Barney in swipe at Limerick City of Culture management

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Barney Sheehan and Tom McCarthy discussing the poetry night which takes place in the Whitehouse bar on Wednesday nights [Picture: Adrian Butler]
WHITE House poetry compere Barney Sheehan has slammed City of Culture bosses for “ignoring” their arts contribution.

WHITE House poetry compere Barney Sheehan has slammed City of Culture bosses for “ignoring” their arts contribution.

Mr Sheahan marked his 11th anniversary hosting the weekly poetry readings in the O’Connell Street pub last week.

And he believes the pub’s support for the City of Culture has not been recognised by the powers that be.

“The authority’s reaction to my contribution is a bit dormant at the moment. The White House has not been invited to anything to do with the City of Culture. They have completely ignored us. They have one hell of a cheek, considering I put the first window in this city advertising with City of Culture,” he said.

Mr Sheehan from Greystones added:“Everything I do is framed through culture”.There have been tributes to Mr Sheehan, who has hosted weekly poetry readings in the White House for more than 550 weeks.

His right-hand man Tom McCarthy, Farranshone, said: “Barney Sheehan to me is the General Custer of poetry in Limerick. To keep this going is his last stand. It is a tribute to him to keep this going week in week out. There is no other venue in the world which has done this.”

Asked about his own highlights, Mr Sheehan cited the Desmond O’Grady festival held in 2009, as well as welcoming guest poets from Germany, France, Netherlands, the USA and further.

“But I think the most memorable moment was reaching 500 weeks. It was a great night. There was a great sense of humour, and a great sense of fun that night,” he recalled.

Now aged 80, Barney started the poetry nights in the White House 11 years ago after then manager Glen McLoughlin asked him what he could do to get artists and poets back into the pub.

“I had no idea that it would be going on 11 years later. In fact, someone said to me, that it would not last more than two or three weeks,” he said, “At times it has been a tiring experience. At times, it has been a bloody great experience. There is nothing like it in the world.”