Poet Laureate Event

  • 10th September, 7pm
  • Online

HomeTOWN | DublinTOWN

Join Poetry Ireland for an online celebration of Dublin 1’s vibrancy and diversity, introduced by Paula Meehan and featuring Dublin 1 Poet Laureate Rachael Hegarty.

Rachael will share her specially commissioned poem written about and dedicated to Dublin 1 and its people, followed by a performance from Poetry Ireland’s Poet in Residence, Catherine Ann Cullen, Martin Reilly and Dr. Rosaleen McDonagh. Other very special guests to be announced – known champions of the area’s history and communities, who all live, love and laud all that is good about life in Dublin 1.


Rachael Hegarty is a Dubliner, born and bred between the canals until she was seven years old. She was educated by the Holy Faithers in Finglas, the U. Mass Bostonians, the Trinity M.Phillers in Dublin and the Ph.D. Magicians at Queens University, Belfast. Her debut collection, Flight Paths Over Finglas, won the 2018 Shine Strong Award. A child survivor of the Talbot Street bomb, her collection May Day 1974 (Salmon, 2019) has received critical acclaim for the 33 docu-sonnets and 33 ballads for the people who died on the single worst day The Troubles. Her third collection, Dancing with Memory (Salmon, 2021), is a dance hall of memory for her mother who lives with Alzheimer’s. She teaches at the Trinity Access Promgramme because she wants more working-class students causing some havoc in academia. Rachael’s kids say she uses the 3 F- words too much: Finglas, feminism and feckin’ poetry. www.salmonpoetry.com

Paula Meehan was born in 1955 in Dublin. She studied at Trinity College, Dublin, and in the MFA programme at Eastern Washington University. Besides seven award-winning poetry collections, she has also written plays for both adults and children. She has conducted residencies in universities, in prisons, and in the wider community. Her poems and plays have been translated into many languages, including Irish. She has collaborated extensively with musicians, visual artists and dancers. Geomantic, published in 2016 by Dedalus Press, received a Cholmondeley Award for Poetry. Other awards include the Butler Award of the Irish American Cultural Institute, the Laurence O’Shaughnessy Award, the Denis Devlin Award, and the Marten Toonder Award. From 2013 to 2016, she was Ireland Professor of Poetry and her lectures from the Chair on Community, Family, and Selfhood, are available in one volume, Imaginary Bonnets with Real Bees in Them, published by UCD Press. As If By Magic: Selected Poems, was published on 1 October, 2020, by Dedalus Press. She is a member of Aosdána.

Catherine Ann Cullen is the inaugural Poet in Residence at Poetry Ireland, where she works with disadvantaged communities. She is an award-winning poet, children’s writer and songwriter, and recipient of a Kavanagh Fellowship 2018. Her three poetry collections include The Other Now (Dedalus 2016) and her latest of three books for children is All Better! (Little Island 2019). She has won the Business to Arts Award for Best Use of Creativity in the Community, the Francis Ledwidge Award (twice), best song in Dublin City Council’s Camac Competition, and was joint winner of the Joyce-Cycle Poetry Award 2019. Her poem ‘Triskele’ was shortlisted for Irish Poem of the Year 2020. She is a scholar of ballads and has a PhD in Creative Writing.

Dr. Rosaleen McDonagh is a Traveller woman with a disability. Originally from Sligo, she is the fourth eldest in a family of twenty children.  She worked in Pavee Point Traveller & Roma Centre for ten years, managing the Violence Against Women programme, and remains a board member.  She is a regular contributor to the Irish Times and has written ostensibly within the framework of a Traveller feminist perspective. McDonagh’s work includes Mainstream, The Baby Doll Project, Stuck, She’s Not Mine, and Rings. Rosaleen was commissioned for a feature article in the Irish Times in 2012 responding to Channel 4’s series My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.  In 2013/2014, she worked with Graeae Theatre on its WTP programme.  As part of this project, she spent two weeks on attachment in The Royal Court Theatre. Her play Mainstream was directed by Olivier Award winner, Jim Culleton, for Fishamble and Project Arts Centre in 2016.  In 2018, Fishamble produced Rosaleen’s play Running Out of Road in the RHK to mark the first anniversary of Traveller Ethnicity recognition. Rosaleen has a BA in Biblical & Theological Studies, an MPhil in Ethnic & Racial Studies & an MPhil in Creative Writing, all from TCD. She holds a PhD from Northumbria University. Rosaleen was writer in residence with Tuti Theatre Company in Adelaide, Austrailia in 2019. Corrib Theatre Company in Portland Oregon, USA, are producing ‘Rings’ a play about a deaf female Traveller in November 2020.

Martin Reilly is a Men's Mental Health worker with Pavee Point. He started writing and performing poetry in 2020 and has performed in the First Fortnight festival in 2021.