Taking Flight

Taking Flight
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An ongoing series of essays for radio where contemporary artists and thinkers respond to the Kavanagh canon.

The first of these essays were broadcast in Autumn 2021 on RTE LYRIC FM and features contributions from filmmaker Tadhg O’Sullivan, writers Annemarie NíChurreáin, Jaki McCarrick and Manchán Magan.

  • Series 1

    "Love Letter To The Hospital" by Annemarie Ní Churreáin

    How can a poem transform darkness into light? How can it hold together the ghosts of trauma and survival? In A Love Letter To The Hospital, Donegal poet Annemarie Ní Churreáin visits St James’ Hospital in Dublin 08 to reconnect with the poetry of Patrick Kavanagh who underwent surgery in 1955 for the removal of a lung. In this essay, Ní Churreáin reflects upon Kavanagh’s influence upon her own poetic explorations of landscape, history and the mysteries at the heart of human suffering.

    Broadcast on RTE Lyric FM Friday 8th October at 11am as part of Niall Carroll’s Classical Daytime.

    Annemarie Ní Churreáin is a poet.  Her latest collection ‘The Poison Glen’ is out now on Gallery Press.

    'Gulder, foosey, splinc & crig: Kavanagh's Lost Language' by Manchán Magan

    'Gulder, foosey, splinc & crig: Kavanagh's Lost Language' by Manchán Magan

    A patchwork of linguistic influences surrounded Patrick Kavanagh growing up in rural Monaghan, from Elizabethan English to Gaelic Irish, and Ulster Scots. Manchán Magan explores the visible and invisible impact these had on Kavanagh’s poetry.

    Broadcast on RTE Lyric FM Friday 15th October at 11am as part of Niall Carroll’s Classical Daytime.

    Manchán Magan is a writer and broadcaster.

    ‘Kavanagh, The Great Hunger, and Me’ by Jaki McCarrick

    ‘Kavanagh, The Great Hunger, and Me’ by Jaki McCarrick

    In “Kavanagh, The Great Hunger and me”, writer Jaki McCarrick discusses her personal relationship with the work of Patrick Kavanagh and how it helped root her at a formative age in the border town her family had moved to from London. Read by Jaki herself, the essay moves organically from past to present, from Kavanagh’s life to McCarrick’s own.

    Broadcast on RTE Lyric FM Friday 22nd October at 11am as part of Niall Carroll’s Classical Daytime.

    Jaki McCarrick is a writer and academic.

    'The Meadow' - by Tadhg O’Sullivan

    'The Meadow' - by Tadhg O’Sullivan

    Two fields over from a small lake, in the lee of a gentle hill, a small acre is cut out of a small parish. This meadow is bounded on one side by hedgerow and trees; on another by a quiet road; on another by a stream; on the last the small house that I was born in.

    A radio essay based around the poetry of Patrick Kavanagh, The Meadow is written in the voice of unnamed fictional character, whose long life has been lived in the rhythms and sounds of a place deeply known.

    Broadcast on RTE Lyric FM Friday 29th October at 11am as part of Niall Carroll’s Classical Daytime.

    Tadhg O’Sullivan is a film-maker and artist.

    Narrated by Eleanor Methven

  • Special hour long exploration of 'On Raglan Road'

    'The Dawning of the Day' by Michael Glennon

    'The Dawning of the Day' by Michael Glennon

    In the Autumn of 1944, the poet Patrick Kavanagh and the young medical student Hilda Moriarty forged a close and somewhat unlikely connection. The pairing of the two, and their frequent sighting around Dublin city centre, proved a source of bafflement to many and would eventually inspire the poem and song On Raglan Road. The Dawning of The Day is a feature length radio documentary that draws upon correspondence between the pair, a whole series of Hilda inspired Kavanagh poems and new interviews with key players. In a story that crosses between Dublin, West Kerry, Limerick and Hollywood it provides new insight and detail into what is often perceived as one of the great songs of unrequited love. Contributors include Hilda’s son, the actor Daragh O’Malley, John Sheahan of The Dubliners, singer songwriter Billy Bragg and the Kavanagh scholar Dr Una Agnew. The actor Declan Gorman reads extracts from Kavanagh’s poetry and correspondence. Archival audio from sources including Luke Kelly and Paul Durcan also features. 


    Presented by Mike Glennon 

    Produced by Mike Glennon 

    Producer for RTÉ lyric fm: Eoin O Kelly 

    The Dawning of The Day was co-produced and co-funded by Creative Monaghan & The Patrick Kavanagh Centre.


    Mike Glennon is a musician, music historian and creative arts lecturer.

    ‘The Dawning of the Day’ was first broadcast on RTE Lyric FM at 6pm on Sunday 18th December 2022

Patrick Kavanagh’s original works reproduced with kind permission of the Trustees of the Estate of the late Katherine B. Kavanagh, through the Jonathan Williams Literary Agency. 

This project is funded by Monaghan County Council & Creative Ireland. The broadcast partner is RTÉ lyric fm. 

Thanks also due to Eithne Hand (producer and series consultant), Eoin O’Kelly (RTE Lyric), Aidan Guilfoyle, Gretta Kieran & Brian Mac An Bhaird.