County Limerick poet recognised in national competition

Gerard Fitzgibbon

Reporter:

Gerard Fitzgibbon

NEWCASTLE West poet Mike Mac Domhnaill has spoken of his delight at being recognised in the recent Francis Ledwidge poetry competition in Dublin.

NEWCASTLE West poet Mike Mac Domhnaill has spoken of his delight at being recognised in the recent Francis Ledwidge poetry competition in Dublin.

Earlier this month Mr Mac Domhnaill received a commendation for his bitter sweet poem ‘Minimal Living’, which is dedicated to a long-deceased old friend from West Limerick.

Mr Mac Domhnaill said that he was personally proud of the dual resonance of the occasion – the competition is dedicated to Ledwidge, the County Meath poet who was killed at the age of 30 at the Third Battle of Ypres in 1917; and the ceremony took place in Inchicore, one-time home of famed Newcastle West poet Michael Harnett.

“I was delighted, of course. It’s nice to be recognised. Ledwidge is someone I look up to – in a way, he epitomises the tragedy of that time. He was a man who went off to fight for the freedom of small nations, but he didn’t come back”.

Mr Mac Domhnaill said that ‘Minimal Living’ is a based on memories of conversations he shared with his old friend Willie Cregan from Dungeeha, who passed away almost two decades ago. A friendly, jovial character “whose door was always open”, in the poem Mr Mac Domhnaill reflects on time in the company of a friend content with his place in the world.

‘That was the way we operated/a door open to the north like the wren/and at the long table you held forth on Dan Breen (one of the few books)/ ‘He showed ‘em boy’!/ The old photograph of your uncle, flamboyant as a Volunteer/ revolver in hand, dare-devil smile, killed in the Civil War’.

Mr Mac Domhnaill is also the author of an Irish-English collection of poetry Widow’s Son/Mac Baintrí.