Eigse Michael Hartnett 2020 is coming of age with a new-look, pandemic-busting format

Eigse Michael Hartnett 2020
Eigse Michael Hartnett 2020 – Novelist Donal Ryan pictured in Newcastle West, County Limerick. Picture: Dermot Lynch

Eigse Michael Hartnett 2020 is coming of age with a new-look, pandemic-busting format

Eigse Michael Hartnett 2020

Colum McCann. Picture: Elizabeth Eagle

The Éigse Michael Hartnett Literary & Arts Festival 2020 will take place in Newcastle West from Thursday 1 – Saturday 3 October 2020.

The annual Literary and Arts Festival to honour poet Michael Hartnett takes place in Newcastle West, Co. Limerick.

Eigse Michael Hartnett 2020 stellar line-up of readings and performances is going digital this year as a bumper 3-day festival. It will be available online and streamed all kicking off on Thursday 01 October 2020. And it is all free.

Internationally renowned writers Colum McCann and Donal Ryan, an exciting new fusion of Irish and gypsy music called Celtic Hotclub, performance poetry, readings, storytelling, and a poetry trail are all part of the mix in this year’s online festival, which also includes the presentation of the Michael Hartnett Poetry Award.

Norma Prendiville from the organising committee said: “We have a fantastic line-up for this year’s Éigse and it is a great pity we won’t get to meet them all in person and welcome them to Hartnett country and to Newcastle West.”

“But we are delighted to be able to go ahead with the festival and have high hopes we will reach a wider national and international audience with our online festival. We will also have an outdoor element to the festival in the town itself on Saturday afternoon and there will be a poetry trail for visitors and locals.”

Colum McCann and Donal Ryan are the headline acts for Eigse Michael Hartnett 2020 reading from their new books, Apeirogon and Strange Flowers respectively and will be joined by well-known names such as novelist and broadcaster Rachael English and journalist and commentator Billy Keane.

Established and well-loved poets Thomas McCarthy, Geraldine Mitchell, Sinéad Morrissey and John W Sexton will give online readings over the weekend and are joined on the programme by a new generation of poets Annemarie Ní Churreáin, Stephen Murphy and Dean Browne.

Limerick writer Helena Close will read from her young adult novel, The Gone Book, while West Limerick violinist Anne Phelan and Eamonn Moran, on guitar, will add to the atmosphere through their performances.

Celtic Hotclub, a novel fusion of Irish and gypsy music, will also feature, as will local singer/ songwriter Trevor Sexton and performance artist Míchéal Rowsome.


Established following the death of poet Michael Hartnett in 1999, the literary festival has been held in his native Newcastle West every year since and is run in conjunction with the Michael Hartnett Poetry Award and with the support of Limerick City and County Council’s Culture and Arts Office and the Arts Council.

Éigse Michael Hartnett will go live at 7pm on Thursday 01 October and different performances will be released throughout Friday and Saturday, October 2 and 3.

In view of the ongoing uncertainties due to COVID-19 it was decided to curtail the programme for this year’s Éigse but nevertheless, The Michael Hartnett Poetry Prize competition will take place. The winning poet will be presented with the award early in October in line with COVID-19 national guidelines. The exact date and nature of the prize-giving will be announced later.

Full details on how to join in on this year’s festival available HERE 

For more stories on Eigse Michael Hartnett, click HERE

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