Listowel Writers' Week Fringe

Blogging Listowel's Literary Scene
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On being locked out of Arms Hotel last night…

June 05, 2010 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: 2010, Accommodation

It wouldn’t have happened in 2009. A group of people who were looking for music, storytelling & song were turned away from the inn at 1.15am. The Listowel Arms Hotel was having none of us.

There was no room for non-residents to sit in the front room of the hotel. They were not entitled to entry. Maybe non-residents should have known they had no business looking to extent their evening.

I was one of them.
I thought of climbing up the ivy and tapping on an upstairs bedroom window. I resisted the battering-ram temptation. And it would have been irresponsible to have started a fire evacuation. We could hardly believe our misfortune.

In 2009…
there was one session in the hotel that went on until well after 4am. John Sheehan played, and there were superb singers.

Audrey Dunphy

Audrey Dunphy was there too in 2009.

In 2010…
When we were turned away, I thought first the management style and priorities had changed.

This morning, I think the hotel might have been full to overflow. There may have been a session in full flight, simply no room to fit in late-comers. I may have missed the session of the Festival.

Can anyone enlighten us?

John Sheehan & Mickey MacConnell on You Tube 2009

January 24, 2010 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: video

John Sheehan accompanies Mickey MacConnell as he sings “Only our rivers run free ” …

“The Black Hills of Dakota” in J B Keane’s pub in Listowel

Google Alert brought this to my attention. Great footage of sessions form the 2009 Festival.

Congratulations and gratitude to MisApprehension to putting this up on YouTube.

Willie Clancy in Clare – good on you

July 11, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: connections, events

Fraternal greetings Willie…

The Willie Clancy summer school is on now.

I wonder if John Sheehan (who played such a significant part in Listowel Writers’ Week) is there?

Just to correct a possible misunderstanding…

June 09, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: blogs, connections, events, historical, organisers, participants, photographs, poem, poetry

This may not be technically a great photograph, but to catch these two rehearsing for the next series of “Strictly Come Dancing” was fabulous…

Audrey Dunphy & Rowley George…

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I was privileged to be there, sitting on the floor with Sony Cyber-shot 8.1 mega pixels.

In background, John Sheehan, one of the Dubliners, and a man whose name I don’t know. Unseen by the camera, is a large group of session ‘attendees’ and performers. It was a very public performance – what you could call a miracle of a session.

I’ll post more photos from it later today.

As Billy Keane said, this is “History”. There was no dancing coach. They just seemed to click.

Meet the bloggers at Lynch’s Bakery and Cafe

May 30, 2009 By: Patrick Stack Category: events, journalism, participants, poems, poetry, poets

We’re in Lynch’s Bakery and Cafe. Lynn Roberts, winner of this year’s Poetry Collection competition has just come in and sat down at Paul O’Mahony‘s invitation. Jeremy Gould is seated to my left with Phillip Byrne (a concrete poet). The room is reasonably full.
Earlier, Cathy Desmond, a music teacher based in Ennis, wandered in, having just arrived for the weekend. She had a choice of going to see “6 yachts tied up on pier” (her words) in Galway no doubt ogled over by thousands of land-lubbers (my words), the Iniscealtra festival in Mountshannon, Clare, or Writers’ Week. She opted for Writers’ week. She rushes off after a few minutes to catch as much culture as possible in the limited time left.
Mary Lavery Carrig comes in. The funeral of a local Sister passes – she was a great age, Sister Anne was, Mary tells us.
Ronan Tynan has just arrived and sits down. Paul stops recording to give his full attention to the growing assembly of poets – a couple of more and the current stanza of poets will have become a canto of poets.

Kay Donnelly, another writer, arrives – and sits. I met Kay yesterday – she’s based in Waterford.I catch the end of a story Paul is recounting that involves de Valera, poets and Poland. It’s taken from a play he (Paul) is writing in his head.
The discussion swings around to how good the story Gabriel Byrne told at the opening on Wednesday {LINK to POST}. I remark that his piece for Sunday Miscellany (to be broadcast tomorrow morning at 9.10am on RTE Radio 1) was brilliantly written.
The head Librarian from Mayo, whose first name is Austen (or is that Austin?), makes his appearance. I miss the critical bits of the conversation that ensues due to Jeremy and Kay mentioning the 6 degrees of separation theory. Headage payments comes up when Pat McCannon (from Meath) wanders in and gives Paul a copy of a story he wrote for the Special Olympics about his son Niall 12 years ago. Niall played on the basketball team for Ireland at the Special Olympics. The piece was published because of that he tells us. Pat’s grandfather wrote the song “The turf man from Ardee” – Kay knows it.

It’s the 100th anniversary of Brian MacMahon‘s birth, somebody comments and wonders why there isn’t a special event to commemorate it.

One of the multiple interweaving mini-conversations involves spelling. There is too much emphasis on spelling Kay says. Spelling wasn’t standardized until the 1700s (?) I remark.
Mary’s second boy is 13 today – he’s playing football right now.
I learn that Mary Lavery Carrig is a descendent of Sir John Lavery whose painting of Lady Lavery was on one of the old Irish currency notes.
Pauline Frayne and Teri Murray arrive in and sit at the next table.
I spy a gorgeous painting on Jeremy’s laptop and enquire about it. Jeremy tells me he took it at the exhibition in the Lartigue – he bemoans the fact that there was nobody there, as it’s a beautiful space.
Mary reads the first poem from her new collection which she wrote for her son, into Paul’s mobile, for subsequent upload.
Mary tells me that John Sheehan wrote the piece her sons played at the launch of her book yesterday – it’s called “The Marino Waltz” – and was used in the Peat Briquette (of Bord na Mona – not Boomtown Rats – fame) advert on TV.
More than an hour has passed already and it’s time to separate. Teri Murray is kind enough to read one of her poems into my mobile phone for posting on the blog. I’ll be posting it here as soon as I can get an amr to wav or mp3 converter.

Breakfasting with George Kimball and his mother

May 30, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: Accommodation, connections, journalism, participants

It was Patrick Stack I went to meet in the dining room of the Listowel Arm hotel.

Feeling delicate and fortunate to have been lifted into town by Malcolm Payne, my b&b host.

Patrick and I were getting sorted when George Kimball arrived. I was quick to say ‘good morning, George. Would you like to join us?’

He did and, shortly later, Sue Kimball arrived. She’s from Louisville, Kentucky. George was in a Kansas sweatshirt.

Like me, Patrick Stack hasn’t read a word of George’s work. I introduced them, and George was interested to find out how he could get to see the blog. He wanted to know how much of his session yesterday we had captured.

In case I forget it: if you are ever going to blog a festival, have a business card made specially for the occasion. Carry them and give them out to everyone so that they can find the blog after. It’s a mouthful to say “you can find it by googling ‘listowelwritersweekfringe.com’. I wouldn’t be able to remember whether you have to put the Listowel in or not, and, if you don’t get thru quickly you probably give up looking and do something simpler.

Jenny Dorn joined us. She lives in Colorado and visits London, England, to see her mother who is 92. Mine is 83, so she a teenager in comparison.

John Sheehan stopped to have a few words with George.

Across the room I watch the poet from Cavan, which he pronounces like “quavan”. He’s with four others, all conversing.

Better split this experience into short bits, rather than try to present it in one fell swoop.

Remember your readers Paul.


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