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The Bard of Thomond: A Forgotten Son of Limerick |

The Bard of Thomond: A Forgotten Son of Limerick

Michael Hogan, better known as the Bard of Thomond, was a self-taught genius whose passion for poetry and his city of Limerick knew no bounds. He raised himself from the obscurity of a poor, untutored labourer to a niche in the temple of the muses, not unworthy of a successor to the bards of the Dalcassian kings. His poetry immortalized the richness and beauty of the Limerick district, including the Clare Hills and Shannon Valley, the picturesque ruins of castles and abbeys, and the subtle power of Limerick to draw scattered children back to their heritage. Unfortunately, his talents were not fully appreciated in his lifetime, and in death, his poor and unadorned grave is a testament to the ignorance, ingratitude, and unworthiness of the people of Limerick. Nevertheless, Hogan’s legacy lives on, and his works remain beloved by those who appreciate the rich cultural heritage of Ireland.

In the city of Limerick, a short distance from the main entrance to St Laurence’s Cemetery, there is a humble grave that is devoid of any headstone, floral decorations, or markings. It is distinguishable from its surroundings only by a tiny iron cross bearing the name “Michael Hogan.” This grave is a testament to the neglect, ignorance, ingratitude, and unworthiness of the people of Limerick, who have allowed a talented and renowned son of the city to pass through a life of poverty, and in death, to be hidden away from sight and lost from memory.

Michael Hogan, also known as the Bard of Thomond, was a man of natural genius who raised himself from the obscurity and helplessness of a poor, untutored labourer to a niche in the temple of the muses not unworthy of a successor to the bards of the Dalcassian kings. He devoted the lavish abundance of his gifts almost exclusively to the honour of his native city and the kingdom of which it was the capital. He was a master of the art of poetry and a storyteller par excellence, whose works were admired for their Celtic grace and fire.

Hogan’s poems are a rich tapestry of the history, culture, folklore, and beauty of the Limerick district, from the Clare Hills and Shannon Valley to the picturesque ruins of castles and abbeys. He immortalized the stirring records of heroic conflicts between the Dalcassians and the Normans, the subtleties of hill, wood, field, and flood, and the fascinating history and charm of the city of Limerick. He captures the subtle power by which Limerick draws to itself the hearts of its children scattered far and wide.

Hogan’s love for Limerick was legendary, and his dedication to the city knew no bounds. He was a self-taught genius, whose passion for his craft and his city were the driving force behind his works. Had he been a learned and leisured man with stores of rare information within his reach, he could not indeed have loved Limerick more, but he could and would have left such enduring records of Limerick’s past glory and present attractions as would have gained for him a world-wide fame.

Unfortunately, Hogan’s talents were not fully appreciated in his lifetime, and he died in poverty, with his works allowed to become as rare as the Irish elk. His poor, unadorned grave is a massive monument to the ignorance, ingratitude, and unworthiness of the people of Limerick, who have failed to honourand perpetuate the memory of one of their own.

Other talented sons of Limerick who died in distant places have not been allowed by their grateful compatriots to rest in unknown graves. The grave of playwright Gerald Griffin in Cork is tended with zealous care and visited by a perpetual pilgrimage of Irish men and women worthy of the name. The tomb of John Francis O’Donnell is guarded and sanctified amidst the tumult and distractions of London by the visits and prayers of his fellow-exiles. And the soldier grave of Fitzjames O’Brien on an American battlefield is honoured and beautified alike by the “boys in blue” with whom he fought, the literati of the New World who delight in his weird stories, and the poor Irish men and women who have never forgotten the high-souled Limerick boy.

One must return to the “town beside the flood” to find the memory of a distinguished Limerickman consigned to premature oblivion, and his works allowed to become as rare as the Irish elk. The denizens of the historic “Old Town” and Thomondgate cannot be so lost to self-respect and manly pride as to join in the West Briton’s contempt of their devoted bard. It would be no more than bare justice for the Nationalist workingmen of Limerick to perpetuate the memory of one of their own class whose renown gives an added dignity to the lowly order from which he sprung.

If the spirit of Shawn-na-Scoob is too patent among the Seoinidi to permit of their honouring the bones of his satirist, it is no reason why Hogan’s name should be left to rest in the shade or his relics remain unhonoured. It is time for the people of Limerick to recognize and appreciate the genius of Michael Hogan, the Bard of Thomond, and to reinstate his memory to its rightful place in the annals of Limerick’s history and culture.

The Bard of Thomond stories remind us of the importance of our history, culture, and struggle for freedom. Michael Hogan, the Bard of Thomond, was a genius whose dedication and passion for his craft and his city were unmatched. He immortalized the richness and beauty of the Limerick district in his works, but unfortunately, his talents were not fully appreciated in his lifetime.

The Bard of Thomond may have been forgotten by many, but his legacy remains an important part of Limerick’s cultural heritage. His love for Limerick was legendary, and his dedication to his craft and his city remains an inspiration to all. While his poor grave may be a testament to the ignorance and ingratitude of his contemporaries, it is up to us to ensure that his contribution to Irish literature and culture is never forgotten or neglected. Michael Hogan, the Bard of Thomond, will always be remembered as a self-taught genius who used poetry to immortalize the beauty and history of his beloved city, and we must continue to honourhis legacy in our own time.

Limerick Echo – Tuesday 30 December 1902

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