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Crossing Points – Listen To My Roaming Writer Audio Journey

I’ve had a ball as the Irish Writers Centre’s Roaming Writer–in-Residence travelling on the railways, writing with passengers, running Creative Writing workshops at universities and writing haiku of my own inspired by my journeys.

You can listen to the 5 minute audio journey of my final haiku sequence CROSSING POINTS by clicking here.


Reflections, connections, memories, borders, contemplations all came together as a meditative journey.

You can listen anytime from anywhere but if you’re travelling by train, put on your headphones and listen in situ to capture the full experience. I’d love to hear what you think.

Translink Train - Deirdre Cartmill.jpg

Check out the Instagram page @roamingwriterstories to read my haiku, passenger haiku and student stories from across Ireland.

Sea from train window reuse

Thank you @irishrail @irishwriterscentre @TranslinkNI and @ACNIwriting for supporting this project.

#iwcroamingwriter @deirdrecartmill @roamingwriterstories


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My Roaming Writer Travels

I’ve had a fabulous time as the Irish Writers Centre Roaming Writer-in-Residence on the railways. I travelled across Ireland, north and south on trains and wrote about my journeys. Click here to read a lovely feature in the Irish News about my adventures.

Galway Station- Deirdre Cartmill

I’ve completed a sequence of haiku Crossing Points which I’m looking forward to sharing with you soon. Watch this space.

I’ve met everyone from actors and writers to commuters and tourists. Many of these have written haiku with me, and these are posted on the Instagram page @roamingwriterstories.

Railway Line - Deirdre Cartmill.jpg

I was also delighted to get some railway staff writing with me. As I used to work for both British Rail and Irish Rail as a Signal & Telecoms engineer, giving voice to these unsung heroes who keep the railways running has been important to me.

You can also check out the stories from Creative Writing students from Queens, UU Coleraine, NUIG and UCD on the Instagram page @roamingwriterstories.

NUIG Workshop  - Deirdre Cartmill.jpg

Thanks to the Irish Writers Centre, Translink, Irish Rail and the Arts Council of NI who supported this residency.

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Poetry Jukebox Launch

What a wonderful day at the launch of the travelling Poetry Jukebox in CS Lewis Square, Belfast. Poets had travelled from all over Ireland and the UK to be there. The weather was so glorious we read outside.

Deirdre Cartmill

It was lovely to hear my new poem Between Crossing & Passing get its first public airing. The jukebox will be in situ throughout March so get down and listen to some fabulous poems for free.

At Poetry Jukebox - Deirdre Cartmill.jpg

This curation A Deeper Country was inspired by CS Lewis and curated by Maria McManus and Tade Ipadeola. Here are all the wonderful poets involved.

A Deeper Country Poetry Jukebox - Deirdre Cartmill.jpg

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IWC Roaming Writer-in-Residence

I’m absolutely thrilled to be the new IWC Roaming Writer-in Residence. Travelling from north to south on Translink and Irish Rail railway lines, I will listen to voices and conversations of people on the trains, accumulating stories and building a treasure chest of potential workshops or essay ideas. I’m working with Creative Writing students all over Ireland at QUB, Ulster University Coleraine, NUIG and UCD.

Coleraine Train - Deirdre Cartmill

It’s a dream opportunity for me. I love writing on trains – the sights, the sounds, the rhythm of the train just create the perfect setting for inspiration.

I’ll be writing a sequence of haiku about my experiences. I’ll also be approaching willing passengers on the trains and gently encouraging them to write their own haiku, with my help, giving them a unique experience as they travel.

Before I became a writer, I worked for both British Rail and Irish Rail as a Signal & Telecoms engineer. I walked the lines with the maintenance teams. I drank tea in signal boxes. I crossed boggy fields to site radio masts. Because of this it’s important for me to explore some unusual and behind the scenes stories during my residency. I’m looking forward to getting some haiku from railway staff and seeing the journey through their eyes.

Inspire reuse

When working the Creative Writing students I’m encouraging them to write about ‘invisible people’ – the people behind the scenes who don’t normally get a mention.
I was living in Dublin and working for Irish Rail when I first started to write – and my first writers group was in the Irish Writers Centre with Thomas Kilroy. It’s lovely to feel it all coming full circle through this residency.”

You can get involved too. Check out the dedicated Instagram page @roamingwriterstories or where I will regularly post Writing Ideas – inspirational writing exercises to get the creativity flowing. I’d love you to take part and post samples of your writing in the comments on the Instagram Page.

I’ll also be publishing some of my own haiku and the students’ stories on this Instagram page throughout the residency.

I’ve previously been the IWC Community Writer-in-Residence with Womens Aid in 2018, Artist-in-Residence at The Belfast International Arts Festival 2017, and Writer-in-Residence at the Belfast Book Festival and An Creagan

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Writer In Residence & An Inspiring 2018

It’s been an inspiring few months. Writing has helped me to heal and find my voice, and I love helping others do the same. I’m really enjoying my time as the Irish Writers Centre Writer In Residence with Womens Aid. The work coming out is heart-warming and eye opening.

I was delighted to be part of the second curation of the Poetry Jukebox, alongside Maria McManus. There are many powerful poems on here looking both directly and indirectly at the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. Have a listen outside the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast. This curation runs until 10th June.

Poetry Jukebox Curation 2 Image

I’ve really enjoyed some mini residencies with schools in the north as part of Poetry Ireland’s Writers In Schools scheme. I was moved to tears by some beautiful feedback from one school where every pupil sent me a personal note. One said she always thought poetry was boring but now she knows it is beautiful. Another said she’s now keeping a poetry notebook and writes in it every day.

spiritual book

I’m looking forward to the next few months when I’ll be working with people who have eating disorders. I love helping people to find their voice again.

I’ll also be running another Heartfelt Writing Weekend. Here’s a lovely comment from a previous weekend: “This was the first workshop where I was ‘given permission’ to be myself, to write from my spirit – my heartbeat. I feel free.”

It’s a real joy to see some of my mentoring clients getting published and being shortlisted for awards.

And I’m working away on a new sequence of poems, thanks to a SIAP Award from the Arts Council. Here’s hoping the rest of 2018 is just as inspirational.

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Free Your Creative Voice – Heartfelt Writing Weekend – 21st-22nd October

Take time out to focus on your creativity, get inspired, feed your soul, and pick up some new tips and tools to take your writing to the next level.

This inspiring weekend empowers you to get writing and stay writing.

book rose

We’ll be covering new material, so this is suitable whether you’ve been on a previous weekend or if this is your first time coming along.

Throughout the weekend we’ll look at:

  • Getting your creativity flowing again
  • Building your inner confidence.
  • Reconnecting with the joy of writing.
  • Inspirational writing exercises.
  • Tips for deepening your writing.
  • Dealing with self-doubt and blocks.
  • Finding a writing routine that works and stays fun.

As always, this weekend will focus on how to write in a way that connects with other people, reaching into the deepest level of their being. This heartfelt writing has the power to change people’s lives. We will explore practical writing techniques from this deeper perspective.

Beautiful words and an understanding of craft are not enough – the substance under the words is what matters.

Here is some of the lovely feedback from previous Heartfelt Writing Weekends:

“It has been a hugely uplifting experience – funny, poignant and immensely enjoyable 2 days – and it has gone in a flash!” Laura Graham

“New ideas presented clearly and with humour and intelligence, and soul. Brilliant way to spend two days soaking up the inspiration.”

“Very inspiring exercises taught with tact, humour and grace.”

“Packed with helpful, practical tips and info. Uplifting and confidence inspiring.”

“Totally eye opening and lots of tips and tricks to writing that I didn’t know. Wonderful workshop, the right amount of learning and love!”

spiritual book

For those who don’t know me, I’m a poet with two published collections and an award winning screenwriter and playwright. I won the Claddagh Film Script Award, the BBC Writersroom Undercover competition and I’ve had two plays and a short film produced. I was a writer for two years on RTE’s flagship drama, Fair City, and the award winning teen drama Seacht. I also spent eight years working as a BBC script editor, five years as a freelance journalist and I have a Masters in Creative Writing. I’m currently one of this year’s Artists-in-Residence at the Belfast International Arts Festival. I’ve been mentoring and facilitating writing workshops for twelve years.

I wrote my first poem at the age of eight but stopped writing when a teacher praised my poem but said I could never have written something so good and it must have been copied. I stood at the front of the class in tears. The humiliation and criticism stopped me writing for the next fifteen years. Self doubt and fear of ridicule can block all writers, often for years, and I’m passionate about helping writers get their work into the world and not waste precious time.

Whether you’re writing a novel, screenplay, poetry, short stories or play, this weekend will help you approach your work in a fresh and deeper way.

Booking is essential as places are limited. Email to book your place.

£30 deposit secures your place.

Venue:  Donegall St Pl, Belfast BT1 2FN

Dates: Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd October.

Time: 11am-5pm

Cost: £125 –  early bird price of £100 if you book by Monday 9th October.

You can pay the deposit (£32) or full amount (£127) via Paypal at the link below, or message me if you want to pay by cheque or bank transfer.


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Writer-in-Residence & Poetry Jukebox

I’m delighted to be writer-in-residence alongside Maria McManus at this year’s Belfast International Arts Festival. As part of our residency we’re curating Ireland’s first Poetry Jukebox, which is installed outside the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast and goes live on 12th October.


The Poetry Jukebox is an on-street sound installation providing an exciting new platform for poetry. This will be a permanent installation, but we will change the content three or four times a year. We see this as an innovative new ‘journal’ of poetry for the island of Ireland. Its on-street presence can capture the imagination and has at its core the ability, as Heaney wrote, to “catch the heart off-guard and blow it open”. The first jukebox has poems form world renowned Irish poets, rising stars and new voices.

Artists In Residence

We want to open minds and hearts with the power and intensity and gentleness of poetry.  Hearing poetry unexpectedly in the street can inspire people, make an ordinary moment sacred, and change how people see the city and themselves.


The Poetry Jukebox will be launched as part of the Belfast International Arts Festival on 12th October 2017. This is a free event and everyone is welcome.


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