So how did it go in Louth on Thursday, 1st of October 2009, All Ireland National Poetry Day? It went very, very well indeed, thanks for asking :)
First off, our radio interview on Harry Lee's Dundalk Daily turned out to be one small part in a huge poetry-packed programme. I was lucky enough to arrive just as Pat McKenna of the youth theatre programme was finishing reading a poem, and Damien Kelly gave a recital of beautiful classical guitar music. He was followed by Nessa O'Mahony who read a poem from her latest verse novel, In Sight of Home, published by Salmon Poetry, who had been workshopping in Dundalk Library with children from Realt naMara National School - and that's all I got to see of an action packed programme that celebrated poetry local and national, rhymed and unrhymed!
I, and three members of Dundalk Writing Group then read from our work, and then I had to scoot and get ready for the lunchtime reading being held at Dundalk Institute of Technology, with Susan Connolly. Our reading ended up being over-subscribed. We had just started, with about eight or ten people sitting in the room, when the door opened and about twenty more people, students and lecturers crowded into the room. We were stunned by the turn-out and delighted, naturally. I am of course, very grateful to head-librarians Concepta and Lorna who gave us a big build-up via posters and the DKIT website, and of course hosted us there.
The evening reading in Carlingford featured Catherine Ann Cullen, who read work from A Bone in My Throat, as well as new work that has been featured on Sunday Miscellany, RTE radio's early morning programme that features writing and poetry. Her work was received very well by the local audience, which included members from the Dundalk Writing Group - way to support NPD, guys! Carlingford Heritage Centre is located at the Holy Trinity Church, and is run by a very enthusiastic and friendly committee - the venue really suited the poetry reading very well indeed.
Drogheda's Poetry Slam, held in Boyne Books, Narrow West Street, Drogheda turned out to be a huge success: over 60 people turned up; 22 people took part in the slam; and the grand winner was Noel Sweeney from Dublin, with Paul Timoney from Dundalk a close runner up. Fair play to the organisers, Roger Hudson and Mark Kearns for a successful first Slam.
Now, about next year ...