Saturday 19 January 2019

Tributes pour in for poet Philip Casey

Tributes have poured in for much-loved Gorey native poet Philip Casey (67) who passed away on Saturday in Blanchardstown Hospice.

Philip was born in London to Irish parents on June 27, 1950. But his parents moved back home to a farm in Hollyfort when he was a boy.

Later, Philip left Gorey and spent several years living in Barcelona, before residing in Dublin for most of his adult life.

He is the author of four collections of poetry - Those Distant Summers, After Thunder, The Year of the Knife and Dialogue in Fading Light.

Philip also has a trilogy of novels, which began with The Fabulists, The Water Star and The Fisher Child.

The novels completed what is now the Bann River trilogy, encompassing Philip's much-loved landscape of north Wexford.

Local councillor Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin said 'Philip's writings were influenced by the Hollyfort area under the gaze of Croghan mountain which was also a source of inspiration for him'.

When news broke of Philip's passing, President Michael D Higgins said: 'It is with great sadness that I have learned of the death of Philip Casey, one of Ireland's finest poets and novelists, and distinguished member of Aosdána.

'His generous nature, his humour and his literary talents will be missed by all those who were familiar with his work or were privileged to call him a friend.'

Enniscorthy native Colm Tobín recalled the first time he met Philip at the Arts Festival in Gorey, organised by Paul Funge in 1971.

'As a person, he was warm and friendly, with a tremendous laugh and the strongest handshake I have ever come across.

'He was a great listener and noticer, someone with a rich inner life.'

Author Sebastian Barry said 'to have no Philip in the world, now there is an utter blackness'.

Philip is also a founder and editor of the website Irish Writers Online, which provides biographical details of Irish writers.

He reviewed poetry for The Irish Press for a number of years and more recently established eMaker editions, an independent imprint, to make his work available worldwide.

Philip is survived by his brothers Peter and John, sister Karina, nephews and nieces Vincent, Damien, Amy, Eadaoin, Laoise and Iseult.

Gorey Guardian