The Heart of Summer

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This summer, Olivia O’Leary, acclaimed journalist and presenter of RTÉ Radio 1’s Poetry Programme, will host The Heart of Summer, a feast of poetry and music in some of Ireland’s great historic houses.

Produced by Poetry Ireland in partnership with the OPW, guests joining Olivia will include some of Ireland’s finest poets and musicians, including Paula Meehan, Tom French, Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh and Bernard O’Donoghue.

Performances will take place in four of the OPW’s iconic historic properties: Doneraile Court in Co. Cork, Derrynane House in Co. Kerry, Glebe House and Gallery in Co. Donegal, and Emo Court in Co. Laois. Several of the concerts will be recorded for later broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1’s The Poetry Programme.

Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh

On Saturday 6th July at 8pm, Olivia will be joined by celebrated Irish poets Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh and Bernard O’Donoghue, as well as visual artist and singer Ceara Conway, at Doneraile Court in Co. Cork. Originally built in the 1700s, Doneraile Court is the centrepiece of a four hundred acre estate in North Cork. This great Irish house is opening to visitors for the first time in summer 2019 following an extensive restoration programme.

Irish Times Poetry Now Award winner Paddy Bushe, poet and children’s author Enda Wyley, and acclaimed traditional singer and musician Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh will be Olivia’s guests in Derrynane House in Caherdaniel, Co. Kerry on Saturday 13th July at 8pm. Standing at the very tip of the stunning Iveragh Peninsula, Derrynane House is the ancestral home of Daniel O’Connell, one of the great figures in modern Irish history. Derrynane was one of the great influences on O’Connell’s life, and now displays many relics of his life and career.

Paula Meehan

Olivia is joined by poets Paula Meehan and Martin Dyar, as well as singer-songwriter Farah Elle in Glebe House and Gallery in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal on Saturday 20th July at 8pm. Set alongside gorgeous Glenveagh National Park, Glebe was once the home of the renowned artist Derek Hill, and now displays collections of Islamic and Japanese art, as well as 300 works by leading twentieth-century artists including Picasso.

On Saturday 27th July at 8pm, Kilkenny-born poet Tom French, bilingual writer Deirdre Brennan and Dublin-based woodwind instrumentalist, composer and music producer Seán Mac Erlaine will join Olivia at Emo Court in Portarlington, Co. Laois. Emo Court House is one of architect James Gandon’s neo-classical masterpieces. Set in lush parklands, the house is surrounded by beautiful gardens, a lake, woodland walks and many fine trees and shrubs.

Tickets to each event cost €10 (€8 concessions), and can be booked online here.