Poem by President Michael D Higgins fetches €2,500 in aid of Gaza healthcare workers

Art for Gaza fundraising auction raised almost €117,000 from 113 donated items

A poem written President Michael D Higgins sold for €2,500 in the Art for Gaza auction.

The sale price for the work, titled The Prophets Are Weeping, was estimated between €1,000 and €1,500. He wrote it in 2015 for a friend, who subsequently donated it to the auction. President Higgins remains in hospital this weekend after he was admitted as a precaution for tests last Thursday.

Almost €170,000 has been raised from the 113 items, which were all sold.

The money raised from the auction will go to the Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders) medical charity working in Gaza, while organisers Whyte’s Auctioneers and Valuers waived all commission for buyers.


The three-day Art for Gaza exhibition, which took place at the Copper House Gallery in Dublin 8, featured the work of some leading Irish artists including Dorothy Cross, Charlie Tyrell, Mick Mulcahy, Patrick Scott, Imogen Stuart, Alice Hanratty and Guggi among many others.

Sabina Higgins opened the display last Thursday, which included a live performance from Irish-Palestinian musician and director, Róisín El Cherif. The online auction of the artworks ran until Saturday evening.

Lot 38 in the auction, REM singer Michael Stipe’s handwritten lyrics from the alternative rock band’s 1993 hit song Night Swimming, was sold for €9,500. The lyrics sheet, written on graphite paper, had an estimate of between €800 and €1,000.

“We would like to thank all 636 registered bidders for their participation in this wonderful auction. Every single lot sold, making it a white glove sale, the term to define a 100% sold rate at auction,” said a spokesperson for Whyte’s.

A sculpture by John Behan titled Dancing Buddhists Leaping sold for €14,000. It had been estimated to make between €4,000 and €6,000.

A print of a painting titled The Madonna and her Minder, by the late frontman of The Pogues, Shane MacGowan, who died last November at the age of 65, was bought for €2,700, less than its estimate of up to €5,000.

A pair of gloves worn by actor Liam Cunningham when he played Davos Seaworth in the Game of Thrones series were expected to fetch between €300 and €500 but went for €1,050.

An acrylic and graphite on brown paper painting titled Broken AG, 2024 by Irish artist Guggi, reached €3,600.