Saturday, May 27, 2017

Michael Farry/Book Launch!

Michael Farry/ Book Launch!

Michael Farry invites all to the launch of his second poetry collection in the Castle Arch Hotel Trim on Thursday the 8th of June at 8 pm. Published by the Revival Press Limerick it's sure to be an interesting evening and further information on the book and life of the author can be had if you click on the link to the right. A founder member of The Boyne Writers Group and former editor of their literary magazine, "Boyne Berries" he has won many awards for his writing and is published widely. Nessa O' Mahony will launch the book on the night and all are welcome.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Gerry - Mangan's Darkness

James Clarence Mangan was born in 1803 and died on the 20th of June in 1849. His mother Catherine Smith came from the parish of Kiltale in County Meath and his father James Mangan was a hedge school teacher from Limerick. His most well known poem, "Dark Rosaleen" was a standard in schoolbooks back in the sixties and according to "A History of Kiltale" which was published in 2000, he is said to have written it on "Long's Hill". Held in high regard by writers such as Yeats and Joyce he was one of the most important poets of the nineteenth century and given his local connections strange that there is nothing here to mark that. But then you could say that of any number of others. We are not good at remembering. With thanks to to "Storymap Dublin" who loaded and youtube.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Fleadh Na Mí 2017!

Fleadh Na Mí 2017!

Ann Finnegan
Ann Finnegan, Uachtaráin Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, launched this year's Fleadh Na Mí in Jack Quinn's Public House in Scurlogstown last night with a talk or opening address given by Dr Antóin Mac Gabhann. The weekend features a number of different events in the town of Trim including dancing competitions in the Diocesan Hall, music by the Trim Comhaltas Naomh Padraig Céilli Band, the Trim Singers Circle Night in Téach Scurlog and competitions for vocal solos, duets, groups and céili bands etc. 


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

An Tobar/Poetry for Pleasure May 2017!

An Tobar/Poetry for Pleasure May 2017!

An Tobar/Ardbraccan
The theme of this month's meeting of the Poetry for Pleasure Group at Ardbraccan was Northern poets or poems relating to the province in some way. Seamus Heaney seemed to be a favourite for many as was Patrick Kavanagh but others included Michael Harding, Derek Mahon, William Allingham, Bobby Sands, Mike Martin and Anthony Cronin. One or two others got a mention and I'll have to chase them down, but for now! On what was a beautiful evening at least fifteen people turned out and the next get together will be on Tuesday the 20th of June when the theme will be women writers or perhaps poems about women? Anyway sure to be interesting.

Those other poets who got a mention on the night were Madge Herron and Pheme Glass!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Yeovil Literary Prize 2017!

Yeovil Literary Prize 2017!

Corton Denham near Yeovil
Daily Mail/Google Images
The closing date for this one is the 31st of May so just a little time left to get your entries in. There are four categories in all with prizes for Short Story, Poetry, Novel and Writing without Restrictions, which sounds interesting. The judges are Brianna Beehler for the Novel category, Anna Wilson for the Short Story, David Wheatley for the Poetry and Kiran Millwood Hargrave for the Writing without Restrictions. The prizes for the short story and poetry categories are £500, £200, and £100 and for the Writing without Restrictions are £200, £100 and £50. The entry fees for Poetry and Short Stories are £7 each with the Novel entry fee set at £12 and the Writing without Restrictions fee £5. You'll need to visit the site for an entry form and full details. Entry is possible both online and by post.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Rod Stewart - I Was Only Joking

Great song, great lyrics, from a studio version (Foot Loose & Fancy Free 1977). Loaded by TrixxyKatt and with thanks to youtube.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Meath Writers' Circle/May 2017!

The Meath Writers' Circle/May 2017!

Trim Castle Hotel/Google Images
About thirteen people turned out last Thursday night for the monthly meeting of The Meath Writers' Circle in the Trim Castle Hotel with a number of items discussed and poems and stories read. The annual magazine needs a lot more material in and hopefully it all comes together by the end of summer. This will be the third issue to date and while there is no overall theme there are any number of anniversaries out there including Ledwidge, Swift, Jane Austen, the Russian Revolution, the Fenian Proclamation, Thomas Ashe, JFK, The Battle of Messines WW1, Ernesto "Che" Guevara, Martin Luther's Ninety Five Theses, Amelia Earhart, Mary Queen of Scots, Sputnik, the Hindenburg and anything you might think of on the lighter side. Also of local note and by the time the magazine comes out it will be the 50th anniversary of the Scurlogstown Olympiad at the Old Mill, so nice to get some material on that. Thirty years also since the Joshua Tree so plenty to write about.

* Some other notable anniversaries worth considering, the death of Steve Biko, Elvis Presley, Eva Peron, Ernest Shackleton, Princess Dianna, 50 years since the release of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and I think 30 years since the release of Star Wars and it's 100 years since the apparitions at Fatima.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Waterford Poetry Prize 2017!

Waterford Poetry Prize 2017!

Waterford City/Google Images
The closing date for this one is 12 noon on Monday the 26th of June so plenty of time to get something in. There is a first prize of €400 plus attendance at a designated writing course at the Molly Keane Writers Retreat, Ardmore in 2018. The competition is open to all writers living on the island of Ireland and the prize will be presented at the Imagine Arts Festival incorporating the Waterford Writers Weekend which runs from October the 19th to the 29th in venues throughout Waterford city and county. 

The prize has emerged from the influence of the late Waterford writer Seán Dunne and there is no entry fee or age restrictions. Postal entries only and there should be no more than one entry per person submitted. There are a number of entry conditions and an entry form to be downloaded so be sure to check them out. There is a second prize of €300 and a third one of €200 and the winners will be requested to read their entry at the presentation event in Waterford. 

Original entries only and they must not have been previously published or printed online. Entries which have received awards in other competitions or have been submitted elsewhere are ineligible. Entries to: The Waterford Poetry Prize 2017, The Arts Office, Waterford City & County Council, Civic Offices, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford.

Friday, April 28, 2017

National Poetry Day 2017/Castle Arch!

National Poetry Day 2017/Trim County Meath!

Orla Fay of The Boyne Writers chaired last night's event in the Castle Arch Hotel in Trim to mark National Poetry Day 2017 with readers from a number of different writing groups in the county taking part including The Meath Writers' Circle, The Navan Writers and The Poetry for Pleasure reading group from An Tobar, Ardbraccan. The evening ended with tea and refreshments and the presentation of free copies of their literary magazines to all who came.  

Monday, April 24, 2017

National Poetry Day 2017!

National Poetry Day Readings/Castle Arch Trim, Thursday 27th April!

From Google Images
To celebrate National Poetry Day this year the Boyne Writers are hosting an event in the Castle Arch Hotel in Trim, County Meath on Thursday night at 8 pm. The theme of this year's readings is "Poetry Connects" though you may interpret this as you think suitable or just come along and listen on what is sure to be an enjoyable evening. Who knows what poetry will show up and it's a chance for different groups or poets to get together and to renew their acquaintance or to maybe simply connect! All welcome.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

MS Event/The Sands!

MS Event/Trim Castle Hotel

Colum and Ben Sands
Colum and Ben Sands were in the Trim Castle Hotel last night performing in aid of the Trim Multiple Sclerosis Centre. From Rostrevor in County Down they tour the world and Ben has recently returned from Germany while Colum was in New Zealand. Noted for their wit and storytelling as well as their fine ballads both are excellent musicians and their stage presence and interaction with the crowd is of the finest. Always entertaining they were ably supported by others such as Brian Reynolds from Cavan, Frank Foley from Trim, Matt Gilsenan, Trim and some fair old recitations from poets Patsy McDermott and another piece I believe from Kathleen Lucas. All the proceeds were in aid of the Multiple Sclerosis Centre and the event was organized by Eamon Reilly.  

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

An Tobar/Poetry For Pleasure

An Tobar/Poetry for Pleasure Group.

Front Lawn/An Tobar
The theme of last night meeting at An Tobar was the festival of Easter and perhaps as many as nineteen in all turned out for what was an interesting mix of poetry and song. Sean Reilly closed off with an excellent rendition of, "Were you There" and it really was fine singing. Chaired by Jim Owens the poetry read included almost everything that is associated  with this time of the year from Resurrection to the changing of the seasons and the poets read included, Gerald Manly Hopkins, Padraic Colum, John Boyle O Reilly, Francis Ledwidge, William Spencer, Maya Angelou, Les Murray, Bernadette McCarrick, Paddy Hyland, and I think someone also read a William Blake poem and that was just some of them. One of the highlights of the night though I thought was the reading of Louise Scott's, "The Passion of the Christ" which was published in her book "The Lightkeeper and Other Poems" back maybe about ten years ago. A number of those who attended read their own work and with great feeling. An Tobar is located just outside Navan at Ardbraccan and the group meets every third Tuesday of the month at 7.30 pm. The next meeting is on Tuesday the 16th of May with a theme on the Northern poets or the Province itself. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Boyne Berries 21

Boyne Berries 21!

Hard to believe this is the 21st issue of the magazine and nice to get an introduction or overview. There are many fine pieces of prose or poetry here and it would need more than a few readings to tease out their qualities. The ones that have most appeal are usually those that you can reference something to or admire for their craft and this magazine has both. "To the Grave" by Trish Delaney or "Edgehill" by John Prior for immediate interest and "Adaptation" by Bernie Crawford has a charm all its own. "After Dinner at Ornans, 1848" by Eamon McGuinness will send you on a reading that compares brushstrokes to pen. The prose section though has a quality all of its own and as I said earlier, "Outsider" by Shona Woods touches more than a few heartstrings, as does " A New Haircut" by Trisha McKinney and "Beacons" by Helen Simcox, and for different reasons. The problem with poetry is that often it cannot reach those depths. That said Anamaria Julia Dragomir's poem, "The Skerries Sea" which comes with a Romanian translation is as fine a piece of descriptive writing as you will find. The book retails at €8 and link to the right, "Boyne Berries" will get you a copy.   

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Dubliners - Building up and tearing england down

One of the great ballads of the Irish construction workers who went to England after the war although they had been going since 1798 I believe. This one was written by Dominic Behan and is as good as it gets. Noting some of the comments on youtube from Michael Dineen and Colin Lowe on Barney McKenna playing "Off to California" as a hornpipe. Quality tenor banjo Mr Lowe described it as. Barney McKenna is buried in St Loman's in Trim not far from poet Tommy Murray. With thanks to dubliner 85 who loaded.

Friday, April 7, 2017

The Meath Writers' Circle/April Meeting 2017!

The Meath Writers' Circle/April Meeting 2017!

About twelve people turned out last night for the April meeting of The Meath Writers' Circle, with a little time given over to what might or might not be included in this year's magazine. Allowing for a number of anniversaries it was decided to leave it open to the members as to what they might like to contribute and a deadline of late July was agreed upon for last submissions. A number of poems and articles were read and the night ended with a few songs, though four part harmonies or not Sean managed to steal the show with a piece from Dylan Thomas, (Eli Jenkin's Prayer) though what will be will be was creeping up on his left. A reminder that the National Poetry Day readings organized by The Boyne Writers are in the Castle Arch Hotel in Trim on Thursday the 27th of April at 8 pm and the An Tobar/Poetry for Pleasure readings on Tuesday the 18th at 7.30 pm. Also there is an event in the Trim Castle Hotel with the Sands Brothers on Friday the 21st in aid of Multiple Sclerosis.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Goldsmith Poetry Competition 2017!

Goldsmith Poetry Competition 2017!

Oliver Goldsmith/Pallas

The closing date for this one is the 28th of April, 2017 and fast approaching. All poems must be the original work of the author and not previously published. Each poem must be accompanied by a fee of €5 with three poems for €10 and personal cheques, postal orders, bank drafts and international money orders etc, made payable to Goldsmith Country Ltd.

Entries must be clearly printed on A4 paper, using a single sheet for each page of poetry with no double-sided printing. The poems and payment should be firmly attached to a fully completed entry form which can be downloaded from their site. The name of the entrant must not appear on the poems themselves. 

The judges' decisions are final and no correspondence can be entered into regarding these. Winners will be invited to read their work and receive their prize at the Poetry in Pallas event on Sunday the 4th of June 2017. Entries to be sent to: Ms Anne Tully, "Abbeylands" Firmount, Edgeworthstown, County Longford.

Check out full details at: and good luck!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Boyne Berries 21/Launch Photos!

Boyne Berries 21 Launch Photos!

Orla Fay and Shona Woods
Rory O' Sullivan, Orla Fay, Jackie Gorman and Caroline Carey Finn
Barbara Flood
Jackie Gorman, Anne Scally and Frances Browne
Boyne Berries 21 was launched last night in the Castle Arch Hotel in Trim by Jackie Gorman with Orla Fay who is editor doing the introductions and Caroline Carey Finn, chairperson of the group welcoming all who were there. The magazine is a mixture of both poetry and prose and includes some of Ireland's best known writers as it always does. Leafing through the pages there are any number of interesting pieces and I'll have to get back for a slow read although many of the poems were read on the night. "Outsider", by Shona Woods intrigues if that's the right term but get a copy. €8. Boyne Berries Link to the right. (Jackie Gorman's opening words and picture)

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Chuck Berry - Johnny B Goode (1959)

Came across an old Racal. Hadn't been on in maybe 40 years? Dusted it off. Ran a piece of string wire across the ceiling, tuned it in to 1542 East Africa and on comes..... With thanks to youtube and Classic Mood Experience who loaded.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Boyne Berries 21

Boyne Berries 21!

The launch of Boyne Berries 21 the literary magazine of The Boyne Writers group will take place this Thursday night at 8 pm in The Castle Arch Hotel in Trim County Meath at 8 pm.  Since its first issue back in Spring 2007 it has published writers from both at home and abroad and a list of those whose writing is featured in this issue can be had if you click on the link to Boyne Berries over to your right. The magazine will be launched by Jackie Gorman whose writing has been published by Poetry Ireland Review, The Honest Ulsterman, Headspace, etc and who won The Phizzfest Poetry Award in 2016 and was commended in The Patrick Kavanagh Award also. More info over on the Boyne Berries site.  She is currently studying for an MA in Poetry Studies at the Irish Centre for Poetry Studies DCU. Sure to be an interesting night and all are welcome.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Meath County Council & Francis Ledwidge

Meath County Council & Francis Ledwidge

Last night in the Solstice Arts Centre in Navan saw the joint launch of the Francis Ledwidge Centenary Programme 2017 and Dermot Bolger's Francis Ledwidge, Selected Poems published by New Island Press in association with Meath County Council. It was also the last night of an exhibition that featured the poetry of Gerard Smyth and the paintings of Sean Mc Sweeney, aptly titled, The Yellow River, as it unites the personal histories of both men. The Yellow River is a tributary of the Blackwater, (Kells) which merges with the river Boyne in Navan. With regard to Ledwidge there are any number of events planned over the coming months in celebration of his life including Poetry Day Ireland - Launch of new Meath County Council Francis Ledwidge Creative Writing Award on April the 27th. The poetry of Francis Ledwidge, Dermot Bolger, Gerard Smyth and Michael Farry can be accessed over on youtube.

Michael Farry
Dermot Bolger
Francis Ledwidge
(Google Images)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

An Tobar/Poetry for Pleasure!

An Tobar/Poetry for Pleasure!

An Tobar/Google Images
Last night's meeting of the Poetry for Pleasure group was chaired by Danny Cusack and included readings of some fine poems by authors such as W.B.Yeats, Austin Clarke, Patrick Pearse, Wendel Berry, Longfellow, Arthur Symons, Radclyffe Hall, Matthias Claudius and one or two local poets. The theme was on nature and sowing and opened with a poem by Thomas Hardy called "The Darkling Thrush" which was written on the last day of the nineteenth century. I remember reading it many years ago in a book by Karen Armstrong (A History of God) where she remarked on, " the growing blankness where God once existed in the human consciousness" and noted that, "one of the first people to express this dry desolation - quite different from the heroic atheism of Neitzsche - was Thomas Hardy", in his poem The Darkling Thrush. Another highlight of the night was Sean Reilly's reading of Myra Lalor's poem "Do You Remember". Myra was a member of both The Meath Writers Circle and the Navan Writers and her poetry was published in several journals including Poetry Ireland Review, The Irish Times and The New York Times. The theme of next month's meeting is "Easter" and the meeting is on Tuesday the 18th of April at 7.30 pm.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

St Patrick's Day Trim 2017!

The Tenants of Rathcore!

From Google Images
The theme of this year's Scurlogstown entry in the Trim parade was an event that occurred in the Spring of 1865, or on the 27th of January of that year to be exact and hopefully the date is correct, when John Dyas the local landlord evicted 13 families from their homes in the small village of Rathcore County Meath. A special constabulary force of 140 police officers removed 87 men, women and children from their homes though some were allowed back under certain conditions. Questions were raised in the Dail following the creation of the new state as to the rights of these tenants though given the evictions that are taking place today it seems we have gone full circle.

 Dyas purchased part of the estate from absentee landlord George Knox and acting on an agreement made and following the murder of his agent Thomas Reynolds in December 1864 sent the crowbar brigade in. The aftermath of the '98 Rebellion, the Act of Union, the Famine and the repeal of the corn laws would have disastrous consequence for dwellers in rural Ireland and eventually almost for England itself. A country that cannot feed itself is in peril. Meath would become what has been best described as a "Bullock Walk" where cattle were fattened up before export to England.

William Bulfin looking back from Tara in 1902 described Meath as a vast tenant less landscape from which man had absented himself and only the county towns would have had any sizable population. The 1865 Rathcore evictions are the subject of a book written by Colin Eugene Rayfus and the book should be available on amazon. Yet to read myself but will try to source a copy.

The Scurlogstown Olympiad Group are presenting a pageant in 13 scenes on the evictions at this year's Haymaking Festival (Written by John Daly)and would welcome your participation in any way. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Ledwidge 1917-2017

Ledwidge 1917-2017

Noel French, James Linnane,
Gemma Macey and Carmel Murray
Thursday night last saw an evening of music, poetry, story and song at St. Mary's Church of Ireland in Navan with MC for the night Noel French introducing a number of guests ending with an ecumenical and inter-faith service of prayer and the playing of the Last Post followed by one minutes silence and Reveille. There was also a welcome to members of ONE, chairperson of  Navan Shamrock Festival, Mayor Francis Deane and local attendees. 

(1) Sean Lynch - Last Post - Minute Silence - Reveille
(2) Welcome to members of ONE, Chairperson of Navan Shamrock Festival, Mayor Francis Deane and local attendees.
(3) John Donoghue - "Francis Ledwidge"
(4) Colm Yore - The House of Gold
(5) Gary O' Hare - The Blackbird of Slane
(6) Bob Lee - The Dead Kings
(7) Comhaltas Musicians - Two Airs/Marches
(8) Paul Murphy - Soliloquy
(9) John Doyle - Passchendaele
(10) Tony Brady - Down by a lone long river
(11) Michael Connaughton - The Maid of Rosnaree
(12) Danny Cusack - Seamús Heaney's - In Memoriam Francis Ledwidge
(13) Paddy Pryle - The Green Fields of France
(14) Bill Slattery - June followed by a short air
(15) Conclusion - Musicians and singers. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Francis Ledwidge: War Poet

Dr Lucy Collins Of UCD discusses the poetry of  War Poet Francis Ledwidge. An event remembering Ledwidge will be held tonight in St Mary's Church of Ireland in Navan at 8 pm. Organised by the Navan Shamrock Festival and The Navan Singing Circle. With thanks to youtube and Century Ireland who posted.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Trócaire Poetry Ireland Poetry Competition 2017!

Trócaire Poetry Ireland Poetry Competition 2017!

Here's one with a closing date that is approaching really fast with a deadline for submissions of Friday the 17th of March. There are two adult categories of published and unpublished and post-primary and primary categories for schoolchildren. The theme of this year's competition is, "Before the Storm" which explores how people prepare for extreme weather events caused by climate change. The judges for this year's competition are poet and former competition-winner Jane Clark, Aidan Cliffford, the former director of the City of Dublin Education and Training Board's Curriculum Development Unit, and Trócaire's Trish Groves.

You can enter by post or online and forms can be downloaded from the site. For postal entries send to: Trócaire Poetry Ireland Poetry Competition, Poetry Ireland, 11 Parnell Square Dublin 1.
This competition is free to enter so if you have anything that you think might be suitable, why not! The winning poems are published in booklet form and distributed to arts festivals and community events, and through schools and poetry readings. Winners and runners up are invited to read at the lunchtime awards ceremony at the National Library of Ireland.

The prizes are interesting in that they include a two-week stay at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig OR a Tablet OR time in a recording studio to the value of €300, plus subscription to Poetry Ireland Review for one year OR assessment of work through Poetry Ireland's Assessment Service. Runners up get tickets to a literary festival to the value of €250, OR the subscription service or assessment above. In the schools categories the winner gets a Kindle Fire plus a visit by an author to the school with the runners up getting a book token and also a visit by an author. The winners will be notified  not later than the 8th of May 2017 with the awards ceremony in late May at the National Library of Ireland

From Google Images

* Be sure to check out all the details on the Poetry Ireland website. Link to the right!!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017


Came across this on The Late Late Show on Friday last. Quite an impressive piece of performance poetry. With thanks to youtude and davetynan who loaded. Other clips of Emmet Kirwan from the same show. I believe it has gone viral on Facebook and it's up near two hundred thousand on youtube.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Meath Writers' Circle/March 2017!

The Meath Writers' Circle/March 2017!

About ten people turned out on what was a very rainy night for the monthly meeting of The Meath Writers' Circle with one new member in attendance though it was mostly a night of poems and short stories with some planning for the year ahead. There are a number of events coming up for March though more on that to come or already mentioned. The last five copies of our Christmas magazine were sold on the night and I think they're all gone at this stage. The total sold now must be well over three hundred and fifty though not too sure and congratulations to Eugene on that. Also other events coming up for April but more details on those events to follow.  

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

"The Listeners" by Walter de la Mare (read by Tom O'Bedlam)

Walter de la Mare - 25th April 1873 - 22nd June 1956. With thanks to youtube and SpokenVerse for reading. Many other poems by SpokenVerse over on youtube.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Manchester Cathedral Poetry Competition 2017!

Manchester Cathedral Poetry Competition 2017!

Jane Commane
The entry criteria for poems submitted to this competition is that they should be broadly religious or "spiritual" in nature and like all good religious poetry, appeal to those who would not describe themselves as "religious". They encourage poetry from a range of faith traditions and poems are welcome in any style or form and will be judged on their merits. The prizes are £450 for first place with £250 and £150 for second and third places respectively. The winners and seven runners-up will be invited to read their poetry at the Manchester Literature Festival in October. The closing date for entries to this competition is Friday the 30th of June 2017, so plenty of time to get the pen out. The entry fees are £4.50 for the first poem and £2.00 per poem thereafter. The winning poem will be printed in Cathedral News November 2017. The first, second and third prize-winners and seven runners up will be published by the Cathedral in the Manchester Cathedral Poetry Competition 2017 Booklet.

Check out all details and entry conditions at:

The judge for 2017 is Jane Commane who is a poet, tutor and editor at Nine Arches Press, and co-editor on Under the Radar Magazine. You can download an entry form from the above website address.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

An Tobar/Poetry for Pleasure!

An Tobar/ Poetry for Pleasure.

An Tobar
(From Google Images)
The second get together of The Poetry for Pleasure group was held last night in An Tobar, Ardbraccan, Navan with about seventeen in attendance. A wide variety of poems in style and mix were read, though mostly of traditional verse and school day favourites. Walter de la Mare's - The Listeners - is one that I haven't heard in a long time and I suppose that is what makes these get togethers so interesting in that only the very best or personal favourites are brought along and read on the night. The theme of last night's meeting was the season of Spring though anything you might associate with it was up to the reader. The next meeting is on Tuesday the 21st of March with a theme on nature or sowing.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Remembering Ledwidge!

Remembering Ledwidge!

There will be an evening of  history, story, poetry and song on Wednesday the 15th of March 2017 at 8 pm in St Mary's Church of Ireland, Navan. organized by The Navan Shamrock Festival and The Navan Singing Circle. So one to mark for your diary. Francis Ledwidge was an Irish war poet who was killed at the third battle of Ypres (Passchendaelle) on the 31st of July 1917 and was from Slane, County Meath.  

From Irish War Memorials
Google Images

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Beyond Caravaggio!

Caravaggio and Killeen - The Connection

One of the featured articles in our recent magazine was a piece on The Taking of Christ painting by Caravaggio and the strong local connection to County Meath. Written by Noel French of The Meath Heritage Centre it focuses in on the Lea-Wilsons who lived in the Glebe House in Killeen, Dunsany. The article is below. The Caravaggio exhibition runs in the National Gallery from February to May. 

Caravaggio and Killeen – The Connection

A person, who lived in Meath, bought a painting in Scotland, which turned out to be a long lost masterpiece now hanging in the National Gallery of Ireland.
Percival Lea-Wilson was born in 1887, in Kensington, London, son of Samuel Lea-Wilson. Percival was born to a solidly middle class household, his grandfather, Samuel Wilson, had been Lord Mayor of London in 1838 and his father was a stockbroker. The family received a serious setback in 1894 when Percival’s father was killed in a carriage accident. His mother was a sister of the architect, Charles Fitzroy Doll, who designed the dining room of the Titanic.  Percival was educated at Winchester College and New College, Oxford, where he studied history. He joined the Irish police force, the Royal Irish Constabulary in 1910, initially being stationed in Galway. Promoted to District Inspector in 1911 Lea-Wilson, served first in Charleville, Co. Cork, then Woodford, Co. Galway and from there he was transferred to Dunshaughlin, Co. Meath.

While in Charleville Lea-Wilson fell in love with Marie Ryan, the daughter of a local Catholic solicitor, who was against the friendship.  After being posted to Dunshaughlin Lea-Wilson wrote Marie letters expressing his love and moaning about his conditions.  One of his letters, written from the Fingall Arms Hotel, Dunshaughlin, on 13 October 1913 - reads:  

 “This place is horrid, dirty, miserable. I went to bed after going out to see a patrol miserable. I got up this morning worse. Your letter from Cork was very cheering. I have since been out and - they have raised some ink - inspected two stations, where an extraordinary state of inefficiency prevails, which once more reduced me to misery, and the car is wrong… I have to take the car to Dublin for repairs this afternoon.
I have another letter from your father. I can't read one word of it but it appears to be about horses.
I am very worried about you.

Your loving Val.”

Lea-Wilson married Marie on 27th January 1914 at Charleville. The local D.I., Mr Baldwin, was in charge of a party of police who formed an arch of swords from the Church door to the carriages. The celebrations took place at the principal local hotel. Constables Daughton and O'Shea added to the entertainment by singing the latest popular songs while Constable Neylan played the piano.

The Lea-Wilsons settled at the Glebe House in Killeen, Dunsany. Lea-Wilson played cricket with the local gentlemen at Dunsany Castle. At the outbreak of the war Lea-Wilson joined the Royal Irish Regiment as a Captain. Sent to France as a musketry instructor he served on the Western Front where he was seriously wounded. According to the RIC Magazine Lea-Wilson returned to Dublin early in 1916 and re-joined the police in March 1916.

 His mother was relieved that Lea-Percival was not anywhere near Ashbourne during the Rising in 1916 and wrote to Marie – “What a terrible time of anxiety you must have been passing through. How merciful that Val was no longer at Ashbourne!”

Lea-Wilson was actually in Dublin at the time of the Easter Rising and saw the rebellion as a “monstrous betrayal” of the Empire. After the surrender of the rebels Lea-Wilson was placed in command of 250 captives from the GPO and Four Courts at the front of the Rotunda Hospital. Lea-Wilson forced Tom Clarke to strip naked on the steps of the hospital in front of the other prisoners and the female nursing staff. He then taunted the prisoners shouting: “That old bastard is Commander-in-Chief. He keeps a tobacco shop across the street. Nice general for your f***ing army.” According to witnesses, who saw Lea-Wilson mistreat the rebels, he was intoxicated at time.

Volunteer Liam Tobin described his experience that Saturday night at the Rotunda Green.

 “In charge of the enemy forces there was a Captain Lea-Wilson, who was dressed in the usual military uniform, but wore a smoking cap with a fancy tassel hanging out of it. He kept walking round and round, stopping now and again to speak to his soldiers, saying whom do you consider worst, the Boshes or the Sinn Feiners? And of course they always answered that we were worst. With the number of us lying in the small area of grass we were cramped for space, and it was damp and uncomfortable so that I got a bad cramp in my legs. As Lea-Wilson was passing, Piaras Beaslai said to him "There's a young fellow here who is not well" explaining what was wrong and asking if I could stand up. Lea-Wilson said "no let the so-and-so stay where he is".
“I remember that evening that those of us who wanted to relieve ourselves had to do it lying on the grass alongside our comrades. There was nowhere to go and we had to use the place where we lay. As well as I can remember a number of our men, including Tom Clarke were, during that time, brought to the steps of the Rotunda Hospital and were searched. Some people say they were stripped in the process and if my memory is reliable at all, it is my impression that this did happen. Lea-Wilson was responsible for having them stripped as he was responsible for whatever ill treatment was received there. I know that when he refused to allow me to stand up I looked at him and I registered a vow to myself that I would deal with him at some time in the future.” 

His wife, Marie, never believed that her husband had maltreated the prisoners.
In 1917 Lea-Wilson was appointed District Inspector in Gorey. On the morning of 15 June 1920 Lea-Wilson left the house dressed in civilian clothes and walked to the RIC barracks in the town. After a few minutes he left the barracks, stopped at the station to buy a newspaper and then walked on towards home. Five armed IRA men were waiting for him on the direct orders of Michael Collins. The group included Liam Tobin who had watched Lea-Wilson dis-respect the prisoners in 1916. A sixth man waited close by in a stolen car. Lea-Wilson was initially hit by two bullets and was knocked to the ground. He managed to get up and tried to run away. More shots were fired, Lea-Wilson collapsed and died. Some accounts say a final bullet was administered to his head to ensure he was dead.

 The car and its occupants fled the scene. It was denied that the killing had anything to do with revenge for the ill treatment of the prisoners in 1916 and that Lea-Wilson was targeted for his role as head officer for the police in the area.
Lea-Wilson’s remains were interred in Putney Vale Cemetery, London, where his father was buried. The grave has a bronze plaque, which mentions his assassination in Gorey. Before his widow left Gorey, Marie commissioned the renowned stained glass artist, Harry Clarke, to create a window in Christ Church in her husband's memory. The window depicts Saint Stephen, the first martyred saint, in blue, purple and magenta robes. An angel holds a banner with Saint Stephen’s final words: “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge”.

Marie never fully recovered from her husband’s murder and from time to time was in great distress but she began a new life, went to study medicine at TCD, graduating in 1928 at the age of forty-one, one of only three women in her class. Joining the staff of Sir Patrick Dun’s Hospital she became a well-known paediatrician. Marie lived and practiced in Dublin as a paediatrician for the rest of her life, dying in 1971 at the age of eighty-four. She was buried in Deansgrange Cemetery.

Marie, in her grief, turned to the church for consolation and she found support from a Jesuit priest, Father Thomas Finlay of the Leeson Street Community. The year following Lea-Wilson’s murder whilst she was on a trip to Edinburgh Marie purchased a large sixteenth century oil painting that had been hanging in a private home in the city for over a hundred years for the sum of £8. The subject probably appealed to her; “The Taking of Christ” shows the moment Judas kisses Christ to identify him to the Roman soldiers waiting to take him prisoner. Marie brought the painting home to Ireland, and in 1924 she sent it to cabinetmakers and furniture restorers; James Hicks in Dublin’s Lower Pembroke Street for repairs, possibly to the frame.  In 1934 Marie decided to gift the painting to Father Finlay and the Jesuits who hung it in the Leeson Street dining room. In 1990 Sergio Benedetti, a curator and conservator at the National Gallery of Ireland, was asked to look at the Jesuit’s collection of paintings. When he was shown the painting he was told that it was a copy of a Caravaggio by a Dutch disciple of the Italian master. Caravaggio’s, original was commissioned by Ciriaco Mattei, a Roman nobleman who died in 1614.

 The painting remained in the family’s Roman palazzo until the early 1800’s when they sold it to William Hamilton Nisbet, who displayed it in his Edinburgh home. The lost Caravaggio had been discussed and sought since 1943 and in the 1990s two Italian art students traced the painting from Rome to Edinburgh. Benedetti had the painting cleaned and authenticated as the long lost Caravaggio masterpiece. When the painting was handed over to the National Gallery on indefinite loan on behalf of the Irish Jesuits at a public ceremony in 1993, it was presented to the Chairperson of the Gallery’s Board, Dr. William Finlay, who was the grandnephew of Father Thomas Finlay to whom Marie Lea -Wilson gave the painting. “The Taking of Christ” now hangs in the National Gallery of Ireland.

Noel French

From Google Images

Marie Lea -Wilson
(Courtesy of Noel French/The Meath Heritage Centre)



Saturday, February 11, 2017

Duleek Library/Calling all Writers!

Duleek Library/Calling all Writers!

Duleek Civic Offices/Library
Duleek Civic Offices and Public Library was the venue for today's get together hosted by the local writing group. Chaired by Edel Gillick those present also included members of The Meath Writers' Circle and the Navan Writers Group and there was one representative there from the world of theatre and drama production, which made for an interesting and informative afternoon and discussion. The venue itself is ideal for such meetings and the topics discussed included publication, imagination, the importance of the first line, writing for children and the importance of focus etc. The number of writing or reading groups in the county seems to be increasing and establishing links between the groups can only be for the better. Future projects combining material or input from the different groups a definite possibility. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Calling all Writers!

Calling all Writers! Duleek Library!
(Saturday the 11th of February 2017)

From Google Images
Edel Gillick of the Navan Writers Group is holding a writing get together or workshop in Duleek Library this coming Saturday at 2 pm and all writers or writer groups in the county or those from  further afield are more than welcome to attend. This is an opportunity to get together and meet others who share an interest in the written word, whether it be poetry or prose, or just perhaps might like to come along and listen. There is no charge for this event and its sure to be an interesting mix of both style and variety and will hopefully both challenge and encourage participants in whatever their discipline or interest. Tea and coffee making facilities will be available on the day. Hope to see you there! 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

The Meath Writers' Circle/February 2017!

The Meath Writers' Circle/February 2017!

About ten people turned out for the first meeting of The Meath Writers' Circle for 2017 in the Trim Castle Hotel on Thursday night, which was small enough given the usual numbers. Much was discussed and the agenda had any number of items to be covered with the magazine taking precedence on the night  given that hundreds have been sold to date and congratulations to everyone on that. A rest for a few months perhaps before deciding on the theme of next year's publication. A number of anniversaries in the coming year including the death of Francis Ledwidge in the first world war and it is also the 350th anniversary of the birth of Jonathan Swift who was vicar at Laracor church which is just outside Trim. Laracor churchyard is also the burial place of the poet F. R. Higgins and an annual commemoration ceremony takes place there every year with the laying of a wreath by the Scurlogstown Olympiad Group. So plenty of material  to be considered. Edel Gillick of the Navan Writers and Junior Writers is holding a writing get together in the Newgrange Hotel in Navan next Saturday at 2.30 pm but more on that later in the week.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Poems for Patience!

Poems for Patience!

The closing date for the Galway University Hospitals Arts Trust Poetry Competition is the 3rd of March so a bit of time left on that one. The criteria for entry is that poems should no more than 30 lines long and must be the original work of the entrant. Poems that have been previously published are eligible so you can dig out your best ones or what you consider might be suitable. Also you can enter as many times as you like or can afford. 

The winner will have his or her poem published and displayed on the Arts Corridor of the hospital as part of the 2017 Poems for Patience. Featured poets have included just about everyone who is anyone and some of the very best. After exhibition on the Arts Corridor the poems will be displayed in the waiting areas throughout Galway University Hospitals. 

The winner will be invited to read his or her poem at the launch of the 2017 Poems for Patience at the Cúirt International Festival of Literature in April 2017 and will be provided with accommodation in Galway if travelling for one night during the Cúirt International Festival of Literature. They will be given a copy of their poem framed as a Poem for Patience poster. 

The entry fee for one poem is €10, for two  €15 and for three €22.50, with your contact details on a separate sheet. Payment by postal order or cheque made payable to Galway University Hospital Arts Trust. Send your entries to: Margaret Flannery, Arts Director, Galway University Hospitals Arts Trust , Galway University Hospitals, University Hospital, Newcastle Road, Galway. Further details over on the Poetry Ireland website page under competitions. Check to be sure. Link to the right! 
     From Google Images

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Nick Drake - Riverman

A song for a Sunday!. With thanks to youtube and the guy who loaded (Bus drie)! Beautiful song.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Caterpillar Poetry Prize 2017!

The Caterpillar Poetry Prize 2017!

As it says, stories, poems & arts for kids and a competition now open with a €1000 prize for the best poem for kids. The judge for this year's competition is John Hegley and the winning poem will feature in the summer 2017 issue of The Caterpillar. Commended poems may also be published in the same magazine. You need to check out the details on their site and you can enter online or send your poems with a cheque or postal order made payable to "The Moth Magazine Ltd". Entry form, rules etc. There are a number of other prizes there as well including, "The Moth Art Prize, The Moth Retreat and The Moth Short Story Prize. Different closing dates for these. The Caterpillar Poetry Prize is open to anyone over 18 as long as the work is original and previously unpublished and you can enter as many poems as you like. The fee is €12 per poem. Link:

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Listowel Writers' Week 2017!

Listowel Writers' Week 2017!

There are any number of competitions here, some with a closing date that is fast approaching (The 3rd of February) and others where the closing date for receipt of entries is on the 3rd of March. Some great prizes and sure to be something to suit your interest. Entries may be in Irish or English and you must identify  the specific competition for which you are entering. You can enter online or by post and all details are available on their website. If by post please submit your name and contact details on a separate sheet and include the appropriate fee. But be sure to check out the website. Perhaps the biggest festival of its kind in Ireland and where better to spend a few days in summer than Listowel.

Check Out!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

"Poetry for Pleasure Group"/An Tobar.

"Poetry for Pleasure Group"

Jim Owens and Danny Cusack
The Poetry for Pleasure Group will meet on the third Tuesday of every month in An Tobar, Ardbraccan, County Meath and people are welcome to come along and read a poem or just listen to the choice of the other participants. Last night was the initial get together and about sixteen turned out for what was an interesting mix with poetry from Kavanagh to Montague to Kennelly and pieces where the author is unknown. It was a thought-provoking evening or get together with everything from recitation to modern prose in what are very comfortable surrounds. The group organizers are Stephanie O' Brien, Danny Cusack and Jim Owens and the next meeting is on Tuesday the 21st of February at 7.30pm. For further information contact Jim Owens at 087 967 6728 or Jackie Smyth (An Tobar) at 046 907 8973. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Molly Keane Creative Writing Award 2017!

Molly Keane Creative Writing Award 2017!

Waterford City and County Council's Arts office is currently accepting entries for the above competition with a closing date of Tuesday the 14th of March at 12 noon. Held annually since 1998 it celebrates the life of an author whose writing was short listed for the prestigious Booker Prize and whose novel "Good Behaviour" (1981) became a publishing sensation. There is no entry fee for this competition and no restriction on subject matter, also no age limit. A prize of €500 will be awarded to the winner at a special ceremony during the IMMRAMA Literary festival in Lismore, Co. Waterford in June 2017. 

Full details and entry form can be downloaded from:
Go to Documents - Appplications - Arts & Culture - Arts, Archives & Culture Forms.
Or by contacting the Arts Office on 058-41416

From images

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Prole Laureate Poetry Competition!

Prole Laureate Poetry Competition!

Here's a competition that is nice and reasonable if you've overspent over the Christmas with an entry fee that is only £3 for the first entry and £2 for each subsequent poem. You can enter via the website and e-mail, which they prefer, or by post and cheque made payable to P. Robertson. Send your entries to: Brett Evans 15 Maes-y-Dre, Abergele, Conwy, LL227HW. The closing date is January the 31st and the winners will be announced in issue 22 of Prole in April coming and on their website by April the 20th. Open regarding style, content and length and quality is all. The first prize is £200 with publication in Prole 22 in April 2017 and on their website with 2 x runner up prizes of £50 and publication same as above. All work must be the original of the writer and unpublished. The judge is Macdara Woods. Came across this on the Emerging Writer website, link to the right.      Check out for full details.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Jonathan Swift Conference 2017!

Jonathan Swift Conference 2017!

There will be a conference to mark the 350th anniversary of the birth of Jonathan Swift in Trinity College Dublin this year between the dates of 7-9 of June and I wonder if there will be anything of equal importance in this county given his connections to Laracor and Trim. Saggart in Dublin have their own very successful writing competition every year named in his honour and the Trim festival ran for a number of years with the Boyne Writers going off with the Battle of the Books trophy in the end though I always maintained it should have strictly adhered to the ancient and modern and where does knowledge reside anyway... who knows? I'm satired out, whimsy is a poor substitute for truth and the ways of the world. Anyway I'd say revive it and let the universities of Dublin or the local secondary schools debate the issues. The talent is certainly out there but let it be satire and it would make for an interesting event. The judges from the literary line..... go for it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Maria Edgeworth Literary Poetry Competition 2017!

Maria Edgeworth Literary Poetry Competition 2017!
Google Images
One to start the year with. The closing date for this one is the 24th of February and the judge for the competition is Professor Iggy McGovern,  Entries cost €5 with cheques made payable to: Edgeworth Literary Society or payment can be made online through Paypal. Usual rules apply but check them out on the website. Some very interesting material there on different members of the family with video and audio compilations from a number of sources. If my memory serves me well I think there's some connection between the family and the town of Navan in County Meath. Anyway the address to send your entries to is : Competition Secretary, Edgeworth Literary Society, Old School House, Ballymahon Road, Edgeworthstown, Co. Longford. Tel: 043 6671801.

Further info at Poetry Ireland Website: Link right.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Hill of Tara Fly Report

Maybe just the mood I'm in. I came across this video on youtube and thought I'd load it for the New Year although it was recorded back in 2008. Michael Slavin runs a bookshop on The Hill of Tara and has written a number of books on the history of the place and if you haven't paid it a visit it is well worth the effort. The routing of the M3 motorway through the place was perhaps one of the great mistakes of the Celtic Tiger era as the complex itself extends far beyond its present boundaries and much of it has already been destroyed. With thanks to livestream who loaded (Bernard Evans) and youtube. How it is that Tara is not a world heritage site is beyond me but perhaps it would upset too many interests. Anyway happy New Year!