Poet Pádraic Fiacc Honoured at John Hewitt

A plaque dedicated to the iconic Belfast writer placed him 'on the Belfast Literary Trail'  

Iconic Belfast poet Pádraic Fiacc has been honoured with a plaque dedicated to him in the John Hewitt Bar and Restaurant. Fiacc and Hewitt were good friends, and Fiacc dedicated his poem 'Jackdaw' to the other poet. 

Fiacc was born in Belfast, but grew up in Hell's Kitchen, New York. After a stint in seminary school – he left after five years, citing a lack of discipline – he returned to Belfast in 1946. Although he did make a brief return to New York after his mother's death in 1952 – remaining there for four years to take care of his family and meet his future wife – Belfast was his home and he came back in 1956.

During his creative career Fiacc has published a steady stream of work, including By the Black Stream, Red Earth and 2006's SEA - Sixty Years of Poetry. In addition to his friendship with Hewitt, Fiacc was also a close friend and mentor to poet Gerald Dawe.

Frank Tipping, Chief Executive, (see picture with Pádraic Fiacc) unveiled the plaque on July 6, an event possible thanks to the support from Belfast City Council and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, and actor Paddy Scully read four of Pádraic's poems to a packed floor. Fiacc himself attended and was warmly welcomed by friends, supporters and members of the public. Multimedia Heritage member Michael McKernon, said the plaque's position 'placed Fiacc on the Belfast Literary trail'.

The John Hewitt is notable for its patronage of the arts. It is a well-known mecca for many involved in the creative and artistic life of Belfast, as well as being named in honour of one of the city's famous poets.

A stanza from Fiacc's famous poem 'Children at Play in The Botanic Gardens' is quoted on the plaque.
 
'As the children beat down
the dust of the world
with their dancing feet.'

McKernon said the words, penned by Fiacc as he sat in Botanic Gardens sometime in the 1960's, are infused with the hope and energy evoked by children as they cavort in the park.