ever to the service, the chants,
enjoy the prayers, the remembrances,
be mystified by the long silence.

I am almost ready now for home,
but though the season’s over and it’s time
to return to college, renew acquaintances,
I am uneasy, unsettled.
My summer digging has turned up more
than scraps and relics of medieval sanctity.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Blackfriary Dig Poem 2

He Sees the Infant Skeleton

I stopped and stared
at the two American students,
kneeling in the priory chancel,
absorbed in the task, silence essential.

Their wooden skewers loosened packed earth,
their brushes reverently scratched soil
from around a skull
as they uncovered the skeleton.
Stains marked the nails
of his or her small coffin.

I measured by eye,
guessed the age at less than one,
wondered what grief-stricken couple
ensured a burial in the holiest place
for their untimely corpse.
I asked nothing, scared of disturbing
their concentration but each, I’m sure,
chose a Christian name for the dead one.

It was gone the next day,
taken in a plastic bag for interrogation,
the answers to be noted
in an academic publication
adding to the sum of our knowledge
of burial, belief
and the uncertainties of childhood.

Only the name will escape them.
I called him Christopher.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Blackfriary Dig Poem 1

Last year I spent a couple of days as a volunteer on the Blackfriary archaeology dig in Trim which is run by the Irish Archaeology Field School. I've always been interested in archaeology, did it for my BA from UCD which was done as a night student long ago so no hands-on experience just lectures. But lectures from some very eminent archaeologists including Ruairí deValera, George Eogan and Michael Herity.

So I wrote a series of poems about the dig, mixing fact and fiction, present and past. The IAFS have kindly displayed some of the poems at their pop-up museum in Trim Library and on their Facebook page. The above picture is taken from their Facebook page.

Here is the first in the series. The Dominician mendicant friars who lived in the priory would have been engaged on the quest, begging for alms, as a regular activity, hence questing. 

At a conference in Trim Colman Ó Clabaigh OSB, an expert in this field, said that the Dominicians in particular were prone to grant dispensations from some of their rules to their friars. In his book "The Friars in Ireland 1224-1540" he mentions dispensations given by Dominician and Augustinian priors general to friars to "ride a horse, take baths and use linen cloth". The Dominician rule specified that rougher woolen clothes had to be worn. A nice detail like this is worth remembering and including in a poem.

"The Friars in Ireland, 1224-1540" by Colmán Ó Clabaigh OSB, published by Four Courts Press, was the winner of the 2013 Irish Historical Research Prize, awarded by the National University of Ireland.

A Novice Enters the Friary

I was unskilled, book-learned,
without practical experience.

‘Teach me’, I implored
and the supervisor showed me how to dig,
fill a barrow, dump by the ditch.
Then the mattock work, more careful,
alert for bits brought near the surface
by seven disturbed centuries.

When I had proven my diligence
by recognizing plaster scraps
and finding two pieces of worked stone –
window surrounds maybe –
I was allowed on my knees
to scrape the earth, collect plaster,
glass, lead and bone fragments
The first skull shocked me,
lucky my trowel avoided shattering
the wafer-thin shell. Experts took over;
their brushwork and wooden skewers
took patient days to uncover the skeleton.

They thought it male, old, my height.
An aged mendicant friar, they speculated,
with a dispensation to take baths,
eat meat and use linen underwear.

I see him, too old for questing,
too worn out for preaching,
happy to end his days in prayer,
reading and composing sweet new psalms
he will never have time to write down.

Michael Farry

Saturday, August 9, 2014

North West Words Magazine

Submission are now open for Issue 2: Autumn-Winter 2014 - North West Words Magazine. Submissions of poetry, fiction, non fiction, art or photography are welcome.

Please send up to 3 poems or one short story (max 2000 words) or flash fiction (max 500 words) or jpgs of art/photography to with 'Submission' and whatever category you are submitting to, as the subject of the email 1 September. Include an up to date bio, a photo and your website/facebook/blog links.

North West Words will publish three issues a year Autumn-Winter, Spring, and Summer. Editorial team Maureen Curran,  Eamonn Bonner and  Denise Blake.

Issue 1 is free to read here. I was delighted to have a poem included.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

iYeats Poetry Competition Results 2014

The winner of the The Hawk’s Well Theatre’s iYeats International Poetry competition was announced on Thursday 31 July at a ceremony at the Hawk’s Well Theatre during the 55th Yeats International Summer School.

This year’s winner is Winifred McNulty for her poem ‘Tawnytallon’ a
nd the judges decided to commend three further poets this year – Connie Roberts for ‘Oasis’, Phil Lynch for ‘Changing Light’ and Heather Richardson for ‘Telling’.

The iYeats Poetry competition was launched by the Hawk's Well Theatre in 2009 to mark the 50th Yeats International Summer School and the 70th anniversary of the death of W. B Yeats. The judges for 2014 were Peter Sirr and Catherine Phil MacCarthy.

Read the winning and commended poems on the Hawk's Well website page here.
The judges comments are on this page.

YouTube readings of the commended poems:
Connie Roberts ‘Oasis’, Phil Lynch ‘Changing Light’, Heather Richardson ‘Telling’.

Picture (From Marie O’Byrne and Deirdre Melvin (Hawkswell), Winifred McNulty (overall winner), Phil Lynch (Commended), Judges Peter Sirr and Catherine Phil McCarthy and Noel Lawlor a friend of poet Connie Roberts from New York

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Francis Ledwidge Day Commemoration

It was most appropriate that this year's annual Francis Ledwidge Day Commemoration should take place on Sunday last, 3 August, the centenary of the day when  Germany declared war on France and invaded Belgium.

The Inchicore Ledwidge Society  together with their friends and guests gathered at the Irish National War Memorial Gardens, Islandbridge, Dublin for what was their 19th such Ledwidge Day commemoration.

The guest speaker was former Senator Neville Keery and the afternoon of wreath laying and poetry readings was enlivened by the addition of members of the Thomas Mac Donagh Pipe Band, Martin Fogarty and Joe Barry, who played at intervals though the proceedings.

There was also a lively performance by actors Ian Meehan (as Frank) and Linda Teehan (as girlfriend, Shivvy) from Gerard Humphrey’s play ‘Friendly Fire’ to be staged at the New Theatre, Dublin on 29th September next.

Other guests included, Maireád Donnellan, Cavan, a member of Cavan/Meath LitLab group, who performed the poem that won her the Ledwidge Award 2013 (pictured below). Also present were Muriel Mac Auley, grand-daughter of Thomas Mac Donagh, Gaelic scholar, Declan Collinge and established poet Rosemary Rowley TCD.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Ballymote Heritage Weekend

The annual Ballymote Heritage Weekend is taking place this weekend in Ballymote, Co. Sligo. The full details are on the website.

This includes the launch of their annual publication, The Corran Herald, which includes articles on the history, archaeology and traditions of County Sligo with special emphasis on south Sligo.

I have an article in this year's issue which deals with the meeting, and subsequent short correspondence, of two south Sligo men and the Irish-American activist, Joseph McGarrity, at the Teeling Monument, Collooney on Garland Sunday 30 July 1911 while McGarrity was on a motoring tour as part of his honeymoon.

Last year's issue of the Corran Herald can be read online and has an article of mine on another interesting south Sligo meeting, between an IRA commandant and the O/C of British troops in Sligo, which occurred in May 1921.

Some events from this year's weekend:

Saturday 2 August 2014: Lecture: The Fadden More Psalter by John Gillis, Senior Book and Manuscript Conservator, Trinity College, Dublin. Time: 8.30pm. Venue: Teagasc Centre, Ballymote. Cost: €10

Sunday 3 August 2014: Afternoon tea at Templehouse, Ballymote with Classical and Baroque Music.
Time : 3 pm. Cost: €12.50 (Accompanied children free)

Sunday 3 August 2014: Lecture: Sligo’s Hidden Bridges by Gary Salter, Conservation Engineer, Senior Executive Engineer, Sligo County Council. Time: 8.30pm. Venue: Teagasc Centre, Ballymote. Cost: €10

Monday 4 August 2014: Outing To Westport – guided walking tour of the historic town and guided tour of Westport House. Meeting point: Car Park at Catholic Church, Ballymote. Time : 9.00am

Monday 4 August 2014: Lecture: Family Names in the Place-names of Sligo by Dr Conchubhar O Crualaoich. Time: 8.30pm. Venue: Teagasc Centre, Ballymote. Cost: €10.