Paul Durcan

(1944 / Dublin)

Biography of Paul Durcan

Paul Durcan poet

Paul Durcan (born 16 October 1944) is a contemporary Irish poet.
Durcan was born and grew up in Dublin and in Turlough, County Mayo. His father, John, was a barrister and circuit court judge; father and son had a difficult and formal relationship. Durcan enjoyed a warmer and more natural relationship with his mother, Sheila MacBride Durcan, through whom he is a great-nephew of both Maud Gonne, muse of WB Yeats and Irish social and political activist, and John MacBride, one of the leaders of the Easter Rising, which began the Irish War of Independence leading to the foundation of the Irish state.
He studied law and economics at University College Dublin.While at college, Durcan was kidnapped by his family and committed against his will to Saint John of God psychiatric hospital in Dublin, and later to a Harley Street clinic where he was subjected to electric shock treatment and heavy dosages of barbiturates and Mandrax.
Durcan moved to live in London in 1966 where he worked at the North Thames Gas Board. He met Nessa O'Neill in 1968; they married and had two daughters, Sarah and Siabhra. They lived in South Kensington, then moved to Cork where his wife taught in a prison. The marriage ended at the beginning of 1984.

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Raymond of the Rooftops

The morning after the night
The roof flew off the house
And our sleeping children narrowly missed
Being decapitated by falling slates,
I asked my husband if he would
Help me put back the roof:
But no - he was too busy at his work
Writing for a women's magazine in London
An Irish fairytale called Raymond of the Rooftops.

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