The Poet’s Corner Cafe in Kinsale

The Poet’s Corner Cafe in Kinsale

Of course, the name itself is going to attract writers, readers or people who like to sit and think or chat. We spotted this immediately and along with its beautiful, crisp white exterior, it tempted us in.

Inside, the colours of white and berry give it a fresh and thoughtful place to sit and drink coffee. The room is lined with bookcase of second hand books, all priced E3.90 to avoid confusion. I bought a barely used book which I saw later in a bookshop priced at E18!

Want to give this place a go?

Atmosphere: 4/5- Music is lightly playing and there are two couches along with many small tables and chairs which are not too tightly packed in. The staff are extremely welcoming and they leave you alone to sit, read and write. The cafe is decorated beautifully with artwork of books and reading and even the cushions are book themed!

Other Guests:4/5 Apparently, the day before a local poet has visited and treated the customers to an impronto poetry reading! The other guests were made up of couples and tourists(mostly German and English tourists) They were not too loud and did not intrude on my reading. There was no evidence of families or young children in the cafe but I saw many young families look at the name of the shop and carry on by. Children are great, just not when reading or writing!

Features: 5/5 Wifi and books. It has to get top marks for these two features.

Food/drink-5/5-Homemade cakes, lunch, soup along with locally made chocolate bars with sugar free option.

Overall:I would definitely mark this as a place to go to if you are in Kinsale and fancy a chilled out but lively atmosphere with honest food and books! I would love to see the cafe expanding their book genres as most of them were romantic fiction. Sections on poetry, short stories and fiction would be great. Also, would love to see more local events like open mics or poetry readings taking place. This cafe could really showcase the literary talent of the area.



Christmassy readings and music in Cafe Formenti

Things are being to look rather festive. I was invited to a Christmas themed reading and music evening miscellany in Cafe Formenti tonight.

We had some beautiful readings from Angela Keogh, John Mc Jenna and Siobhán Harte-local writers. Katie Jacques sang some groovy Christmas songs, she has a quirky and strong voice and made Christmas favourites her own.
Richie from Cafe Formenti served up highly addictive sweet potato and cinnamon fries, Turkey, cranberry & walnut bites with mince pies.
A really relaxing evening was had. Would love more of these in Carlow Town, we have plenty new and established voices so why not?
All in aid of St Vincent De Paul society. Thank you.

Remembering September 1913-Kilkenny Arts Festival with W.J. McCormack &Dennis Donoghue

Remembering September 1913-Kilkenny Arts Festival with W.J. McCormack &Dennis Donoghue

I got the chance to nip into this talk at the Arts Festival the other night. This talk was held in the most fabulous of venues, the Parade Tower in Kilkenny Castle.

Cormac Kinsella, the curator of the festival introduced the two renowned literary historians and Yeats obsessives. It was a lively evening with each taking the stage and going into minute detail of the poem September 1913 below.

What need you, being come to sense,
But fumble in a greasy till
And add the halfpence to the pence
And prayer to shivering prayer, until
You have dried the marrow from the bone?
For men were born to pray and save:
Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone,
It’s with O’Leary in the grave.

Yet they were of a different kind,
The names that stilled your childish play,
They have gone about the world like wind,
But little time had they to pray
For whom the hangman’s rope was spun,
And what, God help us, could they save?
Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone,
It’s with O’Leary in the grave.

Was it for this the wild geese spread
The grey wing upon every tide;
For this that all that blood was shed,
For this Edward Fitzgerald died,
And Robert Emmet and Wolfe Tone,
All that delirium of the brave?
Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone,
It’s with O’Leary in the grave.

Yet could we turn the years again,
And call those exiles as they were
In all their loneliness and pain,
You’d cry, ‘Some woman’s yellow hair
Has maddened every mother’s son’:
They weighed so lightly what they gave.
But let them be, they’re dead and gone,
They’re with O’Leary in the grave.

They argued very respectfully on the use of certain pronouns in the poem but admitted they were very good friends despite their literary differences. The two men were really great characters and they spoke about the misconceptions that people have about the poem. They spoke about Yeat’s disdain for a middle-class Ireland and how he upset many people  by writing this poem by saying the Catholics did not care about anything but making money.

I would have liked a bit more discussion about this poem’s relevance as the post-celtic theme of literature is crying out for this sort of analysis and seeing as we had these experts, it would have been interesting to delve into that.

Instead, I will have make do with a recording of the moving poem. Here it is!

Riverrun at the Kilkenny Arts Festival

I caught “Riverrun” production in Watergate Theatre this afternoon. Riverrun is showing at the Kilkenny Arts Festival all week and it runs tonight and tomorrow for matinee and evening. Then, it’s gone!

If you want to suspend life and let go, if you love Joyce, if you hate Joyce, if you have never read Finnegan’s Wake or you have, if you want to be blown away by some serious stage presence in the form Olwen Fouéré then you must go!

Olwen is a fascinating lady to watch and listen as she interprets the voice of the river from Finnegan’s Wake. A sound dance that you will not understand but you will feel!



What champagne was like:Carlow Writers’ First Anthology is launched by Jamie O Connell Thursday, 6th June

At last, the day is nearly here.

It has been a year’w hard work to get our first anthology launched. The Carlow Writers are launching our first anthology tomorrow evening at 7:30 in the Teach Dolmen Bar, Tullow Street at 7:30. There will be prosecco. There will be Jamie O’ Connell. There will be a Rozzie reading her story. There will be a winning short story read by Phyllis Mahoud. There will be fun, fun, fun!

The Carlow Writers are also reading at the Carlow Arts Festival in the Carlow Library, Tullow Street at 7:30 Tuesday, 11th and there will be a marvelous spread of food and drink.

Come join us to kick the Carlow Arts Festival off tomorrow evening, 6th June at 7:30 in the Teach Bar! It would be terribly bold not to.

Day one of my first time at the West Cork Literary Festival, beautiful Bantry

Bantry-my first day of the festival

I’ve heard so much about Bantry and the West Cork Literary Festival that is held there every year. Our good friend, Derek from our writing group is always telling us to go, this is his fourth year in attendance. But, it is only my first so I was over the top excited when we hit the beautifully “everything an Irish town should look like” Bantry.

The first thing that caught my eye was the Hollywood-esque white letter signs spelling out BANTRY 2012. Placed on the hill above the marina and directly across from where we were staying, in the Maritime Hotel. Lovely idea. Most of the workshops and talks are held in the Maritime Hotel so the backdrop of the marina and the white sign make for ultimate photo opportunities! And, I used this prop well, taking hundreds of photos at different angles!

A stroll around the town of Bantry and a bit of letter writing

The weather was stunning when we arrived, we walked about, taking in the vibe-outdoor cafes with homemade ice cream, seafood eateries and old school pubs. We randomly came across a cute Coffee Shop called Organico, plenty of space and nice food. We got a spelt scone and strong coffee and sat and read. Bliss. As part of the festival, Organico are encouraging people to write letters. So, I received a complimentary writing pad, nice pen and wrote a letter to my family in Canada, something I’d been meaning to do for ages. The Coffee shop had left a letter box for any post, saying they would post it for me too! What a nice idea! It felt strange to write, my handwriting is appalling as I am so used to typing but I think my family will be happy to receive it!

Dr Diarmuid Ni Mhuirithe and his research on the death of Anglo Irish language

We decided we would go to one of the afternoon talks, Dr. Diarmuid Ni Mhuirithe was giving a lecture on Hiberno English or Anglo Irish, depending which side of the fence you are on! I did my Irish and English degree in U.C.D and Diarmuid had been the lead lecturer in the field of Hiberno English, he was one of the guys I really enjoyed attending and learning about the history of how we speak English and why. The talk was good, with lots of funny examples of phrases that we use and what they mean in standard English! There was a question and answer at the end and Simon asked him about where the word “craic” came from. Simon seemed to have hit Diarmuid’s raw nerve. Diarmuid spat out the answer( in a nice way) he told us that craic, in fact is a Scottish word and it simply means “good chat”. He seemed annoyed that this word has been changed into an Irish way of getting drunk. Diarmuid ended his talk by saying that Hiberno English would be dead very soon, adding that he didn’t really know how to save it. Simon and I debated this very subject later on, coming to the conclusion that language only stays alive if it is needed and is in flux all the time. Still makes me sad though as I hope that Hiberno English is not replaced by some other random culture or sayings.

Fish Anthology 2012 launch

Fish were launching their 2012 anthology of stories and poems. Fish is an Irish publishing company that runs( among other services) an annual competition. Prizes are pretty nice, but the biggest one has to be reading at the Bantry Festival and being published in their anthology. The evening was really enjoyable, I loved the mix of genres and voices, we heard poetry, flash fiction, memoirs and short stories. We never heard more than a page, which is perfect for my attention span! I bought the anthology for €10, an excellent price for the amount of excellent and diverse reading you will get. Go pick up a copy on the fish website and even better, enter the competition next year! They offer a critiquing service, for a fee, which might be a good idea to start off with.

Seafood eating and a drink with a Welsh man

After this event, we headed off for a bite to eat. We ended up in a place called “The Fish Kitchen”, which was divine! Service was warm and chilled out, while we waited for our table, the owner sent us across the road to the pub, Ma Murphy’s. This pub is the real deal, reminding me of my own local, childhood pub, Dinny’s Ferry Bar and shop in Rossport, Mayo. We had a quick drink in Ma Murphy’s, chatting to the lovely Welsh man who owns the place. When our table was ready, the owner from “Fish Kitchen” nipped over to us, telling us to come along! The food was excellent. I went for haddock and chips, Derek went for monkfish and Simon went for trio of fish. We finished off with proper home-made desserts, me a chocolate mousse, Derek a baked lemon cheese cake and Simon an Eton mess. I’d recommend this place.

A shy Rozzie just didn’t get to read at the Open Mike!

Then it was back to the hotel for the Open Mike session, which is held every night as part of the festival. Most of the Fish anthology winners took up the audience and all wanted to read, which is fair enough but us newbies were dying to have a go too so we waited! Derek read some of his poems and did very well, Simon even got the courage up to read some of his Jewish poems and he did extremely well.

Simon reads his stuff!

He read like a pro, giving some little details to add to the understanding. I know I am biased but he has some interesting things to say about religion and the effect it can have on people’s lives, sometimes negatively. It was nearly 2 in the morning and I hadn’t plucked up the courage to read. I am going to try again tonight! Wish me luck!


Arboretum and comfy seats

Me in the new look arboretum… Its called rachel’s cafe now with Tim desserts, sandwichea, funky colored sofas and interesting male urinals… The women have interesting sinks! Come check them out.. Plus the walk around their sensory gardens or a browse in their book shop is perfect Sunday pleasure…

Reuven Bar-On and I have dinner!

The amazingly emotionally intelligent Reuben Bar-On and I!
Was honoured to be asked to a, dinner party last weekend where I got to sit by Reuben and ask him millions of questions about Emotional intelligence! Of course, most of you will want to know what is eq was but IM not telling!
Some of you may not know who is if you are not into emotional intelligence, go google him!