The Attic Sessions: Raising the Roof on Irish Literature & Music

At this year’s Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival, I had a quick chat with Nessa O’Mahony and Peter Salisbury about their new video podcast for lovers of Irish writing and music, The Attic Sessions.

‘The idea grew out of a radio show I used to do on Anna Livia, along with Maeve O’Sullivan, called Writer’s Ink. It ran for about three years from 1997 – 2000,’ says Nessa, Dublin-born poet and creative writing teacher with the Open University. ‘The time seemed right for an online version, where I could use my journalist background to explore the writing world. And we recently converted our attic at home to make a creative space where we both could work.’

Peter, a freelance camera-man and founder of Fotoeire, a Dublin-based media production company, nods. ‘We now have a mini studio at home and originally thought about doing it as an audio podcast, but decided we might as well go the whole hog and broadcast in video.’

The Attic Sessions will focus on both the traditional music and literary scenes in Ireland, recording and broadcasting a 30 minute film once a month and shining a light on areas like the short story, poetry collections, poetry in translation.


Their first guest is Lia Mills, author of Fallen – set in the midst of the First World War and the Easter Rising, and Dublin: One City One Book Choice for 2016  where she talks about her inspiration for the book, the current commemoration of 1916, the important  role women played during the period and this year’s inaugural Two Cities One Book festival, which twins book clubs in Dublin and Belfast.

‘We want the interviews to be interesting and fun, to find out the tricks of the trade and how writers do what they do,’ says Nessa.

And who would be The Attic Sessions’ dream guests?

‘Oh, maybe Tess Gallagher, Paula Meehan, Eavan Boland. Mary Morrissy to talk about the short story. And topical guests like Caitriona O’Reilly (who received the Irish Times Poetry Now Award at the Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival). But we also want it to be a showcase for young Iirish musicians as well, like Ellen O’Mahony and Carla Ryan, who wrote and perform The Attic Sessions theme tune!’

The first Attic Session is now live on YouTube and you can find out more at The Attic Sessions, or connect with Nessa and Peter on Facebook and Twitter.