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Celebrating Local in Lismore

On Sunday 13th August, Lismore in West Waterford came to life, when the Celebrate Local Festival took place. Main Street was closed for the afternoon and was packed with revellers, all eager to soak up the brilliant sunshine and great atmosphere. I had never seen the town so alive with activity, with live music from brilliant bands The Boofs, The Barry Family, The Queens of Ceol, and Mystery Machine, all compered by DJ Mad Mike.

The West Waterford Poets following their performances.

L-R Sarah Roberts, Helen Flynn, Pippa Sweeney, Kevin MacAlan, Cristín Mann, Vicky Day, Naoive Coggin, Annie Bell

I was at the festival with a number of my friends from the West Waterford Poets - the poetry arm of West Waterford Arts Group. We were scheduled to carry out a poetry busking session for the assembled crowd, delivering our own original poetry.

Helen Flynn performs, as the other West Waterford Poets look on

The event was very capably compered by Kevin MacAlan and Cristín Mann, and featured poetry on a very broad range of themes from Helen Flynn, Naoive Coggin, Pippa Sweeney Sarah Roberts, and from me (Annie Bell), as well as Kevin and Cristín themselves.

Me - Annie Bell - performing at the festival

Kevin opened the poetry with his beautiful poem: Waterford Fields. Second was my contribution. I read 'Ever Wilfred x' - my homage to Wilfred Owen, which describes my pilgrimage to Ors in France - the location of his death - on the centenary of his demise on November 4th 2018. Next, Naoive shared 'Ode to Llamas' and 'The Circle of Life'. Cristín was the next poet to read and she performed 'Morning Dip at Owennashad' and 'Learning to Hide'. Sarah shared 'Cheese Before Bed', and Pippa read 'Mrs Posh's Skip', 'Left and Right, Left and Wrong, A Pirate's Conundrum', and 'Christmas Embers'. Finally, Helen finished the performance with 'Memory Mal' and 'Travelling Trout'.

For some of the group, it was their very first time reading their poetry out loud for an audience and everyone gave great performances. It was a wonderful experience and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

Thanks to Vicky Day and Cristín Mann for their hard work in organising the poetry busking, and to Lismore Town Association for giving us the opportunity to perform as part of the Celebrate Local Festival. Thanks again to Vicky for the wonderful photos she took on the day, which she has allowed me to share on this blog post.

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