Culture Night 2014 – 19 Sept

Once a year in September, all over Ireland, arts and cultural organisations, venues of all shapes and sizes, including the National Galleries, Museum & Library, open late with special events and workshops to promote public engagement with creativity and the Arts.

Culture Night has grown from a small scale cultural event, staged in Dublin in 2006, into a significant national cultural event, attracting 350,000 visitors to museums, galleries, historic houses, artists’ studios and cultural centres across the country. It’s a wonderful initiative, with events to cater for all age-groups and cultural tastes, putting our island’s creative heritage front and centre for 24 hours for everyone to enjoy.

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St. Patrick’s Day Poem: Seamus Heaney

It’s St. Patrick’s Day, a national holiday here in Ireland.

A couple of hours ago, sitting at my kitchen table in Dublin, I could hear the drums and hoop-la of the parade in the streets, gathering nearby, preparing to march off down O’Connell Street and into the throng of the city crowds. Now, it’s helicopters circling.

In a little while, great swathes of the population and the visiting diaspora will be getting down to the serious business of green-clad, good-natured St. Patrick’s Day boisterousness. They’ll be drinking and dancing in the streets long into the night.

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A Week in Words: Feb 23

I’m having a bit of a Goldilocks moment.

My favourite kitchen / writing chair has collapsed, after many years service and much ominous groaning / creaking; I am bereft. Comfy for typing, reading and even occasional lounging – I fear I will not see its like again.

Look out for a pyre of wicker, floating on the North Dublin canal, en route to Chair Valhalla. Poems will be written, songs will be sung, in its honour.

This is a grave setback, as clearly no writing proper can be attempted without a suitably empathic chair. I’ve dragged various others from around the house and tried them out in its place but none will do – one is too tall, another too short, one too hard, another too narrow. A writing chair needs to be just right.

Maybe A Week in Words will distract me from the dilemma.

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New Poem: Right of Reply

Costume Shop Window, Dublin, Team Panti

My poem, ‘Right of Reply’ – an invitation to the journalists and Catholic think-tank at the centre of the Irish homophobia debacle and RTE libel case – is published today on Poetry 24.

Right of Reply

Come on your belly, if your legs can’t carry
the weight of your moral certitude;

set us an example in tolerance,
the noble art of rising above;

instruct us how to love one another,
as you have loved, as He has loved you;

teach us the lessons of physical restraint,
show us the stones in your pocket, unthrown;

Peacemakers, merciful, meek and pure
show us the rewards of righteousness are yours.

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Poetry24 features poetry responding to current news stories and events and are always open to receiving topical poetry – here are Poetry24’s submission guidelines.

Photo: Costume Boutique, Castle Market St, Dublin 2 – one of a number of Dublin businesses showing their support for Team Panti.

A Week in Words: Feb 9

I was off a-reading at The Ash Sessions: Cover of Love yesterday (more of that, coming soon) so the Sunday round-up comes to you Monday instead. Surely, the declamation of love poetry on the streets of Ranelagh, warming the hearts and minds of the populace is a thoroughly acceptable excuse?

Here’s what caught my eye, ear and funny bone this week.

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A Week in Words: Feb 2

Photo by Thierry Legault

I come across a lot of great articles on-line about poetry, writing, creativity and the Arts and usually share them on my Facebook page / Twitter. Of course, if you’re not on Facebook or Twitter (seriously?), and even if you are, it’s all to easy to miss out on a gem.

So, I’m going to do a round-up post once a week of my favourite reads to enjoy over Sunday brunch or relaxing, with your feet up in the evening.

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What it Means to be Free

This isn’t the post I’d intended to write today but this story has consumed Ireland over the past few weeks and it just keeps growing.

3 weeks ago, Irish performer and LGBTQ activist, Rory O’Neill, best known for his drag character, ‘Miss Panti Bliss‘, appeared on a national chat show and talked about Ireland’s changing attitude to homosexuality.

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