Galway City Poetry Trail - End of Nimmo's Pier

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Louis MacNeice's 'Galway' was unveiled by the Northern poet Tom Paulin in 2007. McNeice wrote the poem when he was here at the outbreak of World War II. He was at the end of Nimmo’s Pier when the idea came to his mind and that is where his poem is located. MacNeice (1907-1963) was a friend and contemporary of W. H. Auden and Stephen Spender at Oxford and his poetry has often been linked to their own. Whilst sharing certain characteristics with them, including a sharp political awareness, in recent years MacNeice's poetry has been re-evaluated on its own terms, particularly by a new generation of Northern Irish poets such as Michael Longley and Paul Muldoon who've acknowledged him as a major influence. MacNeice's family were from the West of Ireland but he was born in Belfast to a Protestant clergyman father and a mother whose mental illness and premature death disturbed MacNeice for the rest of his life. These early years were recalled later as a time of darkness and loneliness presided over by the strict figure of his father. He was sent to England for his schooling, to Marlborough, and he then went on to read classics at Oxford. His professional life began as a lecturer in classics but in 1941 he joined the BBC and for the next twenty years produced programmes for the legendary Features Department, including his own celebrated parable-play, The Dark Tower. He died from pneumonia in 1963 following an expedition to the pot-holes of Yorkshire to record sounds for a radio play.