Poem introduction

Irish people in England travel back to Ireland by ferry every summer. As you drive west through Wales, it gets more like Ireland as you go.

Westering Home

Though you’d be pressed to say exactly where
It first sets in, driving west through Wales
Things start to feel like Ireland. It can’t be
The chapels with their clear grey windows,

Or the buzzards menacing the scooped valleys.
In April, have the blurred blackthorn hedges

Something to do with it? Or possibly
The motorway, which seems to lose its nerve
Mile by mile. The houses, up to a point,

With their masoned gables, each upper window
A raised eyebrow. More, though, than all of this,
It’s the architecture of the spirit;
The old thin ache you thought that you’d forgotten –

More smoke, admittedly, than flame;
Less tears than rain. And the whole business
Neither here nor there, and therefore home.


from Here Nor There (Chatto & Windus 1999), © Bernard O’Donoghue 1999, used by permission of the author.

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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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Books by Bernard O'Donoghue