Eoin didn't get to build the great body of work he had hoped, but we think this work stands testament to his unique spirit and insight. This is Eoin's legacy, and our attempt to fulfil his wish as best we can. Thanks to Leanne O Sullivan and John McCarthy for help with editing and to Cónal Creedon for writing a wonderful foreword.
The book is available to buy under the "donate / buy" link above. All proceeds go to the Eoin Murray Memorial Scholarship.
With love, Is fada arís go bhfeicfimid a leithéid.
TAround this time each year, Eoin's friends led by Eamonn, Adam, Rob and Aengus, organise a tribute night. It was initially to remember Eoin through poetry and music, to reconnect with friends and family and to help us all process our grief together while celebrating those things Eoin valued most in life. In recent years it has also been a means to celebrate the winner and runner ups in the Eoin Murray Memorial Scholarship.
In light of the pandemic, this year we decided that the safest thing would be to postpone the tribute night. This was a difficult decision as it is always a very special night of remembrance and celebration. However we wouldn't want anyone to encounter any unnecessary risk or for the tribute night to be a source of stress for anyone, so we feel it was the right decision.
We look forward to inviting Alana, Joy and Lara to our tribute night in 2021. In the meantime, we would love to share the beautiful video above, written and directed by Alana in memory of an exceptional boy; Mattie J.T. Stepanek. This piece won the Grand Prize in Poetry and Film at the Mattie J.T. Stepanek 2020 Poetry Award.
We also share three written pieces from Alana, Joy and Lara below;
Alana Daly Mulligan
You and I sitting –
Two fisherfolk on a bench in Dunmore
With nothing but a sunset caught between us.
I look at the chips –
They are great cliffs splashed in a vinegary sea,
And the fish split open like a book.
My fork traces the rivers in its flesh
Back to the source, the bone,
What life has this creature known?
Between the waves of myth, fiction and reality,
I am myself a Fionn with my thumb firmly
Pulling on the star-fastened jacket,
Peeling it back, dripping grease and oil.
I’m toiling with the idea of my appetite
Escaping me when my meal hasn’t.
There are little hot blisters in its skin,
And I pick them off with my little fingers
To count the futures I should now see
As I decide to set the rest free.
It is an oath as strong as hazel wood
Sewn between a child and the sea.
You are none the wiser.
We eat in the shadows of the waves
And let the sunsets sail away.
Ode to a Knob
Joy Amber Curtis
Your cold hand twists my nose and I feel a sneeze.
I open the door slowly when I feel a breeze,
I make you believe I’m inhabited by the ghost of your great nan.
I once glowed bronze but age has left me dull and tan.
I give my consent to visitors who knock first.
And everyone else I vow to curse.
Snap their keys in my lock.
Jam my door when they try to pick-pock.
I always latch onto your jumper for attention
But when I broke was the only time I was mentioned.
You unscrewed me from my homely door-frame
The ornate knocker, once again, stealing my fame.
I had dreamt of owning a new, clear, crystal face
But I started to realise I was being replaced.
You throw me on a shelf deep into the shed.
And my metallic heart rapidly fills with dread.
I lose my screw eyes and try to count to ten.
I cry tears of rust and I never unlock again.
Lara Ni Chuirrin
We sat across from each other in his kitchen, the light above us shining feebly, flickering slightly.
I guess I arrived around six?
By the time we'd finished eating, the world outside was a deep inky blue that seemed to pour through the window behind him, the kind of night sky that if you got too close, it would swallow you up.
You would disappear.
I wonder if I knew then?
Thick slices of pork, the fat barely crispy,
The linoleum topped table wobbled as we hacked at the meat in silence.
When our cutlery had clattered down on empty plates, my fingers were greasy and there was bean sauce gathered at the corner of his mouth, trailing into his beard. He began to rise, reaching shakey hands across the table to clear my plate.
'Don't, Dad, I'll do it.'
I stood and grabbed both plates and brought them to the sink as he slowly sat back down again.
'Put the kettle on, will you?' His usual post-dinner refrain.
Water poured from the tap into the spout , splashing the dishes now piled in the sink, swirling in the grease of the pork fat.
God. Everything is still so vivid.
Later that evening we went out to the back yard and lit a fire. We lit it in the corner, by the compost bin, and the sweet smell of rotting fruit flesh mixed with the smoke, trundling into the sky.
'She would have liked this.' He had said, shielding his eyes from the smoke.
'Do you?' I asked, but my voice caught in my throat, barely reaching above a whisper.
He didn't seem to hear, threw a sod of turf on the fire.
We sat there for ages in the growing cold and I watched the fire fall lower, turn to embers, watched the gentle breeze pick up scraps of ash and carry them to heaven.
His eyes were closed, his lips moving slightly, but when I leaned in closer I couldn't hear anything.
How long did I stay? I hope long enough.
The moon had given up trying to push through the thick clouds, was now clothed in darkness, a faint yellow hum hanging above us.
'I'm headin' off now.'
His eyes shot open.
'Oh yeah...good lad. Thanks for coming. She'd have liked that.'
I left through the sidegate in the garden, did battle with the rusty bolt for a moment before escaping into a dark estate which sprawled down to the sea.
We are delighted to announce that the winner of the 3rd Eoin Murray Memorial Scholarship is
Alana Daly. Alana already has an impressive career, co-founding Europe’s first poetry festival organised by young people for young people (ages 13-19); The Lit Young Writers’ Festival (2017-present). She has written numerous short films to critical acclaim and her publications include; Autonomy (2018), Solstice Sounds Volume VI (2018), The Quarryman V (2019), University Express, Motley Magazine, and BND Magazine. Alana has also been included on a Spoken Word map of Ireland and the UK (2018). Alana has a strong reputation as a performance poet and has performed internationally at events like All Together Now, The First Fortnight Festival, Cúirt International Poetry Festival, Cork LGBT+ Pride Festival, The Belfast Poetry Festival, ME, USA, Three-Dot-Dash-Summit, NY, and has acted as support to Stephen James Smith, Neil Hilborn and Shane Koyczan.
This year the judges were particularly challenged to chose between the top three shortlisted poets. Our highly commended runners up are Joy Curtis and Lara Ní Chuirrín, both of whom have very impressive literary cvs so far and submitted beautiful writing samples.
We greatly look forward to seeing Alana, Joy and Lara perform at this year's tribute night in August.
We would like to thank all students who took the time to enter the scholarship, and encourage those of you who did not succeed this year to enter again next year. It is heartening for us to be able to award this scholarship in Eoin's memory.
We would also like to take this opportunity to extend again our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all of you who donated time, money and effort to supporting this scholarship. We know Eoin would be proud that this was happening in his name and we thank all of you who have contributed in so many ways in making this idea a reality.
Head of School, Lee Jenkins, presents Rose with a certificate for winning the Eoin Murray Memorial Scholarship
Left to Right: Teresa Murray, Brian Murray, Maria Murray, Rose Keating, Jim Murray
Rose performs "Guide to Hauntings"
Last Thursday, the 3rd of October, the School of English and Digital Humanities held its welcome event for the new academic year. This was an opportunity for the school to present their undergraduate awards and introduce their visiting writers: Visiting Professor of Creative Writing, John Banville; Writer-in-Residence, Danny Denton; and Frank O’Connor International Fellow in the Short Story, Sara Maitland. It was also the launch of Dr James O’Sullivan’s monograph; Towards a Digital Poetics (Palgrave, 2019).
Our scholarship winner, Rose Keating, was also honoured with a certificate for winning the Eoin Murray Memorial Scholarship and performed her work "Guide to Hauntings".
It was a lovely opportunity to meet again with Rose, Lee and their colleagues in the School of English. We are grateful for their continuing support and dialogue with us on the development of the scholarship.
On August 29th we held a tribute night to mark the 4th anniversary of Eoin's passing. These have become really special nights where Eoin's friends and family gather to remember him and invite others who may have never met him but have been touched by his work or the scholarship to join us. This year the night felt hopeful and joyful with lots of laughs and warm moments as we remembered Eoin through music, poetry, stories and chats.
Our 2019 scholar, Rose Keating, read her work. As did 2 of our runner-ups, Molly Twomey and Kel Menton. We also had many musical and poetry performances from friends of Eoin.
Our family are as ever hugely grateful to Eoin's friends in organising this celebration every year. We've put together a playlist of some of the performances on the night. The shakey camera and audio work does not do the night justice! Hopefully you get the idea though! You can see the entire playlist here.
Thank you again for all the support. Eoin would be proud of the scholarship and would be so touched by the continuing tributes and love being shown for him.
We are delighted to announce that the winner of the second Eoin Murray Memorial Scholarship is Rose Keating. Rose has won multiple awards, such as the Sean Dunne Young Writers award and the Write Here, Write Now competition. She has been published in several journals, magazines and podcasts. Rose is also a spoken-word performer.
This year we had an even greater number of entries. These were shortlisted into a list of 19 applicants. This list was forwarded to the scholarship judge panel and this year's guest judge, Cónal Creedon,
After some deliberation, the final shortlist was as follows:
We would like to thank again all students who took the time to enter the scholarship and encourage those of you who did not succeed this year to enter again next year. It is exciting to see interest and applications to the scholarship growing.
We look forward to reading and hearing the work Rose creates with the scholarship!
Thursday the 4th of October, we were delighted to be invited to the UCC School of English welcome event.
Our 2018 scholar, Ali Bracken Ziad, gave a brief reading. The event also detailed the various scholarship, awards and grant recipients through the last academic year and included some readings from recent publications. We also had the pleasure of chatting with the wonderful Cork writer, Cónal Creedon. Cónal relayed a story of a meeting he had with Eoin to us, it's always so lovely to hear new stories about Eoin and realise the many people who remember and think fondly of him.
We look forward to working with Lee Jenkins and the School of English again this year to organise the next scholarship award.
On August 25th we held a tribute night to mark the 3rd anniversary of Eoin's passing. It is hard to believe that it has been 3 years, it still feels like just a few months ago.
It was however a night of hope and celebration as we welcomed our inaugural scholar, Ali Bracken Ziad, and runner up Melanie O Reilly Butler, to perform some of their written work. We also had performances from some of Eoin's dearest friends and once again, our family would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to Eoin's friends for continuing with the night and the organisation it entails.
We've put together a playlist of some of the performances on the night. We enjoyed much more of Ali's work than is represented here, but as it is yet to be formally released, we just provide a taster here. You can see the entire playlist here.
Thank you again for all the support and love. We know Eoin would be proud of the scholarship and of the continuing tributes and love being shown for him.
The Irish Examiner recently published an article on scholarship winner, Ali Bracken Ziad and the scholarship. The article can be read here and gives a great account of Ali, his motivations as a writer, the scholarship and the upcoming tribute night.
It also details Ali's new chapbook, written with the support of the scholarship fund;
"In the opening poem in the book, titled Place And People Without, Ali writes: “I met a man that told me:/Life is treacherous/Whilst eating a spilling sandwich,/Coffee in hand, legs crossed”.
“That’s about two different occasions, speaking to a friend, and my brother,” he explains. “They were both sitting in the most comfortable, safe locations, having a coffee or eating a sandwich, and they were telling me how terrible life was. I was watching them and thinking to myself, ‘this just doesn’t look like a bad life’.”"
We are delighted to see Ali being recognised at a national level and also to see the positive impact the scholarship has had in supporting his work.
Come to the tribute night this Saturday to see Ali & others perform!
The annual Eoin Murray Tribute night will take place this August 25th, upstairs in The Long Valley bar - the site of weekly poetry night, O Bhéal.
This year the night is particularly special as it is the first scholarship showcase night. Our 2018 winner, Ali Bracken Ziad, will preform work from his newest chapbook, which he wrote with the support of the scholarship fund. Runner up Melanie Butler O' Reilly will also recite some of her original work.
We are very excited about the night. We look forward to both remembering Eoin and supporting emerging poetic talent in Ali Bracken Ziad and Melanie Butler O' Reilly.
The night will also include musical performances, a stall of poetry books & related art work and a raffle in aid of the scholarship.
It is our intention that these nights become inclusive events for all lovers of poetry and music, regardless of attendees having known Eoin personally. In that spirit we welcome all to the night.
You can read more about the event on Facebook.