Hilda Moriarty: Kavanagh's Inspiration Behind 'On Raglan Road'

On Raglan Road of an autumn day
I saw her first and knew
That her dark hair would weave a snare
That I might one day rue
I saw the danger and I passed
Along the enchanted way
And I said let grief be a fallen leaf
At the dawning of the day

"On Raglan Road" is a well-known Irish song from a poem written by Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh named after Raglan Road in Ballsbridge, Dublin. In the poem, the speaker recalls a love affair that he had with a young woman while walking on a "quiet street". Although the speaker knew that he would risk being hurt if he initiated a relationship, he did so anyway.

It was first published as a poem in The Irish Press on 3 October 1946 under the title "Dark Haired Miriam Ran Away." Peter Kavanagh, Patrick's brother, said that "it was written about Patrick's girlfriend Hilda but to avoid embarrassment he used the name of my girlfriend in the title". Her real name was Dr. Hilda Moriarty, then a medical student from County Kerry.

In 1987, Hilda Moriarty was interviewed by the Irish broadcaster RTÉ for a documentary about Kavanagh called Gentle Tiger. In the interview, she said one of the main reasons for the failure of their relationship was that there was a wide age gap between them. She was only 22, whereas he was 40.

Dr. Moriarty also described how "Raglan Road" came to be written. Kavanagh had described himself as the peasant poet but she was not impressed and teased him for writing about mundane things such as vegetables. She said he should write about something else so he agreed to do so. According to Dr. Moriarty, he then went away and wrote "Raglan Road".

From Wikipedia  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_Raglan_Road

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Tags: Love, Music, Poetry

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