Limerick’s White House pub to mark cultural milestone

Nick Rabbitts


Nick Rabbitts

Barney Sheehan, who has compered the White House poetry sessions since they launched in 2003, and his successor Tom McCarthy
A CULTURAL milestone will be reached next week as the White House poetry revival marks its 600th consecutive week.

A CULTURAL milestone will be reached next week as the White House poetry revival marks its 600th consecutive week.

Poets who have performed at the Glentworth Street over the past 12 years are expected to return to the city for a night to celebration.

Every Wednesday night since June 19, 2003, an open microphone session has been held in the White House, with a suggest poet following from this.

A party evening is to be held next Wednesday evening, with Tom McCarthy, who has recently taken over from Barney Sheehan as the poetry compere hosting proceedings.

Even in the poetry revival’s 12th year, people still pack out the White House to perform a poem, a song, or just listen and admire what is going on.

Asked why he feels it remains so popular, Kileely poet Tom said: “Sometimes you don’t feel like going, but it pulls you in. When you are a certain age, you do not have much on the menu. Perhaps you have stopped playing sport after a long time, you need something to fill the evenings. If you are involved in poetry it is a good way of doing something.”

At next Wednesday’s event, a presentation will be made to Barney Sheehan to mark his contribution in hosting the poetry sessions for the last 12 years.

A special cake is to be baked, and there will be plenty of food and wine, Tom added.

Although Tom has been an able deputy to Barney for the last decade-and-then-some, it is only this year, he has stepped up to hosting the weekly sessions.

It came due to Barney’s ill-health.

“It is not something I planned to take over. I just stepped in when asked,” Tom explained.

Famous Limerick poet, the late Desmond O’Grady, kicked off proceedings in the White House, and over the years, writers have come in from across the globe including locations as far afield as Australia and Egypt.

There has also been a number of local poets seeing their name in print for the first time in the poetry collections published down through the years.

The 600th night of poetry at the White House gets under way at 9pm next Wednesday night.

All are welcome.