Éigse Michael Hartnett Festival to open in Newcastle West with full programme of live events

  • Éigse Michael Hartnett

Best selling author Patricia Scanlan and Irish Ambassador to the USA Dan Mulhall lead the line up of guest speakers at this year’s Eigse Michael Hartnett festival which opens in Newcastle West, Co Limerick this coming Thursday, 30 September.

The arts and literary festival which runs from 30 September – 02 October will offer a unique opportunity to walk in the footsteps of the Limerick poet, Michael Hartnett. Visitors can see his poems featured in shop windows, greet writers on the very streets he wrote about in Newcastle West and breathe in the sense of place which was a hallmark of his life and of his work.

The three-day festival, which was online last year due to Covid-19 features a full programme of live events for 2021. It is taking place in a year when Michael, had he lived, would have reached his 80th birthday. The loss of one of Ireland’s most original, lyrical and independent voices is still felt by those who loved and those who continue to love his work.

“We believe the time has come to sound a note of gladness again and to come together to feel and enjoy the restoring power of music and words,” said Vincent Hanley, a member of the voluntary organising committee.

On opening night, best-selling author Patricia Scanlan will be guest speaker joined by Limerick tenor Derek Moloney for what promises to be a celebratory get-together.

Also on the night, the Michael Hartnett Poetry Award will be presented to this year’s winner, Ceaití Ní Bheildiúin, by the Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Cllr Daniel Butler.

The programme continues on Friday 1 October with New Voices, readings from three emerging poets, Rafael Mendes, Natasha Remoundou and Polina Cosgrave and will also feature school visits and workshops with poet and spoken word performer, Colm Keegan.

Friday evening’s big event will see poets Moya Cannon and Seán Lysaght on stage along with string quartet Capriccio. This event will honour the memory of the late Sheila O’Regan, a member of the organising committee.

Saturday promises to be a busy day, beginning with a reading from Limerick poet Bernie Crawford. Colm Keegan will hold a workshop for adult writers and those wishing to take part should email info@eigsemichaelhartnett.ie

Then, at 1.30pm, one of the country’s best loved broadcasters, John Creedon will take his listeners on a journey through the townlands and byways of Ireland and will read from his book, That Place We Call Home.

The Michael Hartnett Memorial Lecture makes a comeback this year and Dan Mulhall, the Irish ambassador to the USA, will be in the limelight as guest speaker in mid-afternoon.

Also on Saturday afternoon, Castle Capers, an outdoor, free event will take place in the shadow of the town’s historic Desmond Hall. It will be a mix of music, starring Abby Butler, Ger Wolfe and the Coláiste Ide agus Iosef Trad Group, as well as the spoken word.

The festival will close on a high note with authors Louise Nealon (Snowflake) and Kathleen McMahon (Nothing but Blue Sky) and music from violin duo, Lucia and Maria.

Welcoming this year’s festival, Limerick City and County Council Arts Officer, Pippa Little said Limerick Arts Office is delighted to work in partnership with the Éigse Michael Hartnett Literary and Arts Festival Committee, on what is ‘a celebration of creativity’.

“There is an appetite for live events and the excitement at the opportunity to attend and participate is palpable, the festival line up is a joy this year.”

Many of the events taking place during Éigse Michael Hartnett 2021 are free and some events will be streamed. For more information and all details, visit www.eigsemichaelhartnett.ie.

Booking is advised as capacity is limited due to Covid-19 restrictions. Booking online via Eventbrite.

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