Tuesday, 17 July 2012

STONECOAST IN DINGLE - PICS ETC.

Juno at the shrine on Green Street
Dingle was great - the gorgeous mountain scenery, the sea, the aquarium with its cheeky penguins and grumpy sharks.
Penguins' feeding time - Oceanworld, Dingle
It was over a decade since I'd been there and it's come on a lot in terms of great food and quality craft shops. And the pubs! Oh, the pubs: Hannie Agnes's, O'Sullivan's and Dick Mack's, they are just a treat; the right side of properly Irish. You could sit in them all day soaking up the brilliant trad music, or just listening to the comings and goings of tourists and Irish-speaking locals.


And the Stonecoast MFA group and their tutors were affable, welcoming and hard-working and I had a great time in their company. I gave a craft lecture on short fiction on Sunday afternoon and read on Sunday evening in the Dingle Book Shop, with Ted Deppe, a consummate poet. (Why is he not ultra-famous? He is much garlanded, including a Pushcart Prize, but I would love to hear his name spoken in the media more, as a great poet.)

Signing, with Stonecoast students Jessica and Seán
Ted read witty and moving poems about everything from the work of the novelist, to WG Sebald and sparrows, to his time as a resident of Cape Clear Island. He spoke of 'island madness' and read/sang a great poem about an island couple who, to their daughter's bewilderment, communicated with each other through song. When the daughter queries this foible the mother sings: 'It's the harmless madness of the long married.'

Lucky for me I get to be with Ted and Annie Deppe again in two weeks time at the Strandhill Summerfest where I can soak up their vast knowledge. I urge you that if you get a chance to do a class/workshop with the Deppes, jump at that chance.


Ted Deppe
The previous evening Paula Meehan gave a reading. I have somehow managed to get this far in life without hearing Paula read live. If you have managed a similarly ridiculous feat, go hear her read! Mostly she recites her work and she is as warm as she is feisty.

Annie Deppe (poet and Stonecoast tutor) introduced Paula as 'an idealistic gadfly'. Quoting Pat Boran, she said Paula is 'brave in her exploration of family lives and loves', and, 'The wounded streets of Dublin are one of Paula's perennial subjects and she brings a caring precision and an honesty with a zen quality about it...to the human condition in her work.'

Paula through the window
Paula read some poems I had read before, like the wonderful 'Lullaby', written for her expectant sixteen year old sister; the lullaby is both for the young mother and her unborn baby. She read from new work too - always a treat. She also read her elegy for the young artist Joanne Breen, which recently won the best poem category - for the past 10 years of work - in World Literature Today. It's a very moving piece and the applause was immense when she had finished. My daughter Juno, who is three, gave a thumbs up and said, 'Good job!' I couldn't have put it better myself. You can read the poem here.

Paula lilts her poems in a convincing, honest way - I could listen to her for hours. Ted Deppe heckled her with: 'When is the collected poems coming out?' Paula: 'Ah now, that sounds a bit posthumous to my ears.'

House and montbretia, Dún Chaoin
When we weren't immersed in literature, we wandered Dingle, stopping off for gorgeous veggie food in places like Cúl Gháirdín. I kept bumping into people I know, including writers Éilís Ní Dhuibhne and Alan Titley, who was my lecturer on my MA course many moons ago.

Juno at the Blasket Island Centre
We also took a spin out to Slea Head to visit The Blasket Island Centre, a vast museum/homage to to people (many writers among them, including dear Peig Sayers) who lived on the Blasket Island. It was fascinating and I wondered how I (with my giddy personality) would have survived such a life.

A swift detour to Louis Mulcahy's Pottery & Café found us eating the best flapjacks in Ireland. I would drive the 180 or so miles from my house to Caifé na Caolóige to eat them again.

Fuchsia on Slea Head - such a symbol of our Irish 'summer' (note the raindrops)
The trip was a great success, apart from the fact that one poor Stonecast tutor broke his foot and ended up in hospital and in a cast. And I lost a favourite ring* - one of the few designer pieces of jewelry I own(ed). Juno was playing with it and then...gone. I hope whoever finds it enjoys it as much as I always did.

My husband Finbar in Dick Mack's with a sleepy Juno

* The sweet Bean an Tí from our B&B just rang. She found my ring!! And she is posting it back to me. Bless her dear Dingle heart. Woop!

15 comments:

Annie said...

Hi, Nuala, I'm having trouble leaving a comment here. This is my fourth try. Thank you so much for making the journey to Dingle. You were fabulous and everyone loved you. I want to hasten to point out, however, that some of the quotes you attributed to me were actually from Pat Boran (I was quoting him). Looking forward to seeing you in a couple of weeks.

Emily said...

Super that you found your ring... my wedding ring gets "lost" regularly in a similar fashion, and I keep finding it, must be a sign, ha ha. We are heading to Dingle in 3 weeks, simply cannot wait, you have whetted my appetite no end :)

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

Noted, Annie. I don't know which ones but I will amend the post.

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

Cheers Emily. Oh, you will have a lovely time. It's a great place for kids - they are welcome in all the restaurants. We saw LOTS of kids.

Tania Hershman said...

It looks absolutely gorgeous, what a great time! And so glad you found your ring. Am going now to look up all the writers you mentioned, you do keep me busy!

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

Do, Tania! (Says she who has an Everest of books to read...) N x

Annie said...

Oh, dear, dear Nuala. Such a lovely posting, but the quote attributions are still a bit mixed up between Pat Boran and myself. I guess we'll just have to go on record as both admiring Paula fine.

Annie said...

Oh, and I'm so glad she found your ring!

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

Hi Annie
Thanks - I was furiously scribbling notes so things clearly got lost in the crossover.

Everyone else - some said by Pat B, Some said by Annie D, all admirers of Paula M and her work.

Kar said...

Oh to have been sipping yummy pints in Dick Mack's with you :)

And hearing the Paula M read, I must hunt her down and find out were she's reading next.

Your weekend sounds fabtastic! Finished off with your ring returning home to it's rightful owner..

You squeeze so much into a weekend! Cool post, topped off with Brilliant photo's - you make me want to head there the next chance I get!

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

Job done then, Karen. I want to go back!!!!!

The ring arrived this morning. Yay!

Karin said...

I was one of those Stonecoast students in Dingle, and want to tell you how much we benefitted from your teachings and reading, as well as those of Theo and Paula. I felt honored to be in the presence of such luminaries, greatly appreciated your perspectives on writing, and felt strongly the so-rich literary tradition of Ireland passed down through all of you. Thanks for all the words!! I have taken inspiration home with me.

Karin said...

I was one of those Stonecoast students in Dingle, and want to tell you how much we benefitted from your teachings and reading, as well as those of Theo and Paula. I felt honored to be in the presence of such luminaries, greatly appreciated your perspectives on writing, and felt strongly the so-rich literary tradition of Ireland passed down through all of you. Thanks for all the words!! I have taken inspiration home with me.

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

Karin - that's lovely to hear. I would have liked more time with you all. I hope you had a great time on Blasket. N x

Edwin said...

Hi Nuala, That's my lovely wife in the picture feeding the penguins! And I think she rules! So your blog is the perfect place for her picture.

Have a nice day!
Edwin