The Merg Sessions at Tallaght Library: Kenneth Nolan’s Poetry/Prose Showcase



Tony Devlin dons his specs to begin his reading


“Flask Orphans” – a piece of flash fiction from Tony Devlin – is a descriptive Rise of the Machines type piece (with clones rather than robots), and contains echoes of Children-of-the-Corn type beings with “indulgent, vaguely unsettled smiles”.

It was one great piece among dozens that were performed by a number of spoken word artists on the second Saturday in October. 

Devlin read the piece in Tallaght Library at an event named after a cat.


Kenneth Nolan has been running the Merg sessions once a month for almost a year. Tallaght Library has given its blessing to run again in 2017.

“The Merg Sessions is named in honour of my cat Merg,” Kenneth explained. “When I sit down at my laptop to write, Merg comes and sits beside me on the arm of the chair. Out of pure silliness I got into the habit of reciting my work to Merg (as a writer who performs, we are always encouraged to read our work aloud). For my own amusement I would take her meows as a sign of support and approval. It is a solitary existence us writers lead whilst actually trying to write something decent. Merg always provides me with good company during my writing process, so we developed a sort of quasi-working partnership, and when the opportunity to run my own gig came about, I decided to name it after her by way of a thank you.
“To keep the 'admin' part of the gig fun for myself, re; social media, promo etc. it is Merg who is running the gig, she is booking all the poets, doing all the behind the scenes work,” Kenneth continued. “She has every intention of co-hosting each event with me, however, when the big day comes she always has some other last minute/pressing engagement which prevents her from showing up. Merg sends out regular updates on my facebook page in the lead up to the gig-poetry from a cat’s perspective you might say.”
Taking place on Saturday afternoon, once a month, it features performers reading or reciting their material – mostly poetry and short fiction, but anything goes.

Performer Natasha Helen Crudden gave her view on the monthly Tallaght Library showcase:
“The Merg is one of my favourite literary events, due mainly to the talent you get to witness and the sense of community you feel from the other writers. Ken has worked so hard to produce an event of the highest standard that is completely inclusive and encouraging to new performers, and I always look forward to each Merg Session.”
There’s a huge array of talent here; both young and seasoned performers are in attendance.

Bernadette O'Reilly reads
Bernadette O'Reilly’s poems had rhyming elements and meter that imbued her work with a sometimes whimsical or childlike quality, and the neat juxta-positioning of dark themes such as bereavement and unrequited love made for an intriguing performance.

Eamon Mag Uidhir is another long-time participant at the ‘The Merg’. Winter Solstice Lunar Eclipse 2010 dealt with the violence of weather as “angry trees brandish their branches”.

Rob Buchanan read two moving poems – one related to the sense of loss he felt after hearing of a
Rob Buchanan
hate crime.

The adage “It’s funny coz it’s true” could have applied to Mervyn Ennis’s work. With Flowers, an in-yer-face and humorous lampooning of a former Prime Minister of Ireland, whose life – he explained – runs contemporaneously with his own, having played sports against him as a kid – was well received.


You can catch the final ‘Merg Sessions’ of 2016 on Saturday the 12th of November. 

Dates for 2017 are as follows:
January 14, February 11, March 11, April 8, May 6, June 10, July 8, August 12, September 9, October 7, November 4, December 2.


Check the listings before you attend. Kenneth announces them on Twitter and Facebook. They take place in Tallaght Library on a monthly basis. If you want to perform at the MERG sessions, this event can be booked in advance by contacting Kenneth at themergsessionstallaght[at]gmail[dot]com. Attendance is free for everyone.