Wine, Poetry, and Some Music Thrown in for Good Measure

Last semester Champlain Abroad Dublin held their inaugural Wine and Poetry night. The event last semester was spearheaded by the students and included students from NCI, the National College of Ireland. This semester, on the heels of the successful night from last semester, the staff here in Dublin set up another poetry event. Joining us this semester was Irish poet Stephen James Smith. Stephen is at Dublin native and brought along his close friend Enda Reilly, a singer/songwriter who sings solely in Irish. Having two seasoned veterans in the room helped to make this a more relaxed environment for everyone involved.

Brian Monaghan performing
at Wine & Poetry evening
with Champlain Abroad Dublin
Alex Kirol performing
at Wine & Poetry evening
with Champlain Abroad Dublin

To get into the dirty details of the night, there was wine and poetry. Well, let me elaborate. There was also good people who all held mutual interest not in just writing or wine, but in socialization. The night centered around performances ranging from yes, poetry, but also some musical renditions, and one beautiful rendering of George Watsky’s A Letter to My 16 Year Old Self. A poem about cats received boisterous laughs from all in attendance and cemented itself as one of my favorites of the night. Both writing majors and other majors joined in with performances or stories, or just as a way to get to know each other collectively. As the wine flowed, the words flowed even smoother for poet Stephen James Smith. Smith performed three or four poems to the group to get everyone comfortable and thinking. His poetry ranged from self-reflections laced with humor and wordplay to more serious topics talking about depression, anxiety and other issues that people face on a daily basis. Following up Stephen was Enda.

Will Saxe performing
at Wine & Poetry evening
with Champlain Abroad Dublin

Now Enda was something extremely special. As I stated above, Enda writes music with lyrics in Irish. On this particular night he performed a few selected songs off of his newest album and serenaded a group of American students in Dublin with a soft voice reminiscent of a folk singer. After performing a few of his original songs, he teamed up with Stephen to perform some of the songs that they had created together. With Enda’s guitar styling guiding the poetry of Stephen a truly magical scene was created. One of the final pieces that was performed for the night was an old Irish poem that Enda strummed along to as Stephen performed the poem in Irish. It ended the night of poetry on a spectacular note.

The last 30 minutes of so of the night was spent just talking with Stephen and Enda. Both Stephen and Enda had great suggestions for other poetry reading nights and ways to avoid the tourist trap that is Temple Bar. Between the two of them we were all able to learn about some incredible areas to grab a pint, socialize and experience culture in Dublin.


Stephen James Smith in Action. 

For you future students, who I hope keep up to date with this blog, if you have the chance to go to the Wine and Poetry Night, do it. Not only is it a great chance to hear some poetry and drink wine, but a great way to get to know everyone much better. Don’t sleep on this event and go have fun!

Nick Veazey
Champlain Abroad Dublin, Spring ‘14
Champlain College, Secondary Education ‘15

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