September 17th September 2015 – The National Centre for Arts and Health at Tallaght Hospital and the Meath Foundation were delighted to host internationally-acclaimed author Anne Enright as she launched a poetry collection, The Healing Station, by artist in residence at the hospital, Michael McCarthy.
This wonderful book of poems is the result of Michael McCarthy’s residency working at Tallaght Hospital in 2012. The evening included selected readings by Michael McCarthy and guests who participated in the programme. Readers of poems from the collection at the launch included:
- Ciara O'Grady - 'The Travellers' (former member of staff who took part in the Staff Creative Writing Group)
- Maboysana Nzo - Gleann Na Smol' (former patient who took part in the Chronic Pain Writing Group)
- Julie Keane - 'Joe' (Speech therapist in the Tallaght Hospital’s age related healthcare unit)
- Richie Stakelum - 'The Hurler' (current manager of the Dublin under-21 hurling team)
The event took place on Thursday 17th September from 7.00pm to 9.00pm at the Dun Library Room, The Royal College of Physicians Ireland, 6 Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Speaking at the launch, Dr Rónán Collins, a consultant in Geriatric and Stroke medicine at Tallaght Hospital stated “Michael’s collection is a wonderful narrative of that important experience that will come to many of us, illness. As the National Centre for Arts in Health, we value the arts as a meaningful part of patient’s lives and an important conduit of expression and recovery. The Hospital’s Arts Programme seeks to engage patients in practical and stimulating arts activities, afford opportunity for creativity in the healthcare setting and create a narrative of the experience of illness, a citizenship most of us will have to embrace at some stage in our lives. Michael’s collection gives narrative to the experiences of patients and staff treating stroke and dementia. It is the difficult journey through despair, challenge, acceptance and recovery with its hopes and humour that inspires us daily.”
Speaking at the launch, Meath Foundation board member, Dr Barbara Loftus said “The Meath Foundation is delighted to support this collection of poetry as part of its ongoing support for research, education and arts services at Tallaght Hospital. We are also honoured that Anne Enright has agreed to launch the collection. Anne’s writing is held in the highest esteem both in Ireland and internationally and her attendance is a very welcome endorsement of the Arts Programme. The evening was a very special occasion for the Hospital, The Meath Foundation and all who attend.”
Booker Prize winning novelist Anne Enright stated “Words heal. They fix us. This is the claim writers and poets make for language - that it pulls together the fragments of our experience and makes us feel, for that moment, whole again. This is the work of the Healing Station, by Michael McCarthy, in which we see life at its most difficult, made beautiful on the page.”
Commenting on his residency experience in Tallaght Hospital and the subsequent outcome of the Healing Station Michael McCarthy said “The residency at Tallaght Hospital was a steep learning curve. To come as a writer in residence was a daunting challenge and it remained one throughout. However the dedication and sheer skill of the staff at every level was inspirational. In an area where increments of improvements were often tiny, the dedication of the staff was awesome. The patient’s resilience in the most trying of circumstances was both challenging and uplifting, I became fascinated by their struggle, and in my poems I tried to imagine their life before their illness and in some way wanted to give that life back to them. The poems all have an autobiographical element, although they are a work of the imagination. The novelist Johnathan Tulloch describes the book as the recovery of a lost music and I like that.”
The National Centre for Arts and Health at Tallaght Hospital exists to improve patient care and to promote the benefits of the arts in health. The centre aims to provide high quality, best practice arts programmes for hospital patients, visitors and staff and to provide leadership through research and education of international standing in the field of arts and health. It also runs a nationally innovative programme of Paediatric Arts and Health and Art Therapy.
To purchase The Healing Station please visit http://www.poetrybusiness.co.uk
About Tallaght Hospital
Tallaght Hospital is one of Ireland’s largest acute teaching hospitals, providing child-health, adult, psychiatric and age-related healthcare on one site. The hospital has 614 beds and employs almost 3,000 staff. The Hospital is a provider of local, regional and national specialities. It is also a national urology centre, the second largest provider of dialysis services in the country and a regional orthopaedic trauma centre.
Tallaght Hospital is one of two main teaching hospitals of Trinity College Dublin - specialising in the training and professional development of staff in areas such as nursing, emergency medicine and surgery, amongst many others. Tallaght Hospital is part of the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group which serves a population of over 1.2 million across seven counties. A new satellite centre is to be built at Tallaght Hospital as part of the National Children’s Hospital project as a key element of an integrated clinical network for paediatric services nationally.
The hospital’s Emergency Departments catered for 44,640 Adult ED Attendances and 31,934 Paediatric Attendances in 2014. A further 263,929 patients were treated through hospital clinics in 2014. The hospital’s operations are supported by a community of 300 general practitioners in surrounding communities.
About Michael McCarthy
Michael McCarthy grew up on a farm in West Cork. His first poetry collection Birds’ Nests and Other Poems won the Patrick Kavanagh Award. His second collection At the Races won the Poetry Business Competition judged by Michael Longley. His children’s books have been translated into 17 languages. He works as a priest in North Yorkshire.