Monaghan-born Patrick Kavanagh (1904-67) is one of the major figures in modern Irish poetry. During his convalescenes from a serious illness in the warm summer of 1955 he immortalised the grand Canal, just west of Baggot Street Bridge:
Commemorate me where there is water,
Canal water preferably, so stilly
greeny at the heart of summer...
Just a canal bank seat for the passer-by.
From his arrival in Dublin, Kavanagh was a morning writer, who spent most of his day about the same area of town. Raglan Road, Pembroke Road, Lansdowne road, college Park, Stephen’s green. Grafton Street - and many pubs and bookmakers - appear in his writing. Kavanagh brought his country ways to the city and acquired the status of a local character.
In Kavanagh Country, writer P.J Browne and photographer Dave Maher trace Kavanagh’s journey in words and pictures from his formative rural years to his relocation and dislocation in Dublin, a man often at odds with himself and his surroundings, his peers. Along the way Patrick Kavanagh left a memorable landscape, popularised in his ballads, poetry and prose.
P.J Browne is a County-Limerick-based writer and historian. He is the author of Unfilled Promise: Memories of Donogh O’ Malley (Currach Press, 2008).
Dave Maher, a Dubliner, is a professional photographer.