The House That Stood for Happiness – a sound track

Sometimes you get the opportunity for great collaborations; a chance to experiment and see what other people do when they bring their work, to your work.

Artist Una Lee (Min Kimovic) and composer Simon Waters played with my poem sequence, The House That Stood for Happiness. Have a listen to this. Clink on the link below.

With Una Lee & Simon Waters


Poetry Day IRL 2018 – RTE Radio Interview



This piece features information about this year’s LabeLLit project involving more than 70 poets in Ireland, Wales, England, Spain, Portugal and Australia. You can catch up with it at @LabeLLit on Twitter or

This interview also includes an excerpt from  my new work commissioned by Poetry Ireland – The Coping Stone. The poem is set on the Fermanagh/ Cavan border, between Belcoo and Blacklion, or ‘the Blaic’ as we always called it.


Thanks to Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Lottery Good Causes and Poetry Ireland for their support

Holy Land – a poem by Nessa O’Mahoney

Amethyst Review

Holy Land

For my pilgrim mother

Faith might be easier
if it was simply a matter
of almond blossom,
of blood anemones
spotting the hill-side,
or the diamond blue
of lupins and violets
along the valley
still called Armageddon.

Prayer might come quicker
if the caves stayed unbuilt-upon,
if layer on layer of
begun by Byzantines,
destroyed by Persians,
rebuilt by Crusaders,
destroyed by Muslims,
of twentieth century wars
remained scattered dust
in the Samarian wilderness.

Abraham does his best,
yellow base-ball cap at a tilt
to beacon us on through traders
and treacherous steps,
where nothing is as
the guidebook describes it.

The tears come,
not on, unsurprisingly,
the Via Dolorosa
or the slow sepulchral crawl
past Calvary, the quick shove
through the tomb

but in a quiet place
of vaulted roof,
of white Jerusalem stone,
where a smiling,
West Cork Franciscan
guards the door,
where steps descend

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‘A Hierarchy of Halls’ by C. Murray


This is not a universe,
it is a garden. Trees,
a hierarchy of halls.
Halls, a universe to sing.
Follow wren’s sound
into the lowest corridors.
There, a huge gap, fox
is where blackbirds sing.
Stone-plateaued, daisy garlanded
Tree looms above it all.

Early summer occurs
in a calamity of falling
petals, birds, the
bright souls of birds.
A small dead bird
is at my feet,
tree looms
over this soul-ossuary
dignifying the small
body with her dark needles,
bird-map-lost –

A Hierarchy of Hallsis ©  C. Murray (Smithereens Press, 2018)

Thanks to Ken Keating of Smithereens Press for publishing A Hierarchy of Halls. Cover art by Salma Ahmad Caller.

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Poetry JukeBox – Call for Submissions

Call for Submissions

 Curation 2. ‘What else…’

Poetry Jukebox – a Quotidian –Word on the Street Ltd Project

Supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland from National Lottery Funds

@poetryjukebox #ChangingTheMessage

This second edition of curated content on Ireland’s first Poetry Jukebox will mark the 20th anniversary of the signing of Northern Ireland’s Good Friday Agreement –an historic peace agreement.  Public discourse matters, and putting something new into public discourse really matters.

The legacy of violence and peace has far-reaching impacts, we welcome poems from anywhere in the world for this curation.

In a letter from Tolstoy to Ghandi, he wrote, “Violence is what happens when we don’t know what else to do with our suffering.” This curation of Poetry JukeBox is about the ‘What else…’. Your poems can take us anywhere – to joy, to solitude, to happiness, to grief, to unfinished business, the legacy, stuck-ness, progress, loss, gain…….. anywhere.


Images: Simon Hutchinson courtesy of Belfast International Arts Festival 2017

Submission criteria – Please read carefully!

  • Each poet can send a maximum of one poem
  • Please submit good quality sounds files in MP3 or WAV format. (Smart phone voice files or good quality dictaphones such as Zoom H1 are ideal recording devices.) See the guidance notes (below) about how to make a good enough recording.
  • Please note submissions in other formats such as You Tube Videos/ Vimeo etc will be instantly disregarded.
  • Prior to publication the poet must give Quotidian – Word on the Street Ltd the audio and recording rights to use the poem on the Poetry Jukebox, on the internet, at launches etc.
  • The poet should also grant the print rights, for use on the internet or at launches for example.
  • A signed permission form will be required 4 weeks prior to publication on the Poetry Jukebox. Selected poets will be required to provide this promptly on notification of their selection otherwise we cannot include your poem.

 To submit, please:

  • Follow the recording guidance (see below).
  • Use the following in the subject line of your email:

‘What else…’ Submission – YOUR Name

  • Include your contact details and address in your email.
  • Submit to
  • The deadline for submissions is midnight GMT on 31st January 2018.
  • Successful poets will be notified of the outcome by 28th February 2018.
  • The launch of ‘What else…’ will be in April 2018 TBC

 Publication Rights

  • Poems previously published elsewhere are accepted, provided the author can assign the rights for the purposes of Poetry Jukebox to Quotidian – Word on the Street Ltd.
  • Quotidian – Word on the Street Ltd will not be held liable if a poem assigning the rights of use by the poet, later emerges to have infringed on other publishers’ rights.
  • Where poems are submitted in a language other than English, please also include a translation of the poem recorded in English – back to back in the same voice file.
  • Please include a short 50 word biog as an attachment with your email.
  • This is a tiny not-for-profit organisation – we do not have the resources to give individual feedback, nor enter into correspondence.
  • Quotidian -Word on the Street Ltd reserves the right to make decisions which support the project and the spirit of the project.

 Payment: It is aspired to pay a small stipend for each poem accepted, but at the moment this is dependent on funding and cannot be guaranteed.

Some guidance for making a good recording:

  • Please be aware the jukebox is in a public space and children may be listening so profanity will rule out a poem’s use.
  • Each poem should be no longer than 2 minutes max when read aloud, but 1 minute to minute 30 seconds works best in this format.
  • Find a quiet space to do your recording. Listen for, and become aware of any background noise, such as traffic, clicks, pets, children etc, and do something to minimise the background noises –  such as closing doors, closing the curtains, go to a different room etc (harm no living thing…)
  • Use a Smart phone such as an iPhone, Experia or similar.
  • Go to the Voice Memo app.
  • It is helpful to place your phone on top of a pile of books, 8-12 inches from your mouth. Putting it on top of a pile of books will keep the phone steady.
  • Read in a natural voice, but pay attention to your diction.
  • Read the TITLE (wait 2 beats), read the POEM – there’s no need to give your name – it will be on the jukebox if your poem is selected.

About Poetry Jukebox & Quotidian –Word on the Street Limited

  • Poetry Jukebox, is a Quotidian –Word on the Street Ltd Project. Quotidian is a not-for-profit literary arts production company limited by guarantee, the remit of which is to enhance civic spaces by animating them in innovative ways, with literature.
  • The Poetry Jukebox is an on-street sound installation that provides an innovative new platform for poetry. It is located in the grounds of The Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast.
  • The project is led by Artistic Director and poet Maria McManus.
  • This curation will be jointly curated with guest poet and curator Deirdre Cartmill.
  • Poetry Jukebox, is the first of its kind in Ireland and it was launched as part of the Belfast International Arts Festival in October 2017.
  • Poetry Jukebox was brought to Belfast by collaboration between Quotidian – Word on the Street Limited and Piana na uLici, Czech Republic.
  • There is a maximum of twenty recordings per curation.
  • Curated content is selected by a combination of open call and invitation.
  • To learn more about Poetry Jukebox follow on Twitter @poetryjukebox or click on this link