Granard poet Noel Monahan to read his poetry at unique choral event

Beautiful night of choral music and poetry at St Mel's Cathedral on Sunday, September 16

Jessica Thompson


Jessica Thompson


Noel Monahan to read his poetry at unique choral event

Granard poet, Noel Monahan

Granard poet Noel Monahan will be reading some of his works at a very special evening in St Mel's Cathedral this coming Sunday, September 16.

The event, entitled 'A Time For Everything', will be a celebration of all things Longford, with very special performances by Lassus, Ireland's newest fully-professional chamber choir.

The choir will be directed by Dr Ite O'Donovan and will feature beautiful music from way back in the Renaissance period, as well as some spectacular modern numbers.

What will really strike a chord with the locals, though, is the poetry that will be featured at this unique event.

“It’s a privilege for me to be working with Dr Ite O’Donovan and working with the Lassus choir because the polyphonic sound of the choir is really something phenomenal,” Noel told the Longford Leader last week.

“The title of the event is ‘A Time for Everything’ and it is a wonderful title from the book of Ecclesiastes.”

Between performances by the choir, Noel will be reading some of his local poetry, which will include works about St Mel's Cathedral itself, and several poems about the Lough Ree Islands.

“‘Where the Wind Sleeps’ is a collection that I published in 2014,” said Noel.

“Fergus Kennedy, the Longford County Arts Officer drew my attention to the Lough Ree islands and had been interested in my giving a workshop there.

“So I travelled out there on my own and I was fascinated by the ruins and the monasteries and I wrote a series of sonnets on the silence and the energy that was there in those sacred spaces and how removed we are from that monastic past.

“‘Where the Wind Sleeps’ is based on one of those sonnets - the title sonnet in fact. That poem got a lot of attention. It was translated into French and Italian and I read it in Rome,” he said, before turning his attention to the other main subject of Sunday night's poetry readings.

“And then, of course, there’s the newly restored Cathedral.

“I parked my car up one day and walked in there and I was really taken over by the beauty of the place and the colours and the pillars.

“And I wrote a poem entitled ‘Cathedral’, which I will be reading on the night.”

The concert will bring the audience on a moving, enthralling journey, celebrating historic Longford, with music chosen specifically to coincide with the beautiful poetry of Noel Monahan.

The event is being organised by the Lassus Chamber Choir in conjunction with the Longford County Arts Office.

Arts Officer Fergus Kennedy said that this will be “a wonderful evening of music and poetry that will really celebrate the history of Co Longford from the ancient history of Saints Island to the recent restoration of St Mel's Cathedral”.

The beautiful acousitcs of the Cathedral will greatly enhance the music of Bruckner, Lassis, Palestrina and Byrd, among other choral composers both old and new.

“It’s a really exciting event for people who love poetry and love music,” said Noel.

“I just love the spirituality of the event and it’s a privilege to be reading my poetry at this event.”

This promises to be an enriching experience, integrating all aspects of St Mel's Cathedral, while celebrating the beauty of Longford and its historical locations.

Tickets will be available on the night for €15 or €10 concession.

Read more: Celebrating Longford through choral music