Sunday, June 29, 2014

Scurlogstown Olympiad/ Sean Nós Dancers 2014

Sean Nós/Traditional Dancing!

One of the many entertaining events at the Porch Fields in Trim on Haymaking Sunday. Just a short video clip. Matt Leavy, one of Ireland's best country singers was there as well on the other stage and a number of other groups and musicians as well at different settings.   

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Trim Swift Festival ~ Feat of Clay ~

Trim Swift Festival ~ Feat of Clay ~

A simultaneous reading of "A Tale of a Tub" and not the above will take place at 3 pm on Saturday the 12th of July at Trim Castle County Meath just opposite the Garda Station. This is your chance to walk in the footsteps of the great man himself, with one foot on the soil of County Meath and the other on the soil of Kilroot in County Antrim where he lived for two years. How will this be accomplished you may ask and better not to but rest assured that there will be a "footfull" for every reader. One hundred and twenty five are required and it will be all over in two minutes. You'll be standing with your left foot on the soil of Trim and with your right foot on the soil of Kilroot. Dan Brown will write about it in years to come and the conspiracy theories are already afoot. If you'll pardon the pun! The direction you'll face has of course, as of yet, not been revealed and is sure to have special meaning. As part of the Swift Festival it is sure to be great fun and you can book your place as one of the readers by contacting Paddy Smith at or by text to 086 157 7526. Leave name and general address.    Take a look!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Scurlogstown Olympiad Haymaking Festival 2014!

Scurlogstown Olympiad Haymaking Festival 2014!

Trim Castle
The roll in the hay roses!
Some young musicians!
The girl with the free soup/Many thanks!
Michael Farry
Matt Leavy
Willie G. Hodgins

Paddy Smith and Pat Duffy

Just some of the photos taken at the Haymaking Festival in the Porchfields in Trim last Sunday. And not including the vintage cars or tractors, which were a must see. Matt Leavy played some great music and there was sean nós or set dancing dancing on the other stage. (Hope I got the spelling right there!) Made it round to the recording hut in the end for a few poems and not possible to take in everything. A very large crowd or seemed to be this year and all in all the weather made for a great day. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Battle Of The Books 2014!

The Battle Of The Books 2014!

This year's Battle of the Books is an international writing competition for both poetry and prose entries with a closing date of the 1st of July. Niamh Boyce will judge and the shortlisted competitors will read their material at the festival on Saturday the 12th of July. Writers who cannot attend will have their pieces read for them by an actor or other writers. Their is a prize of €500 for the winning entry so well worth getting the pen out. Prose entries must between 800 to 1000 word and the poetry verse between 40 to 60 lines. The entry fee is €5 per individual item or three for €10 and as many entries as you like but see the website for details. The festival celebrates the life and work of Jonathan Swift who lived at Laracor just outside the town and the writing competition pays homage in some way to his wonderful talent as both a satirist and storyteller. The prompt for this year's competition, suggested by the organisers, comes from the first page of Gulliver's Travels and is, " You prevailed on me to publish a very loose and incorrect account of my travels". So that should give you plenty of licence to play around with the subject material! An unusual rule that should appeal is that the material submitted may have already appeared or have been published elsewhere. So could be a fair old standard! Identity or contact details on a separate cover sheet and a number of ways of paying. For full details see link:

Postal address: Paddy Smith, Swift Satire Festival, 25 Saintjohns, Trim, County Meath, Ireland,
Entries to be accompanied by a personal cheque, postal order, bank draft or international money order, made payable to the "Trim Swift Festival Ltd", and only in euros , sterling or US dollars. 
Online payment details at link above.

A long list of 30 entries will be published on the website as will the shortlist AND the winner!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Gathering the Dead in the Garden/John Kelly

Gathering the Dead in the Garden/John Kelly

"Gathering the Dead in the Garden" is a first collection by the winner of this year's Goldsmith Poetry Prize. Containing forty three poems in all, they are broken down into a number of different sections and on a once through are impressive indeed. The section I went back to for a second read was titled  "Southeast" and given that the writer is from Enniscorthy in Wexford  the poems capture something of the town and of growing up in that part of the countryside. "Whores" and "Here Come the Lambs" which has a fine lyrical run to it, are the best of poems and there are sure to be others in here you'll enjoy as well. There is an excellent breakdown or introduction on the cover by Eamonn Wall and the copy I've got is in hardback. Priced at €12 on the website, the publisher is the Scallta Media, link: and well worth a look!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Trim Haymaking Festival 2014!

Trim Haymaking Festival 2014!

John Wiseman,  Canadian poet Doris Daly and Willie G. Hodgins
The Scurlogstown Olympiad Group celebrate the life and culture of rural Ireland each year at the annual "Haymaking Festival" in the Porchfields in Trim. But it is much more than just that and has grown over the years to include just about everything in the way of entertainment and diversion. There are all sorts of competitions and side shows from a roll in the hay to the sheaf tossing where the world record is currently at 62 feet and held by Michael Ó Brien from County Clare. Trim Drama Group will produce a pageant and there will be music on the day by Mary Ó Connor and the great Matt Leavy and that's just some of what's going on. The festival takes place this Sunday and the entrance fee is €10 with children under twelve free. Oh and I'd better not forget poetry readings at the Bardic House by The Meath Writers' Circle and anyone who cares to drop in. We'll be miked up this time!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Meath Writers' Circle/ June Meeting/ 2014!

The Meath Writers' Circle/ June Meeting/2014!

Edel Gillick, Margaret Sheils, Carmen Waldron, Luke Waldron, Verona Pentony and Willie G. Hodgins
About twenty people turned up for the above meeting on what was a beautiful evening and we even got miked up for the occasion Luke Waldron dropped in to talk about his book and read an extract or two before filling in on some of the background. Published by the Liffey Press " A Dawn Unforseen" is the true story of his journey from the west of Ireland to the Barrios of Peru. But yet to read and will get back to, Details at: Any other business and a few poems and stories read and we're on to the Haymaking Festival in the Porchfields next Sunday. Also there is a poetry reading and Barbecue in the Diocesan Hall Loman Street in Trim on next Saturday and all are very welcome. Will check out and get some more details. Unfortunately as they say otherwise engaged and won't be there but sure to be very entertaining. Finally over on Michael Farry's blogsite there is news of the revamped "Battle of the Books" for the Jonathan Swift Festival in July and with a fair old prize for the winning entry. Link to the right! 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Goldsmith International Literary Festival 2014!

Goldsmith Poetry Competition 2014!

John Kelly winner of the Goldsmith Poetry Competition.
Des Egan and Noel Monaghan
Gerry Bohan and Anne Tully and young friend?

Gerry Bohan

Made it down to Pallas on Sunday afternoon for the poetry readings in the Goldsmith Competition. Adjudicated by Noel Monaghan the winning entry was by John Kelly for his poem "at the darning of the sock" and even managed to get a mention in the lists myself. This was my third visit to the site, the last one being no less than about seven years ago when there wasn't quite so many roundabouts or flyovers round Mullingar or maybe the mind is playing tricks on me. Anyway the Ballymahon road goes on forever and ribbon straight and not a filling station for miles and miles. Pallas though is real countryside and the only sound is the wind rustling the leaves. Like it used to be up here! Ill fares the land and all that! Noel Monaghan's sixth collection: "Where The Wind Sleeps, New and Selected Poems" was published by Salmon Poetry in May and he will read from this collection in the Irish Embassy in Rome in June before heading for the USA and a number of universities. The afternoon ended with a poetry reading by the internationally acclaimed poet Des Egan, who has published over twenty collections of poetry and prose and has been described as Ireland's most translated poet A recipient of seven international awards, the list goes on.. He is quite some reader and very entertaining and if you get the opportunity....Finally Gerry Bohan entertained with his music and Anne Tully chaired to great effect. So if you happen to be passing on your way to Ballymahon or Mullingar or wherever, why not turn for Abbeyshrule and a visit to Pallas. 

* Other musical entertainment was provided by The Mostrim Community Games Instrumental Group~minus two fiddles!