Poet Laureate: Cormac Lally

Cormac Lally is the Poet Laureate for Tullamore, Co Offaly. One of Ireland’s top spoken word artists, he moved to Skibbereen in 2015 but he is born and bred in Tullamore.

“It is a great honour to represent your hometown in any field or worthy endeavour,” he says. “Tullamore is the place that shaped me, Ballinamere school the inspiration for my love of the English language, and understanding the deep and rich cultural landscape that is Ireland. I dedicate this laureate-ship to my family, without whom I am nothing.”

Cormac’s bio

Cormac Lally is one of Ireland's top spoken word artists. Originally from Tullamore, he moved to Skibbereen in 2015 with his family and put roots down. His work has been featured on RTE and he is a familiar face at the country’s top festivals  (remember them!)

He has performed with Mick Flannery, Blindboy, Linton Kwesi Jonson, Luca Bloom, Ronan O Snodaigh, Liam O Maoilai, and Stephen James Smith. In 2016, himself and his poetry wife, Julie Goo, wrote a show called Me, Myself and Ireland, a look back at Ireland, her history and culture, and they have toured the country with it.

His work is a mix of utter lies, hard truths, politics and family life, dropped on the listener with a cutting humour with deep emotional levels, delivered in a flowing rhythm.

Cormac presented Tullamore’s Town Poem at a special event on 17 September. You can find the full text of his poem below.


I walk out of my front door, and the footpath’s my environ
Hard concrete, conceals cobbled streets, that sang in horseshoe iron
Where barefoot youths, learned barefaced truths, of famine and plantation
From sixteen Church Street, I stroll old beats, to find my inspiration
My earthly host, now trods on ghosts, of memories surprising
The phoenix ashes, violent clashes, the first shots of the rising
Colonial masters, aviation disasters, the empires fall and flight
Where Papal church, pitched souls that searched, for spiritual being, to fight
But Tullamore, she was a bore, to teenage I with school achieved
I knew it all, there’s no enthrall, in these town walls I believed
I journeyed East, to slay the beasts of wanderlust and cloister
I strode in haste anticipating tastes, of worldly flavoured oysters
Old Tullamore, she lay behind new shores, but escaping her proved hard
In rural France, I met a man by chance, that lived once in Ballard
In Rotterdam, well I’ll be damned, where industries regaled
My professional peers, those engineers, knew men from Arden Vale
In Dubrovnik's old town, it was there I found, Croatian fighting legends
In their archives, they owed their lives, to a warrior born in Screggan
I waded through marsh, through jungles harsh, in deepest darkest thailand
In tribal elder homes, I was regaled in tomes, of a Jesuit from Walsh Island
In New South Wales, my escape it paled, and withered, without cure
In the dry outback, on a miners track, there’s a road sign for Tullamore
So in the furthest place, bar outer space, I could travel on this earth
Could not conceal, nor suppress my feels, for the Big Hill of my birth
And when the ground, gave way I found, when brainstorm clouds had gathered
When I was lost, connections crossed, and oceans left me battered
The arms of family, meant more to me, than outlandish sought adventure
My community, and yes Joe Lee’s, in Ireland’s boggy centre
My uncles, aunts, my Mam and Dad, my brothers and my sister
Made my heart full, and the hometown pull, I could truly not resist her
So thank you D.E. Williams, for the industry that prospered
The Moores, the Hutton Burys, and the ethic that they fostered
Each master masons stone they placed, they built these walls that hold us
This is my hood, and it’s mainly good, and it will always, shape and mould us
It’s deep inside, the old Uibh Fhaile  pride, and no vaccine has the cure
For once the phoenix lives, it’s fire forgives, and bests the worst cute hoor
This town gave me, a red haired cailin, my children and I’m grateful
An Tulach Mhor, mo chroi, mo stor, in the heartland of the Faithful.