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Saturday 7th July 2017

Irish in Dubai is Back!

Well folks it's been ages since we updated this blog. Erin and I have been working tirelessly organising upcoming events with the help of Emirates and failte ireland who made this all possible!. Over the coming weeks we will be posting event meetup locations across Dubai. Stay Tuned. Warm Regards Karen.

Saturday 17 January 2009

17/01 :  St. Patrick's Ball 2009


The Dubai Irish Society St. Patrick's Ball 2009 will be held on Friday March 13th at the Intercontinental Festival City. Tickets are priced at 475 AED for DIS members and 525 AED for non-members.

Tickets will go on sale at ...

  • • The Cellar Restaurant, Aviation Club from 12-3pm on Friday, February 6th. Come buy your ticket and stay for brunch! Email

  • • Westin Hotel Lobby, Dubai Marina from 9am - 6pm on Friday, February 6th and 13th. Email

To become a member of the society, please complete the DIS membership form and email it to our membership secretary Judith Murray

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17/01 :  Dubai Rose of Tralee - Dates for your diary


The Rose of Tralee International Festival celebrates modern young women in terms of their aspirations, ambitions, intellect, social responsibility and Irish heritage. Click here to read more about this event.

Are you the 15th Dubai Rose? Would you like to represent Dubai at the 50th Rose of Tralee International Festival? Click and download the application form for this year's event and submit it before March 22nd 2009.

Deadline for Rose and Escort applications is March 22nd 2009.
Selection Day/Night is
10th April 2009.
15th Dubai Rose of Tralee Ball is May 22nd 2009.
Roses and Escorts must be available for all Rose events.

The selected Rose must be available to attend the Rose of Tralee International Festival in Ireland on
August 21st - 26th 2009.

Check out the video from the Rose of Tralee International Festival 2008.

Watch some images from the Dubai Rose of Tralee 2008.

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Friday 16 January 2009

16/01 :  Ciorcal Comhrá Dubai

Ciorcal Comhrá Dubai - The Dubai Irish Language Group
Dé Luain, 19 Eanáir, 2009, 8 i.n. Irish Village
Monday, January 19, 2009 at 8:00PM Irish Village

Ar mhaith leat comhrá as Gaeilge? 
Mura bhfuil ach cúpla focal agat beidh spórt againn ar aon chor!  Tá cónaí ar go leor Éireannaigh anseo in Dubai agus is deis iontach í seo don phobal an Ghaeilge a chleachtadh ag ócáid shóisialta.  Grúpa beag neamhfhoirmiúil muide agus seo seans dhuit tús a dhéanamh ar an nGaeilge labhartha gan strus, gan bhrú.

Would you like to practice your Irish? 
Even if you've only got the 'cúpla focal' we'll have some fun anyway!  There are plenty of us Irish living here in Dubai and this is a great opportunity to meet up and practice your ‘Gaeilge’ in a social setting.  We’re a small, informal group and this is a chance for you to make a start on spoken Irish with no pressure and no stress.

Beimid ag bualadh le chéile gach tráthnóna Luain ó 8.i.n. - 9.i.n.
We will meet every Monday evening 8-9 pm
Is féidir tuilleadh eolais a fháil ó Louise:
Please contact Louise for more information:

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16/01 :  Dubai Irish Society 2009 Yearbook

We are currently gathering content for the Dubai Irish Society 2009 Yearbook. If you have any articles or photos you would like to be considered for this year's book, please email them to me. Also, we usually include a page with births, marriages etc so we would be grateful if you could send that information on to us too along with photos.

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Tuesday 13 January 2009

13/01 :  DIS Membership

   A chairde,
Ath bhliain faoi mhaise duit!
The Dubai Irish Society comes bearing New Year gifts exclusive to its members for 2009! Thank you for your support in times past and we look forward to your continued support in the coming months. If you receive email from the Dubai Irish Society database, it means that you are on our database having been a member of the society in previous years, registered on our website or have requested to be on the mailing list for events.

However, you may not necessarily be a member of the society. A New Year hence a new start and with lots of treats in store you are just in time to enrol for the remainder of the 2009 membership year.We are delighted to inform you that the Dubai Irish Society members this year will receive 10% discount in all MMI stores upon presenting your card in store. If you do not have an MMI (alcohol) licence please contact me for an Irish Society MMI licence application form. Additional benefits for Irish Society members include a discount on bookings with the Heritage Golf & Spa Resort in Killenard, County Laois and a great discount on tickets for the highlights of the Irish Calendar year... the St Patrick's Day Ball and Rose Ball and any other events that unfold in the year ahead.If you would like to renew your membership for 2008-2009 (valid until September 09) please complete the membership form and return to me so that we can keep you up to date with our events and developments and make sure you receive your membership card that entitles you to these discounts! Single membership is Dhs 100 and Family membership is Dhs 150. Should you wish to confirm that you have already renewed feel free to email me on judith.murray@mwmsports.comMay we take this opportunity to wish you and your families a happy and peaceful New Year. Judith MurrayMembership Secretary
Tel: 050 3470949

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Saturday 13 December 2008

13/12 :  'Fly Buy Dubai' Book Signing

   Dubai Duty Free has commissioned a book 'Fly Buy Dubai' which chronicles the history of the duty free industry, which began in Ireland in 1947, right up to modern day. The book commemorates the 25th anniversary of Dubai Duty Free this month a/Fly-Buy-Dubai-top.jpgnd was written by local-based author, Graeme Wilson.

The book will be launched at Magrudy's on December 16th at 7.30pm and Colm will be on hand to discuss the book and Graeme will sign copies of the book.

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Tuesday 21 October 2008

21/10 :  Irish and Caledonians join forces!

Caidé mar a tá tú?  Ciamar a tha sibh? Conas taoi? Conas tánn tú? Conas atá tú? Ciamar a tha thu?  Cén chaoi a bhfuil tú? 

From the countries that brought you Andy Stewart, Daniel O’Donnell, Sydney Devine, Val Doonican, bagpipes and the world’s greatest rates of mass emigration (now we know why!), we give you –

Dubai Irish Society
Dubai Caledonian Society

So, if you’re Irish get those hard-soled broga rince out, and if you’re Scottish get into your tartan trews, and come on down to the Mina Seyahi. From the Walls of Limerick to Highland Flings, it promises to be an even livelier event than last year.  With dance performances by children from both societies and traditional music by Inis Oirr, you’re bound to be stepping it out in no time.  

A delicious BBQ (deep fried haggis and Mars Bars on request but nae pies) will give you those extra calories to keep dancing late into the night to our DJ’s tunes.

Competitions again this year?  Who knows!!  Most words spoken in a minute (looks like a shoo-in for the Irish)? Seeing who can make the first drink last all night (my money’s on the Scots for this one)! Once again, proceeds from our raffle will go to charity and there are some fabulous prizes up for grabs. 

See you all there!


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Wednesday 24 September 2008

24/09 :  The ex-chairman is on the Smile Train

   Hi All

What is the price of a smile? You are playing with a small child, you make a silly face or tell a daft joke and the kid rolls around laughing. All is good. Your joy extends to the child whose self confidence grows. How much would you pay for this moment????
Take the same situation where the child has a cleft lip. He cannot smile so we automatically “take pity” on him. No self confidence is transferred from us and we all know his life is not going to be the same as a “normal” kid. This can be fixed.

I intend to make a difference and help. On Nov 22 2008, I am taking part in a 10k Smile Train run in Dubai. I need you to sponsor me – how much you ask yourself?  It is up to you to decide, but it should be no less than the price of a smile.


Log on to Brian's site to sponsor him for this great cause.

The Smile Train
The Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft charity, is dedicated to helping the millions of children in the world who suffer from cleft lip and palate through free surgery for children, free training for doctors and research to find a cure. The free surgery and related treatment that The Smile Train sponsors are performed by local medical teams in local hospitals in developing countries. This "teach a man to fish" strategy builds in-country capacity while helping very poor but very proud communities become self-sufficient one smile at a time. Please be assured that any transaction fee will be paid for through our start-up grant from our founding supporters, which pays for all administration costs and overheads.

Charity Registration No 1114748

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Saturday 07 June 2008

07/06 :  Talented queen: A rose in full bloom

   She studied pharmacy, came to Dubai to teach and is now working with an advertising agency. And just when Emma Dwane thought she was settling down in life, it changed again.

/emma.jpgThe 23-year-old Irish national won the Rose of Dubai crown at the recently concluded 15th Dubai Rose Ball, an annual event organised by the local Irish community as part of a bigger festival, the Rose of Tralee, organised annually in Ireland involving participation of Irish women from across the world.
“My sister won the Limerick Rose title in 2005 and she asked me to go for it. She didn’t share any tips but just asked me to go ahead and have a good time and be myself. She was the first person I spoke to as I was adjudged the winner,” said Dwane.

She was one of the 11 finalists who were judged by a panel of judges at the Dubai Rose Ball hosted by Westin Hotel on May 23. “The competition was stiff but we were all nervous which put us all on a level playing field. Not that I fancied my chances. To be honest I thought the [half] Emirati girl Amna would have walked away with the title. I was only there for craic [Irish slang for having fun]. And a great craic it was. I made lots of new friends and the whole event boosted my confidence.”

Read the complete article by Vikram Singh Barhat, Staff Reporter, xPress

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Friday 30 May 2008

30/05 :  Rose of Dubai 2008 Photos and Video

/smiles2.jpgCheck out fantastic photos taken by Magz Bray at the recent Dubai Irish Society Rose of Tralee Ball 2008 at The Westin.

Emma Dwane, our Dubai Rose of Tralee 2008, read her own poem on the night.

What does the rose mean to you?

What does the rose mean to you?
Is it something red or a dream come true?
Does it grow through those sunny spring showers?
Or does it make you laugh for hours and hours?
If it has made you smile then I think you will see
Which rose I speak of, The Rose of Tralee.

Getting autographs from the roses at the races
Memorising their sashes and smiling faces
Listening to them sing or say a poem
Watching them parade from the Brandon to the dome
When I was small all I wanted to be
Was one of those roses at The Rose of Tralee

But here in this place called the UAE
Our rose adventure has been so special to me
For us eleven girls and I’m sure I speak for all
When I say that we’ve had such a ball
Such a time has been had for this rose of Dubai
I’ll share a few memories, girls try not to cry!
It all began on the fourth of May
In the Ritz us girls met to say hey
Unsure of what lay in store for us
We chatted and laughed without too much fuss
Then Tuesday came and we encountered our escorts
They were tall, charming, a combination of all sorts
In the heat of Barasti we played blind date
As Louise and Aileen decided our fate
Who likes cheese or who has a tattoo
Made us chat and guess who was who?

On Friday then we were in for a treat
Wined and dined in the Westin presidential suite
Interviews were held in suites A and B
As Father Ted judged some Lovely girls on TV
Asking questions with a combination of answers
Observing girls that are good kickers and salsa dancers
Some judges got to see a whole lot
But I won’t go in to that so dot dot dot.

/allsmiles3.jpgUs roses then lunched and spoke of the morning
Voted for escorts, boys that’s your warning!
That evening back to The Westin we did go
High heels, dresses, all glam on show
Sushi and flowers and photos and chat
Escorts on call at the drop of a hat
Great craic and fun was had by all
And we weren’t even half way to this ball

There has been many other ventures in
To tell the truth it’s been one unforgettable dream
Last Saturday I don’t know if you are aware
But on a flight over Dubai the roses did dare
Looking down on the palm from high up in the sky
Flying past the windows of Burj Dubai
What an amazing surprise it was for us
For that Aileen you deserve a massive buladh bós

So now not to keep you all night long
I’ll finish this tale before my voice is gone
Roses and escorts it’s been a blast
A dream event to the very last
So enjoy tonight to one and all
Make the most of it until the last call
And girls, to whoever the Dubai Rose may be
I wish you the very best of luck at The Rose of Tralee

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Wednesday 28 May 2008

28/05 :  Band seeks Irish vocals and musicians

   Next Flight Out (see earlier article) are looking for new members to join the band. They need a good lead vocalist and strong lead instrumentalists (fiddle, accordion, flute, pipes). Contact Rory Allardice on

View the trailer to their documentary below.

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Monday 26 May 2008

26/05 :  Next Flight Out are Savage Craic

Next Flight Out
(or Savage Craic as they are known in the Dubliners) have been based in Dubai for 10 years. The founder members, Peter McKinney, Rory Allardice, Chris Smoak and Ged Palmer first performed together in 1998. The band has played in the UAE, Bahrain and Ireland.
Next Flight Out

Several prominent members of the Irish community in Dubai have served their time with the band; former Rose of Tralee, Dubai Claire Ward on lead vocals, guitar, keyboards; Amanda Davey, flute; Kevin Dunleavy, vocals, guitar, percussion; Niamh Hickey, vocals, percussion.

View Part 1 of their story below.
Although several of the former musicians have moved on, they do tend to come back and St Patrick’s Night 2008 at the Dubliners was a reunion of the band with 6 musicians flying in for the event and a line-up of 13.

The band plays fusion Celtic music and has a line-up of fiddle, whistles, mandolin, banjo, keyboards, bass, drums, guitars. The band founded the underground Dubai Speakeasy Sessions which took place every month in the old Dubai Water Ski and Country Clubs until they were knocked down.

View Part 2 of their story below.

The Band: It was formed in 1998 from the core of the Monday night sessions in the Dubliners. Peter McKinney from Belfast (guitar and vocals) joined with Rory Allardice from Dundee (vocals, whistles, electric mandolin and harmonica), Ian Sellars from the Scottish Borders (vocals, bouzouki, mandolin and guitar) and Chris Smoak (electronic drums) from North Carolina in the U.S.A.

The Name:
The band was looking for a name before its first concert in the Crown Plaza Hotel Dubai when Ian made a surprise career move and hasty departure on the day before the concert and returned to Scotland .
Shortly after, the band was supplemented by Andy Bryce (electric bass) and Ged Palmer from Aberdeen but of Liverpudlian origin (electric fiddle, tenor banjo, whistles and vocals). The band has undergone several changes to its line-up over the years with Ged, Rory and Peter remaining from the original group. Although Peter has now emigrated to Australia, he manages to make the St Patrick’s Night gig every year and is around most of the Autumn also. For St Patrick’s Night 2008; 6 former members of the band flew in for a series of wild concerts. The band was up to 13 in size for some gigs.

View Part 3 of their story below.

The Concerts:
The band has played concerts all over the UAE and made several visits to Bahrain. In August 2003, the band toured Donegal in Ireland. Recently the band has been turning out as Savage Craic at the Dubliners, Airport Meridien, Dubai and it also appeared in different formations at the Speakeasies which the band started and which took place at the Dubai Water Ski Club and the Country Club once a month but which have now passed into folklore of Dubai as all the places the band plays in seem to get knocked down! Maybe we are a jinx!.

The Music:
Is a blend of traditional and contemporary Irish and Scottish music with a few standards thrown in. The band plays fast and furious instrumental sets and a variety of songs. The treatment of the music ranges from traditional to fusion and it is at times meditative and at others wildly danceable. The band includes original compositions by Ged, Peter, Karin and Rory in its repertoire. Recently, the band has introduced saxophone, keyboards, electric lead guitar, full drum kit and even electronic bagpipes. It is never predictable.

The Irish contingent has decreased recently with members moving on and there are openings for strong traditional instrumentalists(fiddle, accordion, flute, pipes) and lead singers. If you would like to come and meet the band or audition for a place, contact Rory Allardice on

Click to view the Band's website. and watch the the other parts of their 8 piece documentary on the early days of the band with Rory and Peter as narrators.

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Saturday 24 May 2008

24/05 :  Emma crowned the Dubai Rose of Tralee

   Congratulations to Emma Dwane, the Dubai Rose of Tralee 2008! Emma, Dubai Rose of Tralee 2008

Originally from Limerick, Emma came to Dubai in August 2007 after completing her BA in New Media and English at the University of Limerick.

She came to Dubai to teach but decided this was not for her and looked into a different field. She recently started a career as Account Co-ordinator in Expression, an advertising agency in Media city.

She considers herself a very outgoing girl with the view to always see the positive side of a situation. Friends would describe her as a great listener and someone who is great at a singsong as she knows the words to every Irish song!

Watch this space for more updates about the event.

Meanwhile click here to read about the other contestants.

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Thursday 22 May 2008

22/05 :  Rose of Tralee 2007

   Tomorrow night at the Westin Hotel, the Dubai Rose of Tralee will be selected and will go forward to compete in the International Rose of Tralee Festival in August.
Last year's winner in Tralee was Lisa Murtagh (27) from New York. Lisa, an attorney, was the fourth New York Rose to be selected Rose of Tralee.

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Wednesday 21 May 2008

21/05 :  It's a rosy life for some

   For the past six years Dubai’s Irish Society has been electing a beautiful, talented lady to send to the country town of Tralee, County Kerry to represent Dubai in the world- famous Rose of Tralee Festival.

This coming Friday one lucky lady out of eleven will be chosen to attend the event in what promises to be the greatest festival yet. The 49 year old Tralee Rose Festival is a major event in Ireland’s social calendar and gives a platform to young women of Irish birth or descent from areas including not only Ireland itself but: the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Luxembourg and Dubai. The two day festival turns the town of Tralee upside down as the world’s media focuses its attention on the contest but local residents would not have it any other way. Entertainment is laid on in abundance with a street carnival, fireworks and the Rose Ball being some of the main attractions. Everyone gets into the spirit of the occasion with local pubs “adopting” one of the finalists and championing their cause by plastering the bar in pictures of their twinned girl and memorabilia of the festival.

The festival in its present form stems from the previous “Tralee’s Carnival Queen” event. This event was originally based on the lyrics of a song written in Tralee and the story behind it. The story goes thus; William Mulchinock was a 19th century business man who fell in love with his maid Mary O’Connor who was known as the Rose of Tralee due to her fair beauty. The two were forbidden to marry because of the difference in social class and William was forced to leave for India. Before he left William wrote Mary a song which he titled ‘The Rose of Tralee.’ Years later he returned to his hometown to discover Mary had tragically died of consumption. Although William did eventually marry and move to New York he never forgot his one true love. Much older he once again returned to Tralee and on his death bed asked to be buried next to his ‘Rose.’ The Festival is therefore a perpetual search for a new Rose to match Mary O’Connor’s beauty.

Read more by David Light from the Khaleej Times

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Monday 19 May 2008

19/05 :  Irish Village looking for staff

   The Irish Village The Irish Village are looking for an Assistant Manager for their new outlet in Dubai.

Are you ready for a new challenge? Are you outgoing and people orientated and ready to build, train and motivate your team? Do you have the ability to manage and work with a multicultural team? Do you enjoy dealing with people from all over the world on a daily basis? Do you have the ability to work in a fast paced environment? Are you a team player? Do you have previous experience in managing a large pub/restaurant operation? Click here to view the advertisement in

They are also looking for Service Staff. Click here to read more

Sunday 11 May 2008

11/05 :  Springboks play Ireland in Dubai?

   World beaters The South African Rugby Union are in negotiation with the Irish Rugby Football Union about a proposed clash in Dubai later this year.

Reports suggest that South Africa are looking to extend their three-match tour of Europe later this year with an additional game against the Irish in the unprecedented setting of Dubai. Read more here and here.

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Friday 09 May 2008

09/05 :  Journey of a Rose

   The ‘Rose of Dubai’ is an annual event organised by the Irish community in Dubai in which they select a girl to attend the ‘Rose of Tralee’ contest in Ireland. Aileen McCarthy, last year’s winner, goes down memory lane as she urges other young women to take part in the contest on May 23.

The “Rose of Tralee” International Festival in Ireland will celebrate 50 years “in bloom” in 2009. The idea of the contest was to find a girl who lives up to the ideals of “Mary,” the original rose commemorated in the famous Irish ballad that gave the festival its name. The “Rose of Dubai” is thus an annual event organised by the Irish community in Dubai in which they select a girl to attend the “Rose of Tralee” event in Ireland.

The ‘Rose of Dubai’ contest is not just about selecting a girl to attend a beauty pageant. She must be of good character, truthful, friendly and a good listener. Being lovely and fair is of course a bonus. Thus, though the event is local, it selects a candidate for a global event,” says Aileen McCarthy, last year’s winner. She is a Dubai resident for over three years and works in Asset Management for a major private developer IFA Hotels and Resorts.

Read more of this article, Journey of a Rose, BY SUCHITRA STEVEN SAMUEL, Khaleej Times.

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Thursday 08 May 2008

08/05 :  The Island of Ireland

   "This is an extraordinary country. George Bernard Shaw, speaking as an Irishman, summed up an approach to life: 'Other people,' he said, 'see things and say, why? But I dream things that never were, and I say, why not?'"
President John F. Kennedy addressing the Irish Parliament, 28th June 1963.

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08/05 :  Irish cream: Blooming roses

   /aileen2.jpg"It’s not a beauty contest at all, it is all about personality, a good all-rounder," said Deirdre McCarthy, chief judge of Dubai Rose, an event organised for and by members of the Irish community in Dubai.

The annual event is part of a bigger festival known as the Rose of Tralee organised annually in Ireland involving participation of Irish women from all over the world. Preparations for the 15th annual Rose Ball are reaching fever pitch as judges and contestants get ready for the big day on May 23 due to take place at the Westin Hotel.

Fresh from her first formal get-together with other contestants, Siobhan O’Callaghan, one of the participants, said, "I wanted to take part in it for years so when I found out about it I decided to make the most of the opportunity." Speaking about the ball she added, "I think it is going to be an unbelievable night. I just learnt about the plans and I feel it’s going to be a fantastic event. A huge night. Great craic! All the participating girls are so nice."

A panel of judges comprising prominent members of Dubai’s Irish society will assess the potential Roses through a selection process including a series of interviews, one informal cocktail event and a progressive dinner, all held at the Westin Hotel in the weeks leading up to the main event on May 23.

Read more by Vikram Singh Barhat, Staff reporter, Xpress

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Sunday 04 May 2008

04/05 :  Join the MMI Wine Society

/headermmi.jpg/splashmmi.jpg As sponsors of the Dubai Irish Society, MMI would like to invite you to join our Wine society and sign up for that liquor licence you have been meaning to organise for a while.

To help you do this, please logon to to register your details and we will keep you informed about all of our tasting events and wine dinners as well as provide you monthly exclusive offers on some of the finest wines in our portfolio.

If it is a liquor licence you need click here to find out what documentation is required and to read our new application checklist.

Not only will we refund the cost of the licence in the form of a voucher for AED 150 to spend at your nearest MMI store but we will process your application and contact you to collect your approved licence.

If you already have liquor licence, don’t forget to invite your friends to organise theirs and we will give you an AED 50 reward voucher for each successful applicant. Click here to invite your friends.

We hope to see you soon.

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Saturday 03 May 2008

03/05 :  Success for Irish Poet living in Dubai

'Frank Dullaghan's quietly spoken poems move between
tenderness and terror with a humane warmth
George Szirtes.

/frankdullaghan.jpgIrish poet, Frank Dullaghan was featured in the society's 2007 annual and has been widely published in quality UK and Irish poetry and literary journals such as Poetry Ireland Review, The Honest Ulsterman, Poetry Wales, London Magazine, Poetry London and Poetry Review. His first full collection of poems, On the Back of the Wind, is now being published at the end of the month by Cinnamon Press in Wales. Frank is the only known Irish poet of substance currently living in the UAE and would welcome the support of the Irish community here. Copies of his collection can be pre-ordered from his publisher.

Commenting on his success Frank said “Being published by a serious poetry press is a significant step. Poetry does not earn much money for publishers so very few new collections, relative to novels or other writing, get published. This collection has been five years in the making and it's very exciting and satisfying that it is now coming out.”

Frank will be launching his collection in Dublin on 3rd June, in Limerick on 4th June and in London on 12th June.

/frankdullaghan2.jpgFrank was born in Dundalk, Ireland but lived in Essex for more than 20 years before moving to Dubai in 2006. He was awarded an MA (Distinction) Creative Writing from Glamorgan University. He also edited Seam for many years and was one of the founding members of the Essex Poetry Festival and lead the panel of judges for the Young Essex Poet of the Year.

1st Collection On The Back of the Wind published by Cinnamon Press 2008.

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Clannad in Dubai Karen @ (25 Apr : 00:01) (Misc)
Dubai Duty Free St. Pat's Day Golf Karen @ (04 Apr : 11:54) (DIGS)
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St. Patrick's Day in Dublin Karen @ (17 Mar : 16:59) (Misc)
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