‘Oh steer my bark to Erin’s Isle...’

Thu, Oct 12, 2017

On Friday evening towards the end of the Easter Rising, there was one further horrific incident that convined Padraic Pearse that surrender, and quickly, was the only course open to the rebels.

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Inspirations for a poet

Thu, Sep 28, 2017

Week II

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The moaning came from the room next door

Thu, Sep 21, 2017

In the early 1960s the poet Richard Murphy spent an eventful decade ferrying visitors on his converted traditional Galway hooker type boat, the Ave Maria, between Cleggan and Inishbofin, and to the islands beyond. It provided rich pickings for the poet. He kept a diary of the journeys, the characters who came on board, and the excellent fishing that anglers enjoyed, which he included in his finely observed autobiography The Kick, recently republished to celebrate his 90th birthday.*

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A gentle kick under the table

Thu, Sep 07, 2017

Week IV

If Sylvia Plath was hoping for some kind of reprochement between herself and her husband Ted Hughes during their stay with Richard Murphy at Cleggan, Co Galway, she was to be quickly disillusioned. In fact she would be abandoned, and plunged into despair.

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The poet who went mad on Inishboffin

Thu, Aug 17, 2017

In 1959 the poet Richard Murphy renovated the black-sailed Ave Maria, a traditional Galway hooker, which he used to ferry visitors to Inishboffin, and for a day’s fishing. Over the years the poet, the boat and the magnificent landscape attracted a flotsam and jetsam of humanity, many of a literary kind.

The critically acclaimed American poet Theodore Roethke*, and his model wife Beatrice (whom he adored and addressed as ‘My lizard, my lively writher’), arrived for a few days, and stayed two months.

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Lessons from ‘an old schoolmaster’

Thu, Aug 10, 2017

Week III

There is no denying that Éamon de Valera was born in New York ( October 14 1882), and was therefore an American citizen. Following the Easter Rising, he was arrested for his role commanding his battalion at the south east approaches to Dublin at Boland’s Mills by the Grand Canal. He was sentenced to death on May 8 1916 by a military court. His wife Sinéad immediately got the American consul to intervene.

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Éamon de Valera enters the Irish political stage

Thu, Jul 27, 2017

On June 7 1917 Major Willie Redmond, MP for East Clare, was killed in action leading the Royal Irish Brigade to victory at the Battle of Messines Ridge at Ypres. A member of the Irish Parliamentary Party (his brother John was party leader), he had represented East Clare at Westminster for 25 years. At 53 years of age Redmond was too old to be a soldier. But he was convinced that an Ireland loyal to the Crown would succeed in achieving Home Rule, and so he joined the Irish troops at Flanders.

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Under the wild sky

Thu, Jul 20, 2017

Week III

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A letter sent to GA Hayes-McCoy

Thu, Jul 06, 2017

One hundred years ago there were a series of truly terrible battles on the Western Front which were watched anxiously in Ireland as elsewhere. On June 7, near the Belgian village of Messines, the Allied army won a substantial victory. It gave hope, which turned out to be tragically false, that perhaps this was the beginning of the end of the war. With the capture of the Messines ridge, the Allies were confident they could clear a path all the way down to Passchendaele, and capture the Belgian coast up the Dutch border.

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The behaviour of the girls was causing problems

Thu, Jun 15, 2017

Apart from overcrowding and disease, the biggest problem in many of the workhouses was the behaviour of young women. The women, who perhaps had been brought there as children, were now adolescent, many of them unruly and wild. They tended to be the most troublesome, involved in fighting and, on occasions, rioting. Their behaviour resulted from boredom. While males could be employed breaking stones, or farm work, there were not enough jobs for females, and no effort made to educate them or train them in any skill. By June 1850 in the Mountbellew workhouse, Co Galway, females made up 60 per cent of the inmate population. Three hundred and eighty two were adult; while 199 were aged between nine and 15 years.

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A stranger among the poor

Thu, May 25, 2017

During her first visit to Ireland while walking the road from Oranmore to Loughrea, Aesnath Nicholson, a lone witness to the growing desperation of the poor as successive years of the Great Famine took its frightening toll, stopped to rest her blistered feet. She leant against a wall and thought about the advice her friends had given her in America. They told her the trip was reckless and she would damage her health. Yet even at that moment she asked herself: Would she rather be back in her parlour in New York?

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E-paper

Read this weeks E-paper. Past editions also available from within this weeks digital copy.

 

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