Dah Duit (Hi) and welcome

'An Evening in Mayo’ with Michael Longley





Story by Brian Gillespie

Poet Michael LongleyBallina Arts Centre presents poet Michael Longley in a special reading of some of his ‘Mayo poems’ this weekend (Saturday, February 21) at 8 p.m.Michael Longley was described by Seamus Heaney as ‘a keeper of the artistic estate, a custodian of griefs and wonders’. He is a central figure in the contemporary Irish poetic landscape and has created a body of work which ensures his importance in the continued evolution of that landscape. Michael is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a recipient of the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry and the Wilfred Owen Award. He has won the Whitbread Prize, the TS Eliot Prize, the Hawthornden Prize, the Irish Times Irish Literature Prize for Poetry and the Librex Montale Prize.For over 40 years, Longley has been regular visitor to west Co. Mayo. In that time, he has written many poems set in the county.The evening will be introduced by Fr. Enda McDonagh, retired professor of moral theology at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth. Tickets cost €15/€12 and booking is advised on (096) 73593

Des O’Malley to discuss career at Limerick Literary Festival


by Alan Owens

LONG serving Limerick politician Des O’Malley will speak about his life and political career as part of the Limerick Literary Festival this weekend.
O’Malley, who published his memoir Conduct Unbecoming last year, will appear in 69 O’Connell Street at 3pm on Saturday, just one of many events taking place for the festival, held annually in honour of Limerick author Kate O’Brien.
The former Minister for Justice was added to the bill as a result of the sudden cancellation by poet John Montague, who has had unexpected surgery. His wife Elizabeth Wassell is not travelling either, a spokesperson explained.
Poet Martin Dyar and Niall MacMonagle, in conversation with two actresses, Ingrid Craigie and Cathy Belton, have been moved into Saturday’s reshuffled line-up as a result.
Edna O’Brien, the doyenne of Irish literature, will be the special guest at the festival, appearing in conversation with Sean Rocks of RTE’s Arena in the Lime Tree Theatre on Sunday morning.
The Country Girls author was slated to attend the festival last year, but had to pull out due to illness. Happily, she will appear this year in a key event for the festival, which was re-named from the Kate O’Brien weekend during City of Culture last year.
Man Booker Prize nominee Niall Williams, poet and essayist Mary O’Donnell, novelist Audrey Magee and UL Frank McCourt Chair in Creative Writing Joseph O’Connor, will all also appear.
An all-day conference in Mary Immaculate College on the theme of ‘Loss in Irish writing’, will take place and is free and open to the public.
Soprano Sarah Dolan and Collete Davis will perform at Friday’s opening in 69 O’Connell Street.
See www.limerickliteraryfestival.com for full details.


Her Friends Bring Her A Christmas Tree, Upon a Dying Lady VII - W.B. Yeats

“Pardon, great enemy,
Without an angry thought
We’ve carried in our tree,
And here and there have bought
Till all the boughs are gay,
And she may look from the bed
On pretty things that may
Please a fantastic head.
Give her a little grace,
What if a laughing eye
Have looked into your face—
It is about to die.”





 “My experience is that as soon as people are old enough to know better, they don’t know anything at all. -Oscar Wilde”


Board approves four appointments to Princeton faculty



by Ushma Patel, Office of Communications

The Princeton University Board of Trustees has approved the appointments of four full professors (including)

Clair Wills, in English, will join the faculty in fall 2015 as the Leonard L. Milberg '53 Professor in Irish Letters. She has taught at Queen Mary University of London since 1995, and she previously taught at the University of Essex and was a junior research fellow at the University of Oxford. She earned her bachelor's and doctoral degrees at Oxford.

A scholar of Irish literature and culture, Wills has written five books, including "The Best Are Leaving: Essays on Emigration and Post-War Irish Culture" (2015) and "That Neutral Island: A History of Ireland During the Second World War" (2007), and co-edited "The Field Day Anthology of Irish Women's Writing and Traditions" (2002).

Lecture features Irish secret society


Clare Kossler | Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies hosted graduate student Jessica Lumsden for the Shamrocks and Secrets lecture series, which focused on early 19th century Ireland and the growth of a secret and frequently violent society known as the Ribbonmen.
Although many rumors concerning the Ribbonmen still circulate, Lumsden said there are only a few established facts on the society and consequently little historical investigation into the subject.
“What we do have is we have many, many police reports; we have letters of gentlemen who were actively investigating the Ribbonmen; we have newspaper coverage of Ribbon crimes; we have a collection of captured passwords and oaths and signs,” she said. “So you have all these things that indicate what Ribbonmen were up to or at least what they thought they were up to.”
Lumsden said much of what we know about Ribbonism comes from the personal testimonies of informers claiming to be part of the society, as well as scattered references to Ribbonmen in Irish literature.
The sources reveal Ribbonmen operated on both a local and national level, she said. On the local level, Ribbonism was primarily agrarian and the Ribbonmen were involved in “trying to control local trade, local land, local politics and do some local policing of the community.”
On the national level, Lumsden said Ribbonism supported the nationalist movement and worked to repeal the Act of Union that both declared Ireland a part of Great Britain and merged the British and Irish parliaments.
“Ribbonmen are actually critically important to Irish history, and they’re forgotten for a number of reasons,” she said.
Emerging from the remains of a previous secret society known as the Defenders, the exclusively Catholic Ribbonmen became active around 1810 and gained traction between 1816 and 1824, Lumsden said.
Violence was a key component of Ribbonism, and Lumsden said members often left “coffin notices” containing death threats. The 1816 murders at Wildgoose Lodge, in which the Ribbonmen burned alive an informant and his family, cemented Ribbonism’s status as a powerful secret society characterized by violence.
“It caused uproar in Ireland,” she said. “This was violence that was not unknown, but it was violence that was attached to this secret society that was a new secret society, so that gave it some weight.”
Lumsden said following a schism which divided the Ribbonmen into two factions – the Dublin Ribbonmen and the Ulster Ribbonmen – the capture and trial of the secretary of the Dublin Ribbonmen resulted in the collapse of Dublin Ribbonism.
The Ulster Ribbonmen disintegrated soon after, she said, and by the mid-19th century, Ribbonism no longer occupied the position of power it once held.
“The specter of Ribbonism really gets broken after the 1840s,” she said.
The Ribbonmen’s legacy lies in their intricate national network, which Lumsden said enabled the persistence of Irish nationalism.
“These Ribbonmen built this diasporic network of Irish nationalism and fed that fire and kept that network alive so that it could be used by later nationalist groups,” she said. “The Ribbonmen keep alive this nationalism, and then they spread it.”


The Winding Banks of Erne - William Allingham



“Adieu to Belashanny!
where I was bred and born;
Go where I may, I’ll think of you,
as sure as night and morn.
The kindly spot, the friendly town,
where every one is known,
And not a face in all the place
but partly seems my own;
There’s not a house or window,
there’s not a field or hill,
But, east or west, in foreign lands,
I’ll recollect them still.
I leave my warm heart with you,
tho’ my back I’m forced to turn—
Adieu to Belashanny,
and the winding banks of Erne!
No more on pleasant evenings
we’ll saunter down the Mall,
When the trout is rising to the fly,
the salmon to the fall.
The boat comes straining on her net,
and heavily she creeps,
Cast off, cast off—she feels the oars,
and to her berth she sweeps;
Now fore and aft keep hauling,
and gathering up the clew,
Till a silver wave of salmon
rolls in among the crew.
Then they may sit, with pipes a-lit,
and many a joke and ‘yarn’;—
Adieu to Belashanny,
and the winding banks of Erne!
The music of the waterfall,
the mirror of the tide,
When all the green-hill’d harbour
is full from side to side,
From Portnasun to Bulliebawns,
and round the Abbey Bay,
From rocky Inis Saimer
to Coolnargit sandhills gray;
While far upon the southern line,
to guard it like a wall,
The Leitrim mountains clothed in blue
gaze calmly over all,
And watch the ship sail up or down,
the red flag at her stern;—
Adieu to these, adieu to all
the winding banks of Erne!
Farewell to you, Kildoney lads,
and them that pull an oar,
A lug-sail set, or haul a net,
from the Point to Mullaghmore;
From Killybegs to bold Slieve-League,
that ocean-mountain steep,
Six hundred yards in air aloft,
six hundred in the deep,
From Dooran to the Fairy Bridge,
and round by Tullen strand,
Level and long, and white with waves,
where gull and curlew stand;
Head out to sea when on your lee
the breakers you discern!—
Adieu to all the billowy coast,
and winding banks of Erne!
Farewell, Coolmore,—Bundoran! and
your summer crowds that run
From inland homes to see with joy
th’ Atlantic-setting sun;
To breathe the buoyant salted air,
and sport among the waves;
To gather shells on sandy beach,
and tempt the gloomy caves;
To watch the flowing, ebbing tide,
the boats, the crabs, the fish;
Young men and maids to meet and smile,
and form a tender wish;
The sick and old in search of health,
for all things have their turn—
And I must quit my native shore,
and the winding banks of Erne!
Farewell to every white cascade
from the Harbour to Belleek,
And every pool where fins may rest,
and ivy-shaded creek;
The sloping fields, the lofty rocks,
where ash and holly grow,
The one split yew-tree gazing
on the curving flood below;
The Lough, that winds through islands
under Turaw mountain green;
And Castle Caldwell’s stretching woods,
with tranquil bays between;
And Breesie Hill, and many a pond
among the heath and fern,—
For I must say adieu—adieu
to the winding banks of Erne!
The thrush will call through Camlin groves
the live-long summer day;
The waters run by mossy cliff,
and banks with wild flowers gay;
The girls will bring their work and sing
beneath a twisted thorn,
Or stray with sweethearts down the path
among the growing corn;
Along the river-side they go,
where I have often been,
Oh, never shall I see again
the happy days I’ve seen!
A thousand chances are to one
I never may return,—
Adieu to Belashanny,
and the winding banks of Erne!
Adieu to evening dances,
when merry neighbours meet,
And the fiddle says to boys and girls,
‘Get up and shake your feet!’
To ‘seanachas’ and wise old talk
of Erin’s days gone by—
Who trench’d the rath on such a hill,
and where the bones may lie
Of saint, or king, or warrior chief;
with tales of fairy power,
And tender ditties sweetly sung
to pass the twilight hour.
The mournful song of exile
is now for me to learn—
Adieu, my dear companions
on the winding banks of Erne!
Now measure from the Commons down
to each end of the Purt,
Round the Abbey, Moy, and Knather,—
I wish no one any hurt;
The Main Street, Back Street, College Lane,
the Mall, and Portnasun,
If any foes of mine are there,
I pardon every one.
I hope that man and womankind
will do the same by me;
For my heart is sore and heavy
at voyaging the sea.
My loving friends I’ll bear in mind,
and often fondly turn
To think of Belashanny,
and the winding banks of Erne.
If ever I’m a money’d man,
I mean, please God, to cast
My golden anchor in the place
where youthful years were pass’d;
Though heads that now are black and brown
must meanwhile gather gray,
New faces rise by every hearth,
and old ones drop away—
Yet dearer still that Irish hill
than all the world beside;
It’s home, sweet home, where’er I roam
through lands and waters wide.
And if the Lord allows me,
I surely will return
To my native Belashanny,
and the winding banks of Erne.”


William Allingham (March 19, 1824 –  November 18, 1889) was an Irish poet, diarist and editor. He wrote several volumes of lyric verse, and his poem 'The Faeries' was much anthologised; but he is better known for his posthumously published Diary, in which he records his lively encounters with Tennyson, Carlyle and other writers and artists. His wife, Helen Allingham, was a well-known water-colorist.
William Allingham was born on 19 March 1824 in the little port of Ballyshannon, County Donegal, Ireland, and was the son of the manager of a local bank who was of English descent. His younger brothers and sisters were Catherine (b. 1826), John (b. 1827), Jane (b. 1829), Edward (b. 1831; who lived only a few months) and a still-born brother (b. 1833).
During his childhood his parents moved twice within the town, where the boy enjoyed the country sights and gardens, learned to paint and listened to his mother's piano-playing. When he was nine, his mother died.
He obtained a post in the custom-house of his native town, and held several similar posts in Ireland and England until 1870. During this period were published his Poems (1850; which included his well-known poem, 'The Fairies') and Day and Night Songs (1855; illustrated by Dante Gabriel Rossetti and others). (Rossetti's Letters to Allingham (1854–1870), edited by Dr. Birkbeck Hill, would be published in 1897.)
Lawrence Bloomfield in Ireland, his most ambitious, though not his most successful work, a narrative poem illustrative of Irish social questions, appeared in 1864. He also edited The Ballad Book for the Golden Treasury series in 1864, and Fifty Modern Poems in 1865.
In April 1870 Allingham retired from the customs service, moved to London and became sub-editor of Fraser's Magazine.
In June 1874 he became editor of Fraser's Magazine, in succession to James Froude; and on 22 August that year he married the illustrator, Helen Paterson, who was twenty-four years younger than he.
His wife gave up her work as an illustrator and would became well known under her married name as a water-colour painter. At first the couple lived in London, at 12 Trafalgar Square, Chelsea, near Allingham's friend, Thomas Carlyle, and it was there that they had their first two children – Gerald Carlyle (b. 1875 November) and Eva Margaret (b. 1877 February).
In 1877 appeared Allingham's Songs, Poems and Ballads. In 1881, after the death of Carlyle, the Allinghams moved to Sandhills near Witley in Surrey, where their third child, Henry William, was born in 1882. At this period Allingham published Evil May Day (1883), Blackberries (1884) and Irish Songs and Poems (1887).
In 1888, because of William's declining health, they moved back to the capital, to the heights of Hampstead village. But in 1889, on 18 November, William died at Hampstead. According to his wishes he was cremated. His ashes are interred at St. Anne's church in his native Ballyshannon.
Posthumously Allingham's Varieties in Prose was published in 1893. William Allingham A Diary, edited by Mrs Helen Allingham and D. Radford, was published in 1907. It contains Allingham's reminiscences of Alfred Tennyson, Thomas Carlyle and other writers and artists.
Working on an unostentatious scale, Allingham produced much lyrical and descriptive poetry, and the best of his pieces are thoroughly national in spirit and local colouring. His verse is clear, fresh, and graceful. His best-known poem remains his early work, "The Faeries".
The Ulster poet John Hewitt felt Allingham's influence keenly, and his attempts to revive his reputation included editing and writing an introduction to The Poems of William Allingham (Oxford University Press/ Dolmen Press, 1967).
We daren't go a-hunting/For fear of little men... was quoted by the character of The Tinker near the beginning of the movie Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, as well as in Mike Mignola's comic book short story Hellboy: The Corpse, plus the 1973 horror film Don't Look in the Basement. Several lines of the poem are quoted by Henry Flyte, a character in issue No. 65 of the Supergirl comic book, August 2011.
This same poem was quoted in Andre Norton's 1990 science fiction novel Dare To Go A-Hunting (ISBN 0-812-54712-8).
Up the Airy Mountain is the title of a short story by Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald.
The working title of Terry Pratchett's The Wee Free Men was "For Fear of Little Men".

The Allingham Arms Hotel in Bundoran, Co. Donegal is named after him.



To A Squirrel At Kyle-Na-Gno - W.B. Yeats

“Come play with me;
Why should you run
Through the shaking tree
As though I’d a gun
To strike you dead?
When all I would do
Is to scratch your head
And let you go.”


All Souls’ Night - W.B. Yeats


“Tis All Souls’ Night and the great Christ Church bell,
And many a lesser bell, sound through the room,
For it is now midnight;
And two long glasses brimmed with muscatel
Bubble upon the table. A ghost may come,
For it is a ghost’s right,
His element is so fine
Being sharpened by his death,
To drink from the wine-breath
While our gross palates drink from the whole wine.
I need some mind that, if the cannon sound
From every quarter of the world, can stay
Wound in mind’s pondering,
As mummies in the mummy-cloth are wound;
Because I have a marvellous thing to say,
A certain marvellous thing
None but the living mock,
Though not for sober ear;
It may be all that hear
Should laugh and weep an hour upon the clock.
H—’s the first I call. He loved strange thought
And knew that sweet extremity of pride
That’s called platonic love,
And that to such a pitch of passion wrought
Nothing could bring him, when his lady died,
Anodyne for his love.
Words were but wasted breath;
One dear hope had he:
The inclemency
Of that or the next winter would be death.
Two thoughts were so mixed up I could not tell
Whether of her or God he thought the most,
But think that his mind’s eye,
When upward turned, on one sole image fell,
And that a slight companionable ghost,
Wild with divinity,
Had so lit up the whole
Immense miraculous house,
The Bible promised us,
It seemed a gold-fish swimming in a bowl.
On Florence Emery I call the next,
Who finding the first wrinkles on a face
Admired and beautiful,
And knowing that the future would be vexed
With ’minished beauty, multiplied commonplace,
Preferred to teach a school,
Away from neighbour or friend
Among dark skins, and there
Permit foul years to wear
Hidden from eyesight to the unnoticed end.
Before that end much had she ravelled out
From a discourse in figurative speech
By some learned Indian
On the soul’s journey. How it is whirled about,
Wherever the orbit of the moon can reach,
Until it plunged into the sun;
And there free and yet fast,
Being both Chance and Choice,
Forget its broken toys
And sink into its own delight at last.
And I call up MacGregor from the grave,
For in my first hard springtime we were friends,
Although of late estranged.
I thought him half a lunatic, half knave,
And told him so, but friendship never ends;
And what if mind seem changed,
And it seem changed with the mind,
When thoughts rise up unbid
On generous things that he did
And I grow half contented to be blind.
He had much industry at setting out,
Much boisterous courage, before loneliness
Had driven him crazed;
For meditations upon unknown thought
Make human intercourse grow less and less;
They are neither paid nor praised.
But he’d object to the host,
The glass because my glass;
A ghost-lover he was
And may have grown more arrogant being a ghost.
But names are nothing. What matter who it be,
So that his elements have grown so fine
The fume of muscatel
Can give his sharpened palate ecstasy
No living man can drink from the whole wine.
I have mummy truths to tell
Whereat the living mock,
Though not for sober ear,
For maybe all that hear
Should laugh and weep an hour upon the clock.
Such thought—such thought have I that hold it tight
Till meditation master all its parts,
Nothing can stay my glance
Until that glance run in the world’s despite
To where the damned have howled away their hearts,
And where the blessed dance;
Such thought, that in it bound
I need no other thing
Wound in mind’s wandering,
As mummies in the mummy-cloth are wound.”


The Celtic Twilight - W.B. Yeats


“Time drops in decay
Like a candle burnt out.
And the mountains and woods
Have their day, have their day;
But, kindly old rout
Of the fire-born moods,
You pass not away.”



The Balloon Of The Mind - W.B. Yeats


 “Hands, do what you’re bid;
Bring the balloon of the mind
That bellies and drags in the wind
Into its narrow shed.”



The Quotable Oscar Wilde: I don’t want to go to heaven

The Quotable Oscar Wilde: I don’t want to go to heaven: “I don’t want to go to heaven. None of my friends are there.”

To A Young Girl - W.B. Yeats The Wild Swans At Coole


“My dear, my dear, I know
More than another
What makes your heart beat so;
Not even your own mother
Can know it as I know,
Who broke my heart for her
When the wild thought,
That she denies
And has forgot,
Set all her blood astir
And glittered in her eyes.”


Anne Enright will be Ireland's first Laureate


The author of Man Booker Prize winner The Gathering has been named as the first Irish Laureate for Fiction at ceremony in Dublin

By Anna Baddeley

Author Anne Enright has been appointed Ireland’s very first Fiction Laureate, a new post created by Arts Council Ireland.
Enright is best known for her family saga The Gathering, the surprise winner of the 2007 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. As well as three other novels, she has published short stories and non fiction.
As Laureate, Enright will be required to deliver an annual lecture and take part in public events. She will also be responsible for promoting reading in Ireland, and encouraging greater engagement with Irish literature.
During her three-year tenure, Enright will be paid an annual stipend of 50,000 euro (£37,500), substantially more than her British equivalent, Carol Ann Duffy, who receives just £5,750 a year and a barrel of sherry.
Speaking after her appointment, at a ceremony in Dublin, Enright said: "It is a great honour to be chosen. I hope I can rise to the role, and maybe have some fun along the way.
"I take courage, as ever, from the readers I have met - especially in Ireland, but also abroad - who allow fiction to do its deeply personal work; who let Irish writers into their minds and hearts, and welcome them as their own."
Enright was chosen following a public call for nominations over the summer. An international panel, which included novelist Blake Morrison, was charged with making the historic decision. Enright was the “unanimous choice”, according to poet Paul Muldoon.
Enright was born in Dublin in 1962 and lives in Bray in County Wicklow. Her last novel, The Forgotten Waltz, was described by Telegraph reviewer Edmund Gordon as a work of "stylistic brilliance".
In 2007 she found herself at the centre of a controversy after an article she wrote for the London Review of Books on the disappearance of Madeline McCann.