Flight Paths Over Finglas by Rachael Hegarty
This powerful debut collection takes us back to ‘the hatchling, nestling, fledgling grounds’ of Finglas where Rachael Hegarty was born and reared. Portrait of a working class community, portrait of a dispossessed and politically betrayed community, portrait of a self-reliant, proud, and supportive community — ultimately it is a portrait made with love and gratitude, to family, to neighbours, to friends of her youth, feral and otherwise, to teachers and to her own students, by a sophisticated and knacky literary artist of the highest integrity. This is a joyous and clear eyed book that draws on and augments the song tradition of an artistically rich area of north Dublin, a lyric tradition that encompasses Bono and Dermot Bolger; it opens that tradition to the critique and edge of contemporary poetry practice, and to the winds of Japan, Boston, Walden Pond, Emily Dickinson’s Garden. Compassionate to the living and to the dead alike, this poet stakes her ground, as mother, as lover, as artist, as link in the eternal and marvellous chain of being.
Rachel Hegarty’s debut collection of poems of Dublin life are richly steeped in the authenticity of earned experience. They superbly conjure her native city – its old streets, new housing estates and people – with astute observations and insight that immerse the reader in the breathing heart of a metropolis that is ancient and yet constantly changing; whose history, fault-lines and humanity are exposed in richly varied poems that memorably address the human condition with wit, panache and compassion.