Seán Lysaght


1957- ; b. Limerick’ ed. UCD (BA; MA in Anglo-Irish Lit.); travelled in Switzerland and Germany; among winners ar Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Festival, 1985; lectured at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth (NUI), 1990-94; completed PhD on Robert Lloyd Praeger (pub. 1998); issued collections incl. Noah’s Irish Ark (1989); The Clare Island Survey (1991), nominated for The Irish Times/Aer Lingus Poetry Award; Scarecrow (1998); Erris (2002); Mouth of a River (2007); teaches atthe Galway-Mayo IT; lives in Westport with wife Jessica and son Seamus; winner of O’Shaughnessy Poetry Award (Univ. of St Thomas, Minnesota, 2006 ($5,000); isses Venetian Epigrams (2008), many previously suppressed; the Sean Lysaght papers are held at Limerick University (donated April 2004).


  • Noah’s Irish Ark (Dublin: Dedalus Press 1989), 63pp..
  • The Clare Island Survey (Oldcastle: Gallery Press 1991), 45pp.;
  • The Marram-clocks (Westport, Co. Mayo: S. Lysaght 1997), 12pp.
  • Scarecrow (Oldcastle: Gallery Press 1998), 61pp..
  • Erris (Oldcastle: Gallery Press 2002), 96pp..
  • The Mouth of a River (Dublin: Gallery Press 2007), 80pp..
  • Venetian Epigrams (Oldcastle: Gallery Press 2008), 80pp.
  • Selected Poems of Sean Lysaght (Oldcastle: Gallery Press 2010), 86pp.[107pp.]
  • Robert Lloyd Praeger: The Life of a Naturalist (Dublin: Four Courts Press 1998), 208pp., ill [18pp pls.]
  • ‘The Flora of County Armagh’, in Irish University Review, 24, 2 (q.d.), p.243.
  • “The Cube in the West” [poem], in Sinéad Garrigan & and Katie Reeves [Magdalen Coll.], eds., Oxford Poetry, VII, 1 (Winter 1992).
  • review of Elizabeth Butler Cullingford, Gender and History in Yeats’s Love Poetry, in Irish Literary Supplement, Spring, 1994, p.8.
  • ‘Extracts from a Verion of “Diarmaid and Gráinne’ [XVI-XXII], in Irish University Review (Summer 1997), pp.133-38.
  • ‘Hegel’s Horse’s’, poem, in Partisan Review, LXVI, 2 (1999), p.308.
  • ‘Working his Craft’, review of Michael Longley, The Weather in Japan, in The Irish Times (11 March 2000) [Weekend, p.9].
  • review of Eamon Grennan, Selected and New Poems, in Irish Times (21 Oct. 2000).

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Rory Brennan, review of Selected Poems, in Books Ireland (Feb. 2011): ‘Lysaght’s undquestioned forte is nature poetry and I assert again he is the best practitionaer in tha field in Ireland today. That it is teritory now somwhat encroached upon by eco-versifiers has nothing to do with the validity of Lysaght’s exact and truthful observations, carefully formed and cast to endure. [...] Lysaght also handles sustained historical themes with conviction. He is a serious and valuable poet whose work deserves to be better known [...].’


Stonechat [blog] contains an extensive notice by Lysaght on “The Jack Snipe” entering into questions of natural history and nomenclature making reference to both Seamus Heaney and Fr. Dineen - viz., ‘The term jack snipe has been wrongly attached to the male of the snipe, gallinago gallinago. This is presumably because ’jack’ is used properly to describe the male merlin, so the term has been adopted for the male snipe. It is the male snipe that makes the famous bleating sound with its tail feathers over its nesting territory, usually at night. This is the origin of the Irish name gabhairin (little goat) reo (of the frost) for the drumming male snipe, a term celebrated, and beautifully explored by Seamus Heaney in his poem “The Backward Look” (Wintering Out). / In his famous dictionary, the Rev Dineen wrongly translates gabhairin reodha as jack snipe, presumably for the reason I suggest. He also gives the word naoscach for snipe, which has now been adopted as the standard term. Curiously, he also has naoscan (long accent on the second “a”) as meaning “the larger kind of snipe” gallinago major. This may be a reference to gallinago media, the great snipe, a bird of such obscurity and rarity in Ireland that it is unlikely ever to have found a place in the vernacular. [...]’ (Accessed 24 March 2007 at [online]; his profile is logged on [link].)

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