Hearty is new Bard of Armagh with “The Culchie Gangster”

November 25, 2013

Glassdrummon man Martin Hearty was crowned Bard of Armagh at the annual Bard competition at the City Hotel in Armagh on Friday night last. In the performance of a lifetime, before an absolutely packed audience of 1,000 people from all over Ireland, Hearty was pronounced the winner to the delight of a large crown of supporters from the wider Crossmaglen area.

Spokesman for the judging panel,  Frank Galligan from Donegal said that Martin’s poem “The Culchie Gangster” not only involved the art of satire to a  high level, but was delivered magnificently and he had brought out the sheer humour in every verse, holding off the serious challenge of renowned bards from Cavan, Kerry, Sligo, England and many parts of the North.

Son of Terry and Sandra Hearty from the townland of Drumbally, Martin went to St Joseph’s High, Crossmaglen and did his A levels in the Abbey, Newry. His Bard- winning poem humorously romanticises the life of “The Culchie Gangster” in south Armagh with his macho image  and who is up to all forms of skulduggery.

“The cop’s couldn’t stop me, be God I was beltin ‘em. I was putting horses into burgers, and cattle into Cheltenha”.

Second prize when to last years winner Meath Champion  Sean Mc Cormack with his composition “Drunken Dream”, and third prize was shared between well known bards Jimmy Rafferty, Damien Mc Girr and Robb Barrack.

Also recommended in a night of high standard composition and delivery were Phyllis Murphy. John Mc Donagh. Eric Conn, Sean Lyons, Etty Kilbride, Damien Mc Conville, Paddy Montague and Paul Mc Ardle.

The Adjudication panel of Frank Galligan, Marie Mc Stay and Declan Mc Daid indicated that Hearty’s winning poem was a very original creation and that the excellent delivery was a strong factor in the final decision.

A spokesman for the Bard of Armagh Committee said they were very pleased with the number of new bards arriving on the scene, and with the sheer effort that goes into the creation of the poems and the nerve it takes to recite them before such a vast crowd.

“This was one of the best audiences ever. They came to enjoy themselves and to be part of a festival unique in these Islands. Where else would you get two hours of endless laughter and applause, and such a modern reinvention of a traditional Irish art of satirical, humorous poetry. This was a superb twenty first anniversary of the Bard Festival”.

Also present at the event although not taking part were celebrated south Armagh Bards Michael Quinn and Pat Mc Geeney, who welcomed the latest champion from the area to the distinguished roll of honour.

MP for Newry Armagh Conor Murphy said,

“I’m delighted that Martin Hearty has won the Bard of Armagh.  This is a prestigious title which is much sought after.  I know Martin as a man of letters and I am looking forward to following his future as a storyteller.”

Mayor of Newry & Mourne also congratulated Martin saying,

“Martin is a brilliant example of the talent which the young people of our District possess.  To have been selected as The Bard of Armagh out of all the other talented entrants really is something to celebrate and I wish Martin well for the future.”

Chairperson of Crossmaglen’s Morris Harvey Sinn Féin Cumann also commended Martin saying, “Fair play to Martin on winning the Bard of Armagh.  I have known Martin, son of our local councillor Terry Hearty, for many years.  People in this area will know that Terry is never stuck for words and it would appear that this trait has been passed through the generations.  I would like to congratulate Martin on behalf of all the members of the Morris Harvey Sinn Féin Cumann Crossmaglen.”