Spent this last week in Kinsale where the Arts Festival was in full swing. Providentially amazing sunny weather which certainly did NOT detract from the various enjoyments. Got to hear Denis O’Driscoll read in the Lord Kingsale pub and was, as always, taken by his quirky humour in ‘Misunderstandind and Musak’ and many other poems. Lots of local talent followed, including Matthew Sweeney, but unfortunately I had to leave. Family!
Later on attended a ticketed event at the Carmelite Friary where Derek Mahon introduced Harry Clifton. Apart from his great stuff I was glad to hear Harry say that his recent appointment as ‘Irish Professor of Poetry’ (apparently making him the equivalent of Irish ‘poet laureate’) seemed to him like a huge wheel which, when he stepped onto it, seemed to want to wheel him off in its own directions. BUT that he resisted! He read some early poems and from ‘Secular Eden’, his paris-based book and his delivery showed he still has not yet developed the ‘poetry voice’ but reads clearly and directly to his audience. His explanatory remarks and introductions also were well judged and not, as is so often the case, tedious. It was a very well received reading . Very professional while not being too distant.
Also got to see a ‘music prodigy’, or at least I don’t know just how one would otherwise describe Ben Burton who, at 18 years of age gave a concert at the Carmelite Church on Friday 15th which was wonderful. Bach, Rimsky-Korsakov and many others (I am too ignorant to have heard of) on the xylophone and marimba. The MC told us that Ben, who studied at the County Cork VEC School of Music, will leave Kinsale in September to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London. No surprise there! What a great musician he is. Full credit too to his friends Alex Peyton and Mark O’Sullivan who accompanied him.
Kinsale is a very attractive town. Colour everywhere and real friendliness. Traffic is a bit horrific, and parking… well, let’s not go there. But you can’t blame the town: those winding ‘olde worlde’ streets were not meant for cars. It is very pleasant to walk around and look into the shops, which are many and varied. Great artwork on display too everywhere. Great beaches too and lots of activities for everyone. And, no, I’m not getting a brown envelope for saying all this. It’s just the honest truth! I really enjoyed myself. And I’ll be back!