WORDS and Silence ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 237

Sunset on the Copper Coast, Co. Waterford
Sunset on the Copper Coast, Co. Waterford

The September  and third  ‘gathering’ of the WORDS Writers’ Group at the The Art Hand took place last night. The sun was setting as I drove along the Copper Coast towards that intimate space in The Art Hand which is becoming more and more familiar.

Nothing, absolutely nothing, could have prepared me for the minute’s silence which was held to mark the death of  Seamus Heaney.  Lights switched off and all our gazes gathered on a simple candle in the middle of the table. To experience such shared love and respect brought a well of tears to my eyes but a stronger feeling than ever that Seamus Heaney’s life and work will always be held precious.

Sunset 2

It felt last night that the ‘performing’ aspect of WORDS has changed from being a nerve-wrecking experience to a well-thought out and unselfconscious presentation of  words and genres that matter hugely to each individual.

That twenty-two people could bring such a diverse range of material, contexts and emotions was breath-taking.  Memoir of ballet classes in the 1980s, neighbours in the 1950s, poetry of love and rejection, a beautiful reading of Seamus Heaney’s ‘Harvest Bow,’ a folk tale from Co. Kilkenny, reflections on tall ships and emigration, a mouth-watering piece on our relationship to chocolate, spoken song lyrics that brought Johnny Cash and Leonard Cohen to mind, a lighthearted monologue on ‘talking.’

I would just love to know what’s going through the minds, hearts and imaginations of my twenty-one ‘co-brethern of the quill’ this morning!

Words, Writings and Welcomes ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 186

The Art Hand, Bonmahon, Co. Waterford
Photo: Sean Corcoran

I’ve been hearing about the wonders of writers’ groups for years  but somehow never got round to taking the plunge in a face-to-face setting.  Online groups kinda hooked me!

Everything changed last Wednesday night when I went to the inaugural meeting of  WORDS Writers Group performing @theArtHand.

The venue, The Art Hand, an art school run by Sean and Miranda Corcoran right on the stunning Copper Coast here in Co. Waterford was enough to hook me as I jump at every excuse to drive along this indescribably beautiful part of Ireland’s coastline.

The whole idea behind WORDS Writers’ Group, which was the brainchild of  Tom Power, Roisin Hackett and Sean Corcoran, is that words are what bring writers of all genres together and that sharing words (either our own work or that of others)  through performance, is a hugely inspirational and profound interpersonal experience.

WORDS founders x
Tom Power, Roisin Hackett and Sean Corcoran
Photo: Sean Corcoran

Thirty people had reserved places for the event and they were all strangers to me. It was a brilliant mix of men, women and children; people from the local area and those from much further afield who were drawn to the event ~ all with a love of words!

The sharing of  poems, stories, anecdotes, even a reading from a book by Robert Louis Stevenson about his time writing Treasure Island,  generated a surge of energy and camaraderie in the cosy room and transported me to all sorts of places of the mind, heart and world of imagination.

One of the ‘performers’ that really impressed me was  Sean Ruane, a poet, who just happened to be in the area and whose work can be heard on this link:


I’ve absolutely no idea what other writers’ groups are like and would love if you would tell me. But, for now, I’m already looking forward to the first Wednesday of August and the next gathering of  WORDS Writers Group and working on a few ideas for what I’ll write to share.