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2019 Allingham Competitions Open – Poetry and Flash Fiction

Tom Sigafoos

aa Allingham_Festival_Logo


Deadline: 26 September 2019

Details: €300 prizes for winners in Poetry and Flash Fiction competitions. €5 entry fee. Prizes awarded at 2019 Allingham Festival Literary Lunch on Saturday, 8 November in Ballyshannon, Co Donegal. Rules and on-line entry forms at

This year’s Allingham Festival will feature journalist Eamonn McCann, poet Annemarie Ní Churreáin, documentary filmmaker Garry Keane,  illustrator and former Children’s Laureate PJ Lynch, and a tribute to playwright Frank McGuinness.

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Places still available on Lughnasa Writing Workshop

  • Glens Centre, Manorhamilton, Co LeitrimLugh – Brian Froud – crop
  • Sunday August 11, 10:00 – 18:00, €30
  • Book through the Glens Centre booking site, or (071) 985583 /
  • This is the second in a series of workshops on the theme of Poetry and Story, Landscape and Myth. Future workshops will take place on Nov 3 and Feb 2.

The Field Trip

Miranda, The Tempest - John William Waterhouse cropThe day will begin with a meet-up and writing exercise in the Glens Centre.  Weather permitting we will then go on a car-pooling, wheelchair-accessible field trip to the Shannon Pot, followed by an alfresco lunch and writing session at the Cavan Burren.

There is a catering van at the Cavan Burren, run by Cuilcagh Catering. They offer soup, sandwiches, chips, breakfast baps, scones, tea, coffee etc – alternatively, you can bring your own lunch. We will return to the Glens Centre for the afternoon writing session.


Tailltu - Jim Fitzpatrick – crop

The Met Eireann forecast offers the probability of 13°C, some light drizzle and a gentle breeze. So dress warm, wear rain gear, walking shoes or sandals – no need for boots – and, in case the forecast is entirely wrong, a sun hat. And if it looks like there will be more than occasional drizzle, we will follow an indoor-based mystery Plan B…

Feedback from the Bealtaine workshop

You brought the myths alive again for me… Very good workshop, well researched and well planned… I could not believe how much gold I unearthed… Very interesting triggers… An incredibly encouraging and talent-nurturing workshop….




Lughnasa Creative Writing August 11

This Lughnasa-inspired workshop, led by Monica Corish, will take place in Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim on Sunday August 11, 10:00 – 18:00, only €30.

The day will begin with a short writing exercise in the Glens Centre.  Weather permitting, we will then go on a car-pooling, wheelchair-accessible, mystery field trip, where we will glean further inspiration, before returning to the Glens Centre in the afternoon. And if it is a day of torrential rain, as is entirely possible, a Plan B will be hatched. More details closer to the time…

You can book directly through the Glens Centre website, or by phone/email: (071) 985583 /


Image credits: Lugh by Brian Froude, Wheat Bees Design, Tailltiu by Jim Fitzpatrick.

You can learn more about this series of workshops, “Poetry and Story, Landscape and Myth”, from Ocean FM Arts House (the interview between Harry Keaney and Monica Corish begins about 16 minutes into the podcast).

Places still available on Manorhamilton Writing Workshop, May 26 – Book Now

Only €30. This Bealtaine-inspired workshop, led by Monica Corish, will take place on Sunday May 26, 10:30 – 4:30. You can book directly through the Glens Centre website, or by phone/email: (071) 985583/

Learn more about the workshop from my earlier blog, and from this Ocean FM Arts House podcast. The interview between Harry Keaney and Monica Corish begins about 16 minutes into the podcast.


Bealtaine Writing Workshop: Interview on Arts House, Ocean FM Sunday May 19

maeve close upMy interview with Harry Keaney for Ocean FM’s Art House will be broadcast Sunday, May 19 between 8 and 9 p.m. (about half way through the program, Harry tells me). During the interview we talked about my upcoming Bealtaine Creative Writing Workshop at the Glens Centre, Manorhamilton. and also about the writing life, writing workshops and the Amherst Method.

You can book for the Bealtaine workshop (Sunday May 26, 10:30 – 4:30) directly through the Glens Centre website.

Bealtaine Creative Writing May 26

To book, contact the Glens Centre Manorhamilton directly:  (071) 985583 / Sunday, May 26, 10:30 – 16:30. Cost: €30. Places limited, advance booking required.

In the month of May the Cailleach of Winter transforms into the blossoming Goddess of Summer. Bealtaine is associated with the fertility of nature and the imagination; with flowering hawthorn; and the need-fire of purification and blessing. The Tuatha De Danann are strongly linked with Bealtaine. According to the Book of Invasions, the golden people of the goddess Danu landed at Sliabh an Iarainn (Iron Mountain, on the shores of Lough Allen, Co Leitrim) during the Bealtaine festival. Many years later they went through the same mountain into the Otherworld and became the daoine sídhe.

Slieve Anierin crop

At this workshop we will draw on the stories of Bealtaine to spark new writing in any form – poetry, story, memoir, opinion, reflection. The workshops will be led by award-winning writer and AWA-trained writing group leader Monica Corish They are suitable for both novice writers and experienced writers, anyone over the age of eighteen. No previous knowledge of folklore or myth is needed.

This is the first in a series of workshops on the theme of “Poetry and Story, Landscape and Myth”, supported by the Glens Centre, the Arts Council and Leitrim County Council. Photo credit Slieve Anierin

Order! Order!

We wrote an animal-metaphor poem in my poetry group last week. Here’s my take, hot off the press:


It's feeding time in the Mother of Parliaments,

words hurled from backbench

to bench and back again,

an orgy of guffaws,

biting, nit-picking, backslapping, chittering.

The Silverback shakes his dominance mace,

thunders his deep-chested roar:

Order! Order!

But these are no gentle, familial Gorillas;

the rowdy ones are not the listeners.

They deafen silence,

these feral Chimpanzees,

shrieking, bickering, screeching.

Hear, Here, they howl. Me, Me.

Look at me. Look at me.