I’ll Drop You a Line

I'll Drop you a Line is a memoir about David Marcus, one of Cork's most famous Jewish people with roots in Jewtown. The memoir is written by his wife Ita Daly and costs €14.99 from Londubh books.

The Level Crossing

I've been looking through Pat Boran's first issue of The Level Crossing, which I bought a couple of weeks ago. I'm about a quarter way through it and finding it very interesting. I was amazed to see that over 900 people had submitted a poem to the first issue of the magazine (including myself). It's surely a huge endorsement of this project and I wish it the very best for the future. I look forward to reading future issues of this magazine.

Where most of the reaserch came from

Any time I've been interviewed, I'm always asked where did I get my research on the people who lived in Jewtown. There was very little there but one of the sources came from a really good book if one is interested in the history of the Jewish people in Ireland. Dermot Keogh's History of the Jews of 20th Century Ireland is a fascinating read. It mainly centres on the Dublin Jewish community and a lot about the politics during the Second World War but there were two pages dedicated to Jewtown. The two pages consist of a map of Jewtown and a summary of the census records from 1901 and 1911. There are a few links to other texts and some autobiographies, which made things a little bit more interesting. From these snippets, I tried to reimagine the lives of some of these residents and how they must have felt. In the larger image, you should be...

Hey from Hay!

I had a great time at the Hay Festival in Kells last weekend. It has to be the most friendly festival I've ever been to. The organisers couldn't do enough to make one feel like they were a superstar! There was even a green room with all the coffee, food and treats that you could ever want. I also got a goodie bag with a t-shirt and I even got lunch and dinner. [caption id="attachment_1575" align="alignnone" width="225"] Second billing to Peter Fallon. Not bad![/caption] My reading was at 5pm, which, unfortunately (for me) was at the same time as Francis Brennan who pulled in about 400 people. There were two other well known writers on at the time too. As well as that, Northern Ireland were playing Wales in the Euros. Poetry rarely draws in huge crowds so I wasn't expecting anyone to show up except for these two below. Thankfully...

Looking forward to Hay…

I'm delighted to be reading at the Hay Festival in Kells on the 25th June. The festival looks absolutely brilliant and well worth a look on their web site: Hay Festival Kells. I have a whole hour to myself. I'm under no illusions that reading poetry for an hour would be torture for anyone so I'm going to combine the poetry reading with some stories about Jewtown in Cork as well as introducing people to some of the more famous people who have come from Jewtown, namely Gerald Goldberg and David Marcus. It's only €4 to come to the reading and I promise I will give my money's...

In the Nationalist

I was delighted to have my launch featured in the Carlow Nationalist. Text is below the photograph A BOOK of poetry about a generation of Jews who emigrated to Ireland from Lithuania during the late 19th century was the inspiration behind a new book of poetry by Simon Lewis. Simon, who founded and is the principal of the Educate Together school in Carlow, launched the collection Jewtown in Carlow town library last week. “It’s been five years in the making so it was a privilege to see it in paper form,” Simon told The Nationalist. The title of the book comes from an area in Cork city, Jewtown, so called because of the Jewish people who settled there. Simon was prompted to use his own religious background as a source of material after it was suggested to him by Derek Coyle, the director of the Carlow Writers’ Co-operative, of...

Belfast Book Festival

I had a great time in Belfast for the Belfast Book Festival where I read with Michael J Whelan and Stephanie Conn as part of a special Doire Press Poetry evening. We were introduced by the very talented Stephen Connolly and there were about 25 people in the audience. A special treat for me was the appearance of my Uncle Eon and Auntie Maria who were over from Toronto. I've nabbed a few photos from Michael's blog and hope you enjoy them. [gallery size="medium" ids="1552,1553,1554,1555,1556" orderby="rand"]

South Terrace Synagogue: March 2016

South Terrace Synagogue, the main synagogue in Cork, used by much of the community of Jewtown, closed its doors in February 2016. The building was deconsecrated before being handed over to the Church of the Seventh Day Adventists. While it is understandable that the building had to be gutted due to it being in terrible disrepair, it is sad to see in the photo that the new occupiers did not leave a single trace of its predecessors. Thanks to Mike Garde for sharing this photograph with me.  

Borris Festival of Writing and Ideas

The Borris Festival of Writing and Ideas is one of the highlights of my festival year. Rozz and I have never missed one since it opened 5 years ago. Emrys missed 3 of the 5 due to not being born but he's had a 100% record since then. This year was extra special for me as I was on the line up! If you look at the photo below, you'll see my name on the list. Granted I'm very very far down but at least I'm not last! Here are a few photos from the weekend. [gallery size="medium" ids="1535,1534,1529,1526,1524,1523,1518,1517,1513,1512"] Sunday [gallery size="medium" ids="1547,1539,1546,1542"]  

In the media…

I've been in the newspapers a bit this week. Here are two articles where I'm mentioned: The Irish Times and The Carlow Nationalist. I believe the Carlow Nationalist is going to do a story on my launch next week so looking forward to that. IMG-20160610-WA0001 IMG-20160611-WA0000