At Carlow College/St Patrick’s we are very proud to honour the noble spirit of Fr Michael McCarthy with the commission of this new work by leading Irish composer of her generation Gráinne Mulvey. Apart from his dedication to his priestly ministry, Michael was also a servant of the poetic word. And he brought much passion, intelligence and insight into play in fostering his own poetic talents (so evident in his books) and in the work of others.
It was our great privilege to get to know the man and the poet when he visited us as writer-in-residence in the autumn term 2017. Michael gave readings, attended readings, gave workshops, attended workshops, went to concerts and was busy about the creative life while he was here. He was an inspiring mentor, and it was a joy to behold how he managed to initiate new work from others. Tragically, Michael was diagnosed with terminal cancer very shortly after leaving us. It was hard to imagine. A man so full of vitality, life and energy, even in his mature years. Sadly, we lost Michael all too soon after he left us. Still, we have his poems, and we have his voice through the cd recording of his first book.
In Michael McCarthy’s memory and as a tribute to his creative abilities, to honour his talents as a creative teacher and writer, Carlow College commissioned a new musical and poetic work around the very fine opening poem from his first book. That poem is ‘Metanoia’. This was made possible through a generous bequest to the college by Fr Michael. He wished to support Creative Writing at Carlow College, and that he has done. We thought it fitting too, and in a spirit of playful devilment he might have appreciated, that we keep him involved in the process; and indeed, as a central strand to it. Today’s premiere witnesses the outcome of that process.