Éigse Michael Hartnett goes ahead with full programme of live events

Éigse Michael Hartnett goes ahead with full programme of live events

Éigse Michael Hartnett opens this Thursday evening

EIGSE Michael Hartnett, the arts festival which opens in Newcastle West this Thursday, September 30, offers an unique opportunity to walk in the footsteps of the poet, Michael Hartnett, to see his poems featured in shop windows, to greet writers on the very streets he wrote about and to breathe in the sense of place which was a hallmark of his life and of his work. 

It is taking place in a year when Michael, had he lived, would have reached his 80th birthday. The loss of one of Ireland’s most original, lyrical and independent voices is still felt by those who loved and those who continue to love his work. 

The three-day festival, which went out online last year because of the pandemic, is back this year with a full programme of live events.

“We believe the time has come to sound a note of gladness again and to come together to feel and enjoy the restoring power of music and words,” said Vincent Hanley, a member of the voluntary organising committee.  

Éigse Michael Hartnett opens this Thursday, September 30, when best-selling author Patricia Scanlan will be the guest speaker.

She will be joined by Limerick tenor Derek Moloney for what promises to be a celebratory get-together. Also on the night, the Michael Hartnett Poetry Award will be presented to this year’s winner, Ceaití Ní Bheildiúin, by the Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Cllr Daniel Butler. 

The programme continues on Friday with New Voices, readings from three emerging poets, Rafael Mendes, Natasha Remoundou and Polina Cosgrave and will also feature school visits and workshops with poet and spoken word performer, Colm Keegan. 

Friday evening’s big event will see poets Moya Cannon and Seán Lysaght on stage along with string quartet Capriccio. This event will honour the memory of the late Sheila O’Regan, a member of the organising committee. 

Saturday promises to be a busy day, beginning with a reading from Limerick poet Bernie Crawford. Colm Keegan will hold a workshop for adult writers and those wishing to take part should email 

Then, at 1.30, one of the country’s best loved broadcasters, John Creedon will take his listeners on a journey through the townlands and byways of Ireland and will read from his book, That Place We Call Home. 

The Michael Hartnett Memorial Lecture makes a comeback this year and Dan Mulhall, the Irish ambassador to Washington, will be in the limelight in mid-afternoon.  

Castle Capers is an outdoor, free event taking place in the shadow of the town’s historic Desmond Hall. It will be a mix of music, starring Abby Butler, Ger Wolfe and the Coláiste Ide agus Iosef Trad Group, and the spoken word. 

The festival will close on a high note with authors Louise Nealon (Snowflake) and Kathleen McMahon (Nothing but Blue Sky) and music from violin duo, Lucia and Maria. 

Many of the events taking place during Éigse Michael Hartnett 2021 are free and some events will be streamed. 

For more information and all details, go to or pick up a brochure. 

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