Local writer Trish Bennett, who is originally from Kiltyclogher, Co. Leitrim but now lives on the outskirts of Enniskillen, has been making a name for herself in the poetry world, recently having had poems broadcast on RTÉ Radio One and BBC Radio Ulster.

“Starting to get things out on RTÉ and the BBC is a dream come true for me. Absolutely a dream come true,” Trish told The Impartial Reporter, adding that it’s only been in the last two years that she’s got confidence in her work. “I’m getting more confident, but I’m still terrified,”she added with a laugh.

Trish’s great sense of humour and ability to see the lighthearted side of life is evident throughout many of her poems. “You have to see the funny side of things and I usually do,” shared Trish, “I could be in a complete crisis like we are now and I will see something that makes me laugh and I think if you can do that, you can survive any crisis.”

Her poem ‘Carry-On Covid’, which was recently broadcast on BBC Radio Ulster show ‘The Ticket’ (June 4, at 30 mins), echoed this sentiment, portraying a hilarious view of a potential DIY response to PPE during the coronavirus pandemic.

“On Facebook and Pinterest and all these sites, they’re showing you how to make face masks so when the BBC commissioned me to write a poem, I started to think, ‘what if everybody in Enniskillen made face masks out of their underwear’ and as a result this poem came out of it,” laughed Trish, adding: “Just imagine what it would be like to go into town to do your shopping and people are using these underwear face masks. I did it to make people smile.”

Along with having a poem aired on ‘The Ticket’, Trish also read one of her poems on The Poetry Programme (June 1, at six minutes) on RTÉ Radio One: “They contacted me to use my poem ‘Jailbreak’, that I’d published on pendemic.ie. It was about my mother in the car breaking for the Border in the Yaris. The poem came about as a result of a conversation I’d had with her one day where she said she was so sick of cocooning. It was written fast which was unusual for me because it usually takes me a long time to get a poem right.”

Although she currently writes a lot of poetry, Trish wouldn’t class herself as just a poet: “I know I’ve written an awful lot of poetry but I write memoir and short stories as well. I think the thing I love at the moment is poetry.”

She went on to explain that she has “no background” in the literary arts, and worked in Quality Engineering and Software Engineering for half of her life: “There’s a huge amount of stuff I can write about because I’ve had a lot of life experience in different jobs such as manufacturing and IT.”

“I always knew that I should write creatively, but I didn’t. I ended up doing a lot of technical writing for work instead. I used to write as a child, I kept diaries as a teenager and I wrote poetry,” she said.

Reminiscing, Trish recalled the first time she was recognised with a prize for her writing: “I suppose my first prize was when I was runner up in a competition for ‘Fire Safety in the Home’ at the age of 12. It was an essay for Leitrim County Council and the Fire Brigade.”

She noted that she travelled with her mum, aunt and cousins to receive the award.

“We were fierce excited,” shared Trish, adding that she was wearing her confirmation outfit for the special occasion. However, the journey didn’t go to plan.

“The car started to smoke, it was a Volkswagon Beetle and it never made it across the hills and I never got to it,” she laughed: “My early attempts at a career as a writer up in smoke.”

It was only when Trish experienced a traumatic life event that she decided to start focusing on her writing.

“What made me write was when I had a missed-miscarriage in 2008. I didn’t know the baby had died until I went in for the scan. I was so devastated with grief that I went to counselling,” shared Trish.

“During the counselling I had one of those light bulb moments when I realised that I needed to write to help me recover. I began to write when I joined a creative writing class with Ruth Carr at the Crescent Arts Centre. She’s a brilliant poet and a great facilitator. I went to her class and wrote essays and memoir pieces, short stories and poetry. They weren’t great but she encouraged me to keep at it,” she added, noting that at first she was writing as a hobby because she had a young child and was still working in IT.

In 2016 Trish was awarded a bursary by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council to attend the John Hewitt International Summer School.

“When I went to that I realised for the first time where I belonged. I never felt that anywhere before until I went to the Summer School, and I met people who were serious about writing. Before, I was embarrassed to show people my writing,” said Trish. It was there that she met Jo Zebedee, a sci-fi writer, who has since become a good friend of hers: “She said to join Women Aloud NI and I did. After that, I thought, ‘I’m going to take this seriously now’. For the last four years I’ve been pushing my work out there.” Trish added.

Over the last few years, Trish has won and been placed in several competitions and has discovered a love of performance. She’s performed her poetry at over sixty events in the UK and Ireland, including Enniskillen-based poetry and spoken word night, The Thing Itself, and most recently opening the ‘Across the Lines’ cross-community and cross-Border virtual open mic event hosted by the Glens Centre, Manorhamilton in conjunction with the IFI.

She also noted the support of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and her writer friends including local poet Teresa Kane who she met through the Fermanagh Writers group.

Alongside her radio appearances in lockdown, Trish has had two poems about Fermanagh featured in the recently launched ‘North Star’ anthology, which includes work by members of Women Aloud NI. She has also been working on a solo poetry collection.

“I’m working on my debut poetry collection thanks to a SIAP Award from The Arts Council of Northern Ireland who’ve been so supportive. They gave me a Travel Award to perform at The London Irish Centre in February of this year. I recited poetry from my micro-pamphlet, Borderlines (Hedgehog Poetry Press). The poems are about my favourite places, the Border counties of Fermanagh, Leitrim and Cavan,” said Trish.

For updates on Trish’s writing follow her blog trishbennettblog.wordpress.com Facebook: Trish Bennett Writer, Twitter/Instagram: @baabennett.


Feck this cocoon, I’m heading out,

the Mother declares over the phone.

When I ask where she’s going,

she replies, the chemist.

I suggest that If she wants

to risk her life,

she heads anywhere

but out for tablets.

Bring Olive or Ena to sing along

to their Choir of Ages CD.

Go out at full-blast

like Thelma and Louise,

speeding to the border

in the Yaris.

(First published on www.pendemic.ie)