Letter by Letter – A

A Quare Quorum of Qs

Q is in boutiQues, the large and the tiny,

that grace Dublin’s boulevards with all things shiny.

Though shuttered they may be for weeks at a time,

We’ll queue for their riches when Yule bells chime

– Nessa O’Mahony
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– Anne Tully Sheridan
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– Theresa Donnelly

Remember the Quare Fellas, and the wordsongs they sang: Zozimus, and Behan, and good aul’ Bang Bang.

– Karen J McDonnell
A series of four photos of the letter Q on Dublin signs

You’ll find Adam and Eve’s at 4 Merchant’s Quay,

the Church of the Immaculate Conception,

Where the leading soprano in Joyce’s The Dead

was none other than Julia Morkan.

– Mary B Shannon
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On Dublin Quays

bridges breeze

beginnings,

intrusions,

interventions.

– Marie Studer
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Queen Street in Smithfield, near North King’s, no doubt,

‘Tis a quare old republic with royals all about…

– Catherine Ann Cullen
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– Maura McDonnell
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– Lisa Perkins

From the Quill on the Quays to the Queen’s by the coast

You could quaff pints & quarts, but in Covid, that’s toast

– Catherine Ann Cullen
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– Billy Craven

A Plethora of Poetic Ps

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– Lisa Perkins
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– Billy Craven
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– Damien Donnelly
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P’s for Percy Place, where Huband Bridge is ornamental,

And Beckett’s Dad built houses three so Sam could live on rental.

– Catherine Ann Cullen
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P is for the Phoenix Park, from Papal Cross to portaloo,

An alphabet onto itself, with A for Áras, Z for Zoo.

– Catherine Ann Cullen
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When Dublin’s pigeons fly over the city

Are they looking for a way

To startle the next unsuspecting tourist,

Here on a flight for the day?

– Eoin O’Mahony
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– Theresa Donnelly
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– Maura McDonnell

P is for a perfect reading in Poetry Ireland on Parnell Square A lovely evening a few years ago now.

– Anne T Sheridan
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– Mary B Shannon

Poetry Ireland’s patronage for poets is proffered from their place at 11 Parnell Square,

Where plans are in place

for performance space

and to house the Seamus Heaney Working Library there.

– Mary B Shannon
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– Mary B Shannon

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Wow Poolbeg:

stretching the neck above the passengers heads

standing on the toes just for them

through out the DART window the two yellow chimneys

cut the brackish air of the Poolbeg bay

– Arjuna Cecchetti

Portobello: first house, first love, many firsts

reborn in memory’s explosive starbursts.

– Karen J McDonnell
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– Mary B Shannon

The President’s residence, Phoenix Park, is surrounded by an alphabet of trees,

Beneath a canopy of ailm, beith, coll agus dair enjoy the silent falling leaves.

– Mary B Shannon

An Oscar of Our Own – and Others

D’Olier Street

D’Olier Street is always a tongue twister –

is it ‘Doll-e-eay’ or ‘Dollier’? A French fluster?

No. Think quick thick Dublin accent –

just ‘D’leer’, rhyming with cheer.

– Siobhán Mc Laughlin

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Cross the Liffey via O’Connell Street bridge to explore Dublin’s longest thoroughfare,

See Ard-Ofig an Phoist – the GPO and take an historical tour when you’re there.

– Mary B Shannon
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O for O’Connell, the old liberator,

Whose bridge is Outstanding, whose street could be greater.

– Catherine Ann Cullen
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Daniel O’Connell, his name carried on the capital’s main thoroughfare,

He believed conflict should never shed blood; a street that witnessed much sacrifice.

– Marie Studer
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– Robin McNamara
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– Billy Craven
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– Theresa Donnelly
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– Lisa Perkins
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Damien Donnelly – poem above and two photos below
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Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde poet and author of The Picture of Dorian Grey,

Born in 1854 at 21 Westland Row, round the corner from 1 Merrion Square.

– Mary B Shannon
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O is for Oxmantown where Olaf once traded, 

Where Vikings were sent when the Normans invaded.

– Catherine Ann Cullen

Numerous Dublin Narratives

N’s for narrow Nassau Street, once named for Patrick’s Well,

Where Joyce met Nora Barnacle as she came from Finn’s Hotel.

– Catherine Ann Cullen
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– Siobhán Mc Laughlin


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Head to the National Gallery there you’ll find Jack B Yeat’s easel and smock,

Enjoy the thrill of ‘The Liffey Swim’ as his swimmers surge for the Custom House docks.

– Mary B Shannon
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– Damien Donnelly – poem above and photo below
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Illustration: Maura McDonnell
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N for old Neighbours in my Dublin 8 hood.

Still there, or now dead: all trees in my wood.

– Karen J McDonnell
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– Billy Craven
– Lisa Perkins
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– Marie Studer

N’s for Nora Barnacle muse and wife of James Augustine Aloysius Joyce,

Whose paths crossed on Nassau Street in 1904 and for that we should all rejoice.

– Mary B Shannon – with drawing below
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Photos below – Theresa Donnelly

N is for the old North Strand.

The name reveals it’s reclaimed land.

Where once ships sailed upon the main,

Now you can voyage in a train.

– Catherine Ann Cullen

Molly, My Irish MoLi, and more

The Mansion house in all its splendour,

Day trip with mum to an antiques fair,

Escape from our tin roof holiday rental,

Just me and her, a love of old shared.

– Therese Kieran
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(pic Theresa Donnelly)

Head to Merrion Square and you will find museums and art galleries there,

On summer weekends local artists display their work in the open air.

– Mary B Shannon
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– Billy Craven
– Lisa Perkins
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– Marie Studer
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– Robin McNamara
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@SaveMooreStreet Save it all!

Save the Terrace and Save the Stall!

Save #MooreStreet from demolition

is the position

– Mel Mac Giobúin
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Damien Donnelly, poem and picture below
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M is for The Museum of Childhood Ireland Project this fall

Bringing you

The social history of childhood of all

Growing up on the island

Of Ireland

And amongst the Irish diaspora too

– Ekaterina Tikhoniouk

M’s for the Museum of Literature Ireland Newman House, 86 St. Stephen’s Green,

Where the old ash tree that Joyce stood next to, on graduating from UCD can be seen.

– Mary B Shannon

Dublin Can Be ‘Ell

Lake water lapping at UCD,

hideaway amongst leafy trees.

– Siobhán Mc Laughlin
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– Robin McNamara
– Mary B Shannon

A full moon hangs over Leeson Street,

Georgian redbricks reciprocate.

– Siobhán Mc Laughlin

– Marie Studer

Liberty Hall should be my gravity zone

a solid box

a river float

let me have a look at this green top roof

one minute before the plane takes off.

– Arjuna Cecchetti (including photo below)
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Libraries are where it’s at, sweetie!

RIA, Trinners, Marsh’s, Chester Beatty …

– Karen J McDonnell
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– Billy Craven

The Liffey is a spaceship

Which shines in the nights

As thousands of moths under the electric lights

– Arjuna Cecchetti
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– Damien Donnelly, poem above and photo below
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Luas bell trills and seagulls cry,

city’s soft ping, nature’s shrill reply.

– Siobhán Mc Laughlin

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– Lisa Perkins

On Harry Street, thanks to Roisín Dubh Trust, you will find Phil Lynott’s statue standing tall,

Thin Lizzy frontman, composer, bass-guitarist, the embodiment of rock ‘n’ roll.


– Mary B Shannon

A Kaleidoscope of Ks

K is for Kavanagh’s kingdom, a Grand Canal bank seat,

A kindly spot to sit and dream, where kindred spirits meet.

– Catherine Ann Cullen

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St. Kevin’s graveyard – forgotten, forlorn –

holding dreams often buried before they were born.

– Karen J McDonnell

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– Robin McNamara
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– Billy Craven
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– pic by Theresa Donnelly
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– Lisa Perkins

K is for Kilmainham Gaol. In its chilly granite quad,

Many an Irish patriot was killed by firing squad.

– Catherine Ann Cullen

– Damien Donnelly – poem and three photos

Thomas Kinsella praised his childhood school teachers for all their patience and kindness and care,

A former pupil of The Model, Inchicore, he held his last public engagement there.

– Mary B Shannon

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Jackeen Jewels

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– Billy Craven
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– Lisa Perkins
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– Theresa Donnelly
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– Damien Donnelly, poem above and three pictures below
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– Robin McNamara
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June 16’s the ‘jour’ of the jotter, James Joyce,

His journey through Dublin gave Jackeens their voice,

Though he jarred with the Jesuits, he’s judged to be great

From Little Jerusalem to old Jameses Gate.

– Catherine Ann Cullen
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– Marie Studer

J’s for James Joyce’s Dubliners and for a tour of his Joycean bars.

Climb the mountain to Johnny Fox’s for a John Jameson in the jar.

– Mary B Shannon

Ireland’s ‘I’s

– Billy Craven

I is for ILAC

Smiling I recall, the big day out, the feet worn out, the spree coming to an end,

Last stop, the ilac centre, the last punts and pennies spent.

– Therese Kieran
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– Theresa Donnelly
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– Robin McNamara

I for Inis Mac Neasáin, the isle of Ireland’s Eye,

Inky, without inhabitants, an idyll of sea and sky.

– Catherine Ann Cullen

I’s for Inis Mac Neasín – Ireland’s Eye of County Dublin’s coast,

sail there in the blink of an eye from the historic harbour at Howth.

– Mary B Shannon

I is for Inner City.

Abandoned buildings. Architectural splendour. In decay.

Inner city. Deeply despondent. In dismay.

– Stephen J Bolger

I is for all the inns, currently shut,

the long halls, the lounges, the bars and the snugs.

The glasses unpolished, the brass getting yellow.

We must drown our sorrows with nowt to swallow.

– Nessa O’Mahony

– Damien Donnelly, poem and two photos above

I is for the Irish Independent since January nineteen and five, Home once more to New Irish Writing which helps new writers and poets survive.



– Mary B Shannon

I is for the Irish Times broadsheet first published in eighteen fifty nine

Its iconic illuminated clock and irreverent Cruiskeen Lawn

– Mary B Shannon
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– photo by Arjuna Cecchetti

“I” is for Island and Islands are Books

A Book is a Bookshop

A Bookshop is a Town

Which Town I guess? Dublin Town.

Dublin is a spaceship for maniacs of rain, the rain is for reading, reading is for books and books are Islands.

I wish for an Irish Island.

– Arjuna Cecchetti

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– Maura McDonnell

Islandbridge

When you were Sarah’s bridge, you were named to honour Aristocracy

You took the name of the island surrounds when Ireland claimed its own Democracy

– Maura McDonnell

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– Lisa Perkins

I for the Iveagh Gardens where ivies intertwine,

Inviting isolation, ideal, rain or shine.

– Catherine Ann Cullen

I is for Iveagh House

Home to the Department of Foreign Affairs

Locus of risers and fallers on the palatial staircase.

– Marie Studer

A Host of Happening Hs

– Robin McNamara

H is for John Nolan’s Ha’penny Bridge captured in crepuscular light,

His painting pays homage to Vincent Van Gogh of a starry Dublin night.

– Mary B Shannon

Ha’Penny Bridge is a fridge

Frozen hands in the pockets

And our lifes in the sockets…

– Arjuna Cecchetti

H for the Happy Ring House, before you hear the bells,

Have hens and stags and getting hitched and honeymoon hotels

– Catherine Ann Cullen
– Lisa Perkins
– Billy Craven
Peadar Maolros on Heuston Station

Hill 16, awash with sky blue, a majestic sight

Voices in full cry, tribe in unison, collective might.

Bullet proof banter, camaraderie, On The Hill

A mighty surge, Up The Dubs, what a thrill.

– Stephen J Bolger

Holles Street Hospital, where humans are hatched,

Held tightly and hugged till they’re hugely attached.

– Catherine Ann Cullen

H Is for Holles Street National Maternity Hospital

Historic first stop for baby girls and boys

And Ireland’s first woman Master.

– Marie Studer
– Damien Donnelly, poem above and three photos below

H for Howth Harbour and a hike up the Hill,

It’s hearty and healthy and heavenly still.

– Catherine Ann Cullen

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