Poem of the Week S01 E22 : Oiche Nolliag, by Maire Mhac an tSaoi. Read by Father Bryan Shortall

During the most wonderful time of the year, I’m joined by Father Bryan Shorthall to celebrate one of our most famous Irish language poets, Máire Mhac an tSaoí. There is an old Irish tradition, where those with safe and warm homes stand a single, lit candle on their windowsill. This light acts as a beacon, promising food and shelter to any who may need it, where once the Virgin Mary and her retinue received none. In times like these when 10,000 people will be homeless this Christmas, and many thousands more will be living in precarious conditions, we could sorely do with remembering this lost tradition. And in a time when the Catholic Church has rightly received much criticism for its role in the grievous harm it has wreaked on so many of its flock, Father Shorthall, a Capuchin himself, reminds us that through the work of men like Father Peter McVerry and Brother Kevin, there is still much that secular society can learn from Christianity. 

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Poem of the Week invites you to listen to contributors recite some of their favorite poems and talk about what these poems mean to them. Presented by Morgan O’Reilly, this podcast series, originally broadcast on Near FM 2017/18, features some of Ireland’s most exciting new voices such as Jessica Traynor, Kate Dempsey, Kenneth Nolan and Alan Jude Moore alongside local people and community activists from the North Dublin area, this series offers a unique and diverse range of contributors.

Each week the featured poem will also commemorate a significant date in the calendar year fostering new and challenging perspectives into poems you thought you knew. The poems have been selected with the advice and support of Ireland’s former Professor of Poetry, Paula Meehan.