Members of the Goldsmith Festival committee with guest speakers Tom McGuire and Willie Kealy at the opening of the Festival on Friday, June 7
The closing event of the 35th Goldsmith Festival took place as always at Pallas Abbeyshrule on Sunday, June 2.
Chaired by Anne Tully it survived the threatening clouds and guests were able to enjoy poetry music cheese and wine under the trees. The schools competition was a wonderful success with 400 entries from schools across Longford and Westmeath. This is a tribute to the tireless work of Abbeyshrule woman Ursula McGoey.
The adjudicator with an unenviable task was Mary Melvin Geoghegan. Her sixth collection As Moon and Mother Collide was published by Salmon Poetry in 2018. Winners were presented with beautiful medals created by Midland Trophies. In addition 1st, 2nd and 3rd winners were presented with a lovely copy of The Deserted Village by committee member Niall Nally.
The Adult Competition adjudicated by valued friend of the festival poet and playwright Noel Monahan. His most recent collection Chalk Dust, also published by prestigious publishers, Salmon Poetry is his eighth collection. 3rd prize went to Meath poet Orla Fay, 2nd prize to Dublin poet Maria Sheridan and 1st prize to Lanesboro poet Margaret Nohilly.
Guest poet was Noel Monahan whose reading from some of his eight collections of word was warmly received by young and old. He was accompanied for some of the reading by talented Newtowncashel flautist Gerry Bohan. Words and music blended beautifully in the shadow of a statue of Goldsmith himself.
The Schools Competition was sponsored by Niall Nally and the Adult Competition was once again sponsored by John Nally Circle K Ballymahon. We are very grateful to both. I would also like to thank Mairéad Ní Chongaile, Paul Newell, Brendan Farrell and Donall Mac an Bheatha.
Together with Longford Co Council team on the ground and local representatives. Their work in relation to upgrading the park and increasing its biodiversity will ensure Pallas is a suitable memorial to Goldsmith. Joe and Chris Farrell together with children and grandchildren have been hosting the cheese and wine reception in clouds and sunshine for many years. We are very grateful to them for their generous hospitality.
Goldsmith has some great neighbours in Pallas including John Kearney and Tom and Audrey O'Connor. Finally, thanks to Martin Campbell for the sounds and The Rustic Inn Abbeyshrule for their long-time support of the event. They are continuing the great work of their much missed father Teddy.
Many thanks to all involved parents teachers and poets young and old. Looking forward to seeing you all at the 36th annual festival.