On the Town: A group of poets, writers and musicians embarked on a special voyage of discovery in Dublin this week.
They gathered in Dublin's Sugar Club on Leeson Street to launch Imram, the first Irish-language literature festival in Dublin. Their aim is "to reawaken people's interest in Irish," said Liam Carson, one of the festival's directors. He explained that Imram is the old Celtic word for a voyage to another world.
"It could be an eye-opener for many people as to the wealth of contemporary poetry and literature in Irish," said broadcaster Cathal Póirtéir, who was the fear an tí on opening night.
The festival launch was attended by poet Cathal Ó Searcaigh, who recently returned from Kathmandu in Nepal, and fellow poet and children's writer Áine Ní Ghlinn, whose books, Cuairteoirí (Cois Life, for young teenagers) and Lámhainní Glasa (O'Brien Press, for younger children) were recently published.
Also among those attending were Imram directors Joseph Woods, director of Poetry Ireland, fellow poet Gabriel Rosenstock and teacher and writer Colette Nic Aodha.
Later, Raidió na Gaeltachta broadcaster Seán Ó hEinniú sang about Connemara and Cathal Ó Searcaigh read a selection of his haikus, written in collaboration with a young Nepalese poet, Janak Sapkota ("in the howl of midwinter/ the moon spreads its tender gleam/ over the raging stream").
Meanwhile, Celia de Fréine's book, Fiacha Fola, a collection of poems about the hepatitis C scandal, was also launched this week, as part of the five-day festival, by broadcaster Clíodhna Ní Anluain. Earlier this year, the book was awarded the Cló Iar-Chonnachta Literary Prize 2004 in conjunction with Údarás na Gaeltachta.