The Caterpillar Short Story Prize

caterpillar short story prize

Have you written a brilliant children’s story? Or have you one you’ve been meaning to write? With just over a month left to enter (closing date 30 Sep) now is the time to bring it to light.

There is a single prize of €1,000 plus publication in The Caterpillar (which has featured stories by the likes of Michael Morpurgo, Veronica Cossanteli and Frank Cottrell Boyce).

The story must be aimed at 7–11 year olds and be no more than 2,000 words in length. It costs €12 to enter.

You can read more about the Caterpillar Short Story Prize or enter online at

And needless to say, ignore this if you’ve already sent us your story.

Respond 2 – New Creative Writing Collaborative Project

Let me tell you about a new creative writing collaborative project bearing the highly original title – Respond 2

Following the success of last year’s creative writing/visual arts collaborative project – Respond – we propose to repeat the experience by arranging a creative writing/film – digital arts collaborative project entitled – Respond 2.

Lorne PattersonWe are inviting all creative writers to submit a piece of poetry or prose on a simple theme of – Longford – to our project’s literary editor Lorne Patterson.  Ten submissions will be accepted and the ten writers will be then introduced to ten local film makers/digital artists who will respond to the literary work through a three minute piece of digital art.

The literary pieces will be read and the digital responses shown in the Canal Studio Backstage in December and both will be exhibited on and the website still under construction . The participants will also feature in the next issue of the Midlands Arts & Culture Magazine.

Lorne has set out below the rules for submitting writing to be considered for the project: 

Objective:  to create ten ‘YouTube’ film clips (of maximum 3 minutes) from ten poems/pieces of prose – on some aspect of Co Longford.

Literary terms of reference:

Provide an insight into Co Longford – either personal, geographical, historical, cultural, literary, mythological, or a mix of these. But whatever approach you chose remember, your work has to be interpreted within a three-minute filmed time-frame.  Poems maximum 40 lines / prose maximum 1,000 words.

Submission:  Submit online to by 6pm, Friday August 30th.

Since the chosen written pieces will be ‘published’/interpreted in a new form (i.e. digital/visual), the piece of prose/poetry you submit to me CAN have been published before. Again, to be clear, it does not have be a new piece of writing.

Selection: The editor will select ten written pieces from the pieces submitted. The pieces will be chosen on the basis of originality, potential for visualisation, and diversity.

As with the Respond I project, there will then be a randomised allocation to ten film producers during an evening at the Backstage.

Remember all submissions to Lorne – the literary editor and project manager – and not to the Arts Office.

Go ahead and have a try – it was good fun and very successful last year and I’m sure that it will be equally so this year.

Poetry Outdoors

Saints Island Church

Event: Poetry Outdoors
Facilitated by: Noel Monahan, poet & dramatist
When: Daily – Friday 24th July to Sunday 26th July 2015
Cost: 20 Euro
Price includes transport from Longford to and from sites and tuition fee
Booking: Longford Tourism
phone: 043 33 42577

In a new and stimulating series of poetry workshops, internationally recognised poet and dramatist, Noel Monahan will take workshop participants on tour of the most beautiful and unspoiled landscapes in Ireland. The Lough Ree Waterway described by RTE’s Dick Warner as; “Europe’s last great wilderness” is the perfect backdrop for this creative adventure in Co. Longford. It is hoped this journey will lead to artistic freedom and engage participants directly in finding new and unexpected gift of subject matter for their writing. Knowing all true artists are hunters/fishermen, we look forward to new findings and new ways of looking at the everyday. The facilitator will draw the participants’ attention to the many features of this picturesque part of Co. Longford:

noel monahan
Listen to Noel Monahan discuss this unique event and explain why Lough Ree and Saint’s Island are so special.

The event will explore: Landscape, Flora and Fauna – hills, bogs, woodlands, quarry-park, lakes and islands and wildlife. Unique Colours – lichen covered stones, the strata-graphic colours of bogland, meadowland.

As well as the area’s storied history: Ruins of monasteries on the islands, placenames creating their own word- pattern of poetry, the landed ‘gentry’ and the fall of The Big House.

Such an approach will lead to a discovery of the wonder of the place and will open up a new vision and new intelligence for the writers.

The one day experience is suitable for both beginners and those who have been writing for some time.

Saints Island Church


[Friday July 24th – Sunday July 26th]

9.30am – Group assemble at Longford Tourist Office, Market Square, Longford

Morning – A facilitated exploration of St. Island and the award winning ‘sculpture village’ of Newtowncashel. [Participants are recommended to bring refreshments]

1.00pm – Group arrive in Lanesborough. Lunch can be had in a number of bars and cafes. After lunch people are free to explore the picturesque village, the lake shore and the environmental SAC ‘The Commons’.

3.00pm – Lough Ree Co op Offices Main Street Lanesborough – Workshop based on the morning’s experiences and dealing with specific writing skills such as: Finding the Words and the line as a basic unit of a poem. The workshop will assist with editing and offer guide lines for publication.

5.30pm – Return by bus to the Tourist Office, Market Square, Longford


All places on this workshop must be booked in advance through Longford Tourist Office

Course Fee: €20.00

Numbers strictly limited to a maximum of 15 participants per day, therefore it is important to book early

The price includes transport from Longford to and from sites and tuition fee.

Refreshments and lunch are not provided. Lunch may be had in Lanesborough.

Accommodation can be arranged in local Hotel or B & Bs. Enquire at Longford Tourist Office: 043 33 42577

All enquiries to Longford Tourist Office.

For further information and updates check:

saints island


Noel MonahanNoel Monahan was born in Granard. He has won numerous awards for his poetry and writing. His awards include: The SeaCat National Poetry Award, organised by Poetry Ireland, The RTE P.J. O’Connor Award for drama, The ASTI Achievements Award, The Hiberno-English Poetry Award and The Irish Writers’ Union Poetry Award. His poetry was prescribed text for Leaving Certificate English and examined in 2011. Noel Monahan has published seven collections of poetry fifth collection of poetry, published in 2010. “ Opposite Walls”, was published in 1991, “Snowfire”, in 1995, “ Curse of The Birds” in 2000 and “ The Funeral Game” in 2004, “ Curve Of The Moon”2010, “ Where The Wind Sleeps” 2014. all published by Salmon. In October 2014, Alidades in France published a selection of Noel Monahan’s work in French translation: “Celui Qui Porte Un Veau”. A number of his poems have been translated into: Italian, Russian, French and Romanian. His most recent plays include “The Children of Lir”, performed by Livin Dred Theatre and “ Lovely Husbands”, a play for young people, based on the work of Henry James. For twenty years he has worked with Heather Brett as co editor of Windows Publications. Noel Monahan holds an M.A. in Creative Writing.

The Red AbbeyMonks walked through hell to arrive at Abbeyderg.Each one carried a woman within himselfAnd she settled somewhere between his hair-shirt

And heart. In the light and darkness of the Sun-

Moon- Child they listened for the unheard melody,

Dreamt prayers over the hills, built altars of snow.

By night the stones

Fell up to the stars.

Asleep on their pillows of stone they stared

At the Red Abbey Cross, felt Christified,

Saw a lady hanging there, red tears running

Down her face. In the morning the stars fell

Down as stones, the monks saw Christ’s image,

His crown of thorns still bleeding and they carried

His cross beams between the stones and the stars.

Noel Monahan

Open Call for Literary & Art Works for Midir and Etain Anthology

Midir-and-Etain-publicationposterHelp us celebrate the Legend of Midir and Étain.

Creative Ardagh, in partnership with County Longford Arts Office and Cruthú Arts Festival are inviting all artists, writers, poets, established and new, young and old to take part in an exciting Visual Arts and Literature Project.

We want to celebrate our local legend by publishing an anthology of stories, poetry and artwork by people of all ages. We envisage a mix of work from professional artists and writers, along with the work of children and other budding artists/writers based on the legend of Midir and Etain.

This inspirational legend lends itself to an exciting project such as this. Be inspired by the drama, love, envy and shapeshifting transformations that are entwined in the story and produce your own creation in whatever media you like. We are accepting poetry and stories up to a maximum of 1500 words and artworks in any media including drawing, painting, photography, digital media and images of 3d artwork.  The only restriction is that it is your own original work. You can find out more about the legend here:

You can enter from where ever you are in the world by post or email.
Artworks sent by post should not exceed A4 size.
The closing date for submissions is: 5pm on 7th June 2015.

Please send all submissions to:
Creative Ardagh, Ardagh Heritage and Creativity Centre,
Ardagh, Co. Longford
or email:

The anthology will be launched as part of the Bilberry Sunday Event on the 26th July 2015 in Ardagh Heritage and Creativity Centre. This event will be hosted by Creative Ardagh in conjunction with County Longford Arts Officer Fergus Kennedy during the Cruthú Arts Festival. Those selected for the publication will get a chance to read their written piece or display the original artwork on the day.

View publicity poster

Longford County Council Arts Services announces Arts Bursary Scheme 2015 

Artists Bursary

The focus of this year’s County Arts Office Bursary Scheme will be: individual professional artists operating in the Longford County Council administrative area and aspiring artists from the Longford County Council administrative area, studying creative arts at a third level college.

Grants will be awarded to artists to support continuing professional development.  The forms of professional development envisaged are: support for the creation of new work, professional development and training, funding for materials and equipment and other creative or professional development purposes.

Artists Bursaries will be in the region of €500.00 though this figure may be varied by the adjudicators based on such factors as the number of applicants and the quality of projects.

All entries must be by e-mail to

Closing date for receipt of applications is: 1.00pm Friday April 10th.

Education Bursaries

Education Bursaries will be paid to students from Longford County Council administrative area involved in a full time third level creative arts course, in an accredited third level college from September 2014.Students intending to attend art-form specific creative summer courses may also apply.

All entries must be by e-mail to

Closing date for receipt of applications is: 1.00pm Friday April 10th.

Anne Skelly Commemorative Bursary

anne skellyIn recognition of the enormous contribution made by Anne Skelly to the development of creative writing in Longford during her time as Creative Writing Development Officer with the County Arts Office, the Arts Office has established the Anne Skelly Commemorative Bursary. The Bursary has been established to enable an artist, preferably a writer, from Longford to spend a week at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre Annaghmakerrig Co. Monaghan, for the purposes of developing or completing a creative project.

This Perpetual Prize will be offered in the early Spring of each year starting in 2015, we feel that it is a means of commemorating Anne’s memory in a manner that she would have appreciated. The County Arts Office wishes to thank Anne’s husband Michael for his generous approval of this commemoration.

Applicants for the Anne Skelly Commemorative Bursary must complete an application form (PDF format, Word document) which should be emailed to

Closing date for receipt of applications is: 1.00pm Friday April 10th.

Word Corner Cafe

Next week the Word Corner Cafe is back at The Dock Arts Centre, Carrick on Shannon. This is a free, informal event for all writers, readers and beat poets to share their work!

Word Corner Cafe is in the second Tuesday of every month – this month February 10th  – from 6 – 7.30pm in the Jury Room Cafe at The Dock.

Please come along and read / hear some wonderful work, and please pass this information on to people you think may be interested.

Bursary Announcement

Out Of The Shadows Book Cover

Anne Skelly who was the creative Writing Development Officer for the County Office for a number of years sadly passed away earlier this year. Last Friday night 10/10/14 her friends and fellow members of Ballymahon Writers Group published a commemorative collection of creative writing entitled Out of the Shadows.

As part of the launch proceedings at Ballymahon Library it was announced that:” In recognition of the enormous contribution made by Anne to the development of creative writing in Longford during her time as Creative Writing Development Officer with the County Arts Office, this Office will establish the Anne Skelly Commemorative Bursary to enable one artists, preferably a writer from Longford, to spend time at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre Annaghmakerrig each year, for the purposes of developing or completing a creative project.

This Perpetual Prize will be offered in the early Spring of each year starting in 2015 and we feel that it is a means of commemorating Anne’s memory in a way which she would have appreciated.

We also wish to thank Anne’s husband Michael for his generous approval of this commemoration.”

The Poetry of Physics, The Physics of Poetry

Date: Tuesday, November 11th at 3pm
Location: Luan Gallery, Grace Road, Athlone, Co. Westmeath


This unique in conversation event is part of the midlands science festival. Local broadcaster Catherine Ivers will be in conversation with Prof Iggy McGovern of Trinity College Dublin. Iggy McGovern is a poet and retired academic; he is a Fellow Emeritus in the School of Physics at Trinity College Dublin and has published two collections of poetry with Dedalus Press, The King of Suburbia (2005) and Safe House (2010). He edited the anthology 2012: Twenty Irish Poets Respond to Science in Twelve Lines, published by Dedalus Press in association with Quaternia Press, and co-edited (with Jean-Patrick Connerade) Science Meets Poetry 3, published by Euroscience. His most recent book, A Mystic Dream of 4, a sonnet sequence based on the life of William Rowan Hamilton, 19th Century Irish Mathematician & Poet, is published by Quaternia Press (2013).

Iggy McGovern’s life has been a heady mix of religion, science and poetry. The Trinity College lecturer grew up in Coleraine and, as well as studying physics at Queens University, spent two years as a student seminarian. In 1979 he came to Dublin to take up a lecturing post at Trinity and continues to teach science students there today. In 1990 he began writing poetry and in 1996 he won the Hennessy poetry award. Most recently his poems have featured in the Dart Poetry In Motion series

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The Caterpillar Poetry Prize

caterpillar poetry prize

The Caterpillar has announced its inaugural poetry prize – for a single poem written by an adult for children (aged 7–11).

What they are looking for is a stand-out poem to which they can award a prize of €1,000 to celebrate the richness of children’s writing.

The Prize is open to everyone. The work must be original and previously unpublished. The entry fee is €12 per poem and you can enter as many poems as you like.

More details on

Longford Writers and Artists Combine to Create an Explosion of Creativity


This week Longford County Arts Office launched, ‘Respond’ a fascinating creative project. According to County Arts Officer Fergus Kennedy; “artists and art lovers know that the visual arts and literature are both capable of creating an energy and atmosphere unique to the arts. However when you combine the two different forms of creative expression you can create a wonderful frisson of imaginative energy and excitement.”

Longford has more creative writers per head of population that anywhere in Ireland. In addition there has been a huge resurgence in the visual arts in the county in recent years.

The Respond Project is an effort to harness and combine these two art forms to create an exciting and imaginative project that is unique to Longford. Ten local writers were shown a piece of work by ten local artists and used it as a setting-off point to explore ideas about art, love, loss, family, dreams, memory, places and privacy.

The painters were: Hugh P.Magrath, Brendan Duffy, Phil Atkinson, Pat Hourican, Gordon Farrell and Gerard Keaveney. Gary Robinson showed a three dimensional multi-media piece and the photographers were Michael Croghan and Shelley Corcoran. Ed Walshe showed ceramic work.

Among the responding writers were poets Mary Melvin Geoghegan, Breda Sullivan, Margaret Nohilly, Rose Moran, Valerie Masters, Rose Byrne and Jackie Gorman. The prose writers are: Ann Gerety Smyth, Lorne Patterson, Caroline O’Connor Coyle.

The project will culminate with an exhibition of the work and a reading by the responding writers in the Atrium Gallery, Backstage Theatre, Longford on Wednesday 10th December. The art and literature will also be celebrated in a booklet published by the County Arts Office.

Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Prize

munster literature centre

The Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Prize is now open for submissions! This is a prize for single poem, named in honour of a late Irish poet long associated with the Munster Literature Centre. First prize is 1,000 Euro (on 7 October 2014 approx. USD 1263 or GBP 784), a week-long writer’s retreat at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre and publication in Southword Literary Journal. The MLC will subvent travel costs for the winner up to 600 Euro and provide hotel accommodation and meals for three days during the Cork Spring Poetry Festival. The author who takes first prize will have the chance to read the winning poem at the Cork Spring Poetry Festival in February 2014. There will be a second prize of E500, third prize of E250, and ten runners-up will each have their poems published and receive Southword’’s standard fee of E30. Southword Journal has previously published Billy Collins, Sinéad Morrissey, Martín Espada, Greg Delanty, Tess Gallagher, Matthew Sweeney and Brian Turner amongst many other respected literary figures.

The deadline is 30 November 2014 and this year’s judge is poet Matthew Sweeney.

More information, including submission guidelines, may be found on the Munster Literature Centre website or their Facebook group.

Entrants may contact with any queries they may have.

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Granard Writers Group Lunch DVD of New Work

Beneath the Moat - Granard Writers

Granard Writers’ Group was established in 1987, and is the longest established group in Co. Longford. Its home is Rath Mhuire Resource Centre, Granard, where meetings are held on a monthly basis. The group has developed and evolved over the last 27 years and has always been a place within the community where writers are encouraged and supported in an enjoyable and relaxed setting, as well as participating in workshops, literary events and social outings.

Its latest project is the publication of a DVD of original poetry, prose and memoir written by the members and edited by the internationally recognised Granard poet and dramatist Noel Monahan.

Many members, past and present, have been successfully publishedand we look forward to continued success and enjoyment in the future.


Launch of Ring Around The Moon

ring around the moon

Longford County Arts Office is delighted to invite anyone interested in creative writing to the launch of Ring Around The Moon (A Collection of Writing from Longford 2014) at the Canal Studio Backstage Theatre Longford on National Poetry Day Thursday 2nd October at 8.00pm

The book represents the collected work of poetry and prose writers who participated in a mentoring programme organised by the County Arts Office early in 2014.

The book will be launched by Cathaoirleach of Longford County Council Cllr. Mark Casey MCC and there will be readings by the editors Noel Monahan and Alan McMonagle, and a number of the contributors.

Music on the night will be performed by Maryellen Mulhaire B Mus.

Submissions Wanted for Writers Directory

Longford Arts Office intends to establish a Writers Directory on this site.

The purpose will be to provide a focus of attention on the number of published authors from Longford, the diversity and quality of their work and to provide a professional contact point.

To qualify for inclusion in the Writers Directory it is necessary that a body of your work to have been published in a dedicated publication by a reputable independent publishing house.

If you are a creative writer born in County Longford or if you have strong creative or literary connections with the county and you would like to be included in the Writers Directory send an e-mail to; marked; Writers Directory – we will contact you as soon as possible.

Poetry for the Seasons at the Market Bar

Market Bar Longford

The evening will be a open mic night for poetry and prose.  Come along read even if you have never read before. You can also read on the balcony if you desire.

Time: 8pm – 10pm

Winners of Book Cover Naming and Design Competition Announced

Ring around the Moon

In August Longford County Arts Office announced two interesting creative competitions: to create a title for the up-coming collection of creative writing and the design of a book cover inspired by the title.

The idea was to engage as many Longford artists in a collaborative process as possible. According to County Arts Officer Fergus Kennedy ”the judges of the title competition and of the book cover design competition where bowled over by the number and quality of submissions”

The creative writing is the work of writers who participated in a poetry mentoring programme facilitated by the internationally recognised Granard poet and dramatist Noel Monahan and in a prose mentoring programme facilitated by Longford town’s up-and coming writer Alan McMonagle.

The winning entry for the title of the collection was Ring Around the Moon which was suggested by the poet Breda Sullivan member of Granard Writers Group. The winner of the cover design was Longford photographer Shelley Corcoran.

Prizes for both winners will be presented at the launch of Circle Around the Moon on Thursday 2nd October at 8.00pm in The Canal Studio Backstage admission free.

Anthology Title Prize Winner

The County Arts Office world like to thank the participants in this years Poetry and Prose Mentoring Programme for their enthusiastic and imaginative response to our call for possible titles for our anthology of the work of the participants in this year’s mentoring course.

We had almost one hundred percent response from all of the course participants and the adjudicator had a serious task in selecting just one winner.  In the end one of the suggestions of poet Breda Sullivan, one of Longford and Westmeath’s most accomplished poets, was chosen as the winner.

The title proposal was “Ring Around the Moon” was chosen ‘for its lyrical quality, for the way it reflects the soaring imaginative quality of much of the work contained in the anthology and for the visual possibilities that it presents to the visual artists who will compete for the design cover’

The winner receives a cheque for €50.00 and a naming credit in the anthology.

The anthology: “Ring Around the Moon” will be launched at 8.00pm on National Poetry Day, Thursday 2nd October in the Canal Studio, Backstage Theatre, Longford

Cuisle Young Poet of the Year Competition

Cuisle 2014 Young Poets

Download Entry Form & Rules


Anthology Naming Competition

The culmination of the County Arts Office Writers Mentoring Programme carried out in the Spring of this year under the excellent stewardship of Noel and Alan, will be the launch of a collection of poetry and prose work submitted by many of you.

In a slight departure from normal procedure we have decided to ask the programme participants to decide the title of the collection and to add a little incentive, we will offer €50.00 prize and a naming credit for the winning submission.

Once we have decided upon the title of the collection we will ask artists living in or originally from Longford to design the cover.

The collection will be launched in The Canal Studio, Backstage Theatre, Longford at 7.30pm on National Poetry Day, October 2nd.

Rules of Entry:

1. All submissions must be by e-mail to and must be marked; Collection Title 

2. Each writer should submit no more than three suggested titles.

3. A suggested title cannot be more than six words.

4. All submissions should be received by the Arts Office by e-mail no later that 5.00pm  on Monday 28th July . 

We look forward to your proposals.

22nd National Student Poetry Competition 2014

windows competitionWindows Publications in association with Cavan Crystal present the 22nd National Student Poetry Competition 2014

Adjudicated by Heather Brett & Noel Monahan

€100 1st Prize in each category With several runner-up prizes and over 50 highly commended certificates

Closing date Friday 18th April 2014

Entry to this competition is free and no entry form needed. Entrant details (name, age, school or contact number) must be clearly marked on the BACK of each entry if posting work or at the end of the work if sending by email. Poems should NOT have been published before or won a prize in any other competition, and must be the student’s OWN work.

Entries will also be accepted on line as well as by post and from individual students as well as school entries. For email entries please send to: or by post to Windows/Cavan Crystal Poetry Competition, Cavan Crystal Hotel, Dublin Rd. Cavan, Co. Cavan, Ireland on or before FRIDAY 18th April 2014 (Extended closing date) Please state which category you are entering. Award ceremony held in Cavan Crystal Hotel on Sunday 25th May at 3pm. It is a condition of the award that prize winners must present themselves at the ceremony before a prize can be awarded.

Junior Category- Open to all students throughout Ireland and the U.K. in primary or national school education or equivalent. Senior Category- Open to all students throughout Ireland and the U.K. in second level education or equivalent. Irish Language Category – Open to all students between 10 – 18years old.

Strokestown International Poetry Festival

strokestown logoWe are now accepting entries for the 2014 awards. The closing date is 28th. February 2014.

Category 1 – The Strokestown international Poetry Prize

1st prize – €1,000

2nd prize – €500

3rd prize – €200

3 x shortlisted readers fees of €100 each

Category 2 – The Percy French Prize for Comic Verse

1st prize – €300

2nd prize – €200

5 x runners up prizes of €100 each.

Visit for more information.

Is a place on a Longford Creative Writing Mentoring Programme the new Garth Brooks ticket?

Due to the unanticipated demand for places and the overall excellent quality of work submitted an extra class has had to be scheduled for the Prose Mentoring Programme by Longford County Arts Office.

Poetry Mentoring Programme Starting Tuesday 11th February in Templemichael Community College at 7.30pm

The successful applicants were:

  1. Rose Moran
  2. Caroline O’ Connor Coyle
  3. Breda Sullivan,
  4. Jackie Gorman
  5. Anne Maher
  6. Margaret Hayden
  7. Yvonne Coates
  8. Kevin Bateman
  9. Mary McGushin
  10. Anna Delaney

Prose Mentoring Programme Starting Tuesday 11th February

In Templemichael Community College at 7.30pm

The successful applicants were

  1. Lorne Patterson
  2. Miriam Mulrennan
  3. Rose Byrne
  4. Anne McDonnell
  5. Majella Reid
  6. Eileen Moynihan
  7. Frank Horne
  8. Geraldine Ryan

Due to the unanticipated volume of applicants for places on the Prose Mentoring Programme and the overall quality of the work submitted an additional class has had to be scheduled for:

Wednesday Evenings starting 12th February in Templemichael Community College at 7.30pm

The successful applicants were:

  1. Sally Martin
  2. Dette Lowry
  3. Justine Gannon
  4. Michaela Curwin
  5. Margaret Browning
  6. Ann Gerety Smyth
  7. Donna Maguire


Poetry in the Park

poetry_in_the_parkPoetry in the Park is a community event, open to all ages and nationalities. It is held on the first Sunday of every month at 2pm, in Burgess park, Athlone.

See their Facebook page for more info.

Longford County Council Arts Office Offers Exciting Creative Writing Mentoring Programme

Mentoring is one of the most effective supports artists can receive as they struggle to develop their talents and their crafts. In the tradition of the master craftsman and his apprentice the aspiring artist learns at first hand how to develop and hone his or her talents directly from an established artist.

Longford County Arts Office is currently offering the opportunity for a small number of poets and prose writers to participate in a ten week mentoring programme with writers Noel Monahan and Alan McMonagle. [Read more…]

Longford Playwright on RTE Radio

Alan McMonagle

Oscar Night by Alan McMonagle

It’s Oscar Night in the home of aging sisters Annabelle and Miranda. The Oscar Ceremony has become an annual ritual and the two sisters like to make the most of the occasion. That is, until this year’s broadcast is interrupted by a young man making a fast escape from a police van transferring him to a new prison. The felon is in need of some quick cash, a getaway car and, as he is famished, a bowl of hot soup. His eyes light up when he stumbles into the home of the elderly sisters. This is one prison break that will go without a hitch…or is it…

Transmission date: Sunday, January 19 at 8pm, on RTE Radio One.

Publishing Day Kilkenny

Kilkenny County Council Arts Office & Library Services in partnership with the Irish Writers Centre is hosting a special publishing day focusing on short stories. The day features talks from industry experts and offers the opportunity to pose questions to the speakers. Registration is at 10am, talks start at 10.30am and run until 4.30pm.

Tickets are €30 and can be booked through the Arts Office by email to or by calling 056 7794138.

Leaves Literary Festival 2013

leaves literary festivalLaois County Council Arts Office presents Leaves Literary Festival 2013,  8th/9th  November.

Celebrating its fifth year, the annual Leaves Literary Festival 2013, promises wonderful opportunities to listen to and become involved in the very best of Irish writing.

The programme includes readings, creative writing workshops, talks, children’s events and music.

The Festival commences on Friday 8th November with an evening of readings and music with contributions by Michael Harding, Rita Kelly and Mary O’Donnelland music by Lily Kettle, starting at 8pm in the Arthouse, Stradbally, Co Laois.

On Friday popular children’s author Grace Wells will pay a visit to the county in Laois and give a Library reading.  Admission to this event is Free.

On Saturday 9th November, from 11am -4pm, a writer’s workshops entitled ‘Getting Started in Writing’ will take place in the Dunamaise Arts Centre hosted by Rita Kelly.

Also in the Dunamaise Arts Centre, at 4.00pm on Saturday, Dr Arthur Broomfieldwill introduce his book on the works of Samuel Beckett, entitled, “The Empty Too”.  Admission to this event is Free.

On Saturday evening we are delighted to host an Evening with Poet Paul Durcan to take place in the wonderful surroundings of Preston House, Abbeyleix. Paul will read from his latest book and selected poems.   Music will be performed by Harpist, Claire O Donnell. The award winning Preston House Restaurant is offering an early bird dinner prior to the event –  contact Preston House on 057 8731432.

Bookings for all Literary events can be made at the Dunamaise Arts Centre Tel:  057 8663355. and further information from the Arts Office, Laois County Council T: 057 8664033/13 E:  Website:

Introduction to screen writing with Laurence Henson

Location: Longford County Library 7.30 – 9.30pm

Dates: Thur 14th + 21st + 28th Nov / 5th Dec. Taking bookings now (Course fee €50).

Summary:  Outtake Films are pleased to announce that they have secured the award winning screen-writer & director Laurence Henson to deliver a four part course on screen writing in Longford this November.  The course is open to the general public, local writers, poets and to anyone who has an interest in developing their ideas / stories into a film project.

Laurence Henson, who penned the films ‘Flash the Sheepdog’ (1966), ‘The Big Catch’ (1967) and ‘The Duna Bull’ (1972), has been running screenwriting courses for a number of years, winning praise from his students. ‘Eastenders’ screenwriter Glen McCoy describes it as “Fantastic!” adding that it “really hits the mark,” while Don Mullan, co-producer of the Irish award winning feature ‘Bloody Sunday’ says the course is “extremely helpful, beneficial and enriching.”

The course is open to experienced and new screenwriters and covers all aspects of the craft of screenwriting, paying particular attention subjects such as how to position the audience, the writing process, screenplay structure, narrative drive and importantly how to sell or have your screenplay produced. The course fee is €50 and includes a bound copy of Laurence Henson’s accompanying notes.

Outtake Films is a new voluntary organisation for people who are interested in making films.  The main purpose of the group is to foster and develop film-making in the Longford area by making films collaboratively, sharing skills and acquiring film-making resources.Outtake Film’s are always looking for new members, so if you are interested in getting involved or would like to view their work check out

Booking: Places are limited. Course starts Thursday 14th November.  To book a place on the screen-writing course please contact: 085-1191118 or

Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Competition

The Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Competition is now open for entries!

First prize: €1000, a week’s residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, publication in Southword Journal, and the chance to read your work at the Cork Spring Poetry Festival.

Two more cash prizes will be awarded, plus publications for 10 runners up in Southword Journal.

 Judge: Patrick Cotter

Deadline: 15 December 2013


Poetry Masterclass at Cork Spring Poetry Festival

poetry masterclass with Jo Shapcott will run for four mornings during the Cork Spring Poetry Festival, 12 – 15 February 2014. Pre-requisite of recent publication in a professional literary journal. (€200)

More info here:

The Hell Fire Poetry Slam

You are invited to the reopening of The Hell Fire Club for one night only in Chapter One, Cavan on Saturday November 2nd at 7pm!

Cavan Writers Forum presents The Hell Fire Poetry Slam – an open mic slam “waking the Dead Poets Society” by revisiting the gothic classics such as Danté, Stoker and Shelley, and capturing the Zeitgeist through modern original material.

All are welcome to bring along classic pieces or original poetry and perform! Admission is free! Spread the word and be there- if you dare!

Hell Fire Poetry Slam

Cork Spring Poetry Festival

Poetry writing workshops during the Cork Spring Poetry Festival (February 2013) are now accepting bookings. Writers at any level of experience will enjoy Haiku with Anatoly Kudryavitsky or a Valentine’s Day special–‘The Male Muse’ with Eduardo C. Corral. [Read more…]

The Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Competition

The Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Competition is now open for submissions. Prize for single poem will have a first prize of 1,000 Euro and publication in Southword Literary Journal. [Read more…]


The 2013 publication of ROPES is a literary journal published every year by the students of the MA in Literature and Publishing. We are open to submissions from writers at any level to do with our theme; ‘Coming of Age’. [Read more…]

Poet Says it Like She Feels

Often the precise eye of a fellow craftsman is required to fully appreciate the intricate detail and skill that goes in to creating something of beauty within that selected field.  For that reason, the high praise heaped on local poet Mary Melvin Geoghegan’s new collection of poetry by her fellow poets and authors lend serious credence to the quality of the work.

The poet and writer Nuala Ni Chonchuir refers to Mary’s “obvious delight in words” while praising her new collection, Say it Like a Paragraph, as “engaging economy and playfulness with language and original thought” to deliver up its riches.  Ni Chonchuir is just one of many esteemed poets who have lavished praise on this collection.

Say it Like a Paragraph is Mary’s fourth collection of poetry and is one that is inspired by journeys both personal and physical, the poet has taken since the death of her father in 2008.

“My last collection was very much borne out of coming to terms with my father’s death.  This collection is basically what has happened in my life since and all of the different journeys that I have taken.  Its life jumping out at you:  the coincidences of existence strike me as I feel obliged to put them together2.

While speaking with Mary who is also associate editor of Eurochild anthology of children’s art work it’s easy to understand her ability to find poetry in the rhythms of every day life. Her enthusiasm for life is infectious.

Her poetry finds the immense in the mundane, delivered succinctly with an underlying tenderness that never threatens to spill over into cliché.  The process of writing poems is sudden, she tells me.

“If something arrests me I get a prompt and in many cases I don’t know what the poem wants to say.”  As a result her poems in this collection are short, they come to the point quickly and focus on imagery rather than metaphor.

“At times I’m completely astonished by an experience unravelling a synchronicity that leaves me breathless, grateful, sad, amused and wanting to capture that life in its twists and turns inside a poem.

The launch of the collection takes place in the Backstage Theatre on 17th October.

National Poetry Day

Thursday October 4th has been designated National Poetry Day by Poetry Ireland.

It is the one day of the year when poetry and literature lovers throughout the country celebrate that art form for which we as a nation, are rightly famous, all over the world – poetry. [Read more…]