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Rhyme & Reason: TW Rolleston

This year is the 90th anniversary of the death of TW Rolleston, but no one seems to have noticed. He wrote a huge number of poems, but only struck the gong once. This is enough to make you immortal, of course, but the wonder is how a man can strike the gong once on a true note -- and never again.

His one true poem, Clonmacnoise, is a translation from the Irish of Angus O'Gillan. With people getting their rocks off about everything Celtic, Rolleston has caught, as no one else has, the kingly part of our country and the rich monastic culture that preceded it.

Rolleston went to school at St Columba's College, Rathfarnham, and later to Trinity College. Though he was a civil servant in Dublin Castle, he was (like Yeats) a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. He went to live in England aged 51 and during World War One translated German documents for the Foreign Office.

A mysterious man, he died in England in 1920 at a time when the Black and Tans were footloose around Shannonbridge, where the mighty monument he wrote about still stands.