Poetry chair pays a visit to the Limerick Leader

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

'Reading at Random' were Lydia Turley, Limerick Leader, plus poets Sheila Fitzpatrick ODonnell and Bridget Wallace. Picture: Adrian Butler
A POETRY armchair which has attracted a cult following across Limerick and beyond has paid a visit to the Leader offices.

A POETRY armchair which has attracted a cult following across Limerick and beyond has paid a visit to the Leader offices.

Poets Sheila Fitzpatrick-O’Donnell, Thomondgate, and Dr Bridget Wallace, Cathedral Place, have been touring the country with the chair in a bid to promote poetry and creativity.

The project is now known as ‘Reading at Random’, and the pair have set up a Facebook group chronicling the chair’s adventures across Ireland.

Having visited Sligo, the pair’s first port of call upon arriving back in the city was to this newspaper, where staff member Lydia Turley tried it for size.

While they were chatting, four or five more people also expressed an interest in sitting in the chair.

Sheila said she is surprised there has been so much interest, saying: “I don’t know if it is because we are two middle-aged women walking around with a chair, or what. But if people sit on the chair, they feel comfortable telling their stories. We are picking up a lot of stories from people. The chair is actually the podium, the chair is the stage.”

After visiting the Limerick Leader, the ladies took the chair to the Hunt Museum where poet John Liddy had a book launch.

Sitting down to enjoy a coffee outside the Locke Bar nearby, an impromptu poetry session was then held with people interested in sitting in the chair.

This week, the Reading at Random chair has also been in Sixmilebridge and Tulla.

Following on from the success of this initiative, Sheila is now seeking funding to set up a company to run a Poetry Tour of Ireland.

She wants to acquire a poetry bus to take tourists across some of Ireland’s foremost poetic locations, and attend festivals like Ó Bhéal in Cork: “The lease will be up in my shop premises soon. I could not go through with running up to the dole again. I will be unemployed, and Bridget is on a CE scheme. So we would be busking,” Sheila said, “But I have a plan to promote Limerick through poetry. This will bring tourists to the city.”