Celebrating Ó Direáin
Pól Ó Muirí
Poet Máirtín Ó Direáin (1910-1988) was born 100 years ago. I was fortunate enough to hear the Inis Mór man read in Cumann Chluain Ard in west Belfast back in 1983/84. Ó Direáin had some poems on the A-Level Irish course and had come to Belfast at the invitation of our teacher. I don’t pretend that I understood everything he said that night – my Irish was not that good and his dialect was different to what we were used to. Nonetheless, it was obvious, even to this gauche teenager, that we were listening to someone of authority.
To celebrate the centenary of his birth, a new book – Na Dánta: Máirtín Ó Direáin (Cló Iar-Chonnachta, edited by Eoghan Ó hAnluain) will be launched this Saturday (30th January) at 2pm in The Galway Arts Centre, Dominick Street, Galway, as part of the Merriman Winter School. The book includes contains all of the poems from Máirtín Ó Direáin: Dánta 1939 –1979 as well as some unpublished work. In addition, the book contains original art work by Inis Mór artist, Seán Ó Flaithearta, and Gael-Linn will also launch a re-mastered recording of Ó Direáin reading his own poetry.
I should mention too that the winter school is dedicated to Ó Direáin with a series of talks and lectures in Irish on his work. Full details are available on the Merriman website.