The Pope Rides to Longford, Raving to Leftfield, Becoming a Blacksmith at Body and Soul

Even by my standards, that’s quite a title, and takes some explanation of the Body and Soul experience this year… where I read as part of the Tullamore Rhymers, also taking part in The Circle Sessions in the grounds of the Walled Garden

Richard Brennan, Thomas Carty (Tomás Ó Cárthaigh) and Cormac Lally take the stage at Body and Soul in the Bulmers Lounge
Richard Brennan, Thomas Carty (Tomás Ó Cárthaigh) and Cormac Lally take the stage at Body and Soul in the Bulmers Lounge

Situated in a place beyond Delvin, which is beyond Mullingar, which is beyond Tullamore which is beyond the Shannon from my current base in Galway, Body and Soul was set to be a siege to get to, never mind get home from, but it was well worth it, as its reputation promised.

Ciaran Callan
Ciaran Callan: satired the anti equality campaign brilliant in a satire impromptu verse at “The Circle Sessions” at Body & Soul. Bad news lad: the North Longford Rosary Brigade now have your mugshot!

First up: of the title. The Pope Rides to Longford came from Ciaran Callan putting out a challenge of making an impromptu song, given three random items, a place, and action, and a person. I shouted Longford (wonder why???!!!), someone else shouted “The Pope!” due to the near rejection of the referendum there – though Roscommon did reject it, the Aughnacliffe ward was the highest ward to reject it nationwide, (or at least in the top five as far as I know), and a third person piped up “rides a horse”… given the latter I was kicking myself I didn’t shout “Banagher” due to the horse fair controversy.

Ciaran went on to do a brilliant satire of Holy Marys running to church, and the Pope riding into Longford (wherever it is!!!) on a horse, a good pun on Christ riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, and pointing out the lack of Christian charity in the churches opposition to the gay marriage / marriage equality referendum. Switching from reggaae style, to hip hop to the new genre of “gansta opera”… I was kicking myself I didn’t have it recorded.

Wherever that is, to which a few others asked “Where is it?” showing a general lack of genuine knowledge of geography outside of Dublin, they being a mere 30 odd miles from Aughnacliffe itself, never mind Longford in general.

Longford folk are not all conservative
Longford folk are not all conservative…

Aughnacliffe is my families home parish, also known as Colmcille, and notoriusly conservative in both the Catholic and Church of Ireland communities. However it has produced its share of rebellious folk, with locals of those of the local diaspora becoming figures in the Irish and UK Labour parties, such as Ann Cook (neé Hynes of Granard) in Swansea, and John Fullham in Liverpool, also of the Granard Fullhams and the Drakes of Ballinulty, and also myself who is beyond party politics at this stage, though my heart still support the AAA.

Its also where Mel Gibsons grandmother is from, hence the name from Longfords patron saint, and his little known second name of Colmcille. The fact the opposition to the marriage equality referendum was so high was no surprise due to emigration of the youth and the internal migration to towns and bigger cities of a lot of the youth are gone. The hotness of history since 1919 has seen the older generation keep an active interest in politics and a high level of voting turnout on matters that are of interest to them.

At the Circle Sessions, I read the old herring by now “Give to Me an Angry Sea“, with fellow Rhymers James Delaney doing his verse on Zombies… this was before we hit the stage with fellow rhymers Cormac Lally and Richard Brennan on our allotted slot at 16:00 in the Bulmers Lounge.

Cormac done a new poem, but stole the show with Ninja Baby Moves, Richard Brennans stand out piece was “Saturday” and I think the best one I did reception wise was one of the few non rhyming ones I do “There Is No Time for Art“. In addition to it, I had done Culture From a Cigarette Packet, and rose the issue of Banagher Horse Fair with Long May Horses Shit the Streets among others…

The day before conscript Dave Hynes shared the stage with James Delaney and David Mallaghan, whose Bridge House Carvery Dinner comedy piece took the biscuit, and James did an excellent pro-vegan piece he has just written. It didn’t convert me, but I appreciated the honesty of the piece.

Dave Hynes “Poem of P’s” is now among his collection of poems that comprise of words all starting with the same letter, theres a D poem, and F of course and now P… 23 more letters to go to complete that collection Dave!

Dave Hynes… a poem of P's

Posted by Thomas Carty on Friday, 19 June 2015

Dave of course was there with his own crew from A-musing, featuring Mark T Cox whose songs and verse on the gay dating scene were funny, Shauna Byrne I caught at two sessions of The Circle Session, her body positive poem being excellent, topical and heartfelt as usual, her other poem on the festival itself featured all of the folk at it, not just the hippies and the ravers but touching on “the folk who come on their own / fair dues to them / the folk who look sad and serius but inside are happy”, which describes me to a T if I do say so myself”

I can look like Im miserable betimes, and it has been said to me, when Im just chilling enjoying the abiance off wherever I am, in emotional nuetral mode. I can sit for hours, or walk around for hours just taking it all in, and be mad happy in myself in my own little world.

Mad I know, maybe I am a bit!

Alvy Carragher done her verse on date rape, a more common occurrence than is commonly thought and little talked of issue but that is changing thankfully. Stephanie Leonard I caught at the A-musings event, doing a funny piece on her efforts in the dating scene, common fodder in the comedy circuit, but she done it well.

There was a hippie in a hat who sang a great song “Alices Diner” at the Circle Sessions, which turned out to be a call to be a movement against war as much as it was a song in itself. It tells the story of dodging the draft, and points out the hypocrisy of asking a man has he stopped being anti social enough that he can be drafted to kill people.

Apart from Spoken word, the Comedy Tent was second to none. I didnt go to see Steven Bennet as I see him regular in Galway. I think I know his set by now better than he does, and its some set. Do catch him if you’ve never seen him before…

I did get to see three comedians, Fred ?, Elaine Tiernan, and the great Al Porter. Id heard of him, and on seeing him it was as if Id seen him from what Id heard of him. His jokes tell of seducing priests (nice to hear of priests having sex and both parties being consenting, so rare), an asexual nun (yes, really!) getting the leg over a woman for a change instead of shagging fellahs and so forth, all scattered among the regular comedic material that makes a set. He has a national profile as it is and he will be one to stay. Irelands answer to Alan Carr.

One camp act I missed was Steve Sharpe and the Broke Straight Guys when they played the Bulmers Lounge. He does sound engineer at the Roisin Dubh open mic night. I did catch the tail end of the MC of the said open mic night Tracy Bruen and her band. Tracey has a very full voice, and the band complemented the sound perfectly. Hers was a gig one would pay to watch.

Tracey Bruen and Steve Sharp of the Roisin Dubh sing one of their speciality songs… #bodysoul2015

A video posted by Thomas Carty (@tomjcarty) on

A nail and a pot - our Carty is more a blacksmith than a potter
A nail and a pot – our Carty is more a blacksmith than a potter

So, how did Carty become a blacksmith? Well, as to be expected it involved a Nazi’s forge, a six inch nail, and a very patient instructor. Yes… you DID read that right.

It just could not be any old mobile forge for our Carty, it had to be a mobile one, and from the German side! Got from Army Surplus stores it seems.

The items that were being made – a bottle opener – was made by flattening a six inch nail, turning it, and bending to shape before hammering it home. I managed to keep the bellows working, and wasn’t too bad at the hammering, and still have the bottle opener for posterity.

Unlike the pot I made, under the tutor-age of a very patient lady, who let me keep the potters wheel turning too as I made a botch of the pot to spite her best efforts to instruct me!

I also done carving in slate. As with using a chisel on wood, I found I am brilliant at marking out… its when the chisel gets into my hand the trouble begins. It didnt go well, I wont make a stonemason anytime soon, so being the speculant I am my ambitions of being operative are not going to come true anytime soon!

I finally got down to see Leftfield, and for the one solid hour I was jumping up and down like the craziest fucker in the place. The Carty Shuffle is a sight at the best of times, and to rave music its in a league of its own! Ive been a fan of them since I lived in Birr, and was afraid between tracks I knew it would be full of rubbish music, as happened with the preceding act Nightmares on Wax.

But no. Every track was top notch, brilliant!

The best bit was after… walking to an ice cream van at midnight, eating a 99, as you do… and then going on the bumper cars before going to bed! Both the mad raver and little kid in me kept happy at the one time!

So, this morning I was up at 8, got to eat a crepe for breakfast, packed up my old kit bag, and was stepping in luck hitching. In ten minutes I got a lift to Delvin, after another 20 on to Mullingar, and then a bus to Galway… via Maynooth. Dont ask… Ill never make a travel agent!


The pot? It went to pot. Collapsed on itself down one side so I chucked it out. I still have the bottle opener, so if the security dries up, and the poetry doesn’t work out… I think Ill be a blacksmith!

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