Home Thoughts

Gerald Dawe and Eleanor Shanley (Credit: Bobbie Hanvey)

A one-hour programme which is part meditation, part performance, as poet Gerald Dawe and singer Eleanor Shanley explore the idea of ‘home’, with prose, poetry and songs from Belfast, Galway and Dublin. First broadcast as a Lyric Feature on Sunday 28th January 2018 on RTÉ lyric fm. Repeated on Sunday 30th December 2018.

What makes a place a home? Is it family? A location that becomes inextricably linked to significant life experiences? Walking streets that become so familiar that you can retrace them in your mind?

Poet Gerald Dawe was born in Belfast in 1952 and remembers the city becoming a place of suspicion and violence in the early years of the Troubles. He taught at University College Galway for ten years, moving to Dublin in 1988 where he taught at Trinity College Dublin for almost thirty years, living in rooms in College before settling with his family in Dun Laoghaire. In this programme, he reads a selection of the poetry and prose that he has written over four decades about his experience of these different places that became home to him.

Eleanor Shanley is a folk singer renowned for her unique interpretation of Irish and Roots songs. A former singer with De Danann, she has also recorded with The Dubliners, U2 and many more. Accompanied by guitarist Donogh Hennessy, she performs gorgeous renditions of songs connected with Northern Ireland (‘I’ll tell me ma’, ‘Carrickfergus’), Galway (‘Galway to Graceland’) and Dublin (‘Raglan Road’), all interwoven with Gerald Dawe’s readings.

Part performance, part meditation, Home Thoughts is a nostalgic and thoughtful exploration of the places that Gerald Dawe has called home.

Producer : Claire Cunningham

Sound supervision: Tinpot Productions

Home Thoughts is a Rockfinch production for RTÉ lyric fm funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with the Television Licence Fee.


The programme includes readings by Gerard Dawe from his book The Stoic Man: Poetry Memoirs, published by Lagan Press, and the following poems:

Memory, Sheltering Places, Moving, Distraction, Human Wishes, from Selected Poems, Gallery Press, 2012

Good Night, from Sunday School, Gallery Press, 1991

Final Thoughts, an extract from Deja-Vu, from Mickey Finn’s Air, Gallery Press, 2014

Castaways, High Road, from Early Poems, Lagan Press, 2015

Gerald Dawe’s website is: http://www.gerald-dawe.net/


The music in the programme is performed by Eleanor Shanley and Donogh Hennessy.

For details of future performances by Eleanor Shanley, go to www.eleanorshanley.ie