Fethard man wins literary award at McGill Summer School

Jimmy O’Donnell, a native of Fethard now living in Sandyford, Dublin was the winner of the Literary Award for his poem, ‘Thawing Thoughts From a Navvy’s Room At the Dawn Of Day’ at the recent MacGill Summer School & Arts Week in The Glenties, Co. Donegal.

Jimmy O’Donnell, a native of Fethard now living in Sandyford, Dublin was the winner of the Literary Award for his poem, ‘Thawing Thoughts From a Navvy’s Room At the Dawn Of Day’ at the recent MacGill Summer School & Arts Week in The Glenties, Co. Donegal.

The presentation was made by Minister of State at the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs, Dinny McGinley who praised the standard of the prosaic poem as ‘excellent’.

This was in fact Jimmy’s 5th success in this competition over the past 10 years. He has also previously received awards in the UK, at Listowel Writers Week and at the Ballina and Galway Arts Festivals as well as having his drama productions performed on stage and radio.

“Indeed I was delighted to be part of a community celebrating their local writer, Patrick MacGill in the Glenties” Jimmy said and quoting Brian Friel “It celebrates itself because the writer is both fashioned by and fashions his people”.

His winning entry was -

Thawing Thoughts From a Navvy’s Room At the Dawn Of Day

Tá an lá ag tosnú ag breacadh (Day is beginning to break)

And Wall’s Rhode Island Cock

Is now flapping its wings majestically

To crow in a new creation to Carrigduff

I hear the crickets warmly chirping

With their saw-edged legs that is their song

From behind the burning hearth

Of peat and brushwood

In Molly Brown’s little hidey-hole

A privileged place off the brisked-up bar

A refuge from any surveillance

And where the bog-oak mantelpiece

Is stained with circles of constant art

From pints roman-collared

In the jewelled light of the tilley lamps glow

While racks and rakes of bacon ribs

Dressed and drizzled with pickled herbs

And boxty served on the house

With flickering smiles

In the crumbled headlines of yesterday’s news

A flavoursome feast seasoned

And honey griddled

For the run of your jaw

And where in the half silence

Literary strangers gather to stamp authority

On their knowledge about Handel’s Messiah, Shakespeare and Bach

While there is no lack of joy in our listening

To our own war veteran correspondent

Trumpeting the stark realities and exploits

At the Somme, Dardanells and green fields of France

The dawn rambles on its onward journey

With thudding thoughts of words

Written or spoken by one alone

Can be conversation

And a way of living

Turning off the dark

Out of this world

In its age of anxiety

We now live in.