Scene of the Rhyme Preserved after Tullamore Rhymers Bandits Hijack the Eco Bus Cafe at Valentia Island Festival

It was a right Scene of the Rhyme – two days in a row, a captive audience were held at rhymepoint on the Eco Bus Café by gangsters from the desperados known as the Tullamore Rhymers Club, along with fellow Bandits in Verse Julie Goo, Ailish Kerr, Sean Dennihy and of course, waving his mandolin around as only a master of Mandolism can… the one and only Fergus Costello…

The Rhyming Bandits - Tullamore Rhymers Club and Guests at The Scene of the Rhyme on the Eco Bus Café at the Valentia Island Festival
The Rhyming Bandits – Tullamore Rhymers Club and Guests at The Scene of the Rhyme on the Eco Bus Café at the Valentia Island Festival

They were plotting to bring the house down, but the wind beat them to it. They were to be the opening act at the Secret Sounds tent at the festival, just outside Chapeltown on Valentia Island, but the wind had got to the tent as a full scale storm took hold, that Carty hadn’t seen since walking with the angry sea in Porto Torres!

So, a crisis meeting was held, where the dangers of the current situation was discussed, the small matter the tent might fall down on all beneath it, and the bigger crisis, it was so early and everyone was dying from the night before, that there may be too few for it to fall on bar ourselves! Fergus Costello was in a muddle over the lack of a mic and an amp, before coming to the realisation that the paint splattered lampshades hung from the ceiling of the tent looked like a murder scene…

You wouldnt see blood on the lampshades like this in Nenagh says Fergus Costello... and he shoud know!
You wouldnt see blood on the lampshades like this in Nenagh says Fergus Costello… and he should know!

There was only one thing for it, said Carty… knowing of the Blackwater Poets in Fermoy having a poetry bus to be posh, and Peadar O’DOnoghue having a Poetry Bus, allbeit a magazine, aka a manual for a Poetry Bus, Carty thought it about time the Tullamore Rhymers had a poetry bus… and there was an innocent bus full of folk dying of hangovers, coming down from whatever they were on the night before, who would offer no resistance.

The suggestion was made, the plan agreed, and The Kid Carty, in a scene William Bonney himself would have been proud of, had a “freindly word” with the owner, who promised to turn a blind eye to the captivity of his customers if Carty bought a coffee for himself!

So, in a deft movement, there was no escape for the folk upstairs, as Richard Brennan introduced all, the concept of what we were doing and opened the readings.

The gang itself had its casualties. Shauna Byrne was in First Aid (sleeping off the night before in her tent!), Cormac Lally hadn’t hit site yet, David Mallaghan dint make the gig at all due to a friends misfortune, but Carty held the stairs as Brennan gave the verse to the captives, who gave very little trouble!

Readings were given by David Hynes, myself (I read Ommmmmm, Long May Horses Shit the Streets, and There Is No Time for Art”), with Julie Goo doing a reading, Sean Dennihy being introduced, and Fergus Costello closing proceedings with stories of the music shop and the ordinary pliers among others! Sean Dennihy done two of his own, plus one by Sigerson Clifford “I am Kerry”, all from the top of the head.

On release of the audience for good behavior, to lie low, I went walkabout the island, exploring the neighbouring town of Port Magee and then end of the island, having been there earlier for breakfast. I was up to see the cliffs, and saw the view there of Skelligs, after which I wrote a “Looking Out at the Skelligs”, a new verse, as well as a story told of a new year when a strange procession went through Portmagee, which is called Kenavo, which is Breton for Goodbye.


The following day, for a walk I went up as far as the lighthouse, across to Kightstown, and back the Shore Road to the campsite outside Chapeltown, and the day was pleasant unlike the previous when the wind and rain iterally went through my jacket, and the wind nearly blew the tent off the field.

It is some climb down to the lighthouse, at Cromwells Fort, the most westerly point of civilisation we are told, outside of Iceland. It was so remote, it made Ballinamuck look like Dublin 4! A fantastic walk, but you would want to be fit for it.

On the second seizure of the bus, we had backup from Byrne and Lally, and drafted in Ailish Kerr to boot who done her “Love me Tinder” verse. Shauna Byrne had a cool outfit – so cool her freind Teresa from the B-mused team woke up up complimenting her on it when having a snooze earlier three tents away! – and read her staples, the ones on body image, the cranky boss, the domestic voilence issue which she also pointedo ut how men can be victims of too though the verse tells her story, and the wonderfully cryptic autobiographical “Alice” poem, hers being to poetry what Ebeneezer Goode was to music back in the day!

For variety, the only ones I repeated was “There Is No Time for Art” as it gets such good effect, I did my staples by now “Culture from a Cigarette Packet”, “Ommmmmm” among others.

Music acts I enjoyed: King Kong Company stole the weekend, I also enjoyed CPNHGN, and Donna Dunne. Id seen Donna before at some gig, it might have been Body & Soul, Im not sure. This time she done her usual cool music, and also a cover of Little Mix of all music to play, and a really cool Latin number, and a song on 1916. I could not catch the words to the latter due to the PA setup, so I dont know was it a positive verse or a peacnik criticism of it, but it sounded good regardless.

The Secret Sounds tent was hopping at 8pm on the Sunday, there was a really good DJ playing trance and old school music, and Carty was probably the only one not on pills, dancing around like a demented alien as if I was the only one who was!

Daddy G of Massive Attack didnt make it, so all the schedule was thrown together and out of kilter, so who was who was hard to keep track of in the Circus tent, there was one cool band, who I think were “The Young Ones”, with the female vocalist dressed in white with a massive red hat. Her singing was cool, and she was in Michael Lowry speak “easy on the eye” to boot… which also helps keep me transfixed!

A big thank you to the Eco Bus Cafe (website) for allowing us to use the bus for the readings, if you see them at Killarney Festival or Vantastic, call on over and tell them Tom of the Tullamore Rhymers sent you!

Next up for us is the home gig of Castlepalooza, our own night Scene of the Rhyme the night before, and then its off to Birr to visit the Fannings at Tin Jug Studio during Vintage Week. Mysel, Ill probably it in a couple of nights at the Roisin Dubh, and might pop up anywhere that will let me read a little. Readings at the Pallet is due up soon as well in Banagher, so it may be a busy few weeks ahead!

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