A Poet’s Passing



Paddy Finnegan in 2013

Poet and Big Issues seller Paddy Finnegan, a familiar sight on Grafton Street, Dublin has died.

Stephen James Smith writes:

“Paddy was a wonderful man who inspired me with his poetry and acted as a great supporter of other young poets too. He fought the good fight and was seen most days outside Belwey’s selling the Big Issue. I’d often stop and have a chat and buy him a cup of tea, he’d offer up a smile and a few words in Irish.
“I’m sitting here now listening to his CD ‘Fion Ceol agus Filioct’, only a couple of months back he’d asked me to help him make more, I was awaiting his call to help make this happen, and as he speaks to me beyond the grave his verse is still unnerving me with his gravely pitted voice holding my ears and I can’t help but think he got that tone from much harshness, perhaps self inflicted but also perhaps because society looked past him.
“Paddy you’ll always live on in my memory, you’ll always be one of the first people who made poetry sing to me, you’ll always be a writers’ writer, a warrior with words. The Fionn mac Cumhaill of verse. This is a video of Paddy reciting his poen Poet From Parnassus…”

18 thoughts on “A Poet’s Passing

  1. Eamonn Clancy

    A sad loss, I remember him well from Grogan’s in the early 90s before he was shown the door permanently. He was also a former bus conductor on the 21 route. His most profound utterance still floors me to the day; “Time is the shadow eternity casts as it passes the earth.”

  2. Aisling Dreams Of

    He was such a lovely man, never knew he was a poet, though did recite a poem in Irish to me once. Thanks for sharing. R.I.P

  3. Frank

    God that makes me sad. Paddy was such a lovely man. I started buying the big issue from him a couple of years ago, not something I would normally do but there was just something about him. I think I saw a bit of my late father in him. It’s easy to ignore those in need but I couldn’t ignore Paddy. As time went on we chatted more each time. He was a very funny guy, great wit. Rest in peace.

  4. Kevin Liddy

    I first met him in the Cellar bar in Galway in the late 70’s when I was 17 or so and promptly bought him a drink. This impulse of mine was played beautifully by Paddy over the next 30 odd years, his eyelids batting as he’d lean over with a wounded, pining look, his gravelly voice softening as he’d enquire after your financial health, nodding toward his empty glass. A very sweet man and a great spirit. RIP Paddy.

  5. Síle Céitinn

    Can someone let me know when Paddy died and if his funeral has taken place. Paddy was part of our circle in UCD in the late 60;s early 70’s and a good friend since then. This news has come as a shock to many of us.

    1. Lou

      I would love to know about funeral arrangements too. We used to mind his post for him the SU Shop in Trinity College, always address to Paddy Finnegan, Poet. He was very nice indeed.

  6. Happy Molloy

    I feel terrible, every time I passed him I told myself I’d buy a big issue next time , he had a presence of being an interesting man.
    shame on me for passing and RIP to him (didn’t know he was a poet )

  7. Denise Dunphy

    I had many pleasant conversations with Paddy outside Trinity over the years. A real gent, he’ll be missed.

  8. Órlaith de Búrca

    I am saddened by his loss. He raised my spirits once when I stopped outside Trinity once and purchased a Big Issue. He held me in thrall with his soft, gentle western accent and beautiful Irish. From that day I bought the Big Issue just to hear that voice and to engage in Irish and talk with him. I had the privilege of going for a drink with him in O’ Neills one evening in October. I bought the first round tea and whiskey for us both and he bought the next one which moved me. I finished the drink sooner than he and left him in O’Neills having left him my number as he invited me to come to Galway some Sunday evening to hear him recite some poetry, I offered to sing a song. It was a privilege ti ‘know’ him for such a brief time. I relished the talk of Poetry and politics and the Irish language and his native Kilkerrin and the west where my people come from. Ar dheis Dé go raiibh a anam’.
    Órlaith de Búrca

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