Thursday, November 26, 2020

From the Plough to the Stars , Intro!

This video comes in two versions, a 17 minutes short version where at the end you will find a link (in the shape of a book cover - beside the name Eoin O' Donnell who made the video) to the full version of the launch. As with the Children of the Nation this anthology sold out almost immediately and a second issue is now available for those who might wish to purchase a copy. With thanks to Jenny for the info and of course  to Youtube and the Share button. 

Thursday, November 19, 2020

From the Plough to the Stars/Book Launch!

 From the Plough to the Stars/Book Launch!

Edited and introduced by Jenny Farrell and with a foreword by Gerry Murphy, President of  the Irish Congress of Trade Unions the above collection was launched on Monday the 16th of November by Clare Daly MEP whose own contribution or launch notes were perhaps the best I've heard. A follow up volume to The Children of the Nation this book includes just about everything from memoir to the short story or blog entry and reflects on every aspect of the working life. That said I'm still reading through, having started with Gráinne Daly's, The Dublin - Meath Saga from 1991 - and having included a sporting section in our own magazine would love to have had this one. Be careful what you wish for. There are over two hundred pages here so it is no small book. It actually ends on a poem by Máire Dinny Wren, The Common People which follows her flash fiction piece written in Irish. The introduction by Jenny Farrell ends in the words of James Connolly describing the Starry Plough banner:
A free Ireland will control its own destiny, from the plough to the stars.

See Press Release below.

Priced at €12/£11 it is available from the Culture Matters website.

Culture Matters  here.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Drowsy Maggies!

 Drowsy Maggies!

Another one that goes back to the London of 1970 and the back streets off Kilburn High Road. Will add the text over the weekend. Enjoy.

Drowsy Maggies

An accordion dragged out somewheres,
Quex Road Sundays,
Backs to the wall
Talking of the summertime,
Going home.

And the drift to Mass,
The nod.

There were rumours
Of a start somewhere.
Casuals; observations
Of the scraps of a match,
The laments for the crossing.
The red pillar post box,
Imperial signs
Hanging off the overheads.
Approved bed and board,
Crooked Jacks,
Going home
And the fleadh.

Through an open doorway
Drowsy Maggies
Drowning out
Three Dog Night -

"Mama told me not to come"

Frank Murphy

Sunday, November 8, 2020

From the Plough to the Stars/Press Release!

 Culture Matters 

Press Release

From the Plough to the Stars: An Anthology of Working People’s Prose from Contemporary Ireland

“The cooks, the cleaners, the porters: unsung heroes on the frontline” cried an Irish newspaper headline in early May 2020. During the pandemic it has become clear that whatever else fails, a society cannot function without the working class. The underlying inequalities of our class-divided society have also been laid bare by the coronavirus, including the ways in which working-class histories, experiences and values have never been adequately represented in our national cultural life. 

So it is particularly timely that on Monday 16th November, Clare Daly MEP will launch a unique anthology of prose by Irish working-class writers.  There are 50 contributions from the whole island of Ireland, driving home the fact that their life experience as working people is the same, no matter where on the island they live, on which side of the border, rural or urban, female or male, younger or older, writing in Irish or English.

The common focus is on themes which reflect the texture and preoccupations of working-class life in contemporary Ireland. The writers create a complex and varied image of Irish working people today, one that challenges conventional stereotypes of their class.

The anthology is edited by Jenny Farrell, has a foreword by Gerry Murphy, 

President of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, and it has been generously supported and promoted by the Irish labour movement.

 It is the follow-up volume to Children of the Nation: An Anthology of Working People’s Poetry from Contemporary Ireland, published by Culture Matters in 2019.

 From the Plough to the Stars: An Anthology of Working People’s Prose from Contemporary Ireland. ISBN: 978-1-912710-25-6  

Price: €12/ £11 plus p. and p. Available from the Culture Matters website,


Note to Editors: For further information or for interview please contact

Jenny Farrell, Associate Editor, Culture Matters 091792297, 089-4600425, or Mike Quille, Chief Editor, Culture Matters,


                     From the Plough to the Stars                     



Wednesday, November 4, 2020

The Class of Fifty Seven!

 The Class of Fifty Seven!

This is another one that was sent to the SiarScéal Festival and is about emigration and especially refers to 1957 when it is estimated that at least sixty thousand people left Ireland. The figure given for the period between 1945 and 1960 is about half a million. Extraordinary! I spent about a year in London around 1970 and the poem above harks back to all those who talked of going home. Not many I'd say.

The Class of Fifty Seven

Back for summertime vacations
Paid for Confirmations made
Last year's Debs
Or school reunions
With the shovel and the spade

The whole schoolyard assembled
With the writing on the wall
The class of fifty seven
And the Boat Train called

Danced round tunes
Played on a Sunday
Whiskey talk of going home
On the streets off
Kilburn High Road
Cricklewood or Camden Town

The Mission Fields of Asia
The States the sessions
And the craic
The ones who made it famous
The ones who never made it back.

Frank Murphy

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Beneath Western Skies!

 Beneath Western Skies/ SiarScéal Anthology 2020!

The above anthology is produced by the SiarScéal Festival in County Roscommon and includes contributions from both adults and children that reflect on climate change, competition poems from the Hanna Greally Awards (2019), the Beneath Western Skies, exhibition on tour (2019) and the Beneath Western Skies exhibition (2018). There is a foreword by Gwen McNamara Bond, the SiarScéal Festival Founder/Director and a preface by Anni Wilton-Jones the editor of the collection. Reflections on Climate Change opens the collection followed by, A Selection from SiarScéal 2018 and 2019 - Adults, the book closing with, A Selection from SiarScéal 2018 and 2019 - Children and Young People. A number of local writers from the Meath area include Michael Farry whose prize winning poem, The Burma Road Blues won the competition in 2019, Rinn Dúin by Sinéad MacDevitt and Drowsy Maggies by myself. A copy of the book can be sourced from The Manuscript Publishers (TMP) and retails at €10 Euro. Another winner that is included in this collection is Faye Boland who won the award in 2017 and also must mention that the book includes a number of photographs that complement the poems included. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

The Lost Roads of South Meath!

 The Lost Roads of South Meath!

This was one of the poems I recorded for the SiarScéal Festival 2020 (Frank Fahy) but I had to delete the title and credits in order to get an upload to the blog. Too much data or something. Hope you enjoy. Will get back tomorrow with the text of the poem. I recorded a number of videos for The Meath Writers' Circle back about 2012 but this is the first since then. We were going to bring out a recording of some of the members back then but events as they 

The Lost Roads of South Meath

They called 'em
Back roads.
Turning in on themselves
Between hedgerows
And red tin roofs.
The roads less

And the odd tourist
Taking the shortcut
Advised to go back
By a man making hurlies.
To a sign that said
Kill something or other
Pointing out in the fields
Of buttercups and dandelions
Blowing in the wind
And not a bog
For miles.

The afternoons spent
Nursing the Pint
Or a crossword
In grocery bars.
Stills battered out the back
And an insurance man
Selling clothes pegs,
The company 
Of a collie dog.

And there was any
God's amount
Of time.

Frank Murphy