Speakeasy Session November 26th

Another stimulating and entertaining evening at Speakeasy. FREE ENTRANCE.

We are doing something a little bit different at the November Speakeasy. Joining us on the night will be the author of the immensely popular ‘Irishman’s Diary’ column in the Irish Times, Frank McNally. Investigative journalist Frank Connolly will also be with us to read from his debut novel ‘A Conspiracy of Lies’ – and award-winning poet Paul McMahon will be there to share some of his wonderful poetry. Open mic later. 8pm Tuesday 26th November, The Tanyard Bar, Main Street, Skibbereen.

Frank Connolly

Frank is an investigative journalist who has written extensively on current affairs and politics in Ireland for over 35 years. His journalism contributed to the establishment of two judicial tribunals into planning and police corruption. He has worked with numerous Irish media organisations over the years and has been a regular contributor on radio and television news and current affairs programmes. Frank is Head of Communications at SIPTU. A graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, he has also lectured in journalism and regularly appears at book and cultural festivals and events to promote his work.

Sharing the stage with Frank will be student Molly O’Halloran, who will read passages from the character of Angie.

His first novel ‘A Conspiracy of Lies’ (Mercier Press) was published in April, 2019. His previous books include the best-selling ‘Tom Gilmartin: the Man who brought down a

Taoiseach’ (Gill & Macmillan,2014) and NAMA-Land (Gill, 2017). He is also the editor of ‘The Christy Moore Songbook’ (Brandon, 1984).

Frank McNally

Frank was born on a farm in Monaghan and, after leaving school, served almost 10 years of a life sentence in the Department of Social Welfare in Dublin, before escaping. He joined the Irish Times as a reporter in 1994, becoming Dail Sketch writer and for a time the unofficial replacement to Maeve Binchy, among other things. Since 2006, he has been chief writer, 4 days a week, of the Irishman’s/woman’s Diary.  He writes on subjects including parliament, the peace process, and the annual invasion of his kitchen by ants.

Paul McMahon

Paul is a Poet and Playwright from Belfast. His poetry has been published in The Threepenny Review, The Salt Anthology of New Writing, The Montreal International Poetry Prize Global Anthology, The Atlanta Review, Crab Creek Review, Fusion/Berklee College of Music, The Keats-Shelley Review, Agenda, Ambit, Orbis, The Interpreters House, The Alan Stillitoe Anthology/ “More Raw Material”, The Moth, Southword, Revival, The Stony Thursday Book, Crannog, Abridged, ROPES, Hennessy New Irish Writing/ Irish Independent, The Irish Examiner, Poetry Salzburg Review, and others.

Currently nominated for the Forward Prize for poetry, his poetry prizes include first prize in The Keats-Shelley Poetry Prize, 2015, (judge: Carol Ann Duffy), The Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize, 2012, (judge: Matthew Sweeney), The Nottingham Open Poetry Prize, 2012, (judge: Neil Astley), The Westport Poetry Prize, 2012, (judge: Dermot Healy), The Golden Pen Poetry Prize, 2011, and second prize in both The Basil Bunting Poetry Award, 2012, (judge: August Kleinzahler –United States Poet Laureate) and The Salt International Poetry Prize, 2013, (judges: Chris and Jen Hamilton-Emery).

Plus open mic sessions.

Tanyard Bar, Skibbereen 8-10.30 pm

A Conspiracy of Lies
Frank Connolly
April 2019
Three big bangs shook Dublin in May 1974.
Angie and Joe meet in the wake of the single worst atrocity of the
Troubles. Brought together by the effect of the bombings on their lives,
these two young people set out on a quest to discover who is
responsible, facing confrontation with dark forces in Irish and British
This thriller is set among the cultural and political life of Dublin in the
1970s. Angie and Joe’s relationship deepens as they delve into the
shocking political and criminal landscape surrounding those in high
places with the blood of innocents on their hands. But the more they find
out, the deeper they become embroiled in a world they don’t understand,
and the consequences could be devastating.
Frank Connolly is an investigative journalist who has written extensively
on current affairs and politics in Ireland over the past 30 years. His
journalism contributed to the establishment of two judicial tribunals into
planning and police corruption. He has worked with numerous Irish
media organisations over the years and has been a regular contributor on
radio and television news and current affairs programmes. A graduate
of Trinity College, Dublin, he has also lectured in journalism and
regularly appears at book and cultural festivals and events to promote
his work. He is currently Head of Communications at SIPTU. His
previous books include Tom Gilmartin: the Man who brought down a
Taoiseach and NAMA-Land , and he is the editor of The Christy
Moore Songbook.
Product format:Paperback
Price: €16.99; £14.50
ISBN: 978 1 78117 662 7
Extent: 352 pp
Format: 215 x135mm

Info here

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Poems by Italian poet Daniele Serafini

Return to Campoformido
to my father Tullio, aviator

Returning to Campoformido
it is as if your photo
(the one in your flying jacket
Your comrades close by
& your face unguarded to the future)
had never been taken.

Returning to Campoformido
it was as if, unexpectedly,
you stepped from the family album
to retrieve, this moonless night,
a brief flare of youth
a gleam of wings
that never bend to the wind
nor flex with time.

Returning to Campoformido
it is as if, for a time,
you were twenty again
and asked me with a knowing smile
to uproot our shadows from the earth
to prepare to fly together
this time without a parachute.

Translated by William Wall

from “When we were kings”

The Marsh
The marsh is a boundary
a spineless caesura
suspended in the emptiness
the real world
that makes itself unreal

the hare sucked into the headlights,
the moorhen forced
to stubborn flight,
the loyal eel
migrating and returning,

the marsh is horizon and prison,
tamarisk and sandy bottom,
it is a net cast into nothing,
into air
that smells of creosote

the marshes are a leavetaking tender
and pitiless
it is an obstinate footprint,
it is the morning breaking
on the salt meadows

the marsh is a baby
just walking
in a sepia-tinted snap.

The marsh is the secret box,
the inviolable looking glass
of the time when we were kings.

Translated by William Wall

from “When we were kings”
Translated by William Wall

The words, diaphanous
and incorporeal,
inhabit the silence
lingering in
the uncertain light,
in the dissolve
of the sea.

Words are dog roses,
whited out
in the dusty evening.

If words could
restore to us the voices, gestures,
faces long turned to shades,
the becoming of late roses

if they could slip
between the chant
and the disenchantment
of the silent gods
or fix for a moment
the eternal mutability
of history.

If they could just take
flesh and blood
and take this blow
if words could only
call forth islands
or voice the ecstasy
and torment
of the time when we were kings.

In Praise of Shadow

There where at its utmost
The landscape unfolds
Ravenna lies laden –
Orphan of salt and wind.

But if past the plain
Other life is shadowed,
Draws comfort,
It’s the modest word to be looked for here –
Not bombastic phrases
Where blankness gets denser.

Transl. by Harry Guest



a mio padre, aviatore

Tornando a Campoformido

è come se la tua foto,

quella con la tuta da volo

stretto ai compagni di squadriglia

e il volto dischiuso al futuro,

non fosse mai stata scattata.

Tornando a Campoformido

è come se, all’improvviso,

tu uscissi dall’album di famiglia

per ritrovare, nella sera illune,

un bagliore di giovinezza

una luminescenza d’ali

che non si piegano al vento

né al flettersi del tempo.

Tornando a Campoformido

è come se, d’un tratto,

tu avessi di nuovo vent’anni

e mi chiedessi, con un sorriso complice,

di staccare le nostre ombre da terra

per prepararci insieme

a un decollo senza paracadute.

a “Quando eravamo re”


La valle è linea di confine

una cesura invertebrata

sospesa nel nulla

il mondo reale

che si fa irreale


è la lepre inghiottita dai fari

la folaga costretta

a un volo ostinato

l’anguilla fedele

nel suo migrare e tornare


la valle è orizzonte e prigione

tamerice e fondale sabbioso

è un gettar reti nel vuoto

in un’aria

che sa di catrame


la valle è congedo lieve

e spietato

è un’orma ostinata

è il mattino che s’apre

sui prati salmastri


la valle è un bimbo

in cammino

in una foto seppiata.


La valle è lo scrigno segreto

lo specchio inviolato

di quando eravamo re.

da “Quando eravamo re”



Le parole, diafane

e incorporee,

abitano il silenzio

indugiando nel tremolio

della luce,

nella dissolvenza

del mare.


Le parole sono rose

di macchia

lucciole incanutite

nel pulviscolo serale.


Se le parole potessero

restituire le voci, i gesti,

i volti divenuti ombre,

il divenire delle rose tardive


se potessero incunearsi

tra il canto  e il disincanto

degli dèi silenti

o fissare, per un attimo,

l’eterno mutare della storia.


Se solo potessero

farsi corpo e sangue

e arginare questo urto

di realtà

se le parole potessero

evocare isole lontane

o dire l’estasi e lo strazio

di quando eravamo re.



Là dove estremo

si apre il paesaggio

Ravenna gravida giace

orfana di sale e di vento.


Ma se oltre la piana

altra vita s’adombra

e trae conforto,

è la parola schiva

che qui cerchi

non la frase ampollosa

dove il vuoto s’addensa. 


  i.m. George Best

Neve alle porte della città, vento

di tramontana e sciopero generale

il giorno che morì George Best.

Davanti al Cromwell Hospital

fotografi, reporter e una piccola folla

attendeva il commiato del più grande

tra i poeti del calcio

(già presagio lo era il suo nome)

Old Trafford in lutto, una maglia

numero sette rosso tramonto, colletto bianco,

risplende nello stadio dove con passo

di danza, asciutto e imperioso, scrivesti

la tua leggenda e quella dei Red Devils.

Ventinove maggio Sessantotto, finale di Coppa,

persino il grande Eusebio e il Benfica

oscurasti, con movenze leggere, con tackle

dannati e un’aria noncurante di angelo

che regala magie su quel campo

che ancora riluce della tua maestria

… per poi aggredire la notte e nutrirla

di donne, di vino, di auto

e falciare strade e brughiere

con volto affilato e tagliente

Tu, demone stanco nell’arsura di Aden

bagnata dal mare, tu, ritrovato Rimbaud,

lasciavi molto prima del tempo –

lasciavi per sopravvivere a te stesso.


Mercenario in terre lontane,

un giorno fu più forte il richiamo

della verde Inghilterra, ma lì,

non più folle né stadi, solo furia

e malinconia nei pub dorati

di Hampstead e Chelsea,

mescolando l’ebbrezza

al ricordo di Law e Bobby Charlton: –

Ancor più esiliato, confondesti

con l’alcool piacere e tormento,

nelle notti sempre più lunghe,

nel sogno sempre più breve.

Neve alle porte della città, sciopero

generale, e il vento che incanutiva

il giorno triste che morì George Best.

The George Best died 

(i.m. George Best) 

Snow at the gates of the city, wind

from the mountains, a general strike

on the day George Best died.

Outside the Cromwell Hospital

paparazzi, a small crowd awaiting

the dismissal of the best of all

of the poets of the game

(already signalled in his name).

Old Trafford grieving, a number seven

jersey the colour of sunset, a white collar,

flares above the stadium where

with a dancer’s step, precise, imperious,

you would inscribe your legend

and that of the Red Devils.

Twenty-ninth of May, ’68, Cup Final Day,

even the great Eusebio and Benfica

eclipsed by your finesse, your accursed tackles

and your air of careless angels

which bless you with magic on the field

re-illumined by your mastery

… for a time to batter the dark, to feed it

with women, with wine, with cars

and hard tackles and roads and moorlands

with a stern abrasive face.

You, demon, scorched in the heat of Aden

soaked by the sea, you, Rimbaud reborn,

you left long before your time –

you left to survive yourself.

Mercenary in a distant land,

one day England’s call

was too strong, but there were no more 

crowds nor stadiums, only the fury

of Hampstead and Chelsea

booze and memories of Law 

and Bobby Charlton: –

Even more an exile you 

bewilder yourself with drink, pleasure 

and torment in the always too long night,

in the always too brief dream.

Snow at the gates of the city, a general

strike, and the fading wind

the sad day of the death of George Best.

 Translated by William Wall 


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Six poems by multiple award winner Anton Floyd

At Lough Allua

You dipped gently
your hand into the lake
to test the colour
of the lapping water.

It was the purest blue
an intense ultramarine
as if time had processed
the world’s store of lapis
and had lavished this gift
this mesmerising pigment
remaking this place
as all encompassing
as the frescoes adorning
the Scrovegni chapel walls.

Whatever it was –
the angle of the sun
the blue vault of sky
the surface tension
rippling outwards
its mercurial mirrors –

I was standing
behind and above you
holding your shoulders
to keep you from slipping
when it appeared
your head radiated
such pulses of light
for all the world
you more than ever
were my own angel
seen through Giotto’s eyes.

Halcyon Days

Oh, those halcyon days
that uncomplicated time
when you were young
when once barefoot
you careered the slope
of a summer-green field
your hair streaming
behind you and you
blithe in the balmy air
your arms outspread
ready for flight. Time
then, made all things
lovely, simple as honeysuckle
climbing and catching light.

The Faultlines

The cyclamens are in bloom.
They wear crowns of blood red.
I cannot guess at what is needed
for you to find some equilibrium.
Perhaps a form of healing words
might serve, some potent spell
and you will, like a startled bird
tumbling in mid-flight, regain control.
Even today as you playback time,
rewinding the faultlines of your past,
you revive episodes and names that chime
with blame – we’re all players in that cast.
Yes, scars hurt, yet when love forgives love’s wrongs,
hurt dissolves like a wafer on the tongue.

Bellapais, Cyprus
i.m. Lawrence Durrell
for Alma Pietroni

The sun has passed mid sky.
Great lion pads of rock
inching from the foothills
have begun to throw
their shadows forwards.

This coarse brown loaf
tastes so good. Nicolas says.
Am I imagining it or
does the air smell of lemons?
On a day like this
Shibboleths prove nothing.
What do they matter
those badges of division?

Go on, repeat them
if you can, the names
of the kings, the men
who came to conquer
that coastal plain below.

i.m. Hugh McKinley

If you could lick my heart, it would poison you
a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto

At coastal Kition
the sough of waves,
the breezes in the palms
underscore the night.
And riding wavelengths
of another sort
are midnight sounds
human noises confirming
in houses in waterfront cafés
apartments and hotels
in the revel-rout of neon bars
around the minarets and towers
the complexities of love
and sleaze around the port.

There’s a stillness in that current’s swirl
where Byzantine domes harbour
the icon of the relic saint.
He who on these cathedral walls
in the auric glow of awe and pity
sets the perennial question of the dark.
And to assuage their angel hunger
they light a million candles
the pilgrims from the streets
flaming tongues to purge the vanities
that poison their conceits
and in his mythic presence
make bonfires of their hearts.

Rough-hewn steps lead down
to the second grave of the man
from Bethany. He, the four days dead,
in the stench of desiccated breath
unwound his alien tales, scrolled
on the linen of his winding sheet,
tales that reset his world
like a black star on a bobbin spinning.

Lazarus iconic or Lazarus the saint
relived his life and wanted it darker,
his laughter turned to mourning
for the lost in the abyss. And the magic
of these candles burning mirrored in this gold
is the dancing of a firelight that’s cold.

Time’s Plague
prompted by Gloucester’s line in Shakespeare’s King Lear.

It’s the time’s plague when madmen lead
the blind blithely towards the cliff
and blame’s their one and only creed.
It’s the time’s plague when madmen lead
and clowns are licenced to proceed
with truth set rudderless adrift.
It’s the time’s plague when madmen lead
the blind blithely towards the cliff.

Anton Floyd was born in Egypt and raised in the Cyprus. Educated in Ireland, he studied at Trinity College Dublin and University College Cork. He has lived and worked in the Eastern Mediterranean variously as a teacher, school principal, artistic director and producer. He is now teaching in Cork City and lives near Inchigeelagh in West Cork.  His poems are widely published and forthcoming in Ireland and elsewhere. He is a several times prizewinner of the Irish Haiku Society International Competition; runner-up in the Snapshot Press Haiku Calendar Competition and most recently received a highly commended in the Anam Cara competition. He received the 2019 Literary Award of The Dazzling Spark Arts Foundation based in Scotland and Macau.

His poems were included in the anthology Between the Leaves (Arlen House) and the anthology Teachers Who Write (ed. Edward Denniston WTC 2018). He edited Remembrance Suite, a chapbook of sonnets by Shirin Sabri (2018) and an international anthology of poems, Point by Point (2018).  His own debut collection of poems, Falling into Place, was published by Revival Press (2018).


Falling into Place

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Padraig Belton introduces the Story Slam 2019

I am a journalist, and here to report that the art of storytelling is alive and thriving in West Cork.  As a reporter I am a paid storyteller, some of them, hopefully, true.

We are all storytellers, in this country—telling stories, some of them true. With a charming inattention to mere facts and an unfailing attention to the story’s life breathing beneath. At least in a story we tell each other about ourselves. We tell stories about ourselves, for self-understanding—life lived forward is understood backwards as narrative, Kierkegaard tells us.

Storytelling reveals meaning, says Hannah Arendt, without committing the error of defining it. Listening to stories makes communities, gathering under the Angelus bell, gathering in Béal na mBláth, gathering last 25th May in Dublin Castle. From stories’ power follows the responsibility of we who tell them— we, deciding who villains are, the identity of yesterday’s long suffering hero, the source of tomorrow’s hero’s pains.

You can tell a powerful story where the villains are European Commissioners, and migrants from France and Poland. People would retell it, to each other, on the radio, on Twitter. It doesn’t mean you should.

One of my own stories was a wet journey here to West Cork, running alone from Malin to Mizen, 400 slow miles. Along the country, from Derry to Omagh to Enniskillen to Ballinamore to Longford to Portumna to Limerick City, locals thought a budget sequel was being filmed to Shaun of the Dead. I stayed with lovely madmen, in Athlone and Charleville and Bantry, opening their wet door in the night to a fragrant mass of clothes, dripping painkiller.

We are from an island that—at Croagh Patrick—in circles barefoot, passes Lent. My own personal Lent after my mother’s death led me to cycle Land’s End to John o’Groats, then Malin to 50 kilometres away from us, Mizen, both times arriving on her anniversary. The second rainy time I had the forethought at least to go downhill.

Mizen has 99 steps, down which I did not descend. Known anciently for Ptolemy as Νότιον ἄκρον, Notion akron, for many it was the last, or first, glimpse of Europe. This week, Ireland and Skibereen seems an appropriate place to peep at the last glimpse of Europe.

In a country like this one, a sovereignty of strong narratives, I must confess a fondness for insurgent stories, flying columns, hurling commas against the stories of which our grandparents were fondest. And so the real life story of Linda Ervine, the Irish language activist from Protestant East Belfast, pleases me.

And objects tell stories, too – the National Museum preserves the uniform of Michael Collins, born 20 kilometers from here. It also contains Pearse’s spectacles from 1916, and a razor, not Ockham’s, but 1916 rebel Tom Clarke’s. That we keep them tells a story on us.

So it pleases me too that only yesterday, a woman called Shawna Scott spotted something for auction. A 19th century lengthy object of ivory, she thought it should be in an Irish museum, too. Personal, domestic, humorous, bizarre, it tells a different story alongside Pearse’s spectacles. She asked for donations to purchase it at auction, to donate it to an Irish museum. The plan worked. At 8:22 pm she announced her triumph.

‘Folks, we did it,’ she wrote, ‘WE WON THE DILDO FOR IRELAND.’

Read more about Padraig Belton on his Facebook Page here

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Riding Against the Lizard by William Wall


‘Anger is the political sentiment par excellence. It brings out the qualities of the inadmissible, the intolerable. It is a refusal and a resistance that with one step goes beyond all that can be accomplished reasonably in order to open possible paths for a new negotiation of the reasonable but also paths of an uncompromising vigilance. Without anger, politics is accommodation and trade in influence; writing without anger traffics in the seductions of writing.’ Nancy, J-L, The Compearance

How should we describe the extraordinary consensus that existed in this country – a consensus that united us all around core concepts like ‘free markets’, ‘competition is the only way’, ‘private enterprise good, public enterprise bad’, ‘social partnership’, ‘entrepreneurship’, ‘greed is good’, ‘conspicuous consumption’? For a long time we lived inside a bubble. The walls of the bubble were invisible to us, they coloured everything we looked at but everything was that colour anyway so we thought it was colourless. It was, nonetheless, a bubble. What we hear these days, in the media, in conversations, in political speeches and union negotiations is the pop of the bubble bursting. We are faced with an absolute incongruence – between what we have been told and what we see. What this incongruence will tell us remains to be seen, but it makes us strange to ourselves, wakes us from our dream of shopping and eating and enables us to look back at our days in the bubble with at least the illusion of detachment.

Sometime during his seven-year incarceration at the hands of Italy’s fascists, the Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci developed a theory of ideological hegemony. It is probable that the idea first occurred to Gramsci during his meditation on another Italian philosopher and political analyst, Niccolo Macchiavelli, for that acute political analyst had observed the self-defeating nature of oppression as a political weapon. What Gramsci argued was that in modern democracies the powerful do not maintain their power – their hegemony – by coercion alone. In classical Marxist thought the ruling classes have at their disposal the police and the army, the prison system and the courts, the market and the all-important
threat of destitution. All of these weapons are experienced as coercive by the poor. None of it belongs to them, and all of it, including the law, favours the rights of property and power. However, it was clear to Gramsci that something else was needed to explain the fact the people voted for, or gave tacit consent to, a system that favoured a very small minority at their expense, actually voted to give power to the people who coerced them.

The answer was ‘ideological hegemony’. In Gramsci’s formulation, a vast number of actors within a state contribute to the exclusion of hostile ideas. Thus, in a liberal capitalist democracy groups such as the churches, charities, political parties, special interest groups, schools, environmental activists, trades union, etc., all contribute to an illusion of political debate. It is an illusion because all of these groups, though they would like to tinker with the details, are in agreement on the fundamentals. Gramsci called this the ‘common sense’ position. Genuinely radical voices are treated with contempt, and characterised as foolish and ‘ideological’ from the ‘common sense’ point of view, because the ideology of the majority is transparent to those who live within its confines – the bubble of my opening paragraph. Slavoj Zizek puts it succinctly: [I]n a given society, certain features, attitudes and norms of life are no longer perceived as ideologically marked, they appear as ‘neutral’, as the non-ideological common-sense form of life; ideology is the explicitly posited… position which stands out from/against this background. For example, it is a given in Western Europe (a) that what we have is democracy (b) that our ‘democracy’ is the best form of democracy that can be achieved (c) that democracy and capitalism are inseparable (d) that western-style capitalist democracy is the form of government towards which all other systems are evolving. These propositions represent the ‘common sense’ view for most people. Nevertheless, in our ‘democracy’, electoral victory usually goes to the wealthiest; once a party has been elected it never consults its electorate for another four or five years; subsidiary democracy (i.e. elections and votes within parliaments) is considered to be adequate to reflect the will of the people; capitalism regards democracy as the perfect ground for its exploitative activities, and ‘democracy’ has guaranteed capitalism and awarded it a free reign by providing what is known as ‘political stability’. We should really coin some new phrase to describe it, something unwieldy like Competitive Plutocratic Subsidiary Democracy! To point to any of this is to question the god – and to be immediately labelled ‘ideological’, which in most cases is roughly equivalent to ‘crank’.

So where has western democracy (and ideological hegemony) taken us in recent years? It has taken us to war with Islam, to the torture palaces of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, to ‘greed is good’, to Global Warming, to the wars of Africa, to The New American Century, to peak oil, to the credit crunch and the global depression, to the reduction of Gaza, to financial corruption on a grand scale, to mass unemployment, to blood diamonds, to the super-rich and hyper-poor, the jobbing politician and the cartel. In the meantime it has given us as consolation professional football, the celebrity spectacle, wall-to-wall television, talk shows, reality TV. The culture of complaint has drowned the culture of dissent. Television has drowned politics. Listening and looking have drowned hearing and seeing. To see any of this as an aberration of capitalism that ought to be corrected in some way is to miss the point: this is capitalism. What you see is what you get. Writing in the Guardian in response to the recent insurrection in Greece, Costas Douzinas said of politics in the western democracies: Contemporary politics aims at marginal (re)distributions of benefits, rewards and positions without challenging the established order. In this sense, politics resembles the marketplace or a town hall debate where rational consensus about public goods can be reached.

Conflict has been pronounced finished, passé, impossible. The convergence of political parties in the centre ground exemplifies this “conflict-free” approach. But conflict does not disappear. Neo-liberal capitalism increases inequality and fuels conflict. When social conflict cannot be expressed politically, it becomes criminality and xenophobia, terrorism and intolerance. Or a reactive violence, the emotional response of those invisible to the political system.

So where do writers stand in all of this? What our private views are is of no consequence. Maintaining in private a hostile attitude to power is the prerogative of the servant and the prisoner – ‘We two alone will sing like birds in the cage.’ What is important is what we write because, as the legal maxim says, qui tacet consentire videtur – he who keeps silent is seen as giving consent. Two other courses are open to us: we can simply point to the ‘commonsense’, identifying and naming the ideological hegemony that has brought us to this pass, a useful function of art in itself, one of its best works, although tainted by the fallacy of objectivity; or we can take sides in the hope of influencing the outcome and thus become part of the debate. This essay advocates the latter.

The traditional stance of the writer in the twentieth century has been oppositional – even in Ireland. That opposition has been by turns republican, nationalist, fascist, and socialist but, one way or another, it has always been on the side of the counter-hegemony. In the interwar years, for example, Frank O’Connor, Sean O Faoláin, Peader O’Donnell and Liam O’Flaherty harried the confessional Catholic and rightwing consensus, the latter two from very public left-wing positions. Even an allegedly ‘pastoral’ poet like Patrick Kavanagh could kick against the pricks in poems like ‘To Hell With Common Sense’ or ‘In Memory of Brother Michael’: Culture is always something that was
Something pedants can measure Skull of bard, thigh of chief Depth of dried up river Shall we be thus forever? Shall we be thus forever? But at no time in the recent past have writers been so integrated into the fabric of power and at the same time strikingly powerless as they are now. Writers, integrated into the fabric of power, I hear you ask, how can that be?

The Arts Council, established in 1951 with Sean O Faoláin as its chairman, was originally conceived as a conduit for state funding for the arts, including grants and bursaries to writers and artists; Aosdána, a national body for writers and artists was established in 1981, its only useful function to disburse a cnuas or bursary to deserving members; two further organisations manage grants for translators of Irish literature and grants for Irish artists and writers to travel abroad. Most – probably all – of the festivals that take place around the country on a regular basis are part-funded by these government bodies; most travel by Irish writers benefits in some way from these organisations; many writers who would otherwise be in straitened circumstances draw an honourable pension from Aosdána. It is, in fact, difficult if not impossible to be a writer in Ireland and not to become the beneficiary of government largesse in some form. And in addition to government funding, most arts organisations draw the balance of their sponsorship from local, national or international business, and, of course, government anyway sees its interests as virtually identical to those of commerce. I do not wish to suggest that a withdrawal of government funding is a good idea – quite the contrary, it is the business of government, among other things, to support the artistic life of the community – rather I am suggesting that it has never been easier for writers to abandon their traditional oppositional stance and cosy up to the political establishment.

Of course the political establishment for the most part don’t give a damn about them so long as they’re not rocking the boat – the day when an Irishman might agonise about whether a play of his ‘sent out certain men the English shot’ is long gone. So is there a choice? To be with the hegemony or against it? Most Irish writers would reject the dichotomy. ‘We are apolitical,’ they say. In the place of Politics Irish writers place politically neutral ‘causes’ such as Amnesty and other human rights organisations and various charities which give the illusion of being political while studiously avoiding commitment within the national boundaries. I heard the poet Theo Dorgan on the radio some years ago declare flatly that ‘no great art is political’. (As Beckett said somewhere, ‘Habit is a great deadener’.) But who are we to worry about ‘greatness’? Are we to abandon our duties as citizens because future generations won’t write theses on us? To be fair, when a writer makes a political statement of any kind other than the banal he is soundly trounced by the press. Professional pundits with no better qualification than a career in ‘opinion’ writing are perfectly capable of rolling out the ‘why should we listen to a writer anymore than anyone else’ argument, and for the past eight years it has been fashionable, pace the USA, to condemn writers as ‘intellectuals’, although the gradual realisation that George W Bush and his cronies were particularly stupid took some of the tarnish off intelligence as a term of abuse. But we can as easily turn the complaint on its head and say, ‘Why should writers be exempt from the general anger that shakes the people of world, why should we be permitted our private cynicism?’ Nevertheless, the rain of odium that falls on a writer’s head when she dares to step outside the common sense view is daunting for a trade that works in isolation often with very little support. Finally, none of this is good for sales, and writers must make a shilling the same as everyone else in this benighted world. ‘The times,’ as Sylvia Plath remarked, ‘are tidy’, at least from the point of view of the ruling classes, and there is indeed ‘no career in the venture/Of riding against the lizard.’

The easonable thing to do in the circumstances is to adopt a ‘reasonable’ posture; to be critical where criticism can be voiced in safety; to be neutral where commitment can do damage; to support causes where those causes are respectable. Neutrality was the chosen position of Ireland’s most famous poet, Seamus Heaney, for example. His most famous political statement was to claim Irish nationality as a reason for not accepting an honour from the queen of England. Terry Eagleton, in his witty review of the Beowulf translation, placed Heaney firmly within the confines of ‘cultural colonisation’. Heaney’s quietism, his solemn genuflection towards what Eagleton called ‘eirenic liberal pluralism’, has become the high tone of neutral Irish poetry. Novelists and playwrights tend to follow suit. The market rewards the neutrals handsomely. There are vast sums on offer for faux-fiction (or pseudo-faction, if you will), shortlistings and prizes for fictionalised biographies, carefully balanced or revisionist historical fiction, clever flights of fancy or books set in exotic locations. Poets celebrate the pastoral, the private, the perverse – anything but the Political. Revivals dominate the stage, gaining the longest runs, the tours and the best houses. Despite honourable exceptions, this is the tone of contemporary literature in Ireland. Probably the most successful of recent Irish novels is Colm Tóibín’s The Master. Terry Eagleton described Tóibín as ‘tight-lipped’ and a master of ‘extreme verbal evenness’ (in an extremely positive assessment of The Blackwater Lightship) but The Master is, as Hermione Lee called it, ‘an audacious, profound, and wonderfully intelligent book’. It won the 2006 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, was shortlisted for the 2004 Booker Prize, won the Los Angeles Times Novel of the Year, the Stonewall Book Award and the Lambda Literary Award, and was listed by The New York Times as one of the ten most notable books of 2004. It explores the psychology and creativity of Henry James in prose worthy of the man himself. Part of its attraction, for heterosexuals at least, is the fact that Tóibín, as an openly gay writer, clearly identifies with James who most probably was secretly gay or at least a repressed homosexual. The Master, in fact, is a highly accomplished and successful piece of fictionalised biography.

What it does not do is challenge the reader – either in her view of how a writer thinks, or in terms of prejudices towards homosexuality. On the contrary it advances an image of the ‘safe’, celibate gay man, together with an image of the writer as a private intellectual with no significant contribution to make to the polity other than the grace of his art. Indeed, in Henry James, Toibín chose a man peculiarly hobbled by neurotic invalidism and repression, paralysed by a fear of sex, the epitome of the suffering obsessive writer. The public loved it, and Toibín, a fine raconteur and personally charming, can discourse wittily and learnedly about his subject at interview and in readings. The book has all the qualities that the public loves: its tone is high-melancholy; its subject is safely dead; the writing is undeniably elegant; there are no challenging ideas – either structural or in terms of subject matter; finally, it is a classic-by-association, being concerned with a canonised writer. In general terms, the book has many of the qualities that have made the poetry of Seamus Heaney so popular. In its own way it is equally eirenic, liberal and pluralist. Needless to say, art, graceful or otherwise, is always a public good, but in terms of ideological hegemony, ars gratia artis is really art for the status quo, and inevitably (especially now that the status quo has become status quo ante in the collapse of free-market globalism) it must be nostalgic. But we need a poetics of anger not of nostalgia for, as the Palestinian poet Mourid Al-Bhargouti observed in another context, nostalgia is no more than a form of ‘romantic impotence’. Iconoclasm, not nostalgia, must be our watchword now. Anything else is unconscionable.

Anger is the spectre that haunts all of this ‘eirenic liberal pluralism’ because the first law of The Commonsense is there shall not be anger. Citizens may complain as much as they like, and there are organisations that deal with complaints and procedures for remedy, albeit slow and costly ones, but an angry citizenry is a dangerous entity. The planet is burning; the capitalists have stolen the world, including our land, water and air; health, social services, education are battered and impoverished; unemployment is at an unprecedented level; oil-wars blight the lives of millions. Nevertheless, reasonableness, quietness, calmness, meditativeness, are continuously advanced as terms of affection by literary critics when the world calls for anger, savagery and satire. Where is our Jonathan Swift, our Shelley, our Saramago, our Neruda, our Orwell, our Huxley? It may well be that ‘poetry makes nothing happen’ as Auden would have it, but that is no excuse for not trying. ‘Language implies boundaries,’ Loren Eiseley wrote, ‘[a] word spoken creates a dog, a rabbit, a man. It fixes their nature before our eyes; henceforth their shapes are, in a sense, our own creation.’ Thus it is possible to call into being our own reality in opposition to that of the market. Guy Debord’s startling insight in the 1960s, that we no longer saw the spectacle but inhabited it has proved true, but the spectacle itself, capitalism incarnate, has this very year presented us with the one terrible chance of our generation to interrupt. It will take more than reasonableness and quiet meditation to shake the structure. So let us begin at the first step, the simple process of naming our enemy. Firstly, a taxonomy of rapine, a genealogy of avarice.


Read more about William Wall at his website  William

Works referred to in the text:
Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. 1 ‘In a crisis, the antithesis between commodities and their value-form, money, becomes heightened into an absolute contradiction.’
Antonio Gramsci, Selections From The Prison Notebooks
Slavoj Zizek, In Defense Of Lost Causes
Costas Douzinas,
Shakespeare, King Lear
Yeats, ‘The Man And The Echo’
Terry Eagleton,
WH Auden, ‘In Memory of WB Yeats’
Loren Eiseley, The Invisible Pyramid
Guy Debord, Society Of the Spectacle, may be downloaded free at The Situationist International,
Unfortunately I haven’t been able to get my footnote system working with the programme I use for making PDFs as yet, but anyone who wants to check out the original text will find the above works cited in context, together with one or two additional notes at where the original essay was published.



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JOHN COTTON POET (Read by Bev Cotton)


JOHN COTTON 1925-2003
(Read by Bev Cotton)
Obituary, The Guardian, April 2003

From “Here’s Looking At You Kid”
Headland, 1992


At night the darkening maze of branches
Threatens as the forest broods
They heard it fidget, breathe
And tried to estimate its moods
Read omens as the ghost-owl mothed
Its way across the woods

Such simples ruled them, and the knowing
Pitied their superstitious pain
Reason replacing ignorant darkness
We should not see such fear again
Instead, unlocked the nuclear void,
We dread the innocence of rain.



‘And thither shall I send you, Matthew Goffe’
(Lord Scales, Henry VI, Part 2, Act iv, Scene v)

Words uttered, like the thrown stone,
cannot be called back.
They and their echoes haunt
the caves of dark theatres
where they settle like dust
waiting to be revived
as Matthew Goffe waits
faintly haunting his play.
You’ll find him if you look
in the Dramatis Personae.
A name, like those on the memorial stones
of the long abandoned dead,
dispossessed and open
to the invention of characters,
ready for development like vacant lots.
Hints are there: Matthew, bold, reliable,
a leader, he’ll prop the citizens of Smithfield.
He is sent and dies in a brief wordlessness.
(Which is more than we know
of the man who passes us on the street.)
It is as if Shakespeare was keeping him by
for a play that never came.
You need a character?
I’ll send you Matthew Goffe.


From ‘Kilroy Was Here’
A Poetry Society Choice
Chatto & Windus and The Hogarth Press, 1975


Remember me:
the burden of Dido’s lament;
and of those names we see
written or carved
in sometimes improbable places?
Well, the names are there
if not the faces.
Certainly it would seem true
of Bradish’s self-cut memorial.
Against the fear
of nothingness
I was here
plead all the Kilroys of this world:
Alexander’s soldier
who left his Greek in Northern India,
and Desaix’s men
who inscribed Dendera.
Then those suitably ephemeral
declarations of affection,
hearts and names
scratched on cactus leaves
on a cliff path in Spain:
Hans unt Beyb;
Teresa y Fernando;
and, touching in its mild chauvinism,
May and Bert, England



“This is the use of memory: for liberation”
T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding

As the plane rises, we watch the island
receding from us until we can hold it
complete in the eye; frame by water, its farms,
bays, hamlets and promontories scaled down
to a comprehensible map below us.
So in the cutting room of the mind
we work to distance experience
to meaningful proportions, to link
those fragments of memory that make us.

Sundays are quiet. Across the railway
the row of terraced houses and the shop
on the corner, its air spiced by bread
and cough cure, and a tin sign advertising
a tobacco not made for a generation.
The sharp click of heels on worn flags signals
a firmness of calf and thigh under a bronzed nylon,
her morning errand bringing humanity
to brick and stone due for demolition.

Some windows already boarded, as if
against a plague that will take all with it.
Even Provident Place is on the schedule.
One winter the canal froze and we walked it,
between locks, to the sound of church bells,
rejoicing in the temporary foot-way
and the luxury of gloves, until
called home by the smell of roast sweet on keen air.
Age is where places have immediate history:

The canal; a pub recalling conversation
that proved a turning point; a bend in the lane.
A poem that might have been written;
or a bus shelter flesh
warm under a fair-isle jersey, her breasts
like plump birds in the nest of her bassiere.
Deep in us all the child whose habits
have survived fidelity and superstition,
and associations that will end with us.

A day’s drive from the Massif Central,
that evening we dine in warm southern air,
the lights of the small town sufficient
On the verandah. Time drifts with the music
from a radio across the way
where a girl waters a roof garden above
a shop. Time for reconciliation
while tired minds eased by good wine find order
as observers of a place not our own.

From London fires spread a premature dawn
for suburbs where a thin rain of shrapnel
removes roof-tiles. For the young the advantage
of deserted streets and the blitz’s black-out
to test the pulses of love. Recklessness or
a fine sense of values? As single-minded
the blood races towards the same warmth
to find a later reassurance
in the bonus of a winter’s sunshine.

Besieged by snow the house stands sentinel
against the night, the young child’s breathing
a tenuous hold on life. Experience
began with the first open blouse; the fruit
that expelled from Eden? Redemption
long bought in domestic fires, the spread of flesh
that estuary towards which all runs
to be lost in the ultimate ocean.
The tide stirs with the child in the cot.

In the bay ships nudge their way to harbour
the toll of bell-buoys a doubtful guide
in fog’s peculiar claustrophobia
that gives even sound a new dimension,
and value to moments of clarity.
Then a face remembered. Though long past
and not known in any real sense of the word
the impression is there and its haunting tugs us.
We dare not look at our real wounds.

The end of the holiday seals off
another year. Younger, we hesitated
over decisions that closed doors. Now doors
slam behind us of their own accord.
Driving home at night we see on the outskirts
the darkness lit by fires where the town’s waste is burnt.
We drive on to the security of street lights,
a familiar haven that has come
to take on significance.


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Three Men in a Boat: Minnow Productions 29/10/19

“Three Men In A Boat” by Jerome K. Jerome

Adapted by Ethan Dillon

Directed by Mags Keohane

November 21st to 30th (excluding Sunday 24th) @ 8pm
PREVIEWS: 19th and 20th November @ 8pm


Three young men, or I should say young but old enough to know better men, take a break from their hectic lives for a holiday. Lanzarote? Puerto Rico? Are skiing holidays not all the rage? How they settled on a boating trip is up for debate, it seemed like a great idea at the time! In fact, the original intention for the trip up river was to write a serious travel guide, for those serious about taking in the sites and not drowning. This idea was soon scrapped in favour of having the craic. I’m sure they didn’t say “the craic” at the time, a frolic possibly?

Join us this November for our modern adaptation of Jerome K Jerome’s hilarious 19th century novella Three Men in a Boat (to Say Nothing of the Dog). Oh yeah, there’s a dog – Montmorency. What kind of a name is that at all?

MINNOW is a newly formed theatre company run by Mags Keohane. Three Men in a Boat is the company’s first production with Ethan Dillon as associate artist. MINNOW aims to create innovative and socially engaged theatre for a diverse audience. The company’s journey begins with a commitment to artistic collaboration. Mags and Ethan first worked together on a production of Serious Money by Caryl Churchill which won Best Ensemble and Best Set at the Irish Student Drama Awards 2012. As part of the Granary Theatre’s New Director’s Festival 2015 they collaborated on Made in China by Mark O’ Rowe – “a coarse and sleazy slice of Dublin given Cork edge” (Irish Examiner). Three Men in a Boat is their most creatively ambitious project to date, transforming Jerome K. Jerome’s 19th Century classic for modern Irish audiences to enjoy.

What’s up next for MINNOW? Mags is artist in residence with Druid’s FUEL programme developing a new show inspired by personal accounts from Ireland’s first unarmed humanitarian mission – The Irish Rwandan Support Group 1994. A work-in-progress of this development was presented in Triskel Arts Centre as part of SHOW 2018 curated by Corcadorca’s Theatre Development Centre. To keep up to date and get in touch visit:

This production is made possible by the Cork Arts Theatre and the Arts Council Emerging Artists Programme.

“Ethan and Mags applied to the Emerging Artists Programme as they were excited by the opportunity to create work in their home city. They hope to engage with the local community and build new artistic relationships for future collaborations. We are very grateful to the Cork Arts Theatre for their generous support.” – MINNOW


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Bonny Braeside – Letters from my Father

“Every dark cloud is having its backside warmed by the sun”

‘Come up and see my etchings,’ he said. It was 1963 and the young man was an assistant where I was staying at the Derwentwater Youth Hostel. And there were etchings! Replying to my letter home dad wrote that he would have viewed such an invitation ‘with trepidation.’ This was my first leaving and the beginning of his weekly letters; they continued for the next eighteen years till following a stroke he died on Christmas Day 1980. The letters from his final six months trail and slope over the page, describing a life shrunk, shuffling between the bed downstairs and the wheel chair but they remain keenly alive

My father, William Henry Sturgess was born deaf in 1900. He became  a factory hand at thirteen and married Joyce in 1936, the year they bought ‘Bonny Braeside’, a modest 1930’s Midlands semi [so named after a brief honeymoon in Stranraer]. ‘Braeside’ was one of a row of semis built on a hill in Church Street. The backs face north, overlooking farmland and the occasional village church tower rising above distant clusters of trees. South though it is a different story. During my youth buses took men north to work in the pits, returning in the evening, their faces grimy. Hundreds of factory hands, mostly women, were bussed into the village to work in the numerous boot and shoe and hosiery factories.

After seven childless years my brother Chris was born and I arrived three years later when my father was forty- six.

Perhaps being the youngest and much wanted only son, doted on by a household of females , my father possessed enviable inner confidence and a profound faith in a benign universe no matter what. His was the bright side. He would have slapped Mr Macawber on the back and congratulated him on his positive outlook. Confident, with a child –like trust in the world, imaginative, intelligent and always open to possibilities he was a wonderful father to small children. But oh the dark side! Worshipped as a child, the clouds began to gather for me when I reached puberty. ‘Where’s my little girl?’ ‘What’s wrong?’ ‘Cheer up..’ What was that was all about? At the time I was just miserable and lonely but in retrospect I see myself expelled from Eden, clutching my shameful sexuality. I can see now how ill equipped I was to cope with the world. Later I gave myself away and at times seriously contemplated suicide. In this blog I with include accounts of my life and there is often a sharp disparity between my reality and his. Of course he only responded to what I told him but I early learned there was little to be gained from telling him the truth since I would be told to cheer up. Perhaps also I wanted to protect his remorseless positivity. But who tells their parents everything!

But we all love best we can and those weekly letters were a constant as was his love for me. His is a voice from another age, a time when people stayed put, made do and expected little. And he was deaf. The machines he operated were potentially dangerous, periods of unemployment were interspersed with gruelling shift work . He never complained and was grateful for whatever work he could get.

Not a lot happens in the letters. It is a small world , gardening, bell ringing, the weather… but whatever my father describes he is always engaged and enthusiastic , the same enthusiasm that almost had me convinced when we picked out eight draws every Tuesday that the next Saturday this time we would win on the pools.

Finally, always there was mum, the driving force….scratting and scraping, making do and mending, ’That meal cost nine pence. I paid three pence for the suet, we grew the potatoes, the butcher threw in the scrag- end’… Dad, ‘Isn’t your mother wonderful?’ and Chris and I like a Greek chorus,’ Yes, she is wonderful.’ Now when I think of her I feel sad…always something to prove and a need to try harder. She was usually tense, worrying and critical, the control and power behind everything but rarely at peace. I was generally a trial,’Oh our Joy, you’ll drive me scranny.’ But she was such a clever and talented woman and if she was hard on me she was much harder on herself. Dad and mum complemented one another perfectly. He was happy to subscribe to the belief that he was useless at all things practical…’Oh Bill, let me do that,’ while his constant praise and reassurance poured oil on very troubled waters.

Joy Lawlor



Estelle Birdy – Speakeasy October 29th 8.00pm

Another fantastic mix of drama, poetry, comedy and prose.  FREE ENTRANCE.

Taking to the Speakeasy stage this month will be award-winning short story writer Estelle Birdy, acclaimed author Lynn Buckle and novelist Paul Kestell. Joining them will be poet Anton Floyd and Joy Lawlor who will be reading from her father’s letters published on her website ‘Bonny Braeside‘.  Expect something mystical and Halloweeny from Rae McKinley and something rude from the inimitable Rude Judes.  We also welcome for the first time comedian Dakota Mick.

Our final slot of the evening will be an excerpt from Cork Arts Theatre/Minnow Productions forthcoming presentation of Jerome K Jerome’s “Three Men In A Boat.” Full details below.

October’s Performers

Estelle Birdy is a writer, yoga teacher and mother of four, living and working in Dublin but when she wins the Lotto, she’s moving to West Cork. She has recently completed a Masters in Creative Writing at UCD and is currently working on a novel about a group of young fellas living in Dublin’s city centre. Her work has appeared in the New York based literary journal, The Squawkback, in Heartland, the Penfro Book Festival winners’ anthology, on The, Bogman’s Cannon, Cunning Hired Knaves and My Second Spring. Her book reviews have appeared in The Sunday Independent and she is a reader for the Francis MacManus RTE Short Story Prize. She really enjoys performing her work and it’s like a dream come true to be asked to read in Skibbereen.

Lynn Buckle was born in the UK and after much travel has spent the last thirty years in Ireland. She is a successful Kildare based artist, tutor and writer. She spent years stealing feelings and painting them onto canvas, but her stories needed words and she changed to writing verse.  Lynn Buckle is the author of  Luise an Chleite anthologyand The Groundsmen reviewed as  “powerful and affecting. Lynn Buckle is a fierce and fearless new voice in Irish writing.’  Published by .

Paul Kestell published his debut novel Viaréggio in October 2009, this novel has received excellent reviews in both the ‘Sunday Independent, and the Irish World newspapers, ‘the novel has also featured on Rte Radio one, and on Cork 96fm.  Paul’s previous works include his radio play, ‘For a few weeks in June,’ broadcast on RTE and his short story ‘Ballinglanna,’ published by Willow Lake press. Paul Kestell read at the West Cork Literary festival on July 5th- 2011- this international event featured among others David Soul and John Boyne.
Paul lived in West Cork and his second novel ‘Wood Point,’ was published in the autumn of 2011.  Paul followed ‘Wood Point,’ with two collections of novelettes….’The Mad Marys of Dunworley & other stories and The West Cork Railway & other stories’

Paul published his first collection of short stories ‘Nogginers,’ in May 2016—these stories have received wonderful reviews on Amazon.
This writer is a regular reader in libraries throughout Ireland, having read in Cabinteely, Blancardstown, Clondalkin, Balbriggan, Malahide, Lucan, and in Bandon, Blackpool and Mayfield libraries in Cork……Presently Paul has published a new novel a mystery thriller, ‘The Baby Farm.’  The Baby Farm has just received a five star review on Amazon Kindle.

Anton Floyd was born in Egypt and raised in the Cyprus. Educated in Ireland, he studied at Trinity College Dublin and University College Cork. He has lived and worked in the Eastern Mediterranean variously as a teacher, school principal, artistic director and producer. He is now teaching in Cork City and lives near Inchigeelagh. Poems are widely published and forthcoming in Ireland and elsewhere. He is a several times prize-winner of the Irish Haiku Society International Competition; runner-up in the Snapshot Press Haiku Calendar Competition and most recently received a highly commended in the Anam Cara competition. His poems were included in the anthology ‘Between the Leaves’ (Arlen House) and the anthology Teachers Who Write (ed. Edward Denniston WTC 2018).

Rude Jude (aka Judith Coffey)  scribbled ditties for years.  A serial volunteer within the Arts, she supported her friends at the inaugural “Gab – Mixed Tape Night” in Coughlans, June 2016 and  is now a regular on  “The Gab” Set List,  taking  part in  Cork’s Harbour Festival,  Life Long Learning Festival, World Story Telling Day, Storytellers of Ireland.   Rude Judes has hosted the “Crosstown Drift Bus” on behalf of The Good Room, at Cork’s Midsummer Festival the past three years. On 1st November she will be reading for the second time at “The Peacock Parlour” Burlesque night at The Kino.  A resident of Cobh she regularly performs her poems at “Coliemore – The Artists House”, she presented and judged poetry at  ‘Cobh Readers and Writer’s Festival’ this year.    Rude Jude’s poems are observations from life (middle-aged gal’s perspective)  interspersed with humour and witticisms.

Dakota Mick was raised on the Dakota Plains, in Ireland due to the misfortunes of love. Dakota Mick is doing his best to fit in and understand what the hell is going on. Mostly he is failing, but at least he can laugh about it. Why not come along and laugh with Ireland’s best Dakotan comedian. And if you can not laugh with him at least you can laugh at him. Because hey who doesn’t like laughing at Yanks.

Rae McKinlay is a lover of story. She is an advocate of the mythos way of wisdoms and has traveled the Celtic Lands in her quest for story wisdom and inspiration. Though she loves the tales of indigenous peoples, Rae writes her own stories which are often rooted in nature and the old ways of knowing. She has just released her CD “She Who Spins Stories” and is near completion of her debut book “When Crow Was White”.

Joy Lawlor‘s blog, ‘Bonny Braeside’ juxtaposes excerpts from her father’s letters ( 1964-1980) with her own story.”My father’s letters, like Mr Pooters, describe a small world. ‘Braeside’, the 1930’s semi where I grew up, is in Church Street, Earl Shilton, a Midland village so poor it didn’t have its own church till the mid nineteenth century. In 1865 my great grandfather opened the first shoe factory in a village that until then housed stocking frame workers and cobblers. His son later went bankrupt throwing my father at the mercy of the hosiery or boot and shoe trades or, in hard times, the dole. In the early letters he is about to retire (he was born in 1900) and accept a job sweeping up in a factory along Church Street. Dad’s letters are for the most part sunny, but there was darkness in that house and I had to escape so my story is very different”.

Ten-Past-Ten Theatre  Our first ever theatre slot will feature an extract from Minnow Productions “Three Men In A Boat” by Jerome K. Jerome.  Adapted by Ethan Dillon and Directed by Mags Keohane.  MINNOW aims to create innovative and socially engaged theatre for a diverse audience. The company’s journey begins with a commitment to artistic collaboration. Mags and Ethan first worked together on a production of Serious Money by Caryl Churchill which won Best Ensemble and Best Set at the Irish Student Drama Awards 2012. As part of the Granary Theatre’s New Director’s Festival 2015 they collaborated on Made in China by Mark O’ Rowe – “a coarse and sleazy slice of Dublin given Cork edge” (Irish Examiner). Three Men in a Boat is their most creatively ambitious project to date, transforming Jerome K. Jerome’s 19th Century classic for modern Irish audiences to enjoy.

This production is made possible by the Cork Arts Theatre and the Arts Council Emerging Artists Programme.

November 21st to 30th (excluding Sunday 24th) @ pm
PREVIEWS: 19th and 20th November @ 8pm


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