By: Michael Kirby
Publication Date: November 1989
Skelligside by Michael Kirby
This is the remarkable folk autobiography of a small farmer, fisherman and poet from from the South Iveragh peninsula of Co. Kerry, part of Ireland’s western sea-board, a region bounded by mountains and unique inits cultural inheritance.
Kirby’s writing combines description with narrative, anecdote and poetry, and gives a vivid pen-picture of the locality of Ballinskelligs – its famed island and birds, its fishing, husbandry, crafts, old customes, migrant experience, local history and folklore – in testimony to a vanishing way of life.
Kirby’s voice – akin to that of the Blasket writers – is one of the last authentic expressions of a Gaelic tradition, imaginatively fusing worlds of flesh and spirit. He writesd with all the artlessness and freshness of a man departing from his native language.
By gathering one small area into the net of memory, personal and inherited, Michael Kirby celebrates and commemorates the place where he was born.
‘He loves the lore and traditions of his people, which he expresses with passion and conviction.‘ – Ronan Sheehan, Irish Press
‘A beautifully written evocation of Kerry … This is a gem of a book, a gentle folk autobiography which undulates in the lyrical idioms of the author’s native language … It glows with warmth and celebration for a lost heritage … it resonates in the mind like the purest music.’ – Aodhan Madden, Sunday Press
‘A great informative and entertaining read.’ – Customer review
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Kirby / Mícheál Ua Ciarmhaic (1906–2005) was an Irish and English language prose writer and poet whose first collection was published at the age of seventy-eight. He was the author of numerous further collections of poetry and prose in both Irish and English, including Skelligside (1990), Skelligs Calling (2003) and the posthumous Skelligs Sunset (2006). Michael Kirby was a talented landscape painter, a profoundly knowledgeable folklorist, an engaging memoirist and an environmentalist before his time.
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