Thursday June 20th, 2019

Dúthaigh agus Dán Aimhirghin - exploring Amergin’s poem and its landscape

Our opening afternoon and night focus to a large extent on Amergin’s poem, on poems written in response to it, and on the landscape in which An Leabhar Gabhála places the successful landfall of the Milesian people from Galicia. Of course the focus is not a limitation – there will be plenty of scope for our poets and music- makers to celebrate the wider world of poetry.

Field Trip 2.00 pm. (Meet at new Amergin monument on the sea-front in Waterville village)
Our field trip, led by poet Paddy Bushe who has long been drawn into the landscape, the poem and the story, begins at 2 pm. We gather at the wonderful new and imposing sculpture by Holger Lönze in the middle of the village. Holger, recently settled in the area, will talk about the sculpture and Amergin’s poem will be read. Then (by bus and car-pool, with a fairly easy hillwalk) we will visit sites that will allow the landmarks associated with the story to be pointed out and given a context. We aim to be finished by 5pm. If the weather is overwhelmingly bad, we will have a talk indoors in St Michael’s Church.

7.00 pm. Waterville Community Centre
Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, current Ireland Professor of Poetry, will launch a new selection of poetry from more than forty years’ work by Cathal Ó Searcaigh, with translations by Paddy Bushe. Titled Crann na Teanga/ The Language Tree, and with more than 400 pages of poems, this major work is published by Irish Pages.

7.45 pm. Waterville Community Centre
The festival will be officially opened at 7.45 pm by Maureen Kennelly, Director of Poetry Ireland. Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin and Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, who were unable to attend the Ireland Professors of Poetry event at the 2018 inaugural festival, will read their Amergin- response poems from Unde Scribitur, which was published at that festival, and will read also from their other work. They will be joined by the Russian poet and Irish Studies teacher Andrey Mashinan, who has written a poem about Amergin in St. Petersburg! We will have music on the guitar by the wonderful Steve Cooney, and singer Nóirín Ní Riain will scale her characteristic heights of song, including a setting by the late Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin of a poem in which Scéine, the wife of Amergin, responds to his incantatory poem. And we will be joined by the legendary Ailean Dòmhnullach, doyen of Scottish pipers. (This event is supported by Poetry Ireland).