Saturday, February 28, 2009

Ad Break

I haven't had an ad break since starting this blog so here's two pints of Guinness settling to some great music

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Dublin-born writers

Sorry to hear of Christopher Nolan’s death. I well remember how impressed I was when I first came across Dam-burst of Dreams and later Under the Eye of the Clock. He is a member of a very remarkable group i.e. writers born in Dublin. Here are some of the other names in that company:

George Bernard Shaw, Oliver Gogarty, Samuel Beckett, John McGahern, James Joyce, Jonathan Swift, Thomas Kinsella, Brendan Behan, Roddy Doyle, Jennifer Johnston, Oscar Wilde, James Plunkett, John Millington Synge, Elizabeth Bowen, Bram Stoker, Paul Durcan, Donagh MacDonagh, Sean O'Casey, Sean O'Faolain, Katharine Tynan, William Butler Yeats, Edmund Burke, Sir Richard Steele, Maeve Binchy, James Stephens, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, James Clarence Mangan, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, Austin Clarke and Sebastian Barry.

Pretty impressive eh?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cork Invasion of Rathmines

Arts Management students of Rathmines College will present “Festival Under The Clock” a festival within Rathmines Festival on April 25th. And that’s where the invasion will occur with singer/songwriter Ger Wolfe and poet Gerry Murphy taking the stage together.

Listen to some of Ger Wolfe's beautiful songs on his MySpace page at Gerry Murphy can be heard reading poems in the Dedalus Press Audio Room at

It’s the making of a festival highlight.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Rathmines Festival 2009

This year’s Rathmine’s Festival is again a mix of filmarttheatrecomedysportjazz bluesfolkdancechatparkeventswalks and much more besides.It’s still in the process of being programmed but I notice Pat Kinevane (iKeano) in association with Fishamble New Play Company are presenting “Forgotten”, Mary Kenny (Journalist) is being interviewed by Aine Lawlor (RTE), Comedians Karl Spain & Colm O`Reagan are performing on Fri April 24th.There’s a lot more to come obviously but it kicks off On Thursday 23rd with Anne Doyle cutting the ribbon.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Francis Bacon Interview

I’m a great fan of Francis Bacon’s work. His paintings have been a great source of inspiration for me. But this London Weekend South Bank Show from the eighties is a gem. He talks about himself, his paintings and those of other artists. He is wonderfully frank. The clip shown here contains opinions on Jackson Pollock and Rothko: priceless. And some of what he says about his own work is very surprising. This is the first of six parts you can get from Youtube.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Hidden Dublin Treasure

Rathmines Town Hall,home of Rathmines College, is one of the most recognizable and familiar of Dublin landmarks. But it hides a secret. Even the vast majority of students passing through its doors daily don’t know in spite of the evidence being in plain view on the walls around them.

The fact is that it houses a Victorian concert hall, still pretty much intact and masked by the classrooms built within it. It is unique in Dublin, grand in its design; literally a hidden treasure.

What else is masked in the city?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Writers Groups: Yes or No

Well both actually. A regular group, at the very least, provides you with a deadline by which work must be completed. If the piece is well received the encouragement can be invaluable. Exposure to different styles of writing can be eye-opening, news on upcoming events and opportunities may be a standard part of the proceedings, often groups publish their works also encouraging and pleasing. Just mixing with interested others can make it well worth while.

On the downside, the standard of writing can be very mixed,there can be a lot of very average work. Often the most vociferous critics are the poorest critics. Sometimes there can be group adulation of the writer with the most charisma, the trendiest or the most confident; the better writers can often go unrecognised. It’s important to recognize that the most useful criticism doesn’t necessarily come from the popularly recognized sage.

Groups can become too much the property of a few, who set rules, tone and standard. The Dublin Writers Workshop was, in some of its years a good example of an open forum in all senses of the word ‘open’. Its success might be gauged by the number of its members that have had books published. It attracted a very diverse range of people without any of them becoming too proprietary. The calibre of many of its members ensured a reasonable standard of criticism. It wasn’t to everyone’s taste though; for example it was not the forum for discussion on the technical aspects of writing and, be warned, few writing groups are. However, even there, some good writers were overlooked.

There is a directory of writers groups on the Poetry Ireland website see but I’m not sure how comprehensive or up to date it is; for example, the Roscommon Abbey Writers group from Roscommon town is not included. I understand this group is welcoming new members.