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Lessons in Kindness

April 3, 2023

Curator, producer, writer, and educator, Dani Gill’s, second poetry collection, Lessons in Kindness that explores identity, sexuality, strength and vulnerability is going to be on book shelves across Ireland this April.

I chose Lessons in Kindness as my title because that was the mission of writing the book. While it sounds like a nice phrase, it is something borne out of great pain and forced overcoming. The title comes from the poem ‘Shingles’ and relates to the idea of having to learn to be compassionate with yourself and with others, in situations that could make us harden. The collection is an unraveling of stories. There is the central story of a woman (Dani) going through stages in life such as losing family members (both through death and estrangement), navigating gay relationships, and finding peace. The book is broken into four sections,” explained Dani.

Some of the themes in the collection explore the ideas of relationships, identity, sexuality, compassion, learning and faith. 

Writer Elaine Feeney on Lesson in Kindness, “It is a meditative collection on the importance of the people who make us, and the kindness they leave behind. Gill writes with such a light touch, beautifully done.” And Michael Harding remarked, “Here are reflections as fragile as egg shell. They are sparse and opaque, and work like a lens, allowing the reader to be the object of their own reading. There is a sense of selfhood here which is as transient as gossamer. And what shines through is a kind of soul light. A beautiful and uplifting book.”

The collection will be officially launched in The Mick Lally Theatre on Sunday 2nd April 2023, where Dani will be Interviewed by Writer Edel Coffey.

Here Dani goes through emotions and themes within the collection surrounding Grief, Contracts, Mirrors and Truth.


Grief begins with a childhood poem featuring my grandmother and going to church with her. It begins a section of poems dealing with the loss of my grandmother (she passed away from a degenerative brain disease in 2021) and the idea of faith. My grandmother was a very kind woman, she was also a staunch Catholic. The poem deliberately brings in the imagery of faith, something that is explored throughout the collection in terms of personal journey, what we believe, right and wrong, asks, navigating. 

Water Angels, Breath, Silence, Hollow are all poems set at the time or shortly after my grandmother’s death. They involve both her and my mother; the intergenerational process of grieving women. 


Contracts deals with the idea that we are often subscribed / ‘contracted’ into relationships and certain behaviours. It deals with how these are broken and interrogated. The section ends with ‘The Uprooted Tree’. A poem about becoming; the constant possibility of breaking a definition to emerge as something different. 


The poems in Mirrors are all about the roles of others in our lives and what they mirror back to us as well as the lessons they teach us. Friendships, romantic relationships and our wider identity in the community are explored. Poems like ‘Night Walk’ and ‘Stranger on the Beach’ are about the idea that we are all connected in the fabric of humanity, that we can and should help each other. 

The ‘Perspective’ poems are poems written while doing drone photography. They are about the search and capture of moments, and how the world looks through a different lens.  


Truth is the final section of the collection. It discusses personal truth, spirituality without labels and a type of call to action for active allyship of the LGBTQ community. It opens with ‘For Those Who Believe in the Unseen’, a poem about our connectedness with nature. It features the sea, something I’ve written about a lot in my poetry. As a sea swimmer it is something  I’ve learned from massively throughout the past decade. ‘Masks’, ‘Raise Your Spear’, ‘Power’ and ‘Choose Your Weapon’ are poems about being part of the LGBTQ community and the challenge that it brings. They are a call to action to be aware, to be active in what you believe in, and to be brave in what matters. This section is about finding my own personal truth, but also the wider context of truth for us as a community. Who are we? What do we stand for? What world do we want to live in and how do we build it?  

 Publication Date: April 2nd 2023. Publisher: Salmon Poetry. Lessons in Kindness, €12 will be available from all good bookstores and online via the Salmon Poetry website: For more information on Dani get social @theedanimagic (Instagram and Twitter)


Here are reflections as fragile as egg shell. They are sparse and opaque, and work like a lens, allowing the reader to be the object of their own reading. There is a sense of selfhood here which is as transient as gossamer. And what shines through is a kind of soul light. A beautiful and uplifting book. -Michael Harding

A beautiful account of the lives, loves and losses of three generations of women. The poems explore how interconnected those experiences are, in love, in grief, and how they move between generations like the ebb and flow of the tide. -Edel Coffey

A meditative collection on the importance of the people who make us, and the kindness they leave behind. Gill writes with such a light touch, beautifully done. -Elaine Feeney

Fast paced, challenging, truthful, in this her second collection, Dani Gill explores the demanding landscape of personal love and loss. -Mary Dorcey

Lessons in Kindness is a finely-wrought collection exploring identity, love and loss. Whether writing about the relationships that have shaped her, the experience of coming out or how to live mindfully each day, Dani Gill’s poems are imbued with a sense of rootedness in nature.

– Jane Clarke

This gentle collection orbits grief, looking for a safe place to land. The wearing and removing of masks, the fragility of life, the stillness therein. – Rita Ann Higgins.

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Macnas introduces CON MÓR 

October 4, 2022

Macnas Are Back with CON MÓR, The Giant  at Macnas HQ, Fisheries Field, Galway on Saturday 29th & Sunday 30th October 2022  from 12 noon to 8pm.
And they are inviting kids and grown-ups to join them in welcoming
this special visitor to Galway!
 29th September 2022 – This year, Macnas are back with something big and different! Come down to Macnas HQ at Fisheries Field, Galway to see CON MÓR, The Giant situated on the banks of the River Corrib on Saturday 29th & Sunday 30th October 2022.   
Noeline Kavanagh, Artistic Director said – “Con Mór celebrates the Macnas tradition of conjuring Giants into being… Who can ever forget Gulliver on the beach?!  
This year we are inviting the public to see Con Mór at Fisheries Field, our home in the centre of Galway city, where he will be for 48 hours only… It’s a rave, it’s a pilgrimage, it’s the Bank Holiday Weekend! Pop up performances on site across the two days. Bring your feathers, your messages of hope and your wellies and we’ll see you there…”
Adding – “For fans, devotees and lovers of another great Macnas tradition… The Halloween Parade… Macnas will reclaim the streets of Galway next year, October 2023. And we can’t wait!”
A stellar team of local and international talent have come together to bring CON MÓR, The Giant to life, with Director Noeline Kavanagh joined by Co-Designers Paul McDonnell and Dave Young, Lighting & Special Effects Designer Richard Babington, Costumer Designer Cherie White and Composer & Sound Designer Mathew Berrill, as well as local structural steel engineers Pat Rynn Engineering Ltd.
The Bank Holiday weekend will also see pop-up performances from the Macnas Drummers, Macnas Brass, Macnas Youth Theatre and Macns Stilt Ensemble across the city, made up of performers and participants from Macnas’s year round education and public participation programme.    
Famed for making giants in both familiar and unexpected landscapes around the world, this year Macnas will bring the magic to their own doorstep with Con Mór emerging for the first time at Fisheries Field in Galway city, the company’s home for over 35 years.    
And one for the diary! The spectacular storytellers will light up the streets of Galway once again in 2023, with the world-famous Macnas parade scheduled to make its return at Halloween next year.  
The Story of CON MÓR, The Giant
Inventors and explorers from all over the world are baffled by evidence of an ancient giant living underneath the Macnas workshop at Fisheries Field in Galway city. Macnas called on Professor Marjorie Morrigan, an expert on Giants & Where They Come From for help.
Marjorie told them – “This giant seems to have been here for centuries. There is a very large iron nose, so big and rusty, you could park a car in one of the nostrils.”
Marjorie Morrigan went on to confirm that this big fella belongs to the legendary Tuatha Dé Danann tribe. His name is CON MÓR and he comes from an ancient Island of Giants off the coast of Connaught. CON MÓR was so famous across Ireland for his love of birds and nature, his friends used to call him The Bird King!   
To help welcome him to Galway, Macnas is asking kids to make or find a feather – with a message of hope for the future – and deliver it to CON MÓR at Macnas over the Halloween Bank Holiday Weekend.  Visit for more information.
CON MÓR, The Giant is made possible by support from the Art’s Council, Galway City Council, University of Galway, Smyth’s Toys Superstores, Connacht Hospitality Group, AIB, Acorn Insurance, Galway County Council, The Latin Quarter and PWC.

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June 27, 2022

Macnas are starting a spectacle music troupe lead by Matthew Berrill, brass/wind musical wizard!  If you are a  brass/wind musician who has an interest in improvisation, experimental sounds, performance, and play and is excited about being part of outdoor spectacular events then come join their weekly workshops happening in September 2022.

Brass has been an integral soundscape within  Macnas’ epic works over the last decade and as part of their ongoing artistic program they are excited to work with the next generation of musicians for spectacle Theatre.

Open to musicians 14 – 20yrs

How to get involved:

Email with an expression of interest, let us know what instrument you play and how many years you are playing. There is more info here