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Learning to sail on Carlingford Lough


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By Peter O’Hare


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ISBN: 978-1-913275-63-1



Price:  € 10.00 plus P&P









About the Book:


This collection of poignant poems begins by reflecting on what it was like growing up around the Northern Ireland border during the period of ‘The Troubles’ before taking the reader on a journey to London, where the city’s diversity and complexity is seen through the eyes of a modern-day Irish emigrant. The tightly structured poems, many of which are sonnets,  succinctly explore the contrasting changes that have taken place in both Ireland and the UK in recent years.




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About the Author:


Peter O’Hare, son of Irish storyteller, P J O’Hare, was brought up close to the border with Northern Ireland during ‘The Troubles.’  Immersed in Irish culture as a young man he became a World Champion Irish dancer. He subsequently trained in mental health and moved to London where he managed the Occupational Therapy Department at Bethlem Royal Hospital and played a leading role in developing Bethlem as a centre both for the arts in mental health and for nature-based therapies. Poetry and dance have remained personal passions throughout his life.



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Sample Excerpt:


Learning to sail on Carlingford Lough

                                                       (Summer 1974)*


'Don't stray across the bow of the gunboat

just tack up-wind and leave it well astern',

a backstop that us Irish have to learn:

give lee-way to the Brits to stay afloat.

While drifting home across the darkening sea

not 'us' or 'them', it's just the breeze we tame

no gulf to cross, the tides remain the same

repeating their to and fro for centuries.


Above, the mountains play a waiting game

they've seen the Vikings and the Normans fail,

the winds don't sense a border or a pale

but mingle all together without shame,

both know we breathe the self-same air to live

and for everything we take something must give.



* The border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland runs down the centre of Carlingford Lough. During 'The Troubles' a Royal Navy vessel (known locally as the gunboat ) patrolled the Lough.