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Galway Poetry Trail

Galway Poetry Trail

 
The Galway Poetry Trail is a series of over 20 commemorative plaques featuring the writing of well known Irish and International poets, which are installed around the City of Galway.

Pieces of creative writing about Galway are celebrated by being cast in bronze or engraved in stone and situated in an environment that reflects their content. For example, James Joyce’s poem “She weeps over Rahoon” is placed on the wall of Rahoon Graveyard, Gerald Dawe’s poem “The Tribune” is on the facade of the Connacht Tribune offices etc. Each plaque offers the viewer a moment of quiet contemplation with words to lift the soul in a busy urban environment. They should be seen as part of the fabric of the city itself.

Often with a Galway twist, the Galway Poetry Trail and includes plaques with pieces by James Joyce, Mairtín Ó'Direáin, Seamus Heaney, Pádraic Ó'Conaire, Walter Macken, Louis MacNeice, Kevin Faller, Moya Cannon, Patricia Burke Brogan, W.B.Yeats, Gerald Dawe, Rita Ann Higgins, Gerard Hanberry, George Moore, Máire Holmes, and several others.

This project is organised jointly by Kennys Bookshop, Galway City Council and Cúirt International Festival of Literature and has been added to annually since the first plaque was installed in 2005. 

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2015 - Pádraic Ó Conaire, Grattan Road - an extract from “Deoraíocht”

Cllr Donal Lyons, Mayor of Galway and Páraic Breathnach of Galway Arts Center unveil O'Conaire plaque

Tom Kenny of Kennys Bookshop introduces Páraic Breathnach to launch a beautiful plaque with an excerpt from Deoraíocht by writer Pádraic Ó Conaire on The Prom at Grattan Road, Salthill, Galway as part of the 2015 Cúirt International Festival of Literature.

OConaire-plaque-20151


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2009 Patricia Burke Brogan - 'Make Visible the Tree', Fairgreen, Galway

Mick Wilkins Sculpture at Magdalen Monument - Poem by Patricia Burke Brogan

On International Women’s Day, March 2009, Patricia Burke Brogan’s poem “Make Visible the Tree” about the Magdalen Laundry together with a limestone sculpture of a Magdalen Woman were unveiled by the author with the sculptor Mick Wilkins in attendance. The sculpture and the poem are located in Forster Street, close to the site of the laundry.

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2007 Walter Macken, Nimmo’s Pier – Extract from “Rain on the Wind” – Unveiled by Fr. Walter Macken

Walter Macken

Two plaques were unveiled in 2007. “Galway” is the title of a poem Louis McNeice wrote when he was here at the outbreak of World War II. He was at the end of Nimmo’s Pier when the idea came to his mind and that is where his poem is located. It was unveiled by the Northern poet, Tom Paulin.

The crowd then moved to the other end of the pier to a seat near the Claddagh Hall on which there is an extract from “Rain on the Wind” by Walter Macken. This evocatively describes how the sunset changes the colours and atmosphere of the houses on Long Walk, just across the river. It was unveiled by the author’s son, Fr. Walter Macken together with Niall Ó Brolcháin, Mayor of Galway and it was sponsored by David Niland.

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2007 Louis MacNeice, Nimmo’s Pier – “Galway” – Unveiled by poet Tom Paulin

Poet Tom Paulin

Two plaques were unveiled in 2007. “Galway” is the title of a poem Louis McNeice wrote when he was here at the outbreak of World War II. He was at the end of Nimmo’s Pier when the idea came to his mind and that is where his poem is located. It was unveiled by the Northern poet, Tom Paulin.

<<< See all Galway Poetry Trail Plaques


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2006 Seamus Heaney, Salthill Promenade – “Girls Bathing, Galway 1965” – Unveiled by Seamus Heaney.

Seamus Heaney

At Cúirt 2006, a poem entitled “Girls bathing at Salthill” was unveiled on Salthill Promenade. It was written by Seamus Heaney when he and his wife were on honeymoon in Galway, and it is located on the Promenade facing the ‘Ladies’ bathing area. It was unveiled by the poet himself and John Mulholland, who was the assistant Mayor at the time. “Among schoolchildren as well as many a writer and poetry fan, Heaney, smiling public man, spoke and read and twinkled”.

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2005 W.B. Yeats, The Racecourse, Ballybrit – “At Galway Races”

WB Yeats

The first plaque in what went on to become the Galway Poetry Trail was unveiled at Ballybrit , the venue for the Galway Races.

The poem “At Galway Races” by William Butler Yeats was cast in bronze and placed at the side of one of the stands at the racecourse in 2005.


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