Colmcille and the poets
In the year 575 the High King of Ireland Aodh Mac Ainmire invited dignitaries to attend an important gathering in Droim Ceat, county Derry. Among the topics up for discission was the question of what should be done with Ireland’s poets, who had become, in his view, rather impudent. One of the measures proposed was the banishing of poets from Ireland.
Colm Cille was in attendance, and took a stand on behalf of the poets. But what would have happened had he not intervened and what would we have lost as a nation?
These are the questions that prompted poet Daire Ní Chanáin as she began working on a specially-commissioned poem as part of Colmcille 1500. The resulting poetry video received its premiere on Poetry Day Ireland on April 28th 2022.
Daire Ní Chanáin says: “Before I began working on this piece I had little knowledge of Colm Cille and it was exciting to discover so much about him. I feel I have a stronger connection with him having undertaken this work and I now notice more and more of his legacy all around me, especially given that I live in Derry.
In the poem I wanted to pay homage to the poets who have gone before me, and also to those who continue to write in Irish. I am greatly indebted to them. And we are all greatly indebted to Colm Cille.”
Tristan Rosenstock, co-ordinator of Colmcille 1500, adds:
“Daire belongs to a new generation of poets who present their work in new and exciting ways. Her poetry itself is highly artistic, as is the way she presents it. When you view the video and hear her words it is immediately apparent that she is a poet who has a deep understanding of the tradition, but that she is following her own path and has a unique voice of her own. We were thrilled to have a young Derry poet involved in Colmcille 1500”
You can watch the video here.