My new book about the life of Henry L. Gavigan, and including his collected poems id due out this October. Know as The Claddagh Poet, Gavigan developed a reputation during his life time for being a writer and antiquarian.
Henry Lawrence Gavigan (1872-1933), was one of eleven children. Born into poverty, to parents who had survived the Great Famine, he grew up in an Ireland that was conflicted between its loyalty to the British Empire on the one hand and a desperate struggle to escape it on the other.
After attending and teaching school in his native Kilmactigue in Co. Sligo, Henry emigrated to America in 1893. He quickly made his way in life, progressing to a key administration position in the U.S. Postal Service. During his lifetime, Henry developed a reputation as a poet and became affectionately known as The Bard of Kilmactigue.
Whether you collect poetry, appreciate history, or just enjoy an old-fashioned yarn about love of family and country, Pat’s story of Henry L. Gavigan is sure to touch your heart in some way. The Bard of Kilmactigue is more than a work of love. It is a story of emigration and overcoming hardships to rise as far as one’s determination allows. And it is the story of a man who, despite achieving acceptance and success in a foreign land, never stopped pining for his birth mother and his mother country.
Peggy Gavan, New York.
I’m going home to Kilmactigue,
To Sligo in the spring;
And, oh, to hear in leafy lanes
The thrush and blackbird sing;
To see anew the shamrock bloom
In field and sheltered glen
That nestle round the Claddagh hills
I’m going home again!
The paths I trod in boyhood days
Shall know my steps once more;
I’ll visit shrines of saint and sage
From lovely shore to shore;
Beside the Moy I’ll muse and dream
Of Erin’s storied past;
My road is now to Kilmactigue
Oh, Fortune, speed me fast.
When dawn above the Irish coast
Dispels the gloom of night,
With joy shall I behold again
The land of lost delight;
And when the sun in liquid gold
Sinks over Corthoon Hill,
My lips will utter thankful prayer
My soul with gladness thrill.
I’m going back to Kilmactigue –
Oh, blessed ship and train! –
I’ll see the river by the road
And feel the scented rain;
Thank God that now ’tis come to this,
The die at length is cast,
To places holy in my heart
I’m going home at last!