Bàrd / File / Bardd

“And a stool will stand sooner on three legs than one”

Bàrd, File, Bardd is a new digital poetry collaboration which brings together poets from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to share and explore the links and dynamics of the Welsh, Irish and Scottish Gaelic languages. The title combines the word for ‘poet’ in the three featured languages.

The fruit of the collaboration is a collection of nine new video poems exploring contemporary themes written and performed by three poets, one from each country.

The poets collaborating on the project are National Poet of Wales Ifor ap Glyn, Dublin City University Writer in Residence and Ambassador for Áras na Scríbhneoirí Ciara Ní É, and the writer, broadcaster and lecturer at University of St Andrews Pàdraig Mac Aoidh.  During their collaboration, the three poets have explored the different perspectives of the Welsh and Irish and Scottish Gaelic languages. Their work also explores identities and how these languages continue to evolve and adapt to the modern world.

The poets held a series of digital workshops, supported by the Belfast based cultural and language centre, Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich.  The workshops focused on the idea of “mother tongues”, and what this means to people from various language communities, particularly within a bilingual context. The poets were commissioned to write three poems each following the workshops, and have worked with award-winning multi-media director Ian Rowlands, video editor and composer Jason Lye-Phillips and animator Pól Maguire to create the videos.

Inspired by last year’s UNESCO Year of Indigenous Languages, the project was originally developed as a live show with the intention of touring venues and festivals at the respective countries, but took a digital dimension due to the Covid 19 pandemic.

The poems can be seen below with a choice of Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, Scots and English subtitles. They will be released individually from 1 October 2020, National Poetry Day to 13 October.

The Poets

Ciara Ní É

Ciara Ní É is DCU Writer in Residence 2020. She is the founder of REIC, a monthly multilingual spoken word and open mic night that features poetry, music, storytelling and rap. She has performed internationally in New York, London, Brussels, Sweden, and across Ireland, and she is an Irish Writers Centre ambassador. Her work has been published in a variety of journals including Icarus and Comhar and her first poetry collection is forthcoming.

Pàdraig MacAoidh

A native Gaelic speaker from the Isle of Lewis, Pàdraig MacAoidh is an academic, writer and broadcaster whose work is influenced by the diverse linguistic heritage of his birthplace. Padraig has worked at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, Queen’s University Belfast; Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin; and at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, where he was writer in residence. He is the author of a monograph on the work of Sorley MacLean (RIISS, 2010), and has co-edited collections of essays on modern Irish and Scottish poetry and on Scottish Gaelic literature.

Ifor ap Glyn

National Poet of Wales Ifor ap Glyn was born and bred in London to Welsh parents. He is a multi-award-winning poet, presenter, director and producer. A prolific writer, Ifor has twice won the Crown at the National Eisteddfod – one of the festival’s most prestigious prizes. Ifor has represented Welsh poetry around the world in both the Welsh and English language, most recently in Cameroon, Lithuania, China, Belgium, Germany, and Ireland.

The Project



Bàrd, File, Bardd is funded by Arts Council of Wales, Wales Arts International, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, British Council Wales, the National Lottery and Scottish Poetry Library. The project is led by Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich in association with Literature Wales and Scottish Poetry Library, and in collaboration with Yr Egin and Poetry Ireland.

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