Best Loved Poems: Favourite Poems from the South of Ireland is a wonderfully-illustrated anthology, filled with moving, accessible poems which will delight the general reader as well as the poetry specialist.
Here you will find poems from the 9th century along with contemporary favourites, some translated from the original Irish, the rest written in English. This book articulates the passions of Munster, women and men and opens a window to the soul of Ireland. It sings of love and death, religion and spirituality, faith and doubt, of mothers, fathers and their children.
There are political poems, in particular “The Betrayal”, a passionate account by President Michael D. Higgins of the failure of the Irish state that grew out of the struggle for independence in the period 1916-1921. There is a large number of poems written by, and about, women – from the 9th century “The Old Woman Beare” translated lovingly from the Irish by Brendan Kennelly to Leanne O’Sullivan’s contemporary celebration of her grandmother’s life and death.
There are cursing poems, homages to the Irish language and to our native games of Gaelic football and hurling as well as poems of poverty and emigration.
Includes contributions from Michael D. Higgins, Brendan Kennelly, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Paul Muldoon, Bernard O’Donoghue, Seán Ó Ríordáin, Michael Hartnett, John B. Keane, Bryan MacMahon, John O’Donohue, Brian Merriman, Eibhlín Dhubh Ní Chonaill, Desmond O’Grady, Dáibhí Ó Bruadair.
Gabriel Fitzmaurice was born, in 1952, in the village of Moyvane, Co. Kerry where he still lives. For over thirty years he taught in the local primary school from which he retired as principal in 2007. He is the author of more than fifty books, including collections of poetry in English and Irish as well as several collections of verse for children. He has translated extensively from Irish and has edited a number of anthologies of poetry in English and Irish. He has published two volumes of essays and collections of songs and ballads. Poems of his have been set to music and recorded by Brian Kennedy and performed by the RTÉ Cór na nÓg with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra. He frequently broadcasts on radio and television on education and the arts.
He has been described as ‘the best contemporary, traditional, popular poet in English’ in Booklist (U.S), ‘a wonderful poet’ in the Guardian, ‘one of Ireland’s leading poets’ in Books Ireland, ‘Ireland’s favourite poet for children’ in Best Books! and ‘the Irish A. A. Milne’ by Declan Kiberd in the Sunday Tribune.
John Reidy was born in Castle Island in 1953 and has been covering his native Co. Kerry as a newspaper photographer for the past three and a half decades. Athletes, elections, floods, fights, local and visiting politicians, heads of state, porter drinkers, pilgrims, pioneers, poets and potholes have all come into focus in the eyepiece of his cameras over the years. While John contributes a weekly column of news and photographs to a local newspaper he has recently developed an online news website, The Maine Valley Post. It can be found at: www.mainevalleypost.com
John is married to Cathleen and they have a son, Micheál. Micheál and his wife Kathy live in Salthill in Galway and have given John and Cathleen two wonderful grandchildren, Cate and Seán.
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Photographs by Liam Lyons