Listowel Writers' Week Fringe

Blogging Listowel's Literary Scene
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Archive for the ‘localinfo’

View of The Square, Listowel

June 03, 2010 By: Blog Team Category: 2010, localinfo, video

The Square, Listowel (Flash video – 1.3Mb)

The height of the Irish Summer?

June 20, 2009 By: Patrick Stack Category: localinfo, Reflections

This weekend sees the arrival of the Summer Solstice 2009 for the northern hemisphere, or the Winter Solstice if you happen to live south of the equator. As I write in my office in Kilmaley, Co. Clare I can see that it is quite windy outside and the sun is shining from a partially clouded sky. It doesn’t feel at all like what I think the longest day of the year should feel like with the temperature around 15C. WolframAlpha tells me that the story is similar 40 miles south across the Shannon Estuary in Listowel – the temperature is 16C with a relative humidity of 72%, a wind of 8m/s under a cloudy sky. What became of the glorious summer days we experienced at this year’s Writers’ Week festival I wonder?

Like most Irish people, I’m eternally hopeful that one of these years we will get a proper summer – you know the kind I mean: long warm sunny days with little wind and blue skies, and the very odd light shower of rain to keep the plants from wilting altogether. The last one was in 1995, and the one before that 1984. Beyond that I can’t tell, though I do remember some very wet summers in the 1970s when it was impossible to save the hay or draw out the turf from the bog. The worst summer on record was definitely last year’s when we had rain day after day often puntuated by torrential downpours, rarely by extended sunny spells. I don’t want to go through another “summer” like that one.

So on this Solstice weekend I pray the meteorological deities will look kindly upon us and grant us a proper summer in 2009.

The first time I went into J B Keane’s pub in Listowel in 2009

June 06, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: connections, localinfo, novels, participants, preparations, storytelling

I wasn’t looking for drink, I was looking for company.

The woman from the Vodafone shop was sorting out a dongle for me. I had to wait, pass the time somewhere, and J B’s is only across the road.

This was mid afternoon on Wednesday 27 May.

Alone I went in, wondering what would be going on. From previous experience, I suspected there would be something up. I might even interrupt Billy Keane in song or story.

Pushing open the door, I looked round the pub, hardly anyone there. First thought was where to put myself so that I could watch & overhear conversations?

The man in the corner caught my eye. He wouldn’t let go of it. Insisted I sit down with his friends, Sean Devine & Paula Tormey. I know their names because I took out my book, said I’d outsourced my memory to it, and took notes.

[I did this all through Writers' Week.]

Bert Griffin pointed me to his friend Tony Guerin, who wasn’t in the pub. On the wall was a poster advertising a play written by him. He said Tony’s novel, Tomorrow is a lovely day, would be launched on Saturday @1300.

You’ll not meet a more engaging man this week…” (Bert’s words on Tony, I scribbled).

I can’t remember what I drank, so I guess it wasn’t a pint of Guinness.

They were good to me, those three. I found out the J B Keane anniversary mass was @ 1030 on Saturday. I thought of going to pay my respects, and because I’m a bit of an anthropologist.

For the first time, I met Mary Keane, John B’s widow, from Castleisland, came to Listowel 54 years ago, 1955. Took this photograph of Mary & Bert.

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I met a couple who’d driven from Greystones, near Dublin, to be at a performance of Sive, and said it was worth every mile.

I found out Brendan Kennelly and Matt Munroe had both been London bus conductors, like me.

And then Bert invited me to his house for steak…

Amazing, astonishing, bloodyfantastic, hypermarvellous, superphenomenal, eh.

I had a short vigorous time with them in Bert’s house. I left Grace’s [my 3.9 year old treasure] car seat there when I drove them all back into Listowel in time for the opening ceremony. Grace’s seat is still there.

If there’s anyone driving from Listowel to Cork soon, please contact me, so I can ask you a small favour…

That’s meant to be a flavour of the life to be had in Listowel during Writers’ Week.

Watch out Listowel Writers’ Week – here comes West Cork Literary Festival

June 05, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: competition, connections, creative writing, events, localinfo, organisers

Coming up on the inside lane, is a cheeky Literary Festival…

Why do I call it “cheeky”?

According to Ruth Flanagan, Cork County Librarian:

“The West Cork Literary Festival can now, with some justification, be regarded as Munster’s premier literary festival.”

Does she not know Kerry is in Munster?

Does she speak with the arrogant justification of a West Corkonian?

Does she only say this because she works for Cork County Library Service?

Or might she have a pint?

We’ll return to this issue in due course.

I just want to flag it up, so that you can take a look at what they are offering & compare it with Listowel Writers’ Week.

I’d like to publicly invite Ruth Flanigan [who’s responsible for publishing my first short story, “The Ring” in Bealtaine Short Story Competition 2006] to come on here and support her contention.

It would be wonderful to welcome her on here, wouldn’t it?

If anyone knows Ruth Flanigan, please let her know of the invitation.

It would be a fine opportunity for her to market West Cork Literary Festival 2009.

It runs in Bantry, from Sunday 5 July – Saturday 11 July, so it is a ‘full’ week.

The street market will be back in Listowel on Sunday

May 30, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: connections, events, localinfo, photographs, Street drama

And I promised several stallholders I’d publish photos of what they have for sale.

I’ll put photos up here later.

So much I could be doing.

Relax, relax, relax

A trip around the farmers market

May 29, 2009 By: jeremy Category: localinfo

This morning I took my camera down to the regular friday morning farmers market here in Listowel. Its a small market but well stocked:

an excellent fishmonger
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fruit and veg
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homemade pies
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lots of home baking
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jams
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…also sausages and bacon, plants, freshly cooked burgers and a creperie.

Well worth a visit

Wandering around Listowel

May 28, 2009 By: jeremy Category: localinfo, photographs

I’ve been walking up and down the streets taking photos of the town that I now call home. A few are shown below but a bigger selection is available in my flickr set for the writer’s week festival. I’ll be updating and adding to this set of pictures over the next few days. Some will be showcased on this site.

junction of William Street and Convent Street

Listowel Square looking towards the Listowel Arms

Listowel Square

the centre of the writers week festival, Listowel

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Accommodation in Listowel (3)

May 23, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: Accommodation, localinfo, organisers, participants, photographs, poetry, poets

I’m sorted. Got a phone call this morning from Listowel to say I can stay with the couple who put me up in 2007.

I must have done something right. The universe is looking after me, eh.

This is so much better than staying with someone new, and staying out in Abbeyfeale.

I’ll be able to drink freely, and toddle home late at night after those sessions with George Rowley

George Rowley when he was younger

George Rowley when he was younger

in the New Kingdom Bar.

If you still haven’t sorted out your B&B in Listowel, don’t worry: the universe will look after you – pick up the phone to Norella Moriarty now.

Sheehy’s Tea

May 20, 2009 By: jeremy Category: localinfo

T Sheehy and Son is a family business of several generations standing. I first came across their famous, and unique, blend of tea a few months back when the proprietor was interviewed at length it on Radio Kerry.

So I sought the shop out. Its in Lixnaw, about eight miles from Listowel, and its worth the journey.

Tea like it used to be, as a famous tea brand in the UK says in its advertising.

Sheehy's Tea

Check out the wording on the bottom of the packet:

GROCERY, HARDWARE AND MILL STORES, FUNERAL FURNISHERS

They don’t make stores like that anymore.


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