The poet holds a magnifying glass and a pen – reflecting the world around him.
There is scarcely a townland in all of Ulster which has not been touched by poet’s pen or singer’s tongue. This vibrant culture has been passed down over countless generations, forging a relationship between people and place.
Armagh is home to world famous writers including Paul Muldoon and John O’Connor as well as many those who spent time in the city such as John Montague, who attended school in Armagh, and W.R. Rodgers who was a Presbyterian minister in Loughgall.
Seamus Heaney was inspired by the myths, legends & history of Armagh as well as by the Armagh Rhymers and Mummers traditions as featured in his book “Room to Rhyme”.
Dean Johnathon Swift was a frequent visitor to Armagh City as well, worshipping at St Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral. Today, the atmospheric Armagh Robinson Library, hosts some wonderful treasures from his time in the city.
One of our most celebrated writers, John Hewitt, is still a vital part of Armagh’s literary culture with the John Hewitt Society continuing to promote literature, arts and culture inspired by the ideals and ideas of the poet and the celebrated John Hewitt International Summer School of Literature & Arts, which is held annually in July in The Market Place Theatre & Arts Centre.
Today, Armagh is still home to a vibrant culture of writing with many published authors in the region including Byddi Lee, Réamonn Ó Ciaráin, Daragh Carville, and Chairman of the Armagh Rhymers, John McAllister.
Many of Armagh’s festivals incorporate literary events, and some are entirely based around writing. There are regular events for writers, like Flash Fiction Armagh, which has been instrumental in building a vibrant writing community amongst writers from Armagh, connecting them with writers from the wider local area and as far afield as France and the USA.
Promoting Armagh as a place where writing happens, Flash Fiction Armagh provides a platform for writers to experience immediate audience reaction to their work – a valuable resource for those who sit all day in a room by themselves writing.
It has helped writers form connections with their readers, with each other, and with other writing professionals such as editors and publishers. Buoyed by the confidence gained during their experience with Flash Fiction Armagh, many of the participants have gone on to find success in publishing and spoken word art on a broader scale such as Sue Divin and Cathy Carson.
CLICK HERE to book an Armagh Rhymers performance for your event.