Friday, October 29, 2010

What happened to solidarity and protest?

We've been working again with Inkstorm, thinking about what happened on Culture Night and what the event produced, for the poets, for the public and for us.  It was a pilot study for both of us to get a sense of how people reacted to the concept and to see what kinds of poems and subjects poeple asked for.
Our main question since has been what can we do with this?  We've looked around and noticed frustrations at the lack of reaction to an economic crises that's affecting us all.  For example, a seventy-five year old neighbour asked me the other day, why didn't people stand outside the courthouse in solidarity when the lorry driver who drove his cement mixer into government buildings was being sentenced.  She was so frustrated at the lack of solidarity and protest.  If we are to propose a public intervention, a socially situated art project, is there a place for us to engage in protest?
We're currently playing with a proposal that places itself in the lineage of written and spoken art forms such as Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed, from Latin America, which uses audiences reflection and transformation of scenarios to provoke reflection on social conditions; the speeches and communiques of the Mexican social movement Zapatismo, which invokes the power of the word to connect peoples experiences, and the South African praise poet, the Griot, whose sharp eye and voice is trained on their national leaders.
A Poetry Depot for protest....?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Poets Perspective

The poetry depot in the Milk Market started, for me, with a little boy in a football jumper, first pushing his sister towards the poets gathered at their tables, then coming in himself. He asked me for a poem about an ·army man·, who saved the world. A few questions elicited images of this army man climbing cliffs, leaping out of planes, and generally kicking a lot of ass. I wrote it for him as a kind of rap, with a lot of rhythm and repetition, and he was delighted with it. By the time I´d finished his poem there was already a bubbling queue of people going out the door, and all of the writers were either talking folks through the poem they wanted, or had their heads down writing. From then on we didn´t stop for a moment. As soon as one person had had their poem read to them, and expressed their delight or amazement, sometimes their unexpected tears or laughter, another one was clearly waiting for the nod, up they came, "Hi, my name is......I´d love a poem for my father/husband/wife/puppy/disneyland trip/marathon." What struck me with everyone was just how incredible it was for them to watch their own lives give birth to poetry, just like that, how happy they were. For my own part I was surprised how easy it was to keep writing and writing; the lines flowed endlessly out of me, and a lot of it was good stuff. Two and a half hours of non stop poetic productivity, and I felt like I could have kept going and going with it. Writer´s block seems impossible when you´re doing for the sheer fun of seeing people´s faces light up.
Dave Rock

Sunday, September 26, 2010

SpiritStore Poetry Depot at Limerick Culture Night

Culture Night Limerick 2010 has come and gone, and the first SpiritStore Poetry Depot opened for business.
We were delighted with the crowds that turned up to commission a poem, and the appreciation and enthusiasm shown by all. Huge thanks to everyone who supported the event and especially to the 45 poeple who commissioned poems and came up with inspiring ideas.  Finally we are very grateful to the poets who generously gave their time and energy to each person who came to them. In the photos above are, on the right, poet Elaine Cosgrove (Galway) with one of her commissioners. On the left, Dave Rock (Founder Inkstorm, Galway), Sheila O' Donnell (Limerick), Teri Murray (Limerick), Mike mcCaughan (Galway) and John Carmody (Limerick).

Finally thanks to Viola Janvari, Tracy Fahey, Maria Kelleher and Colin Cox for their PR work on the day.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Poetry Depot at the Milk Market on Culture Night on Friday Sept 24th from 5pm to 7pm.

The inspiration for the SpiritStore Poetry Depot first came from a feature on Public Radio International ( available on your iPhone as an App if you do that sort of thing!) on the Miami Poetry Collective who had taken to the street with their typewriters to write poems on demand. (

SpiritStore and Inkstorm first came together in early summer to discuss the possibilities of running a similar event here in Ireland, with some additions to suit the context we're working in. To write a poem in this immediate way requires the talent of the poet but it also depends on the contribution made by the person who commissions the poem. We particularly want to highlight the collaborative aspect of the interaction between poet and commissioner in our Poetry Depot.

The SpiritStore Poetry Depot on Limerick's Culture Night is our first official Poetry Depot, although recently we had a number of impromptu runs in Galway were we elicited the help of willing coffee drinkers who wandered into the cafe that was our office of choice!

The Milk Market on Culture Night on Friday Sept 24th from 5pm to 7pm... come early to avoid disappointment!
At the Poetry Depot your Poet has 10mins to compose your poem using your inspiration. You may already know what you’d like, simply jot down a few seeds of information for the poet.
If you don’t know where to start, SpiritStore and Inkstorm have come up with 10 questions which may help generate those seeds. Feel free to answer all or any of them, be as quirky, open or imaginative as you want, just go for it. Bring the Poet one of SpiritStore’s flyers with your questions filled in, have a quick chat and step away. Your Poet now has 10mins to improvise your personal poem, written while you wait.
The flyers will be available at the Milk Market from Friday 17th, but here’s a preview of the questions…

Before you start, what is the subject of this poem?

• Describe characteristics or the life of this person/place/object.
• What is the most interesting or important thing about this person/place/object?
• What other things does the person/place/object remind you of?
• Tell us about import moments this person/place/object makes you remember.
• How is your mood affected by this person/place/object?
• Describe in a couple of words the history or the story of this person/place/object.
• Describe activities associated with this person/place/object.
• What are the most memorable sounds/tastes/textures/images/smells that arise for you when you think of this person/place/object?

Who are Inkstorm?
Inkstorm was born in Galway in 2008 when poet and performer Dave Rock and children’s writer Benjamin Coombs joined forces to share their love of writing and storytelling. Inkstorm workshops take the pressure and angst out of writing, instead allowing participants to play with language and have fun, while producing meaningful work. Inkstorm have enjoyed a string of successful workshops across England and Ireland.
For this collaboration with SpiritStore, Inkstorm have brought together a group of writers of different levels of experience who are excited by the challenge of working in this format.
Thanks to the support of Culture Night Ireland 2010/Limerick City Arts Office. And again a huge thank you to Paul Dowling our Graphic Designer.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Culture Night - Limerick 2010

'Up to 500,000 people are expected to attend events in 20 cities, towns, counties and islands across Ireland next month to mark Culture Night 2010.
Among the popular events lined up on September 24th will be painting, poetry, dance, opera, traditional music, architecture, history and theatre.
This is the fifth year of Culture Night, with the event expanding to 20 different places throughout the Republic, including the Gaeltacht islands of Tory and Inis Meáin. Events will also take place in Derry and Belfast. ' Irish Times, August 18th 2010

This year on Limericks Culture Night a full programme of events is scheduled and we're part of it.
Come and participate in SpiritStore’s 'Poetry Depot ' in association with 'Inkstorm'.
A Poetry Depot is a pop-up poetry shop. A place where poets compose personalized poems for you on the spot, based on topics, themes or forms suggested by you. Commission a poem for someone, about someone or commission a poem for yourself about any old thing !

More details to follow...

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Bourkes Basement

Bourkes Bar on Catherine Street recently posted a short video of one of the many CATDIG events they hosted...have a look.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

PODCAST - Just One Record

NEAR FM, Dublins indie radio station were at Cheebah's - Just One Record - for CATDIG. Aoife NiCanna was there to participate and to record the entire event. This was broadcast last week, with more to follow.

Here's NEAR FM's podcast of the show...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

With and Around

This post is a slight repetition, but we've noticed that there has been a lot of discussion since CATDIG about artist-led or public-led events and DIY culture.

We'd like to add this to the agenda for a public feedback session.
Rather than work against a situation/regulations/restrictions, our philosophy is to work 'with' were possible (which has required a degree of empathy) and 'around' when necessary (lateral thinking!). We like to add this to the agenda, but not make it the main point.
To repeat, here are some of the issues we'd like you to consider -
We think it's important that projects like the CATDIG are independently sustainable, but also need to encourage that to happen, do you agree? A lot of the traders are talking about the possibility of doing this themselves next year....we want to hand ownership back to the street, how do you practically do that, can that work, how would it work, what experiences did the weekend give us to help that to happen...etc?

more images from CATDIG
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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thanks to Everyone for a Great CATDIG Experience

We're very happy with how everything turned out, we hope you are too! We're considering having an open feedback session some evening next week or the next , if you're interested, we'll keep you informed....this entails inviting the traders and yourselves for a cup of tea and doing a round up.
We think it's important that projects like the CATDIG are independently sustainable, but also need to encourage that to happen, do you agree? A lot of the traders are talking about the possibility of doing this themselves next year....we want to hand ownership back to the street, how do you practically do that, can that work, how would it work, what experiences did the weekend give us to help that to happen...etc?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Getting Your Words Down on Paper with Dave Rock and Ben Coombs at CATDIG

Dave Rock is a published poet and fiction writer, who has read all over Ireland and the United Kingdom. He is currently a PhD Fellow in NGUI studying Social Imaginaries. Dave is known to many in Limerick as a veteran 'Slam Poet', but this is his first visit to our city to lend us his experience as a creative writing workshop leader.
Ben Coombs is an award winning writer, with a Masters in Writing, who regularly writes for HOTPRESS and the IRISH INDEPENDENT. He currently lives in Galway city where he leads creative writing workshops that have earned him an excellent reputation.

What are they doing?
Ben and Dave will help you to release your inner writer, this creative writing workshop will be light hearted, fun and inclusive. Places are limited and are given on a first come first serve basis, so come on time and have fun!

Where, When and How?
Saturday 7pm - Writing Workshop - (surrounded by books at) The Little Catherine Street Bookshop - 90mins - Bring pen and paper!!!!!
Here's a quick sample of some of the activites and events that are happening over the CATDIG weekend, that's starting this FRIDAY 7th MAY!!!

Amanda Dunsmore is a visual artist based in Ireland. The subject matter of her diverse range of artworks originate from contemporary social contexts, presented through the media of video, sound, photography and installation. Recent works include the performance series Head in a Hole Woman and the multi-presentational public sound work Shhh Shhh Shhh - Bags, Streets, Windows Linz, Austria. Her historical context projects reflect on diverse acts of preservation and include the Keeper project.

What's she up to?
‘Others Have Their Heads – A subterreanian Intervention for CAT DIG’
In the summer of 2008 I found a hole in a rural road and put my head in it. I am intrigued by the simple visual metaphor of this action. The moment of production is an integral element of this artistic process, exploring location and exploiting site, with the aim of creating different and unusual contexts.

On the street!
Emmalena Fredriksson is a dance artist from Sweden. She graduated from SEAD, Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance in Austria in 2008, majoring in both performance and choreography. Since then she has worked as a freelance dance artist in Sweden, Germany, Austria and England, presenting her own work as well as collaborating with other artists, teaching and organizing events. Since September 2009 she is taking part in the Daghdha Mentoring Program in Limerick.

What's she up to?
“It’s a wrap, put your arms around me, you are an animal but I’m just lying here” a durational exploration of a simple movement, and a fascination for the double meanings of small words.

On the street!
Softday is a collaboration between Sean Taylor and Mikael Fernström that started in 1999, exploring ideas in multimedia art.

What are they up to?
Want to be part of a unique public sound art event?
Want to turn your mobile phone into a musical instrument?
‘Sonic City’ is an improvised sound art work designed to be played on mobile phones.
Softday (Sean Taylor and Mikael Fernstrom) in association with The Spirit Store , will work members of the public who are interested in getting involved in this unique project.

Interested participants are asked to meet the artists for a day long workshop at the French's Café in Catherine Street, Limerick at on Saturday 8th May 2010. Participants will take part in a sonic walk/tour of Limerick, they will also be introduced to audio recording techniques, and computer based editing software. The sound composition will be constructed from audio field recordings of the city of Limerick, which will be altered using computer based audio editing software. Each individual composition will be converted to MP3 or MP4 ringtones for the user’s mobile phone. The finished work will be performed live in public by the participants and their mobile phones as part of the ‘Softday Mobile Philharmonic’ at 4.30pm on Saturday 8th May in French's Café

Ailbhe Keogan is the author of the novel, Molly & the Cyclops, published by Hag's Head Press in 2006. ( She has just completed her first screenplay, Run and Jump, to be directed and produced by Oscar-nominated team, Steph Green and Tamara Anghie in association with Samson Films. The script was developed with the support of the Irish Film Board. It was selected as one of twelve to take part in the 2010 Berlinale Talent Campus Script Station and as one of only five projects for the Sundance Institute's June 2010 lab. Ailbhe Keogan studied Interaction Design in the University of Limerick and has a soft spot for Limerick. She currently lives in Kerry at the foot of a mountain.

What's she up to?
A talk – The Lifecycle of a screen play, from Script to Screen.

Little Catherine Street Bookshop

knee-jerk are a multi-disciplinary Artist Collective based in Galway. Concentrating on collective collaborations and site specific work, we are concerned with making the practice of art a more socially engaging experience. .

What are they up to?

"Hey, Catherine..Pass the Parcel!" - (Pass the 'Giant' parcel on Catherine Street)


Tracy Fahey is a Gothic devotee whose research interests lie chiefly in Gothic space and its interactions with literature, art, design and folk-tales. She has given papers in University of Aarhus, University of Cardiff, Stirling University, Trinity and All Saints, Leeds and University of Northampton on a variety of topics including Irish castles, domestic Gothic, fairytale architecture, Irish Gothic and werewolves.

What's she up to?
'Ghost Walk, Ghost Talk', is a look at the gory tales of Limerick hauntings, spectres, ghosts and monsters. All set to send shivers for the CAT DIG.Start on Catherine street and go on the ghost trail, return to a basement for a scary spine tingling story telling session featuring Limerick's own tales.
See the website for further info and to add your own experiences….

Saturday at 6pm > Ghost Walk > Meet at Bourke's Bar
Saturday at 8pm > Ghost Talk > Bourke's Bar Basement

Robin Parmar works with silence, sounds, words, photography, performance and theory. Recent credits include the sound installation "The Lights In Room 7" for the international e v+ a Exhibition (Limerick, Ireland), a paper on television programme Doctor Who (Cardiff, Wales), a sonic performance at "Die Gegenwart Von Jean Baudrillard" (Mainz, Germany), the diffusion of the soundscape composition "The Garden Of Adumbrations" (Limerick and Stockholm) and a chapter in the book "Framemakers: Choreography As An Aesthetics Of Change".

What's going on?
I wish to create an anecdotal soundscape of Catherine Street, a process which would start with collecting sounds in situ and end with a finished composition for playback.

Ongoing Event > Sound Art Installation > Goldmine Jewellers

More information at,

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

CATDIG programme is now available online..

The CATDIG programme is now available online, as well as at the ev+a 2010 office. You can download and print it from

Click here!

Also have a look at our wiki for a full rundown of whos who...

Calling for Volunteers

We are holding a meeting in the - Limerick School of Art and Design, Clare street, in the church seminar room, tomorrow evening (WED 28th) at 6.30pm.
We will be preparing the volunteers, talking about the press release, creating the press pack, and counting down the activities to be completed before May7th, as well as describing and alotting volunteer jobs.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for the CATDIG weekend, or you know of anyone who would be a reliable volunteer for the week leading up to the CATDIG and for the weekend please come and sign up!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

CATDIG Programme Ready

The programme is READY!!!! So while we were silent here for a week or three, we were hard at working matching places with people, talking to Catherine Streets proprietors and the myriad of participants who submitted ideas for events, we have now created a very packed and seriously cool programme for CATDIG
Expect to see a giant parcel passed through the street, take in a short movie at the outdoor pop-up cinema, catch a spontaneous tango on the street, listen to the author of ‘Alone It Stands’, tune your ears to the cello, take a theatre workshop at Faber studio or learn to edit sound for an art performance, add your story to a map of the streets history, make a noble call at the Big Hooley, trail limericks ghosts and spirits, write a screenplay, ponder a poem....all is possible and this is only a fraction of your choices!

A preview will be available online at our website shortly

...print it off and start planning your weekend.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

'Ghost Walk, Ghost Talk'

We love the ideas that are coming in!!!!

'Ghost Walk, Ghost Talk', is a look at the gory tales of Limerick hauntings, spectres, ghosts and monsters. All set to send shivers for the CAT DIG.
Start on Catherine street and go on the ghost trail, return to a basement for a scary spine tingling story telling session featuring Limerick's own tales.

See the website for further info and to add your own experiences....

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

CAT DIG Opening Event

At Flannery’s Bar on the street Friday May 7th, 6pm-7pm, the CAT DIG Opening Event is - In Conversation with John Breen.
John will be talking about the process of writing the acclaimed Limerick Rugby play, 'Alone It’s Stands' and the plays subsequent journey around the world.
A mystery guest will join the event.

We're extremely appreciative of the support that Limerick Theatre practitioners have been giving this project, Teaspach, Bottom Dog and Impact are discussing ideas, we know that Mike Finn and Miles Breen have been promoting the idea for the opening event, while at the same time preparing their own submissions. Expect, workshops, readings, talks and performances for the whole weekend!

A Taster of Whats to Come - CAT DIG

The SpiritStore team is hard at's a taster of what's to come for the CAT DIG weekend
There are at least three pieces of Sound Art inspired and using material from Catherine Street by different Artists proposed for the May Weekend.

The photo above is a sample of imagery from an Audio Visual collaboration between SpiritStore’s, Paul Tarpey and Composer John Lillis under the working title 'Hidden Hearing' (a Shop Name on The Street).
In true psychogeography form, a walking visual investigation takes place at Burkes Bar on the street. In this collaborative performance, Paul and John use Catherine Street images to dictate a live audio/visual map.
‘Softday’, artists Sean Taylor and Mikael Fernstrom are planning a live mobile phone symphony, calling on interested people to contribute sound recordings and will include a sound editing workshop.
Over the CAT DIG weekend Robin Parmar will create an anecdotal soundscape of Catherine Street, a process which would start with collecting sounds in situ and end with a finished composition for playback to pour onto the street.
Other events to date are…at Faber Studio space we have theatre practice workshops. 'Gretta Gibbs', shop window is a very intimate space for performance, dance and live acoustic music. Arches and doorways have incidental performances. The Little Catherine Street bookshop is set to host a literary fest. Outdoor cinema will be projected on the street walls, a Victorian peep show – not the rude kind! – gives us a snap shot of Catherine street past.

Outdoor spaces we hope people will consider are, the covered outdoor seating on the street, stepped - georgian doorways that lend themselves as intimate performance spaces, archways, pavements...

Bear in mind for instance that, the Bagel Factory on the corner of Thomas street has outdoor seating, a large canopy, outdoor heating and light, as do a number of the premises on Catherine Street.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Calling all...

Calling all, poets, archeologists, visual artists, singer song-writers, film makers, composers, musicians, playwrights, actors, directors, curators, historians, designers, social commentators, architects, astronomers, dancers, storytellers, scientists, puppeteers, moth watchers, novelists, screen writers, poets, psychologists, sociologists, cultural practitioners, researchers and more

Deadline March 31st........send us a short outline of your idea

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Packet and Tripe - the event

Packet and Tripe - ev+a 2010

 SpiritStore served over 100 dishes of limerick packet and tripe.
We would like to thank our collaborators and contributors:
Rod Gallavin – Packet and Tripe chef
Teaspach Theatre Company – logistics and coordination
St. Mary’s Park Social Group – research

55 House, Senior Citizens Social Group research
French’s Café - kitchen
Flannery’s bar – equipment
Fine Wines – wine sponsor
Pat Franklin cobbler - PR
Burkes bar – equipment
Faber Studios – location
Frankies – Frank Glynn’s Butchers – research and inspiration
O’ Connell Butchers – meat sponsor
Conway’s Butchers – research
Bean an Ti – bread sponsor
John Tarpey - graphics
Mike Finn – author and reader ‘Pigtown’
Darren Ryan – photography and film research
Anita McGrath – film research
Neville Gawley – photography
Mathew Gidney – tech support and film editing

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Participation Submission Deadline 31st March 2010

The deadline for participation in the SpiritStore CAT DIG (Catherine Street Culture Dig) is March 31st 2010. Please fill out a submission which can be found on our website at the following link.

This year as part of SpiritStore's participation in ev+a 2010, we are creating the Catherine Street Culture Dig (CAT DIG). Residents and traders of the street are participating with SpiritStore as hosts and instigators of a series of cultural events. To realise this weekly meetings are being held in various street venues to broker links between participants and the spaces and places offered by Catherine Street. The result will be a weekend of events - CAT DIG.
We envisage that participants will contribute to CAT DIG with a programme of talks, presentations, readings, screenings and workshops featuring various cultural activities and practices. We imagine a lively programme which includes, dance, theatre, trad, performance, archeology, architecture, film, literature, puppetry, experimental music, digital installations, sound art, etc, on the street all weekend.
Our aim is to partner venues and participants to create a lively dynamic match.The CAT DIG weekend will begin on Friday May 7th at 5.30 and finish at 5.30 on Sunday May 9th.

We are taking submissions to participate in CAT DIG until March 31st 2010. SpiritStore will broker the relationships between participants and locations/venues on Catherine street. We will correlate the list of participants and the list of venues. From this SpiritStore will create a programme of events. A flexable approach to participation based on the specifics of a location/venue is not only appreciated, but necessary. Finally, both SpiritStore and the traders of Catherine street are very excited by the project, all of us are volunteering our time and energy to ensure the CAT DIG is a success, we’d like to thank you for the generosity of your participation.
Please email the submission form to Alternatively, submission forms are available at Burkes Bar on Catherine Street, Limerick city centre. Completed forms can also be left behind the bar where we will collect them.