Friday, December 11, 2009
Achill's November Open Mike Poetry and Music Night was a huge success. Despite there being a Force 10-12 storm in progress on the evening, a crowd of poetry and music lovers turned out to the 6th of these cultural evenings since they were started in June.
As usual, the venue was Gielty's bar at Dooagh, the most westerly pub on Achill island. The occassion was made even more special in that the first ever 'Special Guest' appearance was by local multi-talented singer-songwriter, Gareth McNamara from Currane, Achill. Those who braved the weather were treated to a variety of songs and instrumentals from the young man who plays harmonica, acoustic guitar, fiddle, banjo and piano. On this occasion he played guitar, harmonica and banjo including his own songs and some folk numbers.
A variety of poetry including Christmas poems were read by myself, Ethna Johnston, Tessa Johnston, Eileen Chaddock and Marcus Colquhoun. Attending was Maura Mulligan, a New York writer who had just completed a two-week residency at Boll Cottage on Achill.
There will be no Open Mike in December but we hope to be back in January around Burns Night with a haggis, a piper and a few of the great Scottish bard's songs and poems.
The other evening I slipped out to witness, and partake in, the blessing of the Achill Sound village crib and the switching-on of the Christmas tree lights.
Despite it being a fairly bracing and gusty night a fair crowd of villagers, including children, turned out. Everyone was in good spirits and a few carols were sung before the aforementioned crib was blessed and lit.
And then came the climax - the illumination of the Mayo County Council donated 15foot Christmas tree. Even I felt a little nostalgic, remembering Christmases past and anticipating that to come. I have to say, though, that tree was almost bare but for the lights, the wind rattling the lightbulbs like chattering teeth. Talk about a recession!
Then it was back to the local hotel for free light refreshment! (No pun intended).
I'm off for a mince pie and a glass of mulled wine. Take Care :)
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Tis almost the Season to be Jolly. Christmas is fast approaching even as i write. Still managing to get out and shoot some landscapes. Light in Winter can be so dramatic, all the elements can arrive in an hour, so it's brilliant for photography of the outdoor variety.
As well as that I'm getting myself together to record a cd of my poetry in January - more about that in a future blog. And I'm setting my sights on my fast-approaching residency at Boll Cottage artists's retreat on Achill island at the beginning of February. I shall be working on my current poetry manuscript and gathering inspiration for new material.