Monday 14 January 2019 to Monday 18 March 2019

Forming part of the annual St. Patrick's Festival, The Words that Bind Us is an exciting new artistic collaboration between Ireland and Scotland. Involving a range of partners, the project aims to connect Scottish and Irish spoken word/poetry in a contemporary way and to showcase the edge and freshness of artists in both countries.

The Words that Bind Us contains four main elements:

Poets in Residence – Workshop Programme

Three Scottish poets including Leyla Josephine and three Irish poets led by Stephen James Smith will take up residency at Axis Arts Centre, Ballymun in Dublin from January-March 2019.  A series of youth workshops will be held with 20 young people from Trinity Comprehensive to discuss and respond to the themes of identity, belonging and culture. Through discussion, writing and performance, the workshops aim to build confidence, nurture young talent and develop skills in poetry and writing. 

Live Performances

As part of the residency, the six poets will also pair up and create a new performance to be presented at an event in Scotland. The performance will be based on the workshop themes and an exploration of the ties between Scotland and Ireland.  All poets will gather on Wednesday 13 March to perform on stage at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh, in celebration of the launch of St. Patrick’s Festival Dublin the following day. This event will be delivered in partnership with Neu! Reekie! artistic collective.

A performance at Axis Arts Centre, Ballymun on Saturday 16 March will mark the culmination of the workshop programme. This will include a beautifully curated presentation of the young people’s work and special guest appearances from a host of invited poets. It will also feature Creative Sisters, led by Leyla Josephine, where young female minds dive into their personal 'WOW factor' (Women Of the World), celebrating their power and potential as young Dublin women and exploring notions of creativity, identity and belonging. Get tickets for the performance.


Running alongside the live performance will be a new installation of work created during the workshops. This will be displayed through sound and photography throughout Axis Arts Centre during the St. Patrick's Festival.

Dublin UNESCO City of Literature Poetry Trail 

On Monday 18 March in Dublin City Centre, the Festival will celebrate the breadth and diversity of the city's living poets on a curated trail, based on the poets' own work and the locations that have inspired them. Curated by Linda Devlin, the trail will include a mix of Irish and Scottish poets including host John Cummins with Felispeaks, Dagago Hart, Colm Keegan and others. The route will take in Gutter Bookshop, The Winding Stair, Books Upstairs, Science Gallery Dublin, National Gallery of Ireland and the International Bar. More info on the Literature Poetry Trail.


The Words That Bind Us is a new artistic initiative from St Patrick’s Festival 2019 with the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Ireland and the Department. of Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Scotland, the British Council and Dublin UNESCO City of Literature, in association with Axis Arts Centre Ballymun, Neu! Reekie! and Scottish Poetry Library, Edinburgh.