Once again, Lismore was a paradise of sunshine and things literary for the Immrama Festival of Travel Writing. While the organisation could seem a little disappointing with events running over into others, people seem to accept these glitches, but it might be better if organisers considered that the public want choice not congestion.

In fine sunshine the children’s poetry event had Pippa Sweeney and Alan Murphy entertaining with thoughtful rhymes and beautiful nonsense verse. Murphy’s excellent book is an artwork gem called The Mona Lisa’s On Our Fridge.

Louis de Paor

The Louis de Paor reading at Lismore House Hotel was a fine bi-lingual event and multi-instrumentalist Ronan Browne added a lovely dimension to de Paor’s excellent poetry. Reading or reciting from his latest collection Agus Rud Eile De ( And Another Thing). The First Time and The Next Time linked a family coping with the tragedy of death of a loved one. His tribute to the Scottish poet Iain Crichton Smith where he used the recorded voice of Smith, mixed with music was a wonderful modern example of technology used to enhance the poetic experience.

Lismore Castle Arts

As part of Immrama, Eamonn Maxwell organised an informative talk between curator/academic Mike Fitzpatrick and film/video artist Gerard Byrne whose work features in the Castle Gallery until the end of September.

Dublin-born Byrne has an international reputation for film/video work often using actors to explore aspects of text.

I spent time at the four video installations in a darkened gallery and there is a distinct contrast from summer sunshine and beautiful location into semi-darkness. Some of the work is banal like an old style car on the Jersey turnpike but no Tony Soprano. This is minimalist work where the artist has to do what the artist has to do or as Louis de Paor said – “you know you are in the presence of art if you don’t know what it is about.”

On another self-standing screen, you have actors and staff touring a gallery featuring minimalist art and it is driven by the language used in reviews in art publications. What I like about Lismore Castle Arts is the way they make international available over a summer and organise talks etc. Sometimes the work is complicated and a bit pretentious but is a sense of engagement you would not expect in Lismore perhaps.

The talk was attended by festival visitors who were listening first and then looking at the work. The dialogue was difficult as both speakers had to lapse into an academic and specialist language to progress the conversation.

Art on wall or sculpture on floor like installations/events/happenings or repeating happenings where the viewers response is the happening.

He is not a storyteller but do go and see his work and enjoy the pleasures of the location.