Armagh gets ready to celebrate 20 years of Bardic Revelery

November 10, 2014

12 counties represented in the Bard of Armagh Festival of Humorous Voice

The Bard of Armagh Annual Festival of Humorous Verse will celebrate its 20th year when it takes place on Friday November 21 in the Armagh City Hotel.

The event is known for delivering plenty of laughs and with a finalist from as far away as Canada joining the line-up of participants from Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and England, there is a distinct international feeling about this year’s competition.

The Bard of Armagh Annual Festival of Humorous Verse began in humble circumstances in Keady in 1992 and soon spiralled into a national phenomenon with would-be bards from all over Ireland and around the world coming to Armagh to take part in the ancient Irish art of satirical versification.

Poets and poetesses are judged not only on the quality of their writing but on the manner of their delivery, and over the years this has developed into an all-round brilliance to equal their illustrious fore-bearers down through history.

NITB’s Destination PR Officer, Pauline Gormley explains why the Bard of Armagh Annual Festival of Humorous Verse is the perfect event for budding poets and lovers of a good laugh:

“Northern Ireland has a world famous reputation in poetry, prose and story-telling, from the works of Seamus Heaney, to the magic of CS Lewis and Samuel Beckett.  It is great to see a unique event such as the Bard of Armagh Festival of Humorous Verse that celebrates humour and prose go from strength to strength each year attracting upwards of 1,000 people from around the world.

“This year there’s a fantastic selection of Bards from Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, England and even Canada and I have no doubt that their recitations will provide the audience with a great night’s entertainment.”

Among the sixteen bards performing will be six newcomers, three former bard winners and five runners-up.   New energies, new themes, new accents and the presentation of a set of new odes will be foremost on the menu of jollification and hilarity at the much awaited feast of bardic revelry.

Flying in from Newfoundland and eagerly looking forward to the event is Dave Paddon. Both Jimmy Rafferty and Phyllis Murphy have selected themes on ‘The Fifty Shades of Grey’ and little is left to the imagination.

Former winner Seamus Carolan from Roslea has revived the hugely popular ‘Agony Aunt’ factor which was such a central part of fabric of rural Ireland in the sixties because of the hit radio show ‘Dear Frankie!’

Neighbours Sean McCormack and Patsy McDermott  from Kells and Virginia respectively will become rivals on the night and all sorts of images can be conjured up with David McCormick’s ‘Murphy’s Spontaneous Combustion’.  Other themes involve wills, wife problems, mature students and NAMA business.

Visitors to Armagh this November will have a wide range of accommodation options to choose from, including the following –

The De Averell House is a beautiful restored 18th century Georgian town house situated in the heart of Armagh city and up until November 30, visitors can enjoy two nights bed and breakfast from only £69 per person. Must see places located nearby include the Armagh Planetarium, the Armagh County Museum and of course the Tayto factory which is the perfect day out for families.

Situated just on the outskirts of Armagh is Hillview Lodge which is a family run self contained luxury guesthouse. Guests can relax in the sun lounge and take in the breathtaking panoramic views or try their hand at the Golf Driving range which is available on the premises before making their way into the nearby Armagh city.

The Charlemont Arms Hotel is the perfect city centre location for exploring everything that Armagh has to offer. This family owned hotel has a proud tradition of offering the best in local hospitality and is only a stone’s throw away from the city’s two cathedrals and plays host to two fine dining restaurants – the Dining Room and the Bistro.

For further information on the Bard of Armagh Annual Festival of Humorous Verse go to and for ticket information go to