Ennistymon has become “a magnet” for creative people all over Ireland according to one of its newest residents.
Poet and writer, Grace Wells moved to the county in September having previously called South Tipperary home for many years. The London native explained why she decided to relocate to the Banner County.
“Something really lovely is happening in Ennistymon at the moment, it’s going through massive changes over the last 15 years since they set up the Steiner School, it’s like a little magnet at the moment for alternative people, artists, organic growers and all the things that I care about. It’s becoming a very idealistic place, people with ideals are moving to Ennistymon and that’s really nice,” she told The Clare Echo.
She continued, “Where I was living in Tipperary I had become too isolated so it’s really nice for me to be living in a community of like minded people”.
Grace admitted that her poems are inspired by her surroundings so it comes as no surprise that she is revelling in the Ennistymon landscape. “I have a friend who told me in Irish the word for people and place ‘tuatha and túath’ are almost the same word and I think there is a tremendous link between people and place. I live just outside Ennistymon on the edge of a lovely wood behind The Falls Hotel, that is very inspiring, the sea, the cliffs everything really”.
Widely viewed as one of Ireland’s most ecologically driver writers, the former writer in residence of Kilkenny County Council felt very few people are using their pen to highlight issues endangering nature. “There is an absolute shortage, I don’t know of anybody in this country writing at the moment who calls themself an eco poet, eco poetics is taken very seriously in other countries, there is a great number of universities exploring it and it doesn’t seem to be a genre that’s alive at the moment in Ireland. I’m tentatively saying that I’m an eco poet, I call myself an eco poet but that presence isn’t felt at festivals, there is a real absence. Michael Viney has been writing in The Irish Times for years considering the environment and so forth but in Ireland there is a more the tradition that literature has become very urban and the environment has been neglected”.
As one of the ‘New Voices’ highlighted during the Ennis Book Club Festival, she stated that the role of the writer in an age of climate change is “to break silence and memorialise what has been lost”. The former literature officer with South Tipperary Arts Centre said that using the platform of poetry has “worked very well” for breaking such silence. “I don’t think we have much choice over those things and I’m not a journalist, I think it’s a very different tradition and way to write, I do have a more lyrical mind than a factual mind so poetry works for me”.