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Irish Poetry & Music at the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival

May 27, 2018, 5:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Featuring Eamon Grennan

with David McLoghlin

Music by Daymark & Irish Step Dancing by Scoil Rince Luimni
purchase tickets for May 27


5 pm           Prelude Interview with Eamon Grennan & David McLoghlin
5:30 pm      Irish Music & Dance
6:30 pm      David McLoghlin
7:00 pm      Eamon Grennan
8 pm           Book Signing


  • $15 advance online purchase, $20 at the gate, ages 18 and under free.
  • Parking is always free.



  • Food, wine and other beverages may also be purchased on site from gourmet food vendors.
  • Iron & Grain Co. will be located on the front lawn.
  • A bartender will be serving red and white wine in the Garden.
  • Festival attendees are welcome to bring their own picnic suppers.

Accessibility at the SGPF

Hill-Stead is proud to make the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival accessible. Wheelchair ramps are available, and many volunteers are on hand to assist the mobility impaired. An accessible section is reserved close to the main stage, and a large-print edition of the program book is available on-site.

Hill-Stead makes every effort to ensure that deaf and hard-of-hearing people feel welcome. ASL interpreters are provided at the main Poetry stage (depending on interpreter availability) or by request in advance at

For additional poetry events, see our Calendar.

Eamon Grennan was born in Dublin, Eamon Grennan attended boarding school at a Cistercian monastery. He met Derek Mahon and Eavan Boland as an undergraduate at University College, Dublin, spent a year in Rome, and then came to the United States to earn his PhD at Harvard. He began writing poetry in earnest in 1977 and published his first collection, Wildly for Days, in 1983. He is the author of more than 10 collections of poetry, including There Now (2016), Out of Sight: New and Selected Poems (2010), Matter of Fact (2008), The Quick of It (2005), Still Life with Waterfall (2002), and Relations: New and Selected Poems (1998). Grennan has also written a book of essays, Facing the Music: Irish Poetry in the 20th Century (1999). He won the PEN Award for poetry in translation for Selected Poems of Giacomo Leopardi (1997), and the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets for Still Life with Waterfall (2002). He has also won several Pushcart Prizes. He has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Grennan was the Dexter M. Ferry Jr. Professor of English at Vassar College until his retirement in 2004. He divides his time between Poughkeepsie, New York, and western Ireland, and his poetry shows the imprint of both lands. Of his fitting resident alien status, Grennan notes, “I live at a sort of distance, an angle to the place I live in.”

David McLoghlin is an Irish poet and literary translator, and the author of Waiting for Saint Brendan and Other Poems (Salmon Poetry, 2012), part of which was awarded second prize in The Patrick Kavanagh Awards. David’s second collection, Santiago Sketches, was published by Salmon Poetry on 25th July 2017. Sign Tongue, his rendering of the work of Chilean poet Enrique Winter, won the 2014 Goodmorning Menagerie Chapbook-in-Translation prize. David is also a contributor to Suns, a pamphlet/chapbook of translations of Winter’s poems (Cardboard House Press, 2017), and the author of The Magic Door, an early chapbook (Blue Canary Press, Milwaukee, 1993). David received first-class honors from University College, Dublin for his research MA in modern Spanish literature, and holds an MFA in Poetry from New York University, where he was a Teaching Fellow. He received a major Literature Bursary from The Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon in 2006 and was the Howard Nemerov Scholar at the 2011 Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Most recently, he was a prize-winning finalist for the 2015 Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize, judged by Billy Collins. He has taught at University College, Dublin, NYU and Coler-Goldwater Specialty Hospital, and served as Resident Writer at Hunts Point Alliance for Children in the South Bronx. David lives with his wife in Brooklyn, NY, where in June 2016 they ended a three-year run as the founders and hosts of The Eagle and the Wren reading series, where they hosted almost 150 writers, pairing Pulitzer-Prize winners and Guggenheim Fellows with exciting emerging writers and poets.

Daymark is an international trio performing traditional Irish music infused with infectious energy, raw power, and Northern swagger. Fusing the talents of Will Woodson (flute, border pipes), Dan Foster (fiddle) and Eric McDonald (guitar, vocals) the group presents a classic blend of wind and string as driving flute meets virtuosic fiddle, underpinned by well-considered and expertly delivered guitar.

Each member of the trio had carved their individual musical pathways and style from diligent listening and study, extensive travels, and numerous performances in Ireland, Scotland, England, America, and Canada before meeting at the Northern Roots Festival in Vermont during the winter of 2016. Over a long night of music, they discovered a natural and complementary fit of individual styles, as a well as a mutual interest in the same corners of the Irish tradition. Sharing a love for the music of generations past, in Daymark’s sound one can hear the echoes of Irish-American dance halls from the 1920s and 30s, alongside the lonesome tones of Donegal country fiddlers and the rollicking smoky pubs of Northern England’s immigrant neighborhoods. Taken together, these influences merge into a music that’s very much part of the present; it’s a sound that’s urgent and wild, held together by camaraderie that’s quite audible. This is the foundation of their music. What emerges is intimate enough feel at home down at the local pub, big enough to fill a festival stage or a concert hall.

Scoil Rince Luimni Irish Dance, founded by Courtney Jay TCRG, opened in July 2014 in South Windsor CT and has since grown to over 80 students from all over central CT, western MA, and beyond. The school now has two locations, the main studio in South Windsor, CT and a satellite location in Farmington, CT. Classes are available all year round for children ages 3 and up as well as adults. In the children’s program students start in a beginner class according to their age and work their way through the curriculum of basic steps and techniques. Along the way dancers are encouraged to participate in performances but are not required to do so until or unless they are comfortable with the idea. Students who enjoy performing and are ready to compete also have the option to enter Irish dancing competitions called “feis” through An Coimisiun le Rinci Gaelacha. Outside of the studio, SRL fosters sense of community amongst our families to create lasting memories, friendships, and life lessons that will stay with our dancers for years to come.

Courtney began dancing at age 6 at her local Irish dancing studio and instantly fell in love with the energy and music. After climbing the ranks in the competitive Irish dance arena, Courtney set her sights on receiving specialized training at the University of Limerick in Ireland to further her skills. Learning under some of the best instructors and mentors in Irish dance Courtney went on to become a two time World medalist and top 10 at the All-Irelands, North Americans, and All Scotlands, as well as regional champion in both solo and team dancing. Following a successful competitive career, Courtney jumped straight into teaching by passing her Irish dance teaching certification through An Coimisiun le Rinci Gaelacha. Courtney returned to Connecticut and founded Scoil Rince Luimni, meaning “Limerick School of Dance,” a nod to her Irish home and launch pad to her career. Courtney also travels to schools in North America to teach and refine choreography for high level competitions.

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