Patrick Kavanagh's seat. Annual commemoration
Each Patrick’s day since 1968 a dedicated band of Kavanagh’s friends and followers have met at this seat for almost 40 years now, to commemorate Patrick Kavanagh, his works, his deeds, and some anecdotes about his life, usually delivered in jocular mode.
For the first 20 years or so the speech delivery was by John Jordan, (1930-1988) himself a well known Irish poet and writer, but unfortunately now deceased.
In the last 18 years or so, that position has been continued by Macdara Woods, another eminent Irish poet and writer and a friend of Kavanagh. On average about twenty to thirty people attend, and the ceremony lasts about one hour.
The ‘procedure’ is for the attendees to gather in the vicinity of the seat at about 3:00 in the afternoon. Of course being Patrick’s day 17th March in Ireland almost always brings hail rain and / or snow, but for these hardy people, weather does not prevent attendance! I suppose the local hostelry literally across the road helps!
The amazing fact (for me anyway) about this gathering, is that there is no plan, procedure, or committee involved, it is a tradition now and many of Kavanagh’s followers do not see each other from one Patrick’s day to the next, they just appear.
I mentioned my father Liam Brady earlier, and apart from his role in procuring the seat, he has managed to attend every gathering. He is also a well known fiddle player around Dublin and has been known to play a tune or two at the seat, weather permitting! Other musicians have also contributed over the years including my youngest daughter Susan who sang ‘Raglan Road’ at the 100th anniversary of Kavanagh’s birth in 2004. So with Macdara Wood’s brilliant writing, wonderful turn of phrase, and with reminiscent stories of Paddy, topical comment, some poetry and music, an important and entertaining occasion is enjoyed by all.
One small detail my father brought to my attention about the seat is the date of Kavanagh’s birth should be 1904 and not 1905 as mentioned on one of the granite sides. It was discovered too late to rectify and as his correct birth date is well known, it was not considered important enough to change it.
How to find the seat?
Stand in the doorway of the Mespil Hotel, Mespil Road Dublin, walk straight across the road (mind the traffic) and you can’t miss it.