DOOLIN is the destination for a unique poetry performance on Saturday night next (March 25). Fiddle and Bow Collection will host Leitrim’s Stephen Murphy, whose exciting and authentic work is attracting huge attention.
A reading as part of Listowel Writer’s Week went viral, capturing the hearts and minds of thousands who saw video clips. John O’Connor, who has organised a Wild Atlantic Way tour for Stephen described the live performances as “incredible”. “I’ve never seen anyone to establish such a strong connection with an audience and he does everything straight out of his head,” he said. “It is quite something to witness.”
Originally from rural Leitrim, Stephen is a bard in the truest sense of the term. His live performances have seen him previously called “the highlight” of the Electric Picnic by Kitty Holland in The Irish Times. He was hailed as a “poet of our age” by Irish Independent columnist Billy Keane, and “a splendid, gifted and courageous young poet” by President Michael D. Higgins on the Abbey Theatre stage.
Speaking ahead of the gig in Doolin, Stephen said ‘I’m really looking forward to it. Doolin’s a beautiful little town. No matter what time of the year there’s a lovely buzz about the place, an ancient energy that goes to the heart of us as a people. I’ve always found that there’s a wildness to Clare people, a glint of divilment in the eye that can’t be tamed, and nor should it be. We’re shaped by that wildness, by the ocean and the land, and I try to honour that wildness in what I do.’
The tour sees Stephen blend his newer work with the old, drawing on his own experiences and a love of the surreal to bring his audiences on a journey that’s at times comedic, and at times heart-breakingly poignant. “I think when people come to see you, you have a responsibility to them as an artist to mind them when they’re willing to take a journey with you in your art,” Stephen said. “I heard an interview lately that really struck me with the Clare superstar Tara Howley, where she was talking about the importance of eye contact with the audience. It’s that genuine connection that I think is what it’s all about. In an increasingly disconnected world, to be able to reach out to people on a soul level to say look, we’re all just as human as each other, everyone has their battles, but we learn and we grow in the shelter of each
other. Ar scáth le chéile a mhaireann na ndaoine.”
Tickets for the performance which gets underway at 8.30pm are available from Eventbrite.it; as well as local venues including the Cheese Press in Ennistymon; Doolin Arts; Clare Arts Office; Salmon Poetry and Glór.