Click on the play button to listen here or download to listen later.

Welcome to Patrick Galvin’s page on here we are including recordings of some of Patrick’s best known work.   It is with great sadness that we learned of Patrick’s death on May 10th 2011.   We have added a podcast of Patrick’s son Macdara singing “James Connolly”, Patrick enjoyed his sons rendition during his later years and Macdara was kind enough to perform this version during our visit to their home in March 2010.  We have also included 2 recordings from the family archive of Patrick reading “Man on The Porch and Song for A Poor Boy”

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam

Patrick Galvin was probably most well known as a writer of poetry and prose, but his talent crossed many mediums, he was also an acclaimed songwriter, and a collector of traditional music, he was a playwright, satirist and memoirist.  His early career saw him gaining fame as a folk singer, songwriter and song collector and he travelled Europe as a ballad singer. He has recorded seven volumes of Irish folk songs in Britain and America.

Patrick’s work as a poet, playwright and social commentator has been featured on RTE and BBC and he has read his work extensively throughout Ireland, the UK, Germany, Belgium, Newfoundland, Mexico and the USA.  A recording of his poetry was made at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. which is now held in its archives.

His early plays Cry the Believers and And Him Stretched were staged in Dublin in the 60s, during which time he acquired the title of ‘Enfant terrible’ of the Irish Theatre from some critics.  As resident dramatist at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast in the 1970’s and 80’s,  his plays Nightfall to Belfast, The Last Burning and We Do It For Love were staged and afterwards these plays were also produced in Canada, New York, Australia, Norway, Germany and Wales, The Young Vic in London, The Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow, the Everyman Theatre in Cork and The Abbey Theatre in Dublin. In the late 1970s his play The Devil’s Own People was staged at the Dublin Theatre Festival and directed by Jim Waring. In 1981 he wrote the operetta My Silver Bird, based on the life and Times of Grace O’Malley, with a musical score by Peadar Ó Riada. This was staged at the Lyric Theatre.

Patrick Galvin adapted a number of his stage plays for broadcast on RTE, BBC, Radio 4, and World Service. His radio play Class of ’39 was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 to great acclaim. He adapted Paul Smith’s The Countrywoman and W.W. Jacob’s The Monkey’s Paw for BBC Radio 4 and the World Service. In the late 80s his verse play City Child Come Trailing Home was broadcast live on RTE followed by the plays Seascape, Wolfe and Quartet for Night Town.



Patrick has seven volumes of poetry including “Heart of Grace”, “Christ in London”, “The Woodburners”, “Man On the Porch”, “Folk Tales for the General”, “The Death of Art O’Leary” and “New and Selected Poems” published by Cork University Press in 1996.

His first two volumes of autobiography, Song for a Poor Boy and Song for a Raggy Boy, have been translated into several lanuages. In December 2002 New Island Books, Dublin, published The Raggy Boy Trilogy to include his most recent volume Song for a Fly Boy.

Patrick’s first screenplay, Boy in the Smoke, was televised on BBC2. In 2003 he adapted Song for a Raggy Boy for cinematic release as a film  starring Hollywood actor Aidan Quinn as a socialist returning to Ireland after the Spanish Civil War to take up a post as a teacher in an Industrial School,  while Crinkle Films produced a short animated film entitled Aunt Bridget which Galvin adapted from an excerpt of Song for a Poor Boy.

Patrick Galvin suffered a serious stroke in 2003.   The first recording we have included on his page is an interview recorded in March, 2010 with Patrick and his late wife Mary – because Patrick had some speech difficulty Mary spoke for Patrick but as the interview progressed Patrick did take part in the conversation, and although you may not always hear him, his presence was strong throughout the interview.  Our second podcast features early recordings of Patrick reading some of his his work including “A Chapter from an Autobiography” and “The Mad Woman of Cork” which he and Mary have so generously allowed us to use, they have donated so much material for use on this page that we strongly advise you watch this page regularly or subscribe to the RSS feed. 

We were shocked to hear of Mary’s death in October 2011 less than 5 months after her beloved Patrick.  Mary was also a writer and teacher and with Patrick founded The Munster Literary Centre. .  We will be indebted to both Patrick and Mary not alone for their generosity to us at but to their remarkable contribution to Irish literature. May they rest in peace.