MICHAEL J. WHELAN MA
Michael J. Whelan is an award winning poet, writer and historian living in Tallaght, County Dublin, Ireland. He was 2nd Place Winner in the Patrick Kavanagh International Poetry Awards 2011 (short-listed 2012), and 3rd Place Winner in the Jonathan Swift Creative Writing Awards 2012 (short-listed 2011) and was selected as a reader at the Eigse Eireann/Poetry Ireland Introductions 2012. His books ‘The Battle of Jadotville: Irish Soldiers in Combat in the Congo, 1961’ & ‘Allegiances Compromised: Faith, Honour and Allegiance – Ex British Soldiers in the Irish Army 1913-1924’ examine Irish military history at the beginning of the 20th Century. Michael’s poetry has been widely published and in 2010 he was awarded the Paul Tissandier Diploma by the Federation Aeronautiqe Internationale for his work in preserving Irish military and aviation heritage. He continues to work as Curator of the Irish Air Corps Military Aviation Museum.
Michael was born in Dublin and in 1990 enlisted in the Irish Defence Forces and after completing his basic training was posted to the Irish Air Corps at Casement Aerodrome in Baldonnel.
During his career he served as an infantry soldier, signals operator, aircraft maintenance technician and also as a Peacekeeper with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and with the Peace Enforcement mission in Kosovo (K.FOR).
Before commencing his writing career Michael began a part-time course studying history at the National University of Ireland Maynooth.
In 2003 he was awarded a Certificate in Local History and a Diploma in Local & Community Studies (History). Michael continued his studies and in 2005 was awarded a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Local & Community Studies (History) and a Master of Arts Degree in Modern History in 2006.
Between 2003 and 2007 he completed both T.V. and Radio introduction production courses at the KAIROS Media Production facility in Maynooth, Co Kildare and a Writing Movies Screen writing studies course under Laurence Henson (Writer/Director) – at the Irish Film Institute, Dublin.
Michael’s first book ‘The Battle of Jadotville: Irish Soldiers in Combat in the Congo in 1961’ was published in 2006 by South Dublin Libraries and was a constructive insight into the then national interest in Ireland’s earlier involvement in African affairs in the 1960s and Irish Defence Forces mission there. (See Historical page).
Michael’s second book ‘On Hurting Ground: Poetic Silhouettes- On Soldiers, History, Love and Tragedy’ was self printed (not published) and launched by Dr Rosaleen Dwyer, Heritage Officer for South Dublin in August 2009.
The fifty poems and illustrations written and produced by Michael helped raise awareness of Breast Cancer and Heart Disease in Ireland and all proceeds went to both the Marie Keating Foundation and the Irish Heart Foundation charities. (See Historical Page).
He has had poems and short stories published in literary journals and books such as THE MOTH, CYPHERS, CRANNOG, REVIVAL, THE PENNY DREADFUL, THE POETRY BUS and POETRY IRELAND REVIEW, BARE HANDS POETRY, THREE MONKEYS ON-LINE MAGAZINE, THE GALWAY REVIEW & HENNESSEY NEW IRISH WRITING aswell as Newspapers such as the SOUTHSIDE PEOPLE, the TALLAGHT ECHO, TALLAGHT EXPRESS, InTALLAGHT MAGAZINE and TALLAGHT SOUNDINGS 2 – A collection of New Work by Virginia House Creative Writers Edited by Hennessy Award Winner Maria Wallace. In 2014 a sequence of his poems were published in a new anthology ‘THE HUNDRED YEARS’ WAR; MODERN WAR POEMS edited by Neil Astley (Bloodaxe, UK).
Michael’s third book ‘Allegiances Compromised: Faith, Honour and Allegiance – Ex British Soldiers in the Irish Army 1913-1924’ was published in June 2011 by South Dublin Libraries and launched by Mayor of South Dublin County Cllr Marie Corr and General Officer Commaning Irish Air Corps – Brigadier General Paul Fry.
The book examines the impact of Irish Great War veterans who returned to a hostile Ireland and influenced the Irish Volunteers, IRA and National Army during that countries revolutionary period and the evolution of the Irish Defence Forces. (See Historical page).
Michael has presented lectures and guided historical tours to the Irish Defence Forces, the National Museum of Ireland, the Maritime Association of Ireland, the Royal Aeronautical Society – Republic of Ireland branch, Historical & Social History Societies as well as a number of professional and educational organisations, which have included Irish and international schools, colleges and military history groups.
Michael assisted with the setting up of the National Museum of Ireland Soldiers & Chief’s exhibition and organised and managed a number of heritage exhibitions on behalf of the Air Corps.
He also assisted in such capacities as researcher/advisor and facilitator with Akajava Productions, TG4, John Sheridan’s Wideshot Productions, and Gerry Johnston’s Cowshed Media (Ardmore Studios) on various historical documentary projects and has appeared on a number of radio and TV prgrammes including Nationwide.
He was heavily involved in the production of the South Dublin Heritage Plan published in June 2011 and contributed to books by other authors and articles published in journals and magazines including An Cosantoir Magazine and the Defence Forces Review.
He was appointed by the Irish Defence Forces Chief of Staff to the Editorial Committee for 1916 Anniversary Commemorations in 2006, the United Nations 50th Anniversary of Peacekeeping publications June 2008. He also edited the 32 & 33 Irish Battalion Congo Histories.
- Winner of ‘Arts & Culture’ category in Tallaght Person of the Year Awards
- Short listed in Over The Edge – New Writer of the Year Competition 2014 (ongoing)
- Short listed in Red Line Book Festival 2014 Poetry Competition
- Arts Council/ South Dublin County Council Arts Bursary Awards – 2014 – Arts Bursary Awarded – Literature
- Nominated in ‘Arts & Culture’ category of Tallaght Person of the Year Awards
- Short listed in Red Line Book Festival 2013 Poetry Competition
- Jiont 2nd Place Winner in Carousell Creates Writing Competition
- ‘Special Commendation’ in Patrick Kavanagh International Poetry Prize
- Published in Hennessy New Irish Writing – Irish Independent Aug 2013
- Featured writer in the Red Line Book Festival 2013
- Shortlisted in the Patrick Kavanagh International Poetry Prize
- 3rd Place’ Winner in the Jonathan Swift Creative Writer Awards
- Featured writer in the Redline Writers Book Festival 2012
- Longlisted in The Cork Literary Review Poetry Manuscript Competition 2012
- Shortlisted in the Doire Press Inaugural International Manuscript Awards 2012
- Selected for the Eigse Eireann/Poetry Ireland Introductions Series, during which he attended a group workshop with poet Alan Jude Moore.
- ‘Joint 2nd Place’ winner in the Patrick Kavanagh International Poetry Prize
- Shortlisted in Jonathan Swift Creative Writer Awards
- Paul Tissandier Diploma (Federation Aeronutique Internationale)
- General Officer Commanding Irish Air Corps – Achievement Award