A series of commemorative plaques featuring the writing of well known Irish and International poets have been installed around the City of Galway.
Often with a Galway twist, this series has become known as the Galway Poetry Trail and has so far included 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, and this year Máire Holmes and Arthur Colahan have been added.
This project is organised jointly by Kennys Bookshop, Galway City Council and Cúirt International Festival of Literature. Pieces of creative writing about Galway are celebrated by being cast in bronze or engraved in stone and situated in an environment that reflects its 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.
We have gathered videos relating to the Galway Poetry Trail on one playlist on Kennys YouTube channel >>>
Most Recent Events:
On April 19th 2016, Reverend Gary Hastings, Rector of St. Nicholas Collegiate Church unveiled a poem by Spiddal poet Máire Holmes on the facade of Geraghty’s Menswear on Church Yard Street. The poem is in Irish and entitled “Margadh”. It is about awareness of the generations of people who frequented the Saturday Market, a kind of ómós particularly to those who brought their produce there every week. Máire managed to get the the entire crowd attending the unveiling to read the poem with her.
The following day, the Mayor of Galway, Councillor Frank Fahy unveiled a plaque on the Promenade which contains the famous song “Galway Bay” written by Arthur Colahan, together with a version in French translated by Gilles Martin, a version in Latin translated by Professor Brian Arkins and also a version in Irish, translator unknown. Prof. Arkins read the Latin version, Gilles Martin sang his translation and the original English song was sung by Gerry Mulholland and Johnny Mullins.
Galway Poetry Trail Events ~ Year by Year.
- 2016 Arthur Colahan, Salthill Promenade - 'Galway Bay' and translation in three languages - unveiled by Mayor of Galway Councillor Frank Fahy.
- 2016 Máire Holmes - Geraghty's Menswear, Galway Market - 'Margadh', unveiled by Rev Gary Hastings.
- 2015 Pádraic Ó Conaire, Grattan Road – an extract from “Deoraíocht” - Unveiled by Páraic Breathnach.
- 2015 Gerry Hanberry, Tigh Neachtain – “The ‘Kasbah’ on Quay Street” – Unveiled by Tom Kenny, Kennys Bookshop… followed by readings & singing in Tigh Neachtain with contributions by Fran McPhail, the poet Gerry Hanberry, performer Seán Tyrrell and local historians Tom Kenny and Dicky Byrne.
- 2015 George Moore/WB Yeats – Salmon Weir Bridge – Extract from “Hail and Farewell” – Unveiled by poet Martin Dyar.
- 2014 Rita Ann Higgins, Richardson’s Pub, Eyre Square – “Men With Tired Hair” - Unveiled by Professor Adrian Frazier.
- 2013 Gerald Dawe, The Connacht Tribune – “The Tribune” – Unveiled by Mayor Terry Flaherty and Gerald Dawe.
- 2013 Kevin Faller, River Walk at O’Brien’s Bridge “Home Town” – Unveiled by the poet’s son John Faller.
- 2012 James Joyce, Rahoon Cemetery – “She Weeps Over Rahoon” – Unveiled by Mayor Hildegarde Naughton.
- 2010 Moya Cannon, Wolfe Tone Bridge – “Bright City” - Unveiled by poet Gerry Smyth.
- 2009 Roger McGough, Children’s Playground, University Road – “Uncle Philip” – Unveiled by Pádraic Breathnach.2013
- 2009 Patricia Burke Brogan - 'Make Visible the Tree', Fairgreen, Galway.
- 2008 Máirtin Ó Direáin, Promenade – “Fear Lasta Lampaí – Gaillimh 1928” – Unveiled by the poet’s daughter Niamh Ó Direáin.
- 2007 Louis MacNeice, Nimmo’s Pier – “Galway” – Unveiled by Tom Paulin, poet.
- 2007 Walter Macken, Nimmo’s Pier – Extract from “Rain on the Wind” – Unveiled by Fr. Walter Macken.
- 2006 Seamus Heaney, Salthill Promenade – “Girls Bathing, Galway 1965” – Unveiled by Seamus Heaney.
- 2005 W.B. Yeats, The Racecourse, Ballybrit – “The Galway Races” - Unveiled by John Coyle.