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Michael Hartnett Poetry Award prize has been doubled to €8,000. Pictured above is the Michael Hartnett statue in Newcastle West. Picture: Cian Reinhardt Michael Hartnett Poetry Award prize has been doubled to €8,000. Pictured above is the Michael Hartnett statue in Newcastle West. Picture: Cian Reinhardt

Culture

2023 Éigse Michael Hartnett Literary & Arts Festival returns this October 5

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2023 Éigse Michael Hartnett Literary & Arts Festival pays tribute to the late poet in his hometown.

The 2023 Éigse Michael Hartnett Literary & Arts Festival returns to Newcastle West from Thursday, October 5 to Sunday, October 8

Eigse Michael Hartnett Festival 2021
Pictured above is Limerick poet, Michael Hartnett.

Newcastle West will be abuzz with creativity from Thursday, October 5 to Sunday 8 as the Éigse Michael Hartnett Literary & Arts Festival pays tribute to the late poet in his hometown.

The four-day festival promises a diverse display of talents in the county town including poets, writers, musicians, singers, and artists with a packed programme of events.

Michael Hartnett was born in September 1941 in Croom Hospital, Limerick. He was a poet and a scholar having attended University College Dublin. Michael Hartnett wrote in both the English and Irish Language and won multiple awards for his literary skills including the Irish American Literacy Award. Hartnett spent time as a Creative Writing lecturer in Thomond College and continued to win more literary awards throughout his profound career. Michael Hartnett sadly passed away in October 1999 at the age of fifty-eight.


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Setting the rhythm of the festival on Thursday, October 5, a Lantern Parade will light up The Square at 7pm, led by the rhythmic beats of The Hit Machine Drummers and finishing with a grand opening ceremony at Newcastle West Library at 8pm, which will be attended by Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Cllr Gerard Mitchell, who will also present the Michael Hartnett Poetry Award.

Friday kicks off with “A Cuppa and a Poem” at  Marguerite’s, The Square, getting the creativity flowing at 10.30am, this free event offers a chance to meet and enjoy the work of this year’s winner of the Michael Hartnett Poetry Award along with the work of Limerick poet Tim Cunningham. 

Friday also sees events at the Desmond Complex, including a presentation by local genealogist Ger Greaney titled “Who do you think you are?”. ‘Tales from a Colourful Life’ at 1pm in Desmond Ability Complex, ‘Odd-Being in the Age of Humans’ at 3pm in the Red Door Gallery, The Square, and many more events.
Saturday 7th will celebrate the Newcastle Poet with the Michael Hartnett Memorial Lecture at 11am in Desmond Ability Complex (Tickets: €10). Dr. Mary McAuliffe, Director of Gender Studies at UCD, will delve into the role of women in the Revolutionary Decade 1913-1923. 

The Saturday also includes the free The Hartnett tour which leaves the Michael Hartnett statue in the Town Square leaving at 3:30pm. The Saturday sees many more events take place across the town.

The festival winds down on Sunday with a reading by Irish Times journalist Harry McGee from his book “The Murderer and the Taoiseach” at 1pm in Desmond Complex followed by The Desmond Scribblers, a local writers’ group, who will share their prose and poetry at 2pm.

Callback Theatre will captivate young audiences with “Dorothy Dolittle’s Magical Adventure” at Courtenay National School at 3pm (Tickets: €5 per child).

A mini-market with a variety of stalls featuring food, crafts, home-made produce and other items will bring a buzz to Sunday afternoon from 1-3 pm. 

Find a full list of events here.
Read more Newcastle West stories here.

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the ilovelimerick.com concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.