Michael J. Whelan winner of Arts & Culture category -32nd Tallaght Person of the Years Awards 2015

Michael J. Whelan winner of Arts & Culture category -32nd Tallaght Person of the Years Awards 2015


So this really great thing happened last night Friday 20th November – I won the ‘Arts & Culture’ category of the ’32nd Tallaght Person of the Year Awards – 2015′ (the longest running non-profit community awards of its kind in Europe), which was held at the Red Cow Complex in Dublin. I was and am really honoured to have been nominated and to win this award and also very humbled by the many other wonderful nominees doing excellent work in the local community. It means a great deal to me that somebody thinks what I do means something to them and the community and I am very grateful. The whole event was very special, the energy at the event was something else and I think everyone enjoyed a brilliant evening so well done to the organisers and everyone that was involved in making it happen.

Michael J. Whelan winner of Arts & Culture category -32nd Tallaght Person of the Years Awards 2015

Michael J. Whelan winner of Arts & Culture category -32nd Tallaght Person of the Years Awards 2015


The annual Tallaght Person of the Year Awards are organised by the voluntary group Tallaght Community Council. The categories included in the awards are  Arts  & Culture, Business, Community, Environment, Heart of Gold, Sport, Special Needs & Carers and Youth. All 115 nominees for the various categories were anonymously nominated and the winners selected by an independent panel of judges.Congratulations to the new Tallaght Person of the Year 2015 Philip Preston and to all to the nominees and category winners!


Attemptin to run - Michael J. Whelan

Attemptin to run – Michael J. Whelan



                    (i.m. Kieran Swords 16/02/2015)



The instant you hear the news

of someone close passing away

is similar,

my imagination tells me later,

to holding your breath

and attempting to run

on the floor of the ocean,


not only are you defeated

but it’s crushing,

tears add to the tide

and there is no solution

except to give up struggling

and grieve.


(c)Michael J. Whelan


Published in ‘Tallaght Soundings 3: New Work from Virginia House Writers edited by Maria Wallace,’ (Dublin, 2015)  & South Dublin Libraries


Looking deeper - Michael J. Whelan

Looking deeper – Michael J. Whelan




 An empty line

reflects staggered clothes pegs

in my garden’s glass covered table,

reminding me of gathered birds

clustered and spaced uncomfortably

on an overhead power cable

in a myriad of city streets

as if waiting for the opening

of a great show,

the closing of the day,

to witness some historic event maybe,

of which only they know the secret

and still hanging about

like courtroom gossipers on a bench

as the verdict is read out,

or silent students in a theatre

with a naked girl

cut open on the slab

after the pathologist has walked out.


The glass warms and I look deeper,

passed the empty pegs

pinning this square sky to the floor;

I watch rippled clouds

cross the disk

of a distant sun

that doesn’t hurt my eyes so much

and way down there

I see seagulls spiraling high

in a glimpse of heaven.

I hear birdsong in a foreign world

while airplanes mark dimensions

in the sky.


(c)Michael J. Whelan


Published in ‘Tallaght Soundings 3; New work from  Virginia House Writers – edited by Maria Wallace’ (Dublin, 2015) and South Dublin Libraries


A poem for Aoibheann

A poem for Aoibheann



                                        for Aoibheann



She has come into this world

but knows not yet of it,

the ripples of her arrival spread far

but she does not yet realise it.


The universe is forever changed

at the dawning of this flower,

and for now she sleeps

cheek nestled in the crook of her arm

while hearts grow magnificent

at the scent of her skin,

the touch of tiny fingers,

the innocence of a miracle’s dream.


(c)Michael J. Whelan

Published in Tallaght Soundings 3: New Work from Virginia House Writers edited by Maria Wallace (Dublin, 2015), with South Dublin Libraries

Soldiers  - Michael J. Whelan

Soldiers – Michael J. Whelan



                    The Great War



Lost, and full of fear,

the mud covered trooper

escapes from hell,

tumbles in the depths of the underworld,

while floundering in the shell scarred bowels

of No-Man’s Land.


He climbs towards life through broken Earth,

where splintered stained glass windows

tell him he’s beneath the ruins of a church.


He creeps between dappled portals of light,

over alabaster icons in the shadow crypt

laid out on the floor many months before.


He hears scratching nearby,

fears his enemies close,

raises his sights to the sole rotted boots of a soldier

hanging out from a blood stained altar.


He cannot see the face,

imagines a crown of thorns upon the head.

He cocks his rifle, sends a bullet to the breech,

crawls forward expecting to fight

and trips on the cord-wood corpses

of others dressed as he.


Suddenly he sees a monstrous rat

like a ravenous dog gnawing wildly

at the nose cartilage of this altered crucifixion.


He shoots and the white dust rises.

War finds him again

but all are already dead.


Michael J. Whelan


Published in ‘Tallaght Soundings 3; A Collection of New Work from The Virginia House Writers -Edited by Maria Wallace,’ November 2015



Kosovo (c)Michael J. Whelan - c.2000

Kosovo (c)Michael J. Whelan – c.2000


The sodden fields are bleak, the road
is broken and I am tired.
Rain shoots off my weary face,
its cold tears count the ribs
that cage my distant heart.
At night I make my rifle safe,
fling this conflict to the floor,
it gathers round the worn-out boots
that tread in miseries of a war.
But I have a rendezvous,
a memory in a future place.
That short black dress, golden hair
tumbling to her shoulders.
Laying fetal, arms wrapping
her soft body, kissing the curve of her
neck, I breathe her in, capturing her.

© Michael J. Whelan

First published on POETHEAD – A Poetry Blog by Christine Murray – October 2015


Big thankyou to Christine Murray who has very kindly featured six of my poems on her excellent poetry site POETHEAD

Originally posted on Poethead:


In the orphanage a child
cowers from cursing men outside.
She wants to climb back into
her dead mother’s womb
and hide inside its warm, soft,
un-edged safety,
where no explanation is needed
or reason to hide under splintered
staircases or run the gauntlet to basement
bomb shelters, existing minute to minute
with strangers until the dawn arrives with her
deliverance and she refuses to be born.

© Michael J. Whelan (Published in Cyphers, Nov 2011)


It happens on a Thursday, just after 2pm,
when ancient cultures and beliefs conspire
and vultures spiral above a peacekeepers’ camp,
where cedars age slowly and the Litani River
caresses the ground where Jesus turned water
into wine, where artillery salvos rip the air
on their long flight and bite deep, deep into
that place of safety vaporizing its concrete
walls and burning and blistering and tearing
apart the…

View original 1,468 more words


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