Raftery Festival turns up the Volume

21 – 23 November 2008

Anthony Raftery would be in his element if he knew what Terry McDonagh was up to in Kiltimagh. He’d go home altogether, I’d say. The festival took a step up this year with world-class guest poets Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill and Matthew Sweeney (who was also poet-in-residence). In the Town Hall on the Friday evening, Nuala read from her recent collection, Fifty Minute Mermaid (translated by Paul Muldoon) and there was music by Diarmaid Moynihan, Margaret O’ Riordan, Mary McNicholas and Ollie Burke. After that the crowd split up to fill two local pubs, Lil Fordes and Kitty McGreal’s for a more informal, impromtu night of poetry and music from all.

The Festival moved comfortably along with the guidance of Arts Officer Ciarán Friel, and Saturday began with Creative Writing workshops. Later on in the evening we heard readings by Matthew Sweeney from his latest bi-lingual collection, Het ijshotel and also from Ger Reidy and Andrew Forster, with music by Tony Reidy. After all that, the (by now large) crowd headed off to The Park Hotel for the festival Slam, which was hosted by Mags Treanor and won by Slam-Maestro, Miceál Kearney.

On Sunday at the Old Schoolhouse there was a quiter gathering for a relaxed ‘open-mic’ session which ended the Festival on a gentler note. Thanks to Terry MacDonagh and his hosting talents, Co. Mayo is firmly on the poetry map. I’ll be there again next year.

Following are videos of the Saturday Slam and poems read on the Sunday.

Video Clips of Performances

Raftery Poetry Slam – Sat 22nd

Round 1

Matthew Sweeney – Animals

Liz Anne Gorman – The Shirt

Miceál Kearney – Now it is My Time

Clodagh Leonard – On Paper

Terry McDonagh – Haunting in Mayo

Tony Reidy – Hayshed Days

Susan Kelly – Don’t You Just Hate It

Noel Burke – Outcast

Round 2

Noel Burke – Kiss and Tell

Susan Kelly – Five Inch Fantasy

Tony Reidy – Come What May

Terry McDonagh – A Litany to an Irish Housing Estate

Matthew Sweeney – Shipwrecked

Miceál Kearney – From the Memoirs of John Delaney

Round 3

Miceál Kearney – Upgrade

Terry McDonagh – The Vegetarian Storyteller

Susan Kelly – Don’t You Just Hate It – 2

Tony Reidy – There’s a Baby Crying


Miceál Kearney – Shepherd

Festival Farewell and Close – Sun 23rd

Susie Fry – Crestfallen

Susie Fry – Sweetness

Susie Fry – Doubt

James from Kiltimagh – The Holy Places

James from Kiltimagh – Life’s Losses and Gains

Patty MacNicholas dances a Reel

Noel Burke – Patriots

Noel Burke – Twenty Acre Man

Noel Burke – A Short Little Poem

Matthew Sweeney – Other Worlds

Terry McDonagh – By the Alster Pavillion, Hamburg

Terry McDonagh – A Couple Return