An Image


This morning I attended Mass at St Catherine’s Dominican Church, said by Fr Tumelty of Dromalane. Yesterday I got Mass in Notre Dame, Paris and the day before at Sacre Coeur, Montmartre. Congregations dwindle everywhere.

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For Danny (poem)


For Danny 

I blurted out the truth

mindless of the harm

‘He is vital, smart and interested. 

He makes me warm

To my subject.  So like my son!’

And then I left.

I had won,

but at the cost

Of self-approbation.

I had lost. 

A cry for help – silly white lies;

Despised now too in mother’s eyes.


He summoned me to his office, now alone

Mother and delinquent child long gone

‘Said you were ‘picking on him”, with a knowing grin

‘Both mad as hatters!  Evil as sin!’


No years of ‘chalk and talk’

and innocent upturned faces

Could prepare me for that walk

The troubled boy of ’84

aching no more.


He refused me leave

to attend the funeral mass

‘Pressed for time, you see!


I spoke out then.  Too late.

Tore into him

Begged God’s forgiveness

for the hate I bore him.


At the graveside I prayed

perpetual light to shine

On him whose earthly burden

weighed much heavier than mine

Until the lonely stress was raised at last

Through straining rope

hanging from a roof truss.


Last night I marked each hour

the ticking clock’s chime:

I was begging his forgiveness

for all the times

That I was self-obsessed

thoughtless or unkind

For easy victories 

when his troubled upturned face

was reading mine.


I pray the Lord his soul and mine to keep

when life is spent

And other sinners too

when they repent.

Read moreFor Danny (poem)

Going Home


We like to encourage local talent.  Catherine McGrath, of Shore Road, Rostrevor has had the following short poem chosen for publication elsewhere.  We wish her the best of luck.  I’m sure many a lonely emigrant will shed a quiet tear reading her words!

Catherine McGrath  ( age 13)

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My Land


On the ninetieth anniversary of the Easter Rising, it may be appropriate to reflect on the words of an earlier patriot, recently referred to by one of our regulars on Discussions – the Protestant patriot Thomas Davis.

Read moreMy Land

Titanic Poem

I am indebted to my old friend Ben Hughes for the time, patience and companionship he displayed as he brought me Down Memory Lane.  I will return and note salient facts and anecdotes in the near future.  Meanwhile I reproduce here a very worthy poem entitled Titanic.  It was found on a scrap in the toolbox of Ben’s father, who was a master carpenter working on the famous ship.  The author is unknown.

The pride of the seas, at anchor she rode
Awaiting her human freight
Her crew pent up and eager for sail
Captain, stoker and mate.
Man stood on the shore
And looked up with pride
Upon what his hands had made
The unsinkable ship, in majesty, sailed
His hard work and toil repaid.
He had strained every muscle, sinew and nerve
To make her Queen of the seas
And she sailed from her berth on her maiden trip
A floating palace of ease.
But another sailed from the frozen world
No pilot at the wheel
No hand of man had shaped her plan
Nor modelled her frozen keel.
No cheer rang out as she turned her prow
To drift towards southern clime
Yet she carried on board a message to man
That would ring down the annals of time.
On, on in the night sailed God’s silent ship
Ploughing ocean currents and stream
Smote man’s titan work a terrible blow
That shattered her beam from beam.
On into the dark she passed away
Steered by a hand unseen
But a log she had left  – that all might read
‘Man shall not reign supreme’.

Padraic O’Conaire Poems

padraic o conaire poems

We publish here a tribute to an old storyteller of long ago.

Padraic O’Conaire, Gaelic Storyteller

by F.R. Higgins (1869-1941)

They’ve paid the last respects in sad tobacco
And silent is this wakehouse in its haze;
They’ve paid the last respects; and now their whiskey
Flings laughing words on mouths of prayer and praise;
And so young couples huddle by the gables.
O let them grope home through the hedgy night –
Alone I’ll mourn my old friend, while the cold dawn
Thins out the holy candlelight.

Respects are paid to one loved by the people;
Ah, was he not – among our mighty poor –
The sudden wealth cast on those pools of darkness,
Those bearing, just, a star’s faint signature;
And so he was to me, close friend, near brother,
Dear Padraic of the wide and sea-cold eyes –
So, lovable, so courteous and noble,
The very West was in his soft replies.

They’ll miss his heavy stick and stride in Wicklow –
His story-talking down Winetavern Street,
Where old men sitting in the wizen daylight
Have kept an edge upon his gentle wit;
While women on the grassy streets of Galway,
Who hearken for his passing – but in vain,
Shall hardly tell his step as shadows vanish
Through archways of forgotten Spain.

Ah, they’ll say, Padraic’s gone again exploring;
But now down glens of brightness, O he’ll find
An alehouse overflowing with wise Gaelic
That’s braced in vigour by the bardic mind,
And there his thoughts shall find their own forefathers –
In minds to whom our heights of race belong,
in crafty men, who ribbed a ship or turned
The secret joinery of song.

Alas, death mars the parchment of his forehead;
And yet for him, I know, the earth is mild –
The windy fidgets of September grasses
Can never tease a mind that loved the wild;
So drink his peace – this grey juice of the barley
Runs with a light that ever pleased his eye –
While old flames nod and gossip on the hearthstone
And only the young winds cry.