Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

Stamp celebrates Irish poet's birth

An Post's new stamp of Irish language poet Mairtin O'Direain
An Post's new stamp of Irish language poet Mairtin O'Direain

A new stamp celebrating the centenary of Irish language poet Mairtin O'Direain's birth has been unveiled on his native Inis Mor.

The special 55c stamp was launched by An Post at the writer's birthplace of Sruthan on the Aran islands.

Hailed by some as the country's unacknowledged poet laureate, most of O'Direain's poems were inspired by life on Aran.

The writer spoke only in Irish until his mid-teens, when he left the island to work in the Galway post office where he remained for almost 10 years before leaving to work in Dublin.

The An Post stamp, which features Irish artist Tom Ryan's painting of the poet set against the Inis Mor backdrop, was launched by Minister for Social Protection Eamon O'Cuiv.

At the unveiling, also attended by O'Direain's daughter Niamh Sheridan, Mr O'Cuiv said the poet was a pioneering writer who always had a respect for nature and his own community.

"Maybe there is something poetic in itself about the fact that a number of strands of the distinguished life of Mairtin O'Direain have all come together here in his own native place today," he added.

An Post chief executive Donal Connell said the stamp would bring the poet to a whole new audience.

"Mairtin O'Direain should be someone whose thoughts and ideas are not insular or of another age, but are global and modern," he said.

"They can inspire us in meeting our modern challenges and successfully serving the people of this community and the island of Ireland."

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