Writing Lough Derg: From William Carleton to Seamus Heaney Peggy O'Brien
The overarching purpose of this volume is to show how a discrete tradition of writing about Lough Derg helped contemporary Irish poets rescue, metaphysical inquiry from the grip of nationalism. Linked with the supernatural from pagan times, Lough Derg had by the early twentieth century become an icon of the fusion of the Catholic Church and the Irish nation. Surveying literary treatments of Lough Derg from William Carleton through Denis Devlin, Patrick Kavanagh, and ultimately Seamus Heaney, Peggy O'Brien addresses the role of spirituality in an increasingly cosmopolitan, postmodern, post-Catholic Ireland. O'Brien's extended consideration of Heaney culminates in an insightful juxtaposition with Czeslaw Milosz, the Polish poet who also struggled with the conflation of Catholicism and patriotism.