RTE director general to launch 2013 Eigse Michael Hartnett festival

Gerard Fitzgibbon

Reporter:

Gerard Fitzgibbon

Newcastle West poet Michael Hartnett pictured in 1975. Details of this year's Eigse Michael Hartnett festival have been released
THE DIRECTOR general of RTE, Noel Curran, is to give the keynote speech at this year’s Eigse Michael Hartnett festival, the organisers have confirmed.

THE DIRECTOR general of RTE, Noel Curran, is to give the keynote speech at this year’s Eigse Michael Hartnett festival, the organisers have confirmed.

The programme for Eigse 2013, which takes place in Newcastle West from April 25 to 27, was officially launched by Limerick County Council’s arts office this week.

This year’s schedule will once again see a fusion of poetry, music, reading and dance which will celebrate the enduring legacy of the famed local poet, who died in 1999.

Mr Curran will be the keynote speaker at the official launch of Eigse 2013 at the Newcastle West library from 8pm on Thursday, April 25.

Among the other leading figures who will take part in Eigse this year are artist Robert Ballaugh, musician Harry Bradley and singer-songwriter Julie Feeney.

Joan MacKernan, County Limerick arts officer, said that this year’s programme will see an eclectic mix of some of Ireland’s leading artists.

“Spirit and imagination are at the heart of this year’s programme. Leading Irish and international poets, writers and thinkers collide with musicians, dancers, singers and storytellers, what Michael Hartnett termed ‘the Harp side of the Irish coin’”.

Schools, pubs, offices and galleries around Newcastle West will provide the setting for a number of intimate events during this year’s festival.

As well as performances of poetry and dance on the festival’s opening night, the Red Door Gallery will host an exhibition of paintings by Gerry Carew, which will be unveiled on Friday, April 26 by Abbot Mark Patrick Hederman of Glenstal Abbey.

Also on Friday evening, the Courtenay Lodge Hotel will host an evening of poetry and sean nos dancing titled ‘The Harp Side of the Irish Coin’, while the Fishamble theatre company will also perform Pat Kinevane’s play ‘Silent’ at the local county council office on Friday night.

Robert Ballaugh will give this year’s Michael Hartnett memorial lecture, titled ‘Words and Pictures’, at the county council area office on Saturday morning, followed by the launch of a poetry anthology in honour of Michael Hartnett at the Red Door Gallery.

The festival will come to a close on Saturday night with an evening of poetry and song featuring Julie Feeney and Tony Harrison at the county council offices at 8pm, followed by song, story and poetry event at the Courtenay Lodge Hotel at 10pm.