Brilliant Readers in Strabane

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Brilliant Readers in Strabane!

I had a wonderful visit to Strabane in Northern Ireland, where I got to meet lots of brilliant readers from a number of local schools at St Catherine’s P.S in the town and afterwards at St Mary’s P.S in Cloughcor.

Special thanks are due to Bridget Wilders the principal of St Catherine’s School and to all the other teachers who arranged this very special Multi -School visit.

I just couldn’t resist these three figures from the special Under the Hawthorn Tree display in St Catherine’s .

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Coming Home: Art & The Great Hunger at Dublin Castle

Coming Home:-Art and the Great Hunger, is a poignant and striking exhibition of historical and contemporary art and sculpture relating to the Great Irish Famine which has just opened in Dublin Castle.

The works on show are part of the acclaimed art collection from the Great Hunger Museum in Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut which has generously agreed to give Irish people an over the coming months an opportunity to see work from this unique collection.

“Cottage: Achill Island”The exhibition is well worth a visit to see how some of Ireland’s foremost artists and sculptors reflected on Ireland before, during and after the Great Irish Famine. From the landscapes of Jack B Yeats, Alexander Williams and William Crozier, to the illustrations of James Mahoney, the  thought provoking  paintings of Michael Farrell and Lillian Lucy Davidson, and the haunting sculptures of Rowan Gillespie, John Coll,  John Behan and Margaret Lyster Chamberlain.

“The Leave-Taking”President Michael D Higgins opened the exhibition which was curated by Prof Niamh O’Sullivan.

This is a must see exhibition for anyone with an interest in art or history. I found myself both moved and provoked by the artist’s interpretation of the effect of Ireland’s Great Famine on our people. It is highly recommended for students, and older children. I will certainly return  to see it.

Coming Home: Art & The Great Hunger is on at:

The Coach House in Dublin Castle until 30th June 2018.

The Uililinn- West Cork Arts Centre in Skibbereen on 20 July – 13th October 2018

The Glassworks in Derry 18th January -16th March 2019.

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The Irish PEN Dinner and Award 2018

The Irish PEN Dinner and Award 2018

Great to meet so many of my friends from Irish PEN at this year’s dinner and presentation of the Irish PEN Award at The Royal St George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire.

It is always a very special night to have so many writers gather to enjoy dinner and drinks and to honour a fellow writer in this beautiful old club.

This years’ very worthy winner of ‘The Irish PEN Award for Contribution to Literature’ is Anne Enright. As a  writer Anne  has achieved so much in terms of her work which includes , ‘The Green Road, The Portable Virgin’ and  her Man Booker award winning novel ’The Gathering’.  Anne has just finished up her term as the inaugural Laureate of Irish fiction.

The chairperson of Irish Pen Vanessa O’Loughlin presented Anne with the award.

June Considine of WORDS Ireland in her speech reminded all of us present of the imprisoned writers, an empty chair was positioned at the dinner to remember all of those, whose writing and words had led to their loss of freedom.

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