Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Arts & Heritage Niamh Smyth has described renowned Irish poet and novelist Patrick Kavanagh as a “lyrical and satirical master”.  She was speaking after she attended a ceremony in Inniskeen to mark the 50th anniversary of the Monaghan writer’s death.

Deputy Smyth commented, “There is no doubt that Patrick Kavanagh is one of the leading lights in Irish literary life over the past century.  His ability to take every day routines and turn them into emotive and gritty musings was unrivalled, and his works diverged from the more romantic notions of Irish life, which were the preserve of many other writers of his generation.

“Kavanagh brought a realism to Irish writing, and his use of colloquial language stood him apart from his literary counterparts, in some instances made him unpopular with these peers.  However, this rejection of the more traditional style of writing sparked the interest of younger poets who he became a mentor to.  Indeed, Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney acknowledges Kavanagh’s part in teaching him that “nothing is trivial”.

“Kavanagh’s influence on Irish literature cannot be underestimated.  He inspired a new generation of poets who learned through him that at the heart of everything in Irish life is the parish and community.  He remains a key component of our country’s teaching of English and poetry, with poems like Canal Bank Walk, Inniskeen Road and The Hospital examined on the Leaving Cert syllabus, while other works like The Great Hunger, Stony Grey Soil and Raglan Road continue to have a special place in the Irish psyche.

“Patrick Kavanagh made poetry accessible.  His language and imagery were understandable and influential, and in many ways he brought poetry and prose to people who would have never engaged.  In many ways, his talent lives on, not only in his own work, but in the work of those he mentored and influenced.  That legacy is undeniable”.