Monday, November 30, 2009

More Kavanagh

One of the talks at the Kavanagh weekend on the Saturday was My days with Patrick Kavanagh by Godfrey Graham. Godfrey was a cameraman with RTE for many years and also played cricket for Ireland. He talked about filming the 1966 documentary with Patrick Kavanagh in Dublin and Inniskeen. Frank McNally had said the previous night that Kavanagh had been a constant critic of RTE but was delighted to accept their offer to make a documentary with him.

Godfrey told us how when they were having a picnic lunch in Monaghan during the filming a cameraman from Ringsend spotted a kingfisher at the river and caught it. It had an injured wing. Kavanagh held it in his large hands and said I can feel its heart beating. Godfrey, like any good cameraman, grabbed his camera and filmed the hands with the injured bird and Kavanagh's face. His eyes were full of tears, Godfrey said. The clip was used in the film and is available on the RTE archives on this page.

Kavanagh took the injured bird back to his sisters' house where it was cared for.

Godfrey Graham joined RTÉ Television shortly after it was launched as one of its first lighting cameramen. For the next 40 years, he worked on some of the station's most significant programmes, including Discovery and the visit to Ireland of US President John F. Kennedy. In 1981, Graham won a Jacob's Award for his role as lighting cameraman on the RTÉ television production of Eugene McCabe's play Winter Music. He has written a book about his experiences Forty Years behind the Lens at RTE (2005)



All so interesting Michael. I'm completing my PhD next year on Kavanagh - much of this is so useful. Congrats also on your prize. I don't know Martin's work but I'm sure I'll be hearing loads from him soon enough. I know Shirley from the Poetry Ireland Introductions this year. Very lovely poet. Well done!!

Michael Farry said...

Thanks Jaki. Writer Christine Dwyer-Hickey gave a fascinating talk on “Patrick Kavanagh: The poet as friend” dealing with her father's relationship with Kavanagh. Her father was Denis Dwyer who was a close friend of Kavanagh for a long time.

Anonymous said...

I must echo what Jaki has commented. I am conducting my final year thesis on a biographical radio documentary on Kavanagh. I've been in touch with many of the people who took part in the Kavanagh weekend and I'm excited about bringing the poet and his work alive through radio. I love your blog Michael,very interesting!
Cathriona Flynn

Anonymous said...

Congrats Martin on your prize, and anyone who wants a walk in some of the fields which Kavanagh wrote about, just let me know,as I have brought many people before and all are amazed at the beuaty,timeless and stillness of the place.John.