Sunday 18 March 2018

Poetry collection will see Donal's dream come true

Sheila Fitzgerald

THE publication of 'The Flame Lives On', a volume of poems penned by the late Donal Ó Siodhacháin, from Doon, Kiskeam, is set to fulfil the second of his final wishes prior to his passing last October - his first was granted when he got to spend his final months in Ballydesmond at the heart of his beloved Sliabh Luachra, following his marriage to his long term partner Dr. Patricia Herron a few months before his death.

380 poems featuring a range of diverse subjects such as Creation and Mystery, People and Place, Politics and Conflict, Music, Poetry and Culture, Love and Loving, and Life and Death, explore the myriad of human emotions, and delve deeply into the realms of mysticism.

Many of the poems are rooted in Sliabh Luachra people, places, and culture. Other interests, such as politics and history, led Donal to compose many more fine pieces, but his poems of the Sacral meant most to him. In 2004, he was ranked fourth in the world for his collection of spiritual poetry in an international competition organised by the Fernando Rielo Foundation in Brazil.

Following in the footsteps of the renowned Eoghan Rua O Súilleabháin, Aoghan Ó Rathaille and Edward Walsh, Donal was a poet in the bardic tradition. He performed rather than read his poetry - to audiences in rambling houses, music sessions and poetry venues throughout Ireland and abroad. In 2006 he won the Cuisle Limerick International Live Poetry Performance Prize, and in 2008 was awarded the honour of All-Ireland Live Performance Champion Poet.

This fine collection of Donal's work, which has been prepared for publication by his wife Patricia, will be launched in Ballydesmond Community Centre on Wednesday, May 15 at 8pm. Presiding over the launch will be Donal's close friend and master fiddle player Paddy Jones from Castleisland. Other musicians will play some of the traditional tunes that were close to Donal's heart, and poems from the collection will be read by friends to whom he had dedicated various pieces.

Through this, his final publication, featuring poems which remind us of his life and death, his flame will surely live on.