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A Poets Manual

The BAFFLE Festival, Loughrea, Co Galway – an introduction


BAFFLE trophy
The John Behan RHA trophy.
Awarded annually to The BAFFLE Bard.
If you ever come across a poetry festival that offers a livelier mixture of poetry, poets, porter, preening, pedagogy, preposterousness, punning, pulchritude and pleasure than the one we host here in Loughrea every year, be sure to contact us and let us know.

Loughrea is a hospitable town in the west of Ireland with lots to commend it, including a beautiful lake, a fine cathedral and a curiously eccentric bunch of natives, who are happy to welcome the stranger into their midst. It is seen at its very best during the bank holiday weekend at the end of October, when the place resonates to the sound of poetry, music, wrangling, philosophising, glasses clinking and the twanging sound of wit being unleashed.

Over the years, we have built a reputation for combining high seriousness in our poetic endeavours with an appetite for fun and lightheartedness, and the resulting mix offers festival goers – both participants and audience – a weekend to remember and relish.

From the programme that follows you will see the events we are staging and you are cordially invited to take part in a number of activities, including our creative writing workshop (places permitting), in our ramble and, of course, in our BAFFLE poetry competition, the heats of which are held around the town on Saturday night and the finals of which form the centrepiece of our Sunday night festivities.

Students at school will also find a welcome and each year the winners of their competitions are invited to come along and read at our annual BAFFLE Brunch, alongside other more established poets.

In addition, we want to encourage the bardic tradition and places in our songwriting workshops are hotly contested.

Lovers of the Irish language will be delighted at the number of events where poetry is read and recited as gaeilge, something that has always featured strongly in our festival.

Long and illustrious is the list of writers and performers who have made their way to Loughrea over the years, among them Joseph O’Connor, Hugo Hamilton, David Norris, Vincent Woods, Rita Ann Higgins, Mick Lally, Carlo Gebler, Joseph Woods, John Walsh, Moya Cannon, Louis de Paor, Michael Hartnett and Mary O’Malley. None has come away less than delighted with the warmth of their welcome from poetry lovers here in the west of Ireland. Reaching audiences of five and six hundred people of all ages and backgrounds is something many poets dream of, and in Loughrea that happens every year.

Now read on to see what is happening this year. You’ll find this year’s programme and theme here and if you want to enter our competition (and all are welcome to do so) then you’ll find an explanation of our very simple rules and an entry form to fill in. If you are not inclined to write a poem this year, come along and listen, marvel, laugh, cry and learn something you never knew before about poetry and about yourself, too.



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