Parnell’s Walking Stick

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Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh was recently presented with Parnell’s Walking Stick. Cut by Charles Stewart Parnell himself in Avondale Wood in 1889 or 1890, this stick has a rich literary history. It came into the possession of Brindsley MacNamara, who, in turn, gave it to the poet W.R. Rodgers. It was later passed on to Conor Cruise O’Brien, who conferred it on Séamus Heaney.  In 1998 Heaney entrusted it to Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, and it was she who decided to bestow it on Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh. The presentation occurred in Poetry Ireland on Parnell Square at a reading of Ní Ghearbhuigh’s new collection, The Coast Road (The Gallery Press, 2016).

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