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Archive for March, 2011

Ireland’s Largest Single Literary Event

27/03/2011 Comments off

So said Margaret Hayes, Dublin City Librarian at the opening of the DublinSwell event in the city’s gleaming, green-lit, Convention Centre last week. This, she said, was Ireland’s largest literary event ever.

It was a celebration of Dublin’s listing as a UNESCO City of Literature – one of only four cities in the world to receive this designation.  A happy audience of some 2,000, led by President Mary McAleese, gathered to listen to Dublin poets, musicians, writers and actors.

I had a few quibbles, like the half-hour delay in getting the programme underway, our seats being double-booked and the blaze of gore in the visuals of Iran that accompanied Mike Scott’s rendering of Yeats poems.

The poets were my stars of the night. Seamus Heaney read ‘Postscript’, one of my favourite Heaney poems: ‘As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways / And catch the heart off guard and blow it open.’  We had Paul Durcan’s tragic-comic verses, Dermot Bolger’s tribute to his late wife, Paula Meehan’s earthy Dublin lines, Biddy Jenkinson’s poems as Gaeilge and verse-drama excerpts from Mark O’Rowe’s Terminus.

The President spoke of ‘Brilliant’ – Roddy Doyle’s short story that was the inspiration for Dublin’s Saint Patrick’s Festival 2011 parade. The word could be applied to DublinSwell. Great to be there.

See details of full DublinSwell programme and review here.

Blogging / Writing is good for your health

24/03/2011 Comments off

 I like this post – from a Techie – about the therapeutic effects of blogging and expressive writing.

It seems to be about the process you go through in coming up with and arranging the words. The post has a link to some scientific evidence on the benefits of blogging /writing. And our words create a legacy – leave a trace behind.

Read more here.

Hope at a Moment of Social and Psychological Chaos

22/03/2011 Comments off

I was one of those who was deeply moved by the words of Bill Clinton to a New York audience over the St Patrick’s weekend. It was not just the words he spoke, but the tone of his remarks. It seems to me that he has a deep understanding of  the psychic trauma we are going through in Ireland.

He asked the question that people are asking all over the country. How to respond at ‘this moment of economic calamity and social and psychological chaos’?

We need, he said, to keep our heads straight while recovering from this ‘impacted sense of shame’ and not forget what we are at the core. ‘Scrape away the barnacles that have clouded the vision of the place we love.’

I, for one, was uplifted by Bill Clinton’s words.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

15/03/2011 4 comments

Be a Dublin (Literary) Ambassador

12/03/2011 2 comments

I like this idea from City of a Thousand Welcomes initiative.  A simple notion asking volunteers to meet up with a visitor to Dublin and share – over a cuppa or a pint – their enthusiasm for the city.

You fill in a simple form and nominate one thing every visitor to Dublin should see. For me it is the National Library of Ireland. Not just packed with archives and exhibitions and literary ghosts, but a great place to stand on the steps and watch the comings and goings to Government Builidngs and the Dail next door.

Only problem for me is that I don’t qualify as a Dubliner!

A Walk with Yeats on Cave Hill

06/03/2011 2 comments

 

Catherine Morris is curator of the National Library of Ireland exhibition Alice Milligan and the Irish Cultural Revival  at Kildare Street, Dublin. Next Tuesday she will present a guided tour of the exhibition dealing with the life of an intriguing woman.

Alice Milligan (1866-1953), from the Northern Ireland Protestant Unionist tradition, put Northern Ireland at the centre of the Irish Revival.  Her use of gas-powered magic lanterns as a Gaelic League lecturer, and tableaux vivants to promote Irish theatre, also put visual culture at the heart of that Revival.

To reflect Alice Milligan’s use of innovative visual techniques, the exhibition includes a series of projected images related to her life,  including a photo of Cave Hill, Belfast -symbolically associated with Wolfe Tone – where Alice and W  B Yeats walked together.

The curator tour of the exhibition takes place at the National Library of Ireland this Tuesday, 8 March at 2.30 pm.

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