Patrick Deely

Posted by Sue Leonard on Thursday 21st April 2016

Wanting to find his way out of East Galway, Patrick escaped to Teacher Training College. He spent his entire teaching career at De La Salle National School in Ballyfermot. Passionate about poetry, he and the children published volumes to be sold in the local shops for charity. As principal, he put in programmes promoting literacy.

Patrick has published six volumes of poetry; he has been widely translated and had won a number of awards.

“My days were spent in the job. My evenings spent writing,” he says.

Patrick retired in 2011, following a severe bicycle crash.

“I always cycled to work. I also wanted time to write my memoir.”

Who is Patrick Deeley

Date of birth: July 1953 in East County Galway.

Education: St Brendan’s College, Loughrea. St Patrick’s College in Drumcondra.

Home: Rathgar. Co Dublin.

Family:  Married in 1980, to Judy Carroll, an artist. Children, Alan and Genevieve.

The Day Job:  Retired School Principal; now fulltime writer.

Interests:  Hurling; music. “I love Van Morrison, and Radiohead, and some jazz.”

Favourite Writers: The Speckled People by Hugo Hamilton, Blake Morrison’s When Did You Last Meet Your Father. H is for Hawk by Helen McDonald. In poetry, Macdara Woods, Seamus Heeney and Patrick Kavanagh. “But I come from the tradition of Wordsworth and Keats.”

Second Novel: “I have another book of poems, nearly ready. I may write more children’s stories.”

Top Tip: Tie yourself to the desk, and stay. Find your own voice, and write from an emotional imperative. The writing must mean something to you.


The Debut: The Hurley Maker’s Son. Doubleday Ireland: €15.99. Kindle: €11.80 

Starting with his father’s death, when Patrick was 25, dipping back to Patrick’s fifties childhood in East Galway, this gloriously poetic memoir is told in cinematic scenes. It’s a story of a world that that has disappeared, and the changes into modernity come subtly.

“There were elations and sadness in my childhood, but there was freedom and wildness as well.

“I have a visual mind. The memoir is saying, come into this world with me, this is a film of my life, in words. In that sense it is not traditional.”

The Verdict: Every sentence counts in this beautiful, evocative memoir. The prose shimmers. I adored it.

Published in The Irish Examiner on 16th April

© Sue Leonard. 2016 

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