Archive for the ‘Photo’s’ Category



So a massive THANKS to Paul Brookes for this interview with me on his Wombwell Rainbow Interviews website. See link here for the interview about my writing, poetry, inspirations etc and the new collection Rules of Engagement.

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Michael J. Whelan


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Invitation: Evening of Poetry & Music to celebrate Midsummer at Alan Hanna’s bookshop in Bark Coffee, Thurs 20 June 7pm

Hi all, I will be reading at the above event next Thursday, so please join myself and a bunch of wonderful poets for an evening of poetry and music to celebrate Midsummer at Alan Hanna’s bookshop in Bark Coffee, Rathmines, Dublin on Thursday 20 June. Doors will open at 6:30pm and readings and performances begin at 7pm.

This is a FREE event but places are limited. To reserve a place, please email Orla Grant-Donoghue at thefrayedheart@gmail.com


Alan Hanna’s book shop, Rathmines, Dublin



Performances & readings by:

  • Michael J. Whelan
  • Eileen Casey
  • Éamon Mag Uidhir
  • Kevin Bateman
  • Doreen Duffy
  • David Grant
  • Christian Wethered
  • Orla Grant-Donoghue
  • Susan Condon
  • Vivienne Kearns

Music on the night will be performed by Christian Wethered.

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Niamh & Me

Niamh and Me. Photo(c)Michael J. Whelan


The Reservoir

For Niamh


It was one of the few days we had off together,

we walked the full route of the waterworks,

chatting about our jobs, our kids,

we spoke of our parents, mine gone,

yours still involved though separated.


We were married a long time, but we were

only catching up with each other the way couples do,

a time out from the unnatural world, a couple of hours

just for me and for you when we plotted the future.


We examined the trees, the flowers, listened to the river

and the breeze, the heat was amazing, and the day was beautiful.

There was a sign on the fence warning us of Japanese Knotweed,

we had no idea what it was but we found some near the wire,

we were careful not to bring it home on our clothes

to infest our garden.


You spotted a faun in the distance,

we stopped and watched for a while.

Hairy caterpillars raced across our path on the hot surface,

I hadn’t seen one in years, so you continued to point them

out as we climbed slowly towards the upper reservoir,

crossed the dam onto the far side of the water

and into the woods on the side of the valley. We were high up,


and I think I held your hand for a few moments then,

or maybe you held mine, it doesn’t really matter –

it was special holding a piece of you there.

I wasn’t taking in what you were saying part of the time

or what was passing me by in the landscape,

I was just looking at you, just looking at you

and remembering all the very first times we were together,


the first time I really felt part of the world, of all this nature.

You were a seed bursting open in my heart, you still are.

It was your idea for us to walk the upper reservoir,

for both of us to stand on top of the dam and see the colours.


(c)Michael J. Whelan

For our 22nd Wedding Anniversary


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Photo  Tibnin bridge, Lebanon 1985 | Captpaulf | Flickr





Empty shells on the ground

on a bridge

at a crossroads.


Shell of a post

on a bridge

at a crossroads.


Echoes of soldiers who died

at the hands of comrade

on a bridge

at a crossroads,




resonates in Ireland.


Michael J. Whelan


(In October 1982 three Irish

Peacekeepers were murdered

by a fourth member of their isolated

post in South Lebanon)



See also Ruairi De Barra’s piece below on Paper Never Refused Ink

see link here  – https://paperneverrefusedink.com/2018/10/20/748/

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Why, when I have taken off my uniform

and examine the canvas – a river scene,

in the detail of things,

does my story pick out

the turpentine in the rushes?

Why does the fringe of furry trees

against a blue sky

conceal an army,

the grave of a village?

I would go there

but it’s cold in the shadows

and a cruised-up submarine

lurks beneath the surface.


You have led the way

for all the horrible injustices,

the dark that humans

keep in their hearts

but decency tries to keep at bay

are dripping through the cracks

that you have made to smell of incense.

Petrol will catch fire in water and in the air,

it’s the 21st Century for fuck sake

and all the bridges are burning.


Michael J. Whelan


(c)Michael J. Whelan

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Today I stood above the Aegean Sea

listening for echoes I could not hear.

The silent tempo of the ground

resonates still on unnatural landscapes.

The zig-zag lines where dead men toil

dug deep into blood smeared soil,

buried now with their bones

on beaches and gullies where once

they fought the Turk,

stormed the shores and hills as if thrown

against the wind by Agamemnon himself.


The silence bade me look towards Troy

across the Straits from Helles.

I still could hear no voice, nor thunder in the sky

except the launching waves pushing ancient

pebbles up the beach to rest,

where once they drowned the hearts of men.


Then behind me I could feel it,

the noise of peace and echoes of war

in a thousand monuments to the dead,

stretched out in marching order.


And there, watching me my shadow

took on the specter of a ghost and spoke,


‘Like Hector I was the defender

brave and virtuous – but of Irish stock,

I am the soldier my country forsook.’


And in response I said

      I have come at last to pay my respects,

I have come to take you home!


Michael J. Whelan

25th April is the anniversary of the Gallipoli landings of 1915, during the Great War

V- Beach Cemetery Gallipol, where many Irishmen rest: Michael J. Whelan 2011

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So I haven’t posted anything here for a while as I have been really busy with a few projects which are coming along nicely. The Irish Air Corps Museum projects have been moving along progressively and the collecting, listing and transferal of historical documents in to the Air Corps Museum collection in the Military Archives of Ireland is fantastic, the volunteers are doing great work. Also I have been collecting oral history recordings from veterans and serving personnel for the Military Archives Oral History Programme with a total now of 207 recorded and deposited over the last two and half years (aprx 400 hours) with a lot of associated artefacts and documents.

I have also been writing poetry for the next book, which is due out in October this year, more news to follow on this.

Take care all,



Just an update

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