A fantastic and slightly unreal night on Wednesday (5th March, 2014) for the launch in the GPO of If Ever You Go: A Map of Dublin in Poetry and Song. Dozens of contributors to the book joined us for what was really a thank you to them and to the various organisations and individuals who helped to make the book possible. (April, of course, will see some dozens of events for the public, each using the book as a starting off point in what will essentially be a month-long celebration of poetry in the city, put together by the Dublin UNESCO City of Literature Office under their Dublin: One City, One Book annual celebration.)
Last night, though, was for the poets, and none
failed to feel the hand of history on their shoulders or its whisper in
their ears as they gathered to celebrate poetry in a building with such
huge resonances for poets and citizens in general. Renditions of Patrick
Kavanagh's 'If Ever You Go To Dublin Town' and 'Raglan Road'
topped-and-tailed a warm welcome from the GPO's Barney Whelan, and
introductory remarks from co-editors Gerard Smyth and Pat Boran, as well
as brief readings of their poems by ten of the contributors, among them
Macdara Woods (on Aston Quay), Paddy Bushe (on the statue of Daniel
O'Connell in O'Connell Street outside and reading the original and his
translation of the middle Irish poem 'Moladh Bhinn Éadair'/'In Praise of
Howth Head'), Enda Wyley (on the streets of Dublin 8), Gerry McDonnell
(on The Adelphi Cinema), Enda Coyle-Greene (on Hawkins Street), Noel
Duffy (on the Royal Canal) and Brendan Kennelly, whose appearance drew a
spontaneous round of applause, reading his poem 'Raglan Lane'.
Above, Brendan Kennelly reading at the launch. Photos by Michael Boran. For more photos, see (and like!) the Dedalus Press Facebook page here.