On 8th June Cavan Writers Forum and Fermanagh Writers met for a joint outing to get to know each other and to inspire them in their future writing. Fermanagh Writers’ Chair, Tony Brady, recounts some of the day’s highlights:
Ten Cavan Writers Forum members met nine members of Fermanagh Writers at the National Trust house, Florence Court in County Fermanagh. We split into two guided parties for a very leisurely and unhurried tour of the house. The house guide was particularly good on naming the historical family characters staring down from the portraits in most of the rooms. One distinguished lord, who I daresay, had shot a lot of tigers in his time, was captured on canvas smoking a fag. I looked closely: it wasn’t a Marlborough.
Among the marble or possibly alabaster busts in the grand entrance hall was one that was a spitting image of a Fermanagh Writers’ member, John Kelly. In the library a captivating portrait of Lady Florence could have been posed by another Fermanagh Writers’ member, Tammy Swift: the likeness was striking.
The two groups joined together for lunch. I was with two Cavan poets, Lorna Milligan and Andrea Roeder, a German lady. They shared samples of their poems with me from their Blackberrys. Afterwards, Tammy took us on a tour of the outlying buildings surrounding the Laundry Yard. It was a perfect day for drying sheets. After the seriousness of the earlier house tour, Tammy gave us lots of amusing anecdotes about the landed gentry’s non-publicised behaviour: innocent servant girls and general maids were regularly seduced and, with expected child, sent packing. She alerted us to a particular Butler who recorded his latest “conquest” on a wall under an arch. I was first to spot the hidden carved stone face set in the stones of the yard wall where he kept his record. I puckered up to it in front of the assembled paparrazi.
We must now embrace the challenge of the Babble anthology and Festival elements of this joint project. Thanks to Marie Tracey for her liaison work and smooth organising of the day’s events.