Limerick town prepares to host three-day festival as Éigse Michael Hartnett returns

My Michael! Road trip with one of Limerick's finest poets

Michael Hartnett would have turned 80 this year

BEST-SELLING  author Patricia Scanlan, broadcaster and writer John Creedon, and Irish Ambassador to the USA Dan Mulhall lead the line-up of guest speakers at this year’s Éigse Michael Hartnett festival which opens in Newcastle West this Thursday. 

The three-day festival, which was online last year due to Covid-19, features a full programme of live events for 2021 and is  taking place in a year when Michael, had he lived, would have reached his 80th birthday.

“We are delighted to be back again with live, in-person events, “said Vincent Hanley, a member of the voluntary organising committee.  On opening night, best-selling author Patricia Scanlan will be guest speaker joined by Limerick tenor Derek Moloney for what promises to be a celebratory get-together.

Also tonight, 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  emerging poets, Rafael Mendes and Natasha Remoundou 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 1.30pm, 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 the USA, will be in the limelight as guest speaker in mid-afternoon.  

Also on Saturday afternoon, Castle Capers, an outdoor, free event will take 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, with poet Colm Keegan. This is a family friendly event open to all. 

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. 

Welcoming this year’s festival, Limerick City and County Council Arts Officer, Pippa Little said Limerick Arts Office is delighted to work in partnership with the Éigse Michael Hartnett Literary and Arts Festival Committee, on what is ‘a celebration of creativity’.

“There is an appetite for live events and the excitement at the opportunity to attend and participate is palpable, the festival line up is a joy this year.”

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, visit

Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.

Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.