Patrick Kavanagh Memorial Lecture

patrick kavanagh

It is hard to believe that it is 50 years since Monaghan born poet Patrick Kavanagh died.  He was remembered and honoured at a very special Memorial Lecture held in The Institute of Education in Leeson Street, with Poet Paul Durcan providing a wonderful insight in the life and work of this very special Irish poet in a night of words and music.

As a young new poet, Durcan met Patrick Kavanagh who, though he seemed very gruff   welcomed him in to his circle and encouraged him to keep writing. Kavanaghs poetry of his rural childhood in Inniskeen  and his life in Dublin are reflective of the huge  change that so many Irish people experienced leaving their home place and moving to the city.

Kavanagh often struggled to fit in, living in Dublin of the 1940’, 50’s and 60’s. His poems echoed this and had an honesty and intensity unlike any other poetry of the time.

Most of us were first introduced to his ‘Stony Grey Soil of Monaghan’ while we were in school but have come over time to know and appreciate his work.

‘On Raglan Road’ is perhaps one of his most popular and enduring poems and John Coll’s statue of Patrick Kavanagh sitting in one of his favourite spots overlooking Dublin’s Grand Canal is a fitting tribute to this special poet.

On Thursday 30th November there was a special tribute and ceremony with readings of his work by a number of poets at his graveside in Inniskeen, Co Monaghan.