Taking Flight – Radio Essays Inspired by Patrick Kavanagh

Audio Reflections on Kavanagh

Taking Flight is a series of radio essays celebrating the work and continued influence of the poet Patrick Kavanagh. It was commissioned by The Patrick Kavanagh Centre with the support of Monaghan County Council and Creative Ireland.

Participants in this series include writers, a filmmaker and poet. These creative responses to Kavanagh’s work illustrate the significance of the poet in our culture and the potency of his own work as a source of continued artistic exploration.

Kavanagh once remarked that his more successful works achieved ‘weightlessness’, ‘that I had become airborne and more’.  This series celebrates Kavanagh’s brilliance and his encouragement to successive generations of artists and thinkers to achieve weightlessness and take flight.


"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.

the hospital


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

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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

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.

Jaki Mc Carrick photo © Bobbie Hanvey L1002974 2_web

'The Meadow' - by Tadhg O’Sullivan

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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

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.