Sunday Miscellany: alive, alive – Oh!

A couple of posts back, I scribbled a quick note before I headed into the Ennis Book Club Festival.

Well, I’m happy to report that it was a lovely weekend. The visitors to Ennis really seemed to enjoy themselves. As I grew up in the place, I feel proud that the whole town takes the Festival and visitors to heart. Local businesses had some fantastic book-themed window displays.

Our ‘Seven Sisters’  poetry reading at the Record Break Café was standing room only – we were delighted with the turnout and the audience response. It was lovely to welcome EBCF attendees to Sinéad’s venue, as well as our usual faithful supporters. This year’s readers were Sinéad Ní Síoda, Deirdre Devally, Nicki Griffin, Ruth Marshall, Mary-Ellen Fean, Deborah Ryan, and yours truly.

The Seven Sisters after our EBCF reading at the Record Break Café Photo. Ruth Marshall

I also managed to get to hear Thomas Lynch, in the lovely setting of  St Columba’s Church. By the way: If any of you are around this evening at 6.30pm, Tom will be reading at a Salmon Bookshop gig in Oh La La café in Ennistymon with Stephen Powers and Rain Leon.  I’d already committed to something else and am really sad I can’t be there. It will be a stonkin’ reading.

Ennis Book Club Festival 2019. Photograph by Eamon Ward

The biggie for me was the live recording of RTÉ Radio One’s Sunday Miscellany, which happened on Sunday morning. I was excited and nervous in equal measure. It was a trio of firsts for me:  first time I appeared on the stage in Glór, first live recording, and also my first ‘essay’ for Sunday Miscellany. There was some fine writing, and wonderful music. My thanks to producer Sarah Binchy, and to Carolyn Dempsey for making it all so easy. Also to Cora Gunter of EBCF whose enthusiasm was infectious. Most of the contributions were broadcast last Sunday the 10th of March, including The Hanging Sheriff by Mae Leonard; My First Pint by Joe Ó Muircheartaigh; Preventive Measures, a poem by Caoilinn Hughes; Growing up in Miltown by John Hurley; and Joe Ninety, by Dee Collins    – here’s a link to the podcast https://www.rte.ie/radio1/sunday-miscellany/#103062434

Sunday Miscellany at Glor during the Ennis Book Club Festival. Photograph by Eamon Ward

My own radio essay will be broadcast this coming Sunday, St Patrick’s Day, so keep an ear out for it! I’ll put up a link here, when the podcast is up on the RTÉ website: https://www.rte.ie/radio1/sunday-miscellany/#103067788

Sunday Miscellany at Glor during the Ennis Book Club Festival. Photograph by Eamon Ward

Do listen out for Niall Allsop’s essay on the 24th, and a lovely tribute to her grandmother by Margaret Hickey on Mother’s Day, the 31st March.

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Culture Night & Che Guevara

A great weekend, altogether.

Last Friday was Culture Night in Ireland – and the goodies on offer were only legion!                       My contribution was reading poetry in two different parts of Clare.

Firstly the Clare Poetry Collective linked up for a reading in the Library in Ennis, with contributions from the floor, including Michéal FitzGearailt – a young man from whom we hope to hear more.

Then it was zoom! off in Might Aphrodite the Blue Polo, back to North Clare and the Salmon Bookshop & Literary Centre in Ennistymon. I joined Eleanor Cummins at 7pm for round two. The shop was cosy with rugs, and lovely lights, and the audience was warm and receptive. Everyone first said what their favourite poem was. Then Eleanor and I read some poems. Thanks Ellie, for having me over and, ‘Get Well Soon, Jessie!

Saturday saw me back in the car, motoring down along the coast to Kilkee. The Clare Poetry Collective had a gig at the Che Do Bheatha Festival.  Is it not the best name for a festival that you’ve ever heard?

Well, Irish people will get it.

Che mural , Kilkee
© Karen J McDonnell

The rain stayed away until we got into the Sweeney Library – which was fine with us.  We read turn and turn about, with contributions from the audience.  Thanks to Anne at the Library for delaying closing up until the last Che-themed poem was read! We really enjoyed ourselves, and it was lovely to meet up with friends from out Moyasta way.  A well-deserved chowder and brown bread in Bay View; where I stayed as a tiny tot with Grannie  (now changed, changed utterly!).  Then it was home again to the Burren.

All in all, a stimulating weekend. And lovely to be invited to participate. Thanks, lads.

The Western Skyline Podcast 12 August 2017

Beara sunset from the cabin. © Karen McDonnell

I’d a lovely time in the studio on Saturday, chatting to local artist Christopher Banahan about a pop up exhibition at his house next weekend. There will be lots of artwork to celebrate the Cruinniu na mBad Festival which takes place in Kinvara on 19/20th August. And Kinvara FM 92.4fm will be live at the pier. We hope to remain dry!

Art by Christopher Banahan

Also on this podcast, a poem from Anne Tannam’s most recent collection: ‘Tides Shifting Across My Living Room Floor’, published by Salmon Poetry. Find out more here.

Hope you enjoy the mix of music! Comments and requests are always welcome.

https://m.mixcloud.com/KinvaraFM/the-western-skyline-12-august-2017/

 

 

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.

thesineater

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!

21Sonnets

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