Poem introduction

A farmer, Thade Mullane, in the 1970s, dredged up a log boat dated by archaeologists to about the third century A.D., preserved intact by the bog water at the edge of a small lake on his farm, below Claragh Mountain, near Millstreet in County Cork, where I come from.

The Iron Age Boat at Caumatruish

If you doubt, you can put your fingers
in the holes where the oar-pegs went.
If you doubt still, look past its deep mooring
to the mountains that enfold the corrie’s
waterfall of lace through which, they say,
you can see out but not in.
If you doubt that, hear the falcon
crying down from Gneeves Bog
cut from the mountain-top. And if you doubt
after all these witnesses, no boat
dredged back from the dead
could make you believe.


From Selected Poems (Faber, 2008) © Bernard O’Donoghue 2008, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

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Recordings

Bernard O'Donoghue Downloads

1The Iron Age Boat at Caumatruish

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2Ter Conatus

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3Westering Home

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4The Day I Outlived My Father

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5O'Reagan The Amateur Anatomist

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6In Millstreet Hospital

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7Alzheimer Fruit

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8A Candle for Dolly Duggan

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9A Nun Takes the Veil

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10Nel Mezzo del Cammin

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11Vanellus Vanellus

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12Munster Final

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13The Nuthatch

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14The State of the Nation

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15Metamorphosis

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16Christmas

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17The Fool in the Graveyard

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18Going Without Saying

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19Aine

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20Vanishing Points

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21History

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22The Definition of Love

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23The Faultline

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24Emigration

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25The Quiet Man

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26Tinkers

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27The Years Midnight

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28The Weakness

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29The Uvular 'r'

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30Crumpsall

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31Bona-Fide Travellers

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32The Cannon

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33Pencil It In

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34Farmers Cross

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35Nechtan

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36Two Fiddlers at Scullys

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37No More Bother to Him

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