Poems for the Lockdown - Curran's Hotel, Eyre Square

Poet Kevin Higgins provides a Galway related poem to chime with these strange times

A young Kevin Higgins chairing a Galway West Labour Youth meeting on South Africa in 1984 in the Imperial Hotel the day before his 17th birthday. Also pictured are Emmett Farrell and the late South African exile Nimrod Sejake, who once shared a gaol cell with Nelson Mandela.

A young Kevin Higgins chairing a Galway West Labour Youth meeting on South Africa in 1984 in the Imperial Hotel the day before his 17th birthday. Also pictured are Emmett Farrell and the late South African exile Nimrod Sejake, who once shared a gaol cell with Nelson Mandela.

THIS TRIBUTE to Curran’s Hotel on Eyre Square is from my second poetry collection Time Gentlemen, Please, published in 2008. Curran’s was one of the main venues in the city for Left wing political meetings of all stripes from the 1970s until its eventual closure in 2002.

I attended my first meeting of Galway West Labour Youth there in April 1982 when I was 15. The guest speaker was Fintan Coughlan from the local Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. I became heavily involved in socialist politics over the subsequent decade or so.

By 2002 socialism appeared to be a historical curiosity rather than applicable politics for the here and now. But, these days, the very red variety of politics I was first introduced to at my first Thursday evening Labour Youth meeting at Curran’s seems more essential than ever.

To Curran’s Hotel, Eyre Square, Galway

‘Electrical, Engineering and Plumbing Trade Union branch meetings moved to Tonery’s Bar, 98 Bohermore’

—noticed pinned to door 3-7-02

Religiously each week,

the endless Coke and Polo Mints

of impending world revolution. At fifteen,

homework knocked aside by your

insurrectionary video-nights:

Reds, October: Ten Days That Shook The World.

He who had the youth apparently having

the future. While on the wall –

Connaught Champions, 1974 –

some ancient darts team all saying: cheese.

Guest-speakers eclipsed

by the mouth at the back

with ‘something to add.’ All this

sent south, as demolition men make of you

a collapse of dust and rotten timber.

And it’s like watching the opposition's

last moth-eaten follower being

finally taken out and shot.

 

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