Making connections through poetry & music

Songlines Waterford & Wexford April-May 2023

Working together, artists Lani O’Hanlon and Liam Merriman (Waterford) and Margaret Galvin and Billy Roche (Wexford) are collaborating with clients in care homes and day care centres in the South-East of Ireland for Songlines a project in partnership with Poetry Ireland, and supported by the Arts Council and the Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT).

Three workshop sessions took place in Waterford and Wexford, as the artists engaged with those living with dementia and cognitive impairment through discussions of poetry and songs. Focussing on favourite poems and songs learned in childhood, during the teen years and into adulthood, the workshops endeavoured to reveal memories associated with both artforms, and work towards possibly composing some new poetry and songs.

The culmination of the project was a special event performed from Festival in Van with the facilitators, clients, and staff; drawing in the audience through active participation via songs and poems discussed in the workshops and some requests along the way too. The project evaluation was supported by Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT).

The tour visited Wexford on Wednesday May 17th and Waterford on Thursday May 18th. Workshop sessions took place in Waterford at Care Choice Dungarvan & Dungarvan Community Hospital, and  in Wexford at Grantstown Community Village & St John's Community Day Care Centre.

Festival in a Van are very grateful to the Arts Council, Waterford County Council, Wexford County Council, Waterford Healing Arts, Poetry Ireland, Marie Brett and Jane O’Hanlon, and all the staff and residents of the care homes and day care centres for their support of this very special Festival in a Van project.

We hope to expand this project in 2024.