Reflections on Lough Derg

First broadcast on RTÉ lyric fm, Sunday 29th May 2022 at 6pm. Re-broadcast 14 January 2024.

Listen back here or download as a Lyric Feature podcast.

Poet, sailor and RNLI lifeboat volunteer Eleanor Hooker explores her relationship with Lough Derg in poetry and in conversation with friends and neighbours.

Lough Derg RNLI with Helm Eleanor Hooker (centre)
Photo by Nicholas Leach

The poet Eleanor Hooker lives on the shores of Lough Derg, sails on it for leisure and competitively, works as a volunteer for the RNLI lifeboat service, and writes about the lake in her poems. In this programme, she explores her relationship with the lake in poetry and in conversation with friends and neighbours.

She visits the workshop of Reggie Goodbody to see the latest small-scale boat models that he is working on and to hear about life living on a boat when he was a boy. Sandra Lefroy tells her about her literary ancestors, how she met her husband and how she, too, lived on a boat for a time. Eleanor also hear from Allan Mee about the success of the project to re-introduce the White-tailed Sea Eagle, and sails out onto the lake with Ted Knight. Ted, too, has stories of living on a boat in the early years of his marriage.

We hear about the beauty of the lake, the draw that this expanse of water holds for all of them, but also about its dangers, which, as a volunteer with the RNLI, Eleanor knows only too well.

Eleanor Hooker’s poetry is published by Dedalus Press and her most recent collection, Of Ochre and Ash, was published in 2021.

The producer is Claire Cunningham, sound design is by Julien Clancy, and the programme is a Rockfinch Production for RTÉ lyric fm.

The programme was funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland from the Television Licence Fee and the producer for Lyric fm was Eoin O’Kelly.

Reggie Goodbody and Eleanor Hooker
Sandra Lefroy and Eleanor Hooker
Eleanor Hooker and Allan Mee
Eleanor Hooker and Ted Knight