02 Jul 2022

Readings from ‘The Way We Were’ at Offaly Library

Readings from ‘The Way We Were’ at Offaly Library

At the poetry reading session in Birr Library were seated (l. to r.): Ruth Dunican, Catherine Murphy, standing, Claire Gavin, (librarian), Mary Hughes, Kitty Galvin, Nancy Buckley, Frances Kawala.

BEALTAINE, the name given in Irish to the month of May, sets off a series of events bringing Arts to Older People, promoted by Age and Opportunity.

Offaly may not be the first name to spring to mind in this context, but on closer inspection, we can hold our own with the best. And Birr is first on that list, hosting as it does, five independent Festivals throughout the year.

After our period of cocooning, the butterflies are emerging, and they did so with force recently in Birr Library, where readings from the recently published book, ‘The Way We Were’ were held, mostly read by the authors themselves.

The book had been co-funded by LOETB, OLDC, and the Offaly Age Friendly Alliance, and mentored by Denise Curtin Dunne from Laois, with people reminiscing on their youthful endeavours, schooldays, games played, and whatever mischief was available in pre technology times. Among the readers were Tess O’Shea, Jim Madden, Vera Hayden, Alice Carroll, Kitty Galvin, George Smith and Frances Kawala.

Rita Kelly, Birr’s resident poet, opened proceedings with readings from her collection. Rita, who has long time connections with Birr, started with a poem entitled ‘What If’, instilling hope - things will be all right in the end. But the one in particular which should be available in every local school and library, the one with evocative memories of Birr woven through every line, was written in response to meeting up in the grounds of Birr Castle, with local musician, Ann Hogan.

Many thanks to Birr Library for offering their wonderful venue for this event, and indeed for the refreshments which followed. We look forward to a continuation of writing from our local authors; indeed, the wonderful new facility at Birr Further Education Training Centre has been providing aspiring writers with Creative Writing Classes, so watch this space!

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