Soul Clap its Hands and Sing

The Irish Traditional Music Archive & Poetry Ireland announce details of a year-long series of events featuring poetry and music at 11 Parnell Square.

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Kathleen Loughnane, Moya Cannon, Kevin Doherty, Colette Bryce, Bronagh Gallagher, Dermot McLaughlin and Tommy Keane are just some of the artists to appear in “Soul Clap its Hands and Sing” at Poetry Ireland from February.

There’s a well-known maxim that says all art aspires to the condition of music. If true, then poetry surely comes very close to meeting it. Indeed, Irish poets and musicians have always cast a particular spell on each other. “Soul Clap its Hands and Sing”, a new series of music and poetry events presented by Poetry Ireland in partnership with the Irish Traditional Music Archive, will offer audiences a chance to enjoy some of the finest artists in both forms as they weave in and out of each other's work.  

The poetic and musical partnerships will include poet Moya Cannon and harper Kathleen Loughnane (Thursday 22 February), poet John McAuliffe and singer/songwriter Kevin Doherty (Poetry Day Ireland Thursday 26 April), poet Doireann Ní Ghríofa and composer Linda Buckley (Thursday 24 May), poet Mary O’Malley and uilleann piper Tommy Keane (Thursday 28 June), poet Colette Bryce and singer/songwriter Bronagh Gallagher (Thursday 27 September), poet Peter Fallon and singer/songwriters Oisín Leech and Saramai Leech (Thursday 25 October), and poet Nessa O’Mahony and fiddler Dermot McLaughlin (Thursday 8 November). All of the events take place at Poetry Ireland, 11 Parnell Square East, Dublin 1. Tickets include a glass of wine and cost €10/€8 concessions. Book online at

The Irish Traditional Music Archive and Poetry Ireland gratefully acknowledges the support of its principal funders the Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon and Arts Council of Northern Ireland.


“Soul Clap its Hands and Sing”

Sailing to Byzantium, WB Yeats

Presented by the Irish Traditional Music Archive and Poetry Ireland

All events are at Poetry Ireland, 11 Parnell Square East, Dublin 1

Tickets €10/€8 concessions (including a glass of wine)

Book online at

Thursday 22 February 7pm

Moya Cannon (poet) & Kathleen Loughnane (harp)

Moya Cannon’s poems sing with a visceral attachment to the beauty of the earth. Deeply connected to the musical impulses of ritual and pattern that, across centuries, define us as human, her work is perfectly synergised with her sister-in-law Kathleen Loughnane’s exquisite and haunting harp playing.

Poetry Day Ireland: Thursday 26 April 8pm

John McAuliffe (poet) & Kevin Doherty (voice)

In the publicity for his recent album Seeing Things, Kevin Doherty gives credit to Seamus Heaney as a source of inspiration for his work. But his observant and soulful lyrics draw on many other influences too, including the work of John McAuliffe, whose poems tell stories and find images for ‘soul-making’ in the everyday world of sheds, swimming pools, concert halls, parks, ferry ports, galleries, protest marches, cinemas and street corners.

Thursday 24 May 7pm

‘In Flames’: Doireann Ní Ghríofa (poet) & Linda Buckley (composer)

Bilingual poet Doireann Ní Ghríofa presents a series of new poems, where each poem ignites a fire. In a live performance of poetry with sonic landscape by internationally-acclaimed composer Linda Buckley, these poems will enact a series of burnings, with wild, immersive sounds sparking against the poetry of crackling, fizzing fires. Thursday 28 June 7pm

Mary O’Malley (poet) & Tommy Keane (uilleann pipes)

Playing the Octopus is more than just a metaphor for how hard it is to play the pipes: it’s also the title of Mary O’Malley’s most recent collection of poems. It seemed obvious, then, to pair Mary with legendary uilleann piper Tommy Keane for this performance. Together, they’ll take us on a lesson through life’s many tentacled surprises.

Thursday 27 September 7pm

Colette Bryce (poet) and Bronagh Gallagher (singer/songwriter)

Channel 4 viewers will, we hope, forgive us for calling Colette and Bronagh the other “Derry Girls”. Both artists have earned the highest international acclaim: Colette received the Christopher Ewart-Biggs Award in memory of Seamus Heaney and her recent Selected Poems was a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation, while Bronagh’s star has risen as a singer/songwriter and as an actor – from her first big break in The Commitments, right up to her recent role in The National Theatre’s production War Horse.  Yet the voice of their hometown is unmistakably vivid in the direct soulfulness of their work.

Thursday 25 October 7pm

Peter Fallon (poet), Oisín Leech and Saramai Leech (singer/songwriters)

Poet Peter Fallon, Oisín Leech of The Lost Brothers and singer-songwriter Saramai Leech are regular collaborators, bound as much by a mutual admiration of each other’s work as by their County Meath roots. Join these three remarkable artists for an enjoyable interlude of conversation, music and words, spoken and sung.

Thursday 8 November 7pm

Nessa O’Mahony (poet) & Dermot McLaughlin (fiddle)

If ever anyone could be described as having many strings to their bow, then bad pun or none, it’s definitely Dermot McLaughlin. He spends his working hours consulting on strategy and change to the cultural sector, and every other hour living and breathing his beguiling fiddle music. Here he performs alongside his friend and former colleague, the poet Nessa O’Mahony. Shortlisted for the Patrick Kavanagh Prize and the Hennessy Literature Awards, the novelist Joseph O’Connor has described Nessa’s work as “a moving, powerful and richly pleasurable read, audaciously imagined and achieved”.


About the Irish Traditional Music Archive

ITMA is a national reference archive and resource centre for the traditional song, music and dance of Ireland. At its premises in Dublin and online it offers access, free of charge, to the largest multimedia collection in existence dedicated to contemporary and historical Irish traditional music. Visitors are welcome to listen, view and browse thousands of sound recordings, videos, books, images and manuscripts which have been collected and preserved by ITMA since 1987. It is funded primarily by the Arts Council of Ireland/An Chomhairle Ealaíon and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

About Poetry Ireland

Poetry Ireland connects people and poetry. Committed to achieving excellence in the reading, writing and performance of poetry throughout the island of Ireland, the organisation receives support from The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon and The Arts Council of Northern Ireland. In September 2016 Poetry Ireland moved into its beautiful new home in Dublin's Parnell Square. We are now embarked on ambitious and innovative plans for the redevelopment of this expansive Georgian townhouse as an all-island institution dedicated to poetry in all its forms. When complete, this development will house the Seamus Heaney Working Library, a contemporary performance space and a café.