Joint Winners of
Michael Hartnett Poetry Award announced
Special to The Irish American Post
Two of Ireland's new generation of Irish language poets have been announced
as joint winners of the annual Michael Hartnett Poetry Award 2015.
Mac Conghail for his first collection Ceol Baile and Caitríona ní
Chléirchín for her second collection An Bhrídeach
Sí, both published by Coiscéim were presented with their
award on the opening night of Éigse Michael Hartnett in Newcastle
West, County Limerick on April 16.
This annual award is jointly funded by Limerick City & County Council
Arts Office and The Arts Council to mark Newcastle West native Michael
Hartnett’s contribution to literature in English and Irish. The €4,000
annual prize is presented to the winning poet on the basis of a first or
second book of poetry, published during the previous three years.
Previous winners of the prestigious award include Julie O'Callaghan,
Vona Groarke, Kerry Hardie, Sinead Morrissey, Paddy Bushe, Maurice Riordan,
Aine Ni Fhoghlu, James Harpur, Peter Sirr, Stiofán O'Cadhla, Mark
Roper and Jo Slade.
Monaghan native Caitríona Ní Chléirchín, whose
winning collection is dedicated to her late mother, said her award success
will inspire her to continue writing poetry in Irish and that she was "deeply
"I have devoted my life to Irish-language poetry as a poet, lecturer
and critic and I have a great love of and affinity with Michael Hartnett’s
poetry, especially the collection Necklace of Wrens, and the poem ‘An muince
dreolíní’. I was honored to have one of my poems featured
in the collection I live in Michael Hartnett which was launched
at Eigse Michael Hartnett 2013. Winning this award means an immense amount
to me," said Ní Chléirchín
Marcus Mac Conghail, who was the instigator and editor of the poetry
collection Línte Leictreacha produced for Electric Picnic in 2014,
described his success as "an unexpected honor."
"I never met Michael Hartnett but growing up I remember the talk about
his A Farewell to English. That artistic act left a great impression
on me so to be a co-recipient of an award set up in his memory is hard
to believe," added the Dublin-born poet, songwriter and singer.
The 2015 joint winners have been described by the judges as "two emerging
poets with distinctive voices" whose poetry is "powerful, courageous, sassy
"An Bhrídeach Sí, Caitríona’s second collection,
showcases a poet with a mature confident voice. Her mastery of Irish and
sense of being at home in both tradition and modernity is evident throughout
the book, in poems set in the seventeenth century, poems framed by Gaelic
mythology and in intensely personal lyrics. The poems are full of passion
and also quiet reflection on life and love and death."
"Léiríonn An Bhrídeach Sí, an dara cnuasach
de chuid Chaitríona Ní Chléirchín go bhfuil
an file seo tagtha in inmhe. Tá Ní Chléirchín
os cionn a buille sa teanga sna dánta soléite dodhearmadta
seo a bhfuil an traidisiún agus an nuálaíocht ag obair
as lámh a chéile iontu, bíodh sí ag plé
le scéal ón seachtú haois déag, miotaseolaíocht
na Gaeilge nó a saol féin. Tá paisean agus mothúcháin
mhóra anseo anuas ar mhachnamh séimh ar an mbás agus
ar an ngrá."
Commenting on Mac Conghail's work in their citation, the judges stated:
"Marcus Mac Conghail's poetry is rooted in contemporary life and influenced
by his own experience as a musician. His collection Ceol Baile,
his first, includes energetic Beat riffs, quiet gently lyrics and good-humoured
poetic snapshots. The poems are articulated in an Irish which merges a
rich Gaeltacht idiom with a confident metropolitan twist.
"Tá filíocht Mharcuis Mhic Chonghail fréamhaithe
sa cheol agus sa saol nua-aimseartha. Tá dánta fuinniúla
Beat, liricí áille ciúine agus véarsaí
dána dea-ghiúmaracha ina chnuasach Ceol Baile. Tá
dúchas na Gaeltachta agus scóp na nua-Ghaeilge cathrach ag
saibhriú a chéile ina chuid dánta," the judges
The Mayor of Limerick City and County Council Cllr Kevin Sheahan presented
the joint winners. Both poets performed from their winning work, followed
by a keynote address from award-winning author Joseph O'Connor who will
speak on "Memories of an Evening with Michael Hartnett."
The three-day festival continued with internationally-acclaimed musician
Martin Hayes in concert with David Power and a line-up which included poets
Peter Fallon and Doireann Ni Ghriofa, Fishamble's Underneath by
Pat Kinevane and award-winning novelist and short story writer Kevin Barry.
For more information:
Michael Hartnett Poetry Award 2015 Winner Biographies:
Caitríona Ní Chléirchín is an Irish-language
poet and critic originally from Gortmoney, Emyvale in Co. Monaghan. Her
début collection Crithloinnir won the Oireachtas Prize for
New Writers in 2010 and her second collection An Bhrídeach Sí
published in 2014 has won the Michael Hartnett Prize 2015.
She has published poetry in Comhar, Irish Pages, Cyphers, The Stinging
Fly, Feasta,Blaiseadh Pinn, An t-Ultach and An Guth. She also
writes reviews, academic and journalistic articles in The Irish Times,
Comhar, Taighde agus Teagasc and others. She is also an Irish-language
and literature lecturer at St. Patrick’s College Drumcondra and Queens
Her doctorate was a pyschoanalytical body-centred reading of the Irish-language
contemorary poetry of Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill and Biddy Jenkinson. She
was a lecturer in Irish-language poetry and language in UCD between 2005-2013
and also holds a masters in French Literature for the Université
Marcus Mac Conghail was the instigator and editor of the poetry
Línte Leictreacha produced for last year’s Electric
Picnic. Released late last year, he had a poem and a song on the album
do Phádraig which was produced to support Pádraig Schaler.
In addition, he has a couple of new tracks on the forthcoming CD IMLÉ
which will be launched at Féile na Bealtaine in Dingle this year
where he will also perform. Most recently Marcus performed as part of the
inaugural night of REIC, a bilingual spoken word/song/rap event.