Posted by: mdmusingsie | April 28, 2013

Cúirt 2013

Tiny lambs dotted the landscape as the bus sped towards Galway. I was anxious to reunite with friends and take long walks along the Corrib and Galway Bay.

I find it interesting that nearly everyone I tell that I used to live in Galway ask, ‘Do you miss it?”

Too quickly, perhaps, I answer, “Yes!”

The conversation then turns to our mutual fondness for this City of the West.

It’s Cúirt time. The annual literary festival in Galway.  An event full of diverse events featuring everything from the up and coming to the mega-talent. There are readings, discussions, workshops, plays, and new this year, a literary walk. English isn’t the only language on display, with plenty of Irish language events as well.

Cuirt Stage

Any outdoor event this time of year is chancy, as the weather can change every five minutes.  On the literary walk, it did.  A small crowd gathered near the Augustinian church for the reading featuring a short story by Celeste Augé.  As we ambled over to McCambridges, Jim Mularkey read a portion of his story. Just as he was mentioning the unpredictable weather in the piece, the skies opened in earnest.  By the time we took our seats in St Nicholas’ Church, the crowd had at least tripled in size. Shaun Leonard read from a story by Julian Gough who couldn’t be there, while we all dried off a little. Next stop was Neachtains where the skies once again tried to dampen our spirits, but Olaf Tyaransen, standing in the doorway, entertained us with part of his story of a rock star visiting Galway for some peace and quiet (or not).  Our last stop was Monroe’s where John Walsh was the final reader and Kiernan Andrews of the Galway Advertiser launched the book containing the full length versions (and more) called Galway Stories from Doire Press.

Have you ever read a book that mentioned a real place, and then visited that location, remembering having read about it? This is that kind of book. Each stop on the walk represented a location in the author’s story.  Additional pieces in the book cover more places including areas surrounding the city centre. If you’ve ever been to Galway you’ll recognize many of the places mentioned, and if you’re planning on visiting Galway, it’s a great way to discover a bit of the local color.  Even if the characters are fiction, the places are real.

Other highlights included a lively discussion with Edna O’Brien with broadcaster Vincent Woods. One of the grande dame’s of Irish literature, she literally had the audience sitting on the edge of their seats throughout the event.  While the focus was on her memoir Country Girl she discussed a variety of topics, reminding writers that they must also be readers, and imploring us all to ‘keep literature alive.’  Looking decades younger than her true age, she was also gracious enough to appear after the talk to sign books.

Edna O'Brien signing at the Town Hall Theatre

Edna O’Brien signing at the Town Hall Theatre

On the poetry side, Sharon Olds and Paula Meehan were my highlights. Paula Meehan’s wit was apparent in her amusing introduction to many of her pieces, enriching them in the process.  Sharon Olds is truly a master of her art.  She has no need to scream her point from a rooftop; instead, she weaves it so expertly through her words that you sit in jaw dropping awe of such talent.

Cúirt is one of the premier Galway festivals and is not only remarkable for the caliber of talent it brings, but the accessibility to that talent in the form of extremely reasonable and sometimes even free event prices.  It’s so exciting even the daffodils couldn’t stop talking about it.


Did you hear Edna O’Brien and Seamus Heaney were at Cúirt?
Yeah, tickets for Seamus Heaney sold out faster than one of the squalls that frequently blow through Galway.

May it continue to ‘keep literature alive’ for many years to come.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: