April and May

4th April

Mary Madec

You can listen to Mary’s reading here.

Mary Madec was born and raised in Mayo. She studied at NUI, Galway and at the University of Pennsylvania from which she received a doctorate in Linguistics in 2002. She has taught courses for NUI, Galway, Villanova, UPenn and Open University and is currently Director of the Villanova Study Abroad Program in Galway. In her academic career she has presented at conferences and published articles on the Irish Travellers and language contact between Irish and English inside and outside the Gaeltacht.

In 2003 she started submitting poetry for publication and since that time she has published in Crannóg, West 47, The Cuirt Annual, Poetry Ireland Review, the SHOp, The Sunday Tribune, Southword, Iota, Nth Position, Natural Bridge (University of St Louis, Missouri) and The Stand (University of Leeds, forthcoming); and most recently in The Fox Chase Review (January 2011, Philadelphia) and the anthology, Dogs Singing (Salmonpoetry, December 2010). In Spring 2007 she was chosen for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series and for the WINDOWS Showcase Readings and Anthology. She was an invited reader at Over the Edge, Galway and was chosen for the Over the Edge Showcase in 2008 at the annual Cúirt writing festival. In 2008 she also won the prestigious Hennessy XO Award for Emerging Poetry.

Mary’s first collection, In Other Words,was published by Salmon in May 2010. With her husband, Claude Madec she started up a community-writing project, Away with Words, now in its fourth year; she also gave a Writing Retreat at Kylemore Abbey this Autumn and hopes to offer more in the Spring.


11th April

Ó Bheal’s Fourth Anniversary
(200 nights of Poetry) celebrates with

an Only Other Poets’ Poetry Night

and the launch of Five Words Volume IV

You can listen to poems being read by Ó Bhéal poets from Five Words Vol IV here.

Ó Bhéal’s Fourth Anniversary is being celebrated with the launch of Five Words Volume IV, a mini-anthology of poems written during the Five-Word Challenges held over the last fifty poetry nights up in The Hayoft. Poets reading from the anthology will read contributions by poets other than themselves.

There is to be a double-round open-mic on the night, where anyone can only read anyone else’s poetry, but not their own, so bring a handful of your favourite poems, classical, contemporary or whatever you enjoy! A big thanks to everyone for helping to make Ó Bhéal the event that it is!


18th April

Pat Borthwick

You can listen to Pat’s reading here.

Pat Borthwick has won many poetry prizes including the Amnesty International, Blue Nose Poet of the Year, the Templar Pamphlet Competition, the Italian Poetry on the Lake and the Anglo Canadian Petra Kenney. She received an International Writers’ Hawthornden Award in 2003. She has several pamphlets to her name and three full length collections, Between Clouds and Caves (Littlewood Arc 1990), Swim (Mudfog 2005) and Admiral FitzRoy’s Barometer (Templar 2008).

Billy Collins describes her work as being ‘The real business‘ while Simon Armitage says that ‘her poems are like maps with which you can truly find your way‘. Pat has been Writer in Residence for, among others, a canal, a coalmine, a chalk cliff, allotments, the Howardian Hills and the Yorkshire Wolds. In 2010 she co-ordinated the web-based GPS project in East Yorkshire for the South Bank, London. Currently she is a Creative Writing tutor for the Open College of Arts, Stanza rep for rural Yorkshire and Writer in Residence for the RSPB centre at Bempton Cliffs.

Pat will also be holding a workshop entitled FAST & LOOSE POEMS from 7.00pm to 8.30pm at Ó Bhéal. For more details click here.


25th April

Ó Bhéal in association with Foras na Gaeilge presents

Rita Kelly

You can listen to Rita’s reading here.

Rita Kelly was born in Galway in 1953. Her formative years were spent on the flat plains of East Galway. Though she lived, for a time, with the Chavasse family in Ross House, Oughterard – the home of Violet Martin of the Somerville & Ross duo. In 1972 she married the bilingual writer and poet, Eoghan Ó Tuairisc/Eugene Watters.(1919-1982).

She has lived most of her adult life on the River Barrow in South Kildare. She lived in New York, for 5 years, in the early 90’s. She was in the US because Yale University had placed some of her work on their courses. She writes in Irish & English, poetry, fiction, drama and criticism. Her publications include: Terms of Biology (Schools & Colleges, Dublin 1974); Dialann sa Díseart (le hEoghan Ó Tuairisc) (Coiscéim, Dublin 1981) (poetry); An Bealach Éadóigh (Coiscéim, Dublin 1984) (poetry); The Whispering Arch & Other Stories (Arlen House, Dublin 1986); Farewell/Beir Beannacht (Attic Press, Dublin 1990) (poetry); Travelling West (Arlen House, Dublin 2000) (poetry); Kelly reads Bewick (Arlen House, Dublin 2001) (prose); The Pig is Unclean (Limited edition, California 2006) (prose excerpt); Turas go bun na Spéire (Cló-Iarchonnachta, Galway 2009) (Selected Poetry); and Further Thoughts in a Garden due (Salmon Poetry, Cliffs of Moher, 2011) (poetry).

Her work has been translated into Italian, German, Dutch & French. The work has earned various awards, most recently the prestigious Patrick & Kathleen Kavanagh Memorial Award. Her first literary award 1976, which is very special to her, was judged and granted by John B Keane. She edited many journals and anthologies in Irish & English. Her work has appeared in many journals and anthologies including Southword. She has been Writer-in-Residence for Counties Cavan & Laois and has given creative writing Workshops for 30 years to various groups of writers throughout Ireland, and abroad, to students, to prisoners. She holds an MA in Creative Writing.

Máire Mhac an tSaoi said of her poetry :

Rita Kelly is a love-poet of great lyric power and beauty, but her range is much wider than that. Her startling capacity to transmute brutal experience into universal significance could hardly be better exemplified.
– (Poetry Ireland, 1991)


2nd May

Anne-Marie Fyfe

You can listen to Anne-Marie’s reading here.

Anne-Marie Fyfe (b. Cushendall, Co. Antrim) has four collections of poetry including, most recently, Understudies: New and Selected Poems (Seren Books, 2010); has won the Academi Cardiff International Poetry Prize; has organised and facilitated the Coffee-House Poetry reading series, plus workshops, classes and seminars, at London’s Troubadour Coffee-House since 1997.

She also founded the creative-writing strand of the John Hewitt International Summer School in Armagh, co-founded, and co-organises, the Hewitt Spring Festival in the Glens of Antrim, has been writer in Residence for the Poetry Trust’s Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, was chair of the Poetry Society from 2007-2010 and has taught creative-writing at festivals, conferences, literary venues, schools, colleges and writers’ groups for many years (see www.annemariefyfe.com and www.coffeehousepoetry.org)

Anne-Marie will also be holding a workshop entitled Journey Without Maps from 7.00pm to 8.30pm at Ó Bhéal. For more details click here.


9th May

Michael Farry

Michael Farry is a founder member and current secretary of Boyne Writers Group, Trim, Ireland and is the editor of the group’s magazine, Boyne Berries. He has been selected for Poetry Ireland Introductions 2011. His chapbook The Hawk’s Rock – A Poetry Sequence was published as part of a collaboration with Sligo artist Conor Gallagher in September 2010.

He has had poems published in Crannog, Revival, Carillon, The Stony Thursday Book, The SHOp and A Modest Review (forthcoming). He has been the featured reader at a White House Reading in Limerick, at a Last Wednesday Reading in Dublin and a Poetry in Motion Reading in Drogheda. He had three poems included in Windows Publications Authors and Artists Introduction series No 9.

In 2008 he was awarded second prize in both the Goldsmith Poetry competition and the Dromineer Poetry competition in Ireland. In 2009 he was awarded third prize in the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Competition and was a finalist in the Aesthetica Creative Works Competition, was shortlisted for the Bridport Poetry Competition, longlisted for the Plough Poetry Prize. In 2010 he won the second prize in the Goldsmith Poetry competition and had a poem Highly Commended in the iYeats Poetry competition.


16th May

Kathy D’Arcy

You can listen to Kathy’s reading here.

Kathy D’Arcy is a Cork poet whose first collection Encounter was recently published by Lapwing Publications. She studies and teaches Irish women’s literature, and is a member of several writers’ groups. Her short play, Retreat was performed in the Granary Theatre in 2008, and This is My Constitution, her play based on women’s campaign protesting the 1937 constitution, is currently being performed in various venues. She currently works with homeless young people in Cork.


23rd May

Richard Halperin

You can listen to Richard’s reading here.

Richard W. Halperin will read mainly from his debut poetry collection Anniversary (Salmon Poetry, 2010), which Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin calls ‘a passionate exploration of what makes life beautiful and devastating, a journey in delight, bereavement and above all memory .

Mr. Halperin is Irish-U.S. and lives in Paris. Since 2005, over 100 poems have appeared in journals in Ireland and the U.K., including THE SHOp, Revival, Cyphers, Poetry Ireland Review and The Stony Thursday Book. In 2010 he read at the West Cork, Goldsmith and Hopkins literary festivals; at Glenstal Abbey; and at the Hawk’s Well Theatre, Sligo, as part of the IYeats poetry competition.


30th May

Siobhan Mac Mahon and musician/songwriter Sabrina Piggott

You can listen to Siobhan and Sabrina’s performance here.

Siobhan Mac Mahon is an Irish Performance Poet and Playwright resident in Leeds. The live experience of the Spoken Word is at the heart and centre of her work and she has many years of experience delighting audiences with her vital and often comic performances.

Her current piece, The Mouth of the Cave, (Arts Council funded) which she performs with Musician Sabrina Piggott, is a passionate and provocative piece of Performance Poetry and music invoking the magic, myths and mayhem of the ancient Irish Goddesses and their modern day counterparts, interweaving word, sound, music and drumming. Siobhan writes and performs widely as well as devising and running projects which explore and celebrate the spoken word, both for schools and community groups. She co founded and ran Wicked Words, a monthly, vibrant Spoken Word evening in Leeds and received Arts council funding to set up Voices of Women, a project encouraging and celebrating diverse women’s voices.

She has performed her poetry at Festivals, Arts Centres and theatres including: Stanza poetry festival, Scotland, the Ilkley Literature festival, Bradford Book Festival, Seven Arts centre, Leeds, the Halifax Irish festival, the Drum Arts centre, Birmingham, Seven Arts centre, Leeds, the Morley literature arts festival, Wicklow Arts festival, Ireland. Sirius Arts Centre, Cobh, Ireland. She was the winner of the Ilkley literature Festival Open Mic 2008 and Sheffield Off the Shelf literature Festival ‘Poet Star’ 2006.
Siobhan originally trained as an Architect before training in drama at the Drama Studio London, she is a member of Equity and of NAWE

‘A declaration for Life by a very talented poet who gives us a liberating glimpse of an alternate way of being’ – Halifax Irish Festival

‘In her Irish lilt Mac Mahon brought magic to even the most mundane aspects of life’ – Bradford Telegraph and Argus.

‘Prepare to be swept along by a swirling, heady evocation of the joy, ecstasy, existential excitement and libidinous energy submerged in us for so long and now prompted as possibility by this explosive playfest of word crafting.’ – Joe Sheeran, Arts programmer.


Sabrina Piggott is a Cobh native now resident in the Yorkshire Dales. Her songs are full of a sense of open spaces and possibility; she has taken her rich traditional music background and fused it organically with an eclectic range of influences from Tricky to Kate Rusby, from Bjork to Kristen Hersh. Backed by gifted Leeds djembe player Mark Taylor, and the sympathetic cello of David Hornberger, this will be a musical homecoming for a genuine songwriting talent. Since leaving Cobh in the mid 1990’s to attend University in Leeds, she has quietly been crafting her unique style.

Best known for her virtuoso Bodhran playing, and through her work as Chair of the Leeds based Irish Arts Foundation, she has spent the last two years honing the material for her ?rst album, and has been paying her dues gigging around the north of England, and recently did a mini-tour in and around New York. Though music fans around Cork will know her as the niece of De Dannan’s Charlie Piggott, she has been determined to stand on her own merits and has self-?nanced her debut so as to preserve her artistic independence. Not content just to develop her own work, she has also provided the musical accompaniment for acclaimed poet Siobhan MacMahon’s award-winning work The Mouth of the Cave, which featured this year at the Wicklow Arts Festival.