All Things Considered @ UCC

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I was delighted to be invited to speak at the conference ‘All Things Considered… Material Culture and Memory’ at University College Cork at the weekend. It was an interdisciplinary conference hosted by the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures which looked at interactions between memory and the material world. I spoke about Parnell’s Walking Stick and its previous custodians, among them Brinsley MacNamara, W.R. Rogers, and Conor Cruise O’Brien. I took the opportunity to read some poems inspired by objects by two of the most recents holders of the Stick, Séamus Heaney and Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill. My thanks to the organisers, Dr Chiara Giuliani and Dr Kate Hodgson, for the kind invitation. 20139847_10155358988722184_1500663287233786288_n

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Upcoming events

I’ll be talking about An File agus an Chathair (the Poet and the City) at Imbolc in Baile Mhúirne on 10 February, a day of talks as Gaeilge on wide-ranging and inspiring topics.

Really excited about the Cork International Poetry Festival – a highlight in the calendar in our house – and this year I’ll be reading with Ishion Hutchinson on Wednesday 14 February at 8.30pm. The programme begins with the launch of Leanne O’Sullivan’s new book  on the evening of Tuesday 13th Feb and wraps up on Saturday night with a reading by D.A Powell and Jane Yeh with an astounding amount of poems and poets in between. There is no other festival like it, certainly not in Ireland.

On 9 March I’ll be returning to Baile Mhúirne with poet Colm Breathnach and musician Méabh Ní Bheaglaoich for an evening of poems, yarns, tunes and song.

Parnell’s Walking Stick

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Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh was recently presented with Parnell’s Walking Stick. Cut by Charles Stewart Parnell himself in Avondale Wood in 1889 or 1890, this stick has a rich literary history. It came into the possession of Brindsley MacNamara, who, in turn, gave it to the poet W.R. Rodgers. It was later passed on to Conor Cruise O’Brien, who conferred it on Séamus Heaney.  In 1998 Heaney entrusted it to Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, and it was she who decided to bestow it on Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh. The presentation occurred in Poetry Ireland on Parnell Square at a reading of Ní Ghearbhuigh’s new collection, The Coast Road (The Gallery Press, 2016).