The Linen Hall: Belfast’s Home of Poetry

The Linen Hall Library has been always known as the home of poetry in Belfast, holding some of the most significant works of local poetry, from the historic works of Robert Burns to Belfast poets Louis MacNeice and John Hewitt.

The ‘Home of Poetry’ is a special programme curated by the Linen Hall Library to celebrate the great poets of the past while pushing the boundaries by hosting new voices and themes.

This October, for the ‘Home of Poetry’ we have organised a number of events and workshops, that will explore historic and more contemporary themes. 


Exhibition of photography, poetry and film by Noel Connor

Noel Connor was born and raised in West Belfast and as a child, he would have travelled from his home in Andersonstown into town on the number 12 trolley bus. Using film, poetry and photography, he explores why the number 12 bus from Casement Park to Castle Street features so conspicuously in his memory, examining how events on and around it capture a transition from childhood innocence into the realities of late 1960s Belfast.

Using image and sound he captures their simple abstract beauty and creates for them a symbolic significance as lost lines of connection and communication. Noel’s own words weave a narrative strand through all the imagery, producing evocative poems and sound pieces to create a further layer to his work.

4-28 October | Vertical Gallery | Free


Creative re-writing of Italian poems

Do you speak Italian? In three 2-hour long workshops, Federica Ferrieri will work on Italian poetry, with Italian learners of all levels.

After introducing the poet and analysing the text, you will work in small groups to creatively personalise the lines and ‘play’ with the poems. Each week will have a different theme: libri (we’re in a beautiful library, after all!), autunno (to celebrate the time of the year) and amore (does poetry without love even exist?).

The cost for each session is £5.

  • Thursday 6th October | 1 pm – 3 pm
  • Thursday 20th October | 1 pm – 3 pm
  • Thursday 27th October | 1 pm – 3 pm


In partnership with Arlen House

Washing Windows Too is a wide-ranging and insightful anthology of 100 new poems by 100 women poets, north and south. Published in March 2022, it made history by reaching No 3 in the Nielsen bestseller charts. Certain themes emerge such as birth and motherhood; child-love and empty nests; migration and refugees; women’s power and agency; bodies, the male gaze, and violence; nature and its beauties; art, creation, and the act of writing itself; uneasy relationships; politics; health and illness; and grief and death. And, because we are living in the early twenty-twenties, the pandemic naturally features in some poems.

Join us at the Linen Hall for readings from Washing Windows Too and also from the first Washing Windows anthology, compiled in honour of pioneering poet Eavan Boland and Catherine Rose, Ireland’s first feminist publisher.

Friday 7 October | 1 pm | Performance Area | Free


Reading with Maria McManus, Viviana Fiorentino, and Amar Al-Najjar

ANCHORING reflects on differing languages and cultures. For this event, three poets will collaborate and explore the experience of migration, integration and inclusion in the light of a common ground, in Belfast. Poets Maria McManus, Viviana Fiorentino & Amar Al-Najjar will provide a special poetry reading in English, Italian and Arabic, with translations of their work to and from the other languages.

Thursday 13 October | 1 pm | Performance Area | Free



An evening of poetry curated by Eamonn Mallie

Eamonn Mallie is one of Ireland’s most respected and well-known media personalities and his ‘Covid-19 Poetry’ became a social media hit on Twitter from 2020-2022. Join us at the Linen Hall for a special evening where Mallie will bring together his favourite poems as read by a collection of ordinary and extraordinary individuals.

Thursday 13 October | 7 pm | Performance Area | £5


New book by Andrew Beattie

In his second outing, Andrew Beattie captures the inner conflict of the mind through poetry.

This unique collection of poems engages with reality, hidden behind the facade of world ideology. The irony is reflected in isolation caused by a detachment from society.

Join author Andrew Beattie for a reading from his book which will unlock your desire and determination as you share in real emotion by Unlocking your innermost thoughts.

Monday 24 October | 1 pm | Performance Area | Free


Panel Discussion with Gerald Dawe, Manuela Moser, Fran Brearton & Stephen Sexton

Join us for a panel discussion featuring esteemed poets and academics in conversation about Northern Ireland’s poetry scene. What are the strengths of the scene? What are the weaknesses? What are the challenges? What’s missing? Who should we be reading? What does the future hold? These are just some of the questions that our lively panel will be exploring with help from the audience.

Wednesday 26 October | 1 pm | Performance Area | Free