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Culture Night in Cafe 45 – Longford Leads in Literature and Arts

This Culture Night I was in Longford reading with Longford Writers Group who I joined lately, in Cafe 45, after which I ran into friends from Tullamore of all places, before visiting the art exhibit in Providers. While at home after I was listening to a show from Cavan where there was great recitations of a funny story of a farmer who went on holiday with disastrous results, and I thought to myself, the culture of old and new are both alive and well and living in Longford and its hinterland!

Longford Writers in Cafe 45 for Culture Night 2017 - Photo Montage by Sally Martin
Longford Writers in Cafe 45 for Culture Night 2017 – Photo Montage by Sally Martin

I read the hilarious and true story of a rather evil prank that my dad pulled on a neighbour who kept criticizing his bodhran… the verse was “The Bodhran and the Goat”…  there was a great story of a mother and child shopping in Dublin as the child as children do posed the hard questions of life… why did folk give money to the busker and not the homeless guy and so forth…

Talking of music, it was provided by Primary Colours who I first heard singing at the PIETA House gig in Edgeworthstown, and lovely to hear again. A discussion piece on what culture was and the ownership of words posed points to ponder, and a story of a child calling her dad home as her mother was dead during the famine brought that part of our history to our attention, and Eileen Moynihan contributed her piece “Cultivating Culture”, while the scene of the town pub was recalled as the thing that unites the ages…

"Primary Colours" play Cafe 45 in #Longford as part of #culturenight

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We have many ghost stories and phenonema, from the Hungry Grass of which I have written, to the spectre of the women and children on the wall my father spoke of as a family story of ours. A version of that I heard in Tullamore too some time ago, it being a folk memory story, as folklorists would categorise it.

The Rest of Culture Night

Afterwards I viewed the art exhibition at the rear of Cafe45, where I had some of the best coffee in Longford, though Moments is still my favourite Cafe (probably because of the breakfasts!), and then I went up to the ENGAGE exhibition in Providers.

Part of the ENGAGE exhibit in Longford for Culture Night 2017
Part of the ENGAGE exhibit in Longford for Culture Night 2017
I have been to their shows before, and there was a new exhibit by one of the chaps who had a show there the last time I was there. Quite what art is, especially modern art, we ponder as we look, and the literature piece  caught my eye as I thought to myself “I could do that!” with a lot of the buirned papers I have from the Ballinamuck fire, and indeed I might do so yet!

As I mused on what is art compared to traditional art, I was reminded of my visit to St Mels Cathederal a few weeks back, where the windows and the concept behind them gave me a new understanding and respect for modern art.

Meeting my Slovak freinds in the chippers brought to mind where I would have been had I not been in Longford, with the Tullamore Rhymers at Scene of the Rhyme in the Arts Centre in the former Kilroys in Tullamore. Such is the joys of the Culture Night initiative that you are spoiled for events to attend and partake in.

Listening to Shannonside FM after when I got home, I really enjoyed a profile on the CCE in Cavan, just a few miles from me. One man had a recitation of the farmer who went on holidays after the wife nagged him, but it didnt go smoothly… the recitation tradition is strong in Comhaltas and very much of the tradition of the “rhymers”, as writers too humble to call themselves “poets” call themselves…

Most learn off their work in the old tradition, as often poets didnt write as I have explored in my blog on Poet Higgins, and they are a joy to listen to. I remember listening to John Duggan 25 odd years ago and his tale of the belt on Marys coat, and the mission on Mid West North West Radio.

I went on the Sunday for a short walk, which turned into a long one, visiting Tubberpatrick cemetery to visit a grave of an aunt of mine, and while there I saw again the grave of General Blake, hero of the Battle of Ballinamuck.

Annagh Lake in North Longford near Ballinamuck
Annagh Lake in North Longford near Ballinamuck

Walking home I stopped by Lough Annagh, and watched the sun go down on a perfect weekend where culture and tradition merged with modern culture and the future of culture of the peoples of our island, which is a participatory as much as an observational culture, even still in this digital age of consoles, online gaming and anti social social networking!

Twitter shows up Twits Typos Trending

While writing this blog, I noticed the #NationalPoertyDay tag was trending on Twitter, and felt a bit better about my misspellings that I fail to edit so often. I have often felt if I’m ever canonized I will be patron saint of writers who cant spell, known as Saint Tommy of the Typos…

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