Friday, July 29, 2011

Gerard Manley Hopkins 24th International Festival

A celebration of the interests of English poet Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-89)

The festival has been based in Newbridge since last year, having previously been held in Monasterevin, Co Kildare.

Last night the Riverbank Theatre,Newbridge was host to an international troupe of poets and Hopkins enthusiasts. We were given poetry from Iraq, Canada, Croatia, Wales, The Netherlands, Japan and Ireland.

Michel Theriem gave us some Canadian love poems

Donald Gardner (The Netherlands) read from his irreverent collection "The Glittering sea"

An impromptu lesson in Irish language was given to the audience by Diarmuid Johnson (Professor of Linguistics in Bonn University, Germany) prior to his reading of "Dhiol me mo bho" ('I sold my cow' in Irish language)-a metaphorical tale of inadvertantly giving away what is important, followed by a series of rousing tunes on the concert flute.

Shizue Ogawa from Osaka, Japan read some haiku's in both English and Japanese.

Artistic director of the festival and prolific poet, Desmond Egan, gave us a poetic take on the quarrying and pillage of nearby Hill of Allen, Co Kildare.

The entertainment then moved to O'Rourke's pub where poetry, music and song continued.

Mr Manley Hopkins would have been well pleased.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Harry Potter grinds to a halt

A few things that made Harry Potter book-cum-movie juggernaut so magical for someone who is well past her childhood:

A true blue, does-exactly-what-it-says-on-the-tin, baddie.

The slow-burning, at times dangerous, romance between Harry and Ron's sister, Ginny.

Nutty but razor sharp Luna Lovegood played by Evanna Lynch from Termonfeckin, Co Louth,Ireland, who was selected for the role from 15,000 auditioners.

Oodles of talented actors: Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Robbie Coltrane, Brendan Gleeson, Helena Bonham Carter, Julie Walters, Emma Thompson, Ralph Fiennes, Imelda Staunton, David Thewlis, Kenneth Brannagh, dressed up as wizards and witches, waving wands and casting spells.

A quiddich game, as thrilling as a GAA (Irish Football) final any day.

The Boggart in the Wardrobe from Prisioner of Azkaban advising us to face down our demons by imagining them dressed in silly clothes.

Molly Weasley (Harriet Walters) shouting "Not my daughter, you bitch" before killing Helena Bonham Carter's evil Bellatrix Lestrange when Lestrange tried to kill Ginny, in The Deathly Hallows, Part 2

Watching Radcliffe, Grint and Watson grow up on screen.

Books I could read to my children that engaged me as much as(and sometimes even more than)them.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Joe Mooney Traditional Irish Music Festival

Fate and destiny have led me back, after nearly three decades since moving away, to lovely Leitrim for my summer holidays.

In mid July I travel to Leitrim to spend some time at the grave of a cherished and close family member whose sudden, untimely death five years ago, rattled me to the core.

While in my native county, an annual traditional music festival, that otherwise I would never have encountered, lifts and lights up the tiny and tranquil streets of Drumshambo.
Not usually a traditional Irish music fan, the energetic and eclectic atmosphere generated by the badhrans, bag-pipes, accordions, flutes, fiddles, banjo's, spoons and guitars, make the event unforgetteable and have won me over into a diehard fan.

Her death in the summer has led me here.

Only by joy and sorrow does a person know anything about themselves and their destiny. They learn what to do and what to avoid"

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A River runs through it

An unfulfilled dream of mine has been to live by the sea.

To walk the beach every day, feel the sea breeze on my face, witness the moodiness of the waves, smell the seaweed.

Oh yes, there is a river running through my town but it doesn't have the drama, energy and sweep of the sea.

In the last month, I've discovered a newly re-furbished river walkway, just down the road from me.

Now every day I'm taking in the shine and shadow on the water

and the sunshine in the trees.

bringing me to the conclusion that what you are looking for is often right there under your nose, if you just open your eyes.