Monday, November 29, 2010

Poetry Ireland What's on / What's not on

And from Poetry Ireland

The Moth Magazine

Thursday 2 November @ 7.30pm

Come and taste wines from the Castillo Perelada Winery in Spain, eat your fill of delicious canapés and hear poets Kate Dempsey, Tommy Murray and Seamus O'Rourke.

Admission: €10

2 Abbey Street, Cavan

T 049 4366020 W

Christmas Special | Nearest the South Pole

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Launch of issue 3 of the Moth

On account of the bad weather this event has now been postponed until a later date

Cavan Launch of The Moth Issue 3

Thursday 2nd December sees the launch of The Moth in Abbey Street Cavan Come and taste wines from the Castillo Perelada Winery in Spain, eat your fill of delicious canapés and listen to some wonderful poetry. An evening of wine-tasting (courtesy of Blakes Fine Wines) and poetry with poet/blogger Kate Dempsey, Seamus O'Rourke and poet Tommy Murray.

Space is limited, so if you would like to buy a ticket get in touch with editor Rebecca O'Connor,, as soon as you can. Tickets are €10.
Personally delighted to have my work included in this issue of the Moth and looking forward to receiving my complimentry copy

We have an upstairs/downstairs situation

The evening will commence with a cava reception, and then once we've gotten everyone seated and done our introductions, etc., we'll have one poetry reading, followed by a wine-tasting, then the next poetry reading, followed by a wine-tasting, and so on ...

This would be the order for the evening.



Friday, November 26, 2010

On meeting Michael Hartnett

On meeting Michael Hartnett

I met Michael Hartnett for the first time during an award ceremony in the town Hall Dundalk in the early 1990s. The occasion was the presentation of Prizes for the Patrick Kavanagh Memorial Poetry competition and Michael Hartnett was thejudge. As one of the prize winners I had arrived early and soon found myself drawn to this man who seemed to be the centre of attraction. After exchanging greetings I asked him if he was the judge to which he replied that he was and he had to judge the shortlist of thirty from a total entry of over five hundred and twenty seven.

“And who is this lady, your wife I presume” he said turning his attention to my wife.

“Thrust an Irishman not to introduce his wife. Giving her what she has often since described as the warmest shake hands ever.

“How much did they give you for the prize?” he enquired and when I told him that I got twenty five pounds he said that it wouldn’t even keep him in drink for the night.

“Did you ever write a book?” I asked him only to be told that he had just published his twenty third book. Our conversation was interrupted by the MC calling Michael to the rostrum and asking him to read one of his own poems. Michael declined saying that he was going to leave this particular evening to the amateurs.

As each prize winner was called out we had to read our poem and then accept the certificate from the limerick poet. When it came to my turn to receive my certificate and shake hands with Michael Hartnett he winked at me and in a low voice said,

” You counted syllables boy and you have an extra syllable in the last line, that’s the way to do it” Naturally I didn’t know whether this was a compliment or a criticism But it certainly gave me something about on the way home

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Drogheda Reading

A very successful reading for the Viaduct bards in Drogheda on Wednesday evening with excellent contributions from Mick (Sheriff ) Sheils and James Linnane before a smallish but appreciative audience resulted in I having to order more books from Lapwing. Of course I'm not complaining
Arriving home to read an email from Liam O'Meara informing me that I am to receive a commended certificate from The Francis Ledwidge Awards on the 6th December.
I'm in Good company there as I notice that Michael Farry and Pat Devanny and several members of Riposte are also on the list. Putting the finishes touches to my wine poems for the Launch of 'The Moth' in Cavan next Thursday

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Bard of Armagh

Videos of Tommy Murray at the Bard of Armagh may now be viewed on or on Youtube under Tommy Murray at the Bard of Armagh

With John Makem

Saturday, November 20, 2010

No Joy in the Orchard County

While I was delighted to be among the finalists in this year's Bard of Armagh contest I could be forgivin for being just a little disappointed that my contribution didn't do quite as well as on previous years. It was a night to remember in more ways than one not the least being meeting the Queen of England herself. She didn't fool me though because I knew that it was none other than Jimmy Rafferty giving his impression of herself and going on to win the competition. Jimmy who won the title on three previous occasions was hilarious and the fact that he is a little plumper than the monarch only adds to the overall performance. Other consolation on the evening was meeting my old friend John Makem and the Donegal Poet Frank Galligan. I first became acquainted with Frank's work when i was published alongside him in The Donegal literary Review ( The Ratpit ).
I would have loved to have published my photo taken with John Makem but as John is about six foot four and there wasn't even the semblance of an orange box around I will have to abstain from this particular egotistical exercise.
next year? well I'm not sure because the value of spending time on hilarity and satire is something that i will have to look at .

Thursday, November 18, 2010



Another uproarious evening’s entertainment awaits on Friday 19 November at the Armagh City Hotel when an assortment of new odes will be aired for the first time. Some of these will join the long list of much sought after Bard classics. The range of topics at the finals is wide and includes issues such as the recession, wedding invitations, shopping, overeating, dieting, football and returning from the dead. The organisers have stated that this will be the most competitive bard night yet with the quality of poems of the highest standard. Can Liam McNally be the first to win the event for a third time in a row? Will Jimmy Rafferty win for a record fourth time? Could Henry McGraths ‘Recession’ generate the greatest turn over of laughs or will a newcomer put on an irresistible performance?

The lineup for the 2010 Bard finals is as follows.

Damian McGirr.

Colette Corrigan.

Henry McGrath.

Tommy Murray.

Margaret Heatley.

Jimmy Rafferty.

David Myles.

Colleen Downham.

Donal McKenna.

Liam McNally.

Mary Byrne.

Patrick Montague.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Spanish Break for Tommy Murray

Absolutely delighted to hear that Castillo Peralada one of Spain's oldest wineries will be using my poetry in their promotional work

Wine has been made at the Castillo Perelada since the Middle Ages, as shown in several documents and parchments from the period to be found in the library. When Miguel Mateu bought this ensemble of monuments in 1923, one of his primary objectives was to revitalize the wine producing tradition, a tradition that is more alive than ever these days and which has incorporated the most modern technology to create wines that make full use of the nuances of the soils and vines of the Empordà.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Notes From His Contemporaries: A Tribute to Michael Hartnett

This is one book that I will be giving myself for Christmas. It was Michael Hartnett that presented with my first Award. That was in the Town Hall Dundalk in 1990. Before that I had never heard of the Limerick poet and was naive enough to ask him if he ever published a book. Yes was the quick response 23 to be exact

Ships in 3–5 business days
The Poet Michael Hartnett died in October 1999. “The Collected Poems”, “A Book of Strays” and “Translations” were published in 2001, 2002 and 2003 respectively by Gallery Press. Seamus Heaney has written that he is "one of the truest, most tested and beloved voices in Irish poetry in our time." This tribute includes poems, essays, interviews, anecdotes and memoirs supplemented by photographic portraits of the authors captured by his son, Niall, who compiled these works over the last 6 years. Contributions from Seamus Heaney, Thomas Kinsella, James Liddy, Paul Durcan, Brendan Kennelly, Eavan Boland, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Theo Dorgan, John Montague, Pearse Hutchinson, Michael Smith, Dermot Bolger, Michael Longley, Christine Dwyer Hickey, Liam o'Muirthile, Macdara Woods, Sydney Bernard Smith, Paula Meehan, Gerard Smyth, Leland Bardwell, Eilean Ni Chuilleanain, Michael Coady, Paddy Bushe, Hugh McFadden, Dennis O' Driscoll, Gabriel Rostenstock, Anthony Cronin and many others. 2nd Edition.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Launch of issue 3 of the Moth

2 December 2010 Ireland launch of issue 3
An evening of wine-tasting (courtesy of Blakes Fine Wines) and poetry with Kate Dempsey, Seamus O'Rourke and Tommy Murray.
Venue: Delish, Abbey Street, Cavan

Then on 16 December 2010 London launch of issue 3

Saggart Heritage Awards

Got my Highly Commended Certificate from Saggart this morning which means that while I haven't won the top prize this certificate is probably the most ornate that i have received to date.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Moth

Just received news that my poem 'Handyman' is to be published in the forthcoming issue of 'The Moth' magazine. I am also to be one of three featured readers at the launch in Cavan on Thursday 2nd December where I will read a specially commissioned poem about a case of wine which I expect to receive in the next few days. Not quire sure how it works but I imagine that I am supposed to drink the wine and then write a poem about it