Olivia O’Leary presents The Heart of Summer: Emo Court

  • Saturday 27 July, 8.00pm
  • Emo Court, Portarlington, Laois
  • Tickets: €10 / €8 concession

Enjoy a feast of music and poetry in one of Ireland's great historic houses, introduced by Olivia O'Leary, acclaimed journalist and presenter of RTÉ Radio 1's Poetry Programme.

On Saturday 27 July at 8pm, Kilkenny-born poet Tom French, bilingual writer Deirdre Brennan and Dublin-based woodwind instrumentalist, composer and music producer Seán Mac Erlaine will join Olivia at Emo Court in Portarlington, Co. Laois. Emo Court House is one of architect James Gandon's neo-classical masterpieces. Set in lush parklands, the house is surrounded by beautiful gardens, a lake, woodland walks and many fine trees and shrubs.

Tom French's work has received the Forward Prize for First Collection 2002, the Dermot Healy Award 2015, and the O'Shaughnessy Award 2016. The Gallery Press publishes his collections - Touching the Bones (2001), The Fire Step (2009), Midnightstown (2014), The Way to Work (2016), and The Last Straw (2018). In 2017 he edited A Bittern Cry: in honour of Francis Ledwidge. His essays have appeared in the John McGahern Yearbook, New Hibernia Review and Poetry Ireland Review.

Of northern ancestry, Deirdre Brennan was born in Dublin but has lived in Carlow most of her life. She is a bilingual writer of poetry, short stories, translation and drama. Her most recent collection of poetry, An Oíche ar Bheophianadh, (Coiscéim 2019) is her ninth in Irish.

Seán Mac Erlaine is a Dublin-based woodwind instrumentalist, composer and music producer, recognised as one of Ireland's most forward-thinking creative musicians. Seán's work intersects folk, free improvisation, jazz and traditional music. He also collaborates with a range of non-musical artists particularly in theatre and radio. An accomplished saxophonist and clarinettist, Seán maintains a busy performance schedule in Ireland and internationally working with a hugely diverse range of musicians and artists reflecting his own versatility and interest in cross-platform work. 

For more than four decades, Olivia O’Leary has been recognised as one of Ireland’s foremost journalists and broadcasters. Moving from RTÉ to BBC’s Newsnight was a key moment in her career and she became that programme’s first senior female presenter in 1985. She returned to RTE to host flagship programmes Today Tonight, Prime Time and Question and Answers, winning awards for these and BBC Radio 4’s Between Ourselves. Also writing for the Irish Times, Olivia O’Leary became established as one of the most formidable reporters in political journalism when the domain was almost exclusively male. She is known for her sharp intellect and literary prowess, and earned an early reputation for tenacity and focus as an interviewer.

Presented by Poetry Ireland in partnership with the OPW.

Poetry Ireland’s principal supporters are the Arts Council of Ireland / An Chomhairle Ealaíon and Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Event Partners

  • OPW