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The ‘lament’ of Padraic O’Conaire – 1943

eyre sq

Cattle Fair, Eyre, Square, Galway

Connacht Sentinel 13th April, 1943 p.2
In 1935 Eamon de Valera veiled a statue of Padraic O’Conaire in Eyre Square, Galway. The Square was used for a variety of purposes including a turf dump during the Emergency. The storage of turf at Eyre Square ended in the late 1940s. Mr Kevin McDonagh marked its departure, from Padraic’s perspective, with the following poem.

O dreadful change! O piercing sight!
O prospect ugly, bleak and bare!
I’ve half a mind to stand upright
And part forever from the Square.

The crafty folk who jeer and scoff
At things that poets find most sweet.
Have tumbled down and carried off
Those noble piles of rich brown peat.

I’d fondly hope they had been stacked
To lend a rustic atmosphere
To my surroundings and distract
My brooding mind from every care.

‘Tis many a time they raised in me
A thrill as when (with eyes agog)
I’d notice floating lazily.
The Mist That Does Be On the Bog!

I’d e’en had hopes – a foolish batch
That soon a cottage might arise
Amid the peat with golden thatch
And blue smoke curling to the skies.

Exit now, my dreams are shattered quite,
And, like the peat, dissolved in air,
I’ve half a mind to stand upright,
And part forever from the Square.

Kevin McDonagh

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