The Word Special Event: John Minihan BECKETT + THE WAKE

Sligo Central Library are hosting a very Special Photography edition of The Word.


Wednesday 26th of October at 6.30pm

Music with members of Dervish: Liam Kelly and Michael Holmes

Audience Q&A

The Irish photographer John Minihan first met Samuel Beckett in May 1980, and was to photograph him many times thereafter in both Paris and London, a privilege afforded to very few. Impossible to interview and famously camera-shy, Beckett was nevertheless a remarkable photographic subject, with his wise, eagle-like face which reflected his greatness and profundity as a writer. This is a collection of Beckett portraits.

John’s talks are always wonderful,full of insightful anecdotes and humour, with Bacon and Burroughs,etc,brought into the mix as well.

John Minihan was born in Dublin in 1946 and raised in Athy, County Kildare. At the age of 12 he was brought to live in London, and went on to become an apprentice photographer with the Daily Mail. At 21 he became the youngest staff photographer for the Evening Standard. For thirty years he remained in London, returning every year to his hometown of Athy to record the people and their daily lives.

In between documenting Athy on visits home, Minihan continued his career on Fleet Street, which included the iconic snap of a 19-year-old Lady Diana Spencer in the garden of the nursery she worked at, the morning sun to her back, her legs in silhouette through her skirt.

Over the years Minihan developed a close relationship with many writers and his photographs of Samuel Beckett show a particular affinity between the two men. William Burroughs once referred to Minihan as “a painless photographer”.

His friendship with Samuel Beckett produced some of the most remarkable photographs ever taken of the writer.


Samuel Beckett – Photographs by John Minihan
Published 1995 by Secker & Warburg
Introduction by Aidan Higgins
Paperback: ISBN 0436202522

Liam Kelly – Flute

Liam Kelly grew up in Sligo Town and is a founding member of the band Dervish. He began playing traditional Irish music at the young age of 8 starting on the tin whistle at school and a couple of years later was taught by Carmel Gunning.He also played the accordion and was taught by the great Alfie Dineen. He then began to play flute at the age of 16 and went on to play in a group called Poitin who appeared on the Late Late Show after winning a talent competition where the Late Late appearance was the prize.

Dervish then formed at the All Ireland Fleadh in 1989 after which they have gone on to produce 14 albums along with touring all over the world celebrating 32 years in the music business.

He also has a solo cd called Sweetwood released in 2010 which was named after the Townland where his Father came from. Liam also released a duet album with Sligo Fiddler Philip Duffy in 2015 called Sets in Stone and more recently released a new John McKenna tribute album in 2021 playing one of the flutes that John McKenna used back in the 1920’s.

Michael Holmes – Bouzouki

Michael is a founding member of Sligo band Dervish and has been playing music since his teens. Starting originally on guitar he later progressed to playing bouzouki while living in London in the late 1980s. He’s written several pieces of music which were recorded on Dervish albums. Michael has also worked with various other musicians over the years including playing on Kevin Burke’s most recent album ‘Sligo Made’. When not playing and touring Michael repairs and restores vintage concertinas.

The Word, Wednesday 26th of October, will take place in Sligo Central Library, Stephen Street from 6.30pm. This is a free unticketed event with limited seating, doors close at 6.30pm.

This event will be Streamed on Facebook on the night://

The Word is a collaboration between Sligo Central Library and the BA in Writing & Literature at ATU.

There is no charge for this event.

[email protected]/ 0719111675