The 20th Strokestown Poetry Festival officially opened with a bang last Friday at The Percy French Hotel as Tony ‘Longfella’ Walsh performed a powerful reading of his poems to a captivated audience.
The council’s Arts Office once again sponsored the Children’s Poetry competition which took place earlier in the day while the Festival Anthology was also launched last Friday afternoon by local author and poet, Gerry Boland.
Friday evening started with the official launch of the festival by Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council Cllr. Orla Leyden, who impressed the gathered lovers of poetry with a reading of Jane Clarke’s poem ‘The Suck’.
“I love poetry, it has always helped me to make sense of my world, to filter ideas, resolve problems, express emotion, somehow understand myself a little better,” said Cllr. Leyden as she opened proceedings.
Finally, it was over to Mancunian Tony Walsh, who came to international prominence following a public reading of his poem ‘This is the Place’ in Albert Square following the Manchester bombing in May of last year. ‘The Longfella’ as he’s affectionately known, certainly didn’t disappoint with a mixture of deep, dark and meaningful pieces peppered with humorous moments throughout.
The 20th edition of the festival had started in style and the high benchmark set by Orla Leyden and Tony Walsh on Friday night was maintained right throughout another terrific weekend of poetry in Strokestown.