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'My Ireland celebrates the underdog who pulled like a dog'

Poet Stephen James Smith has written a poem for the upcoming St Patrick’s Day Festival which is being widely praised online

IRELAND IS DESCRIBED as having a sense of community that “isn’t ready to die” in a new video released by the St Patrick’s Festival in preparation for the upcoming celebrations.

Stephen James Smith was commissioned to write the poem My Ireland for the festival, which he also narrated in the video.

According to the St Patrick’s Festival 2017 the theme for this year’s celebrations is ‘Ireland You Are’ and Smith’s poem and video captures the ‘essence of Ireland You Are through, music and video’.

Speaking about what inspired him to write the poem, Smith said: “I found trying to write a country a daunting task, I could feel the weight of history on my shoulders so I was aiming to be as broad as possible.

“In focusing on My Ireland, it instantly became flawed as it’s only a perspective and I don’t have the right to speak for all, but it became more personal and that’s all I or anyone can do. It’s only a start, a prompt for others to say what their Ireland is. Maybe it’s more of a plea than a poem, for us to not resort to some reductive notion of Irishness but instead for us to not forget our common humanity. It’s a calling to listen while at the same time to be heard… so add your voice.”

The video itself was produced by Myles O’Reilly with music produced by Conor O’Brien, of the Villagers, and Colm Mac Con Iomaire, from the Frames, and an original song from Eithne Ní Chatháin called Guí.

The poem reflects on what makes Ireland unique – without ignoring some of the more unsavoury aspects of the country’s history.

My Ireland sees goodness in the kindness of its people everyday which bonds us just enough to get by
My Ireland celebrates the underdog who pulled like a dog. We’re not here to take part we’re here to take over.
My Ireland, you are the Guilford Four, Rossport Five, Birmingham Six, travelling people and forgotten demographics.

Smith describes the poem as ‘a plea’, a calling to move on and to remind ourselves of the humanity of the people of Ireland.

Source: St Patrick's Festival/YouTube

The poem and the accompanying video has been met with praise.

Smith is a poet based in Dublin and is best known for co-founding the Glor Sessions Music & Poetry and Lingo Festival, as well as for his work on the Dublin 2020 bid for the Capital of Culture.

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