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20 February 2015
Poetry - Study Ireland

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BBC NI Schools
- ages 11-16


Growing Up


Sense of Place





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A Sense Of Place

Ciaran Carson says:

' my young day it was all smoke and smog and mills and factories and work. And that has by and large all gone now.'

'...I love maps and I see maps as being a story because a map won't show you exactly how it is, a map is only schemata of the thing.'

'...You imagine that what you see in a map is how it is. But if it is only a way of explaining things.'

'...the street names come from the fact that an awful lot of the streets in that area came from the Crimean War. You have got Rumania Street, Balaclava Street, Crimea Street. And the streets themselves are like an emblem of the Empire in a way.'

'...behind how a thing is called there is a whole spin with a story behind it and a history and a yarn behind it.'

Turn Again

There is a map of the city which shows the bridge that was
    never built.
A map which shows the bridge that collapsed; the streets
    that never existed.
Ireland's Entry, Elbow Lane, Weigh-House Lane, Back lane,
    Stone-Cutter's Entry -
Today's plan is already yesterday's - The streets that were
    there are gone.
And the shape of the jails cannot be shown for security

The linen backing is falling apart - the Falls Road hangs by a
When someone asks me where I live, I remember where I
    used to live.
Someone asks me for directions, and I think again. I turn into
A side-street try to throw off my shadow, and history is

Ciaran Carson

Ciaran Carson was born in Belfast in 1948. His first language was Irish. Until recently he worked as Literature and Traditional Arts Officer in the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. His collections include The New Estate and Other Poems, The Irish for No, Belfast Confetti, First Language and Opera Et Cetera. He is a musician and has published Last Night's Fun, a book about Irish Traditional Music. The Poems in this selection are Turn Again and Belfast Confetti. In 2001 he was nominated for the Booker Prize for book Shamrock Tea. He won the Forward Prize for Poetry in 2003. The Carson poems on this site are Turn Again and Belfast Confetti.


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