Saturday 29 April 2017

Poet Kennelly honoured after his return home to 'Bally'

Home is where the heart is: Poet Brendan Kennelly relaxing in his native Kerry Photo: Domnick Walsh
Home is where the heart is: Poet Brendan Kennelly relaxing in his native Kerry Photo: Domnick Walsh
Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

Distinguished poet Brendan Kennelly was honoured at a special ceremony recognising his literary work in his native Kerry yesterday.

He was presented with a framed scroll and a picture of Carrigafoyle Castle, near his home village of Ballylongford, by Kerry County Council during a reception at his local parish hall, a stone's throw from where he was born.

Brendan Kennelly socialising with his brothers Paddy (left) and Kevin (right) at Kennellys Bay in Ballylongford Photo: Domnick Walsh
Brendan Kennelly socialising with his brothers Paddy (left) and Kevin (right) at Kennellys Bay in Ballylongford Photo: Domnick Walsh

Kennelly (80), a former Trinity College professor who moved back from Dublin to Kerry recently, said his native "Bally" always stayed with him despite spending 60 years away from the village.

"I am back living near Bally again. I carry the Bally that I wrote about in The Crooked Cross within me and see it as I pass through the village and, although a lot has changed, I still know this to be my heart's home place," said Kennelly.

"Dublin was my home and a place that I loved dearly but my original home was always with me, all the time, wherever I went. Bally and its people would come to me at night as I slept; I would dream of the streets, of the river going up through the village, of the football field, of the laneways, and the teams of young people and the rhyme that we had:

Puddings and pies for the Ballyline Boys

Sods and ciarogs for the Well Road Rogues

Meal and bran for the Saleen Clan

Eggs and rashers for the Tae Lane Dashers."

Leas-Cathaoirleach of Kerry County Council Liam Purtill paid tribute to Brendan Kennelly.

"Brendan's dulcet tones and cheery disposition have won him so many fans and his poetry is as popular today as it ever was, if not more so. His work has retained a loyal and appreciative audience to this day."

Friends, family and neighbours as well as local TDs and councillors were in attendance.

"I think Brendan Kennelly has always been a 'Bally man' deep down, despite his years 'on loan' to the capital city," added Purtill.

Sunday Independent

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