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Presidential salute for Kerry author Brendan Kennelly

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ACCLAIMED Kerry author Brendan Kennelly has won the inaugural Kerry Association in Dublin Arts Award. Professor Brendan Kennelly was presented with the accolade by President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins at a reception in the Shelbourne Hotel on St Stephen’s Green at 5pm this evening.

President Higgins presented a bespoke piece of Dingle Crystal to Brendan and in his address, President Higgins paid tribute to his close personal friend and fellow poet. The President spoke of Brendan’s “immense” influence on Irish arts and society.

The Kerry Association in Dublin was established in 1951 and aims to develop the great sporting, literary and cultural heritage of Kerry. 2017 is the inaugural year of the Association’s Arts Award which was sponsored by Kerry Group plc and it is intended to be an annual reward, to recognise a Kerry individual’s excellence in the Arts. Professor Kennelly was chosen by the selection committee to be the first recipient of the award for his outstanding achievements in Literature. Jimmy Deenihan, former TD and Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, chaired the selection committee.

Brendan’s life-long love affair with words and the English language has made him a renowned poet and writer. Being raised in Ballylongford and educated in North Kerry gave him a natural affiliation with its people, the landscape, its love of football and the living culture, especially the spoken and written word. The living culture of Kerry contains a strong oral tradition. The tradition of storytelling, the fascination with language, and the belief in the importance of education were formative influences in the development of the future poet and teacher.

Brendan was as passionate about teaching English as he is about creating poetry. As a teacher he inspired thousands of his students at Trinity College. He loved teaching, meeting people and challenging them to explore and enjoy the English language. It’s this interest in helping others to participate in the art and joy of creative writing that sets him apart from many of his peers. Brendan has always emphasised that the Arts are for everyone and not the preserve of the few.

Brendan really enjoyed teaching in Mountjoy Prison and is fondly remembered by those he taught. Never in anyway elitist, he wants everyone to have the opportunity to participate in the process and enjoyment of creative expression. Not surprisingly, he is appropriately referred to as the people's Poet. As he himself said: “It is the same to me if I am lecturing in Harvard or Oxford or any place in the world or giving a talk to youngsters. I do the same with all of them, I do my best.”

As well as being a willing mentor Brendan has had a remarkable work ethic and a rigorous dedication to his writing. During his many years as an English lecturer he wrote early mornings and late evenings, producing a formidable body of work. It is a great honour for Brendan that 12 of his poems will feature on the Leaving Cert. curriculum for 2019 and 2022. This will introduce his work to a new generation of readers.

Family, friends and football are also key elements in his world and many family members as well as friends and former colleagues from Trinity College were in attendance at the reception in the Shelbourne Hotel.

Brendan is now back in North Kerry. As he said of his birthplace: “I praise this place and am happy to be part of it forever.” He believes in always being ready to begin again, to embrace what is new and whatever may be ahead for him. Surrounded by family and friends, he is experiencing a new lease of life evident at a number of public appearances recently including a special tribute to him at the Abbey Theatre, a civic reception by Kerry County Council and an interview with Miriam O’Callaghan for RTE.

Brendan has often been heard reciting Raifteiri an File’s poem, "Anois Teacht An Earraigh". The following verse from this celebrated poem could well apply to Brendan's rejuvenation since he returned to North Kerry: “Is dá mbeinnse i mo sheasamh i gceartlár mo dhaoine, d'imeódh an aois díom, is bheinn arís óg.”
Brendan’s translation is as follows: “And were I to be standing in the centre of my people, age would depart from me and I would be young again.”
 


 
Above: Brendan Kennelly and his niece Kate Kennelly pictured in Brendan's old bedroom where he grew up in Ballylongford as a child. PICTURE: DOMNICK WALSH

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Weird and wonderful insurance policies

As it is January I thought I would start the year on a light hearted note. Lloyds of London is an insurance marketplace founded in a London coffee shop over 300 years ago. Today it is the world’s leading market for specialist insurance, from large maritime risks to space satellites. Here are some of the […]

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As it is January I thought I would start the year on a light hearted note.

Lloyds of London is an insurance marketplace founded in a London coffee shop over 300 years ago. Today it is the world’s leading market for specialist insurance, from large maritime risks to space satellites.

Here are some of the more interesting and obscure insurance policies put in place over the years.
· David Beckham insured his legs with Lloyds for £100m in 2006

· Dolly Parton has insured her 40dd breasts for £3.8m

· Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards hands are insured for $1.6m

· Michael Flatleys legs were insured for $47 Million. The policy was only in effect when he was touring and forbade him from dancing except on stage.

· James Dean took out a life policy for $100,000 just a week before his tragic death at the age of 25

· The actor Richard Burton purchased a 69.42 carat diamond from Cartier for $1.1 Million in 1969 as a gift for Elizabeth Taylor. It was the world’s most expensive diamond at the time. Once Lloyds had insured the diamond they specified that Taylor should wear it in public for only 30 days a year and even then be protected by security guards. The diamond was sold in 1978 for an estimated $5 Million which would equate to roughly $19 Million today.

· According to novelist and inventor Arthur C Clarke, director Stanley Kubrick wanted to take out insurance with Lloyds to protect himself against losses in the event that extra-terrestrial intelligence was discovered before his movie, ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ was released. Lloyds refused to quote for this one.

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Kerry to feature in new TG4 documentary on Wild Atlantic Way

Three episodes of a new ten-part TG4 series on the Wild Atlantic Way were filmed in County Kerry. The series, which started last Wednesday night this week, and continues every Wednesday for the next nine weeks, follows the Wild Atlantic Way from Donegal to Kerry. In this series ‘An Cósta Thiar’, presenter Áine Ní Bhreisleáin gains […]

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Three episodes of a new ten-part TG4 series on the Wild Atlantic Way were filmed in County Kerry.

The series, which started last Wednesday night this week, and continues every Wednesday for the next nine weeks, follows the Wild Atlantic Way from Donegal to Kerry.

In this series ‘An Cósta Thiar’, presenter Áine Ní Bhreisleáin gains an insight into the culture, challenges and benefits of living by the Atlantic and to find out if seawater still flows through the veins of its coastal communities.

On her travels, Áine will meet with the people of the coast, both young and old. She will spend time in the company of people who live and work by the sea, learning more about the attraction of these areas, and this life, through their eyes, stories and experiences. She will meet those communities and people who have a strong affinity with the coast and the sea, through new businesses, traditional livelihoods, recreational activities, ecology, birdwatching, eco-tours, swimming, boats (of all kinds) and more.

Áine began her journey at home in Gaoth Dobhair and heads to the wilds of Árainn Mhóir on the second leg of journey.
The third show platforms south Donegal while in week 4, Áine heads to the beautiful Achill Island.

Half way through her journey from Donegal to Kerry, Áine is in Carna in Conamara while in the the sixth programme, Áine continues her journey on the Galway coast, this time in Cois Fharraige

Áine visits Inis Oírr in the seventh programme, the smallest of the three Oileán Árainn, to explore how life has changed for islanders in recent generations through fishing, farming, tourism and sport.

In programme eight, Áine continues her journey, heading for the West Kerry coastline this time around, rowing with a local musician, Breanndán Ó Beaglaoich, a boatbuilder Eddie Hutch and even All-Ireland champions in Cumann Rámhaíochta an Daingin. She investigates the attraction of sea swimming for local women with local group ‘Snámh for the Soul’ goes foraging and paddleboarding with a woman who lives and breathes the sea and all it has to offer, Susan Feirtéar.

In the penultimate programme, Áine continues on her journey around the Corca Dhuibhne coast, exploring the history of trade in An Daingean with Brenda Uí Shúilleabháin and how the coast inspires artists with the talented Tomáisín Ó Cíobháin. She takes a class with local yoga instructor, Ails Ní Chonchúir and heads out to sea with local guide, Eoghan Ó Slatara, to learn about the islands on the west Kerry coast and she tastes some local seafood but she has to cook it first at the Dingle Cookery School.

Áine ends her journey in Uíbh Ráthach, in South Kerry. She gains a different perspective on the sea while snorkling with Gráinne Ní Ailín from Sea Synergy and surfing with Cian O’Connor, explores the long history of this coastal community from the time of the Milesians with poet and historian, Paddy Bushe, and learns about the Seine boat with a local TikToker, Séaghan Ó Suilleabháin, better known as The Kerry Cowboy, and is there a better way to finish her journey than a first visit to the majestic Sceilg islands?

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