A Reading According to the Poets

I’m really looking forward to tomorrow evening – 3rd February.

I’ll be reading at the Record Break Café in Ennis at the monthly poetry slot.

This time, I’m delighted to be joined by Limerick poet & playwright Mary Coll, who will be reading from her new collection, Silver. Join us for what promises to be a great evening. (We might even get a word or two of fiction out of Helena Close who is travelling from Limerick as well!)

Door open at 7.30pm with poetry is from 8-9pm, followed by music from Pele, a local musician – and a pal of my sister as it happens!

And remember, Sinéad makes great coffee & lovely treats!

FINALLY –  My poem ‘The High Road’ will be published this month in The Honest Ulsterman. It’s my first time being published in that fine journal so, thanks Greg!

Reading #Herstory

Saturday 7 January 2017

I’d a great day in Galway at the #Herstory Nollaig na mBan Open Mic.

The Open Mic © Karen J McDonnell
The Open Mic
© Karen J McDonnell

The event was hosted at the Cornstore by Galway2020 who not only provided a great – still festive – space, but also coffee, biccies and buns. Thanks, Nollaig and the gang!

Every one had 3 minutes to read, and was asked to sign off with ‘This is/was _____ and this is Herstory.”

Celeste Augé reads, as MC Susan listens
Celeste Augé reads, as MC Susan listens

Susan Millar DuMars was the MC, and led off the readings. I was called up next. EEEK! But, I guess someone has to go first. Right up to the time I’d to leave the house, I was dithering about what poem to read. I had a few to choose from – having written a whole song cycle about women on the edges of History, some years ago. And there are a couple of new poems in The Notebook!  In the end, I did pick one of ‘my girls’: a poem about my great-grandmother, Lucy May (Louie) Fitzell.

Themes ranged from the woman at home during WW1,  poems interlocking the lives of mothers and their daughters, of a mother- and daughter-in-law, of an anonymous woman handing over her baby at the Tuam mother and baby home. Gráinne Mhaol got great treatment in an animated recitation by Pat McArdle. Pat is a man, by the way …. for yes, men were welcome to take part, and did! Margaretta D’arcy spoke to us about Louie Bennett – a mighty woman not served well by historians, or the State. We also heard excerpts from works in progress – including the ‘delights’ of working for a boss from hell in New York!

Lelia Doolan tells Herstory
Lelia Doolan tells Herstory

All in all, a lively way to spend a drizzly beginning to 2017. I got to meet up with two writing buddies, and heard engaging, diverse work. As Susan said, It would be wonderful if this could become an annual event.  TG4 filmed proceedings for the Róisín show, which goes out on Wednesdays at 8.30pm.  Róisín was there too, and she seemed to enjoy herself!

Thanks, Herstory Galway, for including me in! Go mbeirimíd beo …

Epilogue: Of course, being in the Cornstore, I just HAD to drop in to Charlie Byrne’s for a browse. I picked up some interesting travel books – including the letters of Gertrude Bell. The best thing was, I still have credit on my account with them and didn’t even have to open my purse. Yippee!




Salmon Fishing in the Banner County

I just couldn’t resist that title.

salmon poetry

Last week I was up at the Courthouse Gallery in Ennistymon for a reading hosted by Jessie Lendennie & Salmon Poetry. Find out more about Salmon Poetry, and the bookshop here.


It was lovely to meet Gabriel Fitzmaurice again and to finally meet Thomas Lynch. Click on the gents’ names to find out more about them. There was also a guest star in the presence of Teresa Scollon, over from the American Mid-West. And boy, were we treated to a great evening of poetry. As I said on Facebook that evening – it was more like a session around a hearth. The banter between the poets, and the engagement with the audience, was mighty. The three read turn upon turn, which added an energy to us all – and kept the listeners on our aural toes, so to speak!


It’s always lovely to be introduced to new writing: I was really taken with Teresa’s poems; and the way she delivered them. So, off I went  – fishing online. You can read more about Teresa here. And you can order some of her work such as this collection (gorgeous artwork).

Teresa Scollon

So my lovelies … there’s a bit of reading for you!

The literary festival season is seriously kicking off. This weekend there are two to choose from: The Ennis Book Club Festival and Doolin Writers’ Weekend.  My bi-location cloak is at the dry cleaners yet again, so what can I do?  I will be in Ennis: this trip involves The Mammy, and one can’t let down one’s mammy. Especially when Sunday is Mothers’ Day.

The rest of yez can go where you like.  But, may I just say that Jessie and all at Salmon Poetry will be celebrating 35 years of Salmon publishing tomorrow, Saturday 5 March in the Doolin Hotel. At 8pm they will launch a celebratory anthology, Even the Daybreak: 35 Years of Salmon Poetry

I can’t be there, unfortunately. Maybe some of you can. Either way, have a great reading weekend.

doolin writers wkend

Defying the Elements

Burren College of Art ©Discover Ballyvaughan.com
Burren College of Art ©Discover Ballyvaughan.com

I will be reading poems with writer Frank Golden and students of the Burren College of Art at 8pm this evening, here in Ballyvaughan.

As Storm Desmond batters the country, the fire and candles will be lit in the old tower and we will hunker down and speak (if not shout) words in defiance of the weather!!

Bígí linn … if you dare!

Shopping and …

You can read a new blog about my trip to Beara, by clicking above on the Writer’s Blog ^^^^^^

Am just home from a trip into Galway. Haven’t been in all summer; too busy with the Radio Diploma and work experience in West Clare. It was time for a bit of necessary (ahem) shopping: a boxload of my favourite coffee in M&S, mini hot cross buns, and a coffee & walnut cake.

Treats over, there was money spent on paint and a new lampshade for the guest room, and boring but essential printer ink. WHY is printer ink so expensive? Answers on a postcard please …

I also got my hands on these beauties:

Autumn Reading © Karen J McDonnell
Autumn Reading
© Karen J McDonnell

That’s me sorted for the lengthening evenings at edge of Europe. (Oooooh, I love getting book tokens as gifts!)