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We were also graced by the appearances of Champions of Performance Poetry Colin Hassard (Banbridge) and Jimmy Rafferty(Armagh) both poets revered in their selected styles

 And what can one say about Dynamic Dymphna from Dungannon. She had us in stitches with her yarns about smuggling sausages  and Timbuktu! Her Big Tom poem was a fitting salute to a great entertainer. Also on stage during the night Brendan McGrath;country melody. Mark Brownlee; original poetry.Ann Gilmartin; story telling. Marguerite Kelly; singing A bunch of Thyme. McGrath brothers, Declan & Brendan; mandolin/guitar trad music. Limerick laughs competition won by Dymphna via audience clapometer with a very strong 'Fantastic' followed by Ann, Byddi, Jimmy,and Joan. well done everyone! Malachi with a weather warning 'Casting clouts' and finishing with Finbar and Breige. Great night FOR A £5!

Mel will appear at Abbey Lane Open Mic Night Friday 26th Jan. First excerpt appropriate for the weather that's in it:


for Pat and Fiona McParland

When the storm arrived in the small hours of the night

we were unprepared-

it flicked up slates, whipped off roofs

and found its voice in the dry throat

of our attic.

Our hearts shook

as if our lives had been entered

by an intruder

and our words to each other

were as gentle as the leaves dropping

onto lawns as the wind passed.


TIESfor Anne McParland

Such a simple deed

now marks the passage of time.

I bend to tie my mother's shoes

where once she bent for mine.



A wonderful turnout for the first Open Mic of 2018 in Abbey Lane Theatre and a great response for our guest poet Mel McMahon. Mel thrilled the audience with his poems from his collection 'Out of Breath' and the endearing stories behind his work. Thanks again Mel. Along with Mel we were graced by the presence of two of Northern Ireland's leading promoters of poetry in Geraldine O'Kane and Colin Dardis from Crescent Arts Centre OMN which has been running for the past 6 years in Belfast. Catch it on the first Friday of the month 8.30 start (Purely Poetry). Thanks for calling, Colin and Geraldine, and your contributions, first class!

It's always difficult to follow great acts but Dymphna Ferran easily rose to the challenge and got us all laughing with her Bus driver yarns. John Goodwin's ''Building up and tearing England down'' was his first contribution in Abbey Lane and likewise Peter Carragher another first time visitor used his bardic skills in his poems of 'Mary Ann' on her bike and the 'The fight in Crossmaglen'. Brilliant stuff Peter and hope to see you'se both back next month.

Thomas Healy; Harp, poems and songs, Daniel Corrigan; original song/guitar, Lughaidh O'Domaile; banjo, Kevin 'Willie' Trainor; original song 'The tail of the Hare' Theresa; sang a Carol King song, Joan and Joe McCool; duet piece poetry and whistle'Michael Callaghan sang; 'Eileen is waiting for me', Dymphna slipped in with another poem (which the jury is out on) Pat Prunty sang; Robbie Burns' ''Peace and joy, love and pleasure'' capping a fantastic night.

'Limerick Laughs' was  competed strongly for by Pauline McKee, Tim Hanna, Bridie Heaney (by proxy Aisling and Colin) Peter Kelly, Dymphna , Pat Prunty and myself . Management introduced new technology to smooth the decision making process which had fallen into disrepute and presented the audience with an online Clapometer. This science indicated Tim Hanna as the winner as the strongest 'FANTASTIC' score. He won a meal for two at the nearest park bench, Pat Prunty chocolates and Pauline McKee wine. The jury is also out on the Clapometer .

NEXT OMN FEBRUARY 23RD Details of guests and Limerick's laughs competition coming soon.


Peter Kelly's limerick

The crowd that attend the John Hewitt

Have made it  quite clear why they do it.

They say that Armagh, Is a place above par

That exceeds expectations - I KNEW IT!!


And the winner by overwhelming audience approval,

Eva Powell (age8)

There was a wee woman from Armagh

Who wanted to travel quite far.

She decided on Milford, but had no will for it.

So she sat at home by he fire.

Excellent Eva, well done and congrats on winning the Meal voucher for EMBERS RESTAURANT ,ARMAGH.


Writers teach and entertain

Poets profess their sweet refrain

With use of quill or pencil or pen

The power of the sword is blunted and drained

Of blood and evil, keeping life humane.



Apology for a sideways on David. He is now off his back and walking with a knee brace, plaster removed.

Hope this image is upright and of a pre-fall David.

David Braziel colour


Inspiration for a poem can strike anytime, anywhere and the appearance of a butterfly at our OMNight in a baltic February triggered two such odes. Coming down from the rafters for the heat of the spotlights Mother nature's entertainer stole the show from us fumbling humans.

The Intruder

by B. Rodney

A butterfly appeared tonight

in the middle of a song, and fluttered

fleetingly into the beat.

I watched its struggle to find the light

that it might land and feel safe for a while.

And I imagined that's

what we had in common, that winged

intruder and I- flopping fearlessly,

fearfully searching for a sanctuary..


And then I got distracted by

a poem, or was it a story? A tale?

Yes, a tall tale.



Open Mic Flight

by M Kelly

February flutters by,

In winter's grasp

A butterfly

Lent a glimpse of summer's heat

A welcome unseasonal treat

To an audience appreciating art

While Mother Nature tears apart

Any challenge, provide we might

To her, poetry, her song, her flight.





Our monthly series of Open Mic Nights finished on a high last Friday with a great variety of talent on show featuring Actors, Buskers, Poets, Storytellers, Musicians, Singers and a 'chancy' Limericks Laughs competition. As with all these nights they would not be as successful without our talented contributors who we thank wholeheartedly. We started the evening with sketches performed by ATG  members highlighting scams that Policing &Community Safety  Partnership use in their public programmes in the ABC council area. Owen McCreesh (local busker and youtube sensation) then took to the stage to entertain us with his distinctive style and take on old classic hits of the 60's and 70's. Next we had the World renowned Jimmy Rafferty, poet  and Bard of Armagh multiple winner, to regale us with his humorous rhyme. Jimmy was just back from winning Tralee Bard 2017 and tried out new material on our enraptured audience. Half time came quick and we hadn't even heard from our loyal monthly contributors. Thomas Healy(original poetry)Tim Hanna (rip off poem) Felim Raffferty (Christmas poem original) Dymphna Ferran

(her light hearted poem on the serious subject of Dementia ) and acknowledgement of her ??birthday from all in Abbey Lane.

Elma and Curtis duo Mandoline players, Michael Callaghan( singalong songs) Ann Gilmartin (story, A Christmas tale) and then we had a close run LIMERICK LAUGH's competition with wonderful prizes. Tim Hanna's effort was a sure winner until Sandra Armstrong, just finished writing hers and rocked the place with a five line ditty about thighs and stockings... acted out to leave nothing to doubt. We all loved it!!! and she ran off with the 1st prize appropriately a Christmas stocking. a disappointed Tim won second prize of 6 mince pies. And insult was added to injury as 3 of the pies had been eaten by 'The Woodford Wolves' at the back. Big thanks to Bridie Heaney with our tribute to Patrick Kavanagh and Oscar Wilde anniversaries. And our faithful techy moonlighting on sound and lights Aisling Kelly. NEXT OMN JANUARY 26TH 2018. Seasons greetings and continued writings for the new year.


Where do you start. A night of Drama, Music, Humour,Poetry, Storytelling, Singing and adlibs. If we aren't promoting local talent in many aspects of the arts ....Well I'll eat a Witches hat!

To all who took part... Monique and David with scenes of the forthcoming play 'Gaslight', on in the Studio Theatre in Market Place 9th-11th Nov. A full house in Abbey Lane were enthused by their wonderful acting followed by Liam Mohan (Zac Brownband), Dymphna (sketch) ,Malachi (Spike Milligan poem), Daniel Corrigan (orginal guitar piece) ,Bridie (poetry),Pat Prunty and Eoin Kelly (trad), Michael Callaghan (song) Ann Gilmartin (storytelling)Thomas Healy (orginal poetry)Paddy Mohan (songs) Malachi (orginal story) Kathleen Duffy (singing Spinning Wheel), Melonie Banting (orginal poetry)William Andrews (Bluegrass banjo) accompanied by Daniel on guitar and Eoin on Mandolin . Thomas (Ed Sheeran song), Pat Prunty (Humour ballad), Madeleine Kelly (bandage joke)...A BIG BIG THANK YOU.

Winner of the 'Limerick Laughs' competition....1st DYMPHNA FERRAN, DUNGANNON... 2nd Bridie Heaney.... 3rd Monique Rennie. Thanks all for partaking.


1 )I want to run free                   4)I want a warm home

    I want to live on                       A family to treasure.

    Like the wind and the rain         My wife not denied

   Like pleasure and pain               My girls by my side 

   Like birdsong                           Such a wealth can't be measured-

  I want to live on.                      A family to treasure


2) I want to feel life,              5) I want back my childhood

   Like roots in the soil               My growth to a man

  Or the bugs and the worms     My strength and my wildness

  That wriggle and squirm         My humour and mildness

  And live just to toil-               My days by the Bann

Like roots in the soil                My growth to a man


3) I want to know love        6)I want to go hunting

   A passion within                To walk till I drop

  That must be obeyed         And savour the taste

  That cannot be swayed       With never a waste

  But can block out the din-    The chase never stops-

A passion within.                  To walk till I drop


7)I want to feel earth

I want to plant seeds

And then I could know

What will blossom and grow

To outshine the weeds-

I want to plant seeds.

 I want to run free. But then -that's always been me...



Penned by famous Tyrone poet and humourist Dymphna Ferran:


There was a young teacher from Grange;  Who in the classroom acted so strange.

He made the pupils all stand, with their heads in their hands

While he riffled their pockets for change.


and value for money Dymphna had another up her jumper!


There was a vegetarian called Joe; Who went out to the garden to hoe.

He tripped on a carrot, Now he's sick as a parrot,

And the hoe,  it when right up his .............nose.

Dymphna said she really enjoyed her bottle for wine first  prize. Well done Dymp's

Reemeber June's Limerick Laughs subject is Politicians!!