Skelligs Haul is a generous compilation of Michael Kirby's prose and poetry, appealing for his simple, elegant style, his knowledge of unique local lore, and his inimitable observations. Kirby, a man who spent nearly every day of his ninety-nine years on the beautiful Iveragh peninsula, apart from a brief period in the United States, knew better than most that survival demanded persistence, passion, civility and good humour. In the shadow of the World Heritage site of Skellig Michael, he eked out a living fishing and farming with intimate knowledge of every inch of sea and soil. This volume, organised thematically, demonstrates Kirby's great gift of expressing the artist's fresh, passionate insight in elegant, plain language and with the dispassionate slant of a scientist. His knowledge of local birds and fish was as encyclopaedic and forensic as his grasp of place names. Referred to as `one of the last authentic expressions of the Gaelic tradition, artlessly fusing the worlds of flesh and spirit', he was a mystic who found his God, his solace and serenity in every living thing in Iveragh. This book includes some dual texts of poems freely translated from Irish by Kirby, showing that his inward eye led to verse in both the romantic vein and the fine tradition of Irish-language religious verse. This collection also presents reproductions of his landscape paintings, an introduction by poet Paddy Bushe and an editor's preface and note.
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Date of Publication: 01/09/2019