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May Day 1974
May 2019

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Dancing with Memory
January 1970

Flight Paths Over Finglas

Rachael Hegarty

ISBN: 978-1-910669-93-8

Page Count: 92

Publication Date: Friday, May 26, 2017

About this Book

** Winner of the 2018 Shine/Strong Poetry Award **

This powerful debut collection takes us back to ‘the hatchling, nestling, fledgling grounds’ of Finglas where Rachael Hegarty was born and reared. Portrait of a working class community, portrait of a dispossessed and politically betrayed community, portrait of a self-reliant, proud, and supportive community — ultimately it is a portrait made with love and gratitude, to family, to neighbours, to friends of her youth, feral and otherwise, to teachers and to her own students, by a sophisticated and knacky literary artist of the highest integrity. This is a joyous and clear eyed book that draws on and augments the song tradition of an artistically rich area of north Dublin, a lyric tradition that encompasses Bono and Dermot Bolger; it opens that tradition to the critique and edge of contemporary poetry practice, and to the winds of Japan, Boston, Walden Pond, Emily Dickinson’s Garden. Compassionate to the living and to the dead alike, this poet stakes her ground, as mother, as lover, as artist, as link in the eternal and marvellous chain of being.
Paula Meehan

Rachel Hegarty’s debut collection of poems of Dublin life are richly steeped in the authenticity of earned experience. They superbly conjure her native city – its old streets, new housing estates and people – with astute observations and insight that immerse the reader in the breathing heart of a metropolis that is ancient and yet constantly changing; whose history, fault-lines and humanity are exposed in richly varied poems that memorably address the human condition with wit, panache and compassion.
Dermot Bolger

Author Biography

Rachael Hegarty was born seventh child of a seventh child in Dublin and reared on the Northside. She was educated by the Holy Faith Sisters in Finglas, the U. Mass. Bostonians in America, the M.Phillers at Trinity and by the Ph.D. magicians at Queens. She lived, studied and worked in Boston and Japan for ten years. She is widely published in national and international journals and broadcast on RTE Radio.  Rachael was the winner of the Francis Ledwidge Prize and Over the Edge New Writer of the Year. She was also shortlisted for the Hennessey New Irish Writer and Ver Poetry Prizes and highly commended for the Forward Poetry Prizes. She is an educator for the Trinity Access Programme and CDETB but reckons she learns more from her students than she can ever teach. She now lives, back on the Northside, with her feminist husband and two beloved-bedlam boys.  

Read a sample from this book

The Song Map

Late at night, we hear folks sing of women, a weile weile waile,
of jailed me demented with the jingle jangle of an auld triangle.
Da belts out his dream of Joe Hill. Ma keens over The Foggy Dew.

We learn the song map of our island via landmarks of mangled hearts.
Intown: On Raglan Road; out the country: Down by the Sally Gardens.
Lovely bockety words, feral jigs and lonely airs haunt our heads.
We are lulled, fall asleep, top-and-tail siblings in a rickety bunk bed.

Flight Paths Over Finglas

didn’t pay 
that much heed
to planes, those jet streams
toing & froing at Dublin Airport.
Da taught us to keep nix, watch birds
for their covert flight paths on warm shafts 
of seasonal winds and late daylight over Finglas.
The cuckoo, Hera’s bird, announced each late spring.
Swifts scudded, courted above the Tolka’s root-ivy summer. 
Corncrakes in Darcy’s side-garden scurried and secreted autumn.
Out at Dollymount, the Brent geese wing-spanned an ivory wintertime.
The finches’ rise and fall – their hard flap, all that graft for a long easy glide.
We learned the most from the home place’s birds. Our old feathered banner: the ravens.
How they mastered gravity vectors, omnivore feeding, prey-dodging and cloud-top scaling.
They could sense a shift in a skyscape or how a brattling rainstorm may wreck the memory map
back to the hatchling, nestling, fledgling grounds. Our ravens always returning to that magnetic place. 
We heard wingbeats. Gazed up. Ravens flocked. Their sudden soaring over our estate, out beyond Finglas.


Midsummer’s Eve.
We wanna walk grass trails.
I long for me wear
in a rare Dublin field.
Come here ’til I show you,
few know about this place.

I guide you to the remnants 
of our local ring fort –
a mound of grass, vetch, fern,
sticky-backs and closed buttercups.
Oak trees silhouetted in streetlight,
we’re hidden and kiss like mad things.

Your tongue, our hungry mouths, 
feel as gorgeous as naked plums.
You know what I’m like 
and you know what I’m after.
You lift me up, skyward, 
spin me and make me dizzy.

The phone pings us back 
to real time in Raheny.
Our babysitter’s on the clock 
and tomorrow there’s school.
Home to check on our two sons, 
asleep in the one bed.

You load up the dishwasher.
I sweep the kitchen floor.
A late gloaming, we check 
the windows and lock doors.
Outside, the garden darkens. Grows.
We go to bed and don’t sleep.

All poems © copyright Rachael Hegarty 2017

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