Bullets, Bells & Blues


Saturday, October 13th

Afternoon event, 2.40pm – 6pm

Town Chambers, Library, venue to be confirmed


1.45pm to 2.30pm

Irish Arts & Writers Festival features Bullets into Bells contributor Tess Taylor, and readings and conversation with our poets from Northern Ireland.

Focused intensively on the crisis of gun violence in America, this volume brings together poems by dozens of best-known poets, including Billy Collins, Brenda Hillman, Robert Hass, Juan Felipe Herrera, Mark Doty, Rita Dove, and Yusef Komunyakaa.

Each poem is followed by a response from a gun violence prevention activist, political figure, or survivor, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jody Williams; Senator Christopher Murphy; Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts; and survivors of the Columbine, Sandy Hook, Charleston Emmanuel AME, and Virginia Tech shootings.

The result is a strong collection of poems and prose that speaks directly to the heart, and a persuasive testament to the need for gun control.


Stuart Bailie

2.40pm – 3.20pm

Stuart Bailie is an Irish journalist, broadcaster, and founder of the Oh Yeah music centre in Belfast. From 1988-1996 he wrote for the iconic music magazine, New Musical Express, including a period as the Deputy Editor. He has presented shows for BBC Radio Ulster since 1999. His book, Trouble Songs, details the history of the music that was popular during the Troubles. Stuart describes it as “an account of how music has been a persuader, agitator and peacemaker.”

Trouble Songs is the story of music and conflict in Northern Ireland since 1968. It is told through the words of Bono, Christy Moore, The Undertones, Stiff Little Fingers, Orbital, Kevin Rowland, Terri Hooley and The Miami Showband survivors. It tells how musicians from punk, folk, rave and rock have responded to violence, bigotry and shocking events. The Irish Times described Trouble Songs as ‘a social history as much as a musical one’.

Stuart says music was the real unsung hero of the violence, and he claims that acts like The Undertones, Stiff Little Fingers and U2 helped bring peace to the province.


Gerald Dawe

3.30 – 4.15pm

Gerald Dawe is an award-winning poet and writer from Belfast, and a retired Professor of English and Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin. He has published eight collections of poetry, most recently Mickey Finn’s Air in 2014. Dawe has been an influential editor and critic for several decades. He is the editor of a wide range of books, including Earth Voices Whispering: An Anthology of Irish War Poetry, The Cambridge Companion to Irish Poetry, and Ruined Pages, the selected poems of Padraic Fiacc.

In Another World: Van Morrison & Belfast, recently published by Irish Academic Press, is Dawe’s personal response to the musician and the city, giving a unique perspective on the ‘50s and ‘60s Belfast music scene.

Struck by the extraordinary brand of rhythm and blues that was Morrison’s brainchild, Dawe’s book is a celebration of the inspirations that underlie Morrison’s music. Silhouetted in the work is Belfast, moody and vibrant, and the formative influence of the pre-Troubles northern capital on Morrison’s musical direction.

“…another world indeed, a past captured in these bittersweet essays might also stand for a possible future” – Fintan O’Toole, Irish Times.



Outdoor Stage Civic Center Plaza

4pm – 6pm

Shana Morrison began her career by performing with her father, Van Morrison, before going on to perform in the San Francisco Bay Area with her own group Caledonia in 1996. Her debut CD, Caledonia, was released on her own label, Belfast Violet Records, in 1998. It was later picked up by the Monster Music label in 1999.

Rolling Stone has described Morrison as having “a smooth, elastic voice and a style that lands between jazz chanteuse and rock chick.”

Her musical style has been called pop with a side of blues and a side of rock and includes a broad range of influences such as blues, R&B, country, rock and jazz. While the bulk of her performances showcase her own diverse and mature songwriting talents, Morrison throws in a few choice cover tunes by such greats as John Lee Hooker, Bill Withers, or papa, Van Morrison.

Toast Inspectors & Friends

1.30pm – 3.30pm

Due to unforseen circumstances, the Kennelly Irish Dancers will not be performing today.

The Toast Inspectors are: Vince Keehan, Kenny Somerville and Cormac Gannon and they they play a blend of Irish, American and other folk songs – with everybody in the band singing and playing a variety of instruments including, mandolin, tenor guitar, uilleann pipes, banjo, guitar and bodhrán. Quite a unique sound!

Guest appearance by fiddler Shawn Prudhomme

FREE 1.30pm – 3.30pm