Family and peers mourn 'gentleman' poet O'Driscoll
You were made to feel “more special than you thought you were” by conversing with the late poet Dennis O’Driscoll, the congregation at the removal of the remains of the poet in Naas, Co Kildare were told last night.
In a reflection on the poet’s life, Salesian priest and fellow poet Hugh O’Donnell said Mr O’Driscoll had a gentleman’s ability to make you feel better about yourself.
Prayers at the removal were led by Mr O’Driscoll’s brother Declan, who read from the first letter of St John, and another brother Proinsias who read the responsorial psalm, The Lord is My Shepherd. A reading from the Gospel of St Luke was read by parish priest John Brickley. Concelebrants included retired bishop Jim Moriarty, Fr Martin Hayes of Thurles and Dominican Fr Brian Hayes.
Among the large attendance were Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney, US poet Thomas Lynch who travelled from the United States for the funeral, and Trinity College Dublin academic Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin.
Mr O’Driscoll who was born in Thurles, Co Tipperary, in 1954 died unexpectedly last Thursday. The chief mourners were his wife and fellow poet Julie O’Callaghan, his brothers Prionsias, Seamus and Declan and sisters Marie and Eithne.
Mr O’Driscoll’s works included nine books of poetry and a collection of essays and reviews.
He also edited and compiled quotations about poets and poetry, and published a book of interviews with Seamus Heaney. He was the holder of numerous literary awards.
Fr O’Donnell said the numbers attending indicated “it was easier to come than to stay away”, a reflection of the high regard in which the poet was held. Last night’s prayers were a brief meditation on the poet’s life, he said; he was looking forward to a lengthier reflection at the funeral Mass this morning.