Poet Laureate premiere in Carrick-on-Shannon

Vincent Woods

Vincent Woods

Leitrim Arts Office are delighted to invite you on Culture Night to the beautiful surroundings of St. George's Heritage Centre, Carrick-on-Shannon on Friday, September 17 at 8pm for an evening of poetry and music where Leitrim's 2021 Poet Laureate Vincent Woods will premiere a new poem that he has been commissioned to write by Poetry Ireland for this year's Poetry Town programme that honours and reflects Carrick-on-Shannon and its people.
Alongside the first public reading of this work, the organisers will also have poetry written and read by Leitrim's own Stephen Murphy and Róisín Kelly as well as music and song by the wonderful Ailie Blunnie.

For those who are unable to join in person, the event will be filmed and available to watch afterwards on the Leitrim County Council Arts Office Youtube channel.
Though living in Dublin for a number of years, writer and broadcaster Vincent Woods is Leitrim to the core, with strong and evocative memories of Carrick-on-Shannon gathered over the years.
“I saw my first films in the old Gaiety Cinema in Carrick-on-Shannon, Leitrim’s capital town, part of which stretches into – or out of – Roscommon. The market yard was a ruin then, as was the old courthouse that is now the Dock Arts Centre. I remember weddings in the County Hotel and the Bush, great nights dancing and carousing at carnivals and the regatta, Calypso hitting sweet notes in the music pubs – and early poems printed in The Leitrim Observer. Now the challenge to make a poem: I’ll delve at it.”
Stephen Murphy’s work is often said ‘to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable’. Videos of his poetry have amassed millions of views online, and though he has performed to crowds in the tens of thousands on several occasions, he draws his inspiration from the time and space afforded to think from living a quiet life with his family in rural Ireland. To date, three albums of his poetry have been released, and his first full-length poetry collection, From the Sea Hound, was published in Spring 2019.

Róisín Kelly is a writer from Ireland. Her first full-length collection of poetry, Mercy, was published by Bloodaxe Books in March 2020. It followed the publication of her 2016 chapbook, Rapture, by Southword Editions. She won the FISH Poetry Prize in 2017 and in 2020 was awarded a Literature Bursary Award by the Arts Council of Ireland in order to write her second collection of poetry.

Ailie Blunnie is a musician and songwriter from Leitrim in the north west of Ireland. Her songs have a stillness and beauty that carry echoes of the landscapes of her childhood, and a vibrancy and vigour that lend freshness to the modern folk genre in which she works.

Poetry Town is an initiative of Poetry Ireland in partnership with Local Authority Arts Offices with the aim of making poetry the beating heart of community life in 20 Poetry Towns across the island of Ireland this September from the 10th to the 18th and we are honoured to have Carrick-on-Shannon chosen as one of these towns.
The people and communities of each Poetry Town will celebrate poetry in their everyday lives and surroundings, create communal experiences, and celebrate the pride, strength and diversity of each town.

In addition to the Laureate premiere event at St. Georges Heritage Centre, schools and community groups will be undertaking poetry workshops and readings as part of the week-long Poetry Town celebrations while coffee shops will have printed poems on hand to give you that poetry kick with your caffeine hit. Chemists will also have printed poems to pick up - no prescription required.
Rhona Trench, who lectures in performing arts at IT Sligo is coordinating a poetry/history tour of Carrick on Shannon. Combining poetry with an historical tour of the town, you can join Rhona on September 10 and 12 at 12 noon and 6pm to take a tour of the town with a poetic twist.
The full programme of activities will be made available on the Poetry Town and Leitrim County Council Arts Office websites from 30th August.

Commenting, Director of Poetry Ireland, Niamh O’Donnell said: “We are delighted we could secure such a strong cohort of Poet Laureates for this exciting new poetry initiative, which is characterised by collaboration and communal experiences.
“The aim of Poetry Town is to celebrate the vitality and strength of our towns and communities, and to shine a light on the wealth of creativity and talent that can be found in them. The diversity of this talent is reflected in the selection of Laureates, which includes both well-known visionary poets and new powerful voices.”
Tickets to the Poet Laureate premiere event in St. George’s Heritage Centre and all other events are free but strictly limited and must be booked in advance through Eventbrite. Bookings open on August 30 . See for details and links.
Tickets for the event in St. Georges must be booked in pods of 4 or 6.
For further information, visit or
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