M.J. Kearns - Sligo Poets

Go to content

Main menu:

Michael J. Kearns  (1886-1967)

Michael J. Kearns, popularly known as the ‘bard of Geevagh’, was a poet of no mean ability. He was born in Carrownadargny in 1886, the son of John Kearns, by his wife Mary McCormack, He was educated at St James's Well N.S. and, subsequently, became apprenticed to the bar and grocery business in Dublin.

At the age of twenty he emigrated to Glasgow but returned to his native Geevagh on the outbreak of the World War in 1914. He worked for some time in a Boyle hotel before returning to Glasgow in 1920.

Apart from occasional visits home he spent the remainder of his life in Scotland. In later years he became well known as the owner of a number of licensed premises and these became popular meeting places for many an Irish exile. He died in Glasgow in October, 1967, aged eighty-one years.

Although Michael Kearns had been scribbling verse from his schoolboy days, it was not until he had reached manhood that he embarked on poetry writing seriously.

His finest poems, inspired by the memory of the sights and scenes of his childhood, were written in exile, and a number have been published from time to time in both the Sligo Champion and the Roscommon Herald. A talented poet, he could seize on an old custom, or on a local or national event, and weave it into a rousing ballad of sweet and melodious verse.

John C. McTernan, Worthies of Sligo (Sligo, 1994)

Geevagh is a parish in south east County Sligo. John McTernan's book mentioned above contains a number of Kearns' poems as does Aspects of Geevagh & Highwood, County Sligo published in 1996 by the Lough Arrow Research Project. Many of those other poems contain references to specific places and scenes around Geevagh.

Back to content | Back to main menu