Poetry Town poem for Ballycastle unveiled by Kate Newmann

Poetry Town poem for Ballycastle unveiled by Kate Newmann

Wed, September 15, 2021

Ballycastle’s place in this year’s Poetry Town initiative has been celebrated in a new poem by Kate Newmann.

Selected as Ballycastle’s Poet Laureate for the initiative, the bespoke ‘town poem’ was unveiled at a special event held at Sheskburn Recreation Centre on September 11th which also saw Ballycastle Creative Writers’ Group launch its new anthology, ‘An Unfinished Thought’.

Ballycastle is the only location in Northern Ireland chosen to participate in the all-island literature festival which celebrates the pride, strength, and diversity of our towns.

Kate’s poem, which you can read below, seeks to honour and reflect the Poetry Town and its people.




That turn off the main road when the lighthouse beam

from Rathlin tells you where and who you are.


All-Day Breakfast and a bottle of Pinot Noir.


Great hugs from people who can greet you right.


Mist on Fairhead, out-of-season café,

a chip paper flapping like gull’s wing.


Armando’s ice cream and Armando’s ice cream.

A small child under a huge sky.

Sand, pebbles, tides teaching their own unstoppable.


The long-dead feeling our footfall on self-heal, sphagnum.

Solstice light aligning, shining into the deepest chamber of the heart.


Falling asleep outside to the soporific breath

of monkshood and old-fashioned roses.


Easter lilies rising up above all the flowers in Miss Thompson’s garden.


Two boys finding the flight and the fall and the flight

in the Lammas Fair swingboat. Long before

one was swallowed by his own Slough na Mora.


The boat to Rathlin – out of this world.



The poem is also available to read alongside other Town Poems here on the Poetry Town website and will be distributed widely as a special printed placemat.

Poetry Town activities will continue in Ballycastle and online until September 18th 2021.

In honour of Marconi, a special focus for Ballycastle is the celebration of language as sound and communication. A Poetry Jukebox has been installed at the Seafront where at the push of a button you can hear a reading which showcases the work of local Ballycastle writer, Heather Newcombe and Belfast’s Mairtín Crawford, read by poets, family and friends.

You can also call in to local participating pharmacies and cafés for your Poetry ‘prescriptions’ and ‘take-away’ printed poems, spreading the love of words to all. 

On Culture Night, which takes place on Friday 17th September, a special event will be held at Sheskburn Recreation Centre to launch three new poetry books by Teresa Godfrey, Matthew Rice and John D. Kelly. Books will be available to purchase and the authors will be happy to sign copies.

The grand finale event on Saturday 18th September at the Recreation Centre will include music, poetry and dancing. There will be readings by local writers from Ballycastle Creative Writers, Poet Laureate Kate Newmann, Shorna Meggitt, music from harpist Dervla Gardiner and her sister Eva, and presentations by World Champion Irish dancer Catriona Newcombe.

Building on the legacy of the magnificent ‘Let Me take You To The Island’ literary festival on Rathlin Island developed by Heather Newcombe and the Ballycastle Writers, Poetry Town aims to revive those connections and look forward to better days ahead

For the very latest information go to or

Poetry Town is an initiative from Poetry Ireland in partnership with Flowerfield Arts Centre, Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council and literary arts production company Quotidian – Word on the Street. It has been made possible with funding from the Arts Council of Ireland’s Open Call funding, and is also supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Ballycastle’s Poetry Town Poet Laureate Kate Newmann. Ballycastle’s Poetry Town Poet Laureate Kate Newmann pictured with Maria McManus from Poetry Ireland. Pictured in Ballycastle during the Poetry Town event are Poet Laureate Kate Newmann, Maria McManus (Poetry Ireland), Shorna Meggit (Heather Newcombe’s daughter), Desima Connolly (Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council) and Kerry Ann Newcombe (Ballycastle Writers’ Group).