Patrick Kavanagh

Patrick Kavanagh

Patrick Kavanagh


Patrick Kavanagh, one of Ireland’s greatest poets, was born in Inniskeen in 1904 and lived his first 35 years on a small farm here. He was the fourth of nine children born to small farmers and in this house filled with the noise and activity of shoemaking, pig-rearing and young children, Patrick Kavanagh began to write.

When his first volume was published, ‘Ploughman and other Poems’ in 1936, he was still a working farmer. Born into modest means and living through decades of great hardship in Ireland, Kavanagh struggled financially for most of his lifetime. As a poet, he often felt isolated, on the margins of society. Much of his poetry adopts a confessional tone as he reveals his inner conflicts and soul questions.

He finds inspiration and comfort in nature, and in his treasure-trove of Monaghan memories. Today his legacy lives on through the universal themes of soul, love, beauty, nature and God laid bare in the great gift of his poetry. It is indeed, a legacy of the soul.



  • Poetry Icon Ploughman and Other Poems, Macmillan (London), 1936.
  • Poetry Icon The Great Hunger: A Poem, Cuala, 1942, Irish University Press, 1971.
  • Poetry Icon A Soul for Sale: Poems, Macmillan (London), 1947.
  • Poetry Icon Recent Poems, Hand Press, 1958.
  • Poetry Icon Come Dance With Kitty Stobling, and Other Poems, Longmans, Green, 1960, Dufour, 1964.
  • Poetry Icon Collected Poems, Devin-Adair, 1964.
  • Poetry Icon The Complete Poems of Patrick Kavanagh, edited by brother, Peter Kavanagh, Hand Press, 1972.
  • Poetry Icon Lough Derg, Goldsmith, 1978, Martin Brian & O’Keefe, 1978.
  • Poetry Icon (With Tom Mac Intyre) The Great Hunger: Poem into Play, Lilliput Press (Mullingar, CO), 1988.
  • Poetry Icon La Gran Hambre, y Otros Poems: Una Seleccion de la Poesia de Patrick Kavanagh, Universidad de Valladolid (Valladolid, Germany), 2000.


  • Prose Icon The Green Fool (fictionalized autobiography), M. Joseph, 1938, Harper, 1939, Martin Brian & O’Keefe, 1971.
  • Prose Icon Tarry Flynn: A Novel, Pilot, 1948, Devin-Adair, 1949, Martin Brian & O’Keefe, 1972.
  • Prose Icon 1958-59 (Author of afterword) Peter Kavanagh, Irish Mythology: A Dictionary, three volumes, Hand Press.
  • Prose Icon Self Portrait (autobiographical television script), Dolmen, 1964.
  • Prose Icon (Author of introduction) W. Steuart Trench, Realities of Irish Life, MacGibbon & Kee, 1966.
  • Prose Icon Collected Pruse, MacGibbon & Kee, 1967.
  • Prose Icon (Author of introduction) The Autobiography of William Carleton, MacGibbon & Kee, 1968.
  • Prose Icon (With Peter Kavanagh) Lapped Furrows: Correspondence, 1933-1967, Between Patrick and Peter Kavanagh, With Other Documents, edited by Peter Kavanagh, Hand Press, 1969.
  • Prose Icon (With Peter Kavanagh and others) Love’s Tortured Headland: A Sequel to Lapped Furrows (correspondence), edited by Peter Kavanagh, Hand Press, 1974.
  • Prose Icon By Night Unstarred: An Autobiographical Novel, edited by Peter Kavanagh, Goldsmith, 1977, Hand Press, 1978.
  • Prose Icon Lough Derg, Goldsmith Press (The Curragh, Ireland), 1978.
  • Prose Icon (With Peter Kavanagh and others) Kavanagh’s Weekly: A Journal of Literature and Politics (anthology), Goldsmith, 1981.
  • Prose Icon No Earthly Estate: God and Patrick Kavanagh: An Anthology, Columba Press (Dublin, Ireland), 2002.

Sound Recordings

  • Sound Recordings Icon Almost Everything, Claddagh, 1964.


  • Other Icon November Haggard: Uncollected Prose and Verse of Patrick Kavanagh,edited by Peter Kavanagh, Hand Press, 1971.
  • Other Icon A Patrick Kavanagh Anthology, edited by Eugene Robert Platt, Commedia, 1973.
  • Other Icon (Selected and introduced by) Selected Poems of Ivor Gurnery, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1997.
  • Other Icon Columnist for Standard, 1943 and 1946-49, Irish Press, under name Piers Plowman, 1942-44, Envoy, 1949-51,Creation, 1957, Irish Farmers’ Journal, 1958-63, National Observer, 1959-60, and RTV Guide, 1964-66. Contributor of numerous poems, articles, and reviews to periodicals, including Bell, Dublin, Dundalk Democrat, Horizon, Irish Weekly Independent, Irish Times, Irish Writing, Nimbus, Nonplus, Poetry, Studies, and X. Writer, editor, and publisher for Kavanagh’s Weekly: A Journal of Literature and Politics, 1952.
“On the stem of memory imaginations blossom.”

Further Reading


  • Books Icon Allison, Jonathan, Patrick Kavanagh: A Reference Guide, G.K Hall (New York City), 1996.
  • Books Icon Contemporary Literary Criticism, Volume 22, Gale, 1982.
  • Books Icon Cronin, Anthony, Heritage Now: Irish Literature in the English Language, St. Martin's, 1982.
  • Books Icon Dictionary of Literary Biography, Gale, Volume 15: British Novelists, 1930-1959, 1983, Volume 20: British Poets, 1914-1945, 1983.
  • Books Icon Kavanagh, Patrick, Self Portrait, Dolmen, 1964.
  • Books Icon Kavanagh, Peter, Sacred Keeper: A Biography of Patrick Kavanagh, Goldsmith, 1979.
  • Books Icon Nemo, John, Patrick Kavanagh, Twayne, 1979.
  • Books Icon O’Brien, Darcy, Patrick Kavanagh, Bucknell University Press, 1975.
  • Books Icon Warner, Alan, Clay Is the Word: Patrick Kavanagh, 1904-1967, Dolmen, 1973.
  • Books Icon Agnew, Una, The Mystical Imagination of Patrick Kavanagh ‘ A Buttonhole in Heaven’
  • Books Icon Quinn, Antoinette, Patrick Kavanagh A Biography
  • Books Icon Swan, Desmond, Apocalypse of Clay. A Study of Patrick Kavanagh’s Masterpiece ‘The Great Hunger’ and Ireland’s Coming of Age


  • Periodicals Icon Commonweal, March 17, 1939.
  • Periodicals Icon Irish University Review, spring, 1973.
  • Periodicals Icon Library Journal, November 15, 1995, p. 92.
  • Periodicals Icon New Yorker, April 10, 1965, December 9, 1967.
  • Periodicals Icon New York Times Book Review, February 26, 1939, August 24, 1947, May 23, 1965.
  • Periodicals Icon Poetry, June, 1965.
  • Periodicals Icon Saturday Review of Literature, March 25, 1939, September 20, 1947, January 21, 1950.
  • Periodicals Icon Spectator, June 3, 1938, July 31, 1964, February 17, 1979.
  • Periodicals Icon Times Literary Supplement, October 24, 1936, October 22, 1938, May 17, 1947, August 12, 1960, August 27, 1964, May 4, 1967, June 13, 1980, July 31, 1981.


  • Obituaries Icon New York Times, December 1, 1967.
  • Obituaries Icon Time, December 8, 1967.
  • Obituaries Icon Times (London), December 1, 1967.
  • Obituaries Icon Washington Post, December 1, 1967.

Bibliography Search

  • Bibliography Search Icon Kavanagh, Peter, 1978. Patrick Kavanagh Country, The Curragh: Goldsmith Press.
  • Bibliography Search Icon Kavanagh, Peter, 2003. Beyond Affection, New York: The Peter Kavanagh Hand Press.
  • Bibliography Search Icon Kavanagh, Peter, 2003. Piling Up The Ricks, New York: The Peter Kavanagh Hand Press.
  • Bibliography Search Icon Quinn, Antoinette, Ed., 2011. Patrick Kavanagh, A Poet’s Country: Selected Prose. Dublin: The Lilliput Press.