Forge at Gort: Press Release (2009)

Despite the withdrawal of funds by the Irish Arts Council from two major collaborative Writer’s Centres, this year’s Forge At Gort will proceed, and as I am lazy this is a C+P of the Release (complete with appalling line breaks ) by Johnson (founder of the Cúirt International literary festival and all round , a good guy, despite many differences of opinion betwixt us).

“Western Writers’ Centre” wrote:


The literary town of Gort, Co. Galway, will see its second ‘Forge at Gort’ literature festival kick off on Friday, March 27th, at Sullivan’s Royal Hotel, Gort, with a reading by renowned writer, critic and poet, Ulick O’Connor. A host of novelists, poets and musicians are due for this year’s festival, which is organised by the Western Writers’ Centre, Ionad Scríbhneoiri Chaitlín Maude, Galway.

Novelist Adrian White will read from his work at The Gallery Café, Gort, on Friday, March 27th, at 9.30pm. The Arts Council removed all programme funding from the Centre – in spite of the Centre receiving a major Irish-language project award, at the end of last year. Internationally-acclaimed harpist and chair of the Irish Historical Harp Society, Siobhán Armstrong, will perform in Gort Library to the poetry of Clare Sawtell, on Saturday evening at 9. 30pm. “The inexplicable loss of funding stirred up a great spirit among writers,” said writer and critic Fred Johnston, the Centre’s manager.

“We have them to thank for the festival, and our sponsors, who did not hesitate. We have a special word of thanks to writer and journalist Martina Devlin, who provided some valuable suggestions.We still have room for sponsorship, so anyone who is interested can contact us. But we are immensely grateful for the support of Poetry Ireland, for instance, who unhesitatingly stepped forward.”

Fred Johnston, who founded Galway’s Cúirt festival in 1986 as a poetry festival, has made sure that events reach out around as much of Gort as possible. From Sullivan’s Royal Hotel, events will also take place in The Alcazar restaurant, The Gallery Café, Gort Library, and O’Grady’s Bar.

“We are delighted to have writers of such calibre, and musicians such as Siobhán to come and play for us. It is terrific support. And our special thanks to Gort Library.”Administrator Marvelle Maguire, Company Secretary Sylvia Crawford, chairperson Aoife Nic Fhearghusa and others have been working tirelessly over the past few months to put the festival together. Johnston and other Board members were also unanimous in praising the openness and enthusiasm of people in Gort towards the festival.

Among the events taking place, which will also feature novelist Adrian White,are Original Writing Ltd discussing self-publishing on Saturday at 11am in Sullivan’s Royal Hotel,a children’s reading by Gabriel Fitzmaurice at Gort Library on Saturday, March 28th at 12 noon; poet and playwrights Patricia Burke Brogan and Dubliner Gerry McDonnell at noon on Saturday also at the Alcazar Pizza Restaurant; novelist Juliet Bresson, Sullivan’s Royal Hotel, Saturday, at 1.15pm; archaeologist Michael Gibbons will give a talk at Gort Library at 3pm; poet Tim Cunningham and the Limerick White House poets, O’Grady’s Bar, Saturday, at 4. 30pm; a discussion by the editors of Albedo 1, Ireland’s only alternative fiction magazine, at 6pm in Sullivan’s Royal Hotel, also on Saturday; Cork poet Gerry Murphy at 7. 30pm at Sullivan’s Royal Hotel, also on Saturday; and John Arden and Margaretta D’Arcy will read and perform at The Gallery Café bringing everything to a close on Saturday evning at 11pm. Further details of the festival can be obtained by mailing or checking the website at or ‘phoning 087.2178138.

Sponsors to date include Ennis’ ‘Scéal Eile’ bookshop, Poetry Ireland, Sullivan’s Royal Hotel, O’Grady’s,

The Gallery Café and Supervalu, Gort. All events will be free, though donations will be accepted.

Fred Johnston (Manager)

 Martin Cullen TD has cut funding to two writers’ centrea , PoliticsIE

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