November 15th, 2009 at 1:53 pm
Posted by pc in Poetry Events and News

Féile Bheag Filíochta

6-8 November 2009

It marked another magical excursion into the west Kerry gaeltacht as ten poets from Ó Bhéal and as many from Limerick and Tralee descended on Ballyferriter’s little poetry festival. Due to rapid expansion and popularity since it began a few years ago, the festival committee are now calling for a new name for this annual event.

This year featured workshops and a reading by Waterville-based Paddy Bushe as well as a lecture on local history by Dr. Deirdre Nic Mhathúna. After settling into the local cuisine on Saturday evening, we were welcomed by Máirín Feirtéar (the last living descendant of Piaras Feirtéar) and Domhnall MacSithigh, in the theatre at Tigh ui Chatháin. After a short reading by Paddy Bushe, Máirín and Domhnall then chaired the yearly open-mic, which is for me the festival highlight, giving stage to a variety of quality poets, chiefly from across Munster.

As per last year, the next morning we found ourselves once again comfortably gathered in Dingle, packed into Diseart chapel and bathing under the magnificent stained-glass windows of Harry Clarke. Firstly we were treated to an excerpt and dramatisation from Noel Ó Briain’s translation of Cúirt an Méan-Oíche (The Midnight Court), played out by Noel and Áine Moynihan. This was followed by readings from all the poets present from Limerick’s Whitehouse, Cork’s Ó Bhéal, Tralee’s Doghouse and local poets, chaired by Bríd Ní Mhórain, Billy Ramsell and Bertha McCullagh.

The festival closed over a well-deserved breakfast at the Garden Café where much talk was given to next year’s return to Ballyferriter. A big thanks is due to the Féile Bheag Filíochta committee for organising this event, which holds a uniquely special place on Munster’s annual poetry landscape. Make it next year if you can!

The videos and review are here.

November 3rd, 2009 at 6:15 pm
Posted by pc in Poetry Events and News


Jazz-Poetry Night 09

26 October


Ó Bhéal’s Jazz-Poetry night was all a-buzz yet again this year with the BACKRA MeN, over from Coventry with Jon Morley on poetry, Si Hayden on bass and Ben Haines on drums. For most at the event this made a relaxed and excellent end to the festival. The band even took on Romanian guest poet Denisa Mirena Pi?cu’s poetry from her brand new hot off the press collection, Disposable People.

For videos from the night click here.

September 22nd, 2009 at 2:16 pm
Posted by pc in Poetry Events and News

Munster Slam Championships


Tobias Manderson-Galvin and Tom McCarthy

21 September 2009

18 poets from across Munster competed in two rounds last night at Ó Bhéal to produce this year’s Munster Slam Champ, Tobias Manderson-Galvin, and runner-up, Tom McCarthy. Congratulations to both, who will represent Munster in the 2009 All-Ireland Slam Championships held this year in Galway on the 26th of October. North Beach Nights will be hosting the event, which alternates annually between the four provinces.

Congratulations to all the contestants who were all on top form, Rosalyn Blue, Donna Coogan, John Carmody, Ed O’Dwyer, Marie Coveney, Paddy Doyle, Seamus Harrington, Tobias Manderson-Galvin, Lorcan Murray, Mary O’Connell, Ciaran O’Driscoll, Jonni O’Gorman, Rosie O’Regan, Stephen O’Riordan, Christy Parker, Tom McCarthy, Colm Scully and Patricia Walsh.

Videos of all the performances are this way.

July 18th, 2009 at 12:24 am
Posted by pc in Poetry Events and News

Twin Cities
Poetry Exchange

with reviews, mp3s and poetry from

Cork and Coventry poets

May and June 2009

This year’s Cork-Coventry twin-cities poetry exchange turned out to be far more exciting and fruitful than any of the participants had imagined … from Coventry, Kenilworth and Stratford to Cork, Kinsale, Allihies, Waterville, Dublin and Belfast.

For the complete review written in eight seperate voices with photos, mp3s and poetry, click here.

March 8th, 2009 at 6:40 pm
Posted by pc in Poetry Events and News

Zebra Poetry-Film Festival Highlights

1 – 2 April 2009 @ The Triskel Arts Centre

For poets and filmmakers alike, these were two events not to be missed. Zebra is a high-profile event held in Berlin, combining the two art forms of poetry and film in every way imaginable.
             Still from The Dead

We first made the link with Berlin when Pat Cotter from the Munster Literature Centre initiated a four-poet expedition to Zebra in October 2008. After introductions and five days of poetry-films, the organisers agreed to showcase the festival in two Cork events organised by Ó Bhéal, which were then made possible with help from the Goethe Institute and the Triskel Arts Centre. The events here sparked much debate about how to realise poetry films, which are budget-flexible artworks that can be made very simply or with much complexity. They can be thirty seconds long or thirty minutes. Recent poetry films seem to be weighted on the side of visual effect and we have started working on a few local projects that will give more weight to the poetry end, with perhaps more innovative and simple camerawork. Animation overlaying is a lot easier now with the range of software out there, and we don’t have to create Matrix-level images to make a good poetry film.

The Zebra festival attracts entries from many parts of the world, and there tends to be a lot of integrated animation. Although Ireland has not quite yet advanced in the field of animation, as poets we now have a whole generation of young film-makers to collaborate with, and they in turn have inherited a wealth of fine local poets to choose from (as well as worldwide). Films can be made of classic pieces or poems can be written for a film concept. The combinations of possibilities offered by these two art forms seem inexhaustible. From over 700 entries about 140 made it to the festival screen, so filmmakers can benefit from this exposure and double their submissions into short film festivals.

Details of the Zebra Poetry Film Festival can be found on the Literaturewerkstatt website, here.



November 28th, 2008 at 10:00 pm
Posted by pc in Poetry Events and News

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.

Videos of the Saturday Slam and poems read on the Sunday are this way.

November 19th, 2008 at 7:00 pm
Posted by pc in Poetry Events and News

Twin Cities Celebration

with poetry from

Jon Morley and Anthony Owen

17 November 2008

Cork’s first Twin City was Coventry, established in 1958. In celebrating the 50th anniversary of this valuable relationship, Ó Bhéal hosted two of Coventry’s more prominent masters of verse, Jonathan Morley and Anthony Owen. The evening was attended by Deputy Lord Mayor Jim Corr, who addressed the audience with an inspired speech, acknowledging the importance of poetry and the long-established link between the two cities.

As Anthony had to reluctantly fly back due to unforeseen circumstances, six of Ó Bhéal’s regular poets, Billy Ramsell, Alan Coakley, Daw Harding, Joe Sweeney, Bríd Buckley and myself each read one of his poems, before Jonathan Morley took to the stage to recite from his forthcoming collection, Backra Man.

The videos from the evening are here.

November 19th, 2008 at 6:40 pm
Posted by pc in Poetry Events and News

2nd All Ireland Live Poetry Championships

held in the Whitehouse, Limerick

Winner: Dónal Ó Siodhacháin (Munster)

12 November 2008

Munster poet Dónal Ó Siodhacháin took the title back from Connaught this year at the second All-Ireland Poetry Slam Championships, moving from Ulster in its inaugural year to Limerick’s legendary Whitehouse. Regular compere Barney Shehan passed the reins over to eMCee and guest poet Steve Murray for this high-paced event which proved its worth a hundredfold with excellent performances from all around the island.

The first All-Ireland Slam was in McHugh’s in Belfast last year, a fantastic event where Brendan Murphy from Galway took the crown. Next year it will be held in either Leinster or Connaught. Congratulations to champ Dónal Ó Siodhacháin, to Stephen Smith who took second place, Dave Lordan who took third, as well as to Dominic Taylor and Desmond Swords for making it all possible.

You can see the main videos from the night here.

November 19th, 2008 at 6:20 pm
Posted by pc in Poetry Events and News

Ballyferriter’s Little Poetry Festival

7-9 November 2008

In the Gaeltacht poetry seems to be a part of everything. It’s in the language, the scenery and especially the hospitality. What a weekend! 9 poets from Cork and about the same from Limerick converged on the West Dingle peninsula only to be met by two score more of local filí and storytellers. After a first-rate appraisal workshop with Gabriel FitzMaurice on Saturday afternoon, everyone settled in for a meal and an evening of Mighty Craic, including a fiery three hour open-mic session, emceed by Domhnall MacSíthigh and Máirín Feirtéar, herself a direct descendant of the original Ferriters who ruled the North Dingle peninsula from the 13th to the 17th Centuries. The poetry flowed non-stop as did various other liquid substances, and was followed by a late late oiche fada.

The next morning (don’t ask) there were readings from local poets, from Ó Bhéal and Limerick’s Whitehouse chaired by Ceaití Ní Bheildiúin over in Dingle, after a tour of Harry Clarke’s church windows by Monseigneur Pádraig Ó Fiannachta (now retired). Well I for one didn’t want to leave, and I heard a few others say the same. Ballyferriter must be the perfect place for a new poetry retreat. Any takers out there?

This elegant, heartening event, organised and hosted annually by poet and potter Louis Mulcahy, has etched its way firmly into my 2009 diary. Thanks Louis. May there be many more!

The videos from the Sunday morning are here.

November 19th, 2008 at 6:05 pm
Posted by pc in Poetry Events and News



Joseph Horgan, Áine Moynihan,
Gréagóir O Dúill
and Eileen Sheehan

7 November 2008

On Friday evening at Siamsa Tíre in Tralee, poetry enthusiasts gathered to enjoy four poets who have each had collections published by Noel King and DOGHOUSE books in 2008. Since its inception in 2003 this successful Kerry house has established a number of highly regarded poets and has since become Munster’s primary publishing vessel for individual collections.

To see the videos of the evening click here.

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