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Welcome to the Munster
Literature Centre

Founded in 1993, the Munster Literature Centre (Ionad Litríochta an Deiscirt) is a non-profit arts organisation dedicated to the promotion and celebration of literature, especially that of Munster. To this end, we organise festivals, workshops, readings and competitions. Our publishing section, Southword Editions, publishes a biannual journal, poetry collections and short stories. We actively seek to support new and emerging writers and are assisted in our efforts through funding from Cork City Council, Cork County Council and the Arts Council of Ireland.Originally located in Sullivan's Quay, the centre moved to its current premises in the Frank O'Connor House (the author's birthplace) at 84 Douglas Street, in 2003.

In 2000, the Munster Literature Centre organised the first Frank O'Connor International Short Story Festival, an event dedicated to the celebration of the short story and named for one of Cork's most beloved authors. The festival showcases readings, literary forums and workshops. Following continued growth and additional funding, the Cork City - Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award was introduced in 2005, coinciding with Cork's designation as that year's European Capital of Culture. The award is now recognised as the single biggest prize for a short story collection in the world and is presented at the end of the festival.In 2002, the Munster Literature Centre introduced the Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Prize, an annual short story competition dedicated to one of Ireland's most accomplished story writers and theorists. This too is presented during the FOC festival. The centre also hosts the Cork Spring Literary Festival each year, at which the Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Prize is awarded (established 2010).

Workshops are held by featured authors in both autumn and spring, allowing the general public to receive creative guidance in an intimate setting for a minimal fee. In addition, the centre sponsors a Writer in Residence each year. We invite you to browse our website for further information regarding our events, Munster literature, and other literary information. Should you have any queries, we would be happy to hear from you.




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Literary Limerick


The county of Limerick is located in southwest Ireland, and is steeped in history since its establishment by Vikings as a walled city in 922.  With its capture by the Normans in 1195, famously resulting in the building of King John’s Castle on the River Shannon circa 1200 began an era of general peace during which Limerick prospered hugely as a port and trading town.  During the 17th century it was besieged several times before 1691’s signing of The Treaty of Limerick and the setting of The Treaty Stone.  It is commonly known today as The Treaty City.

In modern times, Limerick has become a hotbed of education, commerce, technology and the arts.  Its impressive historical past is especially mirrored by its literary endeavours.  It is home to many of Ireland’s most esteemed writers, particularly in poetry, and many of whom are writing or have written both in English and Irish, such as Michael Hartnett, Críostóir O’Floinn, Gabriel Rosenstock and Eithne Strong.  It is also home to the celebrated memoirist/novelist Frank McCourt and the massively popular children’s fiction writer Darren Shan.

Matching the acclaim of such writers is the ambition of Limerick’s Arts Plan, particularly its promotion of enjoying, writing and disseminating poetry.  Intrinsic to this is The White House Poetry Revival (under the stewardship of Barney Sheehan), a series of weekly readings at the White House pub involving local poets and established national and international poets.  The success of these nights has enabled the founding of the imprint Revival Press, establishing first a quarterly poetry journal (edited by poet Teri Murray) and continuing its growth with publication of important poetry collections by well-known poets, such as John Liddy and Tim Cunningham.

Another important publication in Limerick is The Stony Thursday Book, founded by Limerick poets John Liddy and Jim Burke in 1975.  It has had a sporadic history until its re-establishment in 2002 by Mark Whelan (who was editor for four issues), and since then has been published annually with high-profile guest editors, such as Knute Skinner, Thomas McCarthy, Ciaran O’Driscoll, and even a collaboration in 2007 by founding editor John Liddy and his brother Liam.  Publishing mostly poetry, but also prose pieces, contributors have included Séamus Heaney, Paul Durcan and Paula Meehan, to name just a few.  It is launched every October at the Cuisle Limerick City International Poetry Festival (see ‘Cuisle Limerick City International Poetry Festival’ page).



Cuisle Limerick City International Poetry Festival



Cuisle Committee

Members of the Cuisle Committee: Ciaran O'Driscoll, Deputy Mayor Denis McCarthy, Mark Whelan, Limerick City Arts Officer Sheila Deegan and Bertha McCullough






Arguably most important to Limerick’s Arts Plan is the annual Cuisle Limerick City International Poetry Festival.  After the inauguration of Cuisle Poetry Festival in 1990 by Limerick poet Noel Burke and Limerick-based poet Ciaran O’Driscoll, 1992 Cuisle International Poetry Festival was inaugurated by Limerick poets Mark Whelan and Paul Sweeney as a bi-annual event, growing slowly but steadily until 2000 when it was decided to make it annual under the new name of Cuisle Limerick City International Poetry Festival.  It now takes place over a packed four days every October.


What Happens


The aim of the festival since its inception has been to promote participation at all levels in the reading and writing of poetry, which continues to be achieved during the festival in a variety of ways.  Cuisle, for instance, hosts a substantial schools/youth programme which provides a platform for students interested in poetry to meet and talk with acclaimed national and international poets in the form of school readings and master-classes.  The programme also includes a schools/youth poetry competition, beginning in 2001 under the direction of committee member Bertha McCullough, during which time it has proven immensely popular.  Other means of promoting poetry over the years have included book launches (Revival, the White House Poets’ quarterly journal, the annual journal The Stony Thursday Book, as well as works by individual poets, such as famed poet Brendan Kennelly’s book When Then is Now), readings by and workshops with established poets, relevant discussions/debates (for example, ‘Marketing Poetry’, chaired in 2006 by Gabriel Fitzmaurice), competitions, and open-mic sessions.


 Guest Readers


The standard of excellence in promoting poetry growing year by year at Cuisle is evident immediately in the names of the poets it has attracted to celebrate it, poets of national and international importance.  Of the national, these have included Pulitzer Prize winner (2003, for Moy Sand and Gravel) Paul Muldoon, Brendan Kennelly, Ulick O’Connor, Macdara Woods, Irish language poet Paddy Bushe, and Vona Groarke, to name just a few.  International poets have included 2000 Pulitzer Prize winner C.K. Williams and 2008 winner Robert Haas, former American Poet Laureate Donald Hall, Adrian Mitchell, George Szirtes, and OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) recipient Fleur Adcock.


Expansion Programme


Worth mention also is Cuisle’s dedication to establishing poetry connections abroad, and has made links with the festivals Pulse in Brighton (U.K.) and The Golden Boat Translation Workshop (Slovenia).  Through the establishment and the maintenance of these links Cuisle is enabled to provide a platform for the best of poetry from Limerick and Ireland abroad, and a platform in Limerick for the best of poetry from the U.K. and Slovenia.  Work to reach out further is ongoing, with parties from Brittany, Finland, and Spain all expressing desires to create such links with Cuisle and Limerick.



Click below for more Limerick resources:


Limerick Novelists

Limerick Poets

Irish Language Writers from Limerick



Limerick City Arts Services sponsers Literary Limerick pages at the Munster Literature Centre



The Limerick sub-section authored by Edward O'Dwyer. This subsection has been grant-aided by Limerick City Arts Services






Submit to Southword

Poetry 1st Dec - 28th Feb
Fiction 1st Jan - 31 Mar




Fees-free Poetry Workshop

Application Deadline 31 Dec




2021 Publications

Liz Houchin

New Irish Voices no. 6




Southword 41

November 2021




Aneas 2

November 2021




Southword 40

Includes O'Faoláin Prize stories
& O'Donoghue Prize poems




Felicity Sheehy

Fool for Poetry Winner




Vicky Morris

Fool for Poetry Winner




Queer Love

Fiction anthology




YouTube Videos





O'Faoláin Short Story
Prize Reading Playlist




O'Donoghue Poetry
Prize Reading Playlist




How to Write Titles








Cork Events




Essays & Blogs




Munster Literature Centre
is a constituent member of






Frank O'Connor House, 84 Douglas Street, Cork, Ireland.

Tel. (353) 021 4312955 Email info@munsterlit.ie

Irish Registered Charity No.12374