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County Limerick – Contae Luimnigh

Ian Duhig is the voice of County Limerick as he takes us to Darby’s Bed and the legend of Diarmuid and Gráinne.

Ian Duhig became a full–time writer after working with homeless people for 15 years and being made redundant. He has published since then seven books of poetry, most recently ‘The Blind Roadmaker’ (Picador 2016) shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot and Forward Prizes. 

He works with musicians, artists and socially excluded groups, editing ‘Any Change: Poetry in a Hostile Environment’ (2018), a small poetry anthology from Leeds’ immigrant communities chosen as a Poetry School Book of the Year, and making Corona Ceoil from Leeds Irish Health and Homes about that city’s response to Covid–19 among its Irish community. 

Duhig has won the Forward Best Poem Prize once and the National Poetry Competition twice.

His hidden gem is Darby’s Bed near Galbally in south–east County Limerick, a steep hill with the remains of a passage tomb said to be where Diarmuid and Gráinne spent a night when they were fleeing Fionn Mac Cumhaill. As a child Ian felt a connection there to the poetry and drama of the Irish myths. There was great respect for poetry and the power of the word in Ian’s family and he speaks about this below. 

He also jumps over the border into County Tipperary, where his father hailed from, into the beautiful Glen of Aherlow. It’s only a stone’s throw, at least if you’re Fionn Mac Cumhaill, from Darby’s Bed. 

Ian reflects on people who have not done so well after moving from Ireland to Britain, urging people to reach out and help others, or seek support if they need it.

Photo credits: 
Darby’s Bed, Galbally photos courtesy of
Lough Curra below Galtymore, Gaty Mountains ©Britishfinance 
Ian Duhig photo, Gerry Cambridge

  • To return to the We are the Irish in Britain: county connections main page and see the other counties featured, please click HERE.