Poet Laureate: Anne Walsh Donnelly

Anne Walsh Donnelly is the Poet Laureate for Belmullet, Co Mayo. A writer of poetry, prose and plays, Anne lives in Co Mayo.

“I am honoured to have been asked to be Poet Laureate for Belmullet,” she says. “It’s a great privilege and I’m looking forward to writing a poem for the town and surrounding area. I love to write poetry that is accessible and that resonates with the reader. I hope the poem I write for Belmullet, will be enjoyed by all who live there. Go raibh mile maith agaibh.”

Anne’s bio

Anne Walsh Donnelly lives in Co Mayo. She writes poetry, prose and plays and describes her writing process as: “Bungee jumping, naked, off the Cliffs of Moher.” Her debut poetry collection, Odd as F*ck, was published by Fly On The Wall Poetry Press in 2021.  She is also the author of the poetry chapbook, The Woman With An Owl Tattoo, also published by Fly On The Wall Poetry Press. It was awarded second prize in the International Poetry Book Awards in 2020.

In 2019, she was shortlisted for the Hennessy/Irish Times New Irish Writing Award and selected for the Poetry Ireland Introduction Series. In 2020, she was awarded a Words Ireland Mentorship and a bursary from the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival. To find out more about Anne, go to her website: www.annewdonnelly.com

Anne presented Belmullet’s Town Poem at a special event on 16 September. You can find the full text of the poem below.

On Being in Béal an Mhuirthead

You drive west to the Musical Bridge, play a stone
on its walls, say goodbye to sad songs. Owenmore River

takes you to Erris and you follow the morning sun to a town
with two bays. In the tidal pool, you breathe in, and out,

count your strokes, the algae-green water soothes all woes.
You savour the creamy-saltiness of a seafood pie in the Talbot,

lick icing from a muffin in An Builín Blasta, listen to Gaelic
football fans roar, return Annie Mariah’s hello, hello, hello!

You walk the length of Mullet Peninsula from Ceann Iorrais
to Blacksod inhaling vetch, red clover and montbretia.

In Cross Abbey Cemetery ancient rocks rise to offer a seat,
spirits dwell in the call of curlews, the lowing of cattle,

the sigh of evening waves. Ships dip their sails in homage
to St Brendan and his monks, swan song skims over the sea

from Inis Gluaire. You dream of swimming with the Children
of Lir, and know this is an áit speisialta on the tip of Mayo.