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BAFFLE outing to Portumna Arts Festival
13th September 2008

When former BAFFLE bard Noelle Lynskey set into motion Shorelines, the very first Portumna Arts Festival, held in the middle of September, the invitation was extended to all comers to enjoy a varied programme of exhibitions, music, workshops and poetry. Ever avid for Culture with a capital C, a squadron of BAFFLE stalwarts arrived in town on the Saturday night and marched across the drawbridge of Portumna Castle, and on into an upper room, where they were treated to a candlelit performance of poetry and piano by Conor Walsh and Martin Dyar. Conor played soulful compositions of his own, punctuating the poetry of Martin, a former winner of the Strokestown International Poetry Festival, with a fine poem Turlough O’Carolan at Brabazon House being this BAFFLER’s particular favourite.

Afterwards, ever avid for Drink with a capital D, the BAFFLE crowd headed for Horan’s public house, where an impromptu session of poetry and song took place, in the company of the aforesaid Martin and Conor, plus Iggy McGovern, who is soon to give a reading and preside as judge in the BAFFLE festival grand finale on Sunday 24th October. (Click on Festival Programme on this website for further details.)

Eamonn Hayes pulled off the impressive trick of changing horses in midstream, by starting off reciting the work of one poet then seamlessly shifting into the work of another, and at a later stage in the evening broke into song. Mark Conroy read a poem by someone called Iggy McGovern and Finuala McNally’s husband (name escapes me just now) read verses which he revealed had come from a song by Aerosmith. (I think he was a little out of his depth in the company, so didn’t venture anything of his own.) Siun McDonald was at the centre of the BAFFLE group, which also included Lucy McCrann, looking well after her holiday, and other BAFFLE readers included Mary-Ida Kelly and Ian McDonald, who read from a book of verse a poem that had wrongly been ascribed to Brendan Behan. As Ian pointed out, the poem was actually written by Vincent Caprani, his favourite poet! And while Treasurer Joe Conmy’s face was seen in the earlier part of the night, he disappeared and it was left to Johnny Kelly to close the night’s proceedings.….



 

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