On the 9th
December 1916, Thomas Kettle was killed at the battle of the Somme in Belgium
at the age of 36. He was extraordinarily gifted, here’s a piece from The Work of T.M. Kettle, published by
RobertLynd in 1919:
written books and to have died in battle has been a common enough fate in the
last few years. But not many of the young men who have fallen in the war have
left us with such a sense of perished genius as Lieutenant T. M. Kettle, who
was killed at Ginchy. He was one of those men who have almost too many gifts to
succeed. He had the gift of letters and the gift of politics : he was a
mathematician, an economist, a barrister, and a philosopher : he was a Bohemian
as well as a scholar : as one listened to him, one suspected at times that he
must be one of the most brilliant conversationalists of the age. He lived in a
blaze of adoration as a student, and, though this adoration was tempered by the
abuse of opponents in his later years, he still had a way of going about as a
conqueror with his charm. Had he only had a little ordinariness in his
composition to harden him, he would almost certainly have ended as the leading
Irish statesman of his day.(from XXIII. ‘The Work of T.M. Kettle’ in ‘Old and
New Masters’, Robert Lynd, 1919)
Aquotation included in this article gives a
sense of Kettle’s eloquence:Meditating on life as " a sustained
good-bye," he writes : Life is a cheap table d'hote in a rather dirty
restaurant, with Time changing the plates before you have had enough of
a staunch and very active Irish nationalist, (member of the Irish Volunteers and
the United Irish League, Irish Parliamentary Party MP), still found it incumbent
on him to join the British forces:
For my part, I am fighting for Ireland. Against
what are we fighting? The philosophy to which modern Germany has committed
herself can be adequately described only as the gospel of the devil. It is a
creed in which domination is the one dogma and cruelty the one sacrament.
quotation encapsulates in just three lines why it is right that, at last, we
are giving honour to the patriotism of so many Irishmen who died under a
British flag in World War 1.
and the spirit in which he fought is beautifully caught his poemTo My Daughter Betty, The GiftOf God
Canalaphonic on May 8th and 9th will be mainly focussed on Portobello Harbour where a flotilla of barges and boats will be moored overnight on Saturday 9th. Cue lights, action: music of all sorts in venues all around Rathmines, music on the water and on the street including an open-air trad session and céilí on Rathmines Square, lots of children's events, trips up the canal to Harold's Cross where, coincidently, another festival is taking place that weekend.
This notice arrived by email; I have a great deal of regard for John Deane's work.
“Give Dust a Tongue : A faith and poetry memoir” from Columba Press
“Semibreve”, a new collection of poems, from Carcanet Press.
Music, a stony, damp and deeply alive landscape (both Ireland and the Holy Land), a passionate and searching engagement with God – specifically with the local and physical God that is the central figure of the gospels – these are poems with all of John Deane’s familiar richness. A deeply welcome collection. – Rowan Williams
The memoir traces Deane’s progress from childhood on Achill Island, his upbringing in an unquestioned Catholic faith, through schooling and seminary life to a realisation that faith appears to be a matter of will and understanding; after leaving the seminary, Deane goes on to discover poetry, founds Poetry Ireland, the national poetry society, and its journal, Poetry Ireland Review, and makes poetry his life and finds, through it, new approaches to faith. The book includes many of Deane’s best-known poems and a new, major poetry sequence, “According to Lydia”. The title of the book, Give Dust a Tongue, comes from a poem by the 17th century poet, George Herbert.
The blurb on the new collection of poetry reads: “The poems in Semibreve combine lyric grace with a fiercely questing intelligence, pushing against the mysteries of faith in a fractured world, paying tribute to the value of human life and love. Running through the book is a thread of elegy for the poet’s brother, who died of cancer in 2010. The collection concludes with a sequence describing a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Throughout, Deane gives poetic voice to the paradox of human existence as simultaneously ‘blessed and broken’.”
Both books will be presented together at a reading in The Loyola Institute, Trinity College, Dublin on Wednesday 29th April, at 7.30 p.m., introduced by author and abbot of Glenstal Abbey, Mark Patrick Hederman O.S.B., and again on Achill Island as part of the Heinrich Böll weekend, on Sunday 3rd May at 2.30 p.m. in the Cyril Grey Hall, Dugort, Achill Island.
For the second year running I'm convening and will be chair the Conference, which will be held on Thursday July 16th 2015 in the BMW Conference Room, Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon. This year it is entitled "Protectors of our Heritage: saving the notes of nationality, our footsteps, language and customs".
After last year's conference, which highlighted aspects of heritage that are suffering from neglect, this year we are drawing attention to the efforts of individuals or groups who are at forefront of preserving our heritage.
From a spectacular example such as Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich, the heart of Belfast's Gaeltacht quarter in Belfast, (surely it's time for Dublin to get the finger out on this one); to, (a favourite of mine), the preservation of holy wells around the country; to story-telling, a centuries-old Irish specialty. I'm especially looking forward to hearing how the local 'Lakes and Legends Tourism Group' are progressing in their drive to bring attention to the extraordinary archaeological and historical sites that are local to Ballaghaderreen itself. (Visit Lough Gara Lakes and Legends website http://www.loughgaralakesandlegends.ie/}
Clogher Stone Fort near Ballaghaderreen, may be 2,500 years old.
I will post more information on this later, but if you've free time in July, or you're a visitor to Ireland, this is an entertaining, informative day in the unspoilt heart of the country.