Vibe of the Tribe: Castlepalooza and Scene of the Rhyme 2015

The Scene of the Rhyme featuring Tullamore Rhymers Club featured both in Joe Lees as its own monthly night, and as the spoken word stage at the 2015 Castle Palooza.

MC’d by David Mallaghan on the Friday in Lees, the line up varied from what was advertised due to unexpected artists showing up and a few drop offs due to unforseen circumstances.

Some of the crowd at Scene of the Rhyme in Charleville Castle at Castlepalooza 2015

Some of the crowd at Scene of the Rhyme in Charleville Castle at Castlepalooza 2015

Karl Parkinson was one of the guests down from Dublin, and his signature piece “Positive Power Poetry” is as powerful now as it was when I first heard it at the Glór Sessions up in Dublin back in the day.

Elaine Harrington was also a guest. She had featured before at Scene of the Rhyme, and gave background to some of her work during performances. A really cool feature of her work is her pressing her readings onto vinyl, and of course I picked myself up a copy. Its the first vinyl record I have bought since I lost my collection when the house burned down.

The act I enjoyed most was Breda Larkin from Ballinasloe. Galway head will know her from the show in Coyotes during Arts Week / Fringe Festival “We Have to Talk About Breda!” – what she preformed at both nights was an extract from that. They say to do your art well you should talk of what you know, and that is what she does, telling of growing up gay in Ballinasloe… thats like being a Christian in Tehran! It happens, but is not without its difficulties! A series of great gags about sandwiches and silage whipped up our appitite for more!

We had “Three Davids and a Dick” according to Richard Brennan, who led the second selection of the Rhymers for the night in Lees, as new reruit Dave Duncan joined Dave Mallaghan and Dave Plunkett on stage. Punkett had a great satire on the rhymers which for me was his most memorable piece.

Shauna Byrne missed the first night due to illness, but done a stormer on the Saturday with her usual set of poems, which got a great reaction. Her stand out piece for me is her “Alice” poem, as Ive written before.

Dave Hynes “Poem of P’s” seems to get longer every time its read, and is hilarius. Im looking forward to when he gets around to the whole alphabet… he will be in bother with the letter X but if there is anyone who can di such a verse, its Hynes!

Richard Brennan done his staples, as did David Mallaghan, as did I, varying only to so The Donkey and the Thistle on the Friday. On the Saturday I got a fair few laughs to the poems, even to ones I though were mildly amusing in a tongue in cheek sort of way. It must have been the waistcoat I was wearing!

Alicia Byrne Keane featured on both sets, and I thought her short poem on the baking coming from downstairs was a poetry picture sort of poem, capturing a snapshot in time in verse. Her verse on why some women say women have the right to work in the home I had heard before, Alicia taking the view that that was betraying feminism.

John Cummins done sets on both nights, his favourite one for me is his piece about his mother calling him in for tea, “I hear herclaling me / calling me / home again”… its not the usual angry poetry wailing the world is fucked and we must fix it, its the kind that evokes across all the ages, across all classes, and not in a sentimental way, but in a way all folk can relate to.

Little While Lies didnt make the Friday night, and they are playing today in Ballymore Festival in Westmeath.

It was as Castlepalooza always is a fantasitc gig, except this time the crowd was larger than usual, and were there for the poetry. An avid listnership from a festival crowd I had not seen since Festival of the Fires at Uisneach. Cormac Lally posted on Facebook that David Mallaghan got asked a lot about “Gypsies in Space”, a tongue in cheek poem that a lot can find beyond the pale but most find a riot.

I was asked myself about were we reading on the Sunday but a guy whose mates I was talking to on the Saturday outside after the gig. They asked for a reading of a funny poem, so I read Willie Rimes Goes to Belfast to Protest at the Parades for them which they enjoyed.

Next up is Fannings in Birr at the Tin Jug studio as part of their celebration of Birr Vintage Week. And we are trying to pin a date down for the Readings at the Pallet in Banagher. The big gig we may get is still not confirmed, and will be annouced as soon as we get confirmation! Keep an eye here!



Snakes Defense to the Charges About the Garden of Eden

My dad used to wind up preachers from the Jehovahs Witnesses by denying the Eden story, and using the last line of this verse in his argument! So, I imagined the snakes defense to the charges of suggesting to Eve to eat the apple, and incorporating my dads words!

Eve and the Serpent

Eve and the Serpent

Its not my fault that from Eden Adam and Eve got expelled
For the apple supposedly from the Forbidden Tree there eating
I got cursed in consequence and so fared worst
Their lusts their morals defeating.

It was not the words of the snake in the tree branches that excited her
But the sight of the one between the tree trunks of his legs that hung
I did not hell her what it was for, though she asked me and wondered
I could not speak: I am a snake, I have no tongue.

Im sure God in his time would have given his permission to explore
Could they the patience to wait in themselves found:
No, it was not the apple in the tree that caused them to be expelled
But rather. the pear (pair???) on the ground!



Fair Girls at the Horse Fair

Some firls from Ballinasloe Horse Fair in 2014... the Fair Girls at the Fair... See for full video

Some girls from Ballinasloe Horse Fair in 2014… the Fair Girls at the Fair… See for full video this screenshot was taken from

They walk the streets, young, wild at heart
Among horses the men admire
Free of sprit and fast with word
To the shouts of commoner and squire.

Such girls! Such women! Inspire words
Few written about them there
The beautiful women among the beautiful horses
The fair girls at the Fair.

Scenes from Ballinasloe Fair. Screenshot above was taken from this video.



Bell Book and Candle Stocking chapbook – At the Fringe of Galway Fringe Festival – Drama at Galway Mechanics Institute

Chapbook hits Bookshelf in Galway

Bell Book and Candle are now stocking the chapbook "Ommmmmm!"

Bell Book and Candle are now stocking the chapbook “Ommmmmm!”

The chapbook is formally on a bookshelf… for sale… at €5 – the sole stockist in Galway is Bell Book & Candle. A launch in aid of the housing fightback group “The Hub” is in the planning and details are to be announced.

Tullamore Rhymers on Fringe of Fringe Festival in Galway @ Mechanics Institute

Reading at the Galway Fringe Festival

Reading at the Galway Fringe Festival

I roped along James Delaney of the Tullamore Rhymers club to one of the open stage events that were on in the Galway Mechanics Institute during the Galway Frange Festival. I attended two of the days, I read “The Long Acre”, “Give to Me an Angry Sea”, “There Is No Time for Art” among others.

There was a lecturer from GMIT at the second day, and the orginisation was a bit better, with Francesco – who turns out not to be Italian at all but Dutch – was doing MC. An American woman interviewed us for a blog she is doing while travelling the world, which was interesting, I have to check is her posts up yet, and if so, how well did we impress!

James read his signature verse “Limitless” –

Old Soldier Wears War Wounds Well as Drama takes centre stage at Galway Mechanics Institute

Two men and a bed is all it takes to make a family friendly play in Galway...

Two men and a bed is all it takes to make a family friendly play in Galway…

Two men and a bed is all the props needed to make a family friendly play in Galway, as I watched “Under Any Old Gumtree” as part of the Galway Arts Festival. Yes, that’s a double entendre, and no, its not that or about that at all, although if it was about that and all that it would be OK, as all that is OK theses days!

An emotional acting experience was preformed by the soldier in the play, and the guy playing the psychiatric nurse reminded me a lot of myself dealing with similar unfortunates in a hospital setting from time to time.

The emotional scars are raw and show how the lucky died, and the unfortunate ones bore their scars for the rest of their lives.

It reminded me of my granduncle Tom Reilly, who was lucky enough to be able to contain his memories. Hes the chap behind the verse “Life to His Kind Is a Game of Chance” that I wrote. I remember my mother telling of him telling of the bodies piles not like sandbags, but as sandbags in World War One, and her father begging him to stop telling the stories.

He refused to fight in the War of Independence, going back to America instead, and came back in the thirties, enlisted with the British this time, only to lose his arms and legs in Dunkirk. Where he is buried I do not know…

… and the rest…

The rest of the Arts Festival / Fringe Festival was also entertaining – I was looking forward to seeing “The Countess Cathleen” in Aras na Gael, but slept it out, I was NOT impressed with the “Divas” or “Skywhale” – a satire on the latter is in the planning – loved the comedy gigs, “Lunatic in a Suitcase” from JOhnny Graham was all it was expected to be, the Comedy Club night in Coyotes was entertaining, though Id seen most acts before, the highlight of the street shows for me was the man juggling the chainsaw and who lay on the bed of nails… a very entertaining couple of weeks, and it was great being able to be a small part of it, doing the readings at the Fringe Festival Open Stage…



Ill Go Where Im Sent

The sense of self sacrifice is palpable in Granrd Munciple District. "I'll go where I'm sent" says he. All opposition to the junket thwarted... the Celtic Tiger is still roaring in North Longford. #longforddeservesbetter

The sense of self sacrifice is palpable in Granard Municipal District. “I’ll go where I’m sent” says he. All opposition to the junket thwarted… the Celtic Tiger is still roaring in North Longford. #longforddeservesbetter

Am I too hard on them, or am I on the nail?

Am I too hard on them, or am I on the nail?

Invitation received: all were excited
Again their friends where they are twinned they would meet
Its not a junket: this, this is essential –
How many to send to see them name a street?

They will name it after the battle site
We need to send two anyway someone said
No one thought to ask was it for this those folk fought for
Was it for this all those men lie dead?

Someone somewhere notices a charge in the atmosphere
A sign of discomfort at the junket: discontent
One way to solve it: a ticket for him
Says he: “I’ll go where I’m sent!”

Now we see how Ireland is banjaxed
Longford being but a small test sample
We will do it all again and feck the country again…
The street naming fiasco is the proof as an example!



Burning Zeal Rekindles the Flame of Faith

Mary Elizabeth with her husband Peter Paul Smith

Mary Elizabeth and Peter Paul Smith

Every so often as a writer I get asked to write a tribute piece for someone about someone who is important to them. I love doing this as it celebrates the ordinary people, the real heroes of the world the meek who will “inherit the earth”. This is one such person, who would be 100 if alive today, raised a large family without modern conveniences without complaint when today we have more modern conveniences and smaller families yet cannot see a way through life’s crises. Commissioned by her daughter Sr. Mary Carmel Smith.

Spirit of the Flame found among the ashes
From despair in the hearts of men
Comes faith – like gold tried by fire
Anew from trial it blazes again…

Her kind: they are the humble of heart
Faith filled, honest, upright, true
She taught hers what she was taught
To act, to speak, to be and do

The Bread of Life at Daily Mass
Spiritual food for the day ahead
In wholehearted service to all
Walked the darkest valleys unafraid.

Stones reassembled, the grateful gather anew
To celebrate their trials and joys
Faith renewed, rekindled, dawn breaks again
Faith’s fire fear and folly destroys.



Strangers Scorn Us For Being What We Are

For the strangers came and tried to teach us their way.
They scorned us just for bein’ what we are.
But they might as well go chasin’ after moon beams
Or light a penny candle from a star.

“Galway Bay”
~ by Arthur Colahan

We will always cut our turf!

We will always cut our turf!

The strangers came in suits
Shiney shoes, not boots
Sniney shoes, they no longer wore sandles or clogs

They told us to save the coots
The flora and the newts
We would have to stop cutting turf on our bogs

They listened to folk talking who did not like shit
Were concerned of street safety, said their writ
We would have to stop having our Horse Fair

The more that they persisted
The more we the people resisted
It will be on the streets of Banagher, it belongs there.

They can mock and scorn
This is the land where we were born
This is our heritage, these have been and will be our ways

We will cut our turf as we always done
By machine now not slane, by both father and son
And Banagher will enjoy its long loved Horse Fair Days.



Two Swans

Two swans swimming in the river cold
Meet beak to beak together
In love for life it is said
These birds are of one feather
If only mankind could be as they… See more
Gentle, loyal strong and true
How little heartache would be in the world:
Let the first Swan be you!!!



Dead Now, And Their Beliefs With Them

Inspired by a story of my fathers about a person who could not find their way into the house one night at a house supposedly built on a fairy fort site, admittedly it was after a feed of home brewed poitin!!!

A version told in the family is that the dude in question was him!…


Dead now, and beliefs with them
That under trees fairies consort
And we say we’re not superstitious
Yet alone we leave the fairy tree and fort.

Tales were told of when were lost
In a fairy fort at night
To be found by morning
Highly confused but all right
After walking round in circles
Their way they could not make
Today we blame the whiskey
For causing their mistake

And maybe it was the whiskey
But that spoils the romance
Of the story, and of our culture
Can we not believe in the chance
That maybe the fairies were angry
At this drunkard at their tree trunk
That they cast a spell to make him walk in circles
Until he sobered and was not drunk?



Cooking up a Poem

Playing with language he tosses the words
And stirs them with his pen
In the saucepan of the page
Which he heats with ideas…. and then
He tosses out on the plate of our ears a poem
For us to taste and declare
Is the the Cordeun Blue chef or Poetry…
Or the biggest charlatan there!!!