Ó Bhéal’s 4th Winter Warmer Festival 25th and 26th November 2016

Contemplating the Muse

No 12

Linda Ibbotson


As the winter season grows ever colder, the end of November finds the Emerald Isle wrapped in a blanket of frost and fog.

At  Ó Bhéal’s 4th Winter Warmer festival we are warmly wrapped in a blanket of words as 22+ poets from a number of continents congregate at Cork’s Kino with both anticipation and appreciation for the festival organised by Paul Casey,  founder and director of  Ó Bhéal and his supportive team.

Here is a selection of my photographs from the events I attended along with information from Ó Bhéal’s website. More details on the poets in the festival see Ó Bhéal’s Winter Warmer Festival link at the end of this article.

Friday evening was a heartwarming start to the weekend with :- Seán Dennehy, Ross Donlon, Annemarie Ní Churreáin, Jessica Traynor, John Fitzgerald, Paula Cunningham, Kerrie O’Brien, Jos Smith, Martín Veiga and Emily Cullen



Jessica Traynor

Jessica Traynor’s  debut poetry collection Liffey Swim (Dedalus Press, 2014), was nominated for the 2015 Strong/Shine Award amongst other numerous accolades and awards including the recipient of the Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary in 2014, named Hennessy New Irish Writer of the Year in 2013 and won the 2011 Listowel Poetry Prize. She is Literary Manager of the Abbey Theatre.

Main picture-A very warm welcome from Paul Casey as he opens the festival on Friday evening. Top left-Billy Ramsell introducing some of the poets.

Saturday afternoon’s programme highlighted a selection of poetry films  which included the winner of the 2016 Ó Bhéal Poetry-Film competition, poetry in Performance Art with Francesca Castellano and a closed-mic set for ten local poets.

Chapbook launch:- Roisín Kelly Rapture, Paul McMahon Bourdon  both from Southword Editions: New Irish Voices series and Eibhlís Carcione. 


Emily Cullen

Emily Cullen is a Galway-based poet, scholar and harper. She is the author of two collections of poetry and  was selected for Poetry Ireland’s Introductions Series in 2004. has performed internationally with a variety of music ensembles including Galvia, The Belfast Harp Orchestra, Ceoltóirí Maghlacha and The Cullen Harpers (with her three sisters). She has also recorded on a number of albums, such as the Grammy award-winning Tribute to the Celtic Harp with The Belfast Harp Orchestra and The Chieftains, and she gives recitals, workshops and lectures throughout Europe, North America and Australia


Tara Bergin

Tara Bergin’s first collection of poems, This is Yarrow, was published by Carcanet in 2013. It was awarded the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry Prize, the Shine/Strong Award for best first collection by an Irish author and was shortlisted for the Poetry Now Award. She is a PBS Next Generation Poet.

Wonderful to hear such an eclectic mix of poetic voices,  diverse styles and genres, especially poetry in translation as poets gathered from different countries and cultures including Germany, USA, Spain and Australia throughout the weekend.

Saturday evening’s wonderful programme with poets:-

John Ennis, Billy Mills, Gerry Hanberry, Josep Lluís Aguiló, Catherine Walsh, Michael Augustin, Tara Bergin, Raina J. León and Elaine Feeney, 


Jos Smith

Jos Smith is a writer, editor and lecturer in contemporary literature based in Norwich.He is also the author of a critical study of the New Nature Writing and teaches and writes quite broadly on landscape and place in post-war British and Irish literature.


Annemarie Ní Churreáin has been awarded literary fellowships by Akademie Schloss Solitude (Germany), Jack Kerouac House (Orlando) and Hawthornden Castle (Edinburgh). In 2016, Annemarie was awarded a Next Generation Artists Award by the Arts Council.


Evening Echo


Michael Augustin

Michael works as a writer and broadcaster with Radio Bremen and directs the international literature festival Poetry on the Road. He writes poetry, mini drama and short prose and his collages and drawings have appeared in magazines worldwide.He studied Anglo-Irish Literature and Folklore at University College Dublin and the University of Kiel.

Mulled wine and the aroma of cloves sweetens the poetic air thanks to the expertise of Judenauld Marcus Penders and Patricia Walsh. A vast array of poetry books for sale thanks to Rosie O’ Reagan assisted here by Alexander Edgar.


Elaine Feeney

Elaine Feeney won the Cúirt Poetry Prize, North Beach Nights’ Poetry Prize and was shortlisted for The Fish Poetry Prize, amongst others. Her work has been widely published, translated and anthologised. In 2016 she was commissioned to write the narrative to a feature stage production by Irish Choreographer, Liz Roche and Film Director, Mary Wycherley, entitled Wrong Headed. It premiered to excellent review at the 2016 Dublin Fringe Festival..


Kerrie O’ Brien

Kerrie O’ Brien a poet from Dublin launched her debut collection Illuminate (Salmon Poetry) in October 2016. She received a literature bursary from the Arts Council of Ireland. She is the editor of Looking at the Stars, an anthology of Irish writing which aims to raise €15,000 for the Dublin Simon Community.


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Slideshow with John Fitzgerald ( b and w ) and Seán Dennehy ( color )

John won the 2014 Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Prize and was shortlisted for the 2015 Hennessy New Irish Writing Award.His career as a professional librarian commenced in Trinity College Dublin Library and he has been the University Librarian at University College Cork since 1996.

Sean is a Clare poet living and working in Dublin. In 2012 he won the All Ireland Poetry Slam in Cork. Though focusing on performance and the spoken word his first collection in print, No Poetry, was published in 2013 by QS Press.


Gerry Hanberry

Award winning Irish poet, writer, musician and teacher  Gerry Hanberry has published four collections of poetry and biography of the Wilde family, More Lives Than One, The Remarkable Wilde Family Through The Generations ( The Collins Press 2011)  Gerard teaches English at St Enda’s College, Salthill and  creative writing on the BA Connect course at the National University of Ireland, Galway.


Raina J. Leon

Raina J. León is a member of the Carolina African American Writers Collective. She has received numerous fellowships and residencies and is an associate Professor of Education at Saint Mary’s College of California, also is a founding editor of The Acentos Review, an online quarterly, international journal devoted to the promotion and publication of LatinX arts.


Martin Veiga

Martin Veiga is a Cork-based Galician poet and academic. He is a lecturer in Hispanic Studies at University College Cork, where he is also the director of the Irish Centre for Galician Studies.


Catherine Walsh

Catherine Walsh currently lives in Limerick and is author of many poetry books as well as featured in numerous anthologies including the Anthology of Twentieth-Century British & Irish Poetry (Oxford University Press, New York and Oxford, 2001),.  She co-edits hardPressed Poetry with Billy Mills. She was Holloway Lecturer on the Practice of Poetry at the University of California, Berkeley for 2012/13 and was a research fellow with the Digital Humanities cluster at An Foras Feasa, Maynooth University during 2014/2015.


Kenneth O’Flynn. Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork

 Kenneth O’Flynn is a great supporter of Ó Bhéal and the arts in Cork

Paula Cunningham, Josep Lluís Aguiló and Billy Mills

Paula Cunningham lives in Belfast.  Her books, A Dog called Chance (1999) and Heimlich’s Manoeuvre (2013), are both from Smith/Doorstop. The latter was shortlisted for the Fenton-Aldeburgh, Seamus Heaney Centre, and Strong Shine First Collection Prizes.

Josep Lluís Aguiló (top right) was born in Manacor, Mallorca and has written a number of poetry collections particularly in the Catalan language where he has won a several awards. Llunari (Lunarium), now published by Arc Publications, was the winner of the Prize Jocs Florals de Barcelona and Josep Lluís Aguiló was appointed Poet Laureate of the City of Barcelona during the period 2008-2009.

Billy Mills, author of several poetry collections. He is the founder and co-editor (with Catherine Walsh) of hardPressed Poetry and the Journal. Since 2007, he has been a regular contributor to the Guardian Books site, including the popular Poster Poems series.


Michelle Delea

John Ennis ( left )is author of nineteen books of poetry. He retired in 2009 as Head of the School of Humanities at Waterford Institute of Technology, where he was also Chair of the Centre for Newfoundland and Labrador Studies.

Ross Donlan  has read his poems in Eastern & Western Europe & is widely published both at home & in Ireland. Winner of international poetry competitions & spoken word events, a sequence from his first book, The Blue Dressing Gown, has been produced for national radio in Australia.



Paul Casey with the final few words between heartfelt applause as the exhilarating and much celebrated festival sadly draws to a close along with farewell hugs from both new and reacquainted friends.

Poetry, akin to wine tasting is a skill, speaks to the senses and is a shared experience. We all have a unique palate with preferences. Whether we personally identify with the traditional, lyrical or the more contemporary style of poetry etc, there is no doubt that words are very much alive, piquant, immensely powerful, even visionary and play a significant and enriching role in all our lives.  “Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful. – Rita Dove”

I hope you enjoyed the photos, a taste of the increasingly vibrant Cork poetry scene and I look forward your company in my next poetic adventure.


Photographs all my own with the exception of Chapbook launch:- Roisín Kelly Rapture, Paul McMahon Bourdon  both from Southword Editions: New Irish Voices series with kind permission from The Munster Literature Centre

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6 Responses to Ó Bhéal’s 4th Winter Warmer Festival 25th and 26th November 2016

  1. Diane McPhail says:

    And did you not read, yourself? I was waiting for a picture of YOU, beautiful lady!

    Diane McPhail about.me/diane.mcphail

    dianecmcphail1@me.com dianemcphail.com, dianemcphail.info


  2. middleofnowhereweb says:

    Lovely, Linda. Such an alluring “magazine”. I am as always impressed. ❤ Love from AnnaLisa.. My blog is Imbread Impulses.. 🙂

    • Thank you so much AnnaLisa! I am delighted to be connected with you on WordPress and look forward to reading your wonderful words and looking at your photographs!.

      • middleofnowhereweb says:

        Linda, am happy being connected to you, as well. ❤ Unfortunately, there is nothing new here, yet..Everything I have posted so far is old stuff from my FB account. Btw, had to close my FB account due to possible hacking. I opened a new account and sent you a friend rewuest..in the name of P.E.A.K. Hope ypu'll accept it. ❤

  3. Pingback: Poetry reading at Ó Bhéal,Cork. | linda ibbotson

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