National Library Announces Free Lunchtime Concert Series

The National Library of Ireland (NLI) has today (July 8) announced details of a free summer lunchtime series of readings and musical performances by a range of well-known figures from Ireland’s contemporary creative communities.

The initiative is entitled ‘Listen Now Again Live’. It marks the first anniversary of the opening of the library’s major international exhibition ‘Seamus Heaney: Listen Now Again’, celebrating the life and work of one of Ireland’s best loved writers.

Taking place each Thursday until the end of September, the series commences on July 11 with readings by award-winning actor Owen Roe. This is  together with a performance from award-winning musician Laoise O’Brien.

Other well-known names participating in the series include journalist Olivia O’Leary, actors Adrian Dunbar and Stephen Rea, poets Theo Dorgan and Paula Meehan, and harpist Tríona Marshall. Each concert will take place between 1.10pm and 1.45pm in the rotunda of the Bank of Ireland Cultural and Heritage Centre, Westmoreland Street, where the exhibition is housed.

Commenting on the announcement, Director of the National Library of Ireland, Dr Sandra Collins said in a statement: “Reflecting on ‘Seamus Heaney: Listen Now Again’ over the past year, and the hugely positive response it has received to date, we wanted to do something really special to celebrate the exhibition’s success.”

“‘Listen Now Again Live’ reflects Seamus Heaney’s own love of the interplay of words and music. It brings together a range of creative practitioners, responding to Heaney’s work in a similar vein to the pieces created for the exhibition by visual artist Maser, which have proven very popular with visitors.”

“I would encourage everyone with an interest in music, poetry and Seamus Heaney to join us for this concert series in one of the most historic buildings at the heart of Dublin, and to step out of everyday life for a moment and into a little bit of magic.”

Launched by President Michael D Higgins on July 4 2018, and opening to critical and popular acclaim, ‘Listen Now Again’ has welcomed over 108,000 visitors through its doors. In the last twelve months, almost 6,000 people have also experienced Heaney’s life and work through an extensive programme of events spanning readings, workshops, performances, lectures, book clubs and children’s trails.

Earlier this year, marking what would have been Heaney’s 80th birthday, the exhibition partnered with transport providers to bring Heaney’s poetry to commuters countrywide. ‘Listen Now Again’ was also shortlisted for a prestigious Museum + Heritage Award in the ‘International Project of the Year’ category.

‘Seamus Heaney: Listen Now Again’ draws on the NLI’s Heaney archive, donated to the Library by the poet and his family in 2011. It features original manuscripts, letters, unpublished works, diary entries, and photographs.

Attendance at ‘Listen Now Again Live’ is free of charge but advance booking via Eventbrite is required:

The full series of concerts can be found below.

  • 11th July: Laoise O’Brien and Owen Roe;
  • 18th July: Aoife Ní Bhriain and Theo Dorgan;
  • 25th July: Sean Mac Erlaine and Eleanor Methven;
  • 1st August: Paddy Glackin and Bríd Ní Neachtain;
  • 8th August: David Power, Tríona Marshall and Olivia O’Leary;
  • 15th August: Nick Roth and Adrian Dunbar;
  • 22nd August: Laoise Kelly and Mary O’Malley;
  • 29th August: Paul Roe, Shayan Cooke, Shahab Cooke, Ultan O’Brien and Jim Lucey;
  • 5th September: Neil Martin and Stephen Rea;
  • 12th September: Ellen Cranitch and guest;
  • 19th September: Paul Roe, Mick O’Brien & Paula Meehan;
  • 26th September: Kate Ellis and Marian Richardson.

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