Dublin book event to celebrate capital city in verse and song

One City One Book festival described as ‘world-leading example’ of how to promote literature

A month-long programme of events celebrating a collection of verse and songs associated with Dublin was officially announced by Lord Mayor of Dublin Oisín Quinn at an event in the city yesterday.

The annual One City One Book festival selects a book that is in some way connected with Dublin and this year features over 50 events across the city.

If Ever You Go: A Map of Dublin in Poetry and Song was selected last September as the festival’s choice for 2014.

The Dedalus Press published anthology was edited by poets Gerard Smyth and Pat Boran and features writing from more than 150 writers with contributions ranging from the 8th century to contemporary times.


Describing the festival, now in it’s ninth year, as “one of Dublin City Council’s best initiatives,” Mr Quinn said One City One Book was a “world-leading example” of how to promote literature.

“This is the first book of poetry that has been selected. It contains new work as well as great classical content from Dublin poets and writers. It is an opportunity to showcase some of the contemporary talent in the city.”

“It’s very accessible. It helps reinforce the fact that poetry is not just something that is old and that you learn for an exam. This is a real-life contemporary way of getting across what people think about Dublin at the moment.”

The anthology includes work by Brendan Kennelly, Philip Lynott, John Sheahan, Jonathan Swift, Máirtín Ó Direáin as well as Seamus Heaney, Eavan Boland and Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill.

Presented as a virtual tour of the city and arranged street-by-street, the book allows the reader to make connections between the literature and the city’s topography.

The book "will bring the very cobbles to life," said Dublin city librarian Margaret Hayes.

Ms Hayes said she hoped the festival would serve to “reignite a love of poetry in the hearts of Dubliners and readers”.

Publisher and joint editor Pat Boran said the One City One Book festival was an ideal vehicle for promoting poetry.

“Having everybody communally reading the same book adds a lot. When you come out of a movie or when you read a good book you want to talk to someone about it and we want to do that as well. There’s a misrepresentation sometimes that poetry is something you have to deal with on your own. The discussion and the sharing can often be a huge attraction,” he said.

Festival highlights include a Poetry Ireland tribute to the late Seamus Heaney, a Dart journey featuring poetry and music from Gerald Dawe and actor Fergus Cronin and a concert at Dublin Castle featuring John Sheahan, Lisa Hannigan, poets Pat Boran, Harry Clifton and actors Phelim Drew and Tom Vaughan Lawlor.

More details from dublinonecityonebook.ie

Éanna Ó Caollaí

Éanna Ó Caollaí

Iriseoir agus Eagarthóir Gaeilge An Irish Times. Éanna Ó Caollaí is The Irish Times' Irish Language Editor, editor of The Irish Times Student Hub, and Education Supplements editor.