The Kennedy Center

Muldoon's Picnic

IRELAND 100: Muldoon's Picnic

Sunday, June 5, 2016 1:30 PM

IRELAND 100: Celebrating a Century of Irish Arts & Culture

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon comes to DC with house band Rogue Oliphant and several musicians and writers including Kevin Barry, Martin Hayes, Alice McDermott, and Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill.

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IRELAND 100: Celebrating a Century of Irish Arts & Culture
Muldoon's Picnic
An omnium-gatherum of words and music
hosted by Paul Muldoon, with house band Rogue Oliphant

After four sold-out seasons at the Irish Arts Center in New York, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Irish poet and New Yorker Poetry Editor Paul Muldoon comes to Washington with his house band Rogue Oliphant and a stunning lineup of musicians and writers including Kevin Barry, Martin Hayes, Alice McDermott, and Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill.

Performance Timing: Two hours, including one intermission.

The Literature series is presented in collaboration with Poetry Ireland with the support of Malin Corporation plc.


Paul Muldoon was born in 1951 in County Armagh, Northern Ireland, and educated in Armagh and at the Queen's University of Belfast. From 1973 to 1986, he worked in Belfast as a radio and television producer for the British Broadcasting Corporation. Since 1987, he has lived in the United States, where he is now Howard G. B. Clark '21 Professor at Princeton University. In 2007, he was appointed Poetry Editor of The New Yorker. Between 1999 and 2004, he was Professor of Poetry at the University of Oxford, where he is an honorary Fellow of Hertford College. Paul Muldoon's main collections of poetry are New Weather (1973), Mules (1977), Why Brownlee Left (1980), Quoof (1983), Meeting The British (1987), Madoc: A Mystery (1990), The Annals of Chile (1994), Hay (1998), Poems 1968-1998 (2001), Moy Sand and Gravel (2002), Horse Latitudes (2006), and Maggot (2010). A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Paul Muldoon was given an American Academy of Arts and Letters award in literature for 1996. Other recent awards are the 1994 T. S. Eliot Prize, the 1997 Irish Times Poetry Prize, the 2003 Pulitzer Prize, the 2003 Griffin International Prize for Excellence in Poetry, the 2004 American Ireland Fund Literary Award, the 2004 Shakespeare Prize, the 2005 Aspen Prize for Poetry, and the 2006 European Prize for Poetry.

Kevin Barry is the author of the novels Beatlebone and City Of Bohane and the story collections Dark Lies The Island and There Are Little Kingdoms. His awards include the IMPAC Dublin City Literary Award, the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Prize and the European Union Prize for Literature. His stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, the Stinging Fly, and many other journals. He also writes screenplays, stage plays and radio plays. He lives in County Sligo.

Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill was born in 1952 and grew up in the Irish-speaking areas of West Kerry and in Tipperary. She studied English and Irish at University College, Cork in 1969 and became part of a group of Irish language poets who were published in the literary magazine Innti. She now lives in Dublin. She has published four collections of poems in Irish, An Dealg Droighin (1981), Féar Suaithinseach (1984), Feis (1991) and Cead Aighnis (1998). The Gallery Press has published four collections of her poems, with translations into English, Pharoah's Daughter (translations by thirteen writers, 1990), The Astrakhan Cloak (translations by Paul Muldoon, 1992), The Water Horse (translations by Medbh McGuckian and Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, 1999) and The Fifty Minute Mermaid (translations by Paul Muldoon, 2007). Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill held the Heimbold Chair in Irish Studies at Villanova University in 2001 and has taught at Boston College and New York University. She has received many scholarships, prizes, and bursaries and has also won numerous international awards for works which have been translated into French, German, Polish, Italian, Norwegian, Estonian, Turkish, Japanese, and English. She is a member of Aosdána and was Ireland Professor of Poetry (2001-2004) and the first Professor of Irish (language) Poetry.

Alice McDermott's seventh novel, Someone, was a New York Times bestseller, a finalist for the Dublin IMPAC Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Patterson Prize for Fiction and long-listed for the National Book Award. Three of her previous novels, After This, At Weddings and Wakes and That Night, were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. Child of My Heart was nominated for the Dublin IMPAC Award. Charming Billy won the National Book Award for fiction in 1998, as well as The American Book Award. It was also a finalist for the Dublin IMPAC Award. That Night was a finalist for the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker and elsewhere. She has received the Whiting Writers Award, the Carington Award for Literary Excellence, and the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for American Literature. In 2013, she was inducted into the New York State Writers Hall of Fame. She is the Richard A. Macksey Professor of the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University. She lives in Bethesda, Maryland.

Martin Hayes's unique sound, his mastery of the fiddle, his acknowledgement of the past, and his ability to place the tradition within a wider contemporary context, combine to create a unique and insightful interpretation of Irish music. He has drawn inspiration from many musical genres, but remains grounded in the music he grew up with in East County Clare where the tradition he inherited from his late father, P. Joe Hayes, was the formative influence on his musical accent and ideas. Martin has recorded two acclaimed solo albums and three duet albums with his longtime guitar partner Dennis Cahill on the Green Linnet label. He is a co-founder of the new band The Gloaming, who won Ireland's Meteor Choice Prize for Album of the Year. Martin is also Artistic Director of the annual Masters of Tradition Festival in Bantry, West Cork,  and the touring show of the same name. He has collaborated with the Irish Chamber Orchestra, the innovative string quartet Brooklyn Rider, the viola da gamba player Jordi Savall, and jazz guitarist Bill Frisell, as well as projects in theater, contemporary dance, television, and film.

Watch and Listen

IRELAND 100 Festival Trailer