Summer Talks in the National Library of Ireland, 2016. Dermot Bolger – Finding inspiration in Family History.


Dermot Bolger describes how he found inspiration as a creative artist in his own family history. Bolger’s most recent book, The Lonely Sea and Sky is based on incidents from his father’s life as a merchant sailor out of Wexford.
In December 1943 the most extraordinary rescue in Irish naval history occurred. A tiny Wexford ship, the MV Kerlogue, rescued 168 German sailors: members of the same navy which sent so many fellow Irish sailors to their deaths.
Dermot Bolger’s father sailed on this same treacherous wartime Lisbon route and, from his stories, Bolger has recreate the Kerlogue’s voyage in a novel, The Lonely Sea and Sky, already hailed by the SundayIndependent as a “modern classic.”
The novelist talks about his father’s generation of Irish sailors who risked their lives to sail, unarmed and alone, to bring back vital national supplies to Ireland.



Dermot Bolger is one of Ireland’s more notable writers.

His thirteen novels include The Journey Home, Father’s Music, The Valparaiso Voyage, The Family on Paradise Pier, New Town Soul, The Fall of Ireland, Tanglewood and The Lonely Sea and Sky – which is just published.

His first play, The Lament for Arthur Cleary, received the Samuel Beckett Award. His numerous other plays include The Ballymun Trilogy and a stage adaptation of Joyce’s Ulysses, which recently toured China.

A poet, his New and Selected Poems, That Which is Suddenly Precious, appeared in 2015.

A former Writer Fellow at Trinity College, Dublin and Playwright in Association with the Abbey Theatre, Bolger writes for most of Ireland’s leading newspapers and in 2012 was named Commentator of the Year at the Irish Newspaper awards.

Discover your family history.

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