thursday/raglan road

The Dublin Event - before and after
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liverpoolken
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thursday/raglan road

Postby liverpoolken » Sun May 25, 2014 3:44 pm

so far about 20 people have posted up to confirm that they will be at the landsdowne hotel on thursday for the early registration and social evening ….hopefully a few more folk will come along to what is going to be a great night….

paula in another thread has already mentioned the promixty of raglan road to the landsdowne hotel.. in fact it's just a couple of minutes walk away…for as long as i can remember i've always had a bit of a thing about patrick kavanagh's beautiful poem 'on raglan road' in which the speaker tells of a love affair that he had with a young woman he met 'on a quiet street' and despite him knowing that he would risk being hurt if he went ahead with the relationship he still went ahead and…well..I guess we have all been there…ta ken

On Raglan Road on an autumn day I met her first and knew
That her dark hair would weave a snare that I might one day rue;
I saw the danger, yet I walked along the enchanted way,
And I said, let grief be a fallen leaf at the dawning of the day.

On Grafton Street in November we tripped lightly along the ledge
Of the deep ravine where can be seen the worth of passion's pledge,
The Queen of Hearts still making tarts and I not making hay -
O I loved too much and by such and such is happiness thrown away.

I gave her gifts of the mind I gave her the secret sign that's known
To the artists who have known the true gods of sound and stone
And word and tint. I did not stint for I gave her poems to say.
With her own name there and her own dark hair like clouds over fields of May

On a quiet street where old ghosts meet I see her walking now
Away from me so hurriedly my reason must allow
That I had wooed not as I should a creature made of clay -
When the angel woos the clay he'd lose his wings at the dawn of day.

Solitudine non é essere soli, é amare gli altri inutilmente - Mario Stefani
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liverpoolken
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Re: thursday/raglan road

Postby liverpoolken » Sun May 25, 2014 4:03 pm

i'm sure most folk will also be familiar with luke kelly's brilliant adaption of 'on raglan road ' and this is the story of how luke came put kavanagh's beautiful words to music ...and i know that paula has already posted a link to luke singing 'raglan road' but i'm of a mind that you can never have enough links to luke's work so here are 2 links to luke singing 'raglan road' a studio version and the other a live version......ta ken

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuafmLvoJow

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYJO5fJgNSQ


It’s the Bailey Pub, Dublin. The year is 1966. The place is packed with people sitting at the bar and at small tables. Loud raucous banter, laughter and the slow drone of conversations fill the air. A thick fog of pipe and cigarette smoke merges with low electric lighting to create a muggy, stifling atmosphere.

Luke Kelly, lead singer of The Dubliners, has just finished his set and returns to his table. Appreciative nods, compliments and pats on the back follow him through the crowd. He needs some refreshment, and his friends have kindly procured for him: two pints of porter and a shot of whiskey. He takes a substantial gulp out of his wide-rimmed pint, and turns his head as a hand is gently placed on his shoulder. He looks up to see the poet, Patrick Kavanagh, a man Kelly knows well from the pub and literary scene. They greet each other and Kavanagh takes a seat.

Slightly dishevelled and maudlin, Kavanagh compliments Kelly on his set, and then, he surprises him by asking him if he will sing one of his famous poems, ‘Raglan Road’. He asks Kelly if he thinks that he can adapt it as a song?

Kelly knows it well. And, he knows what it’s about – Kavanagh’s unrequited love for a beautiful young woman. He’s heard the rumours.

He says that he’ll give it a go.

Well that’s more or less what happened, via my imaginings of how ‘Raglan Road’ came to be sung.

Patrick Kavanagh met the beautiful, dark-haired Hilda Moriarty in 1944. Originally from Dingle, she was only in Dublin a few months, when she became one of the most celebrated beauties of the time. She was a trainee doctor; she was also a fan of poetry and literature, which is how they met.

Unfortunately, there was too much of an age gap, she was twenty-two and he was forty, so she ended the relationship and married a younger man soon after.

In 1946, ‘Raglan Road’ was published under the name, ‘Dark Haired Miriam Ran Away.’

But everyone who knew Kavanagh, knew that it was about Hilda.

Luke Kelly couldn’t have interpreted it better. He chose the 17th century air: ‘Fáinne Geal an Lae’ (‘Dawning of Day’), as the basis of the song. The accompaniment by The Dubliners never overpowers the poetry, with gentle strumming banjo infused with small flourishes of guitar and tin whistle.

Either through empathy for Kavanagh’s (still evidently resonant) plight, or from respect for the poem as a brilliant literary work, Luke Kelly immortalised it; his powerful tenor voice reciting it poignantly, and with great dignity.
Solitudine non é essere soli, é amare gli altri inutilmente - Mario Stefani
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liverpoolken
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Re: thursday/raglan road

Postby liverpoolken » Sun May 25, 2014 4:19 pm

and here is the beautiful hilda moriarty the object of kavanagh's passion..a photo that clearly explains the line...

'that her dark hair would weave a snare that I might one day rue'
hilda.jpg
On Raglan Road in autumn 1944 the poet Patrick Kavanagh first met and became infatuated with Hilda Moriarty. Hilda, aged 22 and a medical student from Dingle, was generally considered one of the two most beautiful women in Dublin. (Kathleen Ryan, star of the film Odd Man Out, was the other.)

She had creamy skin, high cheekbones and deep blue eyes and the "long dark hair" the poet so much admired was wavy, blue-black in colour and worn shoulder-length. Hilda was also stylishly and expensively dressed. Her father, a medical doctor, lavished gifts of clothes and jewellery on her and, in addition, Irish dress designers gave her clothes to wear as an ad for their products.

At the time of their first meeting Patrick Kavanagh was about to turn 40. Although he had moved from Inniskeen to Dublin five years previously, he still walked, talked and dressed like the 'ploughman' he had once been.

He was unemployed, having recently lost his job as a gossip columnist with the Irish Press, and had sublet his flat at 62 Pembroke Road because he couldn't afford the rent. He was living in Mrs Kenny's boarding house at 19 Raglan Road where, as he put it, he was "housed, bedded and cleaned out" for 10 shillings a week. The 10 shillings was paid by a benefactor, Archbishop McQuaid. When not desperately job-hunting, Kavanagh passed the time revising a rejected novel, which was about to be rejected again, and working on a collection of poems, also rejected. He was depressed and in need of some excitement or consolation when he first encountered Hilda.

"There is a considerable element of will about falling in love," he wrote, two years later. "There is more of a suicide than an accidental death about it." From the outset, he knew that the relationship with Hilda was doomed, that he "would one day rue" it.

At first Hilda appeared to welcome Kavanagh's attentions. She was interested in literature and it was a novelty for her to have one of Ireland's leading poets among her retinue of admirers. She also felt sorry that things were going so badly for him and was gentle and sympathetic. Kavanagh was overly encouraged. In letters to his archbishop patron, he referred to his meeting with Hilda as "a special grace" and described her in terms he thought would appeal to an ecclesiastic, as a "charming, virtuous girl" who did not go to dances and whose uncle was a parish priest.
Solitudine non é essere soli, é amare gli altri inutilmente - Mario Stefani
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liverpoolken
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Re: thursday/raglan road

Postby liverpoolken » Sun May 25, 2014 4:53 pm

although i once made a pilgrimage to raglan road but i've never seen patrick kavanagh's statute which i believe is nearby on the mespil road beside the grand canal..but i'll be seeking it out this trip...

don't forget folks there a dozens if not hundreds of similiar interesting stories of irish writers and their works that can be traced in and around dublin city..and some of them are even true ..but a warning if you go on the famous dublin literary pub crawl which has a quiz included as you walk from pub to pub don't go with don cummer as he has already done the walk and he knows all the answers.... ta ken
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O commemorate me where there is water
canal water preferably, so stilly
greeny at the heart of summer. Brother
commemorate me thus beautifully.
Solitudine non é essere soli, é amare gli altri inutilmente - Mario Stefani
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Joe Way
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Re: thursday/raglan road

Postby Joe Way » Sun May 25, 2014 9:04 pm

Ken, thank you so much for posting this. I did not know the story and your pictures and descriptions about the origin of the song and about Hilda Moriarty is very enlightening and moving. Anne & I plan to be there on that Thursday evening. I'm a huge Luke Kelly fan and about to become a bigger fan of Patrick Kavanagh.

Joe
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Re: thursday/raglan road

Postby Wybe » Sun May 25, 2014 10:01 pm

Wonderful story Ken, we will be there on Thursday.

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Re: thursday/raglan road

Postby Judy » Sun May 25, 2014 10:14 pm

Thank you Ken. I very much enjoyed reading the story too.
If all goes according to plan, I hope to be there on Thursday evening as well.
Really looking forward to seeing you all again.
Judy
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Re: thursday/raglan road

Postby lizzytysh » Mon May 26, 2014 12:57 am

Kavanagh couldn't have entrusted his poem to better hands.
So moving and beautiful.
The lyrics and Luke's delivery are so full of heart.
Thanks for posting all of this, Ken.
What stellar beauty Hilda had.
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
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liverpoolken
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Re: thursday/raglan road

Postby liverpoolken » Mon May 26, 2014 3:11 am

as i have already said the poem 'on raglan road' and the story behind it has always had a fascination for me and this is a short resume of hilda moriarty's very interesting life written by her friend dr john wallace...so pleasing to read the last line... 'On the morning of her burial the Taoiseach of the day read On Raglan Road, the poem that Patrick Kavanagh had written about her, into the record of the Dail. ...the taoiseach for those not familiar with irish politics is the prime minster/head of government who in 1991 would have been charles haughey....and of course the dail is lower house but principal chamber the irish legislature...ta ken


Dr Hilda O'Malley, wife of Donogh O'Malley and friend of Richard Harris, was the inspiration for Patrick Kavanagh's best-known poem. Dr John Wallace recounts working in Limerick with Dr O'Malley.

Hilda O'Malley was born in 1922 in Dingle, County Kerry but lived most of her life in Sunville on the South Circular Road and later nearby in Roses Avenue, off the Ennis Road, Limerick. Hilda originally wanted to be a writer but at sixteen her father, who was a doctor, brought her to Dublin and enrolled her in the medical school at UCD. One of her classmates at the time was Patrick Hillary who would go on to become President of Ireland. Her father told her as he enrolled her "I can leave you money but that's easily lost. Instead I will leave you something much better; a set of useful skills."

When Hilda's politician husband Donogh O'Malley died suddenly at a political meeting in Sixmilebridge in County Clare in 1968, leaving Hilda with two school-going children, she then understood what her father meant.

While at medical school, according to Antoinette Quinn author of the recent book on Patrick Kavanagh, Hilda was considered one of the most beautiful women in Dublin.

In 1946 she met Donogh O'Malley a young engineer from Limerick who would become one of the most well known ministers in the Irish government in the late 1960s. Hilda and Donogh married in August1947 and she met many well-known people when travelling with Donogh when he was Minister for Education. While she liked Fidel Castro, the president of Cuba, she was greatly impressed when she met President Kennedy.

Hilda herself had great presence, indeed she had been called to Hollywood for a screen test with a view to starring in a film but she lost out to Maureen O'Hara.

Hilda was just twenty-two years old and studying medicine when she first met Patrick Kavanagh in the autumn of 1944.

At that time the poet was living in a boarding house on Raglan Road in the centre of Dublin. In common with many others, he was very taken with Hilda at their first meeting and, as he put it himself, he "had it bad" for her.

In 1980, while Hilda was working as a doctor in Limerick, I asked her about Patrick Kavanagh. She said that one evening in Dublin she ran into the unemployed Kavanagh by accident. He told her that he had been having a difficulty writing. She said that she could well believe it as all he was good for was writing about "cattle and sheep". While she always treated him with kindness, she would also occasionally tease him. She then asked him could he not write about something interesting for a change! She told him that he would be better off writing about people rather than farmyards! He quickly became defensive and told her that of course he could write poems about people. In fact, he said , he would write a poem about a woman! She looked surprised and Patrick Kavanagh responded "Of course I can write a poem about a women." She then described how he turned to her with great seriousness and said "In fact, I'll write a poem about you!"

On Raglan Road on an autumn day
I met her first and knew
That her dark hair would weave a
snare that I might one day rue;
I saw the danger yet walked along
the enchanted way
And I said let grief be like a fallen
leaf at the dawning of the day.

On Raglan Road, celebrates love at first sight and makes every location where Kavanagh met Hilda an "enchanted way". The reason Raglan Road is so popular is because it addresses the ever-interesting topic of unrequited love, it contains place-names and the poem was later set to the popular Irish melody The Dawning of the Day.

Kavanagh sang it to this air, in unmistakable manner, to Luke Kelly in the Bailey public house in Dublin in the late sixties. The song was also sung and made popular by Van Morrison.
When Hilda married Donogh O'Malley in 1947 Kavanagh was broken hearted. He did not forget her and kept a painting of Hilda propped up against the wall of his bed-sit in Dublin for some time afterwards. She did not see him again for many years and when she did he had become quite frail.

When he died in 1967, Hilda had not forgotten him either and she sent a wreath of roses.
After the sudden death of her husband Donogh in 1968, Hilda returned to work in Limerick as a medical doctor. She always regretted stopping work when married because, being a very outgoing person, she very much enjoyed medicine. What made her different, as a doctor, was that she never viewed medicine in isolation. Her interests were wide-ranging and she saw medicine in terms of wider issues such as housing, education and politics.

Her interest in politics was due to the is topic being discussed frequently with various politicians in the kitchen of her home, Sunville, on Limerick's North Circular Road.

Sunville was previously owned by the Cruise family, after whom Cruise Street in Limerick is named. Her interest in politics led her to run against Donogh's nephew Dessie O'Malley, for the seat left vacant by her deceased husband in 1968.

Her actor friend Richard Harris, who was then starring in the stage show Camelot, supported her political campaign. While campaigning for her he sang a hit song from the show from a campaign platform on O'Connell Street in Limerick. Her attempt to win the seat however was unsuccessful.
I last saw Hilda in 1987 when, having lost contact with her for some time, I eventually found her in an apartment overlooking the river Shannon near Clancy's Strand in Limerick.

She cut an isolated figure, yet she was as outgoing and as wide-ranging as ever in her conversation about politics and Limerick. Though looked after by her son Daragh, the actor, and Suzanne, a fashion designer, her health failed and in 1991 she moved in to a Dublin nursing home. According to her son, at the end she slipped into a coma but woke briefly and called for Donogh, her deceased husband. She then died quietly in her sleep. On a cold and wind-swept day she was buried in Limerick and joining her husband, the Minister of Education credited with introducing free education so many years previously. On the morning of her burial the Taoiseach of the day read On Raglan Road, the poem that Patrick Kavanagh had written about her, into the record of the Dail.

On a quiet street where old ghosts
meet I see her walking now
Solitudine non é essere soli, é amare gli altri inutilmente - Mario Stefani
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margaret
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Re: thursday/raglan road

Postby margaret » Mon May 26, 2014 12:45 pm

I haven't yet booked my travel, which will be on Thursday, but hope to join you on Thursday evening.

Margaret
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Re: thursday/raglan road

Postby lizzytysh » Mon May 26, 2014 7:24 pm

What an informative and beautiful presentation on Hilda.
Thanks, Ken.
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde
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Re: thursday/raglan road

Postby ladydi » Mon May 26, 2014 11:44 pm

Thank you Ken for sharing a most heart-warming and bittersweet story. Hilda, Patrick Kavanagh and Donogh O'Malley reach out and touch one even after all these years. Especially Patrick for immortalizing in poetry the pain of unrequited love.

In case anyone happens to have a copy of "If You Ever Go - A Map of Dublin in Poetry and Song" (I highly recommend it), On Raglan Road is on page 284. And now Ken's wonderful recounting of their lives has breathed a deeper understanding into how these fascinating people became interwoven.

Looking forward to Dublin once again!

Diana
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Re: thursday/raglan road

Postby ScottM » Tue May 27, 2014 5:48 pm

Thanks Ken. I knew a little of the history of "Raglan Road" as its one of my favourite songs. However, it was really only when the Luke Kelly version was also featured in a poignant scene in one of my favourite films "In Bruges" that I tried to find out more about the song and its roots. I've really enjoyed reading your updates here and agree you can never have enough links to Luke's work.
Can't confirm yet but we're still working on getting to Dublin for the meet up so looking forward to catching up, hopefully at the early registration.....

Regards,

Scott & Helen.
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liverpoolken
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Re: thursday/raglan road

Postby liverpoolken » Wed Jun 04, 2014 3:17 am

scott
i hope you and helen do manage to make it for the thursday evening..

of course luke's version is without doubt the definitive version of raglan road but i do have a soft spot in my black heart for the delicate vulnerability in the blessed sinead o'connor's version

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFhyo7cWprQ

ta ken
Solitudine non é essere soli, é amare gli altri inutilmente - Mario Stefani

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