Cork poetry night Ó Bhéal downscales to monthly event

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Long-running Cork poetry night Ó Bhéal, featuring readings and an open mic, will downscale from a weekly event to a monthly event by the end of the year.

According to a press release posted on social media, the change will come into effect from January 2020, with the last weekly instalment to come on the 16th of December this year and the first monthly instalment to come on the 13th of January and the second Monday of every month from then on. The press release attributes the change to inadequate funding and sponsorship. 

Ó Bhéal runs every Monday in The Long Valley pub on Winthrop Street in Cork. The event started in 2007 and has run over 640 events, featuring over 820 poets to date. Despite the downscaling, the event’s Winter Warmer Festival and its annual “Unfinished Book of Poetry” project in city schools will continue as normal. 

Speaking to BND of the change, event runner Paul Casey said: 

”There's still so much to do for poetry, precisely because poetry has always given, and will always carry the potential to deliver so much into our lives that other art forms cannot. While I believe that we do have better support than in many other countries, arts in Ireland still receive one sixth of the European average (per capita), with poetry down at the dark end of the purse. I still believe that poetry in Ireland hardly receives a tenth of the support and respect it deserves, especially considering how it's as synonymous with Irishness as hurling or the Irish language. The world increasingly needs the kind of conversations that poetry brings to the table, and Irish poets need to be better equipped.” 

You can find Ó Bhéal on Facebook at “Ó Bhéal: Cork’s Weekly Poetry Event”, Twitter at @OBheal, and on their website, obheal.ie.

Melanie O'Donovan